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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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    2 days ago
  • Ministry reveals shocking charter school results
    NCEA results for charter schools have been massively overstated with documents revealing many students leaving school without basic NCEA level two qualifications despite this being a main educational target for the Government, says Labour Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Documents obtained ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister must protect MSD staff
      The Minister of Social Development should immediately implement safer work practices to ensure tragedies such as the Ashburton killings don’t happen again, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni.   ...
    2 days ago
  • A vote for the Māori Party is a vote for National
    Comments made by the Māori Party leadership in the wake of John Key’s surprise resignation make one thing clear: a vote for them is a vote for a fourth term National Government, and the increasing inequality and poverty for Māori ...
    2 days ago
  • Collins and English split over police funding
    The bloodletting has already begun with splits and divisions emerging after the Police Minister knifed the Finance Minister via the media, says Labour Police spokesman Stuart Nash. ...
    2 days ago
  • Next Prime Minister must tackle foreign speculators
    The public rightly puts much of the blame for the housing bubble at the feet of foreign speculators, and the next Prime Minister must listen to their concerns, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 days ago
  • NZ student performance slips in international study – again
    The continuing fall in Kiwi kids’ performance in the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) study shows the damage being inflicted by National’s cuts to education and one-size-fits-all approach, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “For years, National has ...
    2 days ago
  • CYF reforms dangerous backward step
    Child protection has taken a massive step backwards today with the Government passing a Bill that will give significant powers to unspecified ‘professionals’ or contract holders, says Labour’s Acting Children’s spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. ...
    3 days ago
  • Improve workplaces, and address domestic violence
    Last week the Productivity Commission put out a report about how to grow “weak labour productivity”. These views are being criticised as being straight out of the 1980s. What is a real problem is that we have a problem of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Palm oil industry implicated in human rights abuses
    The Green Party has campaigned for several years for mandatory palm oil labeling to give consumers choice. Most consumers do not want to support a palm oil industry that is destroying tropical rainforests and contributing to dangerous climate change emissions. ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    3 days ago
  • Syphilis on the rise in NZ
    Cases of syphilis are increasing in Auckland. You read that right, syphilis!  RNZ reported today that rates of syphilis have increased by 71 percent (between 2013-2015). We have known about the increase in syphilis figures for a while, but nothing ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • We need to work smarter not longer
    The charade of this Government’s sound economic management is unraveling. Misleading GDP figures, pumped up by property speculation and high immigration, have given the impression that all is well, masking our continued productivity decline compared to OECD countries. In fact, ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    4 days ago
  • Statement on John Key’s resignation
    Labour Party Leader Andrew Little has acknowledged John Key’s contribution to Government.  “John Key has served New Zealand generously and with dedication. Although we may have had our policy differences over the years, I respect the Prime Minister’s decision to ...
    4 days ago
  • Positive plan secures victory
    The victory of Labour’s newest MP, Michael Wood, in Mt Roskill is the result of a well-organised campaign run with honesty and integrity, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “I congratulate Michael Wood on his great victory. He will be a ...
    6 days ago
  • Wave of support for Kiwibuild continues to grow
    Apartment builder Ockham Residential has become the latest voice to call for the government to build affordable homes for Kiwi families to buy, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Helen O'Sullivan of Ockham has now joined prominent businesspeople like EMA ...
    1 week ago
  • Cuba Si Yankee No – Fidel Castro and the Revolution
    The death of Fidel Castro is a huge historical moment for the older generation who grew up with the toppling of Batista, the Bay of Pigs debacle, the death of Che Guevara and the US blockade against Cuba. For younger ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Government slashes observer coverage, fails snapper fishery
    The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has more than halved the number of fisheries observers in the East Coast North Island snapper trawl fishery (SNA1). This reduction in observer days, combined with major failures in an unproven and controversial video ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • ‘Exemplar’ Māori Land Court under siege
    TheMāori Land Court, hailed as an “exemplar” by the Ministry of Justice chief executive and Secretary, Andrew Bridgman is under siege by the Government through Māori land reforms and a Ministry restructure, says Labour’s Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. ...
    1 week ago
  • He Poroporoaki ki a Te Awanuiārangi Black
    Kua hinga he whatukura o Tauranga Moana. Kua hinga rangatira o te iwi Māori. Ka tangi tonu ana te ngākau nā tāna wehe kei tua o te ārai. E rere haere ana ngā mihi aroha o mātou o Te Rōpū ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • CYF reforms ignoring whānau based solution
    When approximately 60 per cent of children in state care are Māori processes need to change in favour of whānau, hapū and iwi solutions, said Labour’s Whānau Ora spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta.  “Widespread concern about Government reforms of Child Youth and ...
    1 week ago
  • Hip and knees surgery takes a tumble
    The statistics for hip and knee electives under this Government make depressing reading, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Under the last Labour Government we achieved a 91 per cent growth in hip and knee elective surgery. Sadly under this ...
    1 week ago
  • Parata’s spin can’t hide cuts to early childhood education
    No amount of spin from Hekia Parata can hide the fact that per-child funding for early childhood education has been steadily decreasing under the National government, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “In the 2009/10 year early childhood services received ...
    1 week ago
  • Nats will jump at chance to vote for KiwiBuild Bill
    National will welcome the chance to vote for a real solution to the housing crisis after their many, many failed attempts, says Labour MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis. Kelvin Davis’s Housing Corporation (Affordable Housing Development) Amendment Bill was ...
    1 week ago
  • Million dollar houses put homeownership out of reach of middle New Zealand
    35% of New Zealanders now live in places where the average house costs over a million dollars, and it’s killing the Kiwi dream of owning your own place, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Latest QV stats show that Queenstown ...
    1 week ago
  • Opportunity for political parties to back Kiwi-made and Kiwi jobs
    The First Reading in Parliament today of his Our Work, Our Future Bill is a chance for political parties to ensure the government buys Kiwi-made more often and backs Kiwi jobs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. The reading ...
    1 week ago
  • Solid Energy must open the drift
    Solid Energy is showing no moral spine and should not have any legal right to block re-entry into the Pike River drift, says Damien O’Connor MP for West Coast-Tasman.  “Todays failed meeting with  representatives from the state owned company is ...
    1 week ago
  • 20,000 at risk students “missing”
    A briefing to the Minister of Education reveals 20,000 at-risk students can’t be found, undermining claims by Hekia Parata that a new funding model would ensure additional funding reached students identified as at-risk, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. ...
    1 week ago
  • Crime continues to rise
    Overall crime is up five per cent and the Government just doesn’t seem to care, says Labour’s Police Spokesperson Stuart Nash. ...
    1 week ago
  • Treasury fritters $10 million on failed state house sell off
    The Treasury has wasted $10 million in two years on the National Government's flawed state house sell off programme, including nearly $5.5 million on consultants, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. "New Zealand needs more state housing than ever, with ...
    1 week ago
  • National slow to learn new trade lessons post TPPA
    Yesterday, the Minister for Trade misused economic data in order to try to make the case for more so-called ‘trade agreements’ like the TPPA which are actually deregulatory straitjackets in disguise. In welcoming a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    1 week ago
  • Skilled migrant wages plummeting under National
    Wages have plummeted for people with skilled migrant visas working in low-skilled occupations, driving down wages for workers in a number of industries, says Labour’s Immigration Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Documents acquired by Labour under the Official Information Act reveal that ...
    1 week ago
  • Child abuse apology needed
    The Government's failure to act on recommendations from Judge Henwood, based on years of work by the Confidential Listening and Assistance Service (CLAS) will further undermine any faith victims may have put into the process, says Labour’s Children’s Spokesperson Jacinda ...
    1 week ago
  • Reserve Bank again highlights National’s housing failure
    National’s failure to deal with the housing crisis in New Zealand is once again being exposed by the Reserve Bank today, in a scathing assessment of the Government’s response, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson “Governor Wheeler is clearly worried ...
    1 week ago
  • Palm Oil Labelling: Possible Progress?
    On Friday, the Minister for Food Safety, along with her Australian colleagues finally looked at the issue of mandatory labelling of palm oil. We’ve been calling for mandatory labelling for years and we were hoping that the Ministers would agree ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    1 week ago
  • National: Fails to achieve
    The ineffectiveness of the National Government’s approach to schooling has been highlighted by the latest Trends in International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) report released overnight, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. ...
    1 week ago
  • Faster into Homes – a new pathway for first home buyers
    This week Parliament will select another members’ bill from the cookie tin (I kid you not, it really is a cookie tin) and I’ve just launched a new bill I’m hoping will get pulled – to help people get into ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Selling off our state housing stock isn’t working for NZers
    I want to end homelessness and ensure that everyone has a warm, safe, dry home. This National Government has let down New Zealanders, especially the thousands of New Zealanders who are struggling with something so basic and important as housing. ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Government needs to ensure fair deal on EQC assessments
    Kiwis affected by earthquakes might not get a fair deal if the Government pushes ahead with secret plans to let private insurers take over the assessment of claims, says Labour’s Canterbury spokesperson Megan Woods. “Under questioning from Labour the Government ...
    1 week ago
  • Key’s priorities the real ‘load of nonsense’
    The Prime Minister’s fixation with tax cuts, despite a failure to pay down any debt and growing pressure on public services is the real ‘load of nonsense’, says Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  “We’re getting mixed messages from National. John ...
    1 week ago
  • Free Speech and Hate Speech
    Last week we were very concerned to hear that an Auckland imam, Dr Anwar Sahib, had been preaching divisive and derogatory messages about Jewish people and women during his sermons. It was a disturbing incident coming at the end of ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    2 weeks ago
  • Young Kiwis struggling under record mortgage debt
    The Government needs to step in and start building affordable homes for first homebuyers now more than ever, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Tairāwhiti says No Stat Oil!
    Tairāwhiti says yes to a clean environment for our mokopuna today and for generations to come. Tairāwhiti are have a responsibility to uphold their mana motuhake over their land and their peoples and are calling on the Government to honour ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 weeks ago