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

 

Researcher refutes Minister's claims on beech

Press Release

Researcher refutes Minister's claims of self-interest in beech scheme debate

University of Canterbury
December 29 1999

A senior lecturer at the New Zealand School of Forestry at the University of Canterbury today refuted statements in the House by Hon. Pete Hodgson, Minister of Forestry, that he was motivated by self-interest in the debate on the beech scheme.

During an urgent debate in Parliament on December 22nd 1999, the Minister stated that scientists supporting the beech scheme were mostly being paid by Timberlands West Coast Ltd. (TWC), implying that they were motivated by self-interest. Dr Mason has been on television, radio and has been quoted in newspapers saying that the TWC proposal to sustainably log a small area of our beech forests was not being given a fair hearing, and that in his opinion the scheme was sustainable management. He is not receiving any remuneration from TWC.

"Implying that supporters of the scheme are motivated by self-interest does not address our arguments. The Minister is really just trying to shoot the messenger. He should listen to what we are saying and take note, because we are motivated by a desire for people to live on the planet sustainably", he said.

"It was particularly ironic that the Minister should have made such a claim when the rest of his statement in the house relied so heavily on research work that I have criticised", said Dr Mason. "Not only that, but the work he relied on was actually commissioned by an environmental group opposed to the beech scheme, and so if he wished to engage in criticism of scientists' motivations he could have more fairly directed it at the author of work supporting his own position".

The work in question was a model of beech forest developed by Dr Murray Efford, of Landcare, a Crown Research Institute. Dr Mason, a forester and expert modeller, has pointed out that the model, while mathematically fine, is implemented in a software program that encourages users to make false assumptions. When the logging option is chosen, the starting values of the model are set with unrealistic values. "The model software appears to imply that no new trees would grow in a gap created by removal of a tree, while the same gap created by a natural tree death would support young trees", Dr Mason said. The software also contains an assumption that none of the harvested trees would have otherwise died, when it was the stated aim of authors of the scheme to identify and harvest a proportion of the trees that were dying naturally.

Dr Mason is well positioned to judge the model. He is the author a several growth models, many modelling-related, peer-reviewed papers, and his expertise has been sought through contracts by researchers in the United Kingdom, the United States, and in Chile.

"My concern is for sustainable development and for scientific integrity", he stated. "I stand to gain nothing personally from the TWC proposal, and Timberlands is not paying me anything." He was once paid for one and half day's work relating to TWC's pine plantations, but has had no further financial dealings with company and nor did he intend to in future. "Contract negotiations did not go well", he stated, "so I did not wish to pursue further work with them."

Contact:

Dr Mason

Phone: 03 3642584, 03 3482671
Fax: 03 3642124
Email: fore057@canterbury.ac.nz

Dr Mason is available for interviews on air and for further queries.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Commerce Commission: Retail Fuel "Not As Competitive As It Could Be"

The Commission has outlined some options it considers could improve competition. There are two broad sets of options it thinks may have the potential to help create a competitive wholesale market. These are:

• Greater contractual freedom to make it easier for resellers to switch between suppliers; and
• Enabling wider participation in the majors’ joint infrastructure, notably the shared terminals and supporting logistics involved in their borrow-and-loan system.
Further options, including improving the transparency of premium petrol prices, are discussed in the draft report. More>>

 

Promises: Independent Election Policy Costing Unit A Step Closer

The creation of an entity to provide political parties with independent and non-partisan policy costings is a step closer today, according to Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Associate Finance Minister James Shaw. More>>

ALSO:

School's In: Primary And Intermediate Principals Accept New Offer

Primary and intermediate school principals have voted to accept a new settlement from the Ministry of Education, which includes entrenched pay parity with secondary principals. More>>

ALSO:

IPCA On 'Rawshark' Investigation: Multiple Police Failings In Hager Searches Confirmed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that the Police's unlawful search of Nicky Hager's property in October 2014 resulted from an unwitting neglect of duty and did not amount to misconduct by any individual officer... More>>

ALSO:

Broadcasting Standards: Decisions On Coverage Of Mosque Attacks

The Authority upheld one of these complaints, finding that the use of extensive excerpts from the alleged attacker’s livestream video on Sky News New Zealand had the potential to cause significant distress to audiences in New Zealand, and particularly to the family and friends of victims, and the wider Muslim community. More>>

PM's Post-Cab: Bad Mail

Cabinet was updated on the process around prisoners sending mail, following the accused Christchurch gunman sending letters that "should have been stopped". All mail of "high concern prisoners" will now be checked by a specialist team and a changes to the legal criteria for witholding mail are expecting to go to a cabinet committee in this parliamentary session. More>>

Welfare: Ongoing Drug-Test Sanctions Contradicts Govt’s Rhetoric

Reports that two-thirds of beneficiaries who fail drug tests are still having their benefit sanctioned contradicts the Government’s so-called health approach to drugs. More>>

ALSO:

Welfare: More Measures To Help Those Facing Homelessness

Ministers have announced $54 million in Government funding for initiatives which will support at-risk individuals and whānau to stay in their existing tenancies. The funding will also provide additional wrap around services. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: New Strategy On Māori Reoffending And imprisonment

Authentic co-design with Māori, incorporating a Te Ao Māori worldview, and greater connectedness with whānau are key elements of Hōkai Rangi, Corrections’ new departmental strategy designed to address the long-term challenge of Māori reoffending and imprisonment. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels