Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sanitising the State of the Environment

Nine To Noon yesterday had an interesting interview [audio] with environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy, on freshwater quality. In it, he accuses the Ministry for the Environment of effectively sanitising the freshwater chapter of its recent State of the Environment report, by using the wrong indicators, averaging them out so as to mask problems, and adopting a relentlessly upbeat spin. For a report which is supposed to provide an overview of the environment and indicators so we can track progress, this isn't exactly helpful.

I suspect that MfE would say that their choice of indicators was driven by what Regional Councils collect. But they have the power to force measurement if they want it, and have recently done exactly that for air quality. Freshwater quality if the most prssing environmental problem we face in New Zealand today; it would be nice if the Ministry responsible for advice on it actually bothered to get a complete picture of the problem.

(The rest of the interview is quite interesting as well, and well worth a listen).