Monthly Archives: November 2008

Environmentalists and windfarms: Beware the loss of vision

A couple of years ago I visited Te Apiti Windfarm near Woodville. I found the windmills both impressive and disconcerting.

The generation of ‘green’ energy is something I strongly support. I admire the engineering feat, and I have to say that the visual impact on the landscape doesn’t bother me too deeply. But I don’t live in the region any more. Besides, given that Woodville is at the heart of a farming area that only 130 years ago was known as the ‘Seventy Mile Bush’, my feeling is that the clear felling of this once forested region was a change to the landscape far more traumatic, for both tangata whenua and the natural world, than the installation of 55 windmills.

Nevertheless, standing at the foot of one of the 70-metre pylons, looking up at the rotor turning directly above my head, I immediately felt uncomfortable: there was something about those huge blades churning up the air that was more than a little disturbing. Although it’s not something a supporter of ‘green’ energy might care to admit, I have to say that I just did not enjoy being around the windmills. And so, since that visit to Te Apiti, I’ve had a certain sympathy for the opponents of windfarm developments.

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Filed under climate change, David, green politics, social justice, sustainability

Polling, voting, and Green Party strategy

One reaction I’ve been hearing from Greens in post-election analysis is: “I’d hoped we would have done better – some of the polls had us higher than that”

There are a number of explanations for the (apparent) discrepancy between the polls and the final result, and it is worth looking at them more closely, because they have different implications for Green Party tactics and strategy in future elections.

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, green politics

Are the Greens sell-outs?

Bryce Edwards has written an important and thoughtful critical analysis of the Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand’s recent election campaign: Have the Greens Sold their Soul?

I don’t agree with all he says: the whole point of billboards

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, Barry, green politics

Collective success, individual success, and the political philosophy of John Key

A few months ago, before his recent New Zealand election success, John Key was the subject of an in-depth profile in the New Zealand Herald. Reflecting on that profile on well sharp, Barry asked: “What are we getting ourselves into?

Well, we are beginning to find out. In his victory speech, John Key let us see his political philosophy very clearly when he said: “What will determine success is the unity of purpose, a willingness to work together while recognising that our collective success rests on the success of individuals.”

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Filed under Aotearoa New Zealand, David

The global credit crisis: An opportunity, not a tsunami

The former chair of the US Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan, has been widely reported as describing the global financial crisis as a “once in a century credit tsunami” (reports here and here). It’s an interesting statement, mostly because it is so utterly disingenuous.

We can see just how misleading it is with the help of the insightful analysis recently provided by Nicholas Hildyard. In his paper, Hildyard has examined the “(crumbling) wall of money” built by financial geniuses using the tools of securitisation, private equity and hedge funds.

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Filed under capitalism, David, economic analysis