From Good Guys To Fall Guys: The Spinoff and Generation Zero fail to endorse Mike Lee



UP UNTIL TUESDAY of last week I’d always thought of The Spinoff and Generation Zero as the good guys. A wee bit hipsterish perhaps, in the case of the former; a little hard to distinguish from the Green Party in the latter – but these were minor quibbles. Overall, both organisations came across as fresh, creative, and definitely on the side of the progressive angels.

Not anymore.

On Tuesday morning The Spinoff, in collaboration with Generation Zero, released their list of endorsed candidates for the Auckland Council elections. Following the embedded links, I read, with a mixture of disbelief and outrage, the following sentences:

“At first glance [Mike] Lee seems like a pretty good councillor. He’s in favour of the CRL, [Central Rail Loop] and his bio says he’s a campaigner for good public transport. Dig a little deeper, and you’ll see he’s an ancient Waiheke sea goblin intent on imprisoning Auckland in a 1950s time prison.”

It goes without saying that this assessment is as wrong as it is vicious. Mike Lee’s record of service to the people of Auckland is extraordinary. From the protection of municipal assets (especially the Ports of Auckland) to the creation of regional parks, his contributions to the city are large and tangible. Even the author of the above-quoted outpouring of bile, Hayden Donnell, couldn’t avoid acknowledging Mike as a “campaigner” for “good public transport”. It’s one way of describing the guy who secured the electrification of the Auckland rail network – I can think of better ones.

None of this matters, however. Not in the “post-truth politics” of our times. Virtually none of the young readers of The Spinoff will have the slightest knowledge of Mike Lee’s life-long dedication to progressive politics. They won’t remember his time as Chair of the Auckland Regional Council, nor his contribution to restoring Tiritiri Matangi. They’ll never have read his doctoral thesis on the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, nor his articles in the New Zealand Political Review. All they’ve been given to work with is Hayden Donnell’s gratuitously insulting and outrageously unjustified censure.

That the editorial team at The Spinoff were happy to allow such a journalistic abomination to go out under their name says a great deal – not only about their ethics, but also (and more importantly) about their politics.

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Because the flip-side of The Spinoff’s trashing of Mike Lee’s reputation is their endorsement of the “charismatic former media boss renowned for his long lunches”, Bill Ralston. There’s no examination of Ralston’s record (apart from his heroic wielding of the company credit-card) no warning that he has never represented his fellow citizens on any elected body, and certainly no heads-up about his being very, very, very good friends with John Key’s National Government.

No, the only reason Ralston gets The Spinoff’s appropriately coloured blue circle is because he has pledged his allegiance to the Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan. For Generation Zero this is all that matters. The slightest expression of doubt; the merest suggestion that this property developers’ charter, unmitigated by the democratic intervention of councillors like Mike Lee, will disfigure beyond repair one of the world’s most beautiful cities is enough to get you accused of wanting to lock Auckland up in “a 1950s time prison”.

What the whole distasteful incident reveals is that although The Spinoff affects a hipsterish cynicism about all things political, the precise opposite is true.

A real hipster would look at Bill Ralston and see a former mainstream media boss impatient to help out his right-wing mates by moving up to the top table. The same hipster would look at Mike Lee and venture a wry smile that although the left-wing tide has been going out for three long decades this ageing baby-boomer has never lost his faith in a better tomorrow – and has solid achievements to prove it. That sort of hipster would know exactly who to endorse.

But the boys and girls at The Spinoff are not cynical hipsters, they’re true believers. Members of a generation which, knowing nothing else, have absorbed the ideological assumptions of neoliberalism without conspicuous protest. Now they want their reward. They’re hungry for economic and political power and bitterly resentful that it has not yet been given to them in anything like the quantities they deserve. What Lightbox and The Spinoff’s other sponsors have given them, however, is cultural power – and they are deploying it with ruthless strategic skill.

On the “About” page of Generation Zero’s website, the group describes its mission as: “providing solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels”. It’s failure to endorse a candidate with Mike Lee’s record of protecting the environment, promoting public transport, and standing up for an Auckland built to a human scale, makes a mockery of the organisation’s stated aims and objectives.

Mayoral candidate, Penny Bright, said it best when she described Generation Zero as “the youth wing of the Property Council”. That the not-so-hipsters at The Spinoff have provided these fake defenders of the planet with such a powerful amplifier is something genuine progressives should bear in mind as they fill out their voting papers.


  1. I got ferociously attacked over at transportblog when I pointed out the Unitary Plan had a gigantic affordable housing hole in it. Patrick Reynolds and a nasty bully by the name of Peter Nunns (BTW – check out Mr. Nunns work history. A more classic example of a middle class Green Blue bully would be hard to conjure from the pages of fiction) showed a very neoliberal intolerance of dissent to their little plan to socially engineer Auckland to be like those fabulously sophisticated places they love living in overseas.

    And if the creation of that Auckland means leaving the precariat, the working poor and anyone else who get in their way in the gutter, they’ll happily do it.

    Then, after they’ve been mugged for the fourth time on the subway they agitated to be built but no one but the poor uses for fear of crime, they’ll turn into full blown Bill Ralston arseholes.

    • Yep bullies taking over transport blog too. The righteous righties pretending to be lefties, on the war path to victory (with the unitary plan and pro development, not transport obviously).

      Just read the Metro with the

  2. Fabulous Post @ Christ Trotter. Thank God you came out swinging in defence of Mike Lees good name. Fuck ‘Spinout’ and ‘Generation Nothing’. They’re only fresh little warts on the arse of roger douglas’ fuck up and swindle.

  3. Just as with his seemingly undying support for Hilary Clinton, Chris Trotter has managed to get it all wrong again.

    ‘They won’t remember his time as Chair of the Auckland Regional Council,’

    They won’t but I do, very vividly. And I vividly remember Mike Lee’s complete and utter failure to act on behalf of the community and his even greater failure (if that is possible) to act on behalf of Generation Zero when presented, in 2005, with irrefutable evidence relating to the dire effects of the peaking of global oil extraction and the dire threat of abrupt climate change: he didn’t want to know and just wanted to keep playing the game.

    I can understand Generation Zero not wanting to endorse any deadbeats from the previous generation who have shafted them because Generation Zero was all about rejection of status quo.

    However, Generation Zero are now either severely deluded or have been infiltrated and have become an agency of a sector of business-as-usual (which Chris Trotter may be right about). Either way, Generation Zero are shafted:

    And further efforts to prop up oil extraction (such as those we have witnessed over recent years -deep=water drilling, fracking, tar sands extraction etc.) to keep current economic-social arrangements intact just a little bit longer result in even faster meltdown of the planet:

    ‘On the “About” page of Generation Zero’s website, the group describes its mission as: “providing solutions for New Zealand to cut carbon pollution through smarter transport, liveable cities & independence from fossil fuels”.’

    Yes. And that is pure delusion based on profound ignorance of basic chemistry and physics, or is corporate-funded disinformation (we are never sure which). It is not possible to maintain any set of industrial living arrangements without using stupendous quantities of fossil fuels ever minute of every day. There are no ‘solutions’ within the framework of current economic and social paradigms (which is perhaps why Mike Lee preferred to ignore all the evidence and keep playing the game as long as possible).

    Maintenance of any semblance of current economic-social arrangements for more than a few more years is mathematically and scientifically IMPOSSIBLE, as a lot of uninformed and deluded people are going to discover quite soon.

    The time for dealing with all aspects of the mess we are now in was years ago, when people like Mike Lee sat on their hands and did nothing (other than continue to promote slight tweaking of business-a-usual).

    We’re now well down the path that leads to a pre-industrial society akin to that of the fourteenth century at best, or extinction of the human species at worst: in view of the fact that nothing has been done, or is being done now, to prevent human extinction via environmental collapse, and all policy is still geared to bringing forward environmental collapse, the latter is the more likely of the two.

      • Rubbish John, given the darker side of the internet, ie trolls & nutjobs, AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH has every right to use a pseudonym should he wish to.

      • As I have suffered more attacks than I care to recall, including nastiness of the highest order from police officers (who lied in court to justify trumped-up charges) and nastiness from local authority officers, I prefer not to broadcast my name over the Internet.

        My days of activism are now over, partly because of the nastiness of those embedded in the corrupt system, but more particularly because of the ignorance and apathy of the masses who do not appreciate our efforts and do not want to know: in many cases they actually denigrate and attack those who attempt to inform and help them.

        I’m sure the various spying agencies that operate in NZ already have me targeted as ‘menace to society’, as is the case with anyone who speaks unmentionable truths about the corrupt nature of the present system and points out the reasons for its imminent collapse.

        If you really want to know I suggest you consult ARC records for 2005 and look up the presentation ‘Countdown to disaster’.

        • NO, your days of activism are not over, you have just transferred your activism to online blog based activism, which is fine with me.

          I know full well what it means to be persecuted, and wrongly accused and so, hence I totally support your position to maintain anonymity. You may come drumming with your comments at times, but I cannot recall you getting really abusive or so.

          Keep it up and keep commenting, my friend. I do not agree with all you think and write, but with a fair bit of it.

          • Thanks for the supportive comment, Mike.

            By the way, I’m now a lot closer to 70 than 60, so energy levels and health are factors but the brain still works. 🙂

  4. Yep – I thought much the same of Grieve after an education review he wrote for the Herald: wilful incomprehension of the speaker he was reviewing, and an obvious preference for privatisation and profit-gouging in the name of “Choice” for parents. Not surprised to read this at all.

  5. I just had a look at Mike Lee’s website, because as Chris says, he’s been a stalwart of the left for many years.

    On balance I’ll continue to support him, even though he’s somewhat guilty of pandering to Nimbys and shifting the burden. We need someone with his level of experience and relative integrity. His vision of “intensification well done” probably amounts to intensification postponed for as long as possible.

    The unitary plan is a done deal now, but what I’d like to see in Nimby suburbs is Nimby rates. Let them keep their 1/4 acre paradise with harbour views, but make them pay for the privilege and the added costs.

  6. The Spinoff has run two profile pieces on Ralston when he first announced his candidacy

    ‘It’s going to be a clear out’ – a long lunch with Council aspirant Bill Ralston By Tim Murphy June 17, 2016

    Before he was an Auckland Council candidate Bill Ralston was the wildest man in news By Mark Jennings June 15, 2016

    Both articles finish with the statement
    “Tim Murphy and Mark Jennings have just set up the media consultancy Jennings Murphy”

    I can’t seem to find their profile pieces on Mike Lee???
    I wonder why that is!!!

  7. I agree Chris.

    No longer are they anything like the Green party nor can they be related to them in any way. They have let our whole side down, Greens included. We need progressive and climate change conscious local governments and Gen Zero and the Spin Off have let us all down. I recommend voting City Vision, Future West and Labour and Green endorsed candidates for council and local boards in Central and West Auckland. There is no alternative for our cause.

  8. Gen zero is Natz youth for property developers.

    Spinoff is vacant contentless drivel cum spin for developers and TV shows.

    They endorse National player Ralston because that is what they believe in, The Natz.

    Mike Lee was the best choice but sadly not sure he will make it through now that the so called hipster Gen Zero are working their way into the lefties voters to get the righties through.

  9. Young minions of the “dirty politics” stable no doubt worked on by private schooling indoctrination????

    They have laid their beds and now have to lie on them, so wait for the deflation in the property market to bite.

    Young minds are a devils playground Chis, you made a great article there. The rise & fall of Rome will be in our midst soon.

  10. Chris maybe you should consider a different moral sermon. It goes like this.

    There was a dangerous road where an angel had come to grief. The angel was homeless.

    On this road two priests called Mike and Chris with long earned reputations for doing good hurried past the homeless angel too scared to help for there were dangerous NIMBYs about and their church of the leafy suburb could not be built any bigger to accomadate homeless angels.

    Fortunately two more people called Generation Zero and TheSpinoff ventured down the dangerous road, they were not so reputable but they were willing to help. They had no fear of the dangerous NIMBYs so there church of the unitary plan had been built large enough to give assistance to the homeless.

    So Generation Zero and TheSpinoff took the risk and gave aid to the homeless angel.

    • Gen Zero are certainly helping the developers make lots of dosh, including Ockham Holdings, one very pro intensification submitter on the Unitary Plan.

      But I wonder, how charitable are developers, really?

      • Given the way houses are allocated in NZ -by price or rent and occasionally for our most vulnerable by state housing, then by making it harder to build those houses (including state houses), then this gaurantees those prices or rents will go up and less state houses will be built.

        Remember that a house is a basic necessity -it is shelter -as important to humans as oxygen, water or food.

        Businesses that build houses are not the enemy. People who collude with those who price out the poor and downtrodden from decent shelter are the enemy. It has long been so. Check out the picture in the following link -it is old -late 1800s I think but it could so apply to us today.

        • Don’t see Ockham helping the homeless or affordability.

          The only good thing about Ockham is that they have some great design.

          $500,000 one bedroom apartments with Body corp fees are not helping affordability.

          BTY – had a person I know try to rent an Ockham apartment and she was on the DPB. Her application was denied even though she had funds to support herself.

          Ockham may be a good developer in the sense they make decent looking apartments, but bastion of social movement they are certainly not!

          And further more many developers in Auckland over the last 25 years have gotten away with visual, social and monetary (leaky homes) crimes agains the city.

          I for one am not think developers are the answer to Auckland woes.

          In fact I think more regulation not less is the answer and having a functioning council that has a brain to process the applications and charge fair fees for doing in relation to the amount of work involved in the consent. (At present to put in a pool or do a small extension is virtually the same as a massive development or someone breaking all the rules in the planning). They have bad planners at Auckland council and they are not supervised in a way to ensure successful services to the rate payers (including stopping bad and problem developments before they start).

          • Look SaveNZ I am not saying developers or builders are saints or wouldn’t charge like a wounded buffalo if given the chance. But fundamentally we need more houses built and systems in place to do it affordably. Making it easier to build houses when the country is facing a housing crisis to me seems more helpful than making it harder (maybe I am a bit simple).

            • @Brendon – maybe look at the 67,000 new immigrants and 166,000 working student visa’s first before demanding we change the city and give it over to developers to profit to somehow help the homeless. When have developers even helped the homeless?

              BTW apparently Wellington council just approved $800,000 over 10 years to Singapore Airlines to fly to Wellington. Auckland council have made the rate payers bankroll Westgate Mall for developers. Where does the corporate welfare end and why are not so called lefties worried about that? Think of how many homes could be built with that money – instead being rerouted to rich offshore corporates.

              I just think so called lefties are concentrating on the wrong things…. with climate change coming mitigate that, not bankrupt the ratepayers and councils for dodgy deals and National’s version of an unsustainable unitary plan with as many people and houses as possible…

              Good news for those who want the crash, I’m sure it’s coming too with the ridiculous approach by council and Natz. Unfortunately the poor will lose their jobs, families will lose their houses, banks won’t lend and those with the most cash (probably offshore) will buy them up for a song…don’t worry the developers will go bankrupt and open up the next day and their subcontractors will carry the can…

        • I think you have fallen for the same spin the developers and other business submitters used in their submissions on the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan.

          They simply want as little in rules as possible, and the ACT Party version of this Plan, that Council has now in general supported and voted for in favour, will offer them ample opportunities to use loopholes in the Rules and guidelines.

          Without also addressing the demand side, i.e. natural growth and presently large net gain immigration to increase the population, you can have less and less rules pushed for, but even that will not provide affordable housing, I fear.

          Was it not the government getting away with deflecting from their failings, by blaming Council and the planning rules for most of the problems? Now they got what they wanted, and they even have Generation Zero and so assist them with their agenda, as it seems.

          It is a sad state of affairs.

          Only significant government intervention can now solve the affordability crisis.

      • Mike Lee and Chris Trotter are going to bat for Remuera homeowners, helping them make a lot of dosh. How charitable are the Remuera homeowners?

        Remember the displacement of poor Pacific Islanders from Ponsonby, transforming it into an upper-crust suburb? The policies of Lee and Trotter will see that repeated all over Auckland, locking out the worst-off citizens from good housing and from a lot of good jobs.

        Now, they’re not doing that on purpose. They probably believe that they’re advocating policies to help those in hardship. But that’s because they’ve absorbed the ideological assumptions of their generation’s middle-class liberalism without properly questioning it

    • @BRENDON HARRE – unfortunately the Gen Zero help to the homeless angle was only words – bit like the Natz.

      Like Gen Zero the Natz also are ‘desperate’ to give help to the homeless and the first homeowners, they are doing this by removing the regulation to property and development and letting the ‘market’ do it’s thing. The trickle down effect.

      First they help the super rich by overnight giving them a change of zoning for their land so they can hock if off for millions more and don’t have to worry about bothersome regulations, then they help the rich who want to bowl off some historic houses so they can build multi million dollar apartments, then they help the homeowners by importing as many people as possible and removing any overseas criteria to owning a property here so that housing prices soar, and then they tell the young ones, vote for me, because eventually the market solves itself and after they help all the rich people and overseas people, the homeowners then the trickle down will solve the housing crisis.

      Remember the affordable criteria was deleted in the unitary plan and no big protest by Gen Zero.

  11. “No, the only reason Ralston gets The Spinoff’s appropriately coloured blue circle is because he has pledged his allegiance to the Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan. For Generation Zero this is all that matters. The slightest expression of doubt; the merest suggestion that this property developers’ charter, unmitigated by the democratic intervention of councillors like Mike Lee, will disfigure beyond repair one of the world’s most beautiful cities is enough to get you accused of wanting to lock Auckland up in “a 1950s time prison”.”

    Thanks Chris, I am glad that others are finally coming to see what the fan brigade called ‘Generation Zero (Vision)’ has fallen for, having been seized by the developer lobby as useful cheerleaders for a Plan that the ACT Party could not have thought out any better to suit the interest of those who will benefit from a “boom” in building and at the same time speculation.

    Even Auckland Council lives in denial that it was even the intensification planning, the rezoning of much of residential Auckland to be turned into Terrace Housing and Apartment Building, Mixed Housing Urban and Mixed Housing Suburban, plus to be intensified CENTRES (also enabling residential development there), that got many investors excited, and motivated to buy up as many properties as they could in those particular areas.

    They will make lots of money, while the feasibility studies by the Councils RIMU (research unit) and so will never become reality anyway. We will certainly not have more affordable housing, as a provision for setting such aside (retained affordable housing) in new multi unit developments was thrown out by the government appointed “independent” hearing panel, and thus accepted by Council.

    And as long as demand is not controlled more, that means as long as other regions are not developed to attract new migrants and keep locals there, and as long as we have rather liberal immigration, the construction will not keep up with delivering the supply in time.

    Generation Zero and those at the Spinoff are the young aspiring urban professionals, who perhaps enjoy living in an apartment in the city, or near it, and ride by bus and train all the time, as they have no interest in much greenery outside.

    They may settle for smaller dwellings, e.g. studios, they may settle for spending much of their life in front of computer and smart phone screens rather than go fishing or hiking.

    Ok, they need places also, and some development must happen, it was just totally flabbergasting that they could not get it that the reading of the small print of the Plan will prove that their dreams will themselves not become true.

    Mike Lee may have got a bit of bad press for objecting to an apartment complex to be built in Herne Bay or Ponsonby, as he also likes to protect heritage special character buildings and neighbourhoods, but to declare war against him, because he had reservations about stuff in the Unitary Plan, that is totally short sighted, childish and plain dumb.

    But this is what too much blue screen light and endless click bait does to people, it assists the numbing and dumbing down, the blinding of many, so they no longer see reality.

    For those wanting to see what new apartments and townhouses (only one and two bedroom ones) cost, near the racecourse in Avondale, check the website of Ockham holdings, they go for prices from $430,000 to over $600,000 thousand a piece. If that is “affordable”, I don’t want to know what expensive will look like.

    • Their (Ockham’s website) shares this with us:
      “Located in the heart of the Avondale town centre and only two blocks from the train station, the Set buildings enjoy panoramic views of the Waitakere Ranges from a unique position on the edge of the Avondale Racecourse.”

      I wonder how long those “panoramic views” will last, once other developers discover there are other opportunities to build up nearby, then shading trhe Waitakere Ranges?

      It sounds a bit like those greenfield developments in newly zones land at the city’s rim, where the view and greenery soon gives way to other similar looking homes all around over months and years after the first spade of earth was dug up.

      Realtors are rubbing their hands in glee, once all this can take off. Some threw a spanner in the works, appealing to the High Court (Character Coalition) and Environment Court, so I suppose some developments in some places may have to wait a while.

  12. You forgot that Gen Zero rates Saint Mike on the same level as Rob Thomas and way above Ralston, unlike the Spin Off’s assessment. He’s a politician for yesterday’s problems, not today’s or tomorrow’s. His record at AT is patchy, and over the past 15 years has failed to do anything about the private transport monopoly called Fullers (despite having to use their services himself, his ticket probably paid for by the Council).

  13. ralston..?..they endorsed effin’ ralston..?

    the guy who wrecked/trashed the public-service ethos @ tvnz..?

    with his dumbing down of news/current affairs..?

    ralston..?..that relentless booster of neoliberalism..?

    ..ralston..?..that rightwing trout..?

    ..are you fucken kidding me..?

  14. I would not trust Gen Zero of Spin Off as far as I could throw them (up). I see the link to transportblog there too with its editor Matt Lowrie now submitting pieces for Spin Off.

    Seems this neoliberal group are all linked up. Nasty bunch and clearly receiving $$$$ from vested interests who dislike Mike Lee.

    • It is the merger of the formerly “progressive” urban liberals (latte drinkers rather than South Auckland tap water and soft drink drinkers) with the economic laissez fair neoliberals (“blue green” types), as I observe it.

  15. Underlying this debate is the mute acceptance of the government’s ‘more is always better’ mantra by so many. Anyone who dissents is attacked overtly and covertly. Huge population increase is being pursued solely to line the pockets of the already rich and will be detrimental to NZ in most respects. We should be growing quality, not numbers. We would not have to build hundreds of thousands of homes over productive horticultural land if we accepted pursued a small, high quality niche approach.

    • Hear, hear, I am pro quality intensification near transport hubs and some suitable centres, but the Unitary Plan as it was recommended and largely voted for by Council is not really what I had anticipated.

      To create “efficiencies” by nearly doubling the population over thirty years, which will put enormous pressure on limited resources like water is idiotic in my view. Auckland could do with growing better together, and controls must be put on land ownership, landbanking must be stopped and developers can be expected to set aside a percentage of affordable, cheaper homes, still in good quality, for those who need such. And on top of that the state has a role to play to provide for more social housing also.

      Generation Zero seems to consider this as not a priority, they just fell for the developer’s and pro intensification planners’ spin and presentations.

  16. We are right to remember Mike’s contribution not just to the renaissance of public transport especially rail, in the Auckland region but also wider issues such as retaining assets in public ownership (which still return a dividend today), leading ecological recovery projects, expanding the regional parks network, considering lower socio economic interests and real people in policy making, the Onehunga line (with CBT), protecting what heritage is left (volcanic cones and view shafts, heritage houses), supporting SkyPath long before it became trendy. And he did it with statesman like dignity, diligence and serious consideration. Mike is a man of true integrity. With characteristic humility I’m sure he’d admit to feet of clay, but voters would pay to remember the longer term issues, and the real politics that lies behind the Unitary Plan and Auckland’s unsustainable growth. Here’s the view in support of Mike’s leadership, from the Public Transport Users Association.

    • The laws of chemistry and physics do not care about the politics of humans, nor do they care who gets endorsed and who doesn’t get endorsed.

      The Earth abides by the laws of chemistry and physics, and responds to the stupid actions of humans according to those laws.

      Everyone under the age of 60, especially people like Generation Zero, should be terrified by the continuing disastrous trends in atmospheric chemistry:

      Daily CO2
      September 23, 2016:  400.69 ppm
      September 23, 2015:  397.25 ppm

      However, ‘no one’, particularly not promoters of business-as-usual such as Bill Ralston, seems particularly bothered.

      412 ppm is now more-or-less guaranteed in 2017. And not very long after that comes 450 ppm.

      ‘We’ are now at about +1.5oC above the long term average: +4oC, together with massive sea level rise which will devastate Auckland, are coming far sooner than most people imagine possible. And much of the infrastructure that various politicians and ‘community leaders’ are so proud of will be under water.

      Needless to say, most of the population of Auckland will have either abandoned the place or have been wiped out by about 2040.

  17. Thanks for calling out the Spinoff for not being real hipsters. Frankly I’m tired of them pretending. Here’s to true hipsters!

  18. So Chris, are you aware that Chloe Swarbrick, whom you were previously vigorously promoting, not only supports intensification and the Auckland Unitary Plan, (along with her Spinoff and Generation Zero mates), but also Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) ie PRIVATISATION of Auckland infrastructure?

    I am awaiting a straight answer from Chloe to my straight question, does she support PPPs for water infrastructure?

    Yes or no?

    In my view, had the voting public realised that Chloe Swarbrick supported privatisation via PPPs, then her public (manufactured?) appeal, would have gone down like a lead balloon?

    You may recall Chris, back in 2000, when I stood as a candidate for the Water Pressure Group in the Avondale/ Mt Roskill by-election, following the death of Phil Raffills, and polled 2nd, about 700 votes behind Noelene Raffills, and over 4000 votes ahead of the City Vision candidate?

    (The reason I stood was to help teach City Vision a lesson, over the selout by key City Vision Councillors, including leader Bruce Hucker, regarding their promise to abolish Metrowater.)

    I for one, cannot believe the amount of mainstream

    media manipulation of this Auckland Mayoral election, having been invited, then uninvited from The Nation Auckland Mayoral debate, excluded from Radio NZ’s Auckland Mayoral debates, including John Campbell’s Checkpoint Auckland Mayoral candidates’ ‘bus trip’, and the Q & A Auckland Mayoral debate.

    The Auckland Mayoral candidate the majority of BIG business want you to have, is, in my opinion, the safe pair of pro-corporate hands, former Minister of Housing in the Rogernomic$ Neo-Liberal 1984 -87 Labour Government – Phil Goff.

    I am SO looking forward to Aucklanders having a BREXIT moment and STICKING it to the corporate 1%, including the commercial property developers behind this Auckland ‘Lunatic Plan’!

    Penny Bright

    2016 Auckland Mayoral candidate.

    (Corporate NIGHT Mayor! 🙂

  19. I know many people who read or participate in TDB find frequent references to reality tedious, and most seem very uncomfortable with reality and do their best to avoid thinking about it, but the fact is ALL the so-called plans for Auckland -whether generated by central government, local government, Generation Zero or any other group committed to any semblance of current arrangements- are fraudulent, unachievable, destructive and in many cases futile.

    At its seasonal low of just over 400 ppm, atmospheric CO2 is now about 120 ppm above the pre-industrial level of 280 ppm, and is about 170 ppm above the recent 800,000 year average of 230 ppm. Next May add 10 ppm to those figures for 130 ppm above pre-industrial and 180 ppm above average (180/230 puts CO2 78% above normal!!!)

    Additionally, it is increasing at a rate unprecedented in human history, and arguably unprecedented in the history of the Earth, leading to speculation the mass extinction currently underway will soon exceed that of the previously greatest extinction event recorded, that of the Permian, in which around 90% of life on Earth vanished over several thousand years. This time it will be a few decades.

    Current living arrangements are the most unsustainable ever devised and are rapidly destroying the capacity of the Earth to support vertebrate life, and are CERTAIN to collapse in the not-too-distant future.

    This dismal state of affairs is due largely to three factors:

    1. the near universal adoption of fractional reserve banking and charging of interest on loans, which necessitates continuous expansion of the economic system.

    2. the near universal adoption of fossil fuel technology, which necessitates the daily extraction of humungous quantities of sequestered carbon and its conversion into atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    3. the massive increase in the human population from around 7 million to over 7 billion over the past 200,000 years, much of that increase as a direct consequence of the use of fossil fuels.

    Since no one in a position to address these factors- not Helen Clark, not Mike Lee, not Bill Ralston, not Generation Zero, not John Key, not Andrew Little, not local government, not central government, not Vladimir Putin, not Jeremy Corbyn, not even the United Nations- has been prepared to address these factors or is presently prepared to do so, it naturally follows that the ruination of the future will continue at an ever-faster pace until some DOES address the above factors.

    It may well be too late to prevent industrial humans causing their own extinction and the extinction of most life on Earth. One way to ensure humans do cause their own extinction is to refuse to discuss the matters mentioned above and instead seek ways to sustain that which is unsustainable.

  20. I 100% agree with you re Mike Lee – an absolute stalwart of progressive policies and ideologies – and someone who was always prepared to walk the talk, however unpopular that may have made him in certain circles. When we were fighting for the preservation and protection of the Waitakere Ranges, he, Christine Rose and Sandra Coney were like shining beacons in the dark.

    This is what I wrote in an email to Gen Zero after I saw their quite recommendations on who to vote for:-

    “Hi Gen Zero

    I applaud you for the rationale behind the survey, and the relevance of most questions in relation to housing and transport, but definitely not for the lack of more in-depth questioning on actual climate change action, given your stated intention of finding candidates to ‘champion solutions to climate change at a local level’.

    You should have included a question on the most important potential challenge to our ability to make important and independent decisions on measures to combat climate change at both local and central government level, namely the TPPA (or RCEP, or whatever comes at us after that). Phil Goff is a career politician who knows exactly what to say in such surveys to achieve a high score – it’s just a pity that he doesn’t actually walk the talk.

    You could also have asked ‘do you support the expansion of deep sea oil drilling and fracking in New Zealand’, after all – you can’t get more local than drilling off of our very own, and much cherished, West coast beaches.

    On those 2 questions alone, Goff would have been relegated from anywhere near the top, but I suppose it really depends where you put real, here and now, climate change action on your list of priorities. For me they come in at #1. You can NOT talk about real climate change action, and ignore the TPPA and fossil fuel extraction, I’m sorry guys.

    If we don’t get that right, all of the other stuff is ‘nice to have’ on a planet where we can’t even breathe and drink the water unless we can afford the necessary filtration gear!”

  21. I await the tyre dust increases in city air that the Gen zero is wanting to increase in their environment with more vehicles as those extra tyres and tyre dust is a deadly toxin called 1,3, Butadiene and causes Cancer and nervous system damage.

    So those gen zero will be sick in 10yrs.

    Have a good life gen zero.

  22. Oh Gen zero’s!

    I forgot to say, when you have ingested enough tyre dust of 1,3, Butadiene to give you cancer and nerve damage, please drink your water as it will also then also poisoned by road runoff tyre pollution and gone into your underground aquifers and water supplies in storage because that will also give you some more cancer from all those new tyres you have welcomed into your environment.




      Although butadiene breaks down quickly in the atmosphere, it is nevertheless found in ambient air in urban and suburban areas as a consequence of its constant emission from motor vehicles.[4] The EPA lists it as the “mobile source air toxic” with the highest normalized risk factor, exceeding that of formaldehyde, the second riskiest air toxic emitted by motor vehicles, by a factor of more than 20.[5],3-Butadiene

      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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      Preferred IUPAC name


      Other names



      CAS Number
      106-99-0 YesY

      CHEBI:39478 YesY

      ChEMBL537970 YesY

      7557 YesY

      EC Number

      Jmol 3D model
      Interactive image

      C16450 YesY


      RTECS number

      JSD5FGP5VD YesY

      UN number


      ·InChI=1S/C4H6/c1-3-4-2/h3-4H,1-2H2 YesY





      · C=CC=C


      Chemical formula

      Molar mass
      54.0916 g/mol

      Colourless gas
      or refrigerated liquid

      mildly aromatic or gasoline-like

      0.6149 g/cm3 at 25 °C, solid
      0.64 g/cm3 at −6 °C, liquid

      Melting point
      −108.9 °C (−164.0 °F; 164.2 K)

      Boiling point
      −4.4 °C (24.1 °F; 268.8 K)

      Solubility in water
      0.735 g/100 mL

      very soluble in acetone
      soluble in ether, ethanol

      Vapor pressure
      2.4 atm (20°C)[2]

      Refractive index (nD)

      0.25 cP at 0 °C


      Main hazards
      Flammable, irritative, carcinogen

      Safety data sheet
      See: data page
      ECSC 0017

      R45 R46 R12

      S45 S53

      NFPA 704
      NFPA 704 four-colored diamond




      Flash point
      −85 °C (−121 °F; 188 K) liquid flash point[2]

      420 °C (788 °F; 693 K)

      Explosive limits

      Lethal dose or concentration (LD, LC):

      LD50 (median dose)
      548 mg/kg (rat, oral)

      LC50 (median concentration)
      115,111 ppm (mouse)
      122,000 ppm (mouse, 2 hr)
      126,667 ppm (rat, 4 hr)
      130,000 ppm (rat, 4 hr)[3]

      LCLo (lowest published)
      250,000 ppm (rabbit, 30 min)[3]

      US health exposure limits (NIOSH):

      PEL (Permissible)
      TWA 1 ppm ST 5 ppm[2]

      REL (Recommended)
      potential occupational carcinogen[2]

      IDLH (Immediate danger)
      2000 ppm[2]

      Related compounds

      Related alkenes
      and dienes

      Related compounds

      Except where otherwise noted, data are given for materials in their standard state (at 25 °C [77 °F], 100 kPa).

      YesY verify (what is YesYN ?)

      Infobox references

      1,3-Butadiene is a simple conjugated diene with the formula C4H6. It is an important industrial chemical used as a monomer in the production of synthetic rubber. The molecule can be viewed as two vinyl groups (CH2=CH2) joined together. The word butadiene usually refers to 1,3-butadiene which has the structure H2C=CH−CH=CH2.

      Although butadiene breaks down quickly in the atmosphere, it is nevertheless found in ambient air in urban and suburban areas as a consequence of its constant emission from motor vehicles.[4] The EPA lists it as the “mobile source air toxic” with the highest normalized risk factor, exceeding that of formaldehyde, the second riskiest air toxic emitted by motor vehicles, by a factor of more than 20.[5]

      The name butadiene can also refer to the isomer, 1,2-butadiene, which is a cumulated diene with structure H2C=C=CH−CH3. However, this allene is difficult to prepare and has no industrial significance. This diene is also not expected to act as a diene in a Diels–Alder reaction due to its structure. To effect a Diels-Alder reaction only a conjugated diene will suffice. The rest of this article concerns only 1,3–butadiene.


      1 History
      2 Production
      2.1 Extraction from C4 hydrocarbons
      2.2 From dehydrogenation of n-butane
      2.3 From ethanol
      2.4 From butenes
      2.5 For laboratory use
      3 Uses
      4 Environmental health and safety
      5 See also
      6 References
      7 External links
      In 1863, the French chemist E. Caventou isolated a previously unknown hydrocarbon from the pyrolysis of amyl alcohol.[6] This hydrocarbon was identified as butadiene in 1886, after Henry Edward Armstrong isolated it from among the pyrolysis products of petroleum.[7] In 1910, the Russian chemist Sergei Lebedev polymerized butadiene, and obtained a material with rubber-like properties. This polymer was, however, found to be too soft to replace natural rubber in many applications, notably automobile tires.

      The butadiene industry originated in the years leading up to World War II. Many of the belligerent nations realized that in the event of war, they could be cut off from rubber plantations controlled by the British Empire, and sought to reduce their dependence on natural rubber.[citation needed] In 1929, Eduard Tschunker and Walter Bock, working for IG Farben in Germany, made a copolymer of styrene and butadiene that could be used in automobile tires. Worldwide production quickly ensued, with butadiene being produced from grain alcohol in the Soviet Union and the United States and from coal-derived acetylene in Germany.

      Extraction from C4 hydrocarbons[edit]
      In the United States, western Europe, and Japan, butadiene is produced as a byproduct of the steam cracking process used to produce ethylene and other olefins. When mixed with steam and briefly heated to very high temperatures (often over 900 °C), aliphatic hydrocarbons give up hydrogen to produce a complex mixture of unsaturated hydrocarbons, including butadiene. The quantity of butadiene produced depends on the hydrocarbons used as feed. Light feeds, such as ethane, give primarily ethylene when cracked, but heavier feeds favor the formation of heavier olefins, butadiene, and aromatic hydrocarbons.

      Butadiene is typically isolated from the other four-carbon hydrocarbons produced in steam cracking by extractive distillation using a polar aprotic solvent such as acetonitrile, N-methylpyrrolidone, furfural, or dimethylformamide, from which it is then stripped by distillation.[8]

      From dehydrogenation of n-butane[edit]
      Butadiene can also be produced by the catalytic dehydrogenation of normal butane (n-butane). The first such post-war commercial plant, producing 65,000 tons per year of butadiene, began operations in 1957 in Houston, Texas.[9] Prior to that, in the 1940s the Rubber Reserve Company, a part of the United States government, constructed several plants in Borger, TX, Toledo, OH, and El Segundo, CA to produce synthetic rubber for the war effort as part of the United States Synthetic Rubber Program.[10] Total capacity was 68 KMTA (Kilo Metric Tons per Annum).

      Today, butadiene from n-butane is commercially practiced using the Houdry catadiene process, which was developed during World War II.

      From ethanol[edit]
      In other parts of the world, including South America, Eastern Europe, China, and India, butadiene was also produced from ethanol. While not competitive with steam cracking for producing large volumes of butadiene, lower capital costs make production from ethanol a viable option for smaller-capacity plants. Two processes were in use.

      In the single-step process developed by Sergei Lebedev, ethanol is converted to butadiene, hydrogen, and water at 400–450 °C over any of a variety of metal oxide catalysts:[11]

      2 CH3CH2OH → CH2=CH−CH=CH2 + 2 H2O + H2


      This process was the basis for the Soviet Union’s synthetic rubber industry during and after World War II, and it remained in limited use in Russia and other parts of eastern Europe until the end of the 1970s. At the same time this type of manufacture was canceled in Brazil. Nowadays there is no industrial production of butadiene from ethanol. Lately Lanxess has announced plans to produce butadiene from ethanol.

      In the other, two-step process, developed by the Russian emigree chemist Ivan Ostromislensky, ethanol is oxidized to acetaldehyde, which reacts with additional ethanol over a tantalum-promoted porous silica catalyst at 325–350 °C to yield butadiene:[11]

      CH3CH2OH + CH3CHO → CH2=CH−CH=CH2 + 2 H2O

      Ostromislensky reaction.png

      This process was one of the three used in the United States to produce “government rubber” during World War II, though it was not preferred because it is less economical than the butane or butene routes for the large volumes needed. Still, three plants with a total capacity of 200 KMTA[when defined as?] were constructed in the US (Institute, WV; Louisville, KY; and Kobuta, PA ) with start-ups completed in 1943, the Louisville plant initially created butadiene from acetylene generated by an associated Calcium Carbide plant. The process remains in use today in China and India.

      From butenes[edit]
      1,3-Butadiene can also be produced by catalytic dehydrogenation of normal butenes. This method was also used by the United States Synthetic Rubber Program (USSRP) during World War II. The process was much more economical than the alcohol or n-butane route but competed with aviation gasoline for available butene molecules (fortunately, butenes were plentiful thanks to catalytic cracking). The USSRP constructed several plants in Baton Rouge and Lake Charles, LA; Houston, Baytown, and Port Neches, TX; and Torrance, CA.[10] Total annual production was 275 KMTA.

      In the 1960s, a Houston company known as “Petro-Tex” patented a process to produce butadiene from normal butenes by oxidative dehydrogenation using a proprietary catalyst. It is thought to be no longer practiced commercially.

      After the WWII the production from butenes became the major type of production in USSR.

      For laboratory use[edit]
      1,3-Butadiene is inconvenient for laboratory use because it is a flammable gas subject to polymerization on storage. 3-Butadiene cyclic sulfone (sulfolene) is a convenient solid storable source for 1,3-butadiene for many laboratory purposes when the generation of sulfur dioxide byproduct in the reaction mixture is not objectionable.

      Most butadiene is polymerized to produce synthetic rubber. While polybutadiene itself is a very soft, almost liquid material, copolymers prepared from mixtures of butadiene with styrene and/or acrylonitrile, such as acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), acrylonitrile butadiene (NBR) and styrene-butadiene (SBR) are tough and/or elastic. SBR is the material most commonly used for the production of automobile tires.

      Smaller amounts of butadiene are used to make the nylon intermediate, adiponitrile, by the addition of a molecule of hydrogen cyanide to each of the double bonds in a process called hydrocyanation developed by DuPont. Other synthetic rubber materials such as chloroprene, and the solvent sulfolane are also manufactured from butadiene. Butadiene is used in the industrial production of 4-vinylcyclohexene via a Diels Alder dimerization reaction.[12] Vinylcyclohexene is a common impurity found in butadiene upon storage due to dimerization. Cyclooctadiene and cyclododecatriene are produced via nickel- or titanium-catalyzed dimerization and trimerization reactions, respectively. Butadiene is also useful in the synthesis of cycloalkanes and cycloalkenes, as it reacts with double and triple carbon-carbon bonds through the Diels-Alder reaction.

      Environmental health and safety[edit]
      Acute exposure results in irritation of the mucous membranes, Higher levels can result in neurological effects such as blurred vision, fatigue, headache and vertigo. Exposure to the skin can lead to frostbite.[13]

      Long-term exposure has been associated with cardiovascular disease, there is a consistent association with leukemia, and weaker association with other cancers.[13]

      1,3-Butadiene is listed as a known carcinogen by the Agency for Toxic Substances Disease Registry and the US EPA.[14][15] The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) lists the chemical as a suspected carcinogen.[15] The Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) lists some disease clusters that are suspected to be associated with this chemical.[16] Some researchers have concluded it is the most potent carcinogen in cigarette smoke, twice as potent as the runner up acrylonitrile[17]

      1,3-Butadiene is also a suspected human teratogen.[18][19][20] Prolonged and excessive exposure can affect many areas in the human body; blood, brain, eye, heart, kidney, lung, nose and throat have all been shown to react to the presence of excessive 1,3-butadiene.[21] Animal data suggest that women have a higher sensitivity to possible carcinogenic effects of butadiene over men when exposed to the chemical. This may be due to estrogen receptor impacts. While these data reveal important implications to the risks of human exposure to butadiene, more data are necessary to draw conclusive risk assessments. There is also a lack of human data for the effects of butadiene on reproductive and development shown to occur in mice, but animal studies have shown breathing butadiene during pregnancy can increase the number of birth defects, and humans have the same hormone systems as animals.[22]

      Storage of butadiene as a compressed, liquified gas carries a specific and unusual hazard. Over time, polymerization can begin, creating a crust of solidified material (popcorn polymer, named for its appearance) inside the vapor space of cylinder. If the cylinder is then disturbed, the crust can contact the liquid and initiate an auto-catalytic polymerization. The heat released accelerates the reaction, possibly leading to cylinder rupture. Inhibitors are typically added to reduce this hazard, but butadiene cylinders should still be considered short-shelf life items. The hazard presented by popcorn polymer is also present in bulk commercial storage tanks. It is important to keep the oxygen concentration in the tanks and any process wash water low in order to reduce the rate of polymerization.

      As with other light hydrocarbons, butadiene leaks can be detected by the formation of ice balls (from the evaporative freezing of water out of the atmosphere) even when the temperature is well above 0 °C.

      1,3-Butadiene is recognized as a Highly Reactive Volatile Organic Compound (HRVOC) for its potential to readily form ozone, and as such, emissions of the chemical are highly regulated by TCEQ in parts of the Houston-Brazoria-Galveston Ozone Non-Attainment Area.[1]

      See also[edit]
      Hydroxyl-terminated polybutadiene
      1. Jump up ^ Nomenclature of Organic Chemistry : IUPAC Recommendations and Preferred Names 2013 (Blue Book). Cambridge: The Royal Society of Chemistry. 2014. p. 374. doi:10.1039/9781849733069-FP001. ISBN 978-0-85404-182-4.

      2. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e “NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards #0067”. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

      3. ^ Jump up to: a b “1,3-Butadiene”. Immediately Dangerous to Life and Health. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

      4. Jump up ^ Technology Transfer Network – Air Toxics Web Site. “1,3-Butadiene”. US Environmental Protection Agency US EPA. Retrieved 2014-09-02.

      5. Jump up ^ Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center. “Alternative & Advanced Vehicles: Pollutants and Health”. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, US DOE. Retrieved 2014-09-02.

      6. Jump up ^ Caventou, E. (1863). “Ueber eine mit dem zweifach-gebromten Brombutylen isomere Verbindung und über die bromhaltigen Derivate des Brombutylens”. Justus Liebigs Annalen der Chemie. 127: 93–97. doi:10.1002/jlac.18631270112.

      7. Jump up ^ Armstrong, H.E.; Miller, A.K. (1886). “The decomposition and genesis of hydrocarbons at high temperatures. I. The products of the manufacture of gas from petroleum”. J. Chem. Soc. 49: 74–93. doi:10.1039/CT8864900074.

      8. Jump up ^ Sun, H.P. Wristers, J.P. (1992). Butadiene. In J.I. Kroschwitz (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 4th ed., vol. 4, pp. 663–690. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

      9. Jump up ^ Beychok, M.R. and Brack, W.J., “First Postwar Butadiene Plant”, Petroleum Refiner, June 1957.

      10. ^ Jump up to: a b Herbert, Vernon, “Synthetic Rubber: A Project That Had to Succeed”, Greenwood Press, 1985, ISBN 0-313-24634-3

      11. ^ Jump up to: a b Kirshenbaum, I. (1978). Butadiene. In M. Grayson (Ed.), Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology, 3rd ed., vol. 4, pp. 313–337. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

      12. Jump up ^ “4-Vinylcyclohexene” (PDF). IARC. Retrieved 2009-04-19.

      13. ^ Jump up to: a b NPI sheet

      14. Jump up ^

      15. ^ Jump up to: a b Health Effects

      16. Jump up ^

      17. Jump up ^ Fowles, J; Dybing, E (4 September 2003). “Application of toxicological risk assessment principles to the chemical constituents of cigarette smoke”. Institute of Environmental Science and Research. New Zealand: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 12 (4): 424–430. doi:10.1136/tc.12.4.424. PMC 1747794free to read. PMID 14660781. |access-date= requires |url= (help)

      18. Jump up ^ Landrigan, PJ (1990). “Critical assessment of epidemiologic studies on the human carcinogenicity of 1,3-butadiene”. Environmental Health Perspectives. 86: 143–147. doi:10.1289/ehp.9086143. PMC 1567758free to read. PMID 2205484.

      19. Jump up ^

      20. Jump up ^ Melnick, Ronald L.; Kohn, Michael C. (1995). “Mechanistic data indicate that 1,3-butadiene is a human carcinogen”. Carcinogenesis. 16 (2): 157–63. doi:10.1093/carcin/16.2.157. PMID 7859343.

      21. Jump up ^

      22. Jump up ^ EPA website

      External links[edit]
      1,3-Butadiene – Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
      1,3-Butadiene – CDC – NIOSH Pocket Guide to Chemical Hazards
      National Pollutant Inventory – 1,3-Butadiene

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