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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Fields of courgettes go to waste because grower can't get workers - NZ Herald

We've seen a series of news articles filled with woe-is-me "employers" in the primary industries (fishing, strawberries, asparagus, etc.) of late. The story is always the same. They cannot get their harvests in because the evil government is keeping them from importing workers and they cannot get the skilled and cheap labor they need locally because kiwis are lazy and unqualified.

With their focus on the short work period, the RSE staff worked the two-to-three month picking season with seven-day working weeks and working days that begin at dawn and finish on dark.

Hiring local staff meant juggling domestic and lifestyle responsibilities, and often social issues stemming from areas where regular work hadn't existed for decades. The working days were shorter which meant fewer courgettes got picked.

Heap said the productivity differences between RSE workers and local workers was enormous. He needed at least two New Zealanders to do the work of one RSE worker, and the churn of local workers was huge.

"My labour costs are through the roof. I believe if I'm in business I have the right to do the best that I can. I'm not allowed to do that at the moment."

Turns out that you can't make as much money when you are not allowed to exploit your workers. Clearly, this is not unique to Aotearoa New Zealand. We see this in these kinds of industries all over the world. As the saying goes, just because it is common does not make it right. Having the arrogance to dog whistle about social issues is downright disgusting.

Somehow, he seems to think that we should trust a cheapskate to properly quarantine his employees. Yeah, nah.

In the article linked below, Mr. Heap claims that:

The thing that's hard to handle for me is the dishonesty from Government and the lack of effort.

In actual fact, the government was very clear with Mr. Heap back in May. Just how much effort did Mr. Heap put in to finding an alternate solution during a time of pandemic? We're all making sacrifices. Is there some reason that he's special? Maybe he is. He was one who made good use of the RSE scheme in the early days -- transforming the industry from using illegal workers to legal workers. Unfortunately, the article does not describe how he improved working conditions for those workers.

Maybe Mr. Heap (and others like him) will do us all a favour and go out of business. That would open up opportunities for other people that could perhaps employ their neighbors and help uplift the communty they live in.

See further this and this.

Oh, and this just in.

Just a coincidental resemblance.

 

Rob Elshire

Is Plastic Recycling A Lie? Oil Companies Touted Recycling To Sell More Plastic : NPR

This article came my way via Slashdot. While recycling has improved in recent years, it has not solved the problem.

In the comments thread user Comboman notes that there are 6 Rs to reducing waste and pollution:

In order of importance:

  • Refuse (don't buy it at all)
  • Reduce (don't buy as much)
  • Replace (use a better alternative)
  • Reuse (use it again)
  • Repair (fix it so you or someone else can use it again)
  • Recycle (should always be the last alternative)

Following these Rs is directly incompatible with an economy based on growth and resource exploitation. We need a different economic system that is compatible with sustaining our planet and our lives.

Rob Elshire

Know your business model?

2 min read

In an effort to replace 110v electronics, I am looking for a set of desktop computer speakers. Rather than buying something new, we try to purchase used items which reduces our footprint and helps keep e-waste out of landfills and such. I have had a TradeMe search for local used desktop speakers for a few weeks and nothing suitable is turning up.

Today, I decided to try We Reuse I.T. Ltd. (https://wereuseit.co.nz/) on Cuba street here in Palmy. The person there was very accommodating. He said there may be some speakers out back and if I would come back in 30 minutes he would go take a look. When I came back, it turns out there were not any. No worries, no big deal.

What happened next just baffles me. He suggested that I try the Warehouse. I explained that I was only interested in buying used. He said they were cheap at the Warehouse. I explained that it was not about price, but rather not buying new. He seemed confused that I would rather keep looking for a used item when new was cheap. I pointed out that I was actively trying to support their business model! I am not sure that it registered with him.

Ugh.

Update

Ended up finding a used set of powered speakers for a gold coin donation the next day.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire