Friday, 15 August 2008

I guess Guelph's going Green

Well, what an inspiring weekend I had last weekend. I went to Guelph in Ontario, Canada to help out with the campaign to elect the Green Party Candidate Mike Nagy there, and what a pleasant surprise I got. It is a by-election campaign, and the Canadian Greens think it's their best shot ever at getting a Green MP elected under their First Past the Post (FPP) electoral system (the poor things). I must admit, I was skeptical about whether they actually had that good a chance before I got there, but now I'm sure they have a damn good one.

Firstly, the campaign has gotten off to the best start ever for a Green Party campaign in Canada. They've already had many volunteers, including about thirty Young Greens the weekend I was there, with four weeks of campaigning remaining. They've had many people getting Mike Nagy signs for their lawns, and a lot of support coming in.

Guelph is a green city anyway, with, most notably, a fantastic farmers market. It is also a university town which, as we all know, means plenty of Green supporters as the Green Party is the Party for young people. In a riding (electorate) in London Ontario (my birthplace), some polling booths at the last Canadian Federal Election in the University there polled as high as 80% Green. Furthermore, Guelph is on track to have the highest amount of Green support ever from Green Party canvasing.

Then there are the stories. Firstly - the campaign office. It is an ex-car rental lot on one of the most busy corners in Guelph, with excellent visibility. All the other major contenders for Guelph contacted the owner about leasing the now empty and awesome place, but the guy wanted Guelph to go Green, so he gave it to Mike Nagy. The other campaign offices were barely visible, so Guelphites know that the Greens are serious contenders. You can see the sweet location above, with it's sweet signs beneath the other sign - the beautiful rainbows on the Saturday night. Now, I've seen many rainbows in my time, but never one as full and vivid as that one, and it's second shadow rainbow. And they are rare in Guelph apparently. It seemed too coincidental to be just a coincidence...

The other thing I was very impressed with was the energy and excitement that was there. It feels like the Canadian Greens have momentum and are on the verge of breaking the deadlock that is created by being in an FPP environment. The best result they've ever had was in the Ontario Provincial Election last year by the awesome Shane Jolley (who I was lucky enough to hang with while in Guelph) who scored 33% of the vote and a disappointingly close second place. This is consistent with the upward trend they've been having in certain areas, and it's about time they break through. Once they get an MP, everything changes. They are no longer seen as unelectable, and their leader Elizabeth May gets to participate in the televised leaders debates in the next Federal Election (ie. shatter the old white guys who lead the other four parties in Parliament).

So from the weekend I was inspired by how the Canadian Greens are doing, and i will take their energy with me back to New Zealand to help with our election campaign. It also serves as a good reminder that New Zealand should never abandon proportional representation. A Party with as much support as the Greens in Canada should have fair representation.

So will Guelph go Green? Time will tell. Do Guelphites ever want me to return to their lovely township? Time will tell. I for one hope they do, because that would be fantastic. Mike Nagy has an excellent chance, and so do the Greens in Canada for their future. It is time.

I will be following the campaign and checking the results after September 8.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

A video in which I partially explain myself

Here is a video from the Youth Campaign Launch that happened in Wellington on August 1. My insiders tell me it was awesome, but of course I knew that as I attended in spirit. It explains partially why I am running this election and I "made" it in my sister's apartment in Mexico (ie recorded the sound and someone way better than me made it look pretty).

Friday, 8 August 2008

Canadian press release

I released this press release in Ottawa this morning (with some help from the local Greens - thanks). It remains to be seen how interested they are in the story, but I hope it gets out there and convinces some New Zealanders over here to party vote Green.

Eighteen year old New Zealand Green Party candidate hits Canada

6 August 2008

Late last week a young New Zealand Green Party election candidate, Zachary Dorner, arrived in Canada. He is here because of family, but also has a more serious goal.

“With oil prices going through the roof and carbon emissions desperately needing reduction, I want to see as many New Zealanders who can vote in the upcoming national elections use their Party Vote for the Green Party,” said Mr Dorner.

Under New Zealand Electoral Law any New Zealand citizen who has set foot in New Zealand during the last three years, or any permanent resident who has visited New Zealand in the last year is eligible to vote. They can go to for more info.

As New Zealand has MMP, every Party Vote counts towards the number of seats a party gets in Parliament.“The Green Party in New Zealand has always done well with the overseas vote. In fact, it was the overseas vote that got us over the 5% Party Vote threshold for entering Parliament on our own for the first time in 1999. Furthermore, every citizen of the world has an interest in all Governments taking issues like climate change seriously, no matter where they currently live.”

At just 18 years old Mr Dorner is taking this year off to travel and campaign for the Green Party.“I decided to run in this year's election because I can see that the Green Party is the only political party with positive, practical and principled solutions to the major issues of our time. As a young person these issues are all the more urgent.”

Zachary Dorner will be in Canada until 1 September, and will be back in his home town of Wellington on the5th. He will stay mostly in Ottawa, though plans to do some travel around Canada and help local Greens, including with the Guelph by-election campaign.

The New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark has yet to announce the final election date, which must be on a Saturday no later than November 15.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

I repeat, I've made it to!

The new kid on the block in the blogging world is the awesome Rising rapidly in popularity, there is definitely more coming - so watch this space by going to this link: is a blog that any Green Party member can post on, as long as they follow some basic rules, which can be found on the blog itself. A great idea I thought, so I have decided to contribute (mainly highlights from Zackarate Island). Anyway, check it out, and you can view my first post here (the original I've made it to post).

I guess I'm going to green Guelph!

So, to update you on what I'm up to in Canada. Going to Guelph evidently. For my first few days in Canada I've been hanging out with family (and some Canadian Young Greens who I met at the Global Greens Congress in Sao Paulo). I still have many more things to do and people to see, but on Friday I'm going to Guelph.

Guelph? you may ask. Yes, Guelph. It is a city in Southern Ontario that is about to go Green. There is a by-election happening there on September 8, and a very strong Green Candidate is running there called Mike Nagy. There is a big push on to get him elected as the first Green Party Parliamentarian in Canada. They have FPP (First Past the Post) you see, so even though they have polled quite high in the past, they still have yet to break through in to Parliament. So, this Friday a bunch of Young Greens are heading that way to help with the campaign. My cousin and I are tagging along. It should be fun, hopefully will help, and maybe I'll be able to get some campaigning ideas well I'm there. So watch this space to see whether Guelph will make and name for itself and go Green.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Should countries be responsible for "exported" emissions?

33% of China's carbon footprint blamed on exports

19:00 28 July 2008

Economists now say that one-third of China's carbon dioxide emissions are pumped into the atmosphere in order to manufacture exported goods – many of them "advanced" electronics goods destined for developed countries. "Export goods emissions" account for 1.7 billion tonnes of China's carbon dioxide. That represents 6% of total global emissions – the equivalent of Germany, France and the UK's combined emissions. A large share of these emissions – up to 25% – has been blamed on China's ever-growing export market, but this has not been quantified until now. Now Christopher Weber of Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and colleagues have shown that the figure is larger still. Weber's team used a standard model of the Chinese economy, produced by the Chinese government. This model, which operates on the same principle as others produced by every national government, reflects how money has flowed in and out of different sectors of the economy since the 1980s. Matching the model to the dataset allowed the team to calculate that, in 2005, export sectors generated 1.7 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide – 33% of China's emissions.

An interesting study, and the focus of this week's poll. This issue was looked into at the Global Young Greens conference I attended earlier this year.

With huge amounts of products primarily consumed in developed nations now being manufactured in developing nations, this of course equates to an "exporting" of environmental impacts from the developed nations on to the developing nations. Should, in future global agreements on cutting carbon emissions, nations be responsible for emissions created from products they import, and not for products they export? Would this make things too complicated, in a field where it is already impossible to calculate exact carbon emissions? And, of course, the manufacturing nations benefit (to arguable extents) from the manufacturing being based in their countries. Should this be taken into account?

A very complex issue, but give your brains a bit of a stretch and vote in the poll to the right now.

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Should you give money to beggars?

An interesting poll this (last) week. Seems the viewers of my blog were split on this moral issue which has no clear answer.

In my opinion of course you can't give a definitive answer that fits with every case. Of course the best thing you can do to help their situation is give them a way to improve their situation greatly, and I'm no expert in this field. But it obviously varies from situation to situation what that might be - some of them have mental and drug problems, others are just simply poor and don't have a place fit in in this world. So I would say it depends on their situation whether you should give them money or not, but if you want to save your resources for more structured programs than that's not a bad thing - as long as you follow through. It's just difficult to judge when the situation presents itself raw in front of your eyes to know what's best. Unfortunately, especially in the countries I've been visiting, there are far too many people like that. Responsibility to do something has to fall on Governments and communities - but in some countries they have many problems of poverty to deal with.

My previous post discussing this issue is here.

Friday, 1 August 2008

Surfin´ like a pro (pretty much)

So, it´s all coming to an end - and it went out with a very relaxing bang. Three full days living on the beach, swimming, surfing, reading, walking. It ´twas the life. And now I have just a few hours left in Mexico, as I leave early tomorrow morning to Canada. It will be sad to say good bye to my sister and her boyfriend, but happy to see family in Canada again.

In San Blás, where I´ve been hiding this week, things where sweet. Above is me surfing. Or what it would have looked like - I was too busy surfing to take pictures of myself. It was my first time and I got a 1hr lesson during which I stood up four times - and for much longer than the alleged "good surfers" pictured above. Surfing is good fun, though I think I need to build up some more upper body strength to do it more - and the waters around NZ need to build up heat. But I hope they don´t actually, because that kinda thing screws round with things (heavy carbon dioxide emitters take note).

Above is where I stayed. A little "cabin" shack thing on the beach. It was actually very nice inside, and the roof was impressively waterproof, as I discovered on the third night. That night there was a lot of rain, and thunder and lightening. The thunder went overhead a few times and sounded like a nuclear bomb going off. I wasn´t scared though. Anyway, apparently scenes like the one below are normal in rainy season (which it is currently). Most of the year it´s dry, so they obviously don´t feel the need to put in drainage systems. It was like that all over town. It was also very hot and humid.
San Blás was a nice little town, and it wasn´t high season tourist-wise, so not too many people either. Supposedly San Blás is realitively untouched by tourists, but I would disagree. There are many hotels by the beach, some of which have been abandoned and now are ghostly crumbling wrecks. I guess other places are more touristy than San Blás.

And that wraps up my Mexican adventures. For more on the next and final chapter of my trip, tune in again to your favourite blog Zackarate Island.