Earth hour will kill us all! 1 – Lighting

In this series I’m adopting the language used by the global warming enthusiasts in an attempt to communicate on level ground.

This Saturday, we’re supposed to turn off all our lights for an hour to “join [WWF] in taking a step towards living more sustainably”.

But what is the real effect on the environment of switching off our lights and burning candles instead?

Modern candles are generally made from parrafin wax – ie, oil. They burn inefficiently, putting out most of their energy as heat, while producing a little bit of light as well. On the other hand, most of New Zealand’s electricity generation is from renewable sources (hydro), so produces very low carbon emissions.

So what are you doing if you huddle over candles this Saturday?

  • Depending on how many candles & lights you use, you may actually increase your carbon emissions (unless you make your own candles from tallow of course (a renewable biofuel), so the die-hard hippies are ok. But they probably have earth hour every night anyway).
  • Inhaling smoke, damaging your lungs (again no change for the die-hard hippies if they’re on the weed anyway). Smoke inhalation is a major health problem in the third world, and is one of the reasons we use electric light.
  • Wasting money. Electricity is far cheaper than candles – because it is more efficient.
  • Damaging local industry, sending money to China. Electricity is made by Kiwis, for Kiwis. Most of our candles are made in China (check your packet). Buy NZ made – use electricity this Earth Hour.
  • Creating a fire hazard. Candles are a major source of house fires. This week it could be you.

I’m sure there are more problems I’ve missed. If you don’t want your cemetary to be flooded by rising seawater in a hundred years, Buy NZ Made this earth hour, and use electric lights.

See also: Earth hour will kill us all! 2 – Appliances
Earth hour will kill us all! 3 – Entertainment

EDIT 1:
Although the Fire Service suggests torches as safer than candles, they’re at least as bad for the environment. Batteries are toxic and take a large amount of energy to produce relative to the amount of light you get out of them. And they’re probably made in China too. Don’t go there.

EDIT 2:
Rather than candles or torches, it would be far more sustainable to use some of New Zealand’s clean, eco-friendly renewable electricity, crank out the outdoor Christmas lights, and join MandM’s Earth Hour protest.

Right to Life survey

The initial results of the Right to Life candidate survey on pro-life issues are available here.

As expected, both the Family Party and Kiwi Party candidate responses are a sea of green and yellow (pro-life positions).

The response from the major parties was very poor, with only 4 from National, 5 from Labour and 3 from Green, so it is hard to know how representative these are. But if we assume they are representative, the other parties in order from pro-life to pro-death(?) are something like:

  • National
  • United Future
  • Act
  • Labour
  • Green

Alan Liefting of the Green party is the only candidate to have a full line of red dots as his answers – I have talked to Alan a bit in the past at university and this doesn’t surprise me at all. We must get rid of the Green party.

It is interesting that National looks better than United Future on a cursory glance, but there are few responses to judge them by. This does confirm why the Family Party will find it much easier to work with National than with Labour.

Hat tip: Right to Life New Zealand

Close election requires strategic voting

This election is going to be scarily close. It will actually be decided by the votes in several key electorates:

  • Epsom (whether Act is in or not, should be guaranteed but nothing is certain in politics)
    • Rodney Hide
  • Mangere and East Coast Bays (whether the Family Party is in or not)
    • Jerry Filipaina and Paul Adams
  • Tauranga and Rimutaka (whether NZ First is in or not)
    • Simon Bridges and Christopher Hipkins Richard Whiteside

Voters wanting a change of government in these five electorates need to vote strategically. Even if you disagree with Act’s policies, but are in Epsom and want a change of government, Rodney Hide needs your vote. Even if you disagree with Family policies, but are in Mangere or ECB, Jerry Filipaina or Paul Adams needs your vote.

To keep NZ First out, as they will support Labour, Simon Bridges (National) needs your vote in Tauranga, and Christopher Hipkins (Labour) needs your vote in Rimutaka (as the other candidate with the best chance of taking it, the electorate is currently held by Labour) Richard Whiteside in Rimutaka. It doesn’t matter if you disagree with National’s or Labour’s polices – their total numbers will be decided by the party vote, even voting in a Labour candidate here will make no difference to Labour’s total numbers. But candidates make a massive difference to the minor parties.

On the other hand, if Labour voters go for Ron Mark in Rimutaka, that reduces Hipkins chances, and maybe it would be better to vote for the National candidate – this is like trying to play chess 8 moves ahead against 40,000 other players… I don’t like recommending voting against Ron Mark, he is a good man, but unfortunately they will only be siding with Labour this time so he is dragged down by the fact he is in NZ First. Very frustrating. If he jumped ship to National or stood as an independent I could recommend him.

I would also like to be able to recommend Larry Baldock in Tauranga, as a Christian candidate who won’t side with Labour, but ultimately keeping NZ First out will achieve more to change the government than getting Baldock in, and if National voters go for Baldock they risk letting Winston Peters take the electorate. If only Baldock was standing in a different electorate I would be able to recommend him too. But the reality is that Simon Bridges needs those votes more.

We must ensure National has as many friends as possible, and Labour has as few as possible, and that will take careful, strategic voting – and in some cases that may mean voting for someone whose policies you disagree with (such as in Rimutaka). That’s MMP for you.

EDIT: You may note some changes with regard to Rimutaka. This is after I received the following email from Richard Whiteside, the National candidate there, who obviously knows far more about the electorate than I:

I read your blog post on Rimutaka and you have got it totally wrong. Due to boundary changes that favour National & Paul Swain standing down who got 3000 more votes than his party vote at the last election. Rimutaka is very winnable for National. I am the only married family man standing. I was born and bred locally and have been campaigning full time since April. I am running a full campaign to win Rimutaka and have had huge support from National. Being a family man I strongly support family values and have openly declared I do not support the smacking law and signed the petition.

Ron Mark got 10.8% of the vote in 2005 in Waimakariri – that is after 3 attempts, he only started campaigning 2 or 3 weeks ago & he lives in the Wairarapa not Rimutaka.

I know from polling I have a very strong chance of winning this as long as Ron Mark does not take National votes away from me.

Christian Vote 2008

Andy Moore has put together an excellent website analysing which party is best for Christians to vote for this election. He backs up everything he says with facts. His overall conclusion is:

  • Best choice: The Family Party
  • Close second: Act
  • Not recommended, but better than nothing: National
  • Not worth considering: United Future and Kiwi

Putting Kiwi and UF so low may surprise some readers, but as I said he backs up what he says with facts so I would encourage you to read the entire page.

I would add to his electorate recommendations however so it stated:

  • Mangere – Jerry Filipaina
  • East Coast Bays – Paul Adams
  • Manukau East – Papali’i Poutoa Papali’i
  • Epsom – Rodney Hide

Remember that these electorate votes are vital in MMP, both Family and Act need to take one electorate each to be represented after the election. Andy recommends National in other electorates, but I would disagree as electorate votes make little difference to the outcome for either National or Labour. Vote for whoever would do the best job in your opinion in other electorates. But Mangere, East Coast Bays, Manukau East and Epsom are vital to vote as recommended above to ensure we have a decent government after the election.

Check out his other websites too: Don’t Vote Labour and Don’t Vote Greens.

Kiwi Party election chances

Ok, we all know the Kiwi Party hasn’t got a hope of gaining any seats this election. They need an electorate seat. They are pinning their hopes on Tauranga, which Baldock will never take in the current political climate.

I have found, when discussing this with Kiwi Party supporters (such as at Being Frank) and even with a Kiwi Party candidate at a “meet the candidates” meeting last night:

Even strong Kiwi Party supporters & candidates know they haven’t got a hope

Yet they are still pushing for party votes, and say “no vote is wasted if you are voting with your convictions”.

This is ridiculous. They know they won’t get in. They know any vote for them will not change the makeup of parliament. Yet they are still trying to take votes off other parties.

If someone is “voting with their convictions”, and likes Kiwi Party moral policy, they will probably also agree with the Family Party policy – and the Family Party actually has a chance of taking electorate seats (Mangere, East Coast Bays, Manukau East). Therefore these moral votes could be used by the Family Party, but will certainly be wasted on the Kiwi Party.

Alternatively these votes could have been used by National, to at least change the government (Kiwi have said they will not work with Labour so must want a change of government).

I have refrained from posting much on this issue up till now, as I don’t like to criticise our Christian brothers & sisters in Kiwi – I wish I was working alongside them rather than against them. But to have even a Kiwi Party candidate clearly understand voting for them would not do anything to change the government, yet still try and take votes we could use effectively, just tipped me over the edge.

If they know they don’t have a hope, they should encourage their supporters to vote for Family or National. Otherwise every bit of campaigning they do makes a Labour-led government MORE likely.

Colmar Brunton poll September 08

The Colmar Brunton poll is now out, and things continue to look up for The Family Party. The percentages have jumped around a bit again as they always do for the minor parties, due to the error at these low values, but the latest result is:

  • NZ First                    2.6%
  • United Future           0.7%
  • Act NZ                     0.6%
  • The Family Party  0.3%
  • Christian Heritage    0.2%
  • Libertarianz              0.2%
  • Kiwi Party                  0.1%
  • Progressives            0.1%

The Family Party is sitting on 0.3%, as in July and August. This is not very high yet, we need to push our publicity over the next few weeks, but is steady. We are still the best-supported party outside parliament and are polling higher than two parties with current seats. Family + CH + Destiny (which I have been using to guage the conservative voters that are interested in a Christian party) is once again steady on 0.5%, as it has been for 4 months.

Kiwi is down on 0.1%, once again showing they haven’t a hope this election and conservative voters need to get behind the one party with a chance of actually making a difference – The Family Party. NZ First would be gone if they can’t take a seat, which would make our votes count a bit more. Libertarianz are doing well.

True situation with 1080

Further to my previous post on the Kiwi Party’s poorly thought out vote-buying policy of banning aerial 1080 drops, there has been an excellent article on this issue in the Waikato Times.

This article points out at length all the problems with 1080, and interviews several people about it, most of whom are opposed to it. But even those opposed to aerial 1080 are not suggesting banning it:

Dean Lugton says children used to come to his farm and he would take them hunting in the bush.

“We couldn’t do it this year because of the aerial drop (at the Rangitoto Range),” he says.

“Everyone understands there are areas that they need to use 1080 in but why use it in areas that are totally able to be hunted on?” he says. “You can hunt the Rangitoto, you can walk over it, I have been for 18-19 years. I don’t think it is an area that needs to be bombed with the amount of 1080 they have been using. It is wrecking recreational hunting.”

Read the whole article. These people have serious concerns about the effects of 1080 in particular places where it is used. But they also understand there are only alternatives in accessible areas.

But Paul Etheredge from Ti Miro, whose property is near to where a aerial drop was carried out last year, says he sees 1080 as a “necessary tool for controlling possums”.

“I have no concerns about the way it is done. I would rather see it done some other way but I can’t see any biological control in the pipeline for quite a while,” Mr Etheredge says.

We need to continue research into alternatives, and encourage alternatives where they exist. Hopefully we can eventually stop aerial application of 1080, once we have found an alternative. But we cannot jump to knee-jerk vote-buying “solutions” on this or any other serious issue. Policy must be practical.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.