Pepperwood YN-31 - History

Pepperwood YN-31 - History

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(YN-31: dp. 700; 1. 151'8"; b. 30'6"; dr. 10'6"; s. 15 k.; cpl.
48; a. 1 3"; cl. Aloe)

Pepperwood (YN-31) was laid down 25 October 1940 by John H. Mathis Co., Camden, N.J.; placed in service at Camden 8 June 1942, sponsored by Mrs. R. E. McShane; and commissioned at Norfolk, 15 December 1942, Lt. Charles E. Hall in command.

Pepperwood reported for duty to Commander, Atlantio Fleet. She departed Norfolk 28 December 1942 for Morehead City, North Carolina, her station from 1 January to 28 February 1943, when reassigned to Norfolk. From Norfolk she went via Bermuda and Gibraltar to Oran, Algeria where
she arrived 24 April 1943. She placed and serviced anti-submarine nets at Oran and Algiers from 24 April to 31 December 1943. She was reclassified AN-36 on 20 January 1944.

Transferred to the French Navy under Lend Lease 15 December 1944, she was sold to France 21 March 1949. She was struck from the Naval Register 28 April 1949. She continues to serve the French Navy into 1970 as Tarentule (A-729).

Pepperwood received one battle star for World War II service.


Pepperwood is a research institute that manages a 3,200-acre field station and produces cutting-edge conservation science. The preserve serves as a living laboratory for wildfire resilient land management in Northern California. Since the October 2017 Tubbs fire, Pepperwood also has become a model for resilient rebuilding.

The Tubbs fire, which at the time was the most destructive fire in California’s history, burned right through Pepperwood. “There’s been a lot of development in that fire corridor, so the building up of fuels, the natural patterns of fire, the terrain, the fuel types . . . they all exacerbated it. It was a devastating, catastrophic fire,” says Antonio Pares, principal at Mithun, whom Pepperwood hired for the rebuild.

“With a really short turnaround time for evacuation, the Tubbs fire was a life and death situation for members of my team. And we lost six structures that night,” says Lisa Micheli, president of the Pepperwood Foundation. The only major Pepperwood structure to survive the Tubbs fire was the Dwight Center for Conservation Science, which was the newest building on the property and had been fabricated out of steel and built into the lee side of a hill. The remainder of the structures, including Pepperwood’s office and environmental education facilities, were built in the 1950s or earlier and were primarily constructed of traditional redwood shingle.


Pepperwood is rebuilding three structures. A 2,000-square-foot barn and office, a 1,900-square-foot residence for an on-site manager, and a 3,000-square-foot duplex for other staff and visiting scientists that will cost approximately $1 million, $1.5 million, and $2.5 million, respectively, to rebuild. The rebuild team considered if the structures should be rebuilt on the same locations and decided their locations were optimal and necessary for their uses (although the footprint of one of the residences was reduced).

Other initial steps included analyzing the historical fire patterns in the area and establishing priorities. “We had two goals. One was to build as nontoxically as possible and the other was to build in as much fire-resistant capacity as possible,” says Micheli. The new buildings have a mix of noncombustible metal exteriors and cement fiber panel cladding as well as cement plaster walls and dense black locust decking to reduce flame spread. The buildings also have zero-VOC (volatile organic compound) clay walls in some areas and in others, low-VOC paint. The surrounding landscape is beautiful and carefully planned but includes little vegetation as part of creating defensible space.

“One goal was to build as nontoxically as possible, and the other goal was to build in as much fire-resistant capacity as possible.” -Lisa Micheli, President, Pepperwood Foundation

In acknowledgment of the affordability concerns, Pares says the rebuild has “a nuanced approach where you’re really thinking about how fire acts in relationship to a structure,” which led to including many preventative measures for ember ignition such as optimal screening of openings, placement and orientation of vents, and eliminating structural depressions where embers could collect.

Results from the Tubbs fire demonstrate that the land management strategies that Pepperwood practices and studies do have a positive effect. Staff noticed that the only areas not severely burned in 2017 were those that had previously been treated with prescribed, controlled burns to reduce vegetative fuel. Pepperwood’s response to the Tubbs fire also helped prepare it to survive the 2019 Kincade fire. “In 2019, only about half the property burned. We were able to prevent the fire from getting to the rebuild sites,” says Micheli. Ongoing construction on three buildings was also able to continue in 2020 because fire rebuilds are considered essential businesses and were not halted for the coronavirus pandemic.

Pepperwood now serves as a focal point for the protection of the wider community. It is part of a fire camera network, with two cameras that provide virtual, real-time data to firefighters about onsite conditions. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CALFIRE) used Pepperwood as a staging area to fight the Kincade fire—the cameras were vital sources of information and assisted CALFIRE in preventing the fire from progressing further in that area.

The rebuild has led to many lessons learned for a team that does not specialize in large-scale construction projects, let alone complicated rebuilds. With more upfront knowledge about total cost, Micheli says, “I probably would have scaled back on some of the houses’ amenities.” However, she thinks the extra resilience measures are worth the cost, saying, “What we’re getting are incredibly resilient structures that are going to be in use for the next century of our organization.”

The total cost of the rebuild is about $5 million, including an estimated $1.25 million in sustainability and resilience improvements over what insurance would cover. Pepperwood launched a capital campaign to raise the difference and received large legacy gifts from several donors. The resulting structures will exceed local code requirements and are of significantly higher quality and resilience than the original buildings, especially with regard to the nontoxic materials.

Figuring out the insurance claim was a lengthy and difficult process that involved eight individuals negotiating for more than 12 months. Micheli’s advice to other property owners is to make sure that they have detailed site information before a disaster occurs, as one way to mitigate the difficulty of the process.

Antonio Pares’s main lesson learned on the design side is “to keep the buildings as simple as possible . . . and address the vulnerabilities of traditional structure” to ember ignition.

CommUnity Food Pantry at Pepperwood

• Providing a larger space so that clients can stay safely distanced in the new location
• Return to “client choice,” allowing clients to select their own items
• Serving as a warm, safe atmosphere during the cold, winter months while clients select their groceries

Since the start of the pandemic, we have implemented many changes
to how we provide services. In order to maintain social distancing among clients, volunteers, and staff, we began providing pre-packaged bags of food. We also launched a food delivery program in partnership with other area non-profits. Through this program, we deliver free groceries to Johnson County residents.

These adjustments have been critical to our continued operation, however, our goal was to return to full service. That’s why we’ve opened a new location.

Providing the option for clients to select all of their items makes a big difference. Many of our clients rely on the Food Bank for weekly groceries for their families. While we do our best to provide options for folks receiving pre-packed bags, they may not meet 100% of the unique dietary needs of every individual.

We have brought back more of our volunteers, providing plenty of PPE and maintaining at least 6 feet of distance between everyone in the building.

The new site is located at 1045 Highway 6 East in Pepperwood Plaza in the South District of Iowa City.

Despite the many limitations created by the pandemic, for the second year in a row, we had a record year. We distributed 2,208,774 lbs. of food. We expect this need to continue to increase with the economic impacts of the pandemic.

We are grateful for your support and wish wellness to you and your loved ones.

Weather Policy:
CommUnity Food Pantry at Pepperwood Plaza will make every effort to be open during normal hours in all weather conditions. We may have to provide emergency, bagged food if severe weather makes it impossible for enough staff and volunteers to come in. We will close the Food Pantry and stop our services only when staff cannot safely make it to the Food Pantry. Closures will be listed on the homepage of our website, KCRG-TV and KGAN-TV. You can also call 319-351-0128 to find out our services during bad weather.

Pepperwood Preserve Officials Consider Drought’s Effect on Fire Risk

When I arrived, in mid April, at Pepperwood Preserve just northeast of Santa Rosa, I saw countless California poppies lining the edges of a long meadow. Michael Gillogly, the preserve manager since 2005 and a worker at the preserve since 1994, greeted me and asked if I wanted to take a closer look.

As we walked into the field of short, green grasses, Gillogly explained that nine native species of grass grow here. But, because of the extremely low amount of rain, the plants were not as lively as they usually are during spring.

“Things are usually a lot taller and more robust [right now]. In April, for it to be dry,” Gillogly said as he kicked a clump of grass, revealing soil already dry to the point of cracking, “that’s almost unheard of.”

With a state drought declaration now covering 49 out of California’s 58 counties, North Bay residents are understandably concerned by the possibility of the dryness adversely affecting the coming wildfire season. According to scientists and conservationists the Bohemian spoke to at Sonoma County’s Pepperwood Preserve, drought conditions don’t guarantee larger fires will occur, but they cause the already-lengthy fire season to stretch on even longer, increasing the chances of fires.

“The fire season is lengthening,” Gillogly told me. “The soil is drying out quicker, and it is because of climate change.”

As places like Sonoma County get warmer, climate change will increase the severity of the dry weather conditions by drying out the soil more quickly, according to the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions (C2ES). It will also change the course of atmospheric rivers, which C2ES says may potentially severely affect the Western United States, further worsening the issue of quickly drying soils.

However, there are many factors that make predicting the scale of the fire season difficult.

“You need three things for a [large] fire,” said David Ackerly, UC Berkeley forest ecology professor and researcher at Pepperwood Preserve.

The first ingredient is fuel. This is readily available each year in our Mediteranean climate, with grasses, native and non-native alike, drying out into the tan husk that makes the hills of Sonoma golden. These dry grasses, and Douglas firs, a conifer commonly found in Sonoma County, make up most of what fuels fires. However, during a very dry year, many trees—such as oaks and bay—in other, more fire-resilient woodlands, can become fire fuel as well.

“As the trees dry out, the twigs lose water and the leaves lose water,” Ackerly said. “They’re literally not as fully hydrated. The more they lose, the more easily they catch on fire.”

Unfortunately, Ackerly explained, there have been no studies looking at how much moisture is lost in oak and bay trees during the dry season.

The second factor is ignition, which can be caused by an ember from a campfire, a misfiring engine, live power lines breaking in strong winds and—sometimes—lightning.

“Last year’s lightning, it was one of those once-a-decade lightning complexes,” Ackerly said. “Other times, obviously, we’re seeing a lot of issues with power lines and the [other] issues we know all too well.”

Strong winds, the final factor in creating large fires, worsen the spread of fire once it ignites. Seasonal winds coming from the Sierra Nevada are called Diablo winds in Northern California they push fast and dry air currents into the Bay Area and surrounding regions.

A 2020 paper, written by California scientists, states that “the dryness during DWs [Diablo winds] has become more severe with time, especially in October, and possibly leading to an increase in the likelihood of fires and exacerbating the destructiveness of those fires.” This year looks to be no different, with the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reporting below-average rainfall. When the Diablo winds come, they will likely bring with them a higher chance of large fires, like the Tubbs fire of 2017. That said, it’s important to remember this does not mean a large fire is guaranteed.

As Michael Gillogly and I looked across the meadow at Pepperwood Preserve, I noticed on the top of a small hill a stand of Douglas firs, burnt black, with small shrubs and new bay tree shoots growing up around the dead totems.

“In October it roared right through here,” Gillogly said, referring to the Tubbs fire, which tore through over 90% of Pepperwood Preserve’s 3,117 acres. All told, the fire claimed 22 lives, making it the fourth deadliest fire in California history.

This meadow we stood on was burnt by the flames, along with Pepperwood’s main work building and Gillogly’s house.

We drove to the north end of Pepperwood Preserve. As we walked up to the top of a hill, I looked out to a clear sky over woodlands tucked into the creases of already-drying hills. In 2019, the Kincade fire torched 77,000 acres, including most of the view we saw from Pepperwood Preserve. Firefighters managed to stop the progress of the fire on Pepperwood, using bulldozers in the area where we stood. With the help of many volunteers, Pepperwood managed to fold the top soil back where it was, preserving the native seeds stored in the dirt. I could see no signs of the bulldoze line or other evidence of the fire. It was as though they had disappeared into the landscape.

I asked Gillogly if controlled burns or cattle grazing might help reduce the risks of wildfires. He said yes, we need to do more controlled burns, but also mentioned that, when the conditions are right, there isn’t much humans can do to stop the spread of a raging wildfire.

“The Tubbs fire—nothing would stop that. It crossed six lanes of 101,” he said. “You can’t forest-thin your way out of those kinds of firestorms. Only getting rid of climate change is going to have much of an impact on that.”

When asked what he thought might happen this coming fire season, Gillogly shrugged. “I think we’re gonna have fires,” he said.

    . This includes high LDL cholesterol (sometimes called "bad" cholesterol) and low HDL cholesterol (sometimes called "good" cholesterol). . Blood pressure is considered high if it stays at or above 140/90 mmHg over time. If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, high blood pressure is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.) . Smoking can damage and tighten blood vessels, raise cholesterol levels, and raise blood pressure. Smoking also doesn't allow enough oxygen to reach the body's tissues. . This condition occurs if the body can't use its insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps move blood sugar into cells where it's used as an energy source. Insulin resistance may lead to diabetes. . With this disease, the body's blood sugar level is too high because the body doesn't make enough insulin or doesn't use its insulin properly. . The terms "overweight" and "obesity" refer to body weight that's greater than what is considered healthy for a certain height.
  • Lack of physical activity. A lack of physical activity can worsen other risk factors for atherosclerosis, such as unhealthy blood cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, diabetes, and overweight and obesity.
  • Unhealthy diet. An unhealthy diet can raise your risk for atherosclerosis. Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and sugar can worsen other atherosclerosis risk factors.
  • Older age. As you get older, your risk for atherosclerosis increases. Genetic or lifestyle factors cause plaque to build up in your arteries as you age. By the time you're middle-aged or older, enough plaque has built up to cause signs or symptoms. In men, the risk increases after age 45. In women, the risk increases after age 55.
  • Family history of early heart disease. Your risk for atherosclerosis increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with heart disease before 65 years of age.

Although age and a family history of early heart disease are risk factors, it doesn't mean that you'll develop atherosclerosis if you have one or both. Controlling other risk factors often can lessen genetic influences and prevent atherosclerosis, even in older adults.

Studies show that an increasing number of children and youth are at risk for atherosclerosis. This is due to a number of causes, including rising childhood obesity rates.

Pepperwood, California

Pepperwood (formerly Barkdull) [2] is an unincorporated community in Humboldt County, California. [1] It is located 3.5 miles (5.6 km) northwest of Redcrest, [2] at an elevation of 115 feet (35 m). [1] Pepperwood is the northernmost community along the Avenue of the Giants. The ZIP Code is 95569. The community is inside area code 707.

A post office operated at Pepperwood from 1887 to 1892 and from 1901 to 1965. [2] The town was largely destroyed by the Christmas flood of 1964.

  1. ^ abcU.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Pepperwood, California
  2. ^ abc Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 120. ISBN1-884995-14-4 .
  3. ^
  4. "Senators". State of California . Retrieved April 7, 2013 .
  5. ^
  6. "Members Assembly". State of California . Retrieved April 7, 2013 .
  7. ^
  8. "California's 2nd Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC . Retrieved March 1, 2013 .

This Humboldt County, California–related article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.


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Where may it burn this year in the North Bay? Experts say even recent wildfire areas at risk

Four years after it roared into Santa Rosa, the Tubbs fire remains a menacing presence in Fountaingrove, where it consumed nearly 1,600 homes and a new fire station in the fall of 2017.

Dead trees and regrown Scotch broom — both highly flammable — now abound in the canyons and drainages of Fountaingrove, where the windblown wildfire ripped through oak and conifer woodlands that hadn’t seen a major fire in more than a half century.

Residents are jolted by the sound of limbs crashing to the ground and avoid entering the forest of skeletal trees.

And it’s by no means an isolated concern as the drought-stricken North Bay heads into a foreboding fire season with a legacy of 23 major blazes totaling nearly 1.5 million acres — the equivalent of 130% of Sonoma County — from 2015 through 2020.

The names of those fires are seared into the region’s memory, and their footprints now abut across a burned landscape stretching from the Mendocino National Forest to Interstate 80 outside Vacaville and from the Russian River near Guerneville to Blue Ridge overlooking Lake Berryessa and the Central Valley.

Interactive Press Democrat map showing the major wildfires that have burned in Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties since 2015. (The Press Democrat)

Much of that landscape could burn again this year, say fire ecologists and firefighters. That includes areas scorched by Sonoma County’s five worst wildfires — the Tubbs and Nuns in 2017, Kincade in 2019 and last year’s Walbridge and Glass fires.

“Fire is a natural occurrence on the landscape, and as such California ecosystems have evolved to survive and, in some cases, thrive when impacted by fire,” said Cal Fire Division Chief Ben Nicholls, who oversees Sonoma County operations.

The risk has been amplified by drought and by the kind of fuels that big, fast-moving wildfires can leave behind or promote in their wake. As a result, most areas within the footprints of the recent blazes have “enough available vegetation” to burn again, Nicholls said, allowing that reduced fuel will diminish their intensity.

The ultimate consideration is wind, which “overrides all other factors,” Nicholls said, noting the North Bay’s catastrophic infernos were pushed by winds hitting as much as 60 to 70 mph.

Nature’s resilience helped restore the hazard in Fountaingrove, where the loss of tree canopies let in sunlight that promoted heavy regrowth of Scotch broom, creating conditions that could be worse than in 2017, said Paul Lowenthal, Santa Rosa’s assistant fire marshal.

The fire season is off to an ominous, early start with a red flag warning from May 7-11 amid a run of near-record-breaking heat in the region and winds clocked at up to 64 mph over Mount St. Helena. Cal Fire said that by Friday more than 2,000 wildfires this year have charred nearly 14,000 acres — a head start even over last year, when 4.2 million acres burned in the state’s worst-ever year for wildfires.

The Santa Rosa Fire Department declared Monday as the official start of fire season in the city, saying it comes considerably earlier than normal “due to severe drought conditions locally and throughout the state.”

The U.S. Drought Monitor listed about 60% of California in extreme drought — the second highest category — including all of the Bay Area. A year ago, just 3% of the state was in that condition.

Citing the potential for a “long and significant fire season,” Fire Chief Scott Westrope said, “I ask that the community please take the appropriate measures to protect your home and your property this season.”

Based on the movement of past wildfires — including the Hanly fire of 1964 and the Tubbs, Kincade and Glass fires — Santa Rosa is bracing for the greatest fire threat coming from the north, Lowenthal said.

The city is intent on clearing fuel from the Fountaingrove, Mark West and Riebli areas and the north side of Rincon Valley, and is preparing an application for a Cal Fire fire prevention grant that could cover 75% of the cost to property owners for the work, he said.

The state is expected to allocate more than $200 million to the program to pay for cleanup work that could begin this year, said Paul Berlant, Cal Fire assistant deputy director.

But what the North Bay’s fire-prone history portends for this year remains a “nuanced question,” said Sasha Berleman, fire ecologist at Audubon Canyon Ranch and a federal firefighter.

General Debate

DAVID SHEARER (Leader of the Opposition) : I move, That the House take note of miscellaneous business . A couple of days ago the Government entered its 100th day in office since the election. It is a pretty shambolic and sorry sight that we are seeing after 100 days: a deficit of $12 billion—$12 billion—which is twice what the Prime Minister believes that the Government will get for our assets if it sells them I mean, that is if it gets anything like $6 billion. That is up to the finance Minister that is just a best guess, and not even a best guess, actually—just a guess. So what we have is a $12 billion deficit—a $12 billion deficit—that this country is showing now, which is an indication of where the economy is going. Income tax is down, GST is down, and company tax is 5 percent down. This is a shambolic start to the year.

The only real offer on the table is to sell our way to this brighter future that we were promised at the election just 100 days ago. You sell your way to a brighter future, and how do you do that when you flog off our most valuable farmland? That is a start the Crafar farm deal is one way. And we know that there are at least 16,000 hectares of land in front of the Overseas Investment Office today waiting for a decision—another 16,000 hectares in addition to the Crafar farms. In fact, thank you to Justice Miller, who had the good sense to understand that actually you need to look at this land and understand whether it is in New Zealand’s best interests to sell this land, and whether it brings real value to New Zealand. Justice Miller, for telling us that actually Ministers do not have their hands tied. They do not have their hands tied when they come to look at these things, but in fact they are able to make decisions based on New Zealand’s best interests. These Ministers—and Mr Williamson is here in the House right now—did not do that he said that his hands were tied.

But there is more. As I go around the country and I speak to people all over this country, all of them say the same thing: why are we selling our land, and why are we selling off our assets? That is what they all say. We will get in behind the citizens initiated referendum. We will get in behind that because that is exactly what New Zealanders want to see. They want to have an opportunity to oppose these asset sales. Why should they oppose them? Because they believe—most New Zealanders believe—we already own them. They ask me why we need to buy these assets again. And when you look at the popularity of the sale of these assets, when you actually look at how many people really do support the sale, you see it is only about a quarter of the people who support them the rest oppose them. The rest are opposed to these asset sales, and they oppose them because they are never going to get a look-in to buy them. That is the real reason. The only people who will are the quarter whom those people on the other side of the House here say they represent: the rich people who are going to be able to put up the money in order to buy those shares.

The Government is going to sell these assets at the bottom of the market to people who can afford them, and most New Zealanders are not able to buy those shares. We know that these people believe that many of these assets were guaranteed by the Prime Minister before the election, and that mums and dads—mums and dads—would be at the front of the queue. That is what they were told when these sales came up. We know that none of that is true in the legislation. The legislation was put in front of this House, and there is absolutely no guarantee. So we are just going to have to believe this Government that somehow mums and dads are going to be first in the queue. That is absolute nonsense. That is a broken promise and we know it. Not only that but we were promised that there was going to be a cap—a cap—on foreign ownership, and we know that that is not going to be in the legislation either. We know that there is going to be no cap on foreign ownership in this legislation.

Hon DAVID CARTER (Minister for Primary Industries) : I am quite happy to compare the first 100 days of the National-led Government and its performance with the performance of that member as the Leader of the Opposition. Every question time you see the dejected looks coming over all of the faces of the Labour caucus, as they know they have a problem. The only one who is happy is Grant Robertson. He cannot wait—he cannot wait—to see Mr Shearer take another question, because it is only a matter of time. It is only a matter of time. Mr Robertson is knocking close on the door.

But today I want to talk about the New Zealand primary sector and its contribution to the economy. What we see with the huge performance of the whole of the primary sector is that it makes a contribution of 72 percent of export earnings. I want to compare what National does with the primary sector with what those guys in Labour did. It was David Lange who called agriculture a sunset industry, and the Labour Opposition still considers that agriculture is a sunset industry. It is the very saviour of the New Zealand economy.

I want to take the opportunity to talk about what National has done for the primary sector. We have set up a focus on water and the development of irrigation: $35 million has gone to the Irrigation Acceleration Fund, and we have made a further contribution of $400 million to make sure that the infrastructure gets built. We have put a focus on innovation. We now have over $500 million worth of investment in primary sector research through the Primary Growth Partnership. We have led the world with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, and we are recognised right throughout the world as making real attempts to find solutions to the global greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

We have streamlined the Resource Management Act. Only yesterday in the House we were making sure we got the rental system right for the high country leases. We have invested around $450 million in rural infrastructure, including broadband. We have doubled the infringement fine for people breaching biosecurity at the borders. We have brought through a TB strategy, committing $30 million each year for the next 5 years. There is so much that we can talk about, including the immediate response to the Pseudomonas syringae pv. Actinidiae infestation of $25 million. Compare that with the way the Labour Government sat on its hands when the varroa bee mite first arrived.

But there is plenty more that needs to be done. We have got to make sure we initiate an emissions trading scheme that does not saddle agriculture in an uncompetitive position. We have got to make sure we never see Labour coming to power and initiating a capital gains tax. We have got to make sure we never see a Labour Government coming into power, fiddling with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Act, and driving up interest rates, because the confidence of New Zealand farmers has never been higher, and one of the reasons for that today is the fiscal responsibility of this National-led Government. We deliver the lowest interest rates we have seen for the last 40 years.

So out there in rural New Zealand there is a level of confidence. That confidence is delivering right throughout the New Zealand economy, and the rural hinterland of this country knows the value of a sympathetic Government that understands its concerns. The last thing it ever wants to see is the election of a Labour-Greens Government, because that will mean that irrigation will not get developed. The Greens even talked about putting a tax on water. It will certainly mean that with the expenditure on any proposals Labour makes, interest rates would increase, and increase markedly. This country relies on agriculture. It is the absolute backbone of the economy, and that has stood New Zealand in great stead over the last 4 years.

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) : Meanwhile, primary industries in this country lose billions of dollars every year from a massively inflated dollar, which my colleague David Carter, who has just resumed his seat, maintains for National’s mates in the finance industry in downtown Queen Street. But this is a story of how an Australian bank, some Ned Kellys across the Ditch, and some local business people robbed a small New Zealand town of its livelihood. It is about how a gang of corporate thugs screwed dozens of people out of their jobs. It is about how the Westpac bank involved itself in shafting an iconic New Zealand company, namely Yarrows (The Bakery) in Manaia, Taranaki—heartland New Zealand, which my colleague did not refer to. We are talking about the receivership of Yarrows in May last year.

The circumstances in which the company went into receivership were unusual. At the time, Yarrows had a valuation of $100 million. The sole shareholder, Paul Yarrow, had just secured a new international joint venture worth $200 million over 10 years. So what happened? A group of individuals set out to take control of this joint venture and force Mr Yarrow out. It was nothing short of corporate assassination. First, the Australian conspirators deliberately overcharged Yarrows in rent to the sum of A$2 million in false leases. These were then charged to the Australian company operation of Yarrows. They then demanded a payment of A$7 million from Mr Yarrow, and the price if he did not agree to their demands was receivership. Here are some of the names of the New Zealand and Australian individuals involved: Warren Duncan, Trevor Perry, Colin Pettigrew, and Michael Finnigan—all connected to Yarrows—Brian Mayo-Smith from the receivers, BDO and Nick Hale from Westpac bank.

These people conspired to bring down Yarrows from within. Where is the evidence? Well, some of that will emerge in a court case starting in the New South Wales Supreme Court tomorrow, and some will come from a tape-recording of businessmen conspiring to cheat an owner. The House is well very aware of what happens when a tape-recorder keeps running and no one notices it. This is not an English dog’s breakfast tape this is a “bread-gate” tape. The tape-recording reveals the depth of this plot and what these people conspired to do. For example, we have Michael Finnigan, former trusted adviser to Paul Yarrow, saying: “Let’s threaten receivership.” Then we have Trevor Perry, who describes himself as “an angel investor”, saying to the Westpac representative, Nick Hale: “I never thought I’d be happy to see a demand put on a company by a bank.” All on tape.

I have just one question for Mr Hale and Westpac, and it is this: why? The reason is they wanted control of the planned joint-venture bakery operations with the Japanese company Sumitomo, and, mostly, they wanted Paul Yarrow out so that they could transfer assets from his family company in Manaia to pay for their shares at the discount price in Australia. When Paul Yarrow would not agree, they threatened to ruin him, and so it transpired. Westpac followed through on the directors’ threat and called in the receivers. Prior to this conspiracy Westpac was on the verge of getting 90 percent of its money within weeks.

What are the connections between company directors Warren Duncan, Trevor Perry, and Colin Pettigrew, and Westpac officers John Chapman and Nick Hale, and Brian Mayo-Smith of BDO? We understand that the Serious Fraud Office in New Zealand is about to step in, and tomorrow in the New South Wales Supreme Court in Sydney these New Zealand and Australian directors will be involved in a legal war over the ownership of the company in which the Australian Securities and Investments Commission is involved.

The case shows what happens when unscrupulous overseas-owned banks and corporate high-flyers get their hands on New Zealand companies. But this a rural company in Manaia in Taranaki, a massive subscriber to that community, including the local rugby team. Think of all of the benefits it has poured in—millions of dollars over the years. It has provided employment to all those local people in Manaia over the years. A young person there always knew that they would have a job locally. It is an international best-selling company, providing its product all over Asia and throughout the Pacific. It also provides the core product for Subway in its contracts here and around other parts of the world. But here is another bit: when it all happened, the Westpac bank and these businessmen had no regard for what was being done to local people. And the Government does nothing about this sort of behaviour.

JACQUI DEAN (National—Waitaki) : Meanwhile, back in the 21st century, I also want to talk about the importance of agriculture to the New Zealand economy. You know, a previous Labour Prime Minister once famously declared with great conviction that agriculture was a sunset industry.

Hon Members: Who said that?

JACQUI DEAN: That was former Prime Minister David Lange. I acknowledge that that might have been a few years ago, but that attitude in the Labour Party prevails today. Last night in the House Labour list MP Raymond Huo described high country farmers as “the privileged few”. You know, they are saying again that Labour hates farmers. Well, they could not be more wrong. For the year ended 30 September 2011 the primary sector accounted for 71 percent of our export earnings, or $32 billion. So, simply put, the primary sector has been, and continues to be, the backbone of the New Zealand economy. The ongoing success of the primary sector is a key part of our plan to build a stronger economy, create more real jobs, and raise incomes. National is proud to champion farmers and is proud to champion growers.

National believes that economic development can go hand in hand with environmental sustainability. Just, for a moment, have a look at the $35 million Irrigation Acceleration Fund and the $400 million proposed equity investment in 2013-14. Irrigation development creates jobs, particularly for young people, and is also a fantastic career development in our rural towns of New Zealand. So let us just have a look at the Ōpuha dam project in South Canterbury, and you can see the enormous benefit not just to the local economy but also to water quality downstream from the dam. Irrigators are required to up their game with regard to nutrient outflows, and are responding to the call to improve water quality. You know—

Mr SPEAKER: I would ask the member please not to read a speech during this general debate. She is perfectly welcome to keep going, but please refer to notes and do not read a pre-written speech to us.

JACQUI DEAN: Thank you, Mr Speaker. You know, I absolutely back regional councils’ approach and their commitment to improving water quality. Farmers understand very well their responsibilities in terms of the need to protect their environment and to farm sustainably. I will be reading a bit because I will be quoting, but I do hope you will bear with me. High country farmers are currently under the spotlight with the Crown Pastoral Land (Rent for Pastoral Leases) Amendment Bill being debated in the House. The Greens display their usual eco-arrogance in asserting that only they understand—and I am quoting now—“environmentally sustainable outcomes”, completely misunderstanding that high country farmers have a multigenerational commitment to improving rabbit-infested, Hieracium -infested, wilding pine - infested high country to the point where, over the past 100 or so years, their international reputation as producers of the finest product and the finest wool, including merino wool, is second to none. The Icebreaker company sources the finest merino wool from stations throughout the South Island—and I am about to quote another figure—but cannot get enough to meet demand. Unlike Labour, we want Icebreaker to succeed—indeed we want it to be wildly successful. If I may quote, Icebreaker revenue “is expected to top NZ$160 million” for this fiscal year. It says its aim is to double that within the next 3 years.

I want, and this Government wants, small companies like Icebreaker to be wildly, wildly successful. When David Parker was the Minister for Land Information, he did everything he could to retire the high country from production, including ratcheting up the rents to place the farmers into tenure review. Luckily there was a change of Government and we now have returned to a Government that supports agriculture.

Mr SPEAKER: Before I call the next member, I am serious about asking members please not to read general debate speeches, unless it is a highly technical matter, and that was not. There is nothing wrong with quoting and reading out quotes. The only saving grace, I can say, is that at least it was handwritten, so at least, I guess, it was written by the member and not by someone else.

Hon MARYAN STREET (Labour) : Unfortunately, that meticulously read speech from the member who has just resumed her seat, Jacqui Dean, is not sufficient to gain favour amongst the farming community with the National Party any more. The farming community is so out of sorts with the National Party because of the Crafar farm sales.

Jacqui Dean: No, a long time.

Hon MARYAN STREET: Well, if that party over there does not know about it, then it should do some research of its own, because it is blindingly obvious to the rest of us.

Yesterday the Controller and Auditor-General released the results of the 2010-11 audits of district health boards, and that is what I want to turn my attention to today. One of the points that the Auditor-General made in her report was that in 2010-11, $417.3 million of new money was given to the district health boards—$417.3 million—and that was up on the 2009-10 year. The fact that in 2011-12, as the Minister of Health said in the House last week, the district health boards got $350 million worth of new money—$350 million as opposed to the $417 million the year before—indicates this Government’s trajectory in the health sector. That is a trajectory that presumes cuts, and what we are seeing now are the inevitable results of a pushing down of the funding that goes to the district health boards. As the district health boards get screwed down tighter and tighter with their budgetary constraints, they are going to be cutting into front-line and clinical services. The more the Minister protests about that, the more one can see that it is apparent that that is going to be the upshot of the Budget.

If we have a look, it is clear from figures that have been released already, and also what is widely known out in the district health board sector, that the total new money for the health budget, coming up in the Budget to be released in May, is somewhere between $320 million and $350 million. That is total new money in the Health vote—total new money. In the Auditor-General’s report she makes it very clear that 75 percent of Vote Health goes to the district health boards—75 percent. So if we are generous even and say that perhaps the new money that is coming out of the Budget this year in Vote Health is going to be $350 million, then 75 percent of that is $262.5 million. So we had $417 million in the 2010-11 year, $350 million of new money to district health boards in the 2011-12 year, and now they are staring down the barrel of $262 million in the 2012-13 year.

This progressive slashing of the health budget is eating into clinical positions. If we have a look at some of the district health boards that have reported recently that they are having difficulties, we know that Waikato District Health Board is looking to save $25 million in the next financial year—$25 million—and it knows that it is going to come out of front-line clinical services. One of the things that the Minister is requiring of the district health boards next year is that they absorb KiwiSaver. Instead of that being taken out of the Crown account, as it has been until this coming financial year, the district health boards are going to have to absorb that. In the case of Waikato District Health Board alone, that is a $3.2 million impost. Add on to that minimal salary increases, as we have just seen the New Zealand Nurses Organisation sign up to, and what we are seeing is serious cuts that are bound to happen in clinical positions. This is the theme of this Government in health: cuts, cuts, and more cuts.

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE (National) : Let us stay with primary products, that essential growth feature of our economy. We have heard what Labour has to say about agriculture, and this hurts, when I know that a person such as the Speaker dedicates himself to increasing the production from the country’s rural sector in a selfless—

Hon Maurice Williamson: Tireless.

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: —tireless effort to make sure things go well. Primary products are 71 percent of our exports, $3.6 billion up from the previous year.

National supports farmers farmers are supported by National. As an ex-farmer myself—and I have milked my share of cows—and as someone who dedicated many years working in harmony with the Speaker in the New Zealand Dairy Board to increase New Zealand’s exports wherever we could, I am deeply concerned that Labour is abandoning farmers.

As we have already heard, David Lange said it was a twilight industry. He could not have been “wronger”. But Labour continues to consider that it knows best. Its caucus is almost devoid of farming experience—almost devoid. It only has one person qualified to speak on farming, and he was my little gift back to the Labour Party at the last election. We gave him back because we thought it had no rural voice at all. Twenty-one percent was all you achieved from the rural vote 21 percent. Does that not tell you that you have a problem? But, no, Labour still considers it knows best. It considers that farmers are not paying enough tax. It considers that farmers should be paying more GST, and is this not a sound we know so well from Labour: “Gimme your money, gimme your money.”? It just wants to take it.

Farmers are fighting for New Zealand’s future they can do without an enemy within, and that is what they have on that side of the House, the health of the economy versus Labour political point-scoring. Surely, I would appeal to the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Shearer, to take a bipartisan approach and to realise what is best for the country, rather than a little political point-scoring. Will Labour do that? I doubt it, because it considers that it knows best, whereas National’s policies are: just as it wants to put money out, we want to put money in. We are investing in the primary sector and we believe in its importance. We know that the primary sector can only be good for our economy, and we are committed to policies that will achieve that, and David Cunliffe knows that. He knows our Rural Broadband Initiative will be of great use to our rural areas. He knows that we are investing in the Primary Growth Partnership, which is now over $5 billion. We are investing in cleaning up our rural lakes, our rivers, our waterways, and our aquifers, and we are tackling greenhouse gas emissions through further investment in the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, which you have heard of from other speakers.

But let us just touch on something that is dear to most New Zealanders’ hearts: foreign ownership. I believe that in his speech Mr Shearer referred to it. Let us give some figures. This is quoting, so, if I may, I will read it, lest I have committed it incorrectly to my memory. In 9 years of Labour—

Hon Maurice Williamson: Long years.

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: —9 long years of Labour, how many hectares were sold to foreigners?

Hon Maurice Williamson: Tell us.

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: No, I really do not want to tell you, but I shall, I shall, I shall: 660,000 hectares were sold to foreigners over the 9 years of Labour—660,000 hectares. After 3 years of National it was a mere 100,000, under exceptional circumstances, and if that is carried on during 9 years of our time, it will still be only half what Labour had in its 9-year period.

Hon Maurice Williamson: So how can they say it is wrong when they did that?

CHRIS AUCHINVOLE: Well, Labour members do say it is wrong, because, again, they know best. Just as Labour knew when it was examining the employment relations system for immigrants to pick fruit, when it decided that it would determine when the fruit was ready. Fruit does not work like that. Talking of fruit, I would just like to illustrate the point: small apples picked from a tree in my own garden, we call this “the Labour tree” large apples picked from a tree in my own garden in Moana, we call this “the National tree”.

CHRIS HIPKINS (Labour—Rimutaka) : I think the previous speaker, Chris Auchinvole, is out of his tree, if that is the very best that he could come up with. It is always a privilege to follow the former member of Parliament from the West Coast.

This is a Government that has already given up, a Government that, 3 years in, has already given up, and its plan is simply to cut our way to the brighter future that John Key promised us. We know that if National cannot cut it, it is going to sell it, and if it cannot sell it, it is going to contract it out. This is a Government that is not all about delivering a brighter future for New Zealand it is a Government that has given up, and now it is simply content to manage New Zealand’s decline. It has given up trying to give New Zealanders the brighter future that John Key said he was all about. Now it is simply all about decline.

Let us go back and remember what John Key promised New Zealanders before the last election.

Hon Member: What was that?

CHRIS HIPKINS: Oh, there is so much material. I have got only 5 minutes, but there is so much material. He said: “I need to be able to look New Zealanders in the eye and assure them that the money they pay in tax is being spent wisely, and as much benefit as possible is going to front-line services, from which they will directly benefit.” How has that manifested itself in the last few weeks? Well, the Government has spent money on giving staff at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who are going to lose their jobs advice about getting themselves pets that offer unconditional love, taking yoga classes, and meditating. This is what it is spending money on. They are not front-line services by anybody’s definition, but that is what this Government seems to think it should be spending the public’s money on. John Key seems to think he can look New Zealanders in the eye and justify that.

He said National would be going ahead with its programme of tax cuts because these tax cuts would not be at the expense of public services. Well, have we seen any evidence of that? No, we have not. Two and a half thousand people are out of jobs already, and there are more to come—and more to come.

Many New Zealanders will ask themselves what is wrong with Public Service reform. Well, I quote John Key on that one, as well. He said that structural change and significant reorganisations tend to create more problems than they solve. It was John Key who said that. The Prime Minister, John Key, said that. He is not saying that any more. He said there will be no wholesale reorganisation across the public sector, and yet what have we seen? Massive reorganisation.

The thing that I want to talk about the most is the hoax that John Key and his party played on the New Zealand public when they said: “We will be putting more into the front line. We will be moving resources from the back office to the front line.” Let us quote from John Key again here: “We are not in any way going to reduce the number of front-line staff. Let me make this absolutely clear—under National the numbers of doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, police and other front-line staff will grow.” Well, what have we seen? In recent weeks we have seen district health boards saying they are going to have to lay staff off because they have not got enough money. The police have been told they have to save $360 million over the next 3 years. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is having to save $40 million a year in spending, putting 305 people out of their jobs. We have got health boards up and down the country talking about cutting medical professionals’ jobs because of this Government’s underfunding of the Public Service. We have got the Government talking about increasing class sizes and having fewer teachers in front of kids, because of this Government’s unwillingness to fund it.

This is not a Government focused on the front line it is cutting into front-line service. It is removing health board services. I know from my own electorate that literally hundreds, if not thousands, of older people have found that the front-line staff who deliver their home help have had their hours cut. Older New Zealanders have had their home help cut. Home help is one of the best examples of a front-line service that has been cut under this Government. There is no better example, by the very definition of the words “front line”, than our Defence Force—our Defence Force. The very nature, the very definition, of the words “front line” comes from the Defence Force, and the Defence Force is being cut under this National Government, despite its promise that it would not cut front-line public services. It was a hollow promise that it made New Zealanders before the 2008 general election—one of many. It was one of the many things that National said to New Zealanders in order to get itself elected, and now it has given up. It has given up on delivering a brighter future. It has given up on fulfilling its promises. Now it is content to manage our economic decline.

NIKKI KAYE (National—Auckland Central) : I am delighted to be able to speak in this general debate today. I have been waiting to give this speech for a very long time. As the MP for Auckland Central I want to dedicate this speech to the people of New Zealand who work on farms and in forests and those who support the primary industries. As the MP for Auckland Central I have been the subject before of slight jabs from my colleagues in terms of my support for the rural industries. In fact, one person said to me today: “You do know, Nikki, that for a good latte you need milk.” I wanted this to be the discussion in my speech today.

The fact is that this side of the House has an economic plan that is focused on unrelenting support for our primary industries. We acknowledge that our export-led recovery has been driven by the rural workers of New Zealand. We know that a large chunk of our economic performance is because of the primary industries. Seventy-one percent of our economic performance comes from our exports from primary industries $32 billion is what it is worth to our economy.

Where are our exports up? They are up in meat areas, and they are up in dairy areas. In fact, I will give you the figures here. We were up 12 percent in 2010 in meat exports, and dairy exports were up 20 percent. So it is absolutely unbelievable that at a time when New Zealanders are struggling and our country is laden with debt we have an Opposition that is promoting policies that are harmful to this area.

Let us talk about some of those policies that it has promoted. It has promoted additional costs in terms of the emissions trading scheme. It has promoted additional—

Mike Sabin: Capital gains.

NIKKI KAYE: It has promoted capital gains tax in terms of land. Compare this with our party, which has been unrelenting in its support, whether it is through science and innovation in terms of the $50 million that we are putting in to key research in climate change, or whether it is through all the initiatives that we are trying in order to ensure that young New Zealanders have more opportunities in our primary industries.

We heard today about the Youth Guarantee places that we are offering. We also know, for instance, that the Hon Paula Bennett has been working really hard in the area of Auckland to ensure that some of our young people have greater placements in terms of jobs. What we are focused on is ensuring that there are real career options for young New Zealanders in our primary industries.

When we look at some of the job figures—I think in TradeMe today there are jobs in our primary industries. But unfortunately we are having to get new immigrants to go there because we need to make sure that some of our young people are work-ready. All of this Government’s programmes, instead of the rhetoric from the opposite side, focus on real pathways to work for those young people to have jobs in our primary industries, because we recognise that although we may hear a whole lot of clutter from the Opposition about how we need to diversify our economy, the fact is that a major area of our export growth comes from the primary industries.

I am proud that as the MP for Auckland Central, yes, I represent an urban electorate, but I have also got some rural areas like Great Barrier Island, and I am proud to stand here today and give my support for all of those rural workers around the country who have worked so hard for the last 3 years to ensure that we have an export-led recovery. We have got more to do—we have got so much more to do. If you look at some of our achievements, whether it is through the $35 million that we have put into the Irrigation Acceleration Fund, whether it is through primary sector innovation and the $70 million that we have put into the Primary Growth Partnership, or whether it is through the $45 million that we have put into the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, we understand that the way that we are going to improve the lives of so many New Zealanders is to lift our standard of living and have an economic plan.

You contrast that with the Opposition. Every time Opposition members speak they just talk about what they will not do. They are anti-everything. You contrast that with our party, which has good policies in welfare, good policies in ensuring young people get into jobs, and good policies in investing in science and innovation, particularly in areas that are in the primary industry like food innovation, because we know our opportunities lie in countries like Asia, and we know that if we can increase our exports and we can support—

Hon David Cunliffe: Countries like Asia? Asia’s not a country.

NIKKI KAYE: Countries like China and Singapore that are within Asia. We know that we can improve our standard of living if we can support those rural workers in our primary industries.

This side of the House has a plan that side of the House is anti-everything. This side of the House has the support of New Zealanders because we are focused on a strong economic plan.

JULIE ANNE GENTER (Green) : Tēnā koe, Mr Speaker. Tēnā koutou e te Whare. Today I would like to talk about the importance of transport to New Zealand’s economy, and particularly the importance of cost-effective, evidence-based transport investment.

Right now we have an opportunity to solve our transport problems in a way that is going to cost us less money. It is going to help us. It is an opportunity to address the housing affordability crisis in Auckland. It is an opportunity to improve our health and our well-being. It is an opportunity to enable households and businesses to have more money to spend in the domestic economy. I know that this sounds too good to be true—that we can be increasing the choices for all New Zealanders and how they get around by spending less money and changing our current paradigm around transport planning—but it is true.

I am sure many members of this House take it for granted that the traffic engineers at the New Zealand Transport Agency, or the policy advisers at the Ministry of Transport, know what they are talking about when they come to us with their forecasts for traffic growth. But the reality is that the world is changing and a lot of the assumptions that have been used in these traffic modelling and business case scenarios are flawed, and we have the opportunity to do things differently.

I think ordinary New Zealanders are largely aware of this. Widening roads and increasing motorway capacity on the fringe of the city does not address our congestion problems. It does not save people money in the long term, because when you make it cheaper and easier to drive at peak hour, more people will choose to drive at peak hour. This will make it harder for people to walk, to cycle, and to take public transport. It actually undermines our investment in buses and trains if we are expanding motorway capacity without fixing the market distortions that are underlying our current transportation system.

So this traditional approach to traffic engineering has a number of very costly unintended consequences. I have already talked about some of them. It makes it harder for people to walk, to cycle, and to take public transport even though these are clearly more cost-effective ways for people to move around our towns and cities at peak hour. If members stop and think about it, I am sure that will make sense to them. I mean, think about it. Cars take up a whole lot of land. They take up a lot of room. They are not the most efficient way of moving large numbers of people around our areas. That does not mean they are bad. There is nothing evil or wrong with cars it is just that they are not the most cost-effective way for people to move around our towns and cities at peak hour.

Michael Woodhouse: What happened to personal choice?

JULIE ANNE GENTER: Yes, that is exactly it. I think the Green Party understands that we do need to increase people’s personal choices.

The problem is—and I know members are not experts in transport engineering, so they are not aware of these flawed assumptions in the traffic engineering models—but the reality is that the traditional traffic engineering approach has undermined people’s choices because it makes it seem cheaper and easier to drive at peak hour. So it is totally understandable that most New Zealanders drive to work, because they do not have any other option. That is nobody’s fault. It does not need to be something ideological. We just need to look at why things have happened the way they have and come up with some evidence-based, cost-effective solutions. I am sure that the National Party should support evidence-based, cost-effective solutions that are going to be good for the economy.

A concrete example of how motorways are not the most cost-effective way to deal with congestion is clear in the Northern Busway. So the busway right now is nowhere near capacity, but it is currently carrying the equivalent of four lanes of traffic over the Waitematā Harbour at peak hour. How much would it cost to put an additional four lanes on the harbour bridge? How much do you think that would cost? It would cost a lot more than the Northern Busway costs. And how much would it cost to provide all that parking in and around central Auckland for the tens of thousands of vehicles if people were forced to drive into the city because we had not invested in the Northern Busway?

So this demonstrates what an incredible opportunity we have to spend less money and move more people and give people more choices. The people who want to drive, and the freight that needs to move at peak hour on trucks, are actually going to pay less and they are going to find it easier to get where they need to go at peak hour if we just implement a smart, green transport policy, and I am very happy to work with the Government on this. Thank you.

JONATHAN YOUNG (National—New Plymouth) : Thank you for the opportunity to stand and speak today. It is great to hear my colleagues talk about the primary industries, which are undergirding the export-led recovery that this nation is experiencing. In fact, it is good to see that New Zealand is faring far better than many nations overseas because hard-working New Zealanders out there are taking our natural resources and, with their innovation, with their incredible skill and tenacity, and with their hard work against all odds, they are making New Zealand a world leader when it comes to primary industries. It is wonderful to see the increase that is happening. But can I also say that alongside this increase we are seeing innovation in how to manage our resources.

I think of my own province of Taranaki, where we have a world-leading riparian planting programme—certainly the best in this nation—which is protecting the streams and the waterways of our province, which has 17,000 kilometres of waterways all streaming down from Mount Taranaki to the ocean. The farmers, without legislation but because of their commitment to the environment, have planted every year around 300,000 plants on the edges of waterways and have fenced those waterways in order to protect our environment and enhance it not only now but for future generations of farmers who will continue to make New Zealand such a successful place. I think the figure is that around 70 to 80 percent of those waterways have been planted out. Credit goes not only to the farmers but also to the Taranaki Regional Council, which has led this tremendous work.

Many of my colleagues have talked about the comments of Labour members over past years and their attitude towards our primary industries. I guess they would say they are for it, they are for us, and that they want to see all those areas increase, succeed, and prosper. We always go back to the comment they have made about the sunset industry of agriculture. Mr Speaker, you more than anyone in this House would know how important that sector is to us. We know that back in 1961, the consumption of red meat in the world was at a certain level and it has tripled since then. The opportunities exist for industries in New Zealand, not only in dairying and red meat but also in forestry and in food processing and production, to continue to forge us ahead in great success.

One of the members today mentioned a great Taranaki company. I want to say that I know that company. I know those people well. I know what they have contributed to our local economy and also to the whole community of Taranaki. That company is highly regarded in Taranaki. In fact, as a young boy on the way out from Hāwera, where I grew up and lived, I would go through Manaia. My brother and I, on our way out to our parents’ farm in Pīhama, about to do some fencing, would always stop by Yarrows and buy a dozen doughnuts—I know, you can tell. We would buy a dozen doughnuts and we would eat them at morning tea time as we were labouring away in our school holidays, fencing.

Hon Maurice Williamson: Is that each?

JONATHAN YOUNG: Was that each? Ha! My family—myself and my brothers—became great fans of that company. I went on to play basketball with the gentleman who was mentioned, and he continues to be a good friend of my family.

I have an interesting story. Noel Yarrow, the person who is credited with forging the progress of that company, went across to Europe on a trade mission and there met a couple in Belgium who, after meeting him, decided to come to New Zealand. They came to Taranaki particularly to meet him and they loved it so much they stayed. Last Friday night we were at the expansion of their company. They themselves are now producing incredible quality products—they are bakers—and they also export. They send their product to 54 companies in New Zealand, and export to three different countries around the world—such is the great strength there is in Taranaki.

Hon ANNETTE KING (Labour—Rongotai) : I have been fascinated by the National Party putting up such a defence for agriculture today. We can only assume that the National Party is in trouble with farmers around the country. It all comes from their decision to sell off some of our prime farm land. The farmers are now in revolt. The best that National members could do in their defence of agriculture was to go back to the days of David Lange. I have to say, why did you not go back to the days of Rob Muldoon? I am sure you would have found even more interesting things to dredge up for the Wednesday debate. Now we know where John Key stands when it comes to better public services—the things he said about public services before the election. It is public service by 0800 number call centres—0800 Government. That is what we have got for public services now. Of course those call centres are in New Zealand at the moment, but Mumbai here we come.

So perhaps John Key ought to take some time to learn what a public service is. You see, “public” means relating to people, and “service” means an act to help or assist. So the latest public service to join 0800 Government, in this “aspirational” way that the National Party is putting forward policy, is Housing New Zealand Corporation. It has 69,000 people who are its clients, and most of them are the most vulnerable people in our society. So I just hope the whole 69,000 do not decide to call on the same day. But they have been told that they are now going to get a smarter, faster, fairer service by an 0800 number. Well it reminded me very much of Tony Ryall’s slogan. “Better, sooner, more convenient” was his health slogan in the last 3 years. Well of course we have got more people waiting for service, we have got more district health boards in debt, we have more district health boards not meeting their health targets, and we have got more vulnerable people waiting or having their services cut, including my colleague David Cunliffe’s own mother, who has had her service cut. So this is a Government by slogan.

Well, I have got a better slogan for them for the Housing New Zealand Corporation policy. It is called “dopey, dumb, and dicey”, because 69,000 people have been told that all they have to do is just make one phone call on an 0800 number and they can get help straight away. Well, does it work? Because when you measure public services you always want to measure if they are working. I heard the Minister of Finance say today that this is how they measure them, what they are doing, and how well they are working. Let us take a social worker from Glen Innes. She works with the most vulnerable in that area. She decided that she wanted to work on behalf of a client who came to see her. It took her nine phone calls and two personal visits in her car, down to the Housing New Zealand Corporation office, before she got to leave a message on an answerphone for a tenancy officer. Unfortunately she had to sit for 7 minutes on the phone line before she even got to leave the answerphone message. She is a qualified and experienced person who knows the system, and she could not work the new 0800 system. It is not the old 0800 system. It is the new way to provide a smarter, faster, more convenient service!

Seventy jobs are to go in Housing New Zealand Corporation and the offices are now to be closed to customers. They open by appointment only. It sounds like something very shady, when you have to go in with a sort of bag over your head because you do not want to be seen. It can be opened only by appointment, and that is if you are going to have a needs assessment. There was a wonderful cartoon in the paper yesterday where all the Housing New Zealand Corporation officers are hiding behind their desks, saying: “No, no. We’re not stopping them coming in. We just want them to use the 0800 number service.” There will be staff sitting in offices, and people will not be able to go through the door. They can go only if they have made an appointment.

Then we are told that this will be a very good service because now they will have a relationship with the corporation. I am trying to picture this relationship with the corporation. You know, a corporation is a business. So how do you wrap your arms around that? How do you talk to a corporation when you are a tenant of Housing New Zealand Corporation and you want to talk about your housing needs? You normally talk to a person, and that is what a relationship is. This is a dopey policy. It is not going to work. It is not faster, smarter, or fairer. It is going to be hopeless.

JAMI-LEE ROSS (National—Botany) : It is always good to go last in the general debate, because you get to fix up some of the misstatements and the problems you hear from the other side. But I want to start with a theme that the Hon Annette King started during her speech. She wanted to talk about slogans. Well, let me remind the Labour Party of some slogans. This is a slogan that applies perfectly to it: “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”. We have apparently got a fresh face in the new Leader of the Opposition. We have apparently got some fresh policies coming along we have not heard very much any more. They are actually so good that when David Shearer stood up, the Hon David Cunliffe left the room and came back as soon as he had finished. That is how much confidence the Labour Party has in its new leader—its fresh approach, supposedly.

But, actually, we have seen nothing new from Labour. It is back to its old recipe of borrow and hope. It is back to its old recipe of spending up large, like drunken sailors, although I think that is a bit unfair to the drunken sailors out there. The Labour Party’s old recipe of closing the doors to the rest of the world is apparently going to be the solution to all of New Zealand’s woes. Well, under the National Government New Zealanders have far fewer woes than they had in the 9 years under the Labour Government.

I was getting a bit sick of hearing about Crafar farms. Apparently, according to the Labour Party, selling assets and seeing farmland owned by foreigners is an appalling thing. Let me remind the House of a few statistics. In 9 years of the Labour Government, 660,000 hectares of land was sold to foreigners—660,000 hectares in 9 years. In 3 years of National, 100,000 hectares of land was sold to foreigners. If anyone wants to do the maths, those figures show that the members opposite allowed twice as much land to be sold to foreigners as this Government did in 3 years. So do not ever listen to the Labour Party saying that farmland being sold to foreigners is evil. I can see those members putting their heads down because they do not like those figures. Those members opposite sold twice as much land to foreigners as this Government did.

Why does the Labour Party now hate foreigners? When Shania Twain was walking through the South Island with Helen Clark it was OK. When James Cameron was buying land in the Wairarapa we did not hear a squeak. But when Chinese people want to purchase some farmland and invest some money into this country, those members scream. In my electorate of Botany, a third of the population is Asian, and the third of my electorate that is Asian wants to know from that side why it hates Asians. That is appalling. The figures just do not stack up for that side.

This National Government has been talking this afternoon about the primary industries, and we have done a lot in the primary industries. We have reduced taxes across the board, and cut the company tax rate. That helps the primary industries. We are cleaning up New Zealand’s lakes, aquifers, and rivers, investing $265 million. We have reduced accident compensation levies—we are reducing them for rural businesses—and we are rolling out the Rural Broadband Initiative.

We in the National Government acknowledge the heartbeat of New Zealand. We acknowledge the backbone of New Zealand. We are cutting red tape for the rural sector. We have streamlined and simplified the Resource Management Act.

Hon David Cunliffe: The member doesn’t even believe his own notes.

JAMI-LEE ROSS: David Cunliffe wants to talk—the woolly mammoth over there. He could not even get his leader the right figures when he was in a debate with the Prime Minister. So I do not think the “Woolly Mammoth” over there should be speaking.

Seventy-two percent of exports in this country come from primary industries, and one of the things that those primary industries require is an efficient ports system. We have seen some announcements being made today in Auckland about the ports sector. I want to say that I thought it was quite appalling to see people on that side on the picket line opposing a more efficient ports system—opposing some changes that would make it easier for exporters to get their business through. The problem that we have at the port was not because of the port company it was because of the appalling employment relations legislation that those members passed 12 years ago. Those workers are not redundant because of the port they are redundant because of the union pushing them over the precipice. Long live the National Government.

Hon DAVID CUNLIFFE (Labour—New Lynn) : I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I was reluctant to interrupt the member’s most excellent speech, but I have to record for Hansard that it is inappropriate for the member to refer to the presence or absence of another member from the Chamber, as you well know. The reason that I was momentarily absent was to deal with an urgent matter with his colleague the Hon Kate Wilkinson.

Mr SPEAKER: The member is quite correct. I missed that, but members should not refer to the absence of a member from the Chamber.

Redwood Empire fire history remains visible in wild spots

Black streaks run 40 feet up the trunks of a ring of redwoods in the Pepperwood Preserve off Porter Creek Road in the Mayacmas Mountains northeast of Santa Rosa.

The trees are healthy, silently bearing the scars of the epic wildfire of September 1964 that rattled Santa Rosa's nerves before it was stopped about 100 feet from the door of the old Community Hospital on Chanate Road.

Nearly all of the 3,200-acre preserve was scorched as 70 mph winds, close to hurricane strength, blasted the Hanly fire from Calistoga through Knights Valley, Franz Valley and down the Mark West Canyon to what was then the northeast outskirts of Santa Rosa.

At 52,700 acres, the Hanly fire is the largest in Sonoma County — and fourth-largest in the Redwood Empire — in the last half-century.

It pales in comparison to California's mega-fires, including the 255,560-acre Rim Fire still burning in and around Yosemite National Park, now the state's third-largest wildfire since the 1930s.

Firefighters and forest ecologists say it's unlikely the Redwood Empire will ever see such massive blazes, but destructive wildfires regularly erupt in the region, as they do all over the state.

The Hanly fire, ignited when a deer hunter tossed a cigarette into dry grass on the slope of Mount St. Helena in Napa County, remains as testimony to what happens when California's recreation-friendly Mediterranean climate bakes grass, brush and trees dry every summer.

"All it needs is an ignition source," said Michael Gillogly, the Pepperwood Preserve manager, standing on an east-facing slope that the Hanly fire's flames raced up 49 years ago. "It could burn any time."

Firefighters and forest ecologists agree: About 4,400 wildfires a year, covering nearly 220,000 acres, according to a recent five-year average reported by Cal Fire, are part of the circle of life and death in California.

"Fire is another of those processes built into the landscape," said Rick Mowery, a Mendocino National Forest fire ecologist. "A lot of California relies on fire to function in a healthy way."

Over thousands of years, the state's flora and fauna have adjusted to fire, Mowery said. Species that couldn't tolerate it "were gone long ago."

Nobcone pines can't propagate without fire, while Ponderosa pines and redwoods are cloaked in thick bark that insulates them from all but the hottest fires.

In the wake of the 29,526-acre Mill Fire in July 2012, green sprouts of oak trees and brush emerged, only to be bitten off "by something looking for lunch," he said.

However, the Mill Fire, which threatened the Colusa County town of Stonyford, occurred close to and under the same weather conditions that bolstered the tragic Rattlesnake Fire of July 1953 in which 15 firefighters were overrun and killed by flames after a shift in the wind.

Both fires erupted in the 1.1 million-acre Mendocino National Forest, which runs through parts of Lake, Mendocino, Colusa, Glenn, Tehama and Trinity counties.

The forest, managed and protected by the U.S. Forest Service, has had 29 fires of more than 1,000 acres since 1966, including four of the Redwood Empire's five largest fires, ranging from about 42,000 to 83,000 acres.

Winds up to 30 mph fanned the region's largest blaze, the Fork Fire of August 1996, which doubled in size in one day and ultimately burned 83,057 acres in Lake County, mostly in the national forest and coming within 1.5 miles of the community of Upper Lake.

Mowery said he expects the forest's larger fires to remain in the 20,000- to 60,000-acre range, largely because of topography. Valleys and foothills flank the east and west sides of the national forest, while roads and ridgelines give firefighters a chance to limit fire movement to the north or south, he said.

Sonoma County's recent fire history includes 13 major wildland blazes since 1964, with all but the Hanly Fire between 1,300 and 12,000 acres. "The potential is always there," said Eric Hoffmann, division chief of Cal Fire's Sonoma-Lake-Napa unit.

With less than seven inches of rain in Santa Rosa since Jan. 1 — one-third of the 30-year average — the region's wildfire fuels are drier than usual, he said.

Cal Fire's local unit monitors a chaparral shrub called chamise for moisture content, considering less than 60 percent a "critical point."

Samples from the Geysers typically reach that point around Oct. 15, and they already are below it now, Hoffmann said.

Still, the Redwood Empire's worst fires are only one-third to one-half as large as California's biggest conflagrations, including three in San Diego County that covered 175,000 to 273,000 acres.

Redwoods that grow abundantly here are less prone to burning than San Diego's brush and the damp ocean breeze also suppresses fire, said Marshall Turbeville, a Cal Fire battalion chief based in Sonoma County.

Southern California fires are propelled by the area's notoriously hot, dry Santa Ana winds, he said, noting that wind is "the predominant driver of fire behavior."

The Hanly Fire was a case in point. A day after it broke out, the fire reached Calistoga and was moving east. On the third day, it bolted south toward Sonoma County, with wind-driven embers advancing the blaze.

On the night of Sept. 21, 1964, firefighters and citizen volunteers made their stand against the Hanly Fire on Chanate Road, Parker Hill Road and on Mendocino Avenue as the northern sky glowed red, the winds kept shifting and fears mounted concerning the defenseless patients inside the hospital.

Fire Marshal Michael Turnick, who was in charge, climbed aboard a giant bulldozer and cut a 30-foot firebreak in the fire's path.

Had the wildfire jumped Chanate Road, it likely would have roared down Humboldt Street into the junior college neighborhood, over the Hillcrest area and down into Town & Country and the Grace Tract, ravaging homes with shake roofs.

A repeat of the Hanly fire, which swept from Calistoga to Santa Rosa in about half a day, is possible, he said, as is a repeat of the Creighton Ridge Fire of 1978 that burned more than 11,000 acres of timberland and destroyed 64 homes in the Cazadero area.

"That whole area would burn just as it did in 1978," Hoffmann said.

There nearly was another Hanly Fire in October 1996, when the Porter Creek Fire ignited nine miles northeast of Santa Rosa on an eerily warm Saturday night and spread into the Franz Valley Road area, threatening homes worth more than $10 million.

An assault by more than 1,000 firefighters held the fire to 300 acres and no structures were lost.

About 3,500 buildings, including homes for 9,600 people, a school, a PG&E substation and high-tech commercial buildings now occupy the area covered by the Hanly Fire and Nunn's Canyon Fire in Sonoma Valley. Both started on Sept. 21, 1964 and together burned 65,800 acres and more than 100 homes.

Should the twin fires happen again, the damage to buildings and farms could exceed $1 billion and the firefighting costs would run into the millions, according to a scenario contained in the Sonoma County Hazard Mitigation Plan of 2011.

Current firefighting techniques might curtail the two fires, the scenario suggests, and Hoffmann noted that numerous vineyards now in the Hanly Fire's path might slow down a blaze over the same terrain today.

But with a strong northeast wind, the phenomenon that drives the area's worst wildfires, "all bets are off" he said.

Fire fuels quickly recover in burned-over areas. Dry grass can ignite every year dead and downed forest litter accumulates in six or seven years brush rebounds in about 20 years.

"California is made to burn," Turbeville said.

About 33,900 people who live outside the county's cities — representing 7 percent of the total population — are in areas "potentially at risk of wildland fires," the hazard mitigation plan says.

There are about 12,600 buildings in areas with "high and very high risk of wildfires," with an estimated replacement value of $4.8 billion, the plan says.

The county has four "historic wildfire corridors," including the Hanly Fire area, Sonoma Valley (scene of the Cavedale fires in 1925 and 1966), the Geysers (with fires in 1988, 1999 and 2004 that covered a total of 22,000 acres) and the Guerneville area (hit by major fires in 1923 and 1961, the latter burning 5,800 acres, 18 homes and $500,000 worth of timber.

In Santa Rosa, about one-fourth of the city's residents live within four moderate, high and very high severity fire zones, mostly hilly, wooded areas all east of Highway 101.

Two of the zones bracket Annadel State Park: One of them east of Summerfield Road, the other along Highway 12 including parts of Oakmont.

The largest zone covers a broad swath of northeast Santa Rosa, including all of Fountaingrove and the Chanate Road, Hidden Valley and Brush Creek areas down to Highway 12. The zone incorporates the area threatened by the

The fourth zone lies east of Calistoga Road from Montecito Boulevard down to Highway 12, including the St. Francis and Skyhawk areas.

New homes in the fire zones must meet building code requirements for fire-resistant materials for siding, roofing and decks, with protected eaves to keep out windblown embers, an Achilles heel during wildfires.

Homeowners in the Fountaingrove II subdivision, built in the Hanly fire's path, trim a firebreak around their properties every year, earning the city's lone designation as a "firewise community," Fire Chief Mark McCormick said.

The city also relies on a "mutual threat zone" wildfire response system that unites the Santa Rosa, Bennett Valley and Rincon Valley departments, along with Cal Fire, in a multi-agency response to any fire in their combined area.

A wildfire could blow into the city from Annadel Park, the Bennett Valley Heights or almost any direction, the chief said, acknowledging that the dry, northeast winds pose the greatest threat.

"You can never totally protect against a wildfire," McCormick said.

Out in the hills at Pepperwood Preserve, the grass is kept short by grazing cattle and Douglas fir saplings are culled from the oak woodlands to protect the established oaks.

The hilly forest, home to mountain lions, bobcats, deer, foxes, coyotes, skunks and jackrabbits, has fully recovered from the onslaught of the Hanly fire.

"We're back to very similar conditions as in 1964," Michael Gillogly said.

Watch the video: T Nick P3MEP 20210930 (October 2022).

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