Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Modelling forests and Muddling politics

Press Release

By Brian Swale, Christchurch, Thursday 23 March 2000

Modelling forests and Muddling politics.

A quiet Christchurch campus auditorium was jolted with a wake-up call on Thursday. World-renowned forest growth modeller, Dr Graham Whyte concluded a masterly talk on forests, modelling and management with an impassioned lambasting of politicians who, he believes, are not numerate, and seemingly of questionable integrity.

Describing how growth modelling is just one component in the management system, and promoting integration and balance among stock-taking, monitoring, modelling, planning and managing all relevant components, Dr Whyte covered modelling of beech forests in detail.

Dr Whyte added that “NZ politicians seemed not to understand numbers - they were not numerate, and the rest of us need to adapt to this.”

Eventually he came to the now-infamous quote of Minister of Forests Pete Hodgson - (HANSARD B09-3, December 22 1999), referring to the computer model of West Coast beech forest dynamics on which Labour relied for decision-making.

“This example of untutored use of an inappropriate model illustrated the dangers inherent in using ill- adapted tools and unrepresentative data inputs to make unjustified claims about forest management proposals,” reported Mr Swale.

“The results of playing with this particular model do not represent the biological behaviour of beech, and the implicit inferences about management were indefensibly wrong.” he added. “The TWC intentions were for adaptive management, and modelling for a maximum of 35 years.”

“The model available on the ’net allowed no management change in response to any unacceptable trends, and ran for a 400 year cycle”

“No data did or ever could materialise which are good enough to permit unerring prediction for 400 years without periodic revision and adaptation.”

Dr Whyte noted that forest ecosystem sustainability was not a new concept.

“There are centuries old living examples of sustainable indigenous management in Europe, despite the contrary assertions of opponents.

A myth perpetuated by Labour since 1987, is that there can be a clear split between production and preservation, and that multiple use of all our forests is unworkable.

“Muddled thinking, that could have been avoided with some homework and consultation with committed professionals.” said Dr Whyte.

He continued “Many examples, both in New Zealand in the past, and elsewhere in the world right now, show the fallacy of these assertions.”

Suggesting that managers need to add the ability to deal with politicians to their suite of skills, Dr Whyte was unable to offer practical advice on how a profession, a vocation, and businesses that depend on carefully gathered facts, sensitive models and caring long-term management, could operate in a climate of muddled thinking that can change every three years.

He was equally scathing about the deliberate dishonouring of the West Coast Accord by Labour and the disregard for the major stakeholders, West Coasters.

Brian Swale represents a group of people promoting sustainable management of beech forests for fine timber and enhanced conservation. He can be contacted at e-mail bj@caverock.net.nz

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Crowdsale And Crowdfunding Campaign: Help Create The Future Of Independent News

Two weeks to go! The Scoop 3.0 plan aims to create NZ’s first community-owned, distributed news and media intelligence ecosystem in 2019. We believe this ScoopPro media monetisation approach can be scaled and spread globally to support local and independent news efforts in regional New Zealand and around the world.

Scoop is an ecosystem, it would not exist without those who contribute to it, read it and rely on it for professional media purposes. Generous past support from this ecosystem has enabled us to come this far in developing our business model. Support our PledgeMe Campaign>>

 

14/11: Two Years’ Progress Since The Kaikoura Earthquake

Mayor John Leggett said it was a day for reflection, but also a time to recognise the work by many people to support progress towards recovery made across Marlborough since November 2016. More>>

ALSO:

Pike River: Mine Drift Re-Entry Plan To Proceed

“I’ve decided the Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau Mā Iwa - Pike River Recovery Agency, recommended course of action to enter the drift, using the existing access tunnel, is by far the safest option,” said Andrew Little. More>>

ALSO:

Appointments: New High Commissioner To Australia Announced

“Dame Annette King needs no introduction given her long running career as a parliamentarian where she has previously held a number senior Cabinet portfolios, including Justice, Police and Health. She also was Parliament’s longest serving female MP with 30 years’ service,” said Mr Peters. More>>

ALSO:

Two Years Since Kaikoura: Silvia Cartwright To Lead Inquiry Into EQC

“The inquiry will be the first of its kind under the Public Inquiries Act 2013 and will have all the powers of a Royal Commission, be independent of Government and make its report directly to the Governor-General. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Royal Commission Into Child Abuse

Obviously, it is good news that the coalition government has broadened the scope of its Royal Commission into the abuse of children, beyond its previous focus on children in state care. More>>

ALSO:

Cases Delayed: Court Staff Refuse To Handle Sentencing Papers

Dozens of court cases have reportedly been delayed, as court staff escalate industrial action at two Auckland courts by enforcing a ban on handling sentencing papers. More>>

ALSO:

Education: Primary Teachers Rolling Strikes

RNZ Report: More than 100,000 primary school students in Auckland will be home from school today as teachers and principals walk off the job for the second time this year. It's the start of a week of rolling one-day strikes around the country, after the collapse of contract negotiations last Thursday. More>>

ALSO:

"Process Was Sound": Inquiry Into Haumaha Appointment Released

The Inquiry’s purpose was to examine, identify, and report on the adequacy of the process that led to the appointment. It found the process was sound and no available relevant information was omitted. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels