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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.

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    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    2 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    2 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    2 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    2 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    3 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    3 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    3 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    3 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    3 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    4 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    4 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    4 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    4 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    4 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    4 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    5 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    5 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    1 week ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    1 week ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    1 week ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    1 week ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    1 week ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Stats changes can’t hide unemployment reality
    Today’s minor drop in unemployment numbers is nothing to celebrate given the changes made to the official numbers that cut thousands of people looking for work out of the jobless rate, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Making any comparisons ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Auckland’s affordable homes plummet 72% under National
    Comprehensive new data from CoreLogic has found the number of homes in Auckland valued at under $600,000 has plummeted by 72 per cent since National took office, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This data tracks the changes in ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt should face the facts not skew the facts
    National appears to be actively massaging official unemployment statistics by changing the measure for joblessness to exclude those looking online, says Labour’s Employment spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The Household Labour Force Survey, released tomorrow, no longer regards people job hunting on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • More voices call for review of immigration policy
    The Auckland Chamber of Commerce is the latest credible voice to call for a review of immigration and skills policy, leaving John Key increasingly isolated, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister is rapidly becoming a man alone. He ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Better balance needed in Intelligence Bill
    Labour will support the NZ Intelligence and Security Bill to select committee so the issues can be debated nationwide and important amendments can be made, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago

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