Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fact and fantasy

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  • Russell Brown,

    The editor-in-chief of the Herald, Tim Murphy, had a complaint about the original post:

    I see on your blog you say the editorial ‘repeatedly accuses Joy of deliberately “exaggerating” and “overstating” problems with New Zealand’s contaminated waterways and declares that “such overstatement is the stuff of advertising, not academic observation.”

    But the editorial said no such thing about contaminated waterways. Not once. Therefore not ’repeatedly.’ No, we commented on his broad brush ‘clean and green’ and ‘100% pure” commentaries. Not water. We noted tourists’ shock at seeing that rivers are unsafe for swimming. The editorial in general assessed his judgment on whether we have ‘pristine environments’ and on our ‘environmental record’. He wasn’t just talking water or waterways. Nor were we. And that’s the point. So we can’t, no matter how you pitch it, be criticised by you for dissing his water expertise or studies.

    I’m happy to acknowledge this is true so far as it goes. The editorial refers to tourists finding rivers unsafe for swimming, and not “contaminated waterways” per se. I would also point out that a river is a waterway.

    And yes, the editorial otherwise referred to Joy’s comments on New Zealand’s environmental performance in general, rather than on water specifically. I’m not sure this makes a great deal of difference, but I was not strictly correct in saying “waterways” and am happy to make the correction. I have annotated the original post thus.

    Edit: I should also note, in case anyone's confused, that the comment Tim is referring to -- "We don't deserve 100 per cent Pure, we are nowhere near the best in the world, we are not even in the top half of countries in the world when it comes to clean and green." -- didn't appear in the NYT/IHT story. They were given to a Herald reporter who called Joy after that story appeared -- the editorial writer misread the Herald's own story and misattributed to them to the NYT/IHT original.

    Also, on the basis of the PLoS study, what Joy said about New Zealand's general performance relative to other countries is true. As Mike noted above, it wouldn't be true of waterways alone.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to AndrewH,

    So my partner and I spun them a yarn that we were getting married in Europe, needed $50k to fund the event. “No problem” they siad and we got the cash.

    Thank you.
    Also, loans for IVF. What're the bank going to do? Repo the foetus?

    The pit from whence crawl… • Since Mar 2007 • 3910 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    But the editorial still claims that Dr Joy's comments about the environment are inappropriate, suggesting either he is wrong (he isn’t) or he’s not qualified to talk about the environment in general (he is) or that we shouldn’t talk about that sort of thing because it might make us look bad (really?).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • st ephen,

    Just noticed that today's ODT editorial repeats the spin from the government's press release on pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol - that NZ will instead join the alternative Framework Convention on Climate Change because the KP only covers 15% of emissions so it's just symbolic, whereas all the big player are in the FCCC.

    Thing is, we were already a party to the FCCC - it pre-dates the KP. The KP came about because the FCCC was totally symbolic - there were no binding commitments and as a result nobody did anything. The KP (for all its faults) was an attempt to change that.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 204 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Fund winners, don't pick them.

    Hmmm...but they're already winners. They don't need funding. To fund the winners is to reduce the diversity of your industry, and ultimately to be picking the winners, without intending to, in a self-fulfilling prophecy. We've been doing this forever already, we have a political party that was dedicated to keeping farmers the top dogs in this town, and it's still the GOP.

    What I think does work is for government to create the environment through sensible policy: so for instance a policy of moving electricity rapidly to 100%+ renewables would help, because when everyone else has rapidly rising fuel bills, we wouldn't.

    It's like the last 30 years of NZ energy history never happened.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Fund winners, don’t pick them.

    Is that really what Sir Paul said? It's been a while since that presentation of his was doing the rounds, but my recollection is that he wanted funding for technical education, funding for research, and a general spending commitment to develop the kind of equal society that would make NZ "a place where talent wants to live." My impression of what he advocatedwas of generally encouraging the conditions where high tech winners would flourish, not giving more to those who already were winnign.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to BenWilson,

    but they’re already winners. They don’t need funding.

    Often winners don't have funding nor can they get it. They win by dint of persistence and excellence in spite of lack of funding. You get more bang for your buck by funding those people who are excellent regardless of whther they fit your strategic goals.

    That was Callaghan's point.

    He also pointed out that throwing lots of money in the general direction of agricultural science just led to a lot of average to bad vaguely agricultural science being done while really top class engineering couldn't get funding.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to AndrewH,

    Yeah, I think that's fairly well known. I've never used the same bank for business and personal, or even voluntarily told the personal bank anything about where my monthly checks come from.

    But it remains that unsecured lending to business is risky (as South Canterbury's creditors, which I guess includes us all, have found). Holidays in the sun, less so. That's the stats - obviously individual points are outside this, but banking is like insurance, it works on the aggregate.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    They win by dint of persistence and excellence in spite of lack of funding.

    What do they win?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8598 posts Report Reply

  • HenryB,

    Tim Murphy's editorial says:

    "the Prime Minister made the very reasonable comment that compared with the rest of the world, New Zealand was 100 per cent Pure"

    Isn't this like saying that grey is actually white compared to black? Sounds like Fox News science to me.

    Palmerston North • Since Sep 2008 • 106 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    funding those people who are excellent

    Identifying 'excellence' is the trick with that approach. Some industries like science have well-developed comparative mechanisms; others don't.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to HenryB,

    Tim Murphy’s editorial says:

    I'm not even sure it's Tim Murphy. It sounded far more like a certain long bow drawer who just happens to be on the Press Council.

    Still, the wider issue is that greed and green are headed for a Tenerife runway greeting - no one wants to notice until things rage out of control.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4365 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    Extra turns. Like in pinball, or space invaders.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4467 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to DeepRed,

    Tim Murphy’s editorial says:

    I’m not even sure it’s Tim Murphy. It sounded far more like a certain long bow drawer who just happens to be on the Press Council.

    Tim says it's not Roughan (who, let's face it, was the raging favourite with the bookies) and Fran says it's not her. I don't think it's Tim.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to HenryB,

    “the Prime Minister made the very reasonable comment that compared with the rest of the world, New Zealand was 100 per cent Pure”

    Isn’t this like saying that grey is actually white compared to black? Sounds like Fox News science to me.

    The original Key quote is even more mathematically impossible. He adds a "for the most part" qualifier at the beginning to match the one on the end.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • andin,

    There are farmers lowering stocking rates right now , and enjoying greater individual farm profitability from the reduced production.

    Umm I wasnt talking about anyone’s profitability. We are not all about money.
    Or hadn’t you noticed? Seems a farmer’s life is getting easier. Greater from less…my!

    So what is the populace prepared to forgo in response to the reduced national income?

    Why dont we ask them? could be a long conversation

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1231 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    But the editorial still claims that Dr Joy’s comments about the environment are inappropriate, suggesting either he is wrong (he isn’t) or he’s not qualified to talk about the environment in general (he is) or that we shouldn’t talk about that sort of thing because it might make us look bad (really?).

    I know. But it doesn’t hurt for me to address a criticism of my own work.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    Graeme,

    Recent legislation that weakened the emissions trading scheme makes it easier to pollute. We now have a Clayton's scheme, which is perhaps a other piece of "just marketing".

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 192 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Tim says it's not Roughan

    really? shrinking pool of suspects..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to andin,

    Well it’s a win all round then : lower stocking rate = reduced nutrient leaching + increased profitability+ better animal welfare. There may be other benefits as well.

    It may not have occurred to you that the increased stocking rates were an attempt to achieve viability in the economic sense.

    Reduced GNP could be avoided by adding more value to the reduced production which would result from lower stocking rates.

    Why does it not happen?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Farmer Green,

    For the same reason many of our businesses have just hired more bodies rather than investing in infrastructure or smartness - lack of confidence and a slanted playing field towards more of the same. The very opposite of the 'ambition' the current mob promised.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16794 posts Report Reply

  • Farmer Green, in reply to Sacha,

    All true but it was the previous mob which legislated to override the Commerce Commission so that the anti-competitive Fonterra could be formed. You bet that there is a lack of confidence. The playing field was severely tilted by the Dairy Industry Restructuring Act which allowed Fonterra to obstruct the formation of new added -value dairy companies by rigging the value of raw milk.
    So where do we go from here?

    Lower North Island • Since Nov 2012 • 487 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to Mike McGinnis,

    True leadership and political will is needed today in central government to move in a more sustainable direction with respect to how the country uses and protects its precious coastal marine ecosystems. Dr. Michael V. McGinnis, PhD

    In which case we're sunk! The glib, self-serving short-termist twats currently running the show resemble this description as much as I resemble delicate dew on a spider's web in an early morning.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Farmer Green,

    Well it’s a win all round then : lower stocking rate = reduced nutrient leaching + increased profitability+ better animal welfare. There may be other benefits as well.

    The native flora & fauna? seems to be missing from your equation.
    Not that I’m picky, You've probably buried it in there somewhere

    It may not have occurred to you that the increased stocking rates were an attempt to achieve viability in the economic sense.

    Oh I had noticed.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1231 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart, in reply to Sacha,

    For the same reason many of our businesses have just hired more bodies rather than investing in infrastructure or smartness - lack of confidence and a slanted playing field towards more of the same. The very opposite of the 'ambition' the current mob promised.

    Oh, sorry - is 'the current mob' the euphemism we're using now?

    Very much 'my bad'.

    Te Ika A Maui - Waitakere… • Since Oct 2008 • 572 posts Report Reply

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