Economic Euthanasia

June 6th, 2008 at 9:54 am by David Farrar

I blogged yesterday how the UN has called for a lifting of food tariffs and biofuel subsidies to help alleviate the starvation in the third world from the high cost of food. I also blogged how this seems to be contrary to NZ First and policies.

Now Trans-Tasman has just come out and they note the following:

The global food crisis should produce a unified national response to expand agricultural output. But, curiously, NZ is represented at the FAO Summit by an 11-man delegation led by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton (who represents the smallest party in Parliament) and the Greens’ Sue Kedgely (paying her own costs), the party which in its Auckland conference at the weekend was calling for tougher conditions for NZ’s dairying industry.

The Greens have not only demanded NZ’s agricultural producers pay immediately for their greenhouse gas emissions as well as a punitive water levy (which would harm irrigators), but have insisted on bio-fuels being included in NZ’s transport fuels, and also have opposed genetic modification. This is a programme of “economic euthanasia” for the dairy industry. It is not surprising the Greens are finding it hard to lift above the modest levels they are currently polling.

I’m not sure whether the euthanasia is referring to the effects on the diary industry or the effects on those in the third world who need cheaper food, not more expensive food.

Tags: , ,

65 Responses to “Economic Euthanasia”

  1. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    I listened to Jeanette Fitzimmons the other day on focus on politics. To my surprise, she was very coherent, and was very able to explain the emission trading scheme. She was very clear that it wasn’t their preferred policy, but that they were only a small party. Their preferred policy remains a carbon tax because:
    – it doesn’t advantage incumbents over new entrants
    – it is easier to administer
    – it doesn’t give the opportunity for traders to make windfall profits
    – it allows offsetting tax cuts

    In short, the party that cares the most about this doesn’t really want the scheme we are getting. It is a little unfair to blame the Greens for the bit of the policy that they didn’t want – really Labour and National have forced this bit. National should change their policy to a carbon tax one, which would probably be enough for the Greens to offer some sort of support on confidence and supply. That would screw Labour properly, as well as being a sane policy on carbon emissions that didn’t hurt our standard of living, destroy our export industries, or materially alter our effective tax rates.

    Come on John Key, get with the programme.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Most economists agree that the simple carbon tax is the best idea if you are convinced that we need something like this to combat global warming. McKIntrick and others have suggested that the way to make it attractive to alarmists and skeptics alike is to key the tax to an agreed method of measuring global temperatures and peg the tax to temperature.
    Hence if temperatures rise the tax rate rises while if temperatures stabilize the rate remains stable and it temperatures fall taxpayers get a rebate.
    Of course the original tax can be rendered tax neutral by compensatory reductions in income and company tax.

    This proposal helps flush out the real intentions of the alarmists. They soon announce that they cannot bear the idea of any rebates.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. Yvette (2,589 comments) says:

    ” NZ is represented at the FAO Summit by an 11-man delegation led by Agriculture Minister Jim Anderton (who represents the smallest party in Parliament) and the Greens’ Sue Kedgely (paying her own costs) . . . ”

    Is this true, that these two represent New Zealand [the Labour Government] or their own parties ,and if the latter, where is any reflection of Labour, who [unfortunate as it may be] are the current voted in majority representative of the New Zealand public?
    If Anderton and Kedgely are New Zealand ‘representatives’, this is an argument against MMP – that minority parties end up in positions for which they have absolutely no majority support.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Boogeyman, Global Warming.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    So people are starving due to high food prices, and the Green response is to tax or trade NZ farmers so that NZ food production is reduced.

    It’s a policy in favour of genocide. Did Kedgely meet with Mugabe in Rome? Surely two politicians with policies that favour reduced agricultural output and mass starvation would have got on like a house on fire.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    The Cardiff giant, The Tasaday tribe, Shinichi Fujimura, the Sokal Affair, Piltdown man, GLOBAL WARMING

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. peterwn (2,933 comments) says:

    Jim Anderton is in reality a Labour politician. As far as I remember he left the party as he could not stomach Rogernomics, and having stood against the party would seem to be ineligible for re-admission. Helen has effectively bypassed the party constitution by giving him a senior and influental place in executive government. Nomally when a major party neds to hand out baubles of office to garner support of minor parties, the portfolios and reporting lines are arranged so that they are kept on a short leash. For example while Winston was National’s treasurer in 1996-1998 or so, Bill Birch effectively controlled the portfolio and while Winston is currently Foreign Affairs Minister, Helen effecively runs foreign affair, and trade matters have been hived off elsewhere.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    DPF, we simply cannot go on expanding dairying into land that is totally unsuitable for dairying, and pretend that it is suitable by draining aquifers to irrigate the land. That will result in the eventual drying up or salination of the aquifers. It will turn the Canterbury Plains into the Canterbury Desert where no agricultural activities at all will be possible.

    As for the biofuels reference, DPF, the Green position is very clear:

    Our forests could become a major source of energy in the future, including eventually for transport fuel.
    Other biofuels have some promise on a limited scale. Where they can be made from waste, like biodiesel from tallow or used vegetable oil, or like ethanol from waste whey in the dairy industry, they are a sustainable alternative. Care is needed to ensure that crops grown especially for fuel produce more energy than is used in the process, and that they do not take land out of food production on a significant scale.

    There seems to be a persistent campaign of lies from certain sources (not accusing you DPF) claiming the Greens want to convert agricultural land to biofuel production. As the Green policy shows, this is simply not true. In fact, the Greens have negotiated assurances that this cannot happen into the Biofuels Bill as a condition of supporting it.

    As for agricultural producers paying immediately for their carbon emissions, the Green poistion is that they should at least start paying something. It is funny how those on the right seem to think the tax-payer should pick up the tab for all agricultural greenhous gas emissions. Dairy farmers could start reducing nitrous oxide emissions (and the costs of these) immediately through denitrification technology – if only there were some financial incentive for them to do so. Methane, I accept, is more problematic, but the Greens are not wanting to make agriculture pay for all if its emissions immediately. Funnily enough, National strongly opposed the so-called “fart tax” (it’s actually burps, not farts, that produce the bulk of bovine methane emissions) that would have funded research into bovine methane reduction biotechnology.

    And GE the answer to the cost of food! Ha ha ha! I thought that debate was over.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    >And GE the answer to the cost of food! Ha ha ha! I thought that debate was over.

    Millions of people are starving because of Green policies and you’re laughing.

    Shameful!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    The greens do seem to be at odds with the good of the whole country on this one. But whatever your personal views about eating Genetically Modified food, I disagree that being GE free is bad for our economy:

    Being GE free gives the NZ product a competitive advantage – consumers all over the western world have shown that they WANT to pay a premium price for GE free produce, even if the GE free carrots look a bit small and limp on the shelves next to the “ordinary” ones.

    Since we don’t have vast economies of scale, doesn’t it make sense to supply the premium (GE-free) market rather than try to compete on price in the workmanlike end of the market?

    Being an island in the middle of the southern ocean that is known to be GE free gives the New Zealand industry unique credentials as a GE free supplier. We can only throw this status away once.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    Okay then, davidp, enlighten us and tell us how GE will feed the world.

    From everything I’ve seen, it will see food production centralised to a few monopolist biotechnology companies with patents on the GE technology, who will then be able to charge what they choose. This will force the cost of food up, not down.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Toad: there is a difference between “care is needed” and “negotiated assurances that this cannot happen.” The first is a wishy washy statement of intent, an intent that I do not believe can be achieved. The second is a cast iron guarantee – again that I believe cannot be achieved. Which is it?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    PaulL: I can’t be more specific, as the Biofuel Bill has not been reported back from Select Committee, so even if I knew the exact wording of the clauses (which I don’t) I’d be breaching parliamentary privilege if I told you. We’ll just have to wait and see and trust Jeanette Fitzsimons on this one for the moment. Seems to me it is a relatively straight-forward border control issue as far as imported biofuels are concerned.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    toad: not straightforward. It is one of the problems with carbon tax too – when something comes in from China how do you know how it was produced? What if it was made in Vietnam, exported to China, further manufactured, then re-exported to NZ. Any likelihood that we know anything about whether it involves diversion of farmland and/or the embedded carbon content?

    I just don’t believe this will be a cast-iron guarantee, and I don’t understand why we need any subsidy for bio-fuels at all. Much better to just have a carbon tax. If that makes bio-fuels economic then so be it, if it doesn’t then that must mean whatever we are using instead is better. Subsidising bio-fuels is classic picking winners behaviour, and that never works.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    PaulL: Here is the EECA Options Paper on Biofuel Sustainability, which may be of interest to you.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. emmess (1,332 comments) says:

    >>enlighten us and tell us how GE will feed the world.

    Ummm how bout by increasing yields

    You dicks told us yields didn’t matter and now look whats happening

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    emmess – the problem is not that there is insufficient food or food production capacity in the world. There is the capacity to feed everyone. The issue is that many people in many places can’t afford it (while many in other places eat far too much and become obese). It is a cost and distribution issue, not a supply issue, so even if GE can increase yields, it won’t address the issue.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    This is the direct result of passing feel good wank legislation.

    Poor people die but lefties feel good about it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. francis (712 comments) says:

    Unlike the ‘threat’ global warming poses to food production, which is being pushed back as the facts refuse to line up with the models, there is a real and immediate global food crisis and it is linked directly, if not totally, to biofuel production. Unintended consequences tend to bite hardest.

    Here are some interesting findings: utafoundation.org/cribb.htm

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    All the evidence is that China is setting itself on the path to be the world leaders in genetic modification of food and other crops and I can assure you that the Indians and the Chinese and the rest of the Asian continent and nations do not share our environmental religion which holds you cannot and must not tamper with nature.
    When they look at our food all they want is nourishment, cleanliness and price.
    The Europeans are hardly worth worrying about in the long term when compared to the markets of the Pacific Rim.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    francis said: …there is a real and immediate global food crisis and it is linked directly, if not totally, to biofuel production.

    It is indeed, francis, linked directly to biofuel production led by that hero of the right George W Bush and his Administration.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “It is a cost and distribution issue”

    “even if GE can increase yields, it won’t address the issue.”

    Idiot. If you increase yields you will be lowering costs.

    You give yourself away with the “even if” before the “GE can increase yields”. You refuse to believe it can, and I doubt that is based on anything other than wishful thinking.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Owen;

    But if China & India set up GE crops and herds on a grand scale, doesn’t that position us rather nicely to supply premium GE-free products to those who want to pay premium prices for them?

    And again, given we are already set up to supply the GE free product, why would we want to go down the other route and try to take on the big GE producers, when we can go on selling the same small quantities of the “good” stuff at a much higher rate?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. francis (712 comments) says:

    lol, yes, toad, he should never have listened to the evangelical greens when biofuels were being touted as the way out of the petroleum trap ;-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    RRM, the ’boutique producer’ role is something NZ has been trying for a few years already with our much-touted clean-green image. Would it work?

    We would need a market for our produce and do the eaters of tomorrow (more likely growth will be coming from Asia than Europe and America) really demand the difference?

    Dont forget it is the European market (and somewhat the American one) that is demanding GE free produce. What would happen to NZ if GE becomes acceptabley safe? We would have tied ourselves to a particular product line, we would have missed first movers advantages, and demand for our product would be dwindling.

    Too risky if you ask me. The only way for it to be profitable long-term, is for GE to be a complete failure (and that is not that likely regardless of what the Greens hysterically claim) or for the world to remain irrationally fearful of GE (which is not likley to happen if we go a couple of decades without disaster).

    Too risky, I reckon, to go down the boutique path. Although, a comprimise could be made that one Island remains GE free and quarantine is set up along the Cook Strait. North or South?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Kimble, on your 12:10 post, the general impression I get about GE is that so far it has not led to increased yields – a lot of studies on that sort of thing there: http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_11493.cfm (yes, they have an interest, but the links are to journal studies). Maybe they can increase yields of food, but has it happened yet…?

    Current GMOs on the market are there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food#cite_note-14, and most of them simply allow us to spray more pesticides on them, which surprise surprise, is leading to some pesticide resistance.

    edit: go the golden rice though

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. francis (712 comments) says:

    Reports of substantial gains: publish.csiro.au/?act=view_file&file_id=EC135p18.pdf

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “Maybe they can increase yields of food, but has it happened yet…?”

    Havent looked at the link, but dont need to to answer this. Do you think the reason why it hasnt happened yet, is because it is still a new technology, or that the barriers on field trials and release have slowed development? The blocks put in place on GE research exist right now, we are not talking about a free technology that may need the restrictions, we are talking about a restricted technology that needs to be freed up.

    The Greens will moan about GE technology leading to a mononpoly on food growth, but their very actions are the prime reason why this is likely to happen! The restrictions they demanded mean that only a few very large organisations can afford the cost and time to pursue the advances.

    wtg francis

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Most GE so far has been directed at providing gains for the producers but the next phase will be producing golden rice and other foods which provide a direct benefit to the health and wellbeing of the consumer.

    Believe me, if you have a choice between rice which will stop you going blind and rice which is more expensive and doesn’t you will favour the real “good” stuff rather than pay more for the organic food which is marketed on the basis of false claims.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    francis said: …he should never have listened to the evangelical greens when biofuels were being touted as the way out of the petroleum trap

    Glad you used a small ‘g’ francis. If Bush had listened to Greens, as opposed to evangelicals, he would not have made that mistake nor many of his others.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    Ta francis, although we can’t eat canola and cotton…yet. Kimble, I might be missing something, but presumably there have been plenty of field trials done on GE organisms, esp. in the US, where it seems to be very common now. No yield increases, except for maize (first link I did), which was apparently pretty standard and in line with conventional crop yield increases. It’s also a bit up and down.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    Hey, stephen, what a cool idea! We could genetically modify humans so we can digest cellulose. Problem solved! Would you be up for that one, Owen, Kimble, emmess?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    PaulL has got a whole lot of negative Karma for the first comment on this thread, but there is SOME truth in what he says. Owen McShane is right, a carbon tax is a lot fairer than the cap and trade mechanism, and it can be (AND SHOULD BE) abated by reductions in income tax and business tax.

    But regarding the Greens getting blamed for problems that “are not their own making”, nah, these guys deserve all the fallout they get, and more, on ANY ISSUE that is only the result of the whole ideological beat-up that is environmentalism. I make no bones about this, it is time some mainstream leader like John Key had the balls to stand up and say that HUMANS are the number one thing that counts, the devaluation of humanity that is “Green” politics is akin to the devaluation of humanity under Naziism and similar evil movements. I suspect that the time is ripe for the public to see that the Emperor has no clothes, we should just GET THE EFF ON WITH IT and BUILD the effing Hydro Dams and all the other stuff WE NEED, and too effing bad for the snails…….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. RRM (8,988 comments) says:

    Yeah Phil!

    Saving the snails, annihilating the Jews – the two go hand in glove really…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  35. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    Toad>Okay then, davidp, enlighten us and tell us how GE will feed the world.

    Other people in this thread have already done this.

    I want to point out that increased yields allow us, if we wish, to grow the same amount of food on a smaller amount of land. Which means less pressure on tiger habitats in India or on the Amazon. It’d be a tragedy if the Amazon were cleared because of some mystical love of organic farming, just as it was practiced back in the 19th century.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  36. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:

    it is indeed, francis, linked directly to biofuel production led by that hero of the right George W Bush and his Administration.

    Which is why we will see an Obama administration, together with the Democrats from Iowa, dismantle the biofuel subsidies and other tax breaks so loathed by Archer Daniels Midland and Iowa famers – just like they said they would in the first triumph of Obama’s campaign in that state.

    Oh wait……..

    Not that I blame the capitalists for taking full advantage of socialist-lite stupidities. It’s why my investments in nuclear power industries and the oil companies have done so well in recent years. Thanks Global Warming and Peak Oil.

    But most of all – thanks Greenies! :-D

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  37. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    davidp said: Other people in this thread have already done this. I want to point out that increased yields allow us, if we wish, to grow the same amount of food on a smaller amount of land.

    The might have told me that it is all about increased yields, davidp, but those assertions are not supported by the evidence. The evidence, that several links have been provided to by other posters above, is at best equivocal in terms of increased yields from GE crops.

    And even if there are increased yields, any cost reduction from them is likely to be offset by cost increases from the centralisation of food production in the hands of big biotech. Monopolies can charge what they like, and don’t care if most of the world can’t afford to pay. If you’ve bought a block of cheese lately you’ll see what I mean.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  38. stephen (4,063 comments) says:

    a carbon tax is a lot fairer than the cap and trade mechanism, and it can be (AND SHOULD BE) abated by reductions in income tax and business tax.

    Perhaps someone has pointed this out to you before Philbest, but be careful, that has been a Green policy for a long while now…

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  39. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    Toad>The might have told me that it is all about increased yields, davidp, but those assertions are not supported by the evidence.

    For goodness sake… it is an emerging technology. Your position is like banning pharmaceuticals and research in to pharmaceuticals on the basis that the first ever pharmaceutical product didn’t achieve the revolution in health care that promoters of medicine had talked about. Or banning films and film making on the basis that the first ever silent film wasn’t that great. Or banning electricity because the first ever light bulbs weren’t as bright as candles. We’re talking about technologies that will change the food world over the next few hundred years, and Greens want us to be stuck forever using 1990s techniques and processes.

    And your worries about monopolies don’t stack up. There will be competing GE products (or there will be in countries where Green politicians haven’t banned them) available, and access to non-GE products. Farmers will be free to use whatever techniques they want. How can that possibly lead to a monopoly?

    As for the price of cheese. I’m not up on the state of the dairy industry. But it doesn’t naturally lend itself to monopoly because it isn’t hard to own a cow and produce milk and cheese. The only way it can be organised as a monopoly is if government enforces that monopoly, as NZ used to with the Dairy Board and import restrictions. But then I suspect most Greens would be happy with government controlled monopolies and restrictions on trade.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  40. emmess (1,332 comments) says:

    Toad,
    Can you put yourself in the shoes of a farmer who may want to use GM technologies for one minute?
    I am sure he doesn’t think I want to pay a shitload of money to keep the same or lower yields are there by lower my profits and possibly be put out of business by organic farmers
    Use some commonsense if you have any?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  41. side show bob (3,660 comments) says:

    Toad is right when he says their is plenty of food in the world and the reason people are starving are because they can not afford it but he is wrong in his reasons why. The basic problem is that the warehouses are full of expensive food, so the question should be asked “why is it so?”. The real reason is that there is currently a play for power between opec, large american oil interests and those producing bio-fuels. The story really goes back to Henry Ford and the development of the automobile. Henry had to make a choice on the type of fuel that would power the car, he had two choices, alcohol ( bio fuel ) or oil as we know it. The choice went to oil ( story much longer then I care to type) and thus our dependenced on oil began. Over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the purchases in the futures market for food, it’s these futures market prices that have increased the cost of buying food ( especially grains ). By far the greatest holders of food futures are, believe it or not OPEC and American oil companys, why?. Well simply, they want to discredit the Bio-fuel industry as it is becomming a threat to big oil. Turning corn into bio-fuel is not the big bogey man it’s made out to be, the by product can still be feed to stock as the part of the plant used to make alcohol can not be broken down in the cows gut. Will try to find links to back this up but most of what I have said comes from a lecture from Howard Bloom, author and interllectual, yes I know starting to sound like a lefty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  42. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    emmess said: Can you put yourself in the shoes of a farmer who may want to use GM technologies for one minute?

    Don’t you mean gumboots, emmess?

    davidp: I’m not saying ban it. As you say, it is emerging technology, and we don’t have the evidence yet on either of these issues. So let it emerge in a contained environment until it is:

    1) proven to be safe; and

    2) proven to have higher yields.

    As for monopolies, if something is a natural monopoly, then it should be under public ownership – eg the rail network and water supply. If there is genuine potential for a competitive market, then it should not – although I don’t see anything sinister about the State being part of the competitive market, eg Kiwibank, as long as there are not subsidies to undercut its private competitors.

    side show bob: Welcome to the dark side!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  43. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “So let it emerge in a contained environment until it is:

    1) proven to be safe; and

    2) proven to have higher yields.”

    1) This can never be done, thanks for setting the bar impossibly high.

    A big problem is that many of those opposing GM dont understand it (almost every time it is brought up someone will imply that plant genes can be passed on to humans) and they project this lack of understanding onto those researching it.

    2) is not the only aim with GM, and by restricting their search to only one desired outcome, you are actually decreasing their opportunity to achieve that outcome.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  44. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “and we don’t have the evidence yet on either of these issues”

    We arent going to get them if you restrict research. And that is what the Green movement has been about for years.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  45. baxter (893 comments) says:

    I wonder if Sue Kedg;ly paid the extra voluntary Green Tax that Air NZ tacks onto their tickets.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  46. dave strings (608 comments) says:

    Can I just say that NZ is demonstrably NOT GE free.

    Every time I look at a rose I see genetic modification, achieved by splicing plants together.
    Every time I look at a cow I see genetic modification, achieved by breeding different strains together.

    Much of both the flora and fauna of NZ have been developed by genetic engineering, however, there seems to be a view that if it’s not done in a laboratory it’s not really GE. What kind of piddle are we talking here, please don’t try to claim something for our delightful country that it is not!

    Is New Zealand clean, you bet, go and walk through the street of London and you’ll soon long for Wellington; is it green, you bet, fly over the north isl;and, then fly over eastern germany you’ll soon understand. Green doesn’t have to mean Green Party compliant, it is, after all is said and done, a colour, in fact ot’s the colour of the Town Belt I’m looking at right now :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  47. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    baxter said: I wonder if Sue Kedg;ly paid the extra voluntary Green Tax that Air NZ tacks onto their tickets.

    The Green MPs have a carbon offsetting regime they pay into irrespective of which airline their MPs fly on – they pay personally, even though the Parliamentary Service should pay, but won’t (blame Labour and National for that). I have no idea which airline Sue Kedgley flew on, but she will certainly be paying for forest regeneration to offset the carbon emissions from her flights.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  48. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Sorry, with Toad on this one. Once GM products are out in the environment, they can’t be put back. There is no particular reason for NZ to jump on the bandwagon early – and potentially a lot of benefits if we don’t. I do believe there will always be a market for non-GM food – there will always be those who are paranoid. Over time it will be difficult for other countries to supply that – as they go GM. If we never go GM, we will always be able to supply it.

    This is not a decision that we can make now on a punt, and then change our minds later. There is no reason to rush.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  49. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    dave strings said: Every time I look at a rose I see genetic modification, achieved by splicing plants together.
    Every time I look at a cow I see genetic modification, achieved by breeding different strains together.

    Dave, there is a significant difference between hybridisation (which can and does occur naturally) and genetic engineering (which can only occur through inserting a gene into the DNA of a completely different species).

    Lions can successfully mate with tigers (even thought the offspring will be sterile), but toads cannot successfully mate with potatoes (and before anyone asks or makes snide comments about sexual perversity, because I am sure someone will, no, I have not attempted it!)

    There is the difference!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  50. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “I do believe there will always be a market for non-GM food – there will always be those who are paranoid.”

    I have to seriously disagree with you here. We have to think long term. There were people that were paranoid about electricity, and while there still are, the fact that we have gone over a century without negative effects (and in fact with hugely positive ones) means that accommodating the paranoids is not going to very lucrative except for a very small number of people.

    Lets also face facts that our clean green image is a bit of a con. We still use pesticides, which is another irrational fear amongst the green sect who would prefer everything be grown organically (which follows from the misplaced faith that anything natural is better).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  51. Owen McShane (1,226 comments) says:

    Most of our plant varieties generated recently have been produced as sports by the process of passing seeds under random ionising radiation. Most are sterilised or unchanged but every now and then a superior sport is produced, such as blue carnations etc.
    For some reason these random mutations generated by ionizing radiation are OK even though we have absolutely NO IDEA what other damage or change has been induced in the rest of the genome.
    On the other genetic modification involved changing only one gene with a specific function or even just introducing a switch.

    Please explain how “traditional” plant breeding is OK while GM is so dangerous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  52. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    # stephen (641) Add karma Subtract karma +1 Says:
    June 6th, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    a carbon tax is a lot fairer than the cap and trade mechanism, and it can be (AND SHOULD BE) abated by reductions in income tax and business tax.

    “Perhaps someone has pointed this out to you before Philbest, but be careful, that has been a Green policy for a long while now…”

    Sorry if my post was not clear, but I thought I DID give the Greens the benefit of THIS……read it again. I just think they still deserve savaging anyway…….

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  53. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    # RRM (455) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    June 6th, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    “Yeah Phil!

    Saving the snails, annihilating the Jews – the two go hand in glove really…”

    Not for nothing are there articles with titles like “The Next Green Body Count”, and “Green Power, Black Death”, pal. Ban DDT, bingo, malaria makes a comeback in the third world, millions dead. “Biofuels” is the “next” example.

    The more extreme rhetoric from the Green movement could well morph from writings to murderous action in one or two more generations, just like the example of Karl Marx and other………humans are a “parasite”, the earth would be “better off without them”, and such CHARMING stuff…….where do you think this is leading? If not put a stop to now?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  54. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    PhilBest said: ………humans are a “parasite”, the earth would be “better off without them”

    Only some of them, Phil! Just joking!

    You don’t understand basic genetics and evolution theory. Whatever you use as a pesticide, there will be pest species (ie creatures who compete with us for food) who will over years or decades or centuries, genetically evolve to develop the resistance to that pesticide.

    If we try to win the battle for food by annihilating every creature that competes with humans, the creatures that compete with us will win, because over time they will adapt to adverse environments, while we who try to control our environment so as to not have to adapt will not. Almost all of them have much shorter life cycles than us, so they have the evolutionary advantage of being able to adapt in a shorter period of time.

    DDT is a classic example actually. The main reason it is not used today is not its residual toxicity to humans, but the fact that DDT resistant pests were becoming more prevalent, and that it simply didn’t work well as a pesticide any more.

    We will never wipe out the mosquito or the grass grub or the cockroach or the rat, so let’s learn sensible ways of living with them.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  55. emmess (1,332 comments) says:

    The economist says this week

    Can it be done again?

    Some argue that a second green revolution will be harder to achieve than the first, because genetically modified organisms provide the only hope for new seed, and Europeans are dead against them; because there is not enough water to permit a big expansion of irrigation in, say, Africa; and because oil at $125 a barrel makes fertilisers too expensive. That seems unduly pessimistic. As Mr Bage points out, the only thing known for sure is that there has been an enormous fall in agricultural investment over 30 years. It seems a bit early to rule out in advance the possible benefits of reversing that decline.

    http://www.economist.com/world/international/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11502285

    And toad don’t go accusing them of being far-right neo-cons because they are with you on the AGW BS

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  56. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “because over time they will adapt to adverse environments, while we who try to control our environment so as to not have to adapt will not”

    Once again we get the “everything in nature is better” dogma. They adapt to their environment and we change ours. The only way they win is if we stop changing our environment or if we just let them win. Which are you advocating?

    “Almost all of them have much shorter life cycles than us, so they have the evolutionary advantage of being able to adapt in a shorter period of time.”

    You are joking right? They have the advantage because they adapt over thousands of generations and we can only develop completely new technology constantly during a persons lifetime?

    They have the “evolutionary advantage”, so we cant win there. What is left? Changing our environment. Play to your strengths, not away from them.

    Hey toad, next time you are talking to her, tell Gaia ‘game on, bitch’, from me, okay?

    “The main reason it is not used today is not its residual toxicity to humans, but the fact that DDT resistant pests were becoming more prevalent, and that it simply didn’t work well as a pesticide any more.”

    That card has been over played. Residential use of DDT isn’t going to be breeding super insects.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  57. toad (3,654 comments) says:

    Kimble & PeteBest: Do you guys think you are Gods?

    Shake out the cobwebs, and look at the real world. It does not revolve around humans. Ask yourselves what our advantages are for survival over other creatures. Really, they are only our thumbs and our intellect.

    But killing off everything/everyone that gets in the way of our ambitions isn’t very clever, whether those we kill are insects or rodents or Muslims or Jews. Just a pity neither the Crusaders or the Third Reich (or, for that matter, President Bush) worked this out. The world would be a better place if they had.

    Follow the way you guys look at it, and the cockroaches will inherit the earth when humans are extinct. They are far better adapted to survival in adverse environments that we are.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  58. Patrick Starr (3,675 comments) says:

    It’s so hard to understand the Greens. Here they are scaremongering over GE, stating it may produce Frankenstein results…………..

    ……… but then they taxpayer fund a calendar with Frankenstein like images, and say its cool!

    whats with them?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  59. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,786 comments) says:

    AGW is a con.

    The best course of action is no action. There is no need to respond to a non-existent threat with solutions that don’t achieve anything beyond impoverishing people.

    The government needs to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol Treaty before it has to start handing over real money. It also needs to remove the requirement for a mandatory level of Bio-fuels to be included in normal fuel stocks.

    The only positive for the economy at present is the Diary industry which brings in valuable export dollars. Everything else is a negative. Why would the Green Party want to cripple the economy apart from the fact that its members don’t participate in it and have no understanding of where the money comes from for their welfare cheques and government jobs?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  60. tom hunter (3,998 comments) says:


    You don’t understand basic genetics and evolution theory……..

    …… If we try to win the battle for food by annihilating every creature that competes with humans, the creatures that compete with us will win, because over time they will adapt to adverse environments, while we who try to control our environment so as to not have to adapt will not…..

    …..Really, they are only our thumbs and our intellect.

    Given that your starting point was how your opponents here don’t understand basic genetics and evolution the following assertions seem to be an extraordinarily limited perception of what constitutes evolution.

    Only our intellect? It is that key evolutionary development that has always marked humans as very different from any other life form on the planet. Do you not see? Our ability to control our environment, as you so dismissively put it, is itself an evolutionary development.

    Moreover, it is one that is intertwined to the development of the mind, with each developing the other. I think that evolution reached a critical threshold when it came to Homo Sapiens, in that our evolution has been increasingly of the mind rather than the body. Moreover, I think this divergence will increase, because the “environmental” pressures and the causes of “mutation” will be increasingly different from those that corporeal evolution has dealt with over several billion years. The principles may be the same but the agents and the speed of change will not be, and neither will the effects!

    It seems to me that in this discussion we are already exploring what the evolution of the mind has wrought over the past few thousand years. It’s very easy to see how humans have used their minds to transcend the physical limitations of our bodies with regard to shelter, food and travel. A world of hard infrastructure enabled by science and technology has been created. Something no other animal has done. It is easy for us to regard those as being objective – external to the mind.

    But what we have also done is attempt to build a soft infrastructure to protect ourselves – not just laws and the means to enable their application (police, courts, fines, prisons) but moral and ethical frameworks that can provide guidance as to what is the right and wrong or how they can be decided. In short – social culture. This societal software is the product of many, individual, conscious minds interacting together and I would argue that these constructs are no less objective than hardware, in that they lie outside the realm of a single mind. Moreover, as these constructs grow and extend it becomes increasingly difficult to trace them back to pure instincts and selfish genes (though the arguments can be made).

    As such I would like to think that have an ethical and moral responsibility to the environment that created us – but not to the extent that we should somehow revert ourselves to being simply another creature on the planet – not that we probably could now. Evolution moves forward in ways that we cannot predict – it may well be that it is the cockroaches that are as doomed as the dinosaurs, while humans, or more precisely our descendents, who survive and prosper in the universe.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  61. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    “Really, they are only our thumbs and our intellect.

    But killing off everything/everyone that gets in the way of our ambitions isn’t very clever, whether those we kill are insects or rodents or Muslims or Jews.”

    Wont some think of the mosquitoes?

    Nice that you lumped insects, rodents, muslims and jews all in the same group.

    toad, you are a simpleton if you think Bush is about destroying muslims. Nothing can be gained by engaging with you further.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  62. Kimble (4,092 comments) says:

    well said TH

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  63. expat (4,048 comments) says:

    New Zealands economy isnt dominated by food commodities it is in fact supported by high quality socialist policy and socialist policy wonks. Thats where the real work gets done in NZ, fools. If you right wing bastards would just get with the program you’d realise that the ETS is capable of powering our whole economy in a *sustainable way* yeah. right. on.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  64. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Kimble and Tom Hunter Vs. “toad”. Go, guys. Please do read “Environmentalism Refuted” by George Reisman, as I recommended on another thread. It is easily the best essay you could read to destroy the kind of argument “toad” is making here. What the cockroaches and the mosquitos do not have, is human ingenuity. If humans advance rapidly enough, we may even be capable of destroying an incoming asteroid before it destroys Earth one day, for example. No other species could do that, but neither could pre-industrial man, and neither WILL man ever be able to do stuff that is just as unimaginable to us as Space Travel was to our caveman ancestors, if Green ideology throws a spanner in the works of progress.

    I think it is Tim Ball in an article called “The Anti-Human agenda” or something like that, who says that OTHER species DO make value judgements about other species with which they share the Earth, too, only they are not as advanced as man’s are. Other species value judgements consist of “Is – this – food: Yes / No?”

    Ha ha ha. Not bad, eh?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  65. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Actually, I can’t resist posting THIS:

    The Anti-Human Agenda
    By Dr. Tim Ball Monday, May 19, 2008

    “A tongue-in-cheek comment from my university said if we could just get rid of the students it would be a great place to work. Some environmentalists think if we could just get rid of all the people on the planet it would be a great place to live. Generally over-population is a major part of the environmentalists’ argument that humans are causing all the problems, including climate change. Satire is a good measure of this position typified by the bumper sticker that says, “Save the Planet, Kill Yourself.”

    The relationship between population and resources has been an issue throughout history. All predictions to date were wrong including Thomas Malthus in the 19th century, who claimed the population would outgrow the food supply. The most recent flurry of alarmism over population growth was a key piece of the ideas of the Club of Rome and the now discredited book “Limits to Growth”. It received momentum through Paul Ehrlich’s book, “The Population Bomb.” The ideas were combined with sustainable development at the 1994 world conference on population in Cairo. Here it is in ‘bureaucratese’ from Section 3.1

    The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and Agenda 21, adopted by the international community at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, call for patterns of development that reflect the new understanding of these and other intersectoral linkages.

    There is also general agreement that unsustainable consumption and production patterns are contributing to the unsustainable use of natural resources and environmental degradation as well as to the reinforcement of social inequities and of poverty with the above- mentioned consequences for demographic parameters.

    Although the discussion was about health and development, there was little doubt the underlying theme was the need to reduce population, especially in the developing world. It was the wrong approach. The error of left wing politics is to ignore how population declines with increased development. It’s a process called the “demographic transition” in which the death rate declines, then the birth rate declines and population numbers decline. It is evident in every developed country and unless supplemented by immigration, as many developed nations are now practicing, can cause other problems.

    Environmentalism in its more virulent form is anti-humanity, and anti-evolution. It holds that human progress is not a natural evolution but an unnatural aberration. Ron Arnold, Executive Vice-President of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, said, “Environmentalism intends to transform government, economy, and society in order to liberate nature from human exploitation.”

    The 1990 Greenpeace Report on Global Warming said, “Carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere naturally and unnaturally.” What do they mean by “unnatural”? It is a Freudian slip disclosing an underlying thought, but it also introduces a profound contradiction. If what humans do is not natural, then by inference we are not natural. If we are not natural then by default you must conclude a greater authority put us here–but of course they don’t want that either.

    Somehow evolution, survival of the fittest and the most adaptable, doesn’t apply to humans. Some actually express this view. David Graber, a research biologist with the National park Service said,

    “Human happiness, and certainly human fecundity, are not as important as a wild and healthy planet. I know social scientists who remind me that people are part of nature, but it isn’t true. Somewhere along the line – at about a billion years ago – we quit the contract and became a cancer. We have become a plague upon ourselves and upon the Earth. It is cosmically unlikely that the developed world will choose to end its orgy of fossil energy consumption, and the Third World its suicidal consumption of landscape. Until such time as Homo Sapiens should decide to rejoin nature, some of us can only hope for the right virus to come along.”

    What contract and with whom? What happens if the virus wipes out Graber and his like? Perhaps Christopher Manes, author of “Green Rage”, would decide because he says “a large percentage of humanity is (an) ecological redundancy.” Getting rid of everyone permanently solves the problem – David Foreman former chief lobbyist for the Wilderness Society says the optimum number is zero. Presumably he’s the last to go.

    Canadian David Suzuki, a former genetics professor might see the irony, although I doubt it. He said. “Economics is a very species – chauvinistic idea. No other species on earth – and there are may be 30 million of them – has had the nerve to put forth a concept called economics, in which one species, us, declares the right to put value on everything else on earth, in the living and non-living world.” First, he is wrong because all other species do put a value on everything else – it is food or it is not food. Doesn’t get more basic than that. Second, the 30 million number is wrong, but so are the statistics Suzuki uses about the rate of extinctions. Then it is another of those confounded species chauvinistic ideas and doesn’t apply to those who know the truth. Suzuki traveled across Canada selling a book (how economically driven) claiming 2 species an hour were becoming extinct. I challenged him to name them and the 46 others that disappeared everyday. I suggested we have a daily obituary column lamenting them. It won’t happen because it simply doesn’t happen. It does imply we are arrogant mass-murderers as well as economists. Of course no other species had the nerve or ability to develop concepts like economics. Conceptual thought is another of the evolutionary advances humans made. Or is it? Again we confront the conundrum – apparently our advances are not evolutionary, we are not playing according to the ‘natural ‘ rules.

    The English TV comedy series “Yes Minister” had a wonderful episode in which the most efficient and economical hospital was one that had no patients. Well environmentalists don’t harbor those views lightly. Ingrid Newkirk of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals said,

    “Mankind is a cancer; we’re the biggest blight on the face of the earth.” “If you haven’t given voluntary human extinction much thought before, the idea of a world with no people in it may seem strange. But, if you give it a chance, I think you might agree that the extinction of Homo Sapiens would mean survival for millions if not billions, of Earth-dwelling species, Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on earth, social and environmental.”

    It’s too bad the dinosaurs or all the other species that became extinct long before Homo Sapiens came on the scene did not know of this.

    Before you conclude Ms. Newkirk is alone in this extreme view, consider Richard Conniff’s comment in “Audubon.” “Among environmentalists sharing two or three beers, the notion is quite common that if only some calamity could wipe out the entire human race, other species might once again have a chance.” The Roman adage, In vino veritas (In wine there is truth) applies although apparently Ms. Newkirk did not need such liquid courage.

    I struggled for years with the role or function of extremists in society. I realize now their job is to define the limits of an idea or ideology. We are all environmentalists to a greater or lesser extent and we should resent those who have usurped the concept or the title. Everyone cares about the environment; the question is how far do we pursue the concept. Those who are anti-humanity and anti-society or don’t believe evolution applies to humans have the ultimate in arrogance. Is there any other species that would advocate its own demise?”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.