Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Inaccurate Journalism Damaging To NZ Economy

The editor and publisher of Healthy Options magazine owe the people of New Zealand an apology for their scare-mongering, Agriculture Minister Jim Sutton said today.

The magazine published an article in this month's issue alleging that fertiliser contaminated by nuclear tests on Christmas Island was being spread on Waikato farms, endangering people's health on shipping wharves and on farms, as well as that of consumers.

In fact, the magazine had confused Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean, where phosphates used in fertilisers are mined, with Christmas Island in the Pacific Ocean, where nuclear tests were carried out in the 1950s. The islands are thousands of kilometres away from each other.

As well, the article quotes laboratory tests, which officials said were alarming.

These tests were done on the understanding that the samples being tested were soil samples. They were fertiliser samples, so the higher readings were not as alarming as they appeared.

Uranium, a natural element present in the environment, occurs about 1.1 to 2.3 parts per million in New Zealand soil naturally.

It is present in superphosphate (around 40 parts per million) and in naturally reactive rock phosphate (between 15 to 148 parts per million) used in many higher rainfall areas and on organic farms.

Given typical annual fertiliser application rates and assuming a level of 45 parts of uranium per million, it would take 50 years of fertiliser application to arable farms to accumulate 0.6 parts per million of uranium. It would take 325 years to accumulate the same amount on dairy farms.

While uranium and phosphate fertiliser will add to the natural level of uranium in the soil, in New Zealand it will take nearly 1000 years to double uranium levels. Even then, New Zealand soils would have the same rating as United States soils do now.

There is no threat to food safety from any approved fertiliser used in New Zealand.

Mr Sutton said New Zealand had not always been as clean and green as would ideally be the case, but the government and farmers had worked hard and were continuing to work hard to ensure sustainable practices were used.

"Farmers, like other right-minded New Zealanders, want to leave this country in good shape for their children and grandchildren.

"Journalism such as this, with basic errors, does New Zealand a disservice and gives those who wish to block our agricultural products in international markets an excuse. Healthy Options owes farmers, fertiliser companies, and New Zealand an apology."

Ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news