Posts by Biobbs

  • Speaker: Let's talk about class, in reply to DeepRed,

    I don't know where certain people have gotten the idea that "eco-nuts" were responsible for Pike River happening because they wouldn't allow strip-mining

    From the Herald of course. With this piece of 'responsible journalism' just a few days after the event:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10690389

    - the blubbery one, Kiwibl*g, Paul Holmes (Herald again), and Gadsby (Letter to The Press) all chimed in and the meme spread rapidly from there.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Diverse Auckland: are we…, in reply to alobar,

    Was it Rowan Atkinson ( in character ) that said "But we've got the recipe now , so can't they go back?"

    One of his many glorious moments in the undiluted brilliance that was NTNON:

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bad Judgement, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Scary thing is, same thing would probably happen today :-(

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bad Judgement, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in.

    Something the lawyer only knew because you’d fully and properly disclosed that fact in accordance with your legal, contractual and ethical obligations?

    Well, I'd just routinely put it in my bio details/ qualifications at the start of my evidence brief like I always did, as a positive thing (demonstrating 'expertise' in applying science to the real world and community involvement), never dreaming that this time it would be used against me! There's no requirement to reveal your every activity related to your area of expertise in your evidence - you just have to make sure you don't leave out anything that could raise genuine doubt about your neutrality and independence. My experience was that EC judges were pretty smart - they understood the difference between actual conflicts of interest and stuff that all professional people in resource management do.

    Nowadays, it's compulsory for all EC expert witnesses to state in their evidence that they have read and agreed to abide by the Court's Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses (especially the bit that says you understand that your duty is to the Court, not your client), but back then it was optional. It was pretty obvious that some ew's had never even heard of the thing, let alone read it :-)

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Bad Judgement, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Well, thanks again for your sage advice. Guess we'll leave those hoardings down for the time being, or just flash them at sympathetic passers-by.

    Hi Carol - I worked for a CRI for 12 years, including at middle management level, and we had very few restrictions to what you were allowed to do on your own property (like letting a political party put up hoardings), or being politically active in your own time. We were just told to use our common sense and that we had a responsibility to be always seen to be providing neutral scientific advice to whichever client was employing us (important here to stress that CRI staff do not work for the government, they work for clients, who may be either govt or private concerns) - this was also stated in our CEC.

    So hosting a meeting of a political party on-site would have been an absolute no-no, but using your work email to organise a political meeting at your own home out of work hours would have been fine, for example.

    As mentioned earlier, how senior/high public profile you were played into this. A clerical or IT employee, or low-level technician, had more leeway than a senior scientist. In my case, I appeared occasionally at hearings and in the Environment Court as an expert witness, so I was personally very conscious of not giving opposing counsel any chinks in my armour to attack my independence (and they really *do* dig around in your past for any dirt - one of my colleagues had been a member of Greenpeace 10 years before he even joined the CRI, and this was used to attack his credibility in the EC). So I chose to avoid any political involvement in those years, without ever really discussing it with my bosses.

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in. Taking on roles like that was actually a requirement of the FRST funding of our research (in the community engagement/research outcomes bit of the bid and contract), but I had to go through about 15 minutes of cross-examination about whether this proved I was some kind of biased greenie sleeper before the judge finally instructed connsel that it was an irrelevant line of questioning and to please move on :-).

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Festival Furores, in reply to Alan Perrott,

    also: RIP Lewis Collins.

    he inspired a great many forward rolls and a longterm yearning for a white Capri 2800.

    I think you might enjoy this:

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: The First Time,

    First free school concert: Craig Scott and Angela Ayers. Hmm. I can vaguely recall my 11-year-old self liking Angela a lot but thinking Craig was boring.

    First paid gig: Robert Plant, Mt Smart, on The Principle of Moments tour, with the Pink Flamingoes as support. During the PF slot, people set fire to the fence to get in without paying.

    Best ever gig: Like Matthew H, I have to go for Violent Femmes 1990, except I saw them at the ANU student union in Canberra. Packed out venue, all totally into the band (the Femmes were big JJJ faves and very popular in Oz). I drove 6 h from the little town in country NSW where I was living at the time just to see them, and they didn't disappoint. My A0-size '1990 Debacle Tour' poster still hangs on the wall of my study to this day. Not quite sure how they managed to go so fast downhill after that.

    The support was also excellent - Sydney's The Clouds, including NZ's Trish Young on bass.

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday: A happier place, in reply to Samuel Scott,

    Unhappy band? Yeh nah, I never thought so. They had lots of happy songs. Caterpillar? The whole Kiss Me Kiss Me album? Even 'Boys Don't Cry' had an upbeat, poppy feel to it. And wasn't this the best little pop song of the 80s:

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Friday Music: Partners in Vacancy, in reply to Russell Brown,

    But more importantly: Lorde's 'Royals' has now moved into the US Top 10.

    Flicked on my radio while making breakfast this morning, and was delighted to hear 'Royals' has been chosen as this week's featured "Inevitable" track on Danish National Radio. She's jolly well gone global!

    DR has a nice positive write-up about her on their website - it's in Danish but Google Translate makes a reasonable hash of translating it:

    http://www.dr.dk/p3/musik/p3suu/2013/09/02/new-zealansk-sangfugl-er-denne-uges-uundgaelige-pa-p3

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Food Show 2013: There is a…, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    We also had a chat to the man about quite how much rice Sunrice grows in Australia, which seems to run to several million metric Australian fucktonnes. Roughly.

    Where on Earth do they find the water for that?!

    Heavily subsidised irrigation, is the short answer. About 11% of Australia's irrigation is for rice. I lived in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area for 6 years and my abiding memory will be driving past glistening rice fields on 45-degree days when it hadn't rained for months.

    It's all very controversial - see this recent opinion from LaTrobe's Professor Lin Chase:

    http://www.latrobe.edu.au/news/articles/2012/opinion/lies,-dam-lies-and-water-plans

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 107 posts Report Reply

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