Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DCD and the 'Sleeping giant' that is/was the Maori economy

But are the dogs running or sleeping?

Me and dogs.

I don't mind dogs. We got a Dalmatian last year, Lila, lovely dog, killed a massive rat in our lounge once.

And I use to fish the Tutaekuri River which ran a few minutes walk from our whare in Kauri Street, Taradale. Dogs can be kai.
looking upstream of Tutaekuri, towards the Otatara pa .

I expect to see at least two guard dogs in every truck yard I pass, like the yard on the corner of Vickerys and Washbourne Roads, back of Sockburn by the old airbase. One of the dogs there - they used Dobermans, Rottweilers, the occasional Alsatian- was three-legged. Dangerous work, if you can get it.

sunrise through the HotDip galvanising plant
the old burger bunker, a wreck before the quake...

In Capitalist korero there is the term running dogs of capitalism...which Wikipedia tells me is a "literal translation into English of the Chinese/Korean communist pejorative zǒu gǒu 走狗, meaning lackey or lapdog, an unprincipled person who helps or flatters other, more powerful and often evil people. It is derived from the eagerness with which a dog will respond when called by its owner, even for mere scraps.

I also know to Let sleeping dogs lie, remember the film? I was somewhat stunned by the synopsis:

 Following the break-up of his marriage caused by his wife's affair with another man named Bullen (Mune), "Smith" (Neill) arranges to live on the Coromandel peninsula on an island owned by a Maori tribe. Meanwhile, political tensions escalate as an oil embargo leaves the country in an energy crisis. Tensions boil over into a civil war and guerrilla activity. However, Smith enjoys his peaceful island life and has little interaction with the rest of society.

Well, we all know what happens to Smith. (Actually, I forgot, so I had to look it up.)

What we don't know is what's happening to the 'Sleeping giant' of NZ Inc that is the Maori Economy?

With so much riding on the dairy sector, it poaka-fisted attempts to control korero on its soil management strategies must. give. one. pause. to. think.

I recall Ingrid Collins, chair of Parae Whangara B5 which took out Te Ahuwhenua, saying we/they had reached the limits of intensification, and they're mainly sheep and beef.

Pity the lowlands.

i think this water is looking for the Heathcote...near Tower Junction...

Without wanting to oversimplify, the reason I'm posting on what was an obscure chemical (albeit one developed on the very campus from which this is posted...) is that Rod Oram touches on the risk to our Maori economy, or at least that chunk still on the land. DairyNZ and Fonterra, through supporting/contracting research on technological solutions to the environmental (and hence social and market contexts), are reaching those limits, both limits to the land, the water, their ecosystems, and to people, the hours they can work, the injuries they can carry.

We've seen the invisible hand reaching to the Pacific all those years ago. Now its is grasping, pummeling, clenching, all too desperate, and all too visible if you know where to look.

I think we are seeing the extremities of the logic of accumulating capital. Maori have seen the land squeezed from our hands, the blood wrung out of us as workers but still. it. goes. on.

So this latest corporate fuck up (and perhaps more in the arrogance of the political arm rather than the technocratic) is merely the latest incarnation of capital's logic. More people are aware, more focused questions can be asked, more scrutiny of the answers is possible.

Ain't the end. Ain't even the beginning of the end. But it might be the end of the beginning.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Eco-N comment from Rod Oram

The straight-faced Rod Oram gives an interesting comment on the Eco-N event. Ol' Rodders is quite dismissive of Fonterras role...

Monday, January 28, 2013

Google news alerts: Maori Economy

As I mentioned a year or so ago, I set up a Google news alert for 'Maori economy'. Some months there's only 1 or 2 items, like this month. Other times - Hui taumata follow-ons, political push, major conference etc. - there will be 7, 8, or more.

Sweet f.a. this month... outta Hone Ki's ruma, another the NBR.

Great. No really! Just great...

Sunday, January 27, 2013

DCP, Eco-N, and milk supply chain management...

As scandals go, it'll probably never reach great heights but for lil' ol' Lincoln campus it is a foot on the ladder.

The product - Eco-N - was developed by Lincoln researchers (led by Prof's Hong Di and Keith Cameron) has been withdrawn by Ravensdown after concerns were raised by foreign markets that the compound around which the IP was wrapped - Dicyandiamide (DCP) - was finding its way into the milk supply.

Staff received an email from the VC's office and links to a couple of press releases, one from Ravensdown (part-owner of the rights to Eco-N) and another from MPI. For MPI, the 'crux' of the issue is the lack of internationally set standards for DCD residues in the food chain: "This is because DCD has not been considered to have any impact on food safety."

Perception, of course, is everything in the premium food stakes we're NZ Inc. has staked its claim. The Wall Street Journal asks 'Is New Zealand milk safe to drink?'...

Talk in the LU staff club was around the products up-take by farmers (500 are claimed, only about 5% of the total NZ dairy estate), and efficacy. One wag said it was less effective the further you got from Lincoln campus...Researcher commissioned by Ravensdown, undertaken by Doug Edmeades, found it had 'little effect' on pasture production. And while a 'positive effect on reducing soil nitrates' was found 'but by how much is still is unknown.'

There was talk of 'commercial sensitivity' and dodgy oversight. Fonterra has known for sometime and sat on the knowledge until they floated their wee shareholder scheme. Lincoln also lost out on a major collaborative strategy with Dairy NZ to Auckland. Small country, everyone knows someone.
Oh well.

As a social scientist, and one with a hankering for more Actor-Network Theory ops, this is a great case study. They need some extra arrows...

As an employee of Lincoln University, I see a hit to our credibility that may ripple on for sometime yet.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Geo-environmental review on impacts of Christchurch earthquakes...

Dr Amanda Black has reviewed the research on impacts on the environment from the 2010-11 earthquakes.

While our research focuses on the affects of the disaster on Maori communities, Amanda’s report serves as a reminder of the tremendous changes wrought on our landscape with 580,000 tonnes of silt and sand brought to the surface – the liquefaction we all noticed - and substantial damage to infrastructure (above and below ground), ruptured land surfaces and changes in hydrological patterns.

Our urban waterways were inundated with sediment and sewerage (20,000 m3 of sewage per day entering the Heathcote River), resulting in dramatic impacts on water quality and biological communities (i.e. fish, macroinvertebrates, and algae).

Amanda cites research by Lincoln PhD candidate Naomi Wells who found that the hydrological changes and mass sewage discharge had a catastrophic initial impact but 6 months after the February event, and following repairs to the wastewater system, there were no significant differences detected in water chemistry or nutrient (primarily nitrogen) cycling between those severely impacted reaches (Opawa and further east) and minimally impacted sites (west).
Within Christchurch city the Heathcote River/ Ōpawaho study area spanned an impact gradient from minimally affected headwaters in the west through severely affected reaches in the east (minimally, moderately, and severely affected from both sewage and liquefaction zones indicated with shading). The river drains into the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/ Ihutai to the east, where the Bromley Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is also located.

While the recovery of benthic invertebrate populations has lagged behind that of organisms at lower trophic levels, this is a typical response in the recovery of streams and rivers and demonstrates their reliance on a specific range of water chemistry values and the presence of a food source.

This observation reinforces the importance of having relatively un-impacted areas (i.e., conservation areas) to re-seed ecosystems that are abruptly disturbed by natural disasters.

The report can be read in full through the following link:

A review of the environmental impacts from the Ōtautahi/Canterbury Earthquakes (Dr. Amanda Black)

Simon Lambert

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