Posted by: Matthew | April 22, 2012

Extra Channels New Zealand

Dear subscribers,

I’ve got a new blog called Extra Channels New Zealand and on it is my first post – Why New Zealand should fund SBS the Australian public broadcaster. The blog will be about receiving TV channels that aren’t Freeview or Sky, mainly through satellite TV, but also internet TV, because life is too short to watch Shortland Street.

As for the Clean Air blog – I’ve been pretty quiet. It’s not defunct, but I find updating it pretty heartbreaking. All around me I see the problems haven’t been fixed, nor even acknowledged. Tonight driving through the Horowhenua just before sunset it is pretty apparent that rural burning off is completely out of control. It looked like an atomic bomb had been dropped on Shannon. The whole east side of it was smothered by a huge fire’s smoke that had hit an inversion layer and spread out over many kilometres. It was just one of about 8 fires that I saw.

You have to be a moron to burn off, but apparently lots of people are. It’s pretty soul-destroying.

Clean air is a human right, so why are those morons allowed to deny me my human rights?

Cheers, Matty T

Posted by: Matthew | March 25, 2012

The Demise of Nick Smith, Minister for Air Pollution

Nick Smith fell on his sword and has been forced to resign as a minister.

That is fantastic news for New Zealand. Good riddance Doctor Smith.

Yet, he should still be sacked from parliament.

He should have been sacked earlier. He had to go for a bit of cronyism, helping his friend outside of his remit as a minister on ministerial notepaper. Yet one does wonder why he wasn’t sacked for condemning hundreds of New Zealanders to an early grave for his actions as Environment Minister by failing to act on air pollution and extending the deadline for compliance to our lax standards. Of course whilst not doing anything at all to improve the environment the National Party say that they are – The Blue Greens are a Waste of Space.

Prime Minister John Key I call on you to sack Nick Smith from parliament. And how come the National Party doesn’t give a damn about the health of New Zealanders and think that chronically polluted air is fit to breathe?

The Dominion Post’s columnist, National Party Minister for Sycophancy, Sean Plunket, wrote a story called the Irony of Nick Smith’s Demise which I bothered to write a comment on. The Dominion Post didn’t publish my comment as it didn’t quite match the National Party line (by the way Dom Post – your new part owner Gina Rienhart, only paid 12% tax on her income in Australia last year, why is that?). So here is my comment in full:

This is the most astounding sentence in what was a very poor and biased article, “In losing Dr Smith from Cabinet, National also limit its ability to develop the idea of a blue-green political axis where middle-class, liberal and environmentally aware voters could feel comfortable about voting for the party.” Just how gullible are you Sean Plunket?

The National’s Blue-Greens idea is about hoodwinking anyone about their environment policies. It is an effort in doublespeak. I read their Blue-Green policy document and was angry and sick to the stomach. They say one thing and do another. The Blue-Greens policy document was the reason I will never, ever vote for the Nationals.

Their first statement is about how clean air is very important. That’s the say something. And now here is the do nothing:

I read their policy document the same week as environment minister Nick Smith pushed out the date when clean air compliance was going to be enforced from 2013 to 2016 (where they’d push it out again if they’re still in power), so the problem won’t even be begun to be fixed. Hundreds of New Zealanders will die each year unnecessarily because of toxic particulates. (They kill 1100 per year) These are hundreds of dead Kiwis directly because of the actual policies of the National Party.

The reality is that if you are environmentally aware (and National know that so few people really are) you wouldn’t vote for National.

And now Dr Nick Smith is going to spend the winter in Nelson. I hope he goes outside and takes a deep breath each evening. Now there’s your real problem. Nelson, like many NZ towns and cities is chronically polluted by woodsmoke and he did nothing about it. As a National he was incapable of doing anything about it.

That’s the crux of it, nothing will ever get better whilst National are in power. They are a roadblock on the way to progressing as a society. At least one roadblock has been got out of the way.
Posted by: Matthew | January 19, 2012

Auckland proposing to do too little

Auckland is polluted. 700 people die prematurely in Auckland each year due to woodsmoke.

Now Auckland is proposing to ban open fires and “old woodburners”.

It hasn’t worked in Christchurch. And it won’t work in Auckland, because replacing old stinkers with new stinkers is not the answer.

Auckland like the rest of the country needs to ban all burning wood. 100% prohibition is the only fair and equitable solution.

Wood is a dirty fuel. It is impossible to burn wood cleanly. If you are using a dirty fuel source you need to replace it with a clean source. Auckland may think they are addressing the problem, but they are making the fundamental mistake of believing the bullshit that the manufacturers claim about their products. The manufacturers deliberately misrepresent how dirty their products are. When used in the real world they do not burn as cleanly as they say. (And even if they did burn as clean as they claimed, they would still be too dirty to use. The emissions of any heater used in a neighbourhood where people live should be zero)

Ban all wood burners.

Posted by: Matthew | November 24, 2011

Green Ribbon Award for Kapiti Council makes me sick

The Kapiti Coast District Council boasts of winning a Green Ribbon Award for “the outstanding contributions of individuals, organisations, businesses and communities to protecting and enhancing New Zealand’s environment.”

It actually makes me sick that this kind of greenwash bullshit propaganda is given out to the KCDC. Never before has an organisation been so undeserving.

This is the same Kapiti Coast District Council that did absolutely nothing for me both times when I tried to live in Kapiti.

I couldn’t live in Raumati South because of the air pollution caused by wood burners. The KCDC has done nothing about the problem. Despite the regional council finding that Raumati South is polluted.

And this is the Kapiti Coast District Council that did nothing about the burnoff smoke problem that drove me from my house in rural Te Horo. In fact they were worse than useless. Simon Amos and the other Rural Fire Officers of the Compliance and Monitoring Branch were obstinate, unhelpful and they did an absolutely terrible job. They should have been sacked for their shithouse attitude where they were perfectly happy for me to endure smoke in my house, and where they did not act on any of my complaints, and they did not act on all the breaches to the permits that should never have been issued in the first place, that I pointed out:

  • Burning plastic (oh yeah I have photos)
  • Burning after dark. (yeah I have photos)
  • Burning too close to my house.
  • Bringing in stuff by the trailer load to burn (I have photos)
  • Not attending the fire as it was burning. (I have photos)
  • Causing smoke nuisance and odour nuisance beyond the property boundary.

That is the type of shit that was done to me by the Kapiti Coast District Council in cahoots with what must have been the biggest fuckwit of a neighbour I have ever had to endure.

The Kapiti Coast District Council failed me completely. Giving them a “Green Ribbon Award” is a kick in the guts, and makes me feel sick.

You still owe me a huge apology KCDC. Jenny Rowan you still owe me a huge apology for that to happen on your watch as mayor.

The Kapiti Coast was not a nice place to live.


Posted by: Matthew | November 8, 2011

Horizons not doing their job

On the Manawatu Standard website is this story: Callers say it is Smelly and Smoky

From it:

“Almost half the environmental incidents recorded by Horizons in the past two months have been related to air and include bad smells and heavy smoke. They have been reported to Horizons’ pollution hotline or noted by its compliance staff. Forty complaints about air quality were received. ”

and also:

“In rural areas there should be no offensive smoke or odour that crosses property boundaries and smoke must not affect visibility on roads or for aircraft.”

So there are at least 40 times when the rules have been breached in two months, which means Horizons is failing at enforcing the rules.

It’s pretty much the fact that all rural burnoffs cause offensive smoke and odour, so all rural burnoffs should be banned. C’mon Horizons do your job. We actually don’t like being subjected to offensive smoke and odour.

Posted by: Matthew | November 1, 2011

The NZHHA continue their industrial bastardry

It’s been a month since the NZHHA were found to be lying on their website and their bullshit claims with their 10 reasons why Wood is Good. They’ve had a month to change it. They haven’t changed it. That is just sheer bloody arrogance.

It too is industrial bastardry.

How come the corporate interests of the NZHHA matter more than the health and comfort of New Zealanders?

To the NZHHA and to the members of the NZHHA – you are a bunch of selfish bastards out to misrepresent and to lie to New Zealand consumers to further the sales of your shithouse, unfit for any purpose products, that have no business being sold, and that should be immediately recalled, with the money refunded to everyone who has bought one, and an apology given to all New Zealanders for the degradation of the environment caused by the pollution that your products cause.

Burning wood is not good and you shouldn’t lie to us and tell us otherwise.

From the Dominion Post:  Hawke’s Bay Bans Open Fires. From it …

Hawke’s Bay Regional Council has prohibited domestic open fires from January 1, despite the delayed implementation of national air quality standards, and against the wishes of local mayors.

Hastings Mayor Lawrence Yule and Napier Mayor Barbara Arnott said they were surprised at the regional council deadline, given that the implementation date of the standards had been bumped back.

Shame on Horizons Regional Council for not having any plan, despite having polluted towns like Taihape, Taumaranui etc, but for sheer scale bare faced lies you can’t beat the Wellington Regional Council with this quote from the article:

A Greater Wellington regional Council spokesman said there were no rules governing discharges from domestic fires as air quality met the required standards apart from a few occasions in sheltered valley areas such as Masterton and Wainuiomata.

Well what a big fat liar the Wellington Regional council is. They don’t measure air quality enough and when they do it is more than just Masterton and Wainui (as if the people in those towns don’t matter at all). Remember Raumati South – it’s polluted too… and Tawa, and Karori and …

All this goes to show that getting cleaner air is an uphill battle against the forces of stupidity like Nick Smith, Lawrence Yule and Barbara Arnott and it’s a bit hit and miss with the regional councils if they employ smart or dumb people.

And this is only a first step to cleaner air. It’s not just domestic open fires that are the problem, it is rural burnoffs, which are a huge problem in Horizons and everywhere else, and it is domestic woodburners. Wood smoke is real, and little half measures are only the first step on the way to full prohibition.

Lastly Flaxmere resident Neralee Edlin says in the article: “We use it quite a lot, especially in the morning. Housing NZ told me to stop using it a while ago, but we need it to stay warm. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Well learn something about the effect you are having on your neighbourhood Neralee. You are poisioning all of your neighbours, and you are contributing to the death of the 1100 people who die in Aotearoa annually due to woodsmoke. So stop being so bloody selfish. Being poor is a very weak excuse. Real impoverishment is living in a polluted neighbourhood.

The New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority recently upheld a complaint that the NZHHA website was misleading the public with lies and misinformation in its list called 10 reasons why wood is good.

The ASA decision may make for cringeful reading (are they really that gullible that they bought some of the weak arguments of the NZHHA?) but it did uphold the complaint.

The NZHHA is arrogantly thumbing its nose at the public. It has been called on lying to the public, it has been found to be deliberately misleading the public. They’ve been asked to withdraw their false claims, and they haven’t. Why not? Why are they too arrogant to change their website’s misinformation? Why are they completely disrespecting the NZASA and the New Zealand public?

For what it is worthI think the NZHHA is a lying, propagandising organisation full of unrepentant bastards who will pollute the air that New Zealanders have to breathe and then they want to tell you how fantastic they think it is. They are a disgusting organisation hell bent on ruining the quality of life of everybody for reasons of lining their own pockets.

All of the NZHHAs members’ products should be recalled and their customers’ money refunded. All their members’ products have a fatal flaw in that they emit toxic exhausts at levels way above what they claim when used in the real world, and that toxic pollution at any level seriously endangers the health and wellbeing of the communities in which their members’ products are installed. It is scandalous that such rubbish products are still being sold and used.

Wood is good. But not when it is burnt.


The NZHHA has strong links to the AHHA and I’m still bitter about their unwanted interference in my affairs which resulted in the loss of my house in suburban Adelaide to wood smoke pollution. If they didn’t have false marketing  and propagandising that my neighbours believed, and if the Tea Tree Gully Council had have told them to butt out instead of inviting them in, then I might still have that house. But it was unfit for human habitation because of the excessive pollution I was forced to endure. I completely blame the AHHA for the loss of my house and turning me into an environmental refugee.

Woodburners have no place in either Australia or New Zealand. Organisations like the AHHA and the NZHHA should be forced to disband. Like woodsmoke they are an evil, sick presence in the community.

And as for the NZASA and its gullibilities then that is a post for another times.

The reality of burning wood in a suburban setting

Why should anyone be forced to breathe smoke when they don’t want to?

And in the light of that why is the permissable levels of woodsmoke pollution not zero?

I know there are natural sources of particulates in the atmosphere, salt laden winds for instance. I’m not arguing to change the physical world. But why is anyone allowed to burn at all, when really the question we should be asked is:

Why should anyone be forced to breathe smoke when they don’t want to?

I think it is a a huge moral injustice to burn wood anywhere where someone is going to be forced to breathe the smoke, however slight, and however incidental. The allowable smoke shouldn’t be 50ug/m3 of PM25 with one exceedence a year. It should be zero. It is a  physical assault on someone to force them to breathe smoke.

It is a moral argument on why no one should ever use a woodburner, and it is a moral argument on why woodheaters should not be allowed to be sold nor installed. What is the counter argument from the likes of the NZHHA? That I don’t have enough personal autonomy about my own body to make decisions for myself? Really what the NZHHA is saying to me is “Fuck You. Shut the Fuck Up. ”

How many people have to lose their homes because they won’t listen to us? Why should anyone be forced to breathe smoke when they don’t want to?

Woodburners are inherently evil. They should be banned.

Posted by: Matthew | September 28, 2011

Auckland is polluted.

At the Herald they’re saying Auckland air quality is the worst of any major city in Australasia.

From it:  “Dr Smith said his Government was serious about improving air quality, with a programme to convert 20,000 homes to clean heating, and tightening fuel and vehicle emission standards.”

Bullshit Dr. Smith.

May one remind him of his government’s literally stinking decision to postpone the dates that any stricter targets came in.

Once again I call on Dr Nick Smith, Minister on the Environment to resign. His government is not serious about improving air quality.He has completely failed. And in a New Zealand context Auckland isn’t much polluted compared to just about every other town. Timaru, Ashburton, Christchurch, Raumati, Masterton, South Dunedin, Arrowtown, Nelson, Taumaranui, Foxton, Tawa, and just about anywhere in NZ is polluted. National have done nothing. In fact they have done worse than nothing. They are only prolonging our misery.

It’s about time something real was done about air pollution in New Zealand. A real measure is a ban on the thing that is actually causing most of the pollution, and that is woodburners. Go on piss weak Dr Nick Smith, do something useful. Otherwise you’re just a waste of space.

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