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Here is the Collins Dictionary definition of "extremist" (noun)

"If you describe someone as an extremist, you disapprove of them because they try to bring about political change by using violent or extreme methods." 

Here is the Oxford definition:

"A person who holds extreme political or religious views, especially one who advocates illegal, violent, or other extreme action." 

I mention this because over the last week, well known rural commentator Jamie MacKay referred to highly respected environmental scientist, Dr Mile Joy in his 'Country' column in the following terms: 

"Speaking of the Sunday programme, which appears to be on an anti-farming crusade, it was good to see Dr. Mike Joy taken to task over some of his extremist views on the same show a few weeks earlier. Dr. Jacqueline Rowarth, the Environmental Protection Authority's chief scientist and soil scientist Dr. Doug Edmeades joined forces to have a crack at their fellow academic. While you can admire Mike Joy's passion, I can't take seriously any academic who reckons we have to completely rid the Canterbury Plains of dairy cows and remove animals from the food chain. Is this really the stuff we should be feeding the nation's best young agricultural minds at Massey University?"

There is clearly an element within the dairy industry who will not be satisfied iuntil Dr Joy ir removed from any posible position of influence, and Jamie Mackay is simply an extension of this concerted attempt to destroy his credibility. There were even implied threats on the URL article from the Country that suggested that perhaps Mike Joy should be removed from his position at Massey.

Fortunately, these people are in no position to achieve this, but don't be surprised to see political pressure applied on Massey to have him censured or removed. Neither presented a single fact to dispute what Dr Joy had said, and they were of course encouraged by Mackay who questioned the effect that he was "having on young minds at Massey." 

It is a great shame when those from whom we should expect reasonable debate refer to respected scientists in this manner. Dr Joy may not qualify as the dairy industry's best friend, but to put even "some of his views" in the category of "extremist" is nothing more than objectionable, and reinforces the effect of long-standing personal attacks from within the industry that have been mounted on Dr Joy who has consistently, and with scientific rigour highlighted its shortcomings.

For one thing, they have quoted Dr Joy out of context. What he pointed out, that is obvious to all who are not blinded by the chimera of short term gain - the Canterbury soil structure, and aquifer system is totally unsuitable for intensive dairying - the unprecedented change from sheep and beef pastoral, and cropping farming over the past ten years, and consequential reliance on unsustainable irrigation, will have far-reaching consequences. Yes Jamie - that is exactly what needs to be taught to "the best young agricultural minds at Massey University". 

We should remember that both Mackay and  Dr. Jacqueline Rowarth, the Environmental Protection Authority's chief scientist are far from being unbiased observers. Mackay part owns a substantial dairy farm in Southland, and Rowarth likewise in the Waikato where she was a director of Fonterra before being appointed to her current position - surely one of the most puzzling potential conflicts of interest that our current Government has perpetrated during its term of office. 

The attempts to undermine Dr Joy's credibility are endless, and a poor reflection on an industry whose defensive reaction to any criticism from any quarter, has reached ludicrous proportions. It is simply unable to respond to the charges that are levelled against its practices in any other way than by personal attack, and Mackay's column consistently represents an unfortunate extension of this practice.

Farmers may gain confidence from reading and listening to Jamie Mackays bucholic, and often comical commentary about every subject under the sun, but if they think the remainder of the population is convinced. they should think again. We are not so easily taken in. Shock-jock Hosking, he is not - more a 'try-hard.'



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Reader Comments (1)

I would have expected this from Doug Edmeades given his public utterances to date being the paid shill that he is but I just do not know what Howarth was thinking by being present for such a beat up on Dr Joy unlesss she went as a private citizen? I know that question was rhetorical but the fact she was on that panel with the mooted question proposed shows an incredible arrogance or to be kinder ignorance of her role as head of the EPA.

Very Trumpenesque in my view. Is she been emboldened by the very pro Dairy Nat Gumminent who hand picked her for the role. Totally unqualified in my view but that is another matter.

May 14, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

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