Eugenie Sage
In defence of science

While universities are primarily charged with promoting learning they also have a vital role as the critic and conscience of society.  Scientists ask questions, investigate, research, analyse the data and report on the results. Their work informs the public debate.  How then are we to interpret repeated attacks on university scientists such as Massey University’s Dr Mike Joy. His research on native freshwater fish and aquatic ecology  means he knows the state of our rivers firsthand.

With a Minister so keen on supporting science and getting new science graduates you would think the Government would be listening to what scientists have to say…

Instead the Minister of Science and Innovation launches an assault on universities.  It’s the same bullying tactics the Minister has used to try and bully Forest and Bird to withdraw its court case against Bathurst Resource’s destructive coal mining proposals on the Denniston Plateau.

If the Minister wants more science graduates we need to be holding up prominent scientists as role models so that more students are encouraged to study science. We need to see  scientists like Mike Joy featured on the side of a Weetbix box, not pilloried because they deliver the inconvenient truth that our rivers and lakes are in a bad way.

That obvious too in that five regional councils across New Zealand have issued press releases in recent weeks warning against swimming, walking dogs and other summertime enjoyment of our rivers because of the risk from toxic algae such as Phormidium.

We can’t accept as the “new normal” such gross pollution of our rivers and streams so that they are unsafe for human contact.  Our rivers and lakes are under pressure from increased pollution and increasing water demand largely due to intensive agriculture and irrigation. Over half of the rivers monitored for recreational water quality are unsafe to swimming. 43% of our lakes are polluted. 90% of our wetlands are gone. Our rivers and lakes are part of our common heritage. It is the birthright of every New Zealander to be able to enjoy them.

We need clean water rules now and leadership by the Minister for the Environment. Strong rules that protect our lakes and rivers by ensuring that protect river flows and prevent any further decline in water quality. Rules that will mean that generations to come will be able to enjoy our lakes and rivers as we could when we were children.

168 thoughts on “In defence of science

  1. Great post Eugeine. Mike Joy deserves our support. Not sure how ironic it is to use the words leadership and Ministry for Environment in the same sentance though.

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  2. Mike Joy protrays us to the worlds media –
    - as one of the worst countries in the world,
    - deliberately tries to sabotage our tourism industry
    - while the selective quotes he uses are from research that puts us in the best 10% of 189 countries.

    Of course he should be attacked. If he succeeds in his attacks thousands will lose their jobs. Which is his whole point.

    -Do what I want or I’ll destroy NZ tourism.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 17 (-9)

  3. Dunno about this – I agree that the attacks on Mike joy are an assault on science, but I’m not sure that telling Auckland university to increase science and engineering positions is comparable.

    “The Green Party’s tertiary education spokesman, David Clendon, says universities have a clear understanding of the country’s economic and social needs and work hard to develop a balanced and strategic approach.”

    Yeah? Tertiary education providers have been working as businesses for years and consequently offer courses to anyone who will pay or allow them to claim subsidies, regardless of the benefit to the students or the country.

    Let’s not pretend universities are some sort of high-minded, disinterested institutions only concerned with the advancement of our collective well-being.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1 (+7)

  4. “Of course he should be attacked. If he succeeds in his attacks thousands will lose their jobs. Which is his whole point.”

    Shall we criminalise the ‘spreading of false information’ in the style of Mugabe and Stalin then? Anyone says New Zealand isn’t clean and green, that Peter Jackson’s movies aren’t examples of cinematic genius or that Slovenia looks more like Middle Earth than New Zealand does gets locked up as a saboteur. Seems the obvious solution.

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  5. Photonz1 blahblah MikeJoy blahblah complain criticise demean blah blah…

    Gregor W *snore*

    Lovely!

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  6. Yeah MikeM, deliberately is probably a step too far.

    Reckless is more like it.

    We still jail people for reckless behaviour…

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  7. It is not Joy that is sabotaging our tourism industry. It is the polluters. That subtle distinction seems to escape twits like Photo.

    I(*f the facts are inconvenient, don’t fix the problem. Just shut down the messenger. Our Government all over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 4 (+7)

  8. Let’s presume for a moment that it was an overseas scientist who noted this and who was quoted globally, instead of a New Zealand scientist living in New Zealand. If someone were reputable enough, global media would eat it up just as easily in the face of New Zealand’s tourism marketing.

    What would then be the response? To me, labelling that overseas claimant as reckless, irresponsible, traitorous and unpatriotic, and then blaming them for putting thousands of tourism jobs at risk by stating that New Zealand isn’t everything its marketing claims, doesn’t work.

    If this country is seriously relying on not having globally-viewed criticism of its tourism marketing claims, justified or not, to the extent that it’ll cost millions or billions of dollars if that ever happens, then it’s a very brittle strategy that would seem ridiculous to rely on. Having the country’s Prime Minister then come out as a national ambassador and respond, in full view of the world, that when we say “pure” we really mean “as pure as McDonalds” (that great fast food chain globally respected for its healthy options and purity), just emphasises to me that nobody in that marketing team thought this scenario through at all in advance. If they did, there have been some major communication break-downs and political screw-ups that can hardly be blamed on Mike Joy independently expressing his views.

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  9. Patriotism – it means lifting the carpet and sweeping under it everything that might embarrass you – you greenies just aren’t patriotic!

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  10. It’s not a question of patriotism, Greenfly, it’s a question of correct policy. Maintaining a position that threatens the economy is an incorrect position, in fact a criminal one, even if the facts back such a position. Haven’t you heard of Stalinism?

    Arthur Koestler’s novel Darkness at Noon carefully examines this mode of thinking. Read it and join all right-thinking people in demanding the purging of Mike Joy.

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  11. There is no writer in English who can approach the darkness that the Russians themselves understand in their souls when considering the evil that was given them by Stalin and Beria… I recommend for those who have the stomach for understanding that, two films (I am sure there are others but these I have seen and had my wife to interpret for me)… and neither is anything less than brilliant

    “Burnt by the Sun”
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0111579/

    “Repentance”
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0093754/

    …and while I see Nixon in the reign of Key, I see shadows of worse in several of his ministers, and in the howling mob of lunatic right wing nutjobs who inhabit the National Party.

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  12. I did a photoshoot of some organic farmers last week who are sick to death of people doing everything they can to damage New Zealand’s tourism and agriculture marketing.

    They’re really pissed off as it’s the reputation of their organic products that are taking much more of a hit than plain old dairy, lamb, beef etc.

    As they pointed out, when a country is well off is when it can afford to put more money into protecting the environment. When it’s poor, the environment drops in priority.

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  13. Kerry says “It is not Joy that is sabotaging our tourism industry. It is the polluters. That subtle distinction seems to escape twits like Photo.”

    Unfortunately there are idiots too blinkered to realise that the harm they are doing, causes more damage to our green industries, than any other.

    Some of these idiots even say they want to develop a booming green industry sector in NZ.

    Then they do more than anyone else to make sure it never happens.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 13 (-9)

  14. Eugene says “Rules that will mean that generations to come will be able to enjoy our lakes and rivers as we could when we were children.”

    Eugene – you are trying to con people with a false myth.

    When you were a child, virtually every town in every part of the country pumped raw sewage into the nearest waterway.

    The “clean rivers when we were young” is a nonsense.

    From Waikato Regional Council “The Waikato River’s water quality has improved a great deal. The country’s longest river was, 40 years ago, one of the dirtiest. Today, while not pristine, it’s much cleaner than in the 1950s and 60s.”

    In fact from the 70s to the 80s the pollution levels dropped by a factor of 10.

    Today the Waikato River is generally safe for swimming above Hamilton, and often not safe below it, still because of sewage.

    Renewable energy further deteriorates the water quality, with the water ponding behind dams it takes 5 times longer to reach the sea, and decreases quality at each dam.

    And water that the thermal power stations discharge into it have very high levels of natural occuring arsenic and phospherous.

    So if you want to improve the water quality, you’ll need to
    - remove the central North Island’s thermal areas,
    - remove the hydro dams,
    - and stop Hamiltonians using their toilets.

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  15. We need to see scientists like Mike Joy featured on the side of a Weetbix box, not pilloried because they deliver the inconvenient truth that our rivers and lakes are in a bad way.

    I won’t argue with the second point, but for the first point, how do you actually encourage children to want to be scientists?

    Sporting heroes are easy role models. Shove them in front of a child and they can say “I want to be like that person by doing exactly what they do.” Kick a ball really well, or whack something over a boundary lots of times, or drink lots and go on a drunken rampage. If a sporting role model is good at something, it’s a simple extension to explain why.

    Scientists as role models are an extra level of abstraction for a Weetbix box, though. You’re trying to encourage a child to be great by doing something different from what that person has done, because copying them rote-style in the usual role-model way would be meaningless. ie. Be creative, do something that hasn’t been done before, think critically, believe rational evidence over your parents’ claims about the Flying Spaghetti Monster. The intended message is more complex. If you could even find credible scientists willing to be part of such a campaign, would it work?

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  16. photonz1 – I assume that you mean the geothermal power stations rather than the fossil fuelled thermal stations. Modern geothermal power stations reinject their ground water so the dissolved minerals go back from where they came. Exceptions may be stations where the geothermal water naturally flowed up to the surface anyway.

    Trevor.

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  17. The Manawatu River is pretty polluted, but people including scientists keep perpetuating another myth that it’s the “worst in the world”.

    A single photosynthesis reading on one night made one part of the river was higher than just 150 other rivers internationally (not even 1% of the worlds rivers).

    However readings for photosynthesis were ok at other times at this location. And ok all the time at all other locations.

    Contrary to the extremist statements about “world’s worst” being made to the world from the likes of Mike Joy and the Greens, the actual scientist from institute who developed the test and carried out the research felt the need to make a statement to correct the false claims .

    Quote, [the institutes] “research DOES NOT indicate that the Manawatu River is the worst in the western world.” (his capitals).

    Despite this, there are still dishonest scientists and environmentalists making the same extreme and false claim.

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  18. Trevor – yes – sorry , missed the geo off thermal. Wairakei discharges enough arsenic into the Waikato to give it levels that higher than what’s considered safe for human consumption.

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  19. A party that scaremongers about non-ionising radiation from mobile phone towers and food irradiation, with not a shred of scientific evidence to back it up can’t seriously claim to ever be defending science.

    Where are all the people dying from genetically engineered food?

    You politicise science, as much as those you criticise.

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  20. This claim photonz1 keeps repeating, that the Manawatu River is the most polluted in the world, is deeply worrying. I’m sending a letter off to the editor of my local newspaper right now! Cheers, photonz1!

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  21. New Zealand scientists should lie about the state of our environment in order to protect our developing green industry sector in NZ. Quack.

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  22. photonz1 – it is a good thing that the aging Wairakei geothermal plant is being replaced by a larger plant (Te Mihi) further from the river that will reinject the arsenic and use air cooling rather than the Waikato river for cooling then, eh?

    Trevor.

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  23. Treating sewage from 20 000 people then replacing it with the sewage from 20 000 cows. IS NOT AN IMPROVEMENT!.

    Nor is the sewage from 20 000 cows, plus a large amount of fertilizer runoff, going to improve a river that never had a town upstream discharging sewage.
    Especially when you have to fertilise, and/or irrigate, fast draining soils which were not really suitable for dairy farming in the first place

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  24. Almost 90% of Northland rivers now unsafe for swimming. Swimming is not recommended in, or near, any river within 3 days of heavy rain.
    Source Northland Regional Council.

    15 years ago the bacterial counts in almost all of them, were safe.

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  25. Despite Whangarei having an award winning sewage system the Harbour is more polluted than ever. Onerahi foreshore is unsafe every time it rains, now..

    15 years ago the Harbour was safe for swimming except after the, very occasional, overflow. Due to something like cyclone Bola.

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  26. The 2008 Environmental Performance Index has NZ 7th highest in the world. The Greenest Countries Index has NZ at 19th out of 141. We are 13th lowest for air pollution.

    If a scientist, behaving like an activist, wishes to engage in political hyperbole – like “the real truth is we are an environmental/biodiversity catastrophe” – then the scientist can expect the response to be political.

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  27. Arana and photonz1 – desperate to sugar-coat poo.

    If scientists exaggerate and act like alarmist activists, then it’s difficult to take their scientific arguments seriously.

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  28. You struggle to accept Mike Joy’ scientific arguments because they de-sugar the poo.

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  29. Shall we criminalise the ‘spreading of false information’ in the style of Mugabe and Stalin then?

    This is bad for Stephen Joyce, David Carter and our dear PM…

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  30. Any scientist has to also be a human being and a citizen… and as human beings and citizens who have a vastly superior knowledge of problems in the environment, they have a responsibility to speak out about them.

    The BS that developed over this, started by the people who should have been in control of and preventing the problem in the first place, is an abomination. It is a criminal failure to do THEIR job that leads to the problem they have with Mike Joy doing his.

    Time and time again this government has failed to take responsibility.

    Time and time again this government has failed to take required action.

    Time and time again this government has succeeded in enriching its wealthy backers and foreign bankers at the expense of the rest of NZ.

    Can this not be called treason?

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  31. It’s when they get hysterical and start using silly hyperbole that their credibility takes a dive, especially when NZ has high environmental ratings vs many other countries. Fact.

    No doubt some of these scientists know their little patch well, but some don’t appear to be able to balance conflicting agendas.

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  32. Can this not be called treason?

    Probably not unless you can frame it in a way that involves acting to overthrow the government.

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  33. Yes, Bj, we will call it treason and well charge Arana at the same time, with attempting to pevert the course of justice with her shallow efforts to divert and pervert the real story, as described by you repeastedly here on Frogblog.

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  34. Nice to see there’s no hysteria on FrogBlog, then.

    “Treason”. Ho ho. Some of you do seem to be a few carrots short of the full organic patch.

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  35. Arana. The real truth is as Mike Joy described. In fact he is understating.

    The “Ministry of Truth” can spin and propagandise all they like, I am still not going to live in Hamilton or Christchurch. Our other cities are tolerable for air quality only because the country lies across the Westerlies and our pollution disappears over the ocean.

    Ask what happened to the PM10 targets our industries were supposed to meet by 2009? Standards lower than any in Europe.
    And the streams in Northland that were full of Koura and eels, not long ago, are now stinking cruddy sewers.

    The only reason why our bio-diversity and landscape is not being polluted as much as Eastern Europe, is because there is only a few million of us.

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  36. The failings of someone else to do what is right do not excuse my doing wrong. The failings of environmental protection in the rest of the world do not excuse the destruction of the environment here.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treason
    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/treason
    http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/treason

    I believe that some of the definitions of this term definitely DO apply Mike.

    * Definitions 2 and 3 in the dictionary entry.

    * “The crime of betraying one’s country.” through Nolo

    * Popularly via the Wiki entry.

    So where an elected official consistently works against the best interests of his/her nation it can be construed as “treason” or “stupidity”.

    I am more usually more inclined to the latter explanation :-)

    National no longer gets that benefit of doubt. :-)

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  37. Parts of China are really, really toxic, eh, so we’re okay. So what if a few of our estuaries become stinking mudflats where all life bar a couple of un-killable worms is poisoned with the sulphur dioxide that bubbles up through the black mud, there are much worse places in other parts of the world so don’t even talk about our trifling issues (someone might hear you!).

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  38. “Scientists as role models are an extra level of abstraction for a Weetbix box, though. You’re trying to encourage a child to be great by doing something different from what that person has done, because copying them rote-style in the usual role-model way would be meaningless…”

    Quite, the whole ‘role-model’ thing is vastly over rated IMHO. Getting kids into science is a matter of extending natural curiosity, which means first extending parent’s curiosity, knowledge and ability to lead children into discoveries. Also requires time. I’m always impressed by old children’s books that suggested projects, scientific or craft related, that most adults would find challenging, not to mention downright dangerous. Got an old Chemistry for Children book which tells kids to duck down to the chemist and pick up something along the lines of half a dram of fulminating powder of mecuric arsenate, in order to make a pharoah’s serpent or home made fireworks. Can’t imagine this being encouraged today.

    “It’s when they get hysterical and start using silly hyperbole that their credibility takes a dive, especially when NZ has high environmental ratings vs many other countries. Fact.”

    So have you got an actual quote from Mike Joy that you judge to be ‘hysterical’ or are you just speculating?

    “No doubt some of these scientists know their little patch well, but some don’t appear to be able to balance conflicting agendas.”

    Ye Gods! Scientists have to “balance conflicting agendas” now? Perhaps you should read up on what the word ‘science’ means.

    Still, not wanting to be accused of treason, here’s some slogans:

    Serving the Popular Will of the People’s Treasury is the only aim of True Science!

    Support our Farmers! Spread Butter Thicker for Health and Vitality!

    The United People and Workers will Confound the Machinations of the Hobbit Haters!

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  39. “Where are all the people dying from genetically engineered food?”

    Don’t know. They may exist or may not. Where are all the long-term (20 plus years) studies on the health of human subjects who eat a significant amount of GE food compared with those who don’t?

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  40. “The 2008 Environmental Performance Index has NZ 7th highest in the world.”

    Of course, we dropped several places in the more recent EPIs. Also worth noting that the EPI measures change over fairly short time periods. For example ‘forest loss’ is measured over a five-year period. So countries, such as New Zealand, which knocked down most of its forest decades ago, (undeniably an environmental catastrophe) won’t be penalised for this, whereas countries which retained forest cover until recently, but are currently destroying it, will come out as performing poorly.

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  41. @Arana

    The TPP sellout, the sale of Auckland property, the sale of farms, the Asset sales, the opposition to any sort of CGT, the opposition to any change in the current negative gearing favoring property speculation, the lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance, the offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed, the refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax, the refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks, the long term failure to address the high NZ dollar, the increasing GINI, the gutting of the ETS and support from the public purse of large polluter’s emissions, the support of ever more intensive farming and its destruction of our water quality… and I could continue if I wished (and others here probably will, I haven’t even touched the several deep social issue)…

    This government’s failures aren’t bad, they are in fact, the worst POSSIBLE given New Zealand’s size and resources. Definitely “punching above their weight” in terms of damage done to the country. The only question really, is whether it is intentional.

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  42. New Zealand punches alright, but when it punches itself in the face, we need to do something about it. Your question about intent is interesting, bj. I don’t think the throwing of the punch and the aiming of it is done consciously, but our faculty for ducking is being hampered by the smoke and mirrors crew. They must go.

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  43. “Where are all the people dying from genetically engineered food?”

    Libertyscott
    All around us, of course. More Americans than you could count and plenty of others elsewhere in the world, but here to in NZ, those who are eating ge foods, unknowingly mostly, are in the same position as the rats these foods have been tested upon. Have you seen lately, how they are faring?
    If you are going to claim that ge-foods cause no harm, then I demand, as Peter Dunne has done with the ‘synthetic highs’ that you prove their safety. Come on Libertyscott, get busy!

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  44. Sam,

    Try this:

    “We have gone too far. Surely it is time to admit, even if just to ourselves, that far from being 100 per cent pure, natural, clean, or even green, the real truth is we are an environmental/biodiversity catastrophe.”

    Really? Re-a-ll-y? C’mon.

    Catastrophe: A momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin. Reality: water quality could do with some improvement.

    Ye Gods! Scientists have to “balance conflicting agendas” now? Perhaps you should read up on what the word ‘science’ means.

    When a scientist moves the debate into the political sphere, then yes, balance becomes a consideration. For example, the question becomes “what water quality levels will we tolerate vs costs”. Why else bring tourism into it? What’s tourism got to do with water science?

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  45. Arana – try this: “New Zealand’s biodiversity”

    That’s a catastrophe right there. I welcome your attempts to gainsay me.

    Let’s start with our unique native frogs, shall we?

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  46. No, Greenfly.

    The fact we have water quality issues is unfortunate. It isn’t catastrophic. It’s something we will likely improve, and have been doing so, in places, especially when compared with the 1950s. Yes, we can do better.

    The article I saw in the media was not a scientific article, it was a political one. Again, what does tourism have to do with water science?

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  47. “The fact we have water quality issues is unfortunate.”

    Unfortunate

    Good grief! You are deluded.

    Come on, Arana, address my question about biodiversity. I know it puts you in a dreadful position, but give it a go, to show us you’re sincere.

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  48. @Sam: “Getting kids into science is a matter of extending natural curiosity, which means first extending parent’s curiosity, knowledge and ability to lead children into discoveries.”

    I generally agree, but I think you could also extend it to teachers and other people with whom children interact. I don’t think I personally grew up with very science-inclined parents, but I was fortunate to have many (probably uncharacteristic) opportunities to mix with other people who’ve been very science minded, including some very good teachers and extended family, and a community with easily accessible science-minded gatherings. My partner, on the other hand, was the first person in her extended family to have ever finished secondary school. (Now she has a PhD.) They’re fantastic people to know, but also a totally different experience for attitudes and priorities compared with what I grew up with.

    Science (very broadly) is about scepticism and trusting evidence, but society as a whole tends to encourage the opposite. It’s full of messages about trusting people because they’re successful or because they’re the noisiest voices or because they’re saying things people would rather hear or because they have aesthetically pleasing faces. Most organised religion is proudly built on a premise that faith (meaning belief intentionally without evidence) is one of the most important attitudes to have in life. I really don’t know how to reliably encourage scientific thought when it’s only an acceptable concept for as long as it doesn’t cross people’s pre-existing lines.

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  49. Good grief! You are deluded.

    No, Greenfly.

    Waterways can, and do, recover. Relative to other countries, we are doing better than most.

    The Yale University Water Quality Index ranks New Zealand 43rd out of 132 countries with a score of 40.3 out of 100 for ecosystem vitality for freshwater

    I care not for your diversions. Again, please tell me what tourism has to do with water ***science****? Nothing.

    You, or Sage, simply can’t claim it’s “all about the science” when the article talked about marketing branding (100% pure) and tourism. That is a political/economic argument about water, hence the response.

    You know what I’m saying is correct, so stop evading the issue.

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  50. Arana – I acknowledge your inability/unwillingness to discuss the example of biodiversity as it relates to New Zealand’s ‘state of the environment’ and don’t respect you for it, but I’ll not press you further, for the sake of the shred of credibility that still clings to you.
    “Waterways can and do recover” you say? Then you’ll have a useful suggestion for the recovery of the Pourakino estuary in Southland that has recently been declared a ‘dead zone’ – eutrophic and poisoness to the organisms that once lived there. I await your response with great excitement. If you come up with nothing, I’ll just assume you are blowing smoke from the vent in your nether regions (I’m trying to treat you with politeness).
    Now, to your question (I’m assuming you’ll reciprocate and answer mine – it’s only fair) ” What does tourism have to do with water science?”
    I manage a wetland reserve on the edges of an estuary. Many of the visitors I’ve met down there have been water scientists (ornithologists as well, botanists and hydrologists too – all sorts – were you expecting ‘tourists’ to be Chinese dentists and German IT specialists?)Those scientists are travelling to experience the very things our own ‘water scientists’ are interested in: habitats and ‘water communities of flora and fauna that are special to New Zealand. Is that a close enough connection between science and tourism? I have other examples, if you don’t accept this one.

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  51. @Arana: Waterways can, and do, recover.

    How, exactly, does a waterway recover from an organism like Didymo?

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  52. I’m having trouble seeing how a general clean-up of the River Thames, which didn’t happen on its own or through not making changes to seriously bad polluting habits, and besides which is a completely different type of waterway, has much at all to do with reversing New Zealand’s back-country mountain river infection of didymo.

    Did you mean to say it’s okay to do whatever the hell we want to waterways because we can always reverse it later?

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  53. MikeM – I believe Arana is saying that, astonishingly.
    It’s not often we read suck deluded claims. Still, I’ll hold my criticism and wait for Arana’s solution to the dead estuary question. A link to what was done on the Thames won’t do it though. I’d like to hear her own views, in her own words. I’d find that most convincing. Nothing’s come through yet, disappointingly…

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  54. Mike – because *I* didn’t mention Didymo, you did. Rivers can be cleaned up, which was my point (evidence provided). As rivers can be cleaned up, this situation is clearly not a “catastrophe”. That is hyperbole.

    This is not to say everything can be returned to it’s natural state, another straw man of Greenflys. When it comes to all our rivers and land, we need to balance the damage we’ll do with other factors, such as making an income and living a 1st world existence. We will always cause *some* damage by existing and earning a living. The question is “how much damage is acceptable?”

    This blog post essentially says “stick to the science”. Yes, lets. He wasn’t being criticised for the science, he was criticised for linking water quality to tourism and thus making it a political argument.

    If you’re going to make it a political argument, expect one in return.

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  55. Steven Joyce has engaged in a two pronged attack. Firstly, he employed the technique of playing the man not the ball; this is used when the moral turpitude of the elite has been exposed using factual evidence. Since the evidence is irrefutable Joyce focuses on the consequences of the exposure, laying the blame on the messenger rather than on the evidence.

    Secondly he makes threats against the universities. The logic of that goes back to Rogernomics which initiated a neo-liberal drive to change the purpose and function of the universities from “the preservation, extension and promulgation of learning” into mere institutes of vocational training.

    Eugenie’s links provide all the necessary evidence that Emperor 100% Pure has no clothes, and I see no reason to hide the fact that Key, Joyce and their minions are outright hypocrites. Just a branding exercise, like McDonalds? I wouldn’t be seen dead in McDonalds (Or KFC etc). We need the exposure to force the necessary changes in farming and other polluting industries.

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  56. More like a political article written in a way that would likely invoke a political reaction, then acting surprised when one eventuates.

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  57. BJ BJ BJ, sigh

    Let me see if I’ve got this right.

    In its manifesto for the next election, the Green Party will include:

    - Exiting the TPP
    - Repurchasing Auckland property sold to facilitate housing
    - The compulsory purchase of farms
    - The compulsory re-purchase of any SOE shares sold by the current governmant
    - The imposition of a CGT
    - Making negative gearing of any property illegal
    - The compulsory purchase, or nationalisation, of any company for which an accepted takeover is made by an off-shore entity
    - Mandatory purchase of all goods and services required by government agencies, of any kind, from local manufacturers irrespective of price
    - Introduction of a retrospective tax to pay for the state’s investment in Rebuilding Christchurch
    - Printing money to make up for any government losses (and I suppose burning any surplusses?)

    I could go on and on, but you get the point I think.

    This is not green activism, this is rank socialism. If this is to be the party’s platform, it should be renamed!

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  58. As rivers can be cleaned up, this situation is clearly not a “catastrophe”. That is hyperbole.

    This is an interesting position, Arana.

    Does the ability to “clean up” after a disaster in order to restore something approximating an original state mitigate the scale of the issue?

    By the same logic is it hyperbolic to describe events such as the Deepwater Horizon spill, Hurricane Katrina’s effect upon New Orleans, the effects of the Boxing Day Tsumani across SE Asia or the Chernobyl explosion as non-catastrophic given that human ingenuity, crisis management and resilience have gone some way to restoring these environments to a pre-disaster state?

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  59. Where did you find any likely policy around these?

    - Repurchasing Auckland property sold to facilitate housing
    - The compulsory purchase of farms
    - The compulsory re-purchase of any SOE shares sold by the current governmant

    - Making negative gearing of any property illegal
    - The compulsory purchase, or nationalisation, of any company for which an accepted takeover is made by an off-shore entity
    - Mandatory purchase of all goods and services required by government agencies, of any kind, from local manufacturers irrespective of price
    - Introduction of a retrospective tax to pay for the state’s investment in Rebuilding Christchurch
    - Printing money to make up for any government losses (and I suppose burning any surplusses?)

    What you have done is extrapolate and extend most of your list from negative comments I have made. The extensions are small but unacceptable and inaccurate.

    I suggest that the difference between a policy and an opinion is also important.

    For Example:

    “Foreigners buying property and farms is bad”… is not the same as “we have to buy them all back”.

    It may be the same as “we have to prohibit those sales from now on” but the corrective action is less important and immediate than the preventative.

    Do you see the difference?

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  60. “You know what I’m saying is correct, so stop evading the issue.”

    There’s a point in which bloody minded arrogance just makes a discussion pointless. If you want a sensible discussion, you need to respect the fact that your opponents views are genuinely held, otherwise just shout “I’m right, you’re wrong” over and over again at the top of your voice? Sooner or later your opponents will walk away and you can feel smug and claim you’ve won the argument. Often works for two-year olds.

    Couple of points though – first science, economics and politics are intertwined, no getting around this. It wasn’t Mike Joy who put politics into the argument, it began with making claims about New Zealand’s environmental ‘pureness’ to attract tourists and sell our wares. Secondly, nobody objected to a political argument being made against Mike Joy’s comments – people objected to him being told to shut up about inconvenient facts and to him being called a ‘saboteur’ and suchlike nonsense.

    “As rivers can be cleaned up, this situation is clearly not a “catastrophe”.” “Catastrophe: A momentous tragic event ranging from extreme misfortune to utter overthrow or ruin.”

    Nothing in your own definition says a catastrophe must be unable to be addressed.

    “the real truth is we are an environmental/biodiversity catastrophe.”

    Joy is spot on. You are aware of the loss of NZ’s forest cover, the number of species we’ve effectively removed from the ecosystem, and NZ’s per capita carbon emissions? You’re suggestion that the only issue is that “water quality could do with some improvement” is just unsupportable.

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  61. Arana – you are unable to demonstrate how to repair the estuary, I see, so I can justifiably describe it as a catastrophe. This makes a lie of your claims. I’m surprised you won’t even attempt to provide a theory at least as to how a dead estuary might be returned to a healthy state, if only to avoid the embarrassing position you now find yourself in, that is, being full of nothing more than puff and blow. Bear in mind, this particular estuary served as a nursery for flatfish which in turn provided an industry for the commercial fishermen of our town. You are heartlessly dismissing their plight with your insistence that there is no such thing as a catastrophe involving waterways.
    Come on girl, at least try.

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  62. Does the ability to “clean up” after a disaster in order to restore something approximating an original state mitigate the scale of the issue?

    It’s hyperbole.

    I know some people think that anything less than rivers in their natural state is a disaster of epic proportions, but these people are environmental zealots.

    A more rational position is comparative. How are our rivers relative to others in the first world? Well, we could do better, but comparatively, we’re not too bad.

    That isn’t a disaster. That isn’t a catastrophe. It’s unfortunate.

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  63. Dave: Aside from the fact that you seem to be wildly extrapolating other people’s solutions from named problems, I think you might be mistaken in your belief that BJ sets the Green Party’s policies.

    You don’t seem to know what socialism is either.

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  64. Arana – you are unable to demonstrate how to repair the estuary, I see, so I can justifiably describe it as a catastrophe.

    I never said we could return *everything* to its natural state. Some natural entities will never return to their natural state i.e. mines.

    Rivers recover in terms of water quality. They may have different biodiversity, but as the Thames example shows, biodiversity doesn’t go away and never return.

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  65. “A more rational position is comparative.”

    LOL!. Your claims to be making a scientific argument are getting ridiculous. What next? …Sodium Chloride is slower to dissolve into a solution than some other substances therefore it shall be judged to be non-soluble?

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  66. You arguments are getting ridiculous as both you and Greenfly seem utterly desperate to assign arguments to me that I don’t make.

    The article was political in nature, and thus a political response should be expected. What has tourism got to do with water quality? Nothing.

    Your lame diversions have failed.

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  67. Arana – please read what I say before replying. Repeating yourself does not win arguments.

    What arguments did I assign to you that you did not make?

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  68. This is not green activism, this is rank socialism.

    Hilarious!

    Exiting the TPP
    Exiting a multi-lateral FTA is socialism?

    The compulsory re-purchase of any SOE shares sold by the current governmant
    Since when is purchasing shares on an open market socialism?

    The imposition of a CGT
    I guess that makes most developed nations socialist. BTW it already exists in NZ for personal property and land but is widely avoided and unenforced.

    Mandatory purchase of all goods and services required by government agencies, of any kind, from local manufacturers irrespective of price
    A lot of countries do require government agencies to demonstrate the net benefit of not consuming local goods and services (Canada, Chine and Brazil among other IIRC). Clearly a win for revolutionary Marxism. Go the 4th!

    Introduction of a retrospective tax to pay for the state’s investment in Rebuilding Christchurch
    Taxation is socialism? Stop the press! BTW, I don’t think a retroactive tax has ever been positioned (but I could be wrong).

    Printing money to make up for any government losses (and I suppose burning any surplusses?)
    Printing money is most definitely not socialist, quite the opposite in fact.

    As to your other points, I don’t have any specific knowledge or opinion but I haven’t seen them as GP policy.

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  69. Can you suggest ways to fix a collapsed estuary, Arana? You’ve assured us that waterways can be repaired. I’m challenging your assertion. How would you fix an estuary that has become so polluted with mud and phosphorus and nitrogen that almost all life has been extinguished? You were quick to cite the Thames, how about you show us that you can think for yourself, prove your own claims, debate credibly?
    Come on, you can do it if you try!

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  70. BJ Your Own Words . . . . .

    bjchip Posted December 5, 2012 at 2:51 PM
    @Arana
    The TPP sellout, the sale of Auckland property, the sale of farms, the Asset sales, the opposition to any sort of CGT, the opposition to any change in the current negative gearing favoring property speculation, the lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance, the offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed, the refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax, the refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks, the long term failure to address the high NZ dollar, the increasing GINI, the gutting of the ETS and support from the public purse of large polluter’s emissions, the support of ever more intensive farming and its destruction of our water quality… and I could continue if I wished (and others here probably will, I haven’t even touched the several deep social issue)…

    This government’s failures aren’t bad, they are in fact, the worst POSSIBLE given New Zealand’s size and resources. Definitely “punching above their weight” in terms of damage done to the country. The only question really, is whether it is intentional.

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  71. We can’t have pure rivers. It is simply not going to happen. Rivers and land will always have quality issues because we exist here. We farm.

    The question is what level of contamination is acceptable.

    And I don’t know where this ludicrous obsession with swimming in rivers comes from. Even a crystal clear river is not a safe place for kids to swim. Pools are much safer.

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  72. Can you suggest ways to fix a collapsed estuary, Arana? You’ve assured us that waterways can be repaired.

    Straw man. You’ll just have to read my replies, think, then respond – without resorting to lame straw man arguments.

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  73. How will we ‘return diversity’ to that estuary, Arana? You are adamant that we can. I’m not even asking for ‘natural state’. I’d like you to tell me how to take it back to the state it was even a few years ago, when flounder and estuary snails lived in it. They’ve gone now, poisoned by sulphur dioxide from beneath their feet/fins. You are very confident that our water quality is good, that any poor waterways can be improved to an acceptable state. Come on, tell me how to fix the estuary?

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  74. “And I don’t know where this ludicrous obsession with swimming in rivers comes from. Even a crystal clear river is not a safe place for kids to swim. Pools are much safer.”

    Sheesh! Talk about red herrings. And sorry that you find New Zealanders’ traditional recreations ‘ludicrous’.

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  75. Sam,

    You said:

    “LOL!. Your claims to be making a scientific argument are getting ridiculous. What next? …Sodium Chloride is slower to dissolve into a solution than some other substances therefore it shall be judged to be non-soluble?”

    I don’t make that argument, so why assign it to me?

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  76. SO
    If “This government’s failures aren’t bad, they are in fact, the worst POSSIBLE given New Zealand’s size and resources”, surely you believe they should be undone (turning a failure for the country into a success IS NOT WHAT YOU ADVOCATE?).

    However, if you do not believe the things you state as being ” the worst POSSIBLE given New Zealand’s size and resources” should be undone, please say so. That way I, and others, will understand that your influence on policy is nil and that your desire to repair bad things is non-existant.

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  77. Sheesh! Talk about red herrings. And sorry that you find New Zealanders’ traditional recreations ‘ludicrous’.

    It was an aside. Just because they are “traditional” activities doesn’t mean they are a wise idea. Water quality issues aside, rivers are relatively dangerous, especially for children, compared to swimming in a pool.

    Even if the water was “100% Pure”, I’d rather my kids were in a pool. Depends on the nature of the river, really.

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  78. Greenfly, you’ll just have to read what I said, rather than what you think I said.

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  79. The article was political in nature, and thus a political response should be expected. What has tourism got to do with water quality? Nothing.

    This is also an interesting position.

    Have you viewed many tourism NZ images (static or film)? Have you noticed how many show sparkling alpine rivers, dramatic seascapes and apparently unspoiled lakes?

    I would posit in fact, that the “100% pure” brand value is intimately tied with the perception of water quality, not in a potable sense but a sub-conscious visual one.

    This is (just guessing here) why we don’t see streams poisoned by animal effluent and industrial / agricultural runoff in the lovely ad campaigns. While it’s a reality, oddly it’s not a selling point. Go figure!

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  80. Gregor

    A state where everything is owned and dictated by the “government” is the heart of socialism. Lenin’s words “management of the state by the people for the people through capable appointees is the ideal we strive for.” (6.16.1917)

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  81. “And I don’t know where this ludicrous obsession with swimming in rivers comes from.”

    So you were merely wasting our time with your shallow inner-chatter.
    Should have known from the start.

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  82. I would posit in fact, that the “100% pure” brand value is intimately tied with the perception of water quality, not in a potable sense but a sub-conscious visual one.

    Not to mention that there’s a general agreement amongst scientists and stakeholders that measurement of water quality is a very good metric for measuring environmental health generally, because if there’s something considered to be bad going on, it nearly always shows up in the water.

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  83. Sure Dave.

    But little of what you mentioned meets that criteria.

    It’s just a grab bag of BJ opinions and you making stuff up, neither of which constitute GP policy. What is GP policy certainly isn’t remarkably socialist when compared to the rest of the developed world.

    I also forgot to mention that negative gearing is also illegal in most developed nations, the exceptions being NZ, Aus and Canada.

    PS – just putting it out there, but isn’t “management of the state by the people for the people through capable appointees is the ideal we strive for” pretty much the ideal of any democratic government?

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  84. Have you viewed many tourism NZ images (static or film)? Have you noticed how many show sparkling alpine rivers, dramatic seascapes and apparently unspoiled lakes? I would posit in fact, that the “100% pure” brand value is intimately tied with the perception of water quality, not in a potable sense but a sub-conscious visual one.

    Tourists couldn’t give a flying **** about river water quality in NZ, just as I don’t when I visit Australia, the US, and Europe. The vistas look sparkling and crisp, which is what they come for.

    They don’t go stand in some farmers stream, take water samples, and make some academic decision about relative purity.

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  85. They don’t go stand in some farmers stream, take water samples, and make some academic decision about relative purity.

    So you are suggesting if, for example, a bunch of tourist trampers who came here to experience our sparkling and crisp vista’s wouldn’t experience some form of cognitive dissonance if they were to stumble across a reeking steam choked full of animal shit?

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  86. @Arana: Mike – because *I* didn’t mention Didymo, you did. Rivers can be cleaned up, which was my point (evidence provided).

    My comment about rock snot was a direct response to your statement that waterways cover. In didymo’s case, they aren’t recovering, and we presently don’t know of anything we can do to help them recover.

    If you want to talk about it being a political argument in a political sphere, however, then my question from much earlier in the thread continues to stand. Why has the New Zealand Government’s political response to a political claim been so dreadfully amateur? It’s not one New Zealand scientist specifically who’s creating the political fall-out here. It’s the BBC, the New York Times, and any other media around the world who are looking at New Zealand’s marketing and comparing it with the real thing. Sooner or later this was always going to happen.

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  87. Gregor

    The difference between Lenin’s statement and that of most democracies are the words “capable appointees”, democracies tend to favour the use of elected representatives.

    As for the rest of your comment – YOU are OF course RIGHT.

    However, there are occasions when BJ gives the impression that he speaks ‘for’ or ‘of’ the party. All that was needed was the statement that these were personal opinions and he did not expect them to become Green Party Policy :-)

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  88. So you are suggesting if, for example, a bunch of tourist trampers who came here to experience our sparkling and crisp vista’s wouldn’t experience some form of cognitive dissonance if they were to stumble across a reeking steam choked full of animal shit?

    Trampers aren’t “most tourists”. And being trampers, they’re probably used to being covered in sh*t. It’s all part of the earthy charm :)

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  89. @ dave.

    Regarding negative gearing. I think you might be a little ahead of the law in suggesting it is illegal here today

    Please reread:

    “I also forgot to mention that negative gearing is also illegal in most developed nations, the exceptions being NZ, Aus and Canada.”

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  90. @ Arana

    Trampers aren’t “most tourists”.

    Ah, now I get it. It’s the quality of tourists we need to worry about when telling the truth. Right.

    So given that tourism dollars is roughly split between $13Bn domestic and $9Bn foreign (2010 numbers) we should it also be policy to mislead New Zealanders about the state of their own natural environment because they’re not the right kind of tourist?

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  91. And being trampers, they’re probably used to being covered in sh*t. It’s all part of the earthy charm :)

    As someone who’s enjoyed a fair amount of tramping, and not just in the relatively front-country well-groomed highly-marketed tourist areas, I find that statement to be very ignorant.

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  92. “I don’t make that argument, so why assign it to me?”

    I didn’t assign this argument to you – that was quite clear in the way i phrased my comment. It was quite clear that I was pointing out the nonsense of claiming to be basing arguments on science, then saying:

    “A more rational position is comparative. How are our rivers relative to others in the first world? Well, we could do better, but comparatively, we’re not too bad. ”

    One does not make scientific judgements by saying “A is not X because B is more X”. Hence my metaphor about the solubility of sodium chloride.

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  93. As someone who’s enjoyed a fair amount of tramping, and not just in the relatively front-country well-groomed highly-marketed tourist areas, I find that statement to be very ignorant.

    Lighten up :) Tramping is hardly the upmarket tourist choice.

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  94. I wish I’d commented earlier, when the debate had not degenerated quite so far…

    There are two separate issues re: Mike Joy. One is the state of our lowland rivers. He’s produced lots of evidence, from multiple peer-reviewed studies, that they’re in a bad way and getting worse: unsafe to swim in, increasingly polluted, and losing native fish species. The freshwater biologists I know tend to agree with his view.

    The second issue is whether New Zealand is a catastrophe at the bottom of international rankings on environmental impact. (This shouldn’t make any difference to whether our rivers are in an acceptable state of course, but in NZ we worry about these things.) The main study Joy is basing this view on doesn’t seem very reliable though (I recently blogged a long analysis of why that is) and it seems we don’t really know where NZ stands internationally.

    But even with the evidence from our rivers (putting aside biodiversity, carbon emissions, etc) we’re not 100% pure, or even acceptably pure. It’s not treasonous to tell tourists our rivers have too much faecal bacteria to safely swim in, because it’s true.

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  95. One does not make scientific judgements by saying “A is not X because B is more X”. Hence my metaphor about the solubility of sodium chloride.

    I didn’t claim it was a scientific argument. It was a political/economic argument.

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  96. Test

    Text

    Hmmm…that didn’t work. Admin, there’s a open italics command further up that hasn’t been closed.

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  97. “I didn’t claim it was a scientific argument. It was a political/economic argument.”

    You said: “A more rational position is comparative. How are our rivers relative to others in the first world?”

    So you are now claiming the state of our rivers is an economic and political argument, not a scientific one. Yet you slam Joy for making political arguments. You can’t have this both ways.

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  98. Arana – so because your syllogistic fallacy wasn’t applied to factual science, it’s no longer a fallacy?

    I think you’ve just stumbled on a whole new branch of formal logic. Bravo!

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  99. So you are now claiming the state of our rivers is an economic and political argument, not a scientific one. Yet you slam Joy for making political arguments. You can’t have this both ways.

    In terms of this debate, yes. The water quality has been linked to tourism and, in my view, somewhat overstated in terms of severity in relation to tourism. In most cases, it’s pure enough, unless you’re obsessive about water quality.

    In summary, we all agree we want clean rivers. No one argues they want dirty rivers. The question then shifts to what degree of water quality is acceptable, given we’re always going to have some impact.

    It can never be literally 100% Pure. That is a utopian objective.

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  100. Dave

    I uttered complaints about what was done. Those complaints imply that I would do things differently. You however, assume that I would do things opposite.

    A mix of socialism and capitalism is, in every country it is used, more successful than pure one or pure the other. This has its roots in the fact that countries are managed, run and governed by humans. Who are corruptible and fallable, and both Marx and Rand made massive errors in their assumptions about humans.

    The question is how far one goes. My own words DID NOT say “buy back” and you must NOT by any reasonable standard extend my words and thinking past the limits I applied myself. Those words imply a shift back from the unrestrained market solutions espoused by National, but not a complete takeover of everything by the state.

    This sort of thinking is what gets the extreme right and left into trouble. They use black and white thought processes. If something is not black it must be white. Being comfortable with fuzzy (HUMAN)logic is much more useful. Recognizing the difference is critical.

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  101. “Lighten up :) Tramping is hardly the upmarket tourist choice.”

    So we are only discussing ‘up market’ tourists? And actually tramping the Milford or similar is pretty upmarket these days. Tramping and similar activities rate pretty highly in the activities tourists undertake.

    And by the way “an unpolluted/unspoiled environment’ ranks as one of the most common positive comments tourists make about NZ (according to Tourism NZ http://www.tourismnewzealand.com/markets-and-stats/united-kingdom/market-trends/) by US and Aussie visitors at least, so I think your claim that tourists don’t give a shit needs to be backed with some evidence.

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  102. And by the way “an unpolluted/unspoiled environment’ ranks as one of the most common positive comments tourists make about NZ (according to Tourism NZ

    Bingo! Because we ARE! Most tourists think NZ is pristine, because it largely is, in comparison to just about everywhere else.

    Hardly an “environmental catastrophe”, is it.

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  103. “In terms of this debate, yes.”

    So Mike Joy is entitled to make political and economic arguments linked to the environment. Agreed? And entitled to express a genuinely held belief that NZ is an “environmental/biodiversity catastrophe”?

    “It can never be literally 100% Pure. That is a utopian objective.”

    Nobody is arguing this.

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  104. Gregor

    I have never claimed to speak for the party.

    If I ever run for party office and get elected to it I’ll likely be more temperate because there is a requirement to adhere entirely to party policy in that case. Maybe not :-)

    However, taking a laundry list of things that National has screwed up as some sort of statement of Green Party policy being the undoing and the exact opposite of those things, was never justifiable.

    A PROBLEM DESCRIPTION IS NOT A POLICY PRESCRIPTION!!!

    Mistaking those two was and remains an error in basic communication skills, and it wasn’t anything I actually said.

    It is what Dave WISHED I had said, so he could line up strawmen.

    I try to be patient with Dave because he isn’t as bad as most of the wingnuts who visit us, he does actually think (sometimes), but here he simply got something entirely wrong.

    respectfully
    BJ

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  105. “Most tourists think NZ is pristine, because it largely is, in comparison to just about everywhere else.”

    So, since you are now claiming tourists perceptions as evidence of water quality (which is daft), you agree that your statement that tourists don’t give a shit was wrong?

    And to you ‘pristine’ means ‘better than other places’. Try a dictionary.

    Are you really of the opinion that the deforestation of New Zealand wasn’t an environmental catastrophe? What do you think would constitute a ‘catastrophe’ then?

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  106. FROG! Fix this in the thead pleaseee ???

    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    They don’t go stand in some farmers stream, take water samples, and make some academic decision about relative purity.

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  107. “Bingo! Because we ARE! Most tourists think NZ is pristine, because it largely is, in comparison to just about everywhere else.”

    Whacko! New Zealand is largely pristine, you claim? What bullshit from you Arana. The quality ‘pristine’ is not comparative, it’s absolute, like ‘pure’. The whole basis of your argument is nonsense. It’s impossible and pointless debating with you, believing as you do, that New Zealand is largely pristine. Are you blind and deaf? (My apologies if in fact you are).

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  108. I have never claimed to speak for the party.

    I know you haven’t BJ.

    I was merely (i) pointing that out the Dave and (ii) refuting the majority of his list of wild inferences as being particularly “socialist”.

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  109. “Most tourists think NZ is pristine, because it largely is, in comparison to just about everywhere else”

    Quack.

    /hat-tip solkta

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  110. So, since you are now claiming tourists perceptions as evidence of water quality (which is daft), you agree that your statement that tourists don’t give a shit was wrong?

    No, I’m not.

    I’m saying most tourists think we are pristine because their measure of environmental quality isn’t the same measure used by some politically-oriented activist. They look at the nice mountain and lake – and it looks wonderful, because it mostly is wonderful.

    Most do not care about scientific measures of water quality, any more than I care about the sand quality of the Australian outback when I visit Sydney!

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  111. bj

    granted your point, and given your conviction that these are examples of the worst things that could be done, what wold you do about them? Ignore them?

    You see, in my opinion as a father of many, I believe the smacking Act was one of the worst things ever to be passed into law in NZ, my solution to that problem would be to repeal the Act and instruct the police to enforce that laws that were already in place to deal with the problem it addressed.

    In too many cases the Green Party (or its MPs,) take a social aberation and class everyone in the same mould as the perpetrator, this habit of asking for a pneumatic hammer to fix a loose picture frame turns many people off the party, and so dilutes the lobby for good environmental practices.

    ?

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  112. Whacko! New Zealand is largely pristine, you claim? What bullshit from you Arana. The quality ‘pristine’ is not comparative, it’s absolute, like ‘pure’. The whole basis of your argument is nonsense. It’s impossible and pointless debating with you, believing as you do, that New Zealand is largely pristine. Are you blind and deaf? (My apologies if in fact you are).

    I’ve visited most countries you can name. I’ve lived in three. NZ is beautiful.

    If you look for problems, you’ll find them in every country, and I suggest to you that you’re atypical in that respect. You’re clearly an extremist when it comes to the environment.

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  113. Water quality is measured by scientists using scientific methods, not at a glance by tourists.
    Mike Joy’s assessments were/are based on scientific evidence. Yours seems to come from your Netherlands (was Holland one of the countries you visited?)

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  114. “I’m saying most tourists think we are pristine because their measure of environmental quality isn’t the same measure used by some politically-oriented activist. They look at the nice mountain and lake – and it looks wonderful, because it mostly is wonderful. ”

    OK, so you aren’t interested in the science, just so long as there are pretty postcards, Fair enough, best if you stay out of discussions about the scientific validity of statements then.

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  115. Water quality is measured by scientists using scientific methods, not at a glance by tourists.

    Yes, but just as I don’t care about sand quality measurements made by scientists when I visit Australia, tourists here don’t care about scientific measurements of river water quality.

    If it looks beautiful to them – and it does – then it is beautiful. It is not deemed by most to be “catastrophic”. Ask 1000 tourists, and not one would use such a word to describe what they’ve seen here – quite the opposite.

    He, and you, can make all the scientific measurements you like. Great. Knock yourselves out. But if you write it up in the NYTimes and label it catastrophic (hyperbole), then expect a political reaction.

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  116. OK… Dave – I pointed out earlier that the smacking act, which I also opposed within the party BTW, was not a party policy nor a party delivered bill. It was a private member’s bill from a prominent party member.

    Both solutions IMO are incorrect. Abuse occurred with the old law because the law left its interpretation up to the police and courts and people could claim a justification for a heinous crime and get off. Not many did, but the law was not CLEAR, a failing of the law as it was changed as well IMO. The difference now is that the interpretation favors prosecution, even when no abuse occurs.

    If you feel like digging you will find that rewritten versions of that law were posted here, largely an effort of myself and a poster named “sapient” who thinks in similar ways, and the result was an explicit set of things that one COULD NOT do to a child. Not relating to the motives for doing whatever it was to the child.

    I note that based on the current law it is still “legal” given appropriate circumstances and reasoning, to hit your child with a cricket bat or whip them. I don’t think I can imagine at this point, either being given a pass and can’t imagine successfully arguing circumstances but, but it remains a matter of the police officer’s discretion… not explicit, but instead a matter of opinion.

    So you would be wrong here on two counts. One ascribing this to the Green Party and Two – to leave the law as it was.

    As well you just proved me right about the long term consequences of that bad law. I predicted that we could lose representation in parliament on the next election behind it and we came within 0.25% of that threshold, and I predicted that we would be damaged by it for at least another decade, and here I am answering it again…. and it wasn’t even ever a GREEN PARTY BILL… and it was passed almost unanimously… National voted FOR it. Yet the Greens are “blamed” though the bill by-and-large IS accomplishing part of its goals. Vague it may be it shifted the assumptions about abuse and made it harder for a parent to mistreat his/her children that way.

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  117. OK… the “to do” list associated with my “laundry” list will have to wait until I have time to do something about it at home. Answers are in many cases long.

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  118. “If you look for problems, you’ll find them in every country, and I suggest to you that you’re atypical in that respect. You’re clearly an extremist when it comes to the environment.”

    So to boil this one down:

    1. Every country has environmental problems – some great some small
    2. Our nation’s public image is one of purity
    3. A local scientist points out the obvious problem – the brand does not equal the quantifiable, empirical reality
    4. Scientist gets labelled a traitor to the national interest
    5. Those who defend said scientist’s view – supporting facts as opposed to brand perceptions – are “extremists”

    Got it.

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  119. “But if you write it up in the NYTimes and label it catastrophic (hyperbole), then expect a political reaction.”

    Oh dear, once again… a political reaction is fine, it’s the nature of the political reaction that has been absurd. Fine to debate Joy’s science, fine to disagree, stupid to demand he keep silent, stupid to call him a ‘saboteur’, stupid to try and blame him for putting jobs at risk, stupid to claim the slogan doesn’t really mean anything anyway, stupid to claim he’s wrong because largely uninformed tourists would disagree with his assessment.

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  120. “3. A local scientist points out the obvious problem – the brand does not equal the quantifiable, empirical reality
    4. Scientist gets labelled a traitor to the national interest”

    It’s how he chose to do so. Why the NYTimes, of all places? Hardly a scientific journal, is it.

    Hmmm….could there have been some other reason to do so in the popular press? To exert political pressure, perhaps? And, having done so, would it be unreasonable to expect a political response?

    Let’s not kid ourselves. This is a PR stunt.

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  121. @Arana: “It’s how he chose to do so. Why the NYTimes, of all places?”

    It’s an academic point, but Mike Joy never intentionally spoke to the New York Times. He spoke to the International Herald Tribune many weeks before, and his words were picked up by the same journo writing for the NYT when it decided to investigate NZ’s “100% Pure Middle Earth” claims on the eve of the Hobbit premiere.

    New Zealand’s tourism campaign was always going to be criticised from abroad sooner or later. Once again, why was our government so amateurishly unprepared for it that we’re now blaming our own citizens for allegedly putting thousands of jobs on the line by a simple action of expressing an opinion?

    Mike Joy’s speaking out about this in public to anyone willing to listen because it’s important to him and he’s chosen to do so. It’s fine that there’s debate and clearly it was always going to be politically motivated debate due to the topic, but the highly political reaction to label him a traitor for expressing himself is stupid and well over the top.

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  122. I don’t think he’s a traitor. If someone said that, then that’s plainly ridiculous.

    Sort of like when some people try to claim the government is treasonous. Also ridiculous, don’t you think?

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  123. The Stupid! It’s spreading!!

    “If it looks beautiful to them – and it does – then it is beautiful.”

    Until they take a drink from that stream.

    Beautiful!

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  124. “I don’t think he’s a traitor. If someone said that, then that’s plainly ridiculous.”

    I guess that makes Mark Unsworth a 100% pure fucking idiot then.

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  125. @Arana, good for you. Mark Unsworth called him trecherous in that email. Sean Plunket called him a traitor on Newstalk ZB. A lazily authored Herald editorial incorrectly accused him of speaking to the NYT on the eve of the Hobbit premiere, incorrectly claimed he’d told that journalist things which were actually told to a Herald journalist afterwards, and weirdly said that while academics have a right and responsibility to speak publicly on important issues, he was being irresponsible. Since then, the entire thing’s blown out with numerous people stating he’s been irresponsible by speaking. This is the stupid politically motivated reaction to which I refer.

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  126. I disagree with them. I think Joy if free to say whatever he likes, within the law.

    The point is that if someone chooses to voice their opinion, then it follows others can voice their opinion in response. The more inflammatory and controversial the opinion, the more inflammatory and controversial the response is likely to be, no?

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  127. I like how even when I’m agreeing with Mike, I get a downvote from whoever :)

    Downvote this, too, of course.

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  128. BJ

    “So you would be wrong here on two counts. One ascribing this to the Green Party” . . . . .
    Indeed, I no longer ascribe this to the party (my words were In too many cases the Green Party (or its MPs,) take a social aberation,) the fact that the Greens don’t sponsor private members bills, is a bit misleading though, perhaps there should be a Parliamentary requirement to annotate PMBs with the extent, if any, of support from the sponsoring member’s party.

    . . . . . . “and Two – to leave the law as it was”
    Here my wrongness is a fact in your eyes, but not mine. I cannot word anything that is so clear, concise and intelligable that it would be legally sound for purposes of separating child abuse from reasonable discipline. In the end it comes down to a question of opinion and so is better left to either a jury (which is expensive) or a formal “prosecution” service (akin to the UK’s DPP or USA’s DA.

    But on opinions I am happy to agree to differ :-)

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  129. @ dave stringer

    “The difference between Lenin’s statement and that of most democracies are the words “capable appointees”, democracies tend to favour the use of elected representatives.”

    That Sir, is Olympic class hair splitting.

    Last time I checked, in a parliamentary democracy the electorate acted as the ‘appointer’ (with the Governor- General adding a helping hand) and the ‘appointees’ were the MPs.

    If applied to civil services mandarins – the people who actually run the country – then following the British Civil Service system all top posts are ‘appointees’ of the Crown as opposed to Parliament (i.e in NZ they are appointed by the SSC).

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  130. Gregor

    If you truly believe that is hair splitting, you might want to go and post on another thread . . . .
    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2012/12/06/discontent-over-this-loss-of-democracy/
    as there seems to be some distress there about appointees being in charge of a local government rather than elected representatives.

    While I will split hares with you at any time, I have too few hairs to split, and so avoid the activity like the heir to the wig.

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  131. Oh. And Gregor, PLEASE don’t compare the SCC with the British Civil Service (BCS).

    The BCS works on the basis of a single service with its people offered long term career paths and development as well as requiring their mobility between ‘posts’. The SSC works as an employer of Chief Executives, does nothing to provide long term careers or development from entry to retirement, and insists on all posts being advertised to the general labour market (wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars per year*) rather than looking for development challenges for demonstrably suitable civil servants.

    * the code is simple, if there is less than 14 days between the advert being posted and the closing date for applications, they already know who is getting the job, they just have to go through a mandated SCC process before they appoint them.

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  132. Kerry tries to con people that Whangarei Harbour used to be safe to swim in back in the old days.

    However the Northland Regional Council says “In the early 1980s, all of the upper harbour sites sampled at and above Kissing Point did not meet the faecal coliform guideline for recreational bathing on nearly all occasions.”

    It is significantly better today.

    Another case of Planet Kerrys Rose Tinted Good Old Days.

    Just part of the big Green con that our water quality used to be really good back in the days when virtually every towen pumped raw sewrage into their streams, rivers, lakes and beaches,

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  133. “Just part of the big Green con that our water quality used to be really good back in the days when virtually every town pumped raw sewrage into their streams, rivers, lakes and beaches”

    What drivel. No Green says that. What is true is that there was a time when water quality was better than it is now. It was “really good” and in a significant and increasing number of cases, it’s not the case now.
    Pretending that water quality is good now because it has been appalling in the recent past, is part of the big Blue con.

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  134. If the motto “prove it is safe” is applied universally, then human beings would still be in caves – because nobody could prove that iron was safe to handle over many years (lead isn’t), because nobody could prove that using wheels is safe (wheels have killed millions), because nobody could prove any particular food is consistently safe.

    The most blatantly obvious scientific nonsense posited by the Greens is the belief that non-ionising radiation from mobile phone towers is dangerous – despite the century of very high powered non-ionising radiation bathing built up areas from radio transmitters. Shut down terrestrial broadcasting, because it hasn’t been proven safe, or isn’t it just a beat up over private telecommunications companies for ideological reasons? Or do you think you can win votes by scaremongering the scientifically illiterate into thinking that “only the Greens” can save us from dangers that are being covered up, like a conspiracy?

    I’m awaiting the first statement that vapour trails from aircraft aren’t proven safe either, because the scaremongering over GE and irradiated food is only one step removed from that campaign from cranks.

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  135. Greenfly scores an own goal by feebly trying to claim that Eugenie didn’t really say what she has writen above “What drivel. No Green says that.”

    Eugenie says “Rules that will mean that generations to come will be able to enjoy our lakes and rivers as we could when we were children”

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  136. Photonz,

    When were you a child?
    When was she?
    When was Greenfly?
    When was I?
    when was the time we pumped raw sewage?
    When did we stop?
    When did we start the intensive farming that substituted untreated livestock and farm waste for our treated sewage.

    Unfortunately ALL can be right depending on age, and once again the disagreement comes down to a matter of time.

    No points.

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  137. The list: More structured. This is a LONG list, some answers are general approaches that address several problems rather less than specific answers… readers are cautioned that these answers are my personal opinion. I am merely a party member and have a very very very minor influence on policy…. Green Party policies almost certainly will differ from my own.

    * The TPP sellout

    * The sale of Auckland property

    * The sale of farms

    * The Asset sales

    * The opposition to any sort of CGT

    * The opposition to any change in the current negative gearing favoring property speculation

    * The lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance

    * The offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks

    * The long term failure to address the high NZ dollar

    * The increasing GINI

    * The gutting of the ETS and support from the public purse of large polluter’s emissions

    * The support of ever more intensive farming and its destruction of our water quality

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I will take on a few of these at a time over the next few days I think.

    I remind those of you who aren’t familiar with it, that I espouse a VERY aggressive monetary change that would undermine most of the assumptions made in the current system.

    I just wanted to get a clear statement of what problems there are that I am discussing here. Next step will be to group similar ones (those that will be affected by each other’s answers).

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  138. No points indeed.
    I hope that my son’s soon-to-be-born son will be able to swim in the rivers as I did, repeatedly and joyfully, when I was a boy. I know perfectly well, through my close connection with a number of water scientists, that there are waterways across New Zealand that are worsening dramatically right now, and will likely collapse as biologically diverse eco-systems in the near future. Pretending, as Arana and Photonz1 do, that being concerned about this is ‘eco-fanaticism’ and that we should not express our concerns for fear of upsetting potential tourists to our country, is short-sightedness of Magoo proportions. They quibble, prevaricate, split-hairs and obfuscate, but beneath it all we all know that our water is under threat; both it’s quality and quantity, and that it suits some quarters to have the story glossed-over and minimised.
    I’m from a different quarter.

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  139. I’m from a different quarter.

    I reckon they’re from a different planet. Planet Key perhaps?

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  140. I’m awaiting the first statement that vapour trails from aircraft aren’t proven safe either, because the scaremongering over GE and irradiated food is only one step removed from that campaign from cranks.

    Unlikely. How would they get to Global Warming Conferences? :)

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  141. “If the motto “prove it is safe” is applied universally, then human beings would still be in caves”
    Caves aren’t safe, but agreed, Libertyscott.
    You’ll be with me then, in dismissing Peter Dunne’s demand that herbal highs be proven safe before introduction to the market?
    And that alternative medicines must be proven to be efficacious and safe before they can be offered for sale?

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  142. Ah, Planet Key, with papaver somniferum the signature bloom and diospyros lotus the fruit of choice.
    The plant that’s missing from the rolling greenscape of Planet Key, is cascara sagrada. A good dose of that would free up their thinking.

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  143. “If the motto “prove it is safe” is applied universally, then human beings would still be in caves – because nobody could prove that iron was safe to handle over many years (lead isn’t), because nobody could prove that using wheels is safe (wheels have killed millions), because nobody could prove any particular food is consistently safe.”

    I’m of the opinion that the world would have been a better place if people had realised lead was dangerous sooner. And I’m not of the opinion that because ignorant/reckless behaviour was necessary in prehistory, it’s fine to continue the tradition today.

    And there are indications of possible health impacts from GE foods. There are none from vapour trails – even the conspiracy nuts don’t claim vapour trails are dangerous – they maintain they are something else.

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  144. “”However the Northland Regional Council says “In the early 1980s, all of the upper harbour sites sampled at and above Kissing Point did not meet the faecal coliform guideline for recreational bathing on nearly all occasions.”””

    Thanks Photo. You have just proved my point.

    In general, water quality is poor in the upper harbour near the Town Basin and improves as you move down the harbour as shown in table 1 and figure 8 (below). The upper harbour sites frequently exceed the 140 enterocooci per 100ml guideline, on anywhere between 20 to 35% of sampling occasions.

    Sites from Waikaraka seaward meet the guideline on all sampling occasions, due to the large mixing volume of the lower harbour. The Onerahi foreshore, a popular swimming beach, meets the guideline on 98% of sampling occasions, this equates to only one exceedance in October 2003 at both sites 100200 and 100199.

    You still cannot swim at Kissing point! Despite major upgrades to the sewage plant.

    In the last 3 years we cannot swim safely at Onerahi, several kilometres downstream, except after a long dry spell.

    Coincidentally with a large increase in dairy farms and logging upstream. Funny that!

    They put signs on the foreshore when the count is too high. As recently as 2008 Onerahi was considered safe for swimming 98% of the time.

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  145. * The TPP sellout

    * The sale of farms

    * The Asset sales

    ### Housing – Taxation
    * The opposition to any sort of CGT

    * The opposition to any change in the current negative gearing favoring property speculation

    * The sale of Auckland property

    ### Monetary

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks

    * The long term failure to address the high NZ dollar

    * The increasing GINI

    * The lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance

    * The offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed

    ### Environmental

    * The gutting of the ETS and support from the public purse of large polluter’s emissions

    * The support of ever more intensive farming and its destruction of our water quality

    =====================================================================

    Monetary actually affects almost everything and is the foundation of most other changes. For me, money represents work done. The discussion has been had here many times. I will recap briefly.

    1. The issuance of NZ dollars becomes the responsibility of the NZ Treasury. Directly.

    2. It is not a fractional reserve arrangement, it is FULL reserve.

    3. The NZ dollar becomes redeemable IN NEW ZEALAND (and only at selected sites) for some KWH of energy. This presents us with a limit on how many dollars may be issued… which may be increased by building more generation capacity.

    4. The NZ dollar is subject to demurrage. One cannot hoard dollars, they have to be returned to treasury accounts to NOT be subject to demurrage.

    There are arrangements around the issuance of dollars and their return that are not detailed and need to be worked out quite thoroughly. I don’t pretend to be an accountant…

    The value of the NZ dollar in international trade would be different than for local trade.

    Foreign exchange would now involve transfer of actual energy content and proceed at the speed of ships rather than the speed of light.

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  146. ### Monetary
    In the context of the revised monetary system which I just described the following sort of things should become fairly obvious.

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax
    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks

    Christchurch can be paid for by government borrowing from itself… us borrowing from ourselves, or by a surtax combined with that. We need to do go back down to the “money being work done” to understand that it IS borrowing in either case, and we need to do the work involved. How to structure that “debt” in terms that can be understood today is more difficult.

    Future generations get the rebuilt city because we issued money that is backed by future generation capacity to get it built. That money gets returned to the treasury in time, or demurrage is paid on it, or it becomes valueless. Unlike money in the current system, it disappears unless it is used. The logical result is that over some time the government must issue somewhat LESS money than it has generation capacity to back. There is no “interest” on this debt however, no matter how big it is, so it is relatively easy to eventually pay it back, particularly when the benefits of having our second largest city back in productive operation is counted. The net result of this is the same as the “tax” but it is born by all. The tax might be made progressive. The accounting to do it is of interest to accountants, but the result is simply that we did WITHOUT the bankers, what we needed to do, and there are aspects to this form of money that reduce the importance of progressive taxes in maintaining reducing our GINI.

    * The long term failure to address the high NZ dollar

    * The increasing GINI

    * The lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance

    * The offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0 (+1)

  147. ### Monetary
    In the context of the revised monetary system which I just described the following sort of things should become fairly obvious.

    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with a tax
    * The refusal to pay for Christchurch with government created cash rather than borrowing from foreign banks

    Christchurch can be paid for by government borrowing from itself… us borrowing from ourselves, or by a surtax combined with that. We need to do go back down to the “money being work done” to understand that it IS borrowing in either case, and we need to do the work involved. How to structure that “debt” in terms that can be understood today is more difficult.

    Future generations get the rebuilt city because we issued money that is backed by future generation capacity to get it built. That money gets returned to the treasury in time, or demurrage is paid on it, or it becomes valueless. Unlike money in the current system, it disappears unless it is used. The logical result is that over some time the government must issue somewhat LESS money than it has generation capacity to back. There is no “interest” on this debt however, no matter how big it is, so it is relatively easy to eventually pay it back, particularly when the benefits of having our second largest city back in productive operation is counted. The net result of this is the same as the “tax” but it is born by all. The tax might be made progressive. The accounting to do it is of interest to accountants, but the result is simply that we did WITHOUT the bankers, what we needed to do, and there are aspects to this form of money that reduce the importance of progressive taxes in maintaining reducing our GINI.

    * The long term failure to address the high NZ dollar
    The meaning of “the high NZ dollar” is the overseas exchange rate being high. Analyzing what will happen to the locally redeemable currency with demurrage, issued by the government in the foreign exchange milieu, is a bit outside my area of expertise. I observe however, that the government has the ability to produce as many such dollars as are required to force down the value. Such dollars are apt to be short-lived if they leave the country due to the demurrage, so they’d need to be channelled into purchases of things in NZ. A true power to manage this has to be coupled with restrictions on foreign ownership as the purchase by foreigners, of assets here in NZ is part of our problems. NZ dollars thus get used to buy NZ goods. However, there is a second part to this which alters the equation. If US $ are sent to NZ to by NZ $ they can only do so by actually buying some energy transfer material. LNG, Ammonia, which is physically transferred to NZ, discounted by transport and conversion and CO2 costs, and finally credited as NZ $. Such dollars are transient. They are not backed by a renewable energy source and are thus one-use-only. I hadn’t thought much about this, and it is a bit of a puzzle how to have a one-use-only credit/coin and how to signify what it is and use it, and how it has been used. It is an important bit of the puzzle though, and while I don’t see that it is an impossible thing, it is not obvious to me how to manage it in this moment.

    * The increasing GINI
    Finds most of its answer in the demurrage that makes hoarding of NZ money a losing proposition. Use it or lose it forces money out of the hands of the wealthy and into the active economy. After the value of houses and land vs income is addressed this changes. Balancing it between 26 and 30 is desirable. A target for our treasury too.

    * The lack of support for industry that caused F&P to go offshore that caused NZ workers to be unemployed AND increased our trade inbalance
    * The offshore production of railcars that caused NZ workers to be unemployed

    The changes in the value of the dollar and the relative value of our dollars here in NZ and overseas, are expected to make foreign imports more expensive in NZ $ , and make NZ goods more desirable. The combination with a high CO2 tariff and tax will render the economics of disposable things and even recyclable things, less attractive than the highest quality of reusable things. The less we must make or remake, the more resources we have for other things.

    That of itself I think, will not wholly satisfy our needs. We remain too small a country and too far away to viably manufacture things in quantity.

    We must, if a wholly NZ made alternative is available or possible (and I am considering the rail-car manufacture here as an example), use the NZ manufacturing.

    That one would have been easy and successive governments failed us miserably. The use of imported wind turbines where NZ turbines are available is a further failure, though the alteration of the exchange rates might well have tipped those purchases.

    We must support the building of some things simply to displace imports. That would be F&P sorts of things. They may be CLOSE to being competitively buildable here and maybe the monetary changes would be enough. I suspect that the state interest would be in the form of development loans and grants… not tariffs on the directly competing articles. Those will be handicapped by exchange rates and the distance and CO2 related tariffs, and it should be enough. We also need to be able to produce tractors and farm equipment.

    The strategic aspect is that we have to be (with Australia I think) prepared for a day when NO pristine packages come from far off places. The next 300-500 years will be critical, but that is not part of this analysis, I am merely acknowledging the need to do the planning and implement measures to deal with this.

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  148. I don’t think I should continue in this thread. For one thing, Frog hasn’t fixed the thread so it is still all italics… and for another it is already long.

    The complexity is such that I probably need to bring it into a thread for internal discussion on the Green’s own forums and try to nut out some of the rest of the work anyway.

    OTOH, here we get other opinions too. Often useful.

    I don’t think anyone is actually reading this anymore though. :-)

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  149. Definately reading it BJ and contemplating the position you posit. However, the thread IS long, and takes an age to load, even with decent speed through FTTC. I agree, a new thread would be good, but who can pursuade Frog to start one?

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  150. FROG! Fix this in the thead pleaseee ???

    Posted December 6, 2012 at 10:55 AM

    They don’t go stand in some farmers stream, take water samples, and make some academic decision about relative purity.

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