Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Scoop Satire: Sweeping Taxonomy Changes For Budget

Sweeping Taxonomy Changes Planned For Budget 2010

Satire by Lyndon Hood

amoeba, budget,
taxonomy
Click for big version

What may have begun as a typographic error has been embraced by the Government, with the budget tipped to see a sweeping "rebalancing" of the taxonomy system.

The biological classification system, which arranges all living organisms by ranks such as kingdom, genus and species, has remained largely unchanged since the introduction of the domain level under the Labour Government. Business and financial interests have argued the system is due a shake-up.

A recent report revealed New Zealand has some of the lowest taxonomy rates in the OECD.

Along with a host of minor changes, archaea are likely to be formally classified as part of the bacteria kingdom, abandoning the 'domain' level of classification. Finance Minister Bill English has previously indicated he sees this upper taxonomic bracket as inducing unnecessary compliance costs.

"Nine long years of organism-filing mismanagement has left us with a legacy of thousands of unclassified samples," said English. "Labour claims there are tens of millions species on the planet but when you go and look you find almost all of them are entirely undiscovered. They knew about this growing problem and did nothing. Even during the recession the world has been discovering dozens of species a week. Without some hard changes, that is unsustainable."

"Ongoing uncertainty in the area of unicellular microorganisims is damaging economic growth. You'll have to wait until Budget day, but I can say taxonomists not having to faff about with the difference between Archaebacteria and Eubacteria would boost productivity as much as any other change we'll make."

Ease of processing would also reduce widespread taxonomy avoidance, English said.

Challenged on whether the classification of living organisms was a matter for the Minister of Finance, English said that, if Police Minister Judith Collins could be responsible for the justice-related three strikes bill, he didn't want to be left out. Also reflecting the three-strikes process, the species-reclassifications would be made with no input from the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology.

Prime Minister John Key explained that the scientific discipline of biological taxonomy "is the Government's business, actually."

Key would not confirm plans to classify members of the mammal subclass prototheria as aves struthioniformes apterygidae, but pointed out that making the marsupials and montremes technically kiwis would be consistent with the Government's plans to catch Australian by 2020.

"Besides," said a visibly enthusiastic Key, "Kangaroos had two legs. And platypuses have beaks, so it's not really that much of a stretch. I've made my expectations very clear and I don't foresee any problems."

Key conceded that experts in the field might consider such changes ludicrous and unsupportable. "But we did campaign on stuff like three strikes, national standards and boot camps. So that is the kind of thing voters expect from us."

He added that the changes would balance our species-categorisation responsibilities with our economic opportunities.

When asked for comment, the Prime Minister's Science Advisor Professor Sir Peter Gluckman explained that he had something in his eye.

Act leader Rodney Hide has supported the changes. "Scientists might want this system to stay the same," he said. "But who were all these systems devised by? Scientists! And we all know about scientists. You know who liked scientists? Adolf Hilter."

Labour leader Phil Goff has asserted these changes do not conform to first principles, and plans an 'axiomate the taxonomy' bus tour to highlight this discrepancy. He has "no idea" what he would do about them if elected.

Cameron Brewer of the Newmarket Business Association welcomed the changes.

Despite enquires launched earlier this year into leaks of Government plans to groups such as Forest and Bird, there will be no investigation of widespread unofficial knowledge regarding these Budget taxonomy plans among media. An unnamed source close to the Government declined to comment, for once.

The most notable public reaction to the plan is Budget-day drinking games with a drink every time the minister says "phylum".

********

Got feedback? Post a comment on Lyndon's blog

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Reese Erlich: Foreign Correspondent: U.S. Capitol Insurrection As Seen From Abroad

In the wake of the white nationalist mob takeover of the U.S. Capitol and Trump’s pending second impeachment, I contacted journalists and activists overseas to get an idea of how the rest of the world currently views us.... More>>


Ian Powell: Health Restructuring Threatens Patient Voice

The opportunity for public voice is vital for the effective functioning of New Zealand’s health system. Inevitably voice boils down to the accessibility quality of comprehensive healthcare services for patients both at an individual treatment and population health ... More>>


Boris Johnson At Sea: Coronavirus Confusion In The UK

The tide has been turning against UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Oafishly, he has managed to convert that tide into a deluge of dissatisfaction assisted by the gravitational pull of singular incompetence. Much of this is due to such errors of ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Demise Of The Tokyo Olympics

As the Covid vaccines roll out around the world, the Tokyo Olympics are looming as a major test of when (and whether) something akin to global normality can return – to international travel, to global tourism, to professional sport and to mass gatherings of human beings. Currently though, it looks like a forlorn hope that Japan will be able to host the Olympics in late July. Herd immunity on any significant scale seems possible only by December 2021, at the earliest... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Encircling China And Praising India: The US Strategic Framework For The Indo-Pacific

The feeling from Rory Medcalf of the Australian National University was one of breathless wonder. “The US government,” he wrote in The Strategist , “has just classified one of its most secretive national security documents - its 2018 strategic framework ... More>>

The Conversation: The Numbers Suggest The Campaign For Cannabis Reform In NZ Will Outlive The Generations That Voted Against It

Like Brexit in the UK, cannabis reform in New Zealand fell into an age gap — given time, a second referendum would probably succeed. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog