Written By: - Date published: 9:31 am, August 24th, 2016 - 60 comments
Categories: accountability, farming, health, john key, science, useless, water - Tags: anti science, denial, dirty water, hardtalk, havelock north, mike joy, water, water quality
One of the first times Key was actually seriously confronted in an interview was on the BBC’s Hardtalk in 2011. Among the topics was our “100% Pure” slogan and our water quality. Here’s an account in The Listener:
The most controversial part of the interview surrounded the “100% Pure New Zealand” slogan. Here is the crux of the exchange:
Stephen Sackur: One of the country’s unique selling points, and your advertising slogan was all about this, was “100% Pure New Zealand”, the idea that you’re a greener nation than any other in the developed world – that already isn’t true, as your population does slowly rise, and it’s going to get worse. Dr Mike Joy, of Massey University, a leading environmental scientist in your country, said just the other day, “We are delusional about how clean and green we are.”
John Key: Well that might be Mike Joy’s view, but I don’t share that view.
Sackur: But he is very well qualified, isn’t he? He’s looked, for example, at the number of species threatened with extinction in New Zealand, he’s looked at the fact that half your lakes, 90% of your lowland rivers, are now classed as polluted.
Key: Look, I’d hate to get into a flaming row with one of our academics, but he’s offering his view. I think any person that goes down to New Zealand …
Sackur: Yeah but he’s a scientist, it’s based on research, it’s not an opinion he’s plucked from the air.
Key: He’s one academic, and like lawyers, I can provide you with another one that will give you a counterview. Anybody who goes down to New Zealand and looks at our environmental credentials, and looks at New Zealand, then I think for the most part, in comparison with the rest of the world, we are 100% pure – in other words, our air quality is very high, our water quality is very high
Sackur: But 100% is 100%, and clearly you’re not 100% …
The prime minister’s face offers a decent bellwether here. Code: rictus. And try this again for size: “For the most part, in comparison with the rest of the world, we are 100% pure.” To follow up the casual dismissal of a scientist’s analysis with such mathematical wizardry is, as various Twittery types observed, 110% jaw-dropping.
Mike Joy has since rebuffed Key’s remarks. He told TV3: “You can’t argue with the facts, the NIWA reports, the number of threatened species, all of those things are facts … We’ve been conned and we’ve conned ourselves into believing that we’re clean and green…but the reality is that it’s nothing like that. We’re deluding ourselves and we’re trying to delude the rest of the world.”
See the video below (end of Part 1 at 10m47s and start of Part 2).
It is this kind of bullshit denial of science that leads directly to declining water standards in NZ and eventually incidents like the major Havelock North gastro outbreak. Here’s another scientist on the topic recently:
Fresh water results worst ecology professor has seen
An ecology professor says council measures of water quality around Hawke’s Bay are lower than any he has seen before in New Zealand.
Massey University professor Russell Death has studied freshwater in the broader Tukituki-Papanui-Karamu area, which includes Havelock North.
He told Checkpoint with John Campbell macroinvertebrate community composition (MCI) values, which measured the general health of the water, were very low in the broader area around Havelock North.
“A town water supply in New Zealand is infected by many of the pathogenic organisms that live in our water supplies, it’s not surprising at all – in fact, it’s inevitable,” he said.
He said, normally, a very unhealthy river could present MCI values as low as 80, but the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s own measurements had found levels even lower.
“The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council have done their own sampling around the Karamu catchment, and that’s where they’ve found MCI values down to 60 which, as I said, I didn’t realise MCI values could get that low.”
He said students he had sent to the area had come back having seen dead animals on riverbanks and asked not to be sent to sample streams so badly affected again.
If that kind of water made its way into a town’s drinking water, it would only be a matter of time before people got sick as a result, he said.
“We have the highest level of many of these waterborne gastrointestinal diseases in the OECD.” …
Surprise surprise, John Key doesn’t believe Prof. Death either.
As long as we accept politically motivated denial of science this country is in trouble. As long as we accept shit in our water another Havelock North type outbreak is inevitable.