Doing better environmentally and economically

The old adage that if you give a dog a bad name it will stick is unfortunately true.

Farming, and dairying in particular, has got a bad name for poor environmental performance even though most are doing all that’s required of them, or more.

Despite 5.7 dairy cattle for every man, woman and child in Southland, the region now boasts some of most environmentally compliant farmers in New Zealand. 

“The compliance monitoring results from Environment Southland, which came out before Christmas, was a real boost for our guys,” says Russell MacPherson, Federated Farmers Southland provincial president.

“It is not just us in the far south but this is a trend throughout New Zealand.  After catching talkback radio recently, the shame is that some people have been suckered in by a clever but increasingly redundant slogan. 

“I mean the Ministry for the Environment’s “River condition indicator Summary and key findings” must be the most non-reported study of 2013.  A 10-year review of water quality found, “of the parameters we [the MfE] monitor, all are either stable or improving at most monitored sites. Four of our parameters show stable or improving trends in 90% of sites”.

“Take the Mataura River, which received the regional award for the most improved river at the first New Zealand River Awards.  There are physical results proving that it is working and it goes to show how Southland’s farmers are hitting their straps environmentally.

“The majority of Southland’s 887 farming effluent discharge consent holders inspected by Environment Southland were fully compliant with their consent conditions.

“While we farm in what seemingly feels like a glass house, the fact is we are doing better each year environmentally and economically.

“In terms of ground and surface water, the vast majority of our farms are doing pretty well here as well. 

“Federated Farmers believes a new attitude shown by Environment Southland, to actively work alongside farmers like in Taranaki, is starting to pay off.  Farmers previously felt like they’d be belted for anything but we’re now seeing partnership and greater understanding.

Councils and farmers working together will achieve better results than if there’s an antagonistic attitude between them.

“The way town and country are coming together is also evidenced by the way the New River Estuary has galvanised Invercargill residents around storm and wastewater. 

“It will upset those who have made a career out of grievance but truth eventually cuts through spin.

“Perhaps that’s the nub of the issue we face as it’s all about perception, much like that Lincoln University survey from last year.  There’s what some people think we do and what we actually do.  Trying to connect the two is going to take time.

“That could start by having the same scrutiny our farms are put under extended to our local councils. 

“. . . there’s been three human sewerage spills within a month into Lake Wakatipu and the latest one closed a 200 metre stretch of beach right where our family, like many, swim and boat when on holiday.

“If town and country had the same level of scrutiny then the national conversation, I feel, would be much better,” Mr MacPherson concluded.

Poor environmental practices in one area doesn’t excuse it anywhere else and there’s no room for complacency about water quality in urban or rural areas.

Some farmers have been far too slow to get the message about their responsibility for water quality and act on it. But the majority are compliant and are working hard to ensure they stay that way.

77 Responses to Doing better environmentally and economically

  1. Richard says:

    This is good news from Federated Farmers.
    “The compliance monitoring results from Environment Southland, which came out before Christmas, was a real boost for our guys”

    Funny, R Guyton – a Councillor of ES, has not mentioned this news. Perhaps this good news does suit his political agenda?


  2. farmerbraun says:

    This is just compliance with existing resource consents isn’t it?
    It is widely accepted that the impact of real concern from intensive livestock farming i.e. nitrogen leaching, comes from having too many livestock on too small an area under the wrong soil conditions. In other words , stock density. . . cows/Ha/time.

    This is the real elephant in the room , and is not the subject of resource consents , yet.

    This is the issue which is concerning ALL New Zealanders . . . nitrate losses to lakes and rivers.


  3. robertguyton says:

    Let’s clarify. What is the present rate of non-compliance in Southland?


  4. Mr E says:

    Well done Southland farmers!


  5. robertguyton says:

    What is the present rate of non-compliance, Mr Enonymous?


  6. farmerbraun says:

    Whatever it is , the effect is miniscule in the scheme of things , and with the courts now imposing fines in the $50,000-$100,000 range , the few remaining slackers will quickly change their ways.
    The focus from here on has to be on stocking rates , specifically cows/Ha/ hour i.e. density , because that is what the science says is the cause of the problems ; soil damage and nitrogen loss.


  7. Mr E says:

    The answer is simple. Better than many regions. Can you not read that from Russell’s statement?

    Please reframe from name calling. Thanks.


  8. robertguyton says:

    Can’t say the number, Mr Enonymous?
    Why not?
    It’s only a number.


  9. Mr E says:

    Do you have an issue with me?
    I’ve asked you to stop name calling yet you continue.
    Pleader outline any issue you may have.


  10. Mr E says:



  11. robertguyton says:

    Chill, E.
    You declared you weren’t offended by the title ‘anonymous’, Mr E.
    I’ve creatively blended your nom-de-plume with your status.
    What’s the problem?


  12. robertguyton says:

    The non-compliance rate?
    Found it yet?


  13. Mr E says:

    I’m happy to assume the title anonymous if that pleases you. Say the word.

    Aside from that you are creating nicknames at a whim. It would appear to me, in a fashion to offend. After a request to reframe you continue.

    If you don’t understand the problem with name calling, please tell me.


  14. Mr E says:

    Yep- less than others.


  15. robertguyton says:

    If it’s zero, then let’s celebrate!!!


  16. farmerbraun says:

    Even a zero non-compliance rate will not address the real pollution problem. It’s like the Clean Streams Accord : mere window dressing to impress the public while the real issue gets worse.


  17. Mr E says:

    Let me guess- until then, farmers, harrumph!

    I’ve met people like that before. Those who expect absolute excellence but display everything but. Generally I just smile and nod. As I am now.


  18. Mr E says:

    I agree with your comment. But perhaps not your solution. I’ve no problem with stocking rate. More nitrate.


  19. robertguyton says:

    Not zero then, Mr E?
    Got a figure?
    You generally provide details from the ES website. This one too hard to find?


  20. Mr E says:

    Yep got a figure. A great one. One better than most other regions.

    You and I must stop doing this. Together we sound like a shameless attempt to market the dairy industry. Russell would be proud.


  21. farmerbraun says:

    Perhaps you can tell me how you would go about maintaining export receipts and farm profitability while drastically reducing the stocking rate to, let’s say , a maximumof 2 cows / Ha


  22. Mr E says:

    Let’s not worry about stocking rate.


  23. farmerbraun says:

    You lost me there. You say , keep up the nitrogen losses to waterways?


  24. robertguyton says:

    Good game.
    You lose.


  25. Mr E says:

    I say the easiest way to reduce N to water= less N fertiliser.
    I don’t buy ‘urine is the problem’. Urine is the delivery mechanism.


  26. Mr E says:

    Keep telling yourself that Robert.


  27. farmerbraun says:

    OK but if you bring in too much supplementary feed to support the high stocking rate , then the result is the same , even if no nitrogen fertiliser is applied.
    It is not necessary to use any nitrogen fertiliser to support an excessive stocking rate , which will result in nitrogen losses.
    The soil simply cannot absorb and hold the amount of nitrogen that results from 3 or 4 cows /Ha.
    That is what the science says.


  28. farmerbraun says:

    Sorry about the “narrow focus ” of that reply to MrE; I didn’t realise that the software would do that.
    But I hope you get the point ; it is very important. You can do plenty of damage in the complete absence of any applied nitrogen fertiliser.
    It is the stocking rate that matters in the end.


  29. Mr E says:

    Never said no nitrogen- less nitrogen.

    Less cows per ha is not a solution by itself. Farmers will simply find ways to achieve more per cow. More per cow means more urine per cow. There in lies the problem. Councils want to control the problem which means taking ownership of farm management.

    Imagine your council running farms. Imagine the inflexibility.

    Less nitrogen is a much easier option and in my opinion a much more effective one.


  30. robertguyton says:

    “More per cow means more urine per cow”

    Odd claim.

    Mr E is anti-council.

    Odd position.

    Mr E is determined that urine is not the problem. Farmerbraun provides an exellent argument against intensification, over-stocking and the use of PKE etc.
    Grasses pumped-up with nitrogen cause cows to urinate more frequently in order to rid their bodies of excess nitrogen (poor beasts, having to eat that unnatural stuff). Of course fewer cows per hectare would help the problem – fewer hooves trampling soil, less weight on the ground, less nitrogen-enriched urine. The excuse that ‘farmers would simply find ways…” – to do what? – ramp up the nitrogen losses again, is an odd one indeed, more a threat than an observation. Cows are good animals (I loathe the docking of their tails, don’t you?), cow manure is an excellent ‘product’ (Oh for a decent cow-pat like those of the past that have ‘substance’ rather than ‘flow’). Farmerbraun keeps pointing out that even with compliance at 100% (found that figure yet, Mr Enonymous? Ducking and diving and refusing to provide the fact that you claim to have puts you right up there with the worst of the politicians), the problem will continue as consents do not cover the full problem and I agree with him on that. Rather than more rules at a regional level, farmerbraun calls for systemic change at the industry governance level and I agree with that as well.


  31. farmerbraun says:

    “Less cows per ha is not a solution by itself. ”
    Agreed ; nobody holds that view.

    You are still missing the point.

    More “dairy support”, PKE, maize silage , grain concentrate etc . all mean more nitrogen loading on already overloaded soils.
    I’m not sure why my explanation of the science is either unclear /and or unacceptable.
    The science is quite clear; cow urine applies nitrogen at concentrations which are at least an order of magnitude greater than that resulting from the use of nitrogen fertiliser on pasture.

    If we want to reduce the nitrogen loading on soils , then reducing nitrogen fertiliser will do very little to achieve that.
    Farmers will simply find ways to obtain the extra nitrogen in another form i.e. supplementary feed.
    Dairy NZ has made this point many times. I’m not sure why you disagree.


  32. farmerbraun says:

    OK , so what I am saying is clear. There is no dispute about the science.


  33. farmerbraun says:

    “Mr E is anti-council.”
    Well that’s OK. It’s also not important.
    The push to clean up the farming practices will come from the national guidelines on water; the council’s job will be to see that there is compliance.
    Rather regional councils enforcing compliance than central government I think. Simply because one size does not fit all because of the variety of soil types in NZ.
    This has to be based on science ; not politics.
    All NZers want the same thing in regard to water and soil : sustainable production with less environmental impact.


  34. farmerbraun says:

    Mr. E I hope that you will indulge my persistence on this point about nitrogen.
    If I cannot explain it to the satisfaction of an intelligent person such as yourself, then my presentation is requiring more work; my science is fine.
    So please state your objection to my argument that nothing less than a reduction in stocking rate will reduce the nitrogen loading on soils to the levels required to significantly reduce nitrogen losses to groundwater, and thence to rivers and lakes.


  35. Mr E says:

    Robert is wrong.
    I am not anti council. Never have been. I support many of their rules and actions.

    I believe a conspiracy has occurred. One that supports N use and facilitated denitrification use.

    However science shows us that reducing N use can reduce leachate by at least one third. (Ross monaghen, edendale)

    Promoting tools the deliver councils farm management rights, is not wise in my view.
    Simple solutions deliver results.


  36. robertguyton says:

    Mr E believes a conspiracy has occurred.
    Hey! So does Colin Craig!
    In any case, *biological farming practices are the way to go. Tinkering is all that’s going on in the conventional field.
    * the best of


  37. robertguyton says:

    sustainable production (also humane, ethical and diverse) with less environmental impact? I’d say “no” or “positive”. What’s wrong with us when we satisfy ourselves with “well, it’s better than 20 years ago” – there were some appalling practices in the past, being “somewhat” better than then is not a cause for back-patting, in my view.


  38. farmerbraun says:

    There is nothing wrong with the a idea of a positive impact, although it might be a bit subjective.
    I’m sure you agree that all organisms alter their environments; many consume their environments to the point where resources limit the size of the population.

    But I think that ” no impact” is not possible; you didn’t mean that I’m sure.


  39. farmerbraun says:

    “However science shows us that reducing N use can reduce leachate by at least one third. ”

    That’s very vague, but correct in principle.

    Reducing fertiliser N by how many Kg elemental N/Ha is required to reduce leachate by at least one third . . .to what level? from what level?
    I haven’t seen these numbers published.
    Is this going to be enough to reverse the current trend of increasing nitrate in groundwater?
    Numbers please , or a reference. It looks interesting.


  40. farmerbraun says:

    I agree that councils must be kept out of farm management, but that would only happen if farmers did not act to confine their effects to their own properties. Really it is just the ancient and venerable tort of nuisance under another guise (thanks for nothing Geoffery Palmer) i.e. the RMA
    The principle is the same ; keep it inside your property. Don’t create nuisance for your neighbours.

    The problem occurs when farmers externalise their effects onto somebody else ; in this case the public who want the rivers and lakes kept reasonably clean.
    Science says that it is not possible to have more fertile soils without enriching the waterways; the argument is over how much enrichment is too much.


  41. farmerbraun says:

    Mr E , while I agree in principle that reducing N fertiliser will , other N inputs remaining the same, reduce N leachate on individual farms , the problem is that on a per catchment basis , the level of N leachate will increase as more farm within that catchment become more intensive (convert from sheep to dairy; introduce irrigation etc)
    The net effect will be increased N leachate within the catchment.
    This is the issue that the Commissioner for the Environment has pointed out.
    How would you propose to deal with this?
    Limits on N fertiliser / catchment broken down to an allowance /Ha for every farm in the catchment , whether the farmer chooses to apply it or not?
    In other words a fertiliser Nitrogen permit?


  42. Mr E says:

    Look up Ross Monaghen Edendale.
    It is well known research locally.

    My recollection (which is not 100%), Ross proved Farmers could use up to 170kgN/ha before leachate approached 11.3ug/l. Less had major impacts on the leachate.

    Sadly 170kgN/ha is now what I would consider the Southland average for Dairy. Half above. Some anecdotal evidence suggests some significantly above.

    It’s a simple fix, limit N, sadly the council wants complicated fixes. Ones that have already proven to be failures.


  43. Mr E says:

    Robert doesn’t believe in conspiracy. I nearly fell off my seat laughing!

    Robert – now and again your sense of satire has elements of brilliance.


  44. Mr E says:

    I call it – catchment quotas


  45. robertguyton says:

    Catchment quotas? Limiting the number of cows in a catchment? Is that what you mean? If not, why not?
    I sense you are still talking urea, but farmerbraun has surely disestablished you of the notion that that is the primary source of nitrates.


  46. robertguyton says:

    Farmerbraun – “confine their effects to their own properties.”
    Are you including those farm-originating gases that move into the atmosphere amongst your ‘effects’?


  47. farmerbraun says:

    Good enough. Evenly allocated on a per Ha basis one presumes. Is there enough good science yet , to determine how much leaching will be tolerated?


  48. farmerbraun says:

    Definitely those that can be reasonably held to constitute a nuisance. That would be a matter for science to determine ; whether a particular gas constituted a nuisance.
    In the case of odours a more subjective assessment is usual.
    Be careful here ; you wouldn’t want to argue that exhalation was a nuisance would you?

    Or that the emission of oxygen by plants was a nuisance?


  49. farmerbraun says:

    Is your 11.3 ug/L an acceptable limit?


  50. robertguyton says:

    True, fb, I meant no impact that breaks the equilibrium. Movement that’s compensated. Wobble that re-balances.
    As to the subjectivity of ‘positive’ impact, I’d be happy to discus this with any landowner. All descriptors for ‘impact’ are subjective, even ‘minimal’, though legislation can define it well enough.


  51. robertguyton says:

    Tricksy! I mean greenhouse gases. Not the responsibility of the farmer? Surely you accept that methane is a greenhouse gas and those are contributing to an over-energised climate that threatens farmings future?
    Nuisance? More than ‘nuisance’, I reckon.


  52. farmerbraun says:

    Ad hoc surveys (Hoare 1986;
    Taranaki Catchment Commission 1987) of nitrate-N
    concentrations in groundwater in the 197Os- 1980s
    (before the period of increasing N fertiliser use) showed
    that 20-50% of wells in the intensive dairying regions
    of Taranaki and Waikato exceeding the maximum
    acceptable level of 10 mg/l set as the NZ drinking water
    standard (Board of Health 1989). (1996)


  53. Mr E says:

    I’d tell you more Robert, but I have a pseudonym. It’s therefore pointless.


  54. farmerbraun says:

    As you know, I’m sure, ALL plants and ALL animals emit GHGs. That’s life ; more precisely , that’s respiration.
    It’s not clear that anyone should be held responsible for merely living.

    But I apprehend that you go a little way beyond the current state of the science of climate with this phrase – ” . . . contributing to an over-energised climate that threatens farmings future?”

    I acknowledge that there is a suggestion to that effect but it has yet to take the form of a testable hypothesis . . . testable , that is , other than by empirical observations which are slowly accumulating .

    Many decades more will be required to verify the suggestion , given that it is all about a future which is centuries away. So far we only have a few decades of accurate measurements and some unvalidated models.

    So as yet the science has not got very far, as you would expect, but we have some certainties at this point in time.

    Unless our understanding of radiative physics is wrong then increased greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the air must induce some additional warming , all things being equal.

    But the climate system is constantly changing : “all things being equal” never happens.

    1. We do NOT KNOW to what degree human activities alone have altered GHG ratios in the atmosphere .

    2. We do NOT KNOW to what degree altered GHG ratios in the atmosphere alone have contributed to the present natural global warming (which is the recovery from the Little Ice Age).

    Claims that humans HAVE or HAVE NOT added to the observed global warming are equally false because nobody can know the truth of the matter in the absence of any evidence.

    What CAN be said is that, to date, there is no evidence for discernible global warming from human activities , and so any human contribution to observed global warming is, on the evidence so far , trivial if it exists.

    That is the state of the science at present; I can’t wait to find out what the answer is , but I suspect that I will not live long enough to see whether the suggestion is true or false. I think that in a couple more decades , maybe as soon as 2035, we will know which way the trend in global average temperatures is going , but that still may not answer the two questions above.

    Science can be very frustrating; sometimes it is a very slow process.


  55. TraceyS says:

    Forget Robert, Mr E, the rest of us would like to hear regardless of the handicap of your pseudonym.


  56. robertguyton says:

    Not entirely pointless, Mr Enonymous, but suspect. If you obscure your identity, you might well be obscuring your motivations. By commenting under your real name, you are being up-front and open about who you are, what you are and what drives you. Nothing you say can be regarded reliably. You might be Winston Peters or Colin Craig, toying with us in order to gather information for policy development. Or perhaps you are Peter Dunne, trying to tickle the Homepaddock worm. Either way, your anonymous-with-a-pretend-name comments have to be regarded cynically.


  57. robertguyton says:

    I see. It’s as I suspected.


  58. willdwan says:

    I don’t believe enteric methane makes the least difference to the climate. Partly because it is in a steady state but mostly because there just isn’t enough of it. The concentration is minute. You could double it with no effect. Twice bugger-all is still bugger-all.


  59. farmerbraun says:

    Yep an environmentalist who knows his science. Just like you.


  60. TraceyS says:

    The following is a link to very recently published work (Environmental Research Letters; Volume 9, Number 1, 15 January 2014). It points out the top contributors globally to the warming that occurred between 1906 and 2005. During that time the warming in degrees C was 0.74.

    New Zealand doesn’t register in the top 20 countries, but Australia does – purported to have cause 0.6% of the 0.74 degrees of warming. The figure for New Zealand is not given. But it must be less than 0.6%.

    Let’s assume it might be as high as 0.5%. That would make New Zealand responsible for just 0.0037 degrees C of warming between 1906 and 2005.

    Australia, with its large mining industry, responsible for 0.6% of 0.74 degrees C, means it is responsible for 0.0044 degrees warming.

    And we are concerned about developing our agricultural, mining, and oil/gas industries? Any impact we will have (either good or bad) on global warming will microscopically small. We should be focusing on the closer environmental impacts rather than our contribution to an “over energised climate” we can do nothing about.


  61. robertguyton says:

    ” The figure for New Zealand is not given. But it must be less than 0.6%.”

    Farmer Joe’s effluent spill, though awful too look at, represents less than 0.6% of the effluent getting into NZ rivers every year. Therefore, Farmer Joe should not be prosecuted, or even chastized.


  62. TraceyS says:

    That is a ridiculous analogy. The farmer is prosecuted for the direct effect. What direct effect do you think 0.0037 degrees C warming has had? And can you please back that up with science.


  63. robertguyton says:

    Cumulative affect.
    Herd of it?


  64. TraceyS says:

    “By commenting under your real name, you are being up-front and open about who you are, what you are and what drives you.”

    Robert, if you can’t have the answer to all that, why don’t you separately ask the questions “what are you?” and “what drives you?”. I haven’t seen you do that yet.

    After all, if his name turns out to be Mr E Mann it won’t be very revealing, will it?


  65. robertguyton says:

    Because I don’t care one whit who he is or what drives him. I’m saying he’s not being up-front with his identity and therefore none of his claims can be regarded as entirely genuine, because he isn’t, as evidenced by his hiding behind a false name. Mr E is not a real name, Tracey, though I’m sure you’ll manage to convince yourself that it is.
    ps – it was good when you were refusing to engage with me – how I yearn for those days!


  66. Mr E says:

    Robert seems to fear conspiracy (ironically). Thinking I am Winston or Colin or who knows?I’ve told Robert my motivation for blogging, but he refuses to accept it. To be frank, I’ve kinda given up. I try to be polite and he turns around with name calling.
    It’s not really a game I want to be part of. Robert seems to be seeking the end to my voice and others. Including yours. Frankly, I’m happy to oblige. I sat and observed (recently) and the realisation that some blog aggressively has found me concluding that exit is a ‘relaxed’ passage. Who knows if it will be indefinite? But for now I pledge an exit.
    I’m not too keen to engage those who seek silence.

    Good day to you all,
    I wish you well, including those with opinions that I differ from. That too includes Robert.
    All the best. I bid you adieu.


  67. TraceyS says:

    Mr E

    I understand that Robert only wants to know your name because he thinks you are “somebody”. I notice how he does not press jabba, for example, or me for that matter, for our identities. He either senses, or knows, that we are no-one to get excited about (how’s that for conspiracy!)

    It is the quality of insight in what you offer that raises the interest in your identity. This significantly reduces the argument that identity precedes the establishment of credibility.

    I rather like an environment where everyone comments as equals, except maybe, differentiated as equals purely by the substance of their comments. However it is not that here because Robert holds himself on a pedestal, not for the substance of his comments, but for the fact that he reveals himself.

    It would be interesting to see a blog that enforced anonymity, on principle, as a way of promoting equal voice. But I’m not sure it would be possible. Anyway, just an idle insomniac thought, from someone whose sleep patterns are permanently ruined from years of late night studying.

    All the best in getting your message across elsewhere.


  68. farmerbraun says:

    Here is an optimistic view, with an emphasis on the need for collaboration.
    Farmerbraun believes that the necessary collaboration mentioned in the article must extend all the way to the parliamentary level if we are to have success in a reasonably short time frame.
    But what are the chances that politicians are listening ?
    Farmerbraun has personally experienced the utter contempt that Jong Kee openly displays for those practising sustainable agriculture.
    It seems impossible , given the availability of goo
    d advice , that the PM is ignorant. The conclusion must be that he doesn’t care one whit.


  69. Paranormal says:

    Cumulative affect of less than 0.6% – yeah right RG.


  70. farmerbraun says:

    ” Thus, while anthropogenic CO2 emissions are the highest they’ve ever been, and growing rapidly, Earth’s temperature has been in a 9 – 17 year Pause.

    And the only period of warming that anthropogenic CO2 emissions could have had a significant influence on, 1975 – 1998, is “similar and not statistically significantly different from” the periods of 1860-1880 and 1910-1940 when there is no evidence of anthropogenic CO2 emission influence.

    As such one could argue that “Global Warming” due to anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide emissions may not have begun; that Earth’s sensitivity to CO2 may be low; that natural processes may be large enough to outweigh the effects of anthropogenic CO2 emissions; and/or that preparing for a period of rapid and catastrophic Global Warming, when there is no observational evidence that it is in fact occurring, may be a historic folly.”


  71. homepaddock says:

    I read this with sorrow Mr E. I value your input to discussions and it’s never worried me that you don’t use your full name.

    Anyone could use a name which isn’t really theirs and we’d be none the wiser. Even if people do use their real names most of us don’t know who they are.


  72. robertguyton says:

    That’s one down.
    Now, to drive Tracey off…
    There’s a definite fragrance of passive/aggressive in the air right now and with a lung-full of that, I too will bid you adieu (not expecting to be fondly remembered or at all missed).


  73. robertguyton says:

    Now that’s an interesting comment, farmerbraun!
    I regret my retreat already. I hope you continue with this theme, as there are plenty of Jong Kee adorers here who take the same position as he does on this issue. Watch for Tracey and Ele’s umbrage at what you’ve written.
    And I wish you the best of luck.
    One good thing, the fervently anti-sustainable agriculture Mr E, has fled. No interference from him 🙂


  74. farmerbraun says:

    The thing is , I have no political affiliation,
    I try to deal only in facts. You and I have some disagreement on the interpretations of available data , but in time those differences would be resolved, as more facts came to hand.

    The future of NZ should not be a political football, but , as a generalisation , politicians as a group really do not care about the future of NZ, however much they profess otherwise.
    The partisan nature of some of the discussion here is not reassuring; we are too few in this country to spend our time sniping at each other.

    I don’t feel inclined to go into the details of Jong Kee’s rude dismissal of my efforts over the last 35 years; I know where I stand in his view, and he commands no respect from me.

    In contrast , Jim Bolger made quite an effort to engage (back in 1997-so last century) because he thought that sustainable agriculture was absolutely essential for the future well =being of all NZers.

    I will always treasure his personal observation to me on the direction of the dairy industry . . . he said :- “We (NZ) will never get rich by selling to the poor “.
    Almost prophetic.


  75. TraceyS says:

    I thought you’d be up in arms about farmerbraun’s interesting comment at 1:25 pm, Robert.

    If a National supporter referred you to that website, woe betide!

    Mr E had the good grace to wish you well and you wish him riddance. What does that say about you and your ability to collaborate?


  76. TraceyS says:

    Actually, Robert has forgotten that his pals Viv and AC have also given up, not being able to hack it here. “Judge” also seems to be absent. All pseudonyms I might add.


  77. farmerbraun says:

    There are big risks intrinsic in our current science funding model ; the biggest , as Gluckman has noted , is the risk that scientists become advocates for whatever produces the best funding outcome.

    “At the same time, the average man in the street, a sensible chap who by now can smell the signs of an oversold environmental campaign from miles away, is beginning to suspect that it is politics rather than science which is driving the issue.

    Scientists—most scientists anyway—may be a bit naive, but they are not generally wicked, idiotic, or easily suborned either by money or by the politically correct. So whatever might be the enjoyment factor associated with supporting officially accepted wisdom, and whatever might be the constraints applied by the scientific powers-that-be, it is still surprising that the latest IPCC report has been tabled with almost no murmur of discontent from the lower levels of the research establishment. What has happened to the scepticism that is supposedly the lifeblood of scientific inquiry?

    The answer probably gets back to the uncertainty of it all. The chances of proving that climate change over the next century will be large enough to be disastrous are virtually nil. For the same reason, the chances of a climate sceptic, or anyone else for that matter, proving the disaster theory to be oversold are also virtually nil. To that extent there is a level playing field for the two sides of the argument. The problem is that climate research necessarily involves enormous resources, and is a game for institutions and organisations. Scepticism is an occupation for individuals. Things being as they are in the climate-change arena, scepticism by an individual within the system can be fairly career-limiting. In any event, most individual scientists have a conscience, and are reluctant to put their heads above the public parapet in order to propound a view of things that may be inherently unprovable.

    In short, there is more than enough uncertainty about the forecasting of climate to allow normal human beings to be at least reasonably hopeful that global warming might not be nearly as bad as is currently touted. Climate scientists, and indeed scientists in general, are not so lucky. They have a lot to lose if time should prove them wrong.”


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