Lyndon Hood - bioinsecure, Lower Hutt

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Le Didymo Juste

Speaking as a blogger, my highest aim in life is have an issue which features prominently in my weblog raised in Parliament. So - as I'm sure you will all understand - it was with an actual orgasm that I greeted the following in response to Share Ardern question time on Wednesday:
I can say to the member that I do not think I was wrong about that, but I do know that the member was wrong when he said recently that didymo can be killed but that unfortunately one has to kill a river for a few years to do it, and that surely it would be better to sacrifice one or two rivers than to let it spread through the South Island.

Now, I'm sure that the relevant people in Anderton's office read the opposition's press releases no matter what I do, and I'm sure that Russell Brown did his share in publicising my post, but it's clearly all to do with me. Do I get a medal or what? Can I join the exhaled ranks of elite political bloggers?

Actually, the saga has had some life in the meantime too.

In December, when one RWDB displaying his talent for diving headfirst into the meme pool without checking the depth. Noting Mr Tumeke's assertion that flushing is the only solution (apparently this was inspired by a use of the stupid-press-release grenade by Anderton that I missed. That's twice!). In contrasting this with Brown's statements, RWDB did some of the obligatory Hard News sneering and then asked for comments on who might be right. Rather than, you know, having a look for himself. Well anyhow, he got told.

Now, I didn't go into all the things that were wrong with the idea because I thought anyone who had the faintest idea about ecology would be able to work it out for themselves. Seeing as there's clearly at least two people in the world outside that category, here goes: instructions for cleaning your fishing geaar do not translate to entire river systems. The idea is unfounded and impractical, it probably wouldn't work, it would be a widly conterproductive solution to destructive but not catastrophic problem and YOU JUST DON'T DELIBERATELY KILL RIVERS BECAUSE IT'S OBVIOUSLY BATSHIT INSANE. Tane's comments at Sir Hump's and in this thread on Frog for details. Also Biosecurity's page for info.

Should I be raising this post so long after it happened? Well, RWDB's post was 2 months after Brown's, so why not?

And then, in February the Nats' Associate Conservation spokesman Eric Roy
thanks goodness for my alma mater, which has show that "the larvae of some native insects may feed on didymo".

As if this had somehow solved the problem.

Now, this idea is less horrifingly dangerous and it might even be less lacking in gorm - it's not like I've looked up the paper in question - but I don't think so. What are you going to do? Dump tonnes of insect larvae on the rivers? Every year? And are they only going to eat didymo? Or are you just going to set up a breeding population? Given that this is a native insect we are talking about, it's probably there already and say and watch while didymo got established in the first place. Who suggested this research? Might it have been Biosecurity NZ? Those people sitting on their hands in Wellington? Just a thought.

We might note that Anderton used the stream-killing suggestion for purposes somewhat peripheral to the actual question. Now, while the nation proably does deserve straight answers (especially considering that the start of the didymo response could have been quicker), I have to agree that perhaps the opposition spokeman doesn't.

Not least for failing to shape up after I gave Ardern what for. Maybe I should turn down that medal after all, because I have this tiny suspicion that actually they don't listen.

Further evidence of this was provided about the same time by Tariana Turia. Just days after I pulled her up for her comments on Corrections and the horrors of psychologists, she's at it again. The fact that the psych-baiting doesn't actually fit in with the rest of speech (for instance, she's quite right about the Ombudsman's report) suggests to me she really does have an axe to grind. She might well want to grind it, because it's clearly not the sharpest tool in the box.

If the names of these measures and concepts and programmes (not that she differentiates) sound a little strange, this is not in itself grounds for dumping them. And if you know what they all actually are, Turia's outburst sounds the stranger of the two, because she clearly has no idea.

One glaring is mention of the Risk of (Re)conviction and Risk of Imprisonment tool. This is barely psychological at all. It uses statistics about who actually has reoffended to predict what the chance of particular people reoffending based on facts about their criminal history. Processing people is a clerical than a psychological thing.

So yeah, you should proabably keep the medal. If there's any cash, though, I'll take that.

New Hood: Sooden and Blair interviews - A Scoop Media Inclusive