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

 

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections Corrected: Supreme Court Rules On Release Dates

Corrections has always followed the lawful rulings of the Court in its calculation of sentence release dates. On four previous occasions, the Court of Appeal had upheld Corrections’ practices in calculating pre-sentence detention. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news