Bottled water as an export is the most efficient use of the resource

New Zealand has 500 trillion litres of water flowing through our lakes, rivers and aquifers. Each year we extract 10 trillion litres, or 2 per cent. The water shortages we have are in quite defined areas and for only some of the year. NZ has no overall shortage.

The 10 trillion litres of water we extract each year is made up of six trillion for irrigation, two trillion for municipal supplies and two trillion for industry. Three billion litres used for the bottled water industry may sound a lot but it is less than 1 per cent used by industry and 0.004 per cent of the annual resource. The suggestion by some that Mr and Mrs Average Kiwi won’t be able to bathe because of bottled water exports is ridiculous.

Regional councils manage about 20,500 water permits of which 41 are solely for water bottling and a further 30 for a mix of uses, including bottled water. But only 23 of the permits are being used for now, reflecting the fact this is a niche industry. More than a dozen water-bottlers have gone broke. It is a myth that this is an easy industry in which to make lots of money.

The issue of charging for water is quite complex. No one currently pays to take water from a natural water body such as a river, lake or aquifer. The only cost is a fee for the cost of assessing and granting a water permit. Councils charge for domestic water supplies, either through rates or by volume, and that charge covers the filtering, pump stations, piping and treatment of water delivered to homes and businesses.

The notion of charging bottlers for the water they extract is superficially attractive but raises fairness issues.

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Guest Post – Elderly Housing Issues

Following up on the article “pimping the poor elderly with housing issues”, I would like to add to the discussion, as a person of the generation being written about.

In one way I agree that it is the individual’s problem if they don’t have a house after tens of years having it so easy.  But not all of us had a life in the basket of plenty.  Things go wrong and we cannot guarantee that all our risk management plans work!  But there are also some ways to improve the situation that do not require Government intervention.

Some examples:  I had cancer for more than twenty years and was unable to work.  The benefit was not enough to be able to save on, and I had lost my husband very early in my illness.  However when a friend was having trouble selling her house she offered it to me, and suggested that one of my pictures could be used as a deposit.  I had a huge amount of trouble getting a mortgage as I “didn’t have a man behind me” (1989), but eventually one banker was prepared to be innovative, and gave me the loan.

This demonstrates that all was not well for my generation of women – we could not get mortgages, even if we had good jobs as I did in 1989.

I was then able to ride the property wave, and do now own my own house.  But it took the generosity of a friend to get started.   Read more »

Why is Labour trying to convince voters John Key turned New Zealand into a slum?

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The Legatum Institute has released its annual global Prosperity Index, which ranks the most prosperous countries in the world.

Approximately 89 variables are analysed — everything from economy and governance to education, health, and security.

Pakistan ranked 130, while Ireland came at number ten.

Here are the top 5 performing countries out of the 142 that were tested — and you’ll be happy to know New Zealand made the cut.  Read more »

Mental Health Break

Dodgy Council’s dodgy consultation for the dodgy dam exposed

The Hawkes Bay Regional Council has got to be one of the dodgiest councils in NZ.

Their commitment to the ratepayers is scant. Look at the way they have conducted their ‘public’ consultation over the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

You could be forgiven if you’ve missed it, but June 8 marks the end of HBRC’s public consultation process on the amendments to its Long-Term Plan. These amendments include the proposal for HBRC to buy approximately $40 million of water from its own investment company via the Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme.

That is not a trivial sum of money, but initially five of our regional councillors decided that it was not a significant enough to warrant public consultation.

That is, until there was an outcry and the Auditor-General advised that they must put it in as an amendment to the Long-Term Plan (LTP) and consult with the public.

As part of this “public consultation process”, HBRC organised a series of “Have Your Say” meetings. In Wairoa, the meeting was held at 3-5pm on a Wednesday, and in Havelock North from 2-4pm on a Monday.

What percentage of the population can actually attend at those times? There was no meeting held in Hastings.

When I raised the issue of meeting times, I was told by a member of HBRC staff that if they held the meetings in the evening it would “clash with Coronation Street”.

I asked if they would put more meetings on at more appropriate times for the working population and they said no. I attended both the Havelock North and Napier meetings and there were 11 members of the public present at both. That is a fail for public engagement.

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Map of the Day

Back in 2014 Cadbury made it’s Halal bed now it must lie in it

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I no longer buy Cadbury products because of their Halal certification which I believe is a financial rort. I used to enjoy their chocolate before they went Halal. Recently I found out that back in 2014 not only were they Halal but they actually changed a recipe in order to gain Halal certification. As a result they were boycotted by furious customers who said that they had ruined the taste of a popular brand. They also complained that Cadbury had removed certification symbols from product packaging to hide the Halal symbol from their customers.

After all that fuss and bother you would think that Cadbury back in 2014 would have had an appreciative and loyal Muslim customer base both overseas and at home, but you would be wrong. Cadbury paid lots of the money to become Halal certified and for ongoing certification there is no doubt about that. The certifiers made lots of money from it but there was one little problem with the chocolate… Read more »

Now we know why the Herald won’t cover local body politics, no clicks

The NZ Herald has a revealing article today that explains why they aren’t spending much time covering local body politics. There are simply no clicks in it for them.

Aucklanders are more interested in Kim Kardashian than local body politics, if their Google searches are anything to go by.

Postal voting for New Zealand’s last local elections began on September 20, 2013 and voting closed on October 12.

Auckland searches for the term “elections” relative to total searches reached its 2013 peak between October 6 and 12, according to Google Trends.

Google rated levels of interest from low at one, rising as interest levels go up. Search interest in “elections” went from 22 to 100 in one week.

However, election interest fell short of the relative interest in reality music competition X Factor NZ three months earlier.   Read more »

Two minutes on Google could have saved Andrea Vance’s reputation

Canon Media Award-winning ‘journalist’, Andrea Vance, continued her Panama Papers hit job attacked a New Zealand lawyer in her stories, attacking them for working with an allegedly “corrupt” Kazakh politician.

In Panama, they have realised that Kazhegeldin is a “politically exposed person.” Their research revealed his role in a corruption scandal in the central Asia country. After three years as Prime Minister, Kazhegeldin had resigned in 1997 and fled his home country. He was then accused of tax evasion and using stolen funds to buy property in Belgium.

Four years later, in his absence, he was convicted of abuse of office by a Kazakh court – including charges that he took bribes from a mining company and received a Mercedes and Toyota car.

However if she had bothered to spend just two minutes on Google she would have found out that she is in fact attacking the good guy from Kazakhstan, and far from hiding his house he in fact lives there and is on the electoral roll at that address.

Even Red Radio has provided some balance to the original story, by looking into the role of the current President and dictator of Kazakhstan in smearing anyone who opposed the President. Allegations that Andrea Vance used to try and smear New Zealand and Kiwi based lawyers acting legally.

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Photo Of The Day

Looks legit ... A condition known as female hysteria was treated by doctors using a vaginal massage which was later improved on with the invention of the vibrator.

Looks legit … A condition known as female hysteria was treated by doctors using a vaginal massage which was later improved on with the invention of the vibrator.

Historical Beliefs and Practices

I’m fascinated by vintage medicines, cure alls and lifestyle…  And not just because they often did more harm than good. It’s the idea that anyone could be a snake-oil salesman, and that charisma, charm, and coming up with a good claim were once more important to a medicine’s commercial success than actual medical knowledge.

It is amazing how much the human perspective has changed in the last hundred or so years. Before the expansion of modern medicine and psychiatric care, people were exposed to brutal procedures and morbid beliefs. In the last 500 years, many strange political ideals have been adopted all over the world. In many countries they still are.

Government officials have enacted shocking policies and medical procedures. We can now look back upon some of these moments and wonder what exactly our ancestors were thinking? Many of these ideas were developed in a time when racial and female segregation was a problem, and the accepted social behaviour was different from what we experience today.

Female hysteria was a once-common medical diagnosis, found exclusively in women, which is today no longer recognized as a disorder. The diagnosis and treatment of female hysteria was routine for hundreds of years in Western Europe and America. The disorder was widely discussed in the medical literature of the Victorian era (1837-1901). In 1859, a physician was noted for claiming that a quarter of all women suffered from hysteria. One American doctor cataloged 75 pages of possible symptoms of the condition, and called the list incomplete. According to the document, almost any ailment could fit the diagnosis for female hysteria. Physicians thought that the stresses associated with modern life caused civilized women to be more susceptible to nervous disorders, and to develop faulty reproductive tracts.

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