Monday, July 6, 2009

Conflict of interest with water

I agree with the Greens here, it is outrageous that

"Advocates for New Zealand's biggest water polluters have been handed a contract to write a 10-year Government water strategy."

"The Green Party is outraged DairyNZ, which represents dairy farmers, received the uncontested contract to do the work for the state-funded Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) in what MP Jeanette Fitzsimons says is "such an obvious conflict of interest."

"DairyNZ employee and former FRST investment strategy general manager David Johns will conduct the review."

We're not suggesting any criticism of David Johns. The problem is with the foundation that the foundation thought it was OK to ask an organisation which is funded by and represents the biggest polluters of water to design a research strategy for the Government to try to clean up water, a strategy for all Government-funded research of water quality.

"We've got no problem with farmers and dairy farmers being involved, but to be in charge of it, that is quite major."

And this sums it up nicely:

"DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle said it would not have released Johns to do the work without satisfying itself there was no conflict of interest.

An FRST file note released under the OIA said Johns' employer "has an interest in the outcome of the strategy in that it would be a future beneficiary."

Released from his role to do the work because his employer has an interest in the outcome as a beneficiary. And they can see no conflict of interest.

Are the Government serious about protecting our waterways and creating a water strategy that works - or are they just looking after their mates.

Seems like mates are more important than the water to me.

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