web analytics
The Standard

Local Bodies: Mike Joy, Traitor or Martyr?

Written By: - Date published: 11:52 am, November 26th, 2012 - 49 comments
Categories: Conservation, disaster, science, tourism - Tags: , ,

Reprinted with permission from Dave Kennedy (bsprout) at Local Bodies. See also the anonymous editorial in The Herald today – written no doubt by some genius who has never even looked at Dr Joy’s data, let alone understood its implications.


Mike Joy, Traitor or Martyr?

Dr Mike Joy is one of a number scientists who have been thrust into the public arena because their work and research conflicts with their Government’s economic agenda. Last year it was my privilege to support the hosting of Dr James Hansen, NASA scientist and climate change advisor to the US government during his speaking tour of New Zealand.  During the 1980s Dr Hansen had presented to the US Congress the large body of evidence and peer reviewed science that revealed the dramatic impact human activity was having on the Earth’s climate. He was shocked to discover that rather than accepting and acting on the information he had provided, Congress and President George Bush swiftly censored his work so that the public communications of his presentation were far less threatening. The Government had decided that the short term interests of business and the nation’s economy took precedence over the health and viability of the planet.

Like the majority of scientists Hansen operated in a sector where his reputation and the value of his research was determined by peer reviews and conclusions based on reliable evidence and high ethical standards. I would even go as far to suggest that many of our best scientists could be placed on the autistic/Aspergers spectrum, such is the importance of sticking to sound investigative process and accurate data. For such people using false evidence and promoting unsubstantiated opinions would be an anathema.

Dr Hansen would be the first to admit that he lacks the charisma and speaking skill to be a really effective communicator and he never sought public attention for its own sake. It is his concern for the planet and future of his much loved grandchildren that has thrust him into the limelight. He also realised that science alone would not shift government policy and he has found himself fronting public protests against activities that have a direct impact on the climate. He has even been arrested for peaceably protesting against a plan to pipe synthetic oil from the Canadian tar sands.

New Zealand scientist Dr Mike Joy is another scientist who has fallen foul of government and business interests because his work provides challenges to their activities. Like Hansen, Joy did not seek public attention but was initially thrust into the media spotlight when his findings were used to challenge our Prime Minister’s support of New Zealand’s “100% Pure” brand in an interview on BBC’s Hard Talk. The brand was extensively used to promote tourism in New Zealand and the Prime Minister held the tourism portfolio for his Government.

When confronted with Joy’s claim that many native species were close to extinction and that 90% of New Zealand’s low land rivers and that half of all lakes were polluted, John Key disagreed. He than made the extraordinary statement “That’s Mike Joy’s view, but I don’t share that view…he’s one academic and like lawyers I can provide you another one that would give a counter view.” In that one statement he reduced the value of science to mere opinion that is easily challenged.

Interestingly the Prime Minister hasn’t been able to find a scientist to provide this counter view but there are many, including the Government’s own  Commissioner for the Environment, whose own findings largely support Joy’s. There is even an environmental report produced by business group Pure Advantage that communicates the same concerning environmental information.

The efforts to discredit Joy reached a new level when he was asked to provide his opinion of New Zealand’s “purity” after the launch of a new tourist campaign using the100% pure brand accompanying the release of the Hobbit movie. Joy responded with his usual scientific honesty and had no awareness that his comments would be reported by the New York Times. Consequently he has been widely criticised and has even been accused of treachery by prominent Government lobbyist, Mark Unsworth:

To: Joy, Mike
Subject: Ego Trip

Dear Dr Joy
Is your ego so great that you feel the need to sabotage all the efforts made by those promoting tourism in NZ because of your passionate views on the environment ?
You have the right to hold strong views but you ,as an academic whose salary is paid for by others taxes, must also act responsibly .
Letting your ego run riot worldwide in the manner you did can only lead to lower levels of inbound tourism .You may not care given your tenure in a nice comfy University lounge ,but to others this affects income and jobs.
Give that some thought next time you feel the need to see your name in print in New York .And possibly think of changing your name from Joy to Misery-its more accurate
Cheers
Mark Unsworth”

And later:

“Dear Graeme and Dan and Mike
You really do have no idea do you.Why don’t you ask your students about what they think of Mikes economic treachery.
You guys are the Foot and Mouth Disease of the tourism industry .

Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up.
Cheers Mark”

Unsworth was quickly supported by Cameron Slater and these comments from hisWhale Oil blog reflect common views:

“Joy should be taken out and shot at dawn for economic sabotage…they (tourist operators) now have to put up with being ambushed by this prick who has probably never had a real job in his life. The biggest transformation for him has been from sitting behind a desk to standing in front of one.”

“Basically another unemployable academic.”

“If this clown is the product of higher learning long may I stay as thick as two strainer posts.”

This Government would rather base our economy on lies than science. They have not included the science curriculum in the National Standards for Education, they have sacked all our science advisors and are seriously underfunding R+D. With the Prime Minister’s own support we are developing a society that treats hard working scientists and their work with distain and mistrust. We now have treasury determining educational change and a money trader and business lobbyist defining the value of science, heaven help us!

49 comments on “Local Bodies: Mike Joy, Traitor or Martyr?”

  1. Bill 1

    I wish scientists could find a way to speak out hard on these issues in a way that penetrated the toxic ‘see nothing, feel good’ goo of major news outlets. And from a position that was secure and not subject to careers being trashed by the prospect of lost funding.

  2. Rhinocrates 2

    The strong support in the comments for Mike Joy is gratifying. Especially so considering the strong right wing bias of the comments in most cases.

    It leads me to think of something that’s been noted worldwide: economic neoliberalism has hijacked conservativism. There are many conservatives who would call themselves “conservationists” if they could just think of something else to call themselves.

    I’m far from being a conservative myself beyond believing in the the importance of institutions being preserved over time – listen to the the chorus of Don McGlashan’s “Marvellous Year” and you’ll see my definition of good conservatism (not that Don would call himself a conservative).

    … and phuque, it’s just a great song.

    And to give some context:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=north-carolina-sea-level-rises-desipte-senators

  3. ad 3

    Has his own University’s PR department come out and supported him?

    Also, how did Dr Joy respond to the emails?

    Also, was there any comment from NZ Tourism?

  4. vto 4

    If bozos like Unsworth and Key want a fight on this then it should be taken on.

    The squawks from Unsworth, Key and Whalestink indicate a heavily defensive reaction whereby they know they are on the wrong side of the issue and counter it by squealing and stomping like the bully boys in the playground.

    And like the bully boys in the playground their time will be useless and short-lived – but long-remembered

    And anyway – what about the waterways? And the animals? What is Key doing about them? When was the last time John Key swam in a freshwater river or stream in NZ? Is he doing what David Carter and iwi are doing to the southern fisheries and simply gorging more and more on the remaining resource with not a care for the future?

    I say take them on. Mike Joy should continue to stand up and fight these issues. Take some PR training and get stuck in. Our future depends on it.

    • InStep 4.1

      Mike shouldn’t have to take them on.
      He is a highly trained scientist passionate about his area of interest. We have few enough of these as it is. He should keep on teaching the scientists that we will need tomorrow.

      Mike is not a money grubbing toady like Unsworth, DunnoKey and Whalestink. Who are vassals and echo-chambers for the fossil-fuel industry, rip-shit-n-bust farmers etc.

      The people who should be taking them on are youths and students. These are the poor sods that are going to get hammered by the actions on Unsworth and co. They are the power that smacked the GOP and they will be the ones to key out NACT, their policies and their sycophants.

  5. shorts 5

    Does anyone else find it both strange and at the same time infuriating that in the Herald et al all the articles referring to the NY Times article and subsequent PR hack vs Scientist debate never carries a link to the original NY Times article?

    The entire debate is thus constructed around opinions on the original article not the article itself – I’m sure most of the commentators and bloggers offering firm opinions have never bothered to read the article

    As for the issue itself, I think many on both sides of the political spectrum are sick and tired of the language set employed by these professional spin doctors (both in govt and out)… we’d just like to be proud of our little nation, not ashamed of how rapidly and badly we’ve slipped environmentally nor told its a “complex” issue

    • Rhinocrates 5.1

      That is what they try to reduce it to. As Key said on the Hardtalk interview (I paraphrase) “That’s one opinion – I can find other opinions.” Berks like Kiwi Prometheus try to attack the Left as “postmodernist” but it’s the Right that has learned how to exploit it so that when anyone on the Left criticises them, they blather about the supposed negotiability of facts. If you can’t win, then muddy the waters so that no facts matter, then get on with your agenda anyway, astroturfing, sayimng how it’s “complicated” and that one has to strike a “balance” and pushing personal gratification buttons whenever needed.

  6. Bill 6

    Y’know, I took the trouble to read that anonymous Herald editorial and to cross check what Mike Joy purportedly said in the NYT article. The Herald editorial pinned most of it’s argument on the following…

    His remarks are included in a recent New York Times article….Dr Joy told the newspaper that…

    “We don’t deserve 100 per cent Pure, we are nowhere near the best in the world, we are not even in the top half of countries in the world when it comes to clean and green,” …

    I’ll put this simply. No he didn’t. No such quote appears in the NYT.

    • vto 6.1

      So either the anonymous Herald editorial is making shit up or the anonymous Herald editorial doesn’t know what it’s doing….

      either way it means the anonymous Herald editorial has little credibility…

    • karol 6.2

      Dr Joy told the newspaper 

      Which newspaper?  NY Times article here.  Dr Joy is quoted as saying that in another NZH article by Nikki Preston 19 November.

      Massey University senior lecturer in environmental science Mike Joy, who was quoted in the article, said the reality was New Zealand was nowhere near 100 per cent Pure. 

      “We don’t deserve 100 per cent Pure, we are nowhere near the best in the world, we are not even in the top half of countries in the world when it comes to clean and green.” 

      He said awareness of New Zealand’s environmental failings overseas should act as a wake-up call to the Government to protect the “crucial clean and green image” it relied on for tourism and export.

      So it looks like this was a comment made to the NZH journalist. Sloppy writing by anonymous editorial writer.

  7. Georgy 7

    The stupidity of Whaleoils comments show him up for the airhead he really is and that he lacks integrity.

    • Dr Terry 7.1

      Georgy. You might enjoy the words from John Stuart Mill: “Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, most stupid people are conservatives”.

  8. Sorry to sound a little pedantic but it’s Aspergers Syndrome and it’s part of the Autistic spectrum not a spectrum in it self. I’ve the condition myself so I get a bit pissed off when people lazily use incorrect spelling or terminology relating to ASD.
     
    Daniel 

    • My apologies dpalenski, it was just poor editing on my part that the spelling error occurred and it is now correct on the original post. My intention with the slash between Autistic and Aspergers was to show that they were on the same spectrum and I am sorry it could be interpreted otherwise. I am a teacher and have taught a number of amazing children with Aspergers Syndrome and I would hate to think that what I wrote upset anyone through this reference to it.

      • r0b 8.1.1

        Made the same update here.

      • dpalenski 8.1.2

        Thanks I just like things be correct so incorrect usage and the bigotry that can breed with it. Didn’t help that this happened in this interview today http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2539674/special-needs-school-closure.asx 
        *off topic*
        My position on the whole thing is that the schools should be closed and replaced with well funded warp around services and special needs classes in mainstream schools. How can we say we’re including people with disabilities if we segregate them by sending to different schools to the non-disabled it speaks of the bigots are right lets through our hands up and say it’s too hard to get along they must be separated. I want better for those like me who come after me at the moment it’s not looking that way in fact it seems to be going the other way. Despite it not being in my nature to be an activist or to speak out but I have to otherwise the narrative of ASD comes from those without it and nothing changes.     
        *off topic*
        Another thing grates me is Autism and introversion being treated as almost as it’s one thing usually with the term autistic traits which in my mind says extroverism is default human condition  which isn’t autism is introversion with parts amplified and added things like Williams Syndrome on the other end.
        Back to the main topic history is littered with new ideas and discoveries getting in the way of how the establishment sees and does things so tries to get rid of them rather than change in light of it. As we all know new ideas win over in the end.

  9. From the NYT link in the post:

    “But an international study in the journal PLoS One measuring countries’ loss of native vegetation, native habitat, number of endangered species and water quality showed that per capita, New Zealand was 18th worst out of 189 nations when it came to preserving its natural surroundings.”

    So why did the Herald editorial claim: 

    But the reality of New Zealand is also a long way from the bottom half of the countries of the world in terms of pristine environments. Whatever its deficiencies, it is nonsensical to place this country in the company of the world’s more polluted nations.” 

    ‘Nonsensical’? I found it fairly easy to follow the sense in the claims about New Zealand’s low ranking in relation to other countries.

    First, it wasn’t Mike Joy’s reporting of New Zealand’s low ranking it was the PLoS One article’s.

    Second, the ranking is not just about pollution – that is, no-one is talking (just) about pollution, apart from the editorialist.

    Third, ‘pristine’ conjurs up notions of ‘untouched’ which, obviously, does not apply to large areas of New Zealand that tourists will visit and, as the data reported in the linked scientific article demonstrates (is there better data available?), New Zealand’s overall environment is far from ‘pristine’ or ‘pure’ in that sense.

  10. Rhinocrates 10

    Dear so-called “Isaac Newton”,

    you bastard. Your evil so-called “Laws of Motion” or “gravitation” – or whatever you call them – are destructive to the economic well-being of this nation and you are a traitor! You are presumptuous. I once had ambitions to be a lawyer and it was the liberal academic establishment that declared me too “stupid” but I showed them! I became a lobbyist! You however, without even trying, pretend to make laws! You are a liar! Just this day I threw my dog out of the window of my penthouse apartment and it fell, accelerating at a rate of nine point eight metres per second until it reached terminal velocity where acceleration was stopped by air resistance, but nonetheless it still struck the ground at a speed that ensured its death!

    You are scum, a traitor and egomaniac, determined to condemn poor dogs to a brutal death when thrown out of high windows! All for the sake of free publicity!

    And don’t think that those so-called “aerodynamicists” are free from blame either! Why, they demand that aeroplanes have “wings” in order to keep them aloft, at enormous expense and loss of efficiency!

    Zeppelins, I would remind you, do NOT need wings, and yet they too are compromised by idiots who talk about the spurious nonsense of “buoyancy” and demand that enormous quantities of helium be purchased, purely to support the fraudulent helium industry – which no doubt pays you a handsome sum!

    Let me warn you: I intend to throw another dog out of my window tomorrow, and if he goes “splat” in the carpark like the last one, it will be YOUR FAULT! You HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS!!!!ELEVEN1111!!

    Yours, Field Marshall, Professor and Licensed Electrician, Mark Unsworth, MP, MD, OBE, PhD, QC.

  11. You_Fool 11

    IS it just me, or does the NY Times article only have one quote from Mike Joy? Also it appears that most of the “bad publicity” seems to be taken from data from the Ministry of the Environment’s own studies…. So why is Joy being singled out?

    • One Tāne Huna 11.1

      Unsworth’s incompetence and blind prejudice? Or because the goal is to bully and intimidate, not to make sense?

      Either way Unsworth is soiled goods: a lobbyist who has become the story. A bad investment.

    • vto 11.2

      “So why is Joy being singled out?”

      Because he is an easy attack target for Federated Farmers and their bunch of goons.

      Federated Farmers get stuck into him all the time. Farmers don’t like being shown up. They get very agitated when they don’t get the respect they have been brought up to believe they deserve. Witness any conversation with a farmer about the state of the environment.

      It is as simple as that.

    • InStep 11.3

      And because people like Unsworth and DunnoKey don’t like the what the State of the Environment Report is saying about the NZ situation it is now being discontinued.

  12. Urban Maori 12

    If I remember correctly, John Key rebutted Mike Joy by saying you can swim in any river in New Zealand during his Hard Talk interview.
    Does that includes Auckland’s Tamaki River by any chance?
    I live near it and haven’t ever seen anyone go for a swim there.

  13. Rhinocrates 13

    think of changing your name from Joy to Misery

    Heh.

    Whereas “Unsworth” is appropriate if you ignore the “s”. “Un” is a prefix denoting a reversal, while “worth” indicates value, thus “Unsworth” = not simply a lack of value, but the negation of value.

    • One Tāne Huna 13.1

      Which is exactly what Unsworth has done: damaged his own brand, and that of his business partners. He is the story now.

  14. andree 14

    Well, I’m a student of his at postgraduate level, and I know Mike to be neither a traitor nor exaggerating as many, many studies can confirm.
    He is completely correct in attempting to open the eyes of the general public as most people just have no idea what the situation is.
    Many would not have the guts to do so due to the affliction and criticism it brings academically.
    Yes the exposure of the state of our freshwater systems may have an impact economically, but that was always going to happen eventually.
    Remember the saying don’t shoot the messenger?

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Association of Scientists stands behind Dr Mike Joy

    The New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) is saddened by some of the recent media commentary on the actions of Dr Mike Joy, Massey University, in commenting in overseas media on the truth of the 100% Pure New Zealand brand.

    The New Zealand Herald editorial today [1] calls criticism of Dr Joy “well-warranted”. In the light of recent labelling of Dr Joy as a “traitor” [2], it seems that this statement could have been more carefully considered. The editorial states unambigiously that there is currently no great damage being done to New Zealand’s enviroment. This is manifestly incorrect, as NZAS President, Shaun Hendy points out: “On a per-capita basis we have one of the highest levels of greenhouse gas emissions in the world and data from NIWA’s National Rivers Water Quality Network shows that our water quality is declining, with the health of a large proportion of our lakes in danger from agricultural run-off”.

    Of serious concern is the emphasis in the editorial on the ill-timed nature of Dr Joy’s remarks. The clear statement is that the potential damage to New Zealand’s reputation, and economic benefit of “big-spending American tourists” outweighs the need for truth in public debate. This is an issue that the Association takes very seriously, and emphatically refutes criticism of Dr Joy on this basis.

  16. As the maternity wards show NO ONE IS LISTENING, a fine example is my niece, she has known my middle name for most of her life, and why I changed it. Yet she is about to bang out a kid ? Nearly every potential breeder I’ve know in the past 12 years has had a child …. if ‘we’ keep having children – adding to the already over populated and very under resourced system, then ‘we’ must continue to destroy this human friendly arrangement, if every child deserves a fare start in life (no disagreement there) then ‘we’ have to keep doing what Mike Joy is warning us about, – over grazing our land, producing calories for 7 billion+ people.
    If everyone consumed the 3lt of cream I have in my coffee each week I’m sure things would be a lot worse, thankfully my children don’t matter as they don’t exist)
    We are goneburger by 2030 so WTF http://transitionvoice.com/2012/11/a-farewell-to-arms/
    I sent that link to Moana and David, wonder if they will read it? Probably not as their radar would warn them this is information they are best not to know. As with most people/voters.
    Another example of how people don’t listen, is that Hanson has grandchildren ???? It was to late when he was born, let alone the kids.
    I know “The more children we throw at the resource ‘bottle neck’ the more will survive to create future generations” – alas the problem is, once through the bottle neck they will slam hard up against the climate change cork, when the planet turns to Hanson’s Venus.
    Breed on suckers ……. now there’s a catchy middle name )

    • vto 18.1

      Tim Groser says this … “We’ve got to maintain progress, but I think people have also got to realise that we also have to earn a living, and this is actually deeply unhelpful when we are trying to promote New Zealand.” (although I suspect who he is really referring to here are the polluters and farmers and wasters, if you read it again carefully…)

      It should be realised by now that this issue is being used as a tool to attack environmentalists. There has been attack by lobbyists (who, by their very nature, change their tune according to who pays their bills), government ministers, largest newspaper in the country,… and who will it be tomorrow?

      There has been a ring-around to coordinate this attack. Federated Farmers will be next off the block .

      It is exactly this sort of time to up the ante. Mike Joy and the Association of Scientists (linked above by bsprout and mr draco) and all others who care about the state of our waters and floras and faunas should step up to the plate. It is front page news right now. Take advantage of that. Get the issue right out there. And the issue is the state of the environment, not business. Business will follow the state of the environment – not the other way around.

      • rosy 18.1.1

        “We’ve got to maintain progress, but I think people have also got to realise that we also have to earn a living, and this is actually deeply unhelpful when we are trying to promote New Zealand.”

        And in the real world this is what is deeply unhelpful in the long term. Hopefully the Greens are going to continue to keep tabs on ‘progress’.

        A review of the country’s most comprehensive freshwater quality monitoring network has drawn concern from the Green Party, which said any decrease in monitoring couldn’t have come at a worse time.

        A report card released last month by the Ministry for the Environment found more than half of monitored recreational sites on our rivers were unsafe for swimming.

        But Niwa said its review was not a cost-cutting exercise but rather an “investment in resources”.

        No doubt re-assessing methods for improved data is essential but it seems to me to be the language of ‘self regulation’ typically associated with budget cuts.

        • Wippet 18.1.1.1

          At a recent meeting between Councils and NIWA it was apparent that duplicate (or near duplicate) measurements were being made in close to the same location. It wasn’t clear how wide spread this was, and it wasn’t obvious why this was happening.

          There is also a certain amount (how much we don’t know) of duplicated data capture occurring between industry, regulators and national science organisations. This of course leads on to duplicated datasets, diverse interpretations and different models / understandings and hence conflicting expectations/aspirations of the environment.

          Hopefully initiatives like NIWA’s and LINZ’s 10-20 Year Strategy for Rights, Restrictions and Responsibilities
          http://www.linz.govt.nz/about-linz/news-publications-and-consultations/consultation-projects-and-reviews/a-10-20-year-strategy-for-developing-the-cadastre
          will help reduce the above duplications.

          • One Tāne Huna 18.1.1.1.1

            Nonsense. More data sets = more research = more understanding. But wait, there’s more:

            What happens when there is only one data set? Industry lobbyists claim the data is “unreliable” and demand a second opinion.

            • Wippet 18.1.1.1.1.1

              No, you are wrong!

              More data doesn’t mean more research, nor understanding.

              Thought and design of testable models should precede data gathering. Data is collected to test models / propositions and then it will help understanding.

              I have wasted much time and other resources because others have insisted on data collection without any thought on what it was being collected for except that “data must be collected”.

              When you have an authoritative data-set collected transparently and open to discovery and exploration then you avoid much of the angst you are concerned with. This is in-part what NIWA are attempting to do.

              • One Tāne Huna

                Perhaps we’re at cross purposes. Obviously the quality of the research counts, but it would be an unusual research paper that didn’t call for more analysis.

                I see your point though.

  17. Mike Gunson 19

    Just came in from a walk along a local stream /wetland. found a dozen or so cattle beasts at or in the stream, I went back for my camera, but by then the beasts in the stream had moved out. got some photos off them around it though.

    The likes of Cameron Slater’s banal comments appeal to the lowest common denominators in our Society, viewing his “profile” I would go as far to say Cameron has not ventured much into our so called 100% pure NZ. and therefore unable to accurately define it.

    This type of character assassination on Mike Joy is a common tactic used by those who can not argue against the truth that supports Mike Joy’s facts.

    Calling Mike an economic traitor shifts the center of attention away from the real issue and attempts to shift the blame on to those people who are pointing out what is actually causing economic damage to NZ

    That is, the destruction of our once pristine environment, like Cows urinating in our water ways.

    That’s the 100% pure NZ Mike Joy is rightfully critical of.

    This is the 100% delusion that the likes of Unsworth and Slater defend with their threats and character assassination.

    Oh well, think I will go down to MACer’s and get a 100% pure NZ Angus beef burger…

  18. Laura 20

    I would just like to respond to the question from Mark aimed at Mike asking how his students feel about his so called economic treachery. I have been a student of Mike Joy this year for my post graduate diploma in environmental management. I would just like to personally answer his question by saying I disagree with his statements and I support Mike. He is a wise man and if anything his findings among many others have the potential to save the economic future of this country. Ask any of his other students and I can confidently say they would feel the same. He is simply stating the facts; anyone can see our environment isn’t like it used to be. This talk is avoiding the problem! I am in the next generation of New Zealanders and I feel sad that we will be the ones who have to find a solution when at that stage there may not be one.

    • lprent 20.1

      Thanks.

      As a earth sciences grad myself (long long ago), I was rather astonished at the vitriol aimed at Mike Joy. What happens in the practical end of most science is that you spend a lot of time measuring what is actually present, using or making theories that might explain the facts, and then having a lot of fun tearing those theories (including your own usually) to pieces with contrary facts. What you don’t do is to lie or present fantasies either to yourself or to others because that distorts your ability to demolish bad theories.

      Unfortunately Mark Upsworth lives in a profession that is pretty much involved with both presenting fantasies and lying. I guess he wouldn’t know what reality is and is always outraged when it intrudes. Somehow I have little sympathy for him.

      I am in the next generation of New Zealanders and I feel sad that we will be the ones who have to find a solution when at that stage there may not be one.

      In about 1981 as a geochem class exercise I did a survey of bore water between Hamilton and Cambridge. The farming contaminants in the water table then appalled me and I said damn near exactly the same things as you just did. It has gotten worse since then. However it has also intruded far more into the public conciousness precisely because there are people like Mike Joy, yourself, and myself speaking about what they or others measure.

      Please carry on doing it.

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Time for inquiry into petrol margins
    It’s time for an inquiry into petrol companies as margins are once again at the high levels that prompted concerns late last year, says Labour's Energy Spokesperson Stuart Nash. "Over the December January holiday period, petrol importer margins jumped to… ...
    1 day ago
  • More talk as Auckland congestion worsens
    The main impact of the Government’s agreement with Auckland Council today will be simply to delay still further decisions needed to relieve the city’s traffic congestion, says Labour’s Auckland Issues Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “Government has been aware for more than… ...
    2 days ago
  • Serco inquiry extended
    A two month delay to the Government investigation into prison fight clubs shows the extent of problems within the Serco circus, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “My office received a tsunami of complaints so I’m not surprised the terms… ...
    2 days ago
  • Truck Shops ignore consumer laws
    A damning Commerce Commission report out today highlights the failure of the Government to protect poor and vulnerable families from unscrupulous truck shops, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer. “The report found that 31 out of 32 firms it… ...
    2 days ago
  • Taihoa at Ihumatao says Labour
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford has called on the Government to rethink its controversial Special Housing Area in Māngere. Auckland Council is today meeting to discuss the development which borders the Otuataua Stonefield Historic Reserve. This project is to get… ...
    3 days ago
  • Figures suggest National deliberately excluded farming
    Figures showing the dairy industry would be categorised as high risk if there were a further five severe injuries within a year, strongly suggests National designed its flawed system to deliberately exclude farming, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    3 days ago
  • Bleak report on the state of our children
    A damning conclusion by the Children’s Commissioner today that ‘we don’t know if children are better off as a result of state intervention, but the indications are not good’ should make fixing CYFs a top priority for this Government, says… ...
    3 days ago
  • Dodgy data used to justify axing KiwiSaver kickstart
    National’s agenda to run down KiwiSaver has become even clearer from a scathing critique of the Government’s justification for axing the $1000 kickstart, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Since National came to power they have not only continually undermined… ...
    3 days ago
  • Unsecure website risks Ashley MoBIEson hack
    Experts have raised security concerns that vulnerabilities in MoBIE’s half million-dollar website could lead to a possible Ashley Maddison-style hack, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The real issue here is not what data is immediately available, but what… ...
    3 days ago
  • Democracy still the loser in Canterbury
    The Government has demonstrated once again how arrogant and out of touch it is in denying Cantabrians the same democratic rights as the rest of the country, says Labour’s Environment spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Environment Canterbury Bill which has been… ...
    3 days ago
  • Waiver cost still a mystery
    The Government still has no idea what it’s going to cost community and voluntary groups to get a waiver from the fees police will charge to carry out checks on their staff and volunteers, says Labour’s Community and Voluntary spokesperson… ...
    3 days ago
  • China exports fall 27 per cent in a year
    Exports to China have fallen by 27 per cent over the last 12 months - showing that the looming economic slowdown should have been expected by the Government, says Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark. “The Chinese economic slowdown should… ...
    3 days ago
  • National should support all families for 26 weeks
    Families with multiple babies, and those born prematurely or with disabilities, are the winners from moves to extend paid parental leave to 26 weeks but the Government must give all babies the same head start in life, Labour’s spokesperson for… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s health and safety shambles puts school camps at risk
    Reports that schools are considering scrapping student camps and tearing out playgrounds highlights just how badly National has managed its health and safety reforms, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Schools have been left completely in the dark about the… ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s asset stripping agenda hits schools
    National’s fire-sale of school houses and land is short-sighted, mean-spirited, and will have huge unintended consequences that we will pay for in years to come, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. Documents obtained by Labour show the Ministry of Education… ...
    4 days ago
  • Takahe massacre supposed to get all New Zealanders involved in conservation
    The Minister’s claim that a  botched cull of one of New Zealand’s rarest birds was a way of getting all New Zealanders involved in conservation is offensive and ludicrous, Labour’s conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson says.  “An email from Minister Maggie… ...
    4 days ago
  • Serco circus rolls on with revelations of fight club practice
    Further revelations that a Serco prison guard was coaching inmates on fight club techniques confirms a fully independent inquiry needs to take place, says Labour’s Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The Minister’s statement today that a guard was coaching sparring techniques… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government targets put ahead of students’ education
    The Government must urgently reassess the way it sets NCEA targets after a new report found they are forcing schools to “credit farm” and are undermining the qualification, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “A PPTA report released today says… ...
    4 days ago
  • ER patients in corridors as health cuts bite
    Patients are being forced to wait for hours on beds in corridors as cash strapped hospitals struggle to keep up with budget cuts, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “People coming to the emergency room and being forced to wait… ...
    4 days ago
  • Not too late to fix Health and Safety for New Zealand’s workers
    The Government and its minor party supporters are showing an arrogant disregard for workers’ lives by not agreeing to a cross-party solution to the botched Health and Safety bill, Opposition leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday I wrote to the Prime… ...
    5 days ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Council of Infrastructure Development
    Tēnā Kotou Katoa. Thank you so much for having me along to speak today. Can I begin by acknowledging John Rae, the President, and Stephen Selwood, the chief executive of the Council for Infrastructure Development. ...
    5 days ago
  • Reserve Bank points finger at Govt inaction
    In scathing criticism of the Government’s inaction, the Reserve Bank says Auckland housing supply is growing nowhere near fast enough to make a dent the housing shortage, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. Reserve Bank deputy governor Grant Spencer today… ...
    5 days ago
  • Chickens come home to roost on climate change
    The Government’s gutting of the Emissions Trading Scheme has caused foresters to leave and emissions to rise, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods. “The release of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Facts and Figures Report for 2014 on the ETS… ...
    5 days ago
  • Website adds to long list of big spends at MBIE
    The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s $560,000 outlay on its new website is further evidence of excessive spending by Steven Joyce on his pet project super ministry, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.  “Hot on the heels of… ...
    5 days ago
  • Brownlee warned over EQC repairs but ignored them
    Gerry Brownlee was warned that EQC’s underfloor repairs weren’t being done properly by industry experts, the cross party working group and in public but he arrogantly ignored them all, says Labour’s Earthquake Commission spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove.  “Today’s apology and commitment… ...
    6 days ago
  • Serco wants in on state house sell off
    The Government must keep scandal plagued outsourcing company Serco away from our state housing after their disastrous record running Mt Eden prison, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. "Today it has emerged that at the same time Serco was under… ...
    1 week ago
  • Come clean on Pasifika education centre
    Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iinga needs to come clean and tell the Pasifika communities if he’s working to save the Pasifika Education Centre or shut it down, Labour’s Pasifika spokesperson Su’a William Sio says.  “I’m gutted the Pasifika Education Centre funding… ...
    1 week ago
  • Time for NZTA to work on alternatives to flyover
    The High Court decision rejecting the New Zealand Transport Agency’s attempts to build the Basin Reserve flyover must now mean that NZTA finally works with the community on other options for transport solutions in Wellington, Grant Robertson and Annette King… ...
    1 week ago
  • Shiny new system leads to record truancy
    Record high truancy rates shows the Government’s much-vaunted new attendance system is an abysmal failure, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Data released today shows truancy rates have spiked more than 15 per cent in 2014 and are now at… ...
    1 week ago
  • Woodhouse wrong about quarries
      The Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety Michael Woodhouse was wrong yesterday when he said limestone quarries were covered by the farcical Health and Safety legislation, says Labour’s Associate Labour spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “He said he ‘understood’ limestone quarries… ...
    1 week ago
  • Taxpayers money spent on culling one of our rarest birds
    It beggars belief that four endangered takahe were killed by incompetent cullers contracted to the Department of Conservation and the Minister must explain this wanton destruction, says Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It must not be forgotten that there are only… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing NZ must immediately move family
    Housing New Zealand must immediately move a Glen Innes family whose son contracted serious and potentially fatal health problems from the appalling condition of their state house, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “Te Ao Marama Wensor and community workers… ...
    1 week ago
  • No understanding of the value of overseas investment
     The Government has now admitted it has absolutely no idea of the actual value of foreign investment in New Zealand, says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It is crucial that the Government starts to understand just what this overseas… ...
    1 week ago
  • Another bridges bribe from Simon Bridges
    Simon Bridges is embroiled in another bridges-for-votes controversy after admitting funding for a replacement bridge in Queenstown is “very much about… the 2017 election”, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Transport Minister is today reported as telling Queenstown locals… ...
    1 week ago
  • Saudi tender process reeks of SkyCity approach
    The tender process for the $6m investment in a Saudi sheep farm reeks like the SkyCity convention centre deal and once again contravenes the government’s own procurement rules, says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker. “The $6m contract… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maori Party should stand up for workers
    The Government’s proposed Health and Safety Reform Bill does not go far enough to protect those in specific industries with the highest rates of workplace deaths, says Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “We are told that Maori workers are more… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister must explain budget blowout
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell must explain a budget blow out at Te Puni Kokiri, after the organisation spent more than 2.5 million dollars over their budget for contractors, says Labour’s Associate Māori Development spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “For the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Successful effort to raise the issue of GE trees in proposed standard
    Many thousands of people submitted on the proposed National Environmental Standard –  Plantation Forestry (NES-PF).  A vast majority of the public submissions were particularly focussed on the NES having included GE trees in its mandate. People want these provisions removed,… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Fair Share Friday – Thoughts and Reflections
    As part of our Fair Share  campaign, Green MPs have been doing a series of visits to community groups across the country to have conversations about inequality in New Zealand and what communities are experiencing on the ground. I visited… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Crucial Auditor General investigation welcomed
    The Auditor General’s decision to investigate the Saudi sheep scandal is important, necessary and welcome, Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David Parker says. “The independent functions of the Auditor General are a cornerstone of the New Zealand system of… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • KiwiSaver sign-ups continue to fall
    New KiwiSaver sign-ups in July were 45 per cent below the monthly average, despite John Key saying axing the kickstart “will not make a blind bit of difference to the number of people who join KiwiSaver”, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Contact bows to pressure
    Contact Energy’s decision to cut its pre-pay rates to be in line with its customers who pay monthly is good news and the company deserves credit for responding so quickly, says Labour’s Consumer Affairs Spokesperson David Shearer.  “Two months ago… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • I’m pushing for a ‘fair go’ for solar
    My Fair Go For Solar Bill was pulled from the Members’ Ballot last week and is set for a vote in Parliament. In this blog post I explain some of the background to the bill and how it aims to… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Key must explain why Health and Safety Bill pulled
    John Key must explain why his Government is delaying the Health and Safety Bill when Pike River families have travelled to Wellington specifically to register their opposition, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Yesterday afternoon John Key suggested the bill may… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Diving for sustainable scallops
    Last week, there were calls for scallop dredging to be banned in the Marlborough Sounds, following scientific report saying that 70% of the Sounds had been lost from dredging, trawling, and sedimentation from forestry. At the same time we see… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Backdown whiff in state house leasing option
    Bill English’s admission that the Government is looking at leasing large numbers of state houses to non-government providers has the whiff of a backdown, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This is an acknowledgement by Bill English that he has… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing crisis downgrade threatening banking sector
    The out of control Auckland housing market is now threatening the banking sector, with Standard and Poor’s downgrading the credit rating of our banks out of fear of the bubble bursting, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Today we have… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good money after bad for failed experiment
    The National government are throwing good money after bad with their decision to pump even more funding into their failed charter school experiment, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are already major problems with several of the first charter… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National borrows Labour’s idea on urban development
    Labour's Associate Environment spokesperson Phil Twyford says he welcomes the Government's adoption of Labour's policy for a National Policy Statement on urban development, and has called on the Government to take up Labour's offer to work together on these issues.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Toothless OIO never refused a single farmland sale
    The Overseas Investment Office has approved more than 290 consents from foreign investors to buy sensitive land in New Zealand, but has not turned down a single application says Labour’s Land Information spokesperson Stuart Nash  “The Minister of Land information,… ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere