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Posted by te2ataria on June 25, 2011

100% Pure Extinction

Finally, a New Zealand Scientist Speaks Out, BUT…

New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis is far worse than previously revealed

Ecologist at odds with PM on 100% Pure NZ

Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy says he has the science to disprove New Zealand’s “clean, green” image, and he has found holes in a study the Government has used as a counter-argument.

Dr Joy’s speech to Forest & Bird today will also outline his case for why the “100% Pure” advertising campaign is misleading.

The issue came to attention last month, when Prime Minister John Key was grilled on BBC’s Hardtalk programme by host Stephen Sackur, who used Dr Joy’s data to suggest the slogan was no longer true.

“Well, that might be Mike Joy’s view, but I don’t share that view,” Mr Key said at the time. “Like lawyers, I can give you one that will provide you with a counter-theory.”

After the show aired in New Zealand, Mr Key faced a barrage of questions in Parliament from Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who suggested he was playing down the environmental impact of intensive farming.

Mr Key said the impact was “not great” and pointed to a 2010 study from Columbia and Yale universities that ranked New Zealand second only to Iceland in terms of water quality, with a score of 99.2.

But Dr Joy poured cold water on the study yesterday, claiming the data it used was “totally flawed”. Firstly, out of the 130 countries ranked, only half actually had any water quality data available for the comparison, while the rest had estimates.

The data was also an unfair representation of nations as a whole. “The 11 sites they got from Australia were all from one state. You can hardly represent the water quality of the whole country by examining one tiny portion of it.”

He said half of the 80 measurements used to calculate New Zealand’s water quality were from pristine “control sites” known to be free from the impacts of agricultural and industrial pollutants.

Mr Joy said he called the Yale study’s authors when he heard it being quoted by the Government and was “shocked” by the research it was based on.

When asked yesterday if he still stood by his comments, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said: “The prime minister does not share the view of Mike Joy, and has no further comment to make.”

http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/politics/5192319/Ecologist-at-odds-with-PM-on-100-Pure-NZ

Mass extinctions of native species will occur within our lifetimes …

Scientist warns of mass extinction

Mass extinctions of native species will occur within our lifetimes, and new research explains why the biodiversity crisis is far worse than previously measured.

Massey University scientist Mike Joy will paint a bleak picture of native animals and plants in a speech today to the Forest & Bird annual conference in Wellington.

He told The Dominion Post that New Zealand was at crisis point, but current conservation funding and strategies meant it would be too late for many species.

He criticised the approach of focusing large efforts on a few species, such as kiwi or kakapo. “You wait till they’re at the edge of collapse and then put all this money into saving them. Meanwhile, everything else is falling off the edge of the cliff.”

With the Conservation Department’s budget continuing to be squeezed, it was inevitable that New Zealand was losing a grip on how bad the situation was. Existing data under-represented the true situation because there was so little money going into research or monitoring the changes.

“When biodiversity is in decline, by the time the data is collated, the report is written and published, the situation is far worse.”

All of New Zealand’s terrestrial mammals and frogs were now at risk of extinction, as were 60 per cent of reptile and native fish species, half our birds, one third of the freshwater invertebrate species and a quarter of marine fish species.

That meant 35 per cent, or 2,788, of native plant and animal species were on the brink of extinction.

“With around 60 per cent of freshwater fish species listed as threatened or extinct, New Zealand is far worse than the global average of around 37 per cent.” The only country to rank as badly in this area was South Africa, Dr Joy said.

His discussion of his findings comes in the week that DOC revealed there were still 3000 to 4000 species whose status was unknown.

DOC deputy director-general for research and development Kevin O’Connor said the agency was working on a programme to improve species work. That modelling work would extend the number of species actively being worked with.

Only about 200 of more than 2,000 threatened or endangered species are currently under active management.

Conservation Minister Kate Wilkinson this week defended DOC’s spending on threatened species such as kiwi.

“We’ve got to be realistic. Like all departments, we are constrained by the Budget, but we certainly haven’t reduced the funding on those species.”

Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Jan Wright earlier this month called for greater use of 1080, warning that the battle against some predators was almost lost.

However, Ms Wilkinson told the local government and environment select committee this week that she was “not necessarily of the view” that more 1080 needed to be used.

Ecologist at odds with PM on ‘100% Pure’ NZ

Freshwater ecologist Mike Joy says he has the science to disprove New Zealand’s “clean, green” image, and he has found holes in a study the Government has used as a counter-argument.

Dr Joy’s speech to Forest & Bird today will also outline his case for why the “100% Pure” advertising campaign is misleading.

The issue came to attention last month, when Prime Minister John Key was grilled on BBC’s Hardtalk programme by host Stephen Sackur, who used Dr Joy’s data to suggest the slogan was no longer true.

“Well, that might be Mike Joy’s view, but I don’t share that view,” Mr Key said at the time. “Like lawyers, I can give you one that will provide you with a counter-theory.”

After the show aired in New Zealand, Mr Key faced a barrage of questions in Parliament from Green Party co-leader Russel Norman, who suggested he was playing down the environmental impact of intensive farming.

Mr Key said the impact was “not great” and pointed to a 2010 study from Columbia and Yale universities that ranked New Zealand second only to Iceland in terms of water quality, with a score of 99.2.

But Dr Joy poured cold water on the study yesterday, claiming the data it used was “totally flawed”. Firstly, out of the 130 countries ranked, only half actually had any water quality data available for the comparison, while the rest had estimates.

The data was also an unfair representation of nations as a whole. “The 11 sites they got from Australia were all from one state. You can hardly represent the water quality of the whole country by examining one tiny portion of it.”

He said half of the 80 measurements used to calculate New Zealand’s water quality were from pristine “control sites” known to be free from the impacts of agricultural and industrial pollutants.

Mr Joy said he called the Yale study’s authors when he heard it being quoted by the Government and was “shocked” by the research it was based on.

When asked yesterday if he still stood by his comments, a spokeswoman for Mr Key said: “The prime minister does not share the view of Mike Joy, and has no further comment to make.” – The Dominion Post

http://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/5192316/Scientist-warns-of-mass-extinction

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