Thursday, August 31, 2017

$18 Cabbage: Mother of Misinformation and Ignorance



Thakur Ranjit Singh

Disinformation and misinformation on Labour Party’s water policy shows why it is so urgent for New Zealand’s education system to strengthen its third “r”, arithmetic in particular, and maths in general.

It appears many political leaders, journalists and media commentators are very grossly misinformed, without ability to differentiate between a litre (just one litre) and cubic metre (1,000 litres) of water.

When Labour Government comes in power in a month’s time, it should have special Arithmetic classes for journalist and some elderly political leaders, to ensure they do not make a laughing stock of themselves. As a first lesson, they need to know the difference between a litre and a cubic metre of water. 


Extremely nonsensical misinformation propagated by some ignorant politicians priced a cabbage at $18 each. And at Labour's proposed taxation price, this giant cabbage must require few swimming pools of water to grow. (1.8 million litres). This is ignorance at best, and sheer stupidity at worst.

A litre of milk uses some 960 litres of water to produce. At Labour's proposed tax of 1 cent per cubic metre (1,000 litres of water) this will cost less than a cent per litre. So what is the issues here? Where do they get their figures from?

No wonder, National Government should have invested in maths teachers, so politicians and general public can grasp simple arithmetic. And Beehive need to have maths classes for Parliamentarians, so that people like Winston Peters, and Minister for Primary Industries, Nathan Guy get better informed and enlightened on intelligent water debate and modes of measuring volume.

Nathan Guy made a spectacle of himself when he could not differentiate and distinguish between a litre and a cubit metre of water. This Guy said it took 900 litres of water to make a bottle of wine, and a 10c per litre charge would add $75 to a bottle's price. Where did he get his figure from? He does not even appear to have facts as a Minster to credibly debate an issue.

Labour’s environment spokesperson MP David Parker corrected Guy, and pointed out that Labour would charge by the cubic metre and not by litre. Hence, a tax of 1 cent per cubic metre would therefore lift the cost of a 750ml bottle of sauvignon Blanc by less than 1 cent.

Those politicians, radio talk back journalists and misinformed DJs at radio stations not comprehending simple maths need to distinguish water measures between a litre and cubit metre. Under farms taxation, you pay only one cent for 5 x 44 gallons (204 litres) drums of water (1,000 lit). For a cabbage to cost $18 each, it needs to take 8, 800 of 44 gallon drums or 1,800,000 litres (you talking million litres) of water to grow. That can fill a few swimming pools.


Any irrigation irrigates thousands of plants, and at Labour's proposed rates, it would not even amount to a cent per each plant.

Water spokesperson for Labour Party, David parker said that Labour Party was proposing charging 1 or 2 cents for each 1000 litres farmers use - but the details are yet to be hammered out with those involved. He said erroneous claims that such levies would equate to $50,000 a farm are rubbish.

"It would be about $100m across the whole of the country for a year," he told Q+A .
Perhaps Winston Peters can tell us which thirsty cabbage would need a few swimming pools of water to grow.

Labour’s environment spokesperson, David Parker said that NZ First's cabbage example was "amusing" and at a million litres of irrigation, it would indeed make one extremely watery cabbage.

[Thakur Ranjit Singh is a political observer and media commentator and journalist. He runs his blog, FIJI PUNDIT, and lives in Auckland]