Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


HARD NEWS 13/07/02 - Having Calmed Down

HARD NEWS is first broadcast in Auckland on 95bFM around 9.30am on Fridays and replayed around 5.15pm Friday and 10am Sunday on The Culture Bunker. You can listen to 95bFM live on the Internet. Point your web browser to You will need an MP3 player. Currently New Zealand is 12 hours ahead of GMT.

This issue of HARD NEWS is also available in MP3 form at and in text form at You can subscribe to the 95bFM Hard News mailing list at

I feel that this week's Hard News was a little too emotional. It was written in the hours after I interviewed Dr Poulter, and I was angry about what had happened. I remain convinced by him and his view that there was no reliable evidence of GM seed presence and that the right thing was done.

So the book's central pillar - that there was a GM release - remains unsupported by any known scientist. Lindie Nelson, co-author of one of the controversial ERMA memos, has been tracked down - it is amazing how many key players on both sides of this are away on holiday - and says her concerns were "very substantially allayed" in subsequent meetings, which seems to be scientist-speak for being convinced. MAF's biosecurity manager Richard Ivess says Hager or his expert just mistook a bunch of non-positives for positives.

One of the book's other main themes is that government decisions were heavily influenced by the PR representatives of interested companies. Nicky Hager actually admitted in Wednesday's interview with Dean Williams that he had no proof that that was the case. Marian Hobbs, the minister "running" the issue, says she never met with the PR people.

Hager has now said that Nelson has been got at, and I've had it suggested to me that Poulter is in on the conspiracy - Greenpeace put out a press release to that effect - but there's no evidence of either. How far a paper trail can lead you to claim that multiple individuals are lying, I'm not sure.

But, as a well-conducted interview by Mary Wilson with Bas Walker showed last evening, there are still some questions to be asked about the way decisions were made at a time when GM seed presence was suspected. We'll see.

I still strongly believe that the way two media organisations went out very hard with a story-on-a-plate that they were unable to sustain in the two days following was dreadful. It conspired against reason. Everyone went for the big end of the story when it would better have been developed from the little end.

Ambushing Helen Clark with the question guaranteed a confrontation - but it also meant an interview that was incapable of producing any information. Independent advice should have been taken, even if it meant forsaking the big bang.

It's been a weird episode. John Roughan's point in the Herald today about what happened to the GM issue the moment an election was called is well made.

Anyway, my original comment stands, but I'll enjoy my weekend more if this stands along with it.


© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news