Prime Minister of N.Z pregnant


Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern is pregnant with her first child.

I had thought about writing a long spiel about this, but when one can condense what they wished to say down to a just a few relatively short sentences, sometimes that is better. Thus I find myself without further ado wishing Ms Ardern and Mr Clarke Gayford the most sincere best of luck and a hope that the process of having New Zealand’s First Child is something fantastic, something to look forward to, all the while respecting the privacy of any participants.

This will upset some who think that child raising should be left to another date and time.

It is these sentiments that fail to stop me from wanting an immediate role in the looking after of the children. They make me come and have I know people in less than perfect situations who loose potentially huge amounts of money in a betting environmental scene. I often wonder with the more violent clipps and if they are mentioned, it means something was not living up to it is nickname now.

I support Jacinda Ardern’s right to be pregnant. I notice that all parties across the board have announced their acknowledgement of the BIll. Well done for surveying so far. Credit to Natoinal and A.C.T. for putting a message of congratulations. So now is the time for the world to acknowledge Ms Clark’s success.

Minister right to deny secrecy to fishing companies


It has come to my attention that the Minister for Primary Industries, Stuart Nash, has rejected calls for secrecy on videos recorded on trawlers at sea that show dead marine birds and dolphins.

Aside from raising suspicions about whether the industry is trying to hide poor or illegal practices, the application for secrecy also means it would be more difficult to track any catches of protected species.

New Zealand prides itself on being responsible, but incidents such as those that happened with the Oyang trawlers where one of numerous offences was the improper catching and misreporting of fish taken, show another less savoury side. This has the potential to affect our reputation overseas, given that increasingly people are looking at the chain of supply to ensure that the products they consume came about as the result of legal and ethical practices.

In a letter to Mr Nash, the representatives of the fishing industry claimed that the videos would be used by individuals and organisations that have an anti-fishing agenda. The industry representatives also claimed that by making the videos subject to the Official Information Act, the Minister was in effect showing poor judgement on what are considered to be commercially sensitive issues.

Mr Nash rejected the letter, saying that he sees no grounds for changing the Fisheries Act in terms of those acting under it meeting their obligations to the Official Information Act.

When a company fishes commercially in New Zealand waters and operates ships out of a New Zealand port they are completely subject to New Zealand law. That means the company must ensure that New Zealand occupational safety and health provisions must be complied with, that when a ship goes to sea it is in a seaworthy condition and the crew are fit to be working on board. When the ship returns to its New Zealand port it does not drop ballast water that should have been discharged away from the coast. Most of all though unlike Oyang 75, which wound up being forfeited as a result of grossly negligent practices, physical and sexual abuse of crew and other crimes, it is expected that the crews on board are treated with dignity and paid their due wages.

If a company operating a fishing trawler or any other ship cannot or will not do that in accordance with New Zealand law, it has no place operating in our waters.

 

Environment Minister announces Waste Minimisation Act review


Today Minister for Environment, Eugenie Sage announced that the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 will be reviewed by the Ministry for Environment this year.

This comes amid ongoing concern about the implications for New Zealand following last years decision by China to stop taking New Zealand waste. It also comes amid a growing awareness of the damage single use plastic is doing to the environment. The latter has become the subject of efforts to reduce single use coffee cups, plastic straws and other commonly used but rapidly wasted plastic products.

It has been admitted recently that considerable confusion about whether coffee cups could be recycled has resulted in huge numbers being sent to land fills and refuse stations when they could have been recycled. It comes as revelations emerge that 295 million coffee cups, including millions of recyclable cups wind up in the land fill each year. One cafe owner estimated regular coffee drinkers would save $150 per year by investing in a keep cup that can be used over and over.

It has also been acknowledged that New Zealanders are among the biggest creators of waste world wide. Each year the average New Zealander creates around 734 kilogrammes of waste.

 

New Zealand introduced the Waste Minimisation Act in 2008. In 2010 a review of it led to the substantial weakening of the Act. Little progress was made in the subsequent seven years between then and last years election on reducing the amount of waste created in New Zealand.

New Zealand also has the Waste Minimisation Strategy, which was introduced in 2002. Whilst some progress was made in reducing waste under it, the strategy had several flaws:

  • Regional Councils were not – and are still not – required to take responsibility for waste management
  • Supplying data is not a requirement for land fills or refuse stations, meaning little is known about what is actually disposed of in New Zealand or in what volume

The (REALLY) risky business of crypto currency


Back in December, one weekend I decided to have a serious look at investing in cyber crypto currency.

The week before I had watched Bitcoin experience an unprecedented surge in value that was as dizzying as it was abruptly short lived. I knew even before considering whether to even start investigating crypto currencies that Bitcoin was clearly well out of my ball park. I therefore did not look at Bitcoin and instead I turned to look at other crypto currencies. One of the ones that I looked is one called Litecoin. Others, such as Ethereum, Ethereum Classic and Ripple were noted but not explored.

To this day I have not purchased anything. Litecoin as I mentioned earlier may have been selling at a rate low enough when I first looked at it to consider buying a few just to see what happened. There were several factors that I needed to consider:

  • What broker would I use – one called BitPrime, which is located in Christchurch seemed like a good option. Its website listed the terms and conditions of the sale, and the government regulations that it was compliant with.
  • How much would I be prepared to pay? Even then, one Litecoin would set me about N.Z.$140 and seven would have set me back about N.Z.$1,000 – yesterday it was worth N.Z.$365
  • Given the extreme volatility of Bitcoin which in the space of a week in late November-early December rose nearly $8,000 in value before plunging several thousand in a very short time, would I be able to sell and the sale be given effect to in time before a plunge possibly wipe out everything I had put into crypto currency – at the present time one Bitcoin will set you back N.Z.$19824
  • Would there be unseen hooks in this unique system of electronic currency that for the most part you do not actually see, and which is prone to hacking, cyber theft and and other criminal activity

As easy as it looked on the computer screen – the registration for Bit Prime almost seeming too easy – there were immediate questions. My brother had noticed Bitcoin’s surge as well and, having watched initially out of curiosity, he could see where Bitcoin was going and that a sharp correction would come, potentially with little or no warning.

Some serious misconceptions also exist. One is that Governments cannot regulate Bitcoin. A Government can regulate whatever it wishes and China has banned Bitcoin transactions. The I.R.S. in the United States has also moved on crypto currencies with a court win forcing the most reputable exchange to hand over records of transactions. In short you cannot hide finances in Bitcoin, and presumably none of the others as well should Governments go after them.

At some point in the future on a crypto currency in its relative infancy I might invest a bit just to see where it goes and pocket a little bit in return. However right now, sitting on the fence and watching the various crypto currencies going up and down as if they were puppets being jerked by a puppeteer seems to be a much more sensible – and less daunting – proposition.

The Tasman Sea heat wave


A major heatwave has arrived in New Zealand, and its signature is big enough to be picked up on satellites.

But this heatwave is different, in that it is not happening in the air. Whilst it is certainly true that parts of the South Island are experiencing very warm and in some cases, record breaking, temperatures, the source of heat is different. A muggy warm northerly airflow over New Zealand is dragging tropical air down from the Coral Sea.

The heatwave I am talking about is in the Tasman Sea. At the Port of Lyttelton on the east coast of the South Island it was 17ºC in January 2017. A year later it is 22ºC. Atmospheric imaging of the Tasman Sea shows that much of its area as well as the seas around the rest of New Zealand are generally warmer than they were in 2017.

Currently sea temperatures in the Tasman Sea are about 6ºC above normal. National Institute of Weather and Atmospherics (N.I.W.A.)data shows that not since before 1900 has there been a year when sea water temperatures in the Tasman Sea were this high. Likewise, the American National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A.) thermal imagery shows a large red blob in the Tasman basin and the rest of New Zealand surrounded by yellow.

The same thermal anomalies in the sea that are causing this heat wave are also the same ones that enable low pressure systems to suddenly deepen rapidly or even explosively and throw up strong storm like conditions. It is over these seas that features such as the January 2017 weather bomb event, where a low pressure system over the Tasman Sea suddenly became a significant storm with 300 millimetres of rain at Arthurs Pass and various locations along the Southern Alps and West Coast in 24 hours and storm force winds in many locations.

The heatwave might be good for people seeking some nice warm seawater to swim in. However it is potentially stressful for marine life and there are concerns that it might be linked to any near future die offs, of shell and kelp forests. The warm sea water has also been linked to the earlier than normal arrival of blue bottle jellyfish.

How long this warm sea water lingers for is unknown. An approaching low pressure system in the Tasman Sea is expected to deliver heavy rain to the West Coast on Wednesday with showery conditions in its wake across New Zealand.

The joys of living in a maritime climate.