Parliament

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

Davos World Economic Forum: Ardern Upbeat Despite Absences

The prime minister will soon wrap up her first day at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which is notable for who is there as much as who isn't.

Domestic political crises have kept a number of world leaders at home including US President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On Why Shipping Is NZ’s New Trade Problem

So Jacinda Ardern and Theresa May have signed a piece of paper promising peace in our time when it comes to our trade with Britain... Brexit is not the only concern. More>>

ALSO:

Reshuffle: National Announces Spokesperson For Drug Reform

National Leader Simon Bridges has appointed Paula Bennett to the new position of Spokesperson for Drug Reform as the Government pushes ahead with its agenda of drug decriminalisation, to signal National’s commitment to holding them to account. More>>

ALSO:

KiwiBailed: KiwiBuild Head Officially Resigns

The head of Kiwibuild, Stephen Barclay has officially resigned from the role. In a statement issued on his behalf, it was announced that he would step down from today [Friday]. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare Stats: Rise In Hardship Numbers Shows Income Inadequacy

The latest Ministry of Social Development quarterly report show that a record number of people have received hardship assistance from work and income, with an additional 40,000 hardship payments made between September and December 2018, compared to the previous quarter of the same year... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MBIE’s Social Media Scam

Given the ambit of MBIE’s work, almost any form of social activity could qualify as being part of MBIE’s brief, so the privacy threats posed by this training programme are extensive. The current oversight safeguards seem threadbare to non-existent. More>>

ALSO:

JusTrade: New Campaign For A 21th Century Trade Agenda

‘Critique is no longer enough. If anything is to really change, we need to step away from the existing framework and take a first-principles approach to rethinking what will work for the 21st century.’ More>>

Earlier:

Gordon Campbell: Thompson + Clark Are The Tip Of The Iceberg

How can we tell where and how any lines are being drawn? Oversight is not exactly robust. If it were, Thompson + Clark would have been out of contention for state security work ten years ago. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels