#buythisbeachNZ is a complete waste of time

Sorry to be a party pooper but this #buythisbeachNZ campaign is a complete waste of time and will not work. It’s a lovely idea…but a waste of time.

If you own property let me ask you this. If you purchased a house close to a decade ago for say $400,000 would you sell it today for $400,000? Answer ‘No’.

If you were very interested in purchasing a property and you knew exactly what you competitor was going to offer would you offer a smidge more to get that property? Answer ‘Yes’.

The Able Tasman beach in question was purchased by Michael Spackman in September 2008 for $1,925,000. Presently it’s rating valuation is $1,580,000. That means when he purchased the property the ‘RV’ was likely far less but he still purchased it for two or three times the RV value. This means that on today’s market it could sell for somewhere between $3,000,000 and $4,000,000 so unfortunately the $2,000,000 being raised by the #buythisbeachNZ campaign will be well short of what the beach sells for. Also if you wanted to purchase this property and you knew that these vendors had raised, lets say, $2,100,000 then in your vendors bid you would make it $2,150,000. Everyone knows what this group is going to bid on this property. From Mr. Spackman’s point of view (or anyone who was selling their property) his expectation would be to get much more than he invested nearly a decade ago and with revelations yesterday that he is being chased for millions of dollars by the BNZ it’s not very likely that he will choose to gift the million or so that the campaign will be short to the people of NZ and, if we’re honest, who would?

Gareth Morgan has since come out of the woodwork and pointed out some of these points and offered to put in a million more if he can use one of the buildings on the property for 15 years. So NZ would get 99% of the property now, then the remaining 1% of the property in 15 years when Morgan relinquished it to the people of NZ. Seems like a fair idea to me…I mean if the choice is that or losing it to a private owner for ever more. But the group behind #buythisbeachNZ has said ‘No’ which makes me question both their motives and intelligence.

So who are the protagonists in this story? Gareth Morgan is the guy who has a track record of donating large sums of money to people and groups in NZ for the betterment of the country, like the $47 million he gave away after the sale of trademe and who are the people behind the #buythisbeachNZ campaign?…dunno…Duane Major is the man fronting it but what is his background?…dunno…what is his track record with vast sums of money?…dunno…what is his credit like to be able to handle large sums of money?…dunno…what happens when the $2 million mark is hit, but the property does not get purchased?…dunno…what is the recourse for all the people who have given money that, when the $2 million is hit, will go through but then not used to purchase the property as I’ve spelled out above?…dunno…why does he want so much control that he has rebuffed Morgans offer, then only offer that will possibly secure the beach for NZ?,,,dunno but I am far more comfortable with Gareth Morgan using a small crib on the property for 15 years than the unknown Mr Major having unaccountable access to $2 million.

There are only two possible conclusions here. The first is that Major is a well being moron and doesn’t understand that $2 million won’t purchase the property, or he calculating and incredibly smart, knows exactly what he is doing and knows that in a few days he’ll have access to $2 million dollars and nothing to spend it on. Both conclusions lend me to state again that whilst this seems to be a nice idea, at best it is a complete waste of time and at worst it is a con of the highest magnitude.

Ken Ring does it again!

We had Ken Ring on air this morning to have a chat about the ‘Supermoon’ last night, I mean who else would you have other than the ‘Moonman’ himself.

The aim of the conversation was to chat about why the moon was so large, although I was thinking about the subject matter around his ‘predictions’ and the hot water they landed him in last year. Didn’t know if I was going to go there or not.

Well I needn’t had worried about it, as Ken went there himself.

We first chatted about what a ‘perigee’ was

Ken then went on to make a prediction about when chances of earthquakes were more likely

Anybody who’s living in the Christchurch area you can relax after tomorrow but then around the 11th you should be mindful that this is a risky period” says Ken Ring.

I was a tad taken aback as last year my understanding was that Mr. Ring needed to go into hiding after death threats around his predictions…and today he does it again.

We phone him back to see if he’d spoken to any other media outlet about this prediction and as of 11.30am he had not. So if you are part of the media world, and you use this audio, please remember it’s Pat Brittenden Mornings, on New Zealand’s Rhema ;o)

Is this finally the ‘One World Government’ that so many conspiracy theorists have banged on about?

Well, probably not…but it does add some nice flammable fuel to the theory.

Gary Stix has come out stating that articles that were written on climate change 6 years ago on how to reduce carbon emissions were a mistake, what they should have been writing about was how to control us

If I had it to do over, I’d approach the issue planning differently, my fellow editors permitting. I would scale back on the nuclear fusion and clean coal, instead devoting at least half of the available space for feature articles on psychology, sociology, economics and political science. Since doing that issue, I’ve come to the conclusion that the technical details are the easy part. It’s the social engineering that’s the killer. Moon shots and Manhattan Projects are child’s play compared to needed changes in the way we behave.

Riiiight, trying to set in place ways to modify our behaviour…rather than giving is the facts to disseminate for ourselves.

An article came out last week stating

“Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change. This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.”

This article was “authored by several dozen scientists”

To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naivete.

Heavy handed, transnational power! Did you see that part? What it’s saying is that this new ‘institution’ needs absolute power to bully policy makers into doing what they are told.

I have always thought that there has never been a good solid argument put before me, to convince me of a OWG…but this scientific opinion piece demonstrates how some can think it’s an inevitability.

Crafer, Crafer everywhere with not an valid point to be seen

Oh my goodness! Are we still talking about why the ‘Chinese’ shouldn’t buy Crafer farms? This conversation has been going on for what feels like an eternity…and just like Christmas…it’s back before you know it.

The Overseas Investment Office authorised over 1,000,000 hectares of NZ land to be sold to foreign nationals or consortium’s from Germany, Australia, Canada, South Africa and many other predominantly ‘white’ countries…all I am looking for is consistency.

I don’t think NZ land should be sold off shore, although it’s not as serious as many would have you believe for a couple of reasons. One, they can’t take it anywhere, and two, when the foreign entity wants to sell it, NZers have the first rights again to buy it i.e. it’s not ‘lost forever’. However I think that leasing is the sensible option for overseas investors…but then again if I am a farmer and I want to sell…and no one can afford to buy my property…leasing may not be an option so why not sell to the highest bidder then?

Consistency would be showing the same kind of abhorrence to any international sale as we do to “the Chinese”. I think it’s undeniable that there is massive xenophobia and maybe even racism over this sale.

I wrote about this last year on my old blog. The audio link is no longer working in that post so here it is again, your typical talkback caller with no evidence, just rhetoric, posturing, xenophobia and ‘gut feelings’

We have a couple of possibilities here. One is that Crafer Farms does not sell, two is that it does sell. If it sells to a NZ company or individual it’s likely it will be for far less than an international bid…but it’ll be NZ owned (blah. blah, blah). If it sells to an international group they will inject far more into the economy to get the farms up and running. If it is bought by one of these Chinese groups they will make the milk powder in NZ, employing more Kiwis, and then send it to a part of the world where the children desperately need this kind of product…where is the dilemma?

The latest news is that ‘the latest’ conglomerate from Asia that wants to purchase the farms with the same old people wanting to block it making their loud voices and creating fear amongst Kiwis that ‘we’ll soon be paying to rent our own land’. Well that decision is out tonight or tomorrow. I am sure talkback will be busy.

Sanity prevails on the ‘Food Bill’…or does it?

Hey John Key...keep you hands off my carrots!

You may recall at the beginning of January I wrote a post on the so-called ‘Food Bill‘ with some scepticism at the reaction of some thinking things like this was the government trying to help big business copyright seeds…and other interesting claims.

Now I said at the time that it was a new issue for me and I needed to do more research, but my initial reaction was that it was  ‘noise’ that reminded me of the fear mongers over the ‘smacking bill’ claiming good parents will be imprisoned for speaking loudly to their children (yes that is tongue-in-cheek). The rhetoric felt to me unmeasured against the bill, which most hadn’t read.

So it is interesting today to see Brendan Hoare, organic agriculturalist, speaking out today saying basically there is no smoking gun here, there may be bad policy, but the conspiracy theorists needn’t worry.

Hoare, who has worked as an organic agriculturalist and educator for nearly 30 years, says there is no conspiracy; the bill just is a reflection of its writers – people “disconnected, ill-informed and poorly advised”.

Hoare goes on

Hoare is part of an organic farming collective on Auckland’s west coast that includes the sharing of resources between animal farmers, a beekeeper, and fruit and vegetable farmers. “Theoretically now, that is under the microscope. It’s ridiculous. It’s not done out of design. It’s done out of ignorance.”

He said the bill as it might apply to operations such as his own would be impossible to enforce, and there would likely be a revolt against it. “People have written it not understanding that there is a counter-culture that doesn’t want it. They are speaking different languages.”

However this won’t put to bed the conspiracy theorists, there is a famous old saying that goes, “For those that believe no proof is needed, for those that don’t no proof is enough.”

You just need to look at some of the comments online to see that for those that think this is John Key wanting to control your carrots, no coherent, logical point…made from one of their own…will change their position.

7.3 Magnitude Earthquake on the Pacific ring

From Stuff.co.nz

An earthquake of magnitude 7.3 has struck off the west coast of Northern Sumatra.

The quake occurred at 7.37am (NZT) at a depth of 29.1km, 423 km southwest of Banda Aceh, Sumatra, Indonesia, the USGS reported.

The Indonesian Government has issued a tsunami warning, however the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre advised there was no threat of a widespread destructive wave.

Local people in Banda Aceh ran away in panic from buildings after news of the quake, a witness said.

Indonesia’s meteorological and geophysics agency, which said the quake was 7.6 magnitude on the Richter scale, routinely issued tsunami warnings for quakes over 7 magnitude.

The quake occurred in in similar area as the 2004 magnitude 9.15 Boxing Day earthquake which, combined with a resulting tsunami, killed 230,000 people.

The Pacific Tsunami centre says there’s no threat of a widespread wave, however local reports have issues warnings for the region where the tsunami occurred.

Let’s pray everyone is alright

Thought NZ was snake free ah?

What the heck is all this about?

Somerfield resident Kris Kaan was walking with a friend along Cashmere’s Ashgrove Tce on Thursday evening when they came across the unusual find.

“Me and my mate were just walking along. We saw a lady standing on the side of the road looking down at the ground.”

Kaan’s friend saw the snake first, and he heard him ask the woman “is that real”.

“Then I looked down and just thought it was some rubber snake.

“I kept saying `is this real, is this a joke’.”

The snake was at least a metre long and was tan-brown in colour, with a yellowish belly, he said.

“My mate picked it up and I touched it. It was definitely a snake.”

They saw “small fangs” and “bits of goo” on the snake.

“It was quite fat, but the head was quite small.”

It appeared to have been run over, Kaan said.

I often wonder what actually is living in our country without our knowledge, apart from the obvious giant moa in the bush, I wonder how many poisonous creatures live here and we are blissfully unaware.





The Latest on the Rena

The latest news on the Rena from Stuff.co.nz

Svitzer Salvage spokesperson Matthew Watson said the work of removing containers from the remains of the Rena had become “very, very dangerous and very difficult”.

If the rear section sunk, salvaging containers from the ship would become a far more complicated operation, he told Radio New Zealand.

The biggest concern was for the rear section of the ship which was “wriggling” around in the swell.

If the rear section did sink, or if the front section sunk as well, it was possible salvors could possibly use diving techniques and technology.

Interesting that on Day One of this tragedy the ‘experts’ said that “it was not a matter of if the Rena was going to break up, it was a matter of when.” They are technically true, but the time frame was a lot longer than first thought obviously.

People of the the BOP we are with you

I wonder what whale meat tastes like?

So the 2012 whaling season in the Southern Ocean has started and I have to admit to always being a little confused as to why so many people have such a huge problem with whaling.

I’ve done this as a talkback topic over the years and the main answers are “It’s a horrific  way to die” and “The Japanese are lying as they claim that the whales are for ‘research’ and we all know they are eating them.” Both of those statements I agree to, but the passion around this issue, aimed solely at the Japanese, seems to far out-way the hunting of whales.

Let me just put in here, as a disclaimer to the negative response sure to come, that I don’t like the hunting and killing of whales, I don’t want to do it, I don’t like to see it, and I don’t want to get into a conversation about being ‘pro whale hinting’, it’s not that, it’s just the confusion around why we Westerners have the luxury of saying that the Japanese are ‘bad’ for whaling but ignore lots of other areas that to me seem similar.

Smoked whale meat on sale in Norway

Did you know that Japan is not the only country who hunt whales, yet they have the light shone on them for. Amongst others Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Indonesia, Norway, The United States and Russia still actively hunt whales but very little, if any focus ever comes onto those countries for their harvesting of this majestic mammal. Norway and Iceland actually hunt on a commercial basis selling their whale meat openly in their communities.

For the 2012 season, it’s been released that the Japanese want to harvest 900 Minke Whales and 50 Fin Whales…is that a lot? Well that’s what we need to know.

The Minke population in the Southern Hemisphere alone is between 665,000 and 761,000, although that is thought to be half the population of the 1980s. The Fin population seems harder to nail down as I have seen estimations as low as 35,000 and as high as 119,000. Obviously there is room to challenge the catching of Fin Whales based on their population, but I do note that between 1988 and 2009 they have only taken 14 Fin Whales in total.

So why does the Western world find this so abhorrent? We happily hunt and kill other mammals putting them through stress and horrific deaths like deer stalking. We happily use technology to gain the upper hand when we hunt other majestic animals like using fish finders to locate swordfish and we happily kill and consume animals in their millions that other cultures would find offensive to kill like our propensity for beef not caring how a billion Hindu feel about it. So what is it about whales?

The other issue of contention for me is the people that are the face of fighting this hunting of whales. Paul Watson and the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.

Paul Watson was one of the people who started Greenpeace but Greenpeace removed him after he became too aggressive during a protest over sealing. Watson’s actions led Greenpeace to lose their charity status for a time in America. From his post as the head of the Sea Shepherd group is he responsible for ramming, and sinking several boats all of which they have claimed responsibility for. His crew carries firearms and it has been documented on numerous occasions that members of the Sea Shepherd have shot at people trying to legally remove them from an area they are not entitled to be and they were removed from the IWC, they had observer status with them and lost that due to what the IWC called the ” Sea Shepherd’s acts of terrorism.”

Let me say again, I am not a ‘fan’ of hunting but likewise I am not a fan of killing all sorts of animals, if you are a carnivore or omnivore then check out the documentary Earthlings about how we treat other forms of meat…then point the bone at the Japanese. I think you’ll find it more difficult, we Westeners treat animals pretty badly as well.

But what is it with whales?

I have to be honest, if I was in Japan and someone offered me a taste of whale I’d probably try it. I don’t like how whales are harvested but it would be hypocritical of me to damn the Japanese, whilst leaving off the list all the other countries hunting whales let alone shouting from the rooftops how that steak got on my dinner table tonight.