Two Labour MPs vote for common sense

June 27th, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Around 20,000 hectares of forest was felled by Cyclone Ita in April and a law change was required to allow beech, rimu, totara and matai trees to be harvested on the conservation estate — on the condition that they were taken outside classified areas and used for finished products and not firewood or wood chips.

The bill was debated under urgency and was expected to pass into law last night. In its early stages it was supported by National, New Zealand First, United Future, Brendan Horan and two Labour MPs.

Labour’s MP Damien O’Connor and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene went against their party by voting in support, but had sought amendments to make sure profits stayed within the immediate community.

O’Connor would have probably lost his seat if he didn’t cross the floor. But the fact he was unable to persuade his party to side with the interest of West Coasters ahead of the Green Party, shows he has little influence.

In opening the debate, Conservation Minister Nick Smith said there was no reason to leave the fallen timber untouched.

“This country is not so wealthy that it can allow beautiful, valuable, native timber to be left to rot.”

Opposition parties wanted the law change to be put out for public consulation, but Dr Smith said urgency was needed because the beech trees would spoil quickly.

The minister tried to reassure Green critics who worried about the removal of crucial nutrients from the forest ecosystem, saying that only a fraction of the 20,000 hectares of felled forest would be removed and “oodles” of biomass would remain “for the bugs and slugs to consume”.

Best of both worlds.

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62 Responses to “Two Labour MPs vote for common sense”

  1. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    Some interesting votes through the stages of the bill.

    Third reading (final) vote:

    Ayes 65 – National 59, Labour 2, Maori Party 2, United Future 1, Brendon Horan 1

    Noes 51 – Labour 32, Greens 11, NZ First 7, Mana 1

    In the final vote O’Connor and Tirikatene crossed the floor to vote with the Government. Three Green MPs didn’t vote.

    In other votes up to four Greens abstained and in one vote another Labour MP abstained.

    West Coast Wind-blown Timber Bill votes

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  2. big bruv (13,880 comments) says:

    Another huge slap in the face for Cuntliffe, obviously the caucus still detest the man.

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  3. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    The obvious question, because no-one must go against ‘The Party’, will the ‘sisterhood’ now force Mr. O’Connor out and ‘make’ him stand as an independent as a result?

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  4. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  5. CHFR (228 comments) says:

    Mikey showing your ignorance once again. Beech degrades very quickly so there was urgency to get this done.

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  6. flipper (4,050 comments) says:

    I have found it difficult to forgive Labour for anything once it emerged how Cullen and Clark had fucked up the NZ economy with interest free student loans and WFF, in their desperation to remain in power.

    But I can see they needed to establish a point of differentiation the Government, or simply say Amen and go along with the sensible course steered by the Government.

    However, I will never forgive the Nazi like attitude of the Greens’, Clendon, Sage and Delahunty (wow, didn’t that silly xyz bint get shafted by Parata on the use of ersatz Maori yesterday) for the invective directed at individual members of the Government. There is absolutely no place in the Parliament for a person like (“any view not in accord with mine is offensive”) Clendon. He should be gone, never to return. Disgraceful.

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  7. James Stephenson (2,171 comments) says:

    Another huge slap in the face for Cuntliffe, obviously the caucus still detest the man.

    I think we saw how much real clout his leadership carried when their list was announced. I bet he wishes he could pass a bill under urgency to remove all the dead wood from the Labour caucus.

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  8. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    With the election coming up, then a period of coalition negotiations and forming a new government and getting organised it may not have been possible to get a bill passed going through the normal processes until next year.

    Or never if Greens are in the next Government.

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  9. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    They saw the numbers and voted for their existences. There was no commonsense in these two voting for the Bill’s acceptance. If they had voted against it their seats would have been dog tucker.

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  10. flipper (4,050 comments) says:

    Milkey…
    The sap stain starts in spring, and the borer are already on the prowl.
    Use whatever brain you have and work it out. Dumbass.

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  11. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  12. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    “because no-one must go against ‘The Party’”
    Faced with evidence of the complete opposite you make that statement. Thanks for demonstrating why blogs are among the lowest forms of intellectual discourse.

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  13. thor42 (971 comments) says:

    “Green critics who worried about the removal of crucial nutrients from the forest ecosystem…”

    As if the forest will even *notice* the removal of these trees! In any case, trees get “naturally removed” all the time – by floods. The removal of these trees will allow young trees to grow in their place.

    The Greens are creating a storm in a teacup over this.

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  14. AJP (20 comments) says:

    Don’t be silly.
    The two Labour MPs were allowed to cross the floor by their leader before the debate happened.
    Labour cannot risk to lose 2 seats because of silly politics.

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  15. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    http://www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/publications/media-release/logging-on-conservation-land-makes-no-sense-%E2%80%93-forest-bird

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  16. tvb (4,415 comments) says:

    Getting the timber out will cause significant damage to the remaining ecosystem through roading and logging machinery. How is that being managed? I suspect not that well.

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  17. jackinabox (776 comments) says:

    “Mikey showing your ignorance once again. Beech degrades very quickly so there was urgency to get this done.”

    The loggers won’t bother with the pulp Beech, it’s the Rimu they want.

    So what’s next on the National hit list now that the native forests have lost their protection?

    What will the reward be for allowing NZ Navy access to Pearl Harbour? NUCLEAR ship visits to NZ?

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  18. Tauhei Notts (1,710 comments) says:

    I see where the Greens polled in excess of 12%.
    Then I heard their politicians debate this no brainer.
    Be very afraid.
    A nation where more than 12% favour lunatics like the Greens is a huge worry.

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  19. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    mikeinmild.
    Sap stain is a mould that grows in some dead trees. Turns the timber black and worthless for decorative use. Beech goes black. Rimu wont. So the rush is to get at the beech before warm weather sets in.
    A lot of these trees may have a root or two still in the ground so will last a while.

    I looked at the maps for the logging areas, near Little Wanaganui (no h in that one!) there is a area of damage that is approx 10 kms by 8 kms. 100% flattened. That is a few metric fucktonnes of timber!

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  20. JC (955 comments) says:

    Milkenmild,

    The beech trees will be the first to go, in Spring/summer fungus attacks sapwood and colours the wood blue and removes its value; sapwood also starts to rot quick enough. The rimu and matai logs are much more resistent hence can be recovered over a longer period.

    Isn’t it fortuitous that we have the massive Christchurch rebuild happening at the same time as well as a slew of new houses in Wgton and Auckland.. a brilliant opportunity to have a genuine well priced feature wood in the renovated/new homes being worked on, so Twigs and Tweet can rest easy on that score.

    What I suggest you and anyone else should do is rush in on this new source of native wood, buy a tonne or two and stick it under your house to dry and season and then sell small quantities at a time into the market in a year or ten.. people have been doing that for generations in NZ.

    JC

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  21. alloytoo (539 comments) says:

    This is an eminently sensible course of action, both for the local communities and for conservation. The fact that the Greens apposed this measure indicate just how out of touch they are from modern sustainable conservation practices.

    Traditionally conservation practices have been the preserve of the wealthy, often at the expense of, or in apparent isolation from local communities. In such circumstances local communities often circumvent conservation objectives by exploiting the resources directly without thought or consequence. If the powers that be vanish, the exploitation in a power vacuum becomes wholesale. (one only has to examine Africa for examples).

    Projects which allow managed sustainable exploitation conservation resources are especially important in giving local communities a sense of ownership (and an associate sense of responsibility), conversely if they let the valuable trees simply rot, it would build up resentment amongst the community and in the long term damage the conservation estate.

    People have noted that some Greens abstained from voting. While it’s reassuring that perhaps some of them have genuine conservation issues to heart, it’s disturbing that that the regime of the party couldn’t allow them the full freedom to vote in favour.

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  22. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    Flipper:

    Can you provide a link please to Parata / Delahunty and ‘erzats’ Maori? Thanks.

    m@tt

    Re: ‘“because no-one must go against ‘The Party’”
    Faced with evidence of the complete opposite you make that statement. Thanks for demonstrating why blogs are among the lowest forms of intellectual discourse’.

    Since obviously you don’t agree with my statement, (despite the fact that Mr. O’Connor’ very evidently and obviously went against his party’s wishes, crossed the floor on his own volition, and voted with ‘National; an organisation that I always understood was the antithesis of the NZLP), an explanation as to the reasoning behind your comment, and also evidence ‘of the complete opposite’ in my statement, would be appreciated. Thanks.

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  23. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    When I posted on GD about this last night ( thinking the PR had meant all of Labour were voting for it) I obviously had got it wrong. Labour are absolutely stupid –it is not only the West Coast voters who would have watching this. What about all the forestry guys in the North Is. who would know a thing or two about forests –all those guys around Rotorua who the ex weather man is trying win votes from.
    I think Damien O’Connor should now talk seriously to his electorate about going as an Independent and then have a chat to John Key after the election.

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  24. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    Komata: 26.6.14 – Question 4: Catherine Delahunty to the Minister of Education

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  25. Rich Prick (1,699 comments) says:

    “That is a few metric fucktonnes of timber!”

    And yet the Greens would rather see it rot back into Gaia’s womb than make use of it. Luddites.

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  26. deckboy (18 comments) says:

    Damien O’Connor is the only true Labour MP left. He should move out and be independent. The “Gaggle of gays and self serving unionists” will get him in the end.

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  27. G152 (335 comments) says:

    Getting the timber out will cause significant damage to the remaining ecosystem through roading and logging machinery. How is that being managed? I suspect not that well.

    Ever heard of helicopter logging ?
    Why do greenies never keep up with the technology ?

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  28. Dom Knots (155 comments) says:

    I can’t see any sense in leaving those trees to rot – provided any damage done removing the stuff is repaired. Get ‘er done.

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  29. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    PG

    Thanks for the link. Sadly, I suspect that the extent and subtleties of the Minister’s reply in her ‘first language’ , would have been quite lost on MS Delahunty, an individual whose use of the Maori language, IMHO, always smacks of ‘tokenism’. Notably, she did not respond to the Minister’s fluency…

    (BTW, Delahunty is really not a particularly ‘nice’ individual is she…?)

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  30. flipper (4,050 comments) says:

    Komata (1,069 comments) says:

    June 27th, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Flipper:

    Can you provide a link please to Parata / Delahunty and ‘erzats’ Maori?
    ****

    Yesterday..,,.
    Answers to oral questions – Delahunty to Parata.
    Done like a dinner to applause from all Nat and MP members.

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  31. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    I dunno about you guys. But that press release from the impartial forrest & bird really won me over

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  32. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    “This country is not so wealthy that it can allow beautiful, valuable, native timber to be left to rot.”
    But apparently we are rich enough to turn down mining in class 4 areas, and proposed shortcuts from Queenstown to Fiordland. This is a rare glimmer of light from a National Party all to willing to succumb to the green agenda. And why not make a permanent law to allow fallen trees to be harvested? Why should there have to be legislation under urgency every time there’s a windthrow? And what if Labour’s in power when the next big blow happens?

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  33. Komata (1,191 comments) says:

    G152

    Re: ‘Ever heard of helicopter logging ?
    Why do greenies never keep up with the technology ?’

    No doubt the gweens HAVE heard of helicopter logging, and no doubt they DO keep up with the technology, as they do tend to be well-informed about such things. However, they don’t / won’t accept the possibilities that are available, no matter how good and excellent they might be, because it simply doesn’t fit the narrative!!

    To a gween, anything, but anything, that disturbs even on single millimetre of gaia is wrong and evil, and if that ‘disturbance’ is via any mechanical means that uses variously mined or hydrocarbon-based materials, then the mechanical item is automatically judged to be ‘evil’ and the operators of such devices are doubly evil, stopped.

    The gweens are of the opinion that only they know how ‘gaia’ is to be protected, and will do so no matter what!!!

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  34. Manolo (13,735 comments) says:

    The tax-cheat McCarten is doing his job very well. The communist has taken Labour so much to the left, that is even being deserted by its own supporters.

    His appointment by Cunliffe has proven to be a monumental mistake.

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  35. Redbaiter (8,787 comments) says:

    “This is a rare glimmer of light from a National Party all to willing to succumb to the green agenda. ”

    Yes, very rare, and in reality only the faintest glimmer.

    The Nats have so fully succumbed to the Greens propaganda offensive they’re basically a washout as a pro-business political faction. While the Nats constanty profess to be looking out for industry they in fact do very little. For example recent new legislation relating to petroleum drilling has made it extremely difficult and much more costly for explorers to get started.

    Nick Smith and his Bluegreen faction are part of the problem. A group of confused losers who should be in the Watermelons and not National.

    Its all part of National’s complete collapse on its founding principles and its willingness to embrace left wing policy as its own. Nothing wll change there in the short term, and if its change you want, best to put your vote elsewhere.

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  36. tvb (4,415 comments) says:

    Minerals and Oil is money in the bank. When NZ is bankrupt and cannot borrow any more money we can start to mine what has been locked up. The legislation that prohibits it will be gone by lunchtime.

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  37. Steve Wrathall (284 comments) says:

    The only pro-business “elsewhere” where your vote will count is ACT.

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  38. questions (206 comments) says:

    DPF and co, out of curiosity, are you unaware that decomposing trees are an important part of the eco-system, or do you just not care?

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  39. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Questions

    Of course we all know decomposing trees is part of the ecosystem and under normal situations a fallen tree or dying tree is left to rot. this is not a normal situation. There thousands of what were healthy trees blown over in a relatively small area ( compared to the number of trees blown over). So taking a percentage of those tree out is not going to affect ecosystem at all –there will be plenty of trees left to decompose.

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  40. Maggy Wassilieff (388 comments) says:

    @ Questions… I spent my PhD studying decomposition in native forests in the South Island… So yes, I’m well aware of the fraction of essential nutrients stored in the trunk of a tree. It is a small component when compared to that stored in the roots (up to half the biomass of a tree), the leaves, the branches and the twigs. These forests are not growing on soils so depleted of soil nutrients that they will become nutrient-deficient if some tree trunk material is harvested. Of more concern is the complete denial by many in NZ that our native forests can be managed sustainably. Neglect of our forests is not good conservation.

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  41. freemark (580 comments) says:

    Ross69 under his true identity on FB gives a little hint as to Gween thinking on this. The words “multi-national” & “corporate” of course come in to it, maybe because it’s the nasty Americans who are the predominant helicopter builders. I’m sure if they used one of those big Russki machines, or possibly a Cuban, Venezuelan, Palestinian or North Korean gloriously Government made chopper things would be ok.
    What ID you using here now Huey (pun intended)?
    :)

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  42. Jaffa (94 comments) says:

    Most of them, held up by other trees, will be too dangerous to take.
    There will still be plenty left for the slugs and snails.

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  43. Chthoniid (2,044 comments) says:

    @Maggy Wassilieff

    Exactly. Forests are also not a zero-sum ecological game. They’re constantly importing energy and other matter from elsewhere.

    In terms of decomposition, the smaller branches and leaves are fare more important and lack the economic value to make their removal optimal. The larger trunks come with lots of fairly solid lignin-bonds that are pretty indigestible to most invertebrates. There’s a reason the slugs and things aren’t chewing up standing trees at the moment.

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  44. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    Why would Green MP’s abstain on this vote??? Isn’t this one of the few actual ecological pieces of legislation that they could get their stance recorded on?

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  45. Fisiani (1,039 comments) says:

    At every election there is often a defining issue, sometimes it can be not the biggest issue but one where the symbolism carries far more weight than the reality.
    2005 – walking a plank
    2008 – a proposal to ban decent showers
    2011 – a cup of tea

    Millions of tons of valuable wood bowled over by a cyclone.
    Furniture or worm food. National or Labour/Greens
    Common sense or Taliban. National or Labour/Greens
    Pragmatism or fanaticism. National or Labour/Greens
    The Tree Huggers want the trees to rot. National wants to use this windfall to live on as valuable furniture.

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  46. m@tt (629 comments) says:

    @Komata
    Well, we could simply wait and observe that The ‘sisterhood’ do not force Mr. O’Connor out and ‘make’ him stand as an independent as a result.
    Or we could just observe that what you claimed ‘never happens’ actually happened, to no-ones surprise but people like you who can not fathom how an individual may have a different thought to the political entity they associate with and that this is not only totally acceptable but should be encouraged in a democratic environment.
    Totally your choice.

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  47. backster (2,171 comments) says:

    I wonder if those who crossed the floor now qualify as Scabs under the Cunliffe determination.

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  48. Chthoniid (2,044 comments) says:

    As an aside, releasing all the stored carbon in those tree via decomposition adds stored CO2 back into the atmosphere.
    As I recall, adding more GHG back into the atmosphere isn’t an approved policy of most parties. I think Labour and Greens have been fairly anti it.

    Locking the carbon up as furniture would keep it from being added into atmosphere.

    If you want to do more for our native invertebrates, killing lot more invasive rats, possums and wasps is hard to beat.

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  49. Pete George (23,558 comments) says:

    backster – it would be hard to label as scabs the two Labour MPs who voted for work (labour) opportunities for the West Coast.

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  50. edhunter (546 comments) says:

    If you cant cross the floor & you have to vote along party lines every time, what is point of the house sitting? Why not just have a rep from each party meet in a room, hell they could even conference call it, in fact why even bother meeting with the opposition? The member for National says here’s my 59 votes all I need are two more from either of the 6 floaters & we’ll pass these bills quick smart. Damn what are we going to do with the other 350 days of the year.

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  51. Fentex (971 comments) says:

    Kevin Hackwell of Forest And Bird makes cogent arguments against the law change. I’m in no position to evaluate the facts but I notice he includes rational commercial arguments such as flooding a adequately supplied market.

    It does not read as a irrational screed and I do wonder what the point of a conservation estate is if it is not left to natures devices.

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  52. Manolo (13,735 comments) says:

    This Kevin Hackwell? This Forest and Bird, a mere branch of the Green Party?
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1406/S00005/forest-bird-supports-greens-plan-to-make-polluters-pay.htm

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  53. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    he includes rational commercial arguments such as flooding a adequately supplied market

    Oh yeah I have seen the timber yards flooded with heart rimu recently…. NOT!

    I stick of 150 x 25 heart rimu in a dressing grade would be over $20 per meter IF you could get some.
    All the rimu sold in NZ now is from Fiji I think.

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  54. Ross12 (1,425 comments) says:

    Fentex , are you saying that Hackwell has more commercial sense than the those in the timber industry ( esp. those on the Coast) ? I see a new Tui ad coming.
    Heaven for bit, some enterprising company may find an export market ( in China maybe !!) for furniture made from the timber. We can’t have that though –the Hackwell’s of this world don’t believe in progress.
    On top of that Hackwell overlooks the money that is going DOC from the sale of the wood –the guy is totally blinkered by his religion ( I can’t say thinking because there is no sign of it in his PR)

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  55. Sir Cullen's Sidekick (888 comments) says:

    “for the bugs and slugs to consume”.

    bugs = Labour
    slugs = Green

    Just ananlysin….

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  56. OneTrack (3,087 comments) says:

    Fentex – “but I notice he includes rational commercial arguments such as flooding a adequately supplied market.”

    So his point is that, since we would otherwise be chainsawing down trees in a pine forest over there (emitted CO2), we should just keep sawing, and we should let those blown over trees rot on the forest floor and actually release all their CO2 back into the atmosphere.

    The greenies are really really worried about global warming, aren’t they. The most critical problem the human race is facing. Except for snails.

    Heaven help New Zealand if these luddites actually get into power (oops, I meant Aotearoa, please don’t send me to the gulag for re-education.)

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  57. OneTrack (3,087 comments) says:

    m@tt – “to no-ones surprise but people like you who can not fathom how an individual may have a different thought to the political entity they associate with and that this is not only totally acceptable but should be encouraged in a democratic environment.”

    Yes it should be encouraged, but that isn’t considered a normal characteristic of the parties of the left. Maybe we just got too used to the iron rule of Clark.

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  58. RRM (9,915 comments) says:

    FFS the trees are already dead.

    Why would anyone in their right mind oppose removing the few of them that are worth something as timber?

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  59. OneTrack (3,087 comments) says:

    “Why would anyone in their right mind oppose removing the few of them that are worth something as timber”

    There’s your problem. :-)

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  60. Goldsmith (27 comments) says:

    They’ve got brains… what on earth are they doing in Labour?

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  61. Dom Knots (155 comments) says:

    freemark, i’d be interested to see a link regarding Palestinian manufactured helicopters if you have one at hand.

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  62. Couchpotatoe (33 comments) says:

    Commonsense would have dictated that the bill passed under urgency is nothing more than a meaningless publicity stunt. The cost of retrieval will mean nothing is harvested apart from a small bit of firewood. Not exactly an export value added economic recovery from the messiahs of economic rationality.

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