This week, a new proposal to burn the South Island’s rubbish problem away, the bluster behind parties’ fiscal talk, the dispute over the Tarras Airport development, how strategic voting in a general election really works, and tiny Naseby’s pitch to become a world-leading dark sky town.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


The burning question on rubbish

If we could get rid of all the rubbish that currently goes to landfill – in a process that would generate electricity as a by-product – shouldn’t we be doing that?

Locals gather in Waimate to protest the proposed waste-to-energy plant. Photo: RNZ/Supplied/Barry Marshall

Plans for a waste-to-energy plant in a small South Island town, what would be the first of its kind in New Zealand, have reignited this debate. 

If built, it would burn 365,000 tonnes of rubbish a year. That’s about 20 percent of the South Island’s total annual waste. In turn, it would produce enough energy to power 30,000 households.

But locals are dead against it.

North & South magazine’s South Island correspondent George Driver and Massey University professor of chemical engineering Jim Jones join Alexia Russell to break down the technology.


Spinning the numbers while ignoring the threats

On one hand, we’re hearing there are “reasons for optimism” over the economy. On the other, we’re hearing there’ll be a “sustained economic slowdown”.

Both the main parties are promising tax cuts – but Liam Dann says those policies will only make it harder to manage the economy. Photo: RNZ

So where does the truth lie? On today’s episode of The DetailNZ Herald business editor at large Liam Dann talks about the state of New Zealand’s economy and whether we’re ignoring the real elephant in the room: China. 


Tarras locals gear up for a fight over airport

Young climate activists staged a protest in Christchurch this week over controversial plans to build an international airport in Central Otago, as opposition to the project gains momentum.

If it goes ahead, it will be the largest aviation project in New Zealand in more than 50 years.

The town of Tarras in Central Otago has a population of around 230 permanent residents. Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

Christchurch City Council owns 75 percent of Christchurch International Airport, which is why the council was targeted by the School Strike for Climate Ōtautahi. The airport plans to develop farmland it owns at Tarras into a 2.6 kilometre runway capable of taking wide-bodied jets. 

Local groups and an organisation of academics called Informed Leaders are challenging the plan, claiming it goes against efforts to control tourism in the region.

“It’s simply a corporate land grab for market share to make money,” Wānaka Stakeholders Group member Michael Ross tells The Detail. “They’re making money out of our scenery because they haven’t got it back in Christchurch.

Sharon Brettkelly takes a trip to Tarras to find out more.


When a ‘wasted vote’ isn’t wasted

What if you back National, but you don’t like the look of its potential partners? Or vice versa: you’re an ardent ACT supporter, but don’t fancy National? 

Or, you lean to the left, but see that vote as a wasted one. 

The Detail today looks at strategic voting, split voting, tactical voting – and not voting altogether. 

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to Massey University politics professor Richard Shaw and editorial director Ollie Neas.


A bright idea for Naseby

Not content with its world famous curling rink to draw visitors, Naseby, population 150, is aiming to be the first dark sky community in the Southern Hemisphere.

Paul Bishop in the hut in Naseby he bases his night sky tours from. Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

It’s taken eight years, a lot of perseverance and paperwork, but this once-thriving gold boomtown is now leading the way with a new plan to sustain it that other nearby communities are keen to follow.

Sharon Brettkelly is in Naseby talking to the town’s dark sky pioneers.


Long Read: Make voting sexy again

This is The Detail‘s Long Read  one in-depth story read by us every weekend.

“Politicians are all as bad as each other,” says Mike, a retail salesperson from Porirua. “I don’t want any of them. Politics is a load of crap. You can’t believe anything anyone says.” Photo: Lynn Grieveson

This week, it’s Make Voting Sexy Again, written and read aloud here by Nadine Anne Hura, and published on The Spinoff

Nadine joins The Detail‘s Alexia Russell to discuss why she felt compelled to write about New Zealand’s clutch of eligible non-voters – 17 percent of the total population, but rising to 27 percent among Māori.

If those with the least wealth and privilege understood how much power they held collectively and exercised it at the polls, their voice really could make a difference.


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