Propaganda watch

Activists are everywhere, particularly in our public service, those Wellington gnomes who crawl about the city each working day living from the taxes we pay them and steadily arranging our futures.

Their various agendas continue to creep, to slither, to insinuate themselves into every crevice of our civic existence. I’ll try to post examples as I see them and please send in your own. I’d be very happy to post them.

Here’s my first sample of the secret activists’ tireless, surreptitious toil.

I was looking for figures on New Zealand’s energy consumption and was poking around in the Ministry for the Environment’s web site.

The page is titled “Energy Supply and Demand July 2009” (quite old, but apparently figures don’t get reported very often. A little way down the page there’s a section titled “Total consumer energy demand” which talks about both the national energy use and the use per person going up.

There’s a side heading but it doesn’t refer to an increase in energy use. It’s coloured red and it says:

Getting worse

The nerve of these public servants! Their function remains objective implementation of public policy and provision of services, not social engineering.

There are more headings in the same vein, with smiley or frowny faces to express the emotions in case we can’t read.

Several things going on, I guess, from assuming we’re intellectually ten years old to primitive mind control. I find it unacceptable.

11 Thoughts on “Propaganda watch

  1. Mike Jowsey on May 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm said:

    Yes, RT, it’s the typical “it’s worse than we thought!” meme from a few years back. It all depends how the stats are framed. The article goes on to say:

    At the national level, our total energy use ranks well – we have the fourth lowest total energy use in the OECD (as might be expected from a small country with a small population). However, New Zealand is average on a per person basis, using more energy per person than 17 of our OECD peers (30 countries are members of the OECD).

    which, put in a positive context, might focus on the fact that NZ per-capita energy consumption is 13th down the list of OECD countries.

  2. Mike Jowsey on May 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm said:

    Incidentally, it seems the trend in NZ is down, dropping some 3% between 2007 and 2009….

    Don’t expect that to be widely reported in Wellington.

    http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EG.USE.ELEC.KH.PC

  3. Andy on May 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm said:

    There are some “educational resources” at the NZ climate change website
    http://www.climatechange.govt.nz/reducing-our-emissions/schoolstuff/

    Play it cool is a fun interactive game where environmentally savvy kids can hector their parents

    Let’s take a looks at it!

    (1) Should we take a bike or car to the beach, which is 1km away?
    Well, of course the government answer is take the bikes.
    We won’t we living next to the beach because of the “threat” of sea level rise, but anyway..

    (2) We have got to do the washing up. Should we use the dishwasher, or the sink?
    Answer; dishwasher.

    Of course, not everyone can afford dishwashers, and there is a certain manufacturing and transport cost to them. However, dishwashers help us “tackle climate change”, so everyone in the world needs one.

    (3) Mowing the lawn. Should we leave the grass clippings on the lawn, or put them in the rubbish bin?
    Answer: leave them on the lawn. Putting them in the rubbish fills up landfill. Hang on, don’t we have government composting facilities? Oh, they are bad because they create methane, and are therefore taxed under the ETS.
    So leaving grass clippings, food waste etc strewn all over the property is the governments advice.

    (4) Watching the “big game”. should you turn off at the mains or the wall. Answer: the wall. OK I can probably agree with that one

    (5) More “cool” ideas. Use energy efficient lightbulbs. These are great for reducing energy usage, and therefore help “combat” climate change.

    They do have the downside of taking ages to light up, hence we tend to leave them on all the time. They also contain mercury which is toxic, and therefore the bulbs need to be disposed of in special facilities, and if you break one your are advised to evacuate your house and get someone to detoxify your property.

    That’s today’s lesson on helping us all rally together to “combat” climate change folks. Send us your tips!

  4. Mike Jowsey on May 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm said:

    Dear Andy,

    I feel so much cleaner now, which is great because I haven’t showered in a couple of weeks because I thought we all needed to conserve energy. Am going now to indulge in a 40-minute shower courtesy of Meridian Energy!

    BTW, the scraps all over my lawn have been consumed by chickens, pukekos and beagles. Is this bad? How does this affect my carbon footprint? I am worried about the fowl foul and dog foul I have to somehow dispose of. Perhaps I can burn it in the log burner, like the third world does. Where can I claim my carbon credits?
    Please advise soonest.

    Kind regards,
    Mike the poo-cycler.

  5. Alexander K on May 28, 2012 at 9:18 am said:

    Well said, Richard. We used to think ‘Yes Minister’ was funny!
    One of the downsides of ‘energy saving’ lightbulbs, which I detest, is that during winter they do little to assist in warming one’s house. I am surprised that the enormous slabs of single panes of clear glass which are the norm in NZ houses have not been subject to the energy commissar’s rulings. Our house has recently been re-insulated, but this seems a bit pointless in view of said large windows.

  6. Andy on May 28, 2012 at 9:39 am said:

    That is an old bug bear of mine too Alexander. In my native UK, double glazing was the norm. Here, I just finished double glazing my Christchurch house before the earthquakes took it out.

    Now I am back to a single glazed house in a town where it regularly gets to minus temperatures.

  7. Andy on May 28, 2012 at 2:05 pm said:

    Speaking of “eco-bulbs” I note the following

    Energy-efficient light bulb manufacturer Energy Mad has announced a loss of $1.1 million for the year to March 31, down from a $100,000 loss the previous year.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/financial-results/6999655/Energy-Mad-losses-grow

    Energy Mad, or Mad Energy?

    Same difference

  8. Richard C (NZ) on May 28, 2012 at 5:36 pm said:

    Is it all households “getting worse” or is there more to the story?

    I worked for a while as an energy sector researcher for an electricity company that at the time still owned lines and retailed. It was clear from analysis of the consumer data that wealthier households and suburbs not only used the most energy because they could afford it (some massive bills) but they were also the ones able to insulate AND connect to gas as well. Gas connections were less prevalent in low budget housing areas.

    I’m sure there are households that would prefer to get a lot worse especially in winter but incomes and commitments (the mortgage) don’t allow it.

  9. Andy on May 28, 2012 at 6:04 pm said:

    Dear Poo-cycler,
    Thanks for your message. We at the Ministry are always looking for new and exciting ways to “combat’ climate change, and your lack of showering is an inspiration to us all!

    You can also share showers with your friends and relatives. This helps cut carbon emissions and also gives you an opportunity to discuss climate change strategies whilst au naturel with your nearest and dearest.

    We are particularly excited by “poo-cycling”. Is this something you have invented yourself? Whilst we encourage cycling as a healthy activity and another way to avoid those pesky petrol powered vehicles, using “poo” to power your cycle is a new an innovative way to reuse waste products and cut those Polar Bear killing carbon emissions.

  10. Nice to see everyone waxing so comically lyrical, I must say! How creative and jolly!

  11. Marian on May 31, 2012 at 3:52 pm said:

    Best way for Govt officialdom to cut their Carbon Footprint.

    Is NOT to attend overseas frolics in exotic locations at Climate Change meetings. 🙂

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