The dogmatic resistance of Federated Farmers to any measure to protect the environment is, rather than gradually ebbing as more evidence comes to fore, reaching a crescendo. This week one of their lunatic fringe (I say that because I know of many moderate members who were probably squirming like I was) appeared on television denying the link between dairy farming and poor water quality. Far from an isolated perspective, this is a view shared by the likes of the head of DairyNZ (a feature of ignorance more befitting an advocacy organisation than a legitimate research group) I put this level of denial in the same category as those who argue against anthropogenically forced climate change and for intelligent design. I see emotional rhetoric steeling them against hard science. Not only is it ridiculous but it is downright embarrassing.
That a nation known as being (allegedly) clean and green might get this far and have people in positions of power spinning this uttter claptrap is just plain painful. It perhaps does not help that our own Prime Minister the Rt Hon John Key doesn’t correctly delineate science and opinion. In his recent diabolical appearance on BBC Hardtalk he looked like an utter moron. Pulled apart effortlessly by a journo well-used to those who think they’re bulletproof. If only New Zealand’s media interrogated more deeply, it may have been apparent earlier that he is better a CEO than a PM. He did not choose his opponent wisely however. In dismissing the thoroughly reasonable views of Massey freshwater scientist Dr Mike Joy he has met his match. Long may that battle continue, I am enjoying watching it unfold.
But what is a man who spouts the value of science and innovation think he’s doing? What is the man behind the Prime Minister’s Science Prizes going to make his selection on? What is the man who triumphantly announced a significant focus on science and innovation think he’s paying for? What is the man who appointed the distinguished Peter Gluckman as his Chief Science Advisor think a scientific background means? Perhaps he may consider that pushing science aside under National Standards, dismissing empirical data of an eminent scientist and putting the upcoming hard squeeze on the technical corners of the tormented Department of Conservation may be slightly counter to that soapbox?
The point is really, that it’s time the old guard stepped down thanks. We have appreciated your efforts in raping and pillaging the nations resources for a couple of centuries and it’s time you toddled off. By the old guard, I refer not to age but to perspective. It is little less than frightening when someone barely out of their teens rabidly defends the right to destroy in the name of economic triumph. The fact is, if you continue to be of the view that the natural world is there for your use, no compensation payable; if you think you have the right to all you need and all you want, irrespective of what that means for ecosystems and those poorer than you; or if you resent regulation of your activities on your land where you destroy commonly owned resources for your own pecuniary gain, then I would like to show you the door. This is particularly pivotal if you are in a position of power….if you are a local body councillor who shields your mates (or yourself) from prosecution following repeated RMA offences…if you are a manager in lower government who intentionally disregards elements of your work portfolio that would see you give a voice to that which does not have one….if you are a scientist who is able to be purchased to advocate for an idea plainly wrong, that conflicts with the fundamental principles of your discipline….or, most importantly, a politician that leads a nation of sheep and livestock…then be warned. Because such perspectives are no longer valid, nor welcome. Please do this generation a favour, and allow us to relieve you of your duties. It is and you are, simply not good enough any more.