Red Alert

The future…if we don’t act

Posted by on January 18th, 2013

Day 4 of the Hillary Trail and we walk up the Maungaroa Ridge which sits above Piha. I’m with Dr Nick Waipara who is Auckland Council’s chief scientist on biosecurity matters. Nick is one of the key figures in the fight against kauri dieback and has brought me here to show  me the site where he and others first identified the disease.

The well being I feel from a great lunch at the surf club and a classic white water swim at Piha drains away as we walk through this stand of dead and dying trees. It is a kauri graveyard. The pathogen has cut a swathe along the ridge, infecting and killing 100 year old rickers and 10 year old saplings.

The forest floor is cluttered with fallen diseased trunks. Ghost trees silhouette against the sky.

We are looking at the future.

Unless we can find a way of stopping the disease in its tracks this is what the kauri forests will all come to look like.

Dr Nick Waipara tell us why the Maungaroa Ridge site is so important.

My take on how I felt on top of Maugaroa Ridge.

Day 4 – Set off from Karekare with amazing cliff top views as we head to Piha. The Piha Surf Club welcomed us with a slap up lunch (thanks Neville) which we shared with journalist James Ireland, Auckland Councillor Sandra Coney who is a great fighter for the Waitakeres, and Cheryl Krull from Auckland Uni whose PhD included work on how pigs are spreading dieback in the ranges. After the side trip to Maungaroa, we then walked through a stunning nikau forest and up to the Anawhata Craw campground.

Day 5 – Joined by Waitangi Woods the lead iwi rep on the kauri dieback programme, Stacey Hill who does comms and public engagement for the programme, my mate Tracy Dalton, my assistant Mels Barton, my niece Manu and her friend Sarah, and Alistair Hall the Editor of Wilderness magazine. An easy gentle walk across undulating country, regenerating forest with quite a few young and mostly healthy kauri, although also some dead and diseased along the ridge. Highlight was a swim in the waterfall and pools near Lake Wainamu. Destination Te Henga, Bethells Beach. Tomorrow the final leg through to Muriwai.

27 Responses to “The future…if we don’t act”

  1. Dingle says:

    Please, no more Twyford.


    There is real stuff happening.

  2. GeoffC says:

    @dingle this is real stuff being actively reported about. Drill down and the great die back is systematic of the disengagement and ideological bent of the national neo lib machine.
    Phil is out campaigning and promoting the negative effects of this hand off who cares business profit approach in a obvious and real manner…perhaps get on board my friend.

  3. Anne says:

    Thanks Phil. Very interesting and photos just great. Such a special part of NZ.

  4. JANicol says:

    Dingle, that comment is just plain silly – there cannot be more ‘real stuff’ as you put it, than the destruction of the natural environment . Good for Phil and co!

  5. Dingle says:

    And yet there was more Twyford.

    Irrelevant and irreverent.

    A labour mirror.

    We need a proper alternative to the tyranny of the right.

    Please stop playing in the flowers.

  6. JANicol says:

    Mr Dingle illustrates exactly why, with destructive attitudes like his, National could remain in power .

  7. phillip ure says:

    really jannicol..?

    just for asking for some discussions on other matters of substance..?

    ..are you serious..?

    ..this makes him some kind of ‘traitor’/handmaiden/enabler of national..? your eyes..?

    phillip ure..

  8. phillip ure says:

    are you afraid if you come up with policies to end..say.. poverty..

    ..that national will steal them..?

    (‘cos i can’t really see that

    ..the greater fear out here is that labour intends to do as much to end real poverty as they did last time..

    ..and that a labour govt will just roll-over the bennett/key welfare-‘reforms’..

    ..and these fears are not entirely irrational..

    ..given that as labours’ prescription to end poverty at the last election campaign..

    ..was to include beneficiary families in the family tax-credits everyone else gets..

    ..which is/was great..

    ..but the devil really was in the that this would be done incrementally year-by-year..achieving those ends by..2018..which in real terms..wasn’t promising very much at

    ..and didn’t come within a bulls’ roar of easing the miseries so many are suffering

    ..(and i must say..that hearts sank out here..when your rightwinger josie pagani then went and apologised to the people of new zealand for such reckless/unaffordable largesse/promises on the part of labour..) you see the pattern emerging here of why so many concerned about issues such as the 270,000 nz children living in poverty..fear that labour plans to do little..?

    (..and certainly not what is needed..)

    ..and the refusal to even discuss such issues in your forums..

    ..such as here..

    ..only exacerbates those labour-will-do-nothing concerns.. can it not..?

    oh..!..and btw..if you roll over that last election will need to extend it out to

    ..(seeing as it will be three years later by

    phillip ure..

  9. bbfloyd says:

    My word… What a load of old cobblers our resident tory intellectuals have stitched together(all by themselves?)…

    All this drivel for no better reason than to distract from the inconvenient ttruths that Phil is sharing for our benefit…

    And they sound so sure of themselves… If it wasn’t so obvious hust how nervous Phils story makes them, It might have been slightly convincing… But no, just more pointless time, and space wasted trying to run interference for an incompetent, heartless, disloyal excuse for a government…

    If we were to adopt the tory method of dealing with defining issues like this, then all we would have to do is…NOTHING!!!

    And when all the kauri have gone, then we get the “fourth estate” to blame the labour party for not fixing it themselves…Whether they were in government, when something could have been done, or not… most likely not…

    But hey, who really cares about the truth when it takes all our energies to just keep body and soul together while our country disappears out from under us….

    Time for the blame game is when it’s too late to actually DO anything…Standard tory tactic…. It saves them a huge amount of what used to be called “living up to ones responsibilities”

    Doing that will get you dumped from cabinet in the current raiding party….

  10. phillip ure says:

    heh..!..’tory intellectual’..

    i have noted before mate..that compared to me on any political/ideological-spectrum you are somewhat of a reactionary..(and so much closer to that ‘tory-intellectual’ label than

    ..and if i am a ‘tory intellectual’ must be tinkerbell..

    ..and i know i have asked before..but could i plse have the name/celly-number of your dealer..

    ..that is some powerful medicine..and i want some..

    (b.t.w..thanks for my first belly-laugh of the

    ..wait ’till i tell ‘the boy’ when he wakes up that overnight i have become a ‘tory-intellectual’..

    ..whoar..!..he will be shocked at the news..)

    phillip ure..

  11. phillip ure says:

    that’s a bit of a giant-kiler of a housing policy released by the greens

    (..i’ll have to eat humble pie..and go and praise them..)

    ..and it is definitely a policy that will get those long-unvoting-poor off the couch and into the

    ..and i expect to see a subsequent surge in green support..

    ..and..pause for a moment here..

    ..don’t you wish it was the housing policies you had released..?

    ..’cos these green ideas will get the poor into their own homes..

    ..whereas the labour policy is more aimed at the who can afford a four hundred grand mortgage..

    ..and the poor really didn’t even get a look

    ..tho’..taking a big-picture/holistic view..

    ..if you want to just aim at those swingng middle you have for so long..(it is your

    ..and the greens and mana can mop up/bring the poor back home..

    ..and it all adds up to a centre-left govt..(which is why key was looking somewhat drawn as he attempted to sneer at the greens policy..he knows a vote-catcher when it is biting him on the

    ..and the combination of green/mana/labour will allow/enable the repairing of the country/people to begin..

    ..which -when you boil it surely what everyone they labour/green or mana..

    ..this is the most potent/articulate policy the greens have ever my memory.. the sense of showing wide appeal to traditional non-green voters..

    ..and like i said at the beginning.. is a giant-killer.. can it not be..?

    ..phillip ure..

  12. Grant Hay says:

    Forget it Phil. The Labour party isn’t interested in a dialogue with those of us it left behind when it took a jump to the right. I’ve been waiting for them to do so for nearly thirty years now, but I long since stopped holding my breath “:0)
    Apart from anything else, MP’s don’t use this blog for conversing with mere mortals. It’s sole purpose appears to be for sending messages down from Mt Olympus so that the plebs can make approving noises about what the Gods are up to….

  13. phillip ure says:


    ..should we just wave fronds and bow whenever they appear..?

    ..phillip ure..

  14. Grant Hay says:

    No :)

  15. phillip ure says:

    tho’..the green mp’s on frogblog are no different..

    ..especially should you question ‘the message’..

    (keith locke..and his bizarre support for that cia/american imperial reach exercise in dismantling the most democratic country in the middle east..libya..was a glaring after post..and never answering any questions..

    ..and this is keith locke..f.f.s..!..)

    ..i dunno what it is..maybe their seats are too comfortable..

    ..i think they should all have to sit on rows of plain wooden benches.. would help focus their minds..

    ..and maybe even delay that (seemingly inevitable) hubris..

    ..and i have to say there was a fair bit of schadenfreude when heatley got the chop..(as they all inevitably do..hence my puzzlement at the hubris..)

    ..except those two old/tired specimans..hanging on for grim death..nana-napping their way to the inevitable..

    ..muldoon in his long sunset..

    ..and nowadays we have john banks carrying that banner..

    ..and sharples as chief standard-bearer..

    ..phillip ure..

  16. bbfloyd says:

    This, as far as i can tell, is a post highlighting the sad fact of our kauri forests dying off… exacerbated by the unsafe practices of tourists, and inaction on the part of central government…

    I find it difficult to make out how the segue into little philly de pony’s private fantasy world can be remotely relevant to that…Oh well…. Welcome to the world of the “tory intellectual”….Which is an oxymoron to those who would wish to have real discussion….

    Adding threatening posturing to that mix just says it all when we need to understand why it seems impossible to have the kind of conversations regarding real issues that we need to have whenever a tory gets involved… What are they so afraid of? Being exposed as mere ditto heads? That horse bolted years ago… Lacking the imagination, or grasp of complexities beyond step one? same horse, same stable…

    To lose such a valuable, and unique part of our forest is a tragedy that will resonate through the generations…

    Is the Kauri going to be consigned to history books as one more of our many extinct flora, and fauna? Just one more entry into our book of shame while people who should know better, waste our time playing silly word games for no better reason than to avoid “doing” anything that requires forward thinking?

    So what happens if this spreads to other native species? Do we simply accept the West Australian solution, whereby the old growth forests have been largely eradicated, and replaced with pine trees… The number of plant, and animal/ reptile species that have disappeared as a result of that lack of forethought is still being counted….

    Central government can do no more than throw it’s weight, and resources behind the efforts of the people who are attempting to find a solution to what could be a devastating outcome….

    That’s the least they should be doing…. If it isn’t happening, then we have the right, and the duty to ask, loudly, “why the hell not…don’t you care what happens to our environment?”

    Well johnny sparkles? Is skimming off money into the pockets of your sponsors too important to give any thought to the legacy of waste, and neglect that this ersatz government is becoming known worldwide for? Or is making soothing noises through the network of poodles that passes for a fourth estate the sum total of your capabilities? Once it’s too late to DO anyting, of course…

  17. Grant Hay says:

    bbfloyd. Please share your definition of “Tory” with us. So far it looks as though you would apply that label to Che Guevara, or indeed anyone else to the left of you who dares to trespass on the holy ground of your precious Red Alert…This is, of course, totally loonie

  18. phillip ure says:

    (an interesting question – from elsewhere..)

    “..Given that housing is the problem – that Labour introduced the original State Housing concept back in 1935 – and that:

    ‘The State Advances Corporation was set up in 1936 to provide cheap, long-term, urban and rural financing on first mortgages.

    It was also provided with the powers to lend to local authorities for the construction of workers’ housing – and to make advances for developing existing industries – and for setting up new ones’ (1).

    What is to stop Labour from returning to their original state and private housing policies as quoted above?

    IMHO – to do so wouldn’t be ‘retrograde’- but rather a return to the NZLP’s founding and basic principles –

    – and so meet the desire to provide for those who cannot do so themslves.

    As their favourite party is always deriding the Nats for supposedly doing nothing in this area –

    – while doing nothing themselves (odd that) despite having nine years of opportunity –

    – perhaps the Labour supporters here can explain why this is not an option?..”

    (over to you..)

    phillip ure..

  19. SPC says:

    It would be a money making venture if the money for the loans was printed – the mortgage repayments would fund government.

    How could this be done – without being inflationary?

    By synchronising the funding with a tightening of credit for housing from other sources (banks) – such as by placing a requirement for 10% deposits for home ownership and requiring a minimum of 20% equity for rental ownership (rising by 1% for every year owned).

    An alternative to run with the current home building plan would be to still introduce the 10 and 20% credit conditions, but issue half of the 10% deposit for home ownership by printing the money for it.

  20. Matt says:

    So, the money for the loans would be printed then sent off via armoured vans? Fund government? Nb. another reason to leave NZ.

    Easy – via fiscal disincentives and re-writing regulation of public entities (banks).

  21. SPC says:

    Printing the money to realise a debt to be paid back to government is lower risk than planning to afford super by issuing more debt onto the credit card as the payments become due.

    After all government government currently borrows money to finance payment of course fees and living costs and then charges this to students as a debt to be paid back to government. Why borrow that money in the first place, why not just print it?

  22. SPC says:

    I suspect we agree for once on the need to regulate bank practice.

    Fiscal disincentives could mean anything … perhaps you could clarify?

  23. Matt says:

    The term “printing the money” should just stop, we’re not talking about $ in circulation. There is ZERO risk to govt which way. The govt doesn’t “borrow” from anywhere, it simply credits all the accounts necessary for running the sector, then dictates via SLs how much students should pay. Debt issuance is a separate action.

    Banks are PUBLIC UTILITIES. Each one. Not private, public. Regulation is as easy as 1,2,3.

    Meaning tax ie. fiscal = spending & taxation choices.

  24. SPC says:

    Well if you want to call borrowing, issuing debt so be it. But the government acknowledges debt to one party to finance the issuing of debt to another. This because the re-payment conditions of the government’s debt are different to the ones being placed on students. My question is why the government has to issue the debt to another to finance issuing a debt to students.

    The amount of “money in circulation” goes up now when we import foreign loans to finance local home purchase. This occurs because overseas there is QE being pumped through foreign banks and then on-lent to our banks. We take the money being printed offshore and it is being used as finance locally to bid up house prices. It is inflating local asset values beyond the reach of locals.

    It could be counter-balanced by building more houses with locally “created money”. Why must Keynesian policy to create growth be funded by debt?

  25. Matt says:

    Well it doesn’t have to issue debt at all. But it does.

    NZ banks have a need for US bank reserves? Which CANNOT leave the inter-bank market… If NZ banks want to hold foreign assets as capital that is their issue, they open themselves to interest and exchange rate risk. They most likely do so because NZ govt bond market is too small.

    Keynesian stimulus is funded via govt spending which comes first, debt issuance comes second via the draining of bank reserves from the inter-bank market. Because banks and financial firms want higher returns. The “sale” or “auction” of govt debt is mostly always over-subscribed.

    And, as a aside, govt debt is stimulatory to the private sector via the interest income channel.

  26. SPC says:

    Most of our government debt is offshore and only rewards countries practicing QE to finance the loans to us.

  27. Matt says:

    It’s actually at the RBNZ accounts. Trade deficits drive foreign desires to hold NZ denominated govt debt, and it’s unsurprising considering the low yields that accompany other sovereigns debt. Risk-free, high yields, unsurprising that financial firms would want that under current world economic conditions…

    QE is an asset-swap, bank reserves for crap assets. It doesn’t leave the banking system. It is DEFLATIONARY.