The Herald calls for photos of Earth Hour

Yes, that’s right! Not only can you get your eco-friendly electricity photos from Earth Hour published on the Anti Earth Hour blog, you may be able to get them into the Herald! They require a comment with every photo…

I’ve submitted the photo of our house, with the following message:

We thought long and hard about the most environmentally friendly way to light our house for earth hour. Candles were out of the question, the carbon emissions are too high (most are made from parrafin wax, derived from oil) and they produce polluting smoke that I wouldn’t want my young son to be breathing. We’ve been lectured for years now about the dangers of second-hand smoke. Torches were just as bad, as disposable batteries are toxic and use a large amount of energy to produce, having higher CO2 emissions than mains electricity.

Furthermore both candles and batteries are mainly made in China these days, and the emissions from transport must also be taken into account. Candles are also a fire hazard, and because of their inefficiency are far more expensive than electricity.

So we finally settled on NZ-made renewable hydro-electricity as the lowest-emission, most eco-friendly way to light our house.

Update: The photo is on the Herald website, along with another dissenting one by Dave Mann.

Family First wants more regulation – again

I generally agree with Family First on most issues. But Bob McCoskrie does seem to like regulation too much sometimes in my mind. After calling for more bureaucratic hoops to jump through before you can put up a billboard, he is now criticising the Government’s plan to allow workers to choose whether to have their fourth week of annual leave or get a cash bonus instead.

Family First’s press release states:

Family First NZ says that cash payment provisions on the 4 week of annual leave proposed by the government will harm family time as the temptation to have immediate cash will be too great to resist for some families.

Sounds reasonable, but what does he actually identify as the real problem:

“Poll after poll has shown that both parents and children want to spend more time together doing family things like picnics and holidays together. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult as the retail industry is required to work almost every day of the year, and other industries expand to six and even seven days per week.” …

According to the International Labour Organisation (ILO) report, New Zealanders work longer than any other nationality, apart from the Japanese. 21% of NZ workers work more than 50 hours a week. In most EU countries the number of people working 50 hours or more per work remains well under 10%. Just over 1% workers in the Netherlands work longer hours, while only 6% in Greece and Ireland do so. In Australian and American the rate is 20%.

If the big problem is number of days worked per week, and hours per day, how do statutory holidays affect this?

If you assume the same amount of work still has to be done, people will just have to work harder every other week, so will have less time to spend with their children for most of the year. Frankly, I’d prefer having a few extra hours with my son each week than getting one extra week’s holiday to try and make up for the time I missed with him during the year.

But that should be my own choice. This is a non-issue.

There are very important things that Family First does point out – this week in their email (which you can sign up for here) we have the smacking issue reigniting, informed choice on vaccinations, the EU banning the use of “Miss” and “Mrs”, and other interesting stuff. Family First is a great lobby group, if you aren’t signed up for their emails yet do it today.

I just sometimes wish they’d pick their battles more carefully.