About ten to four this afternoon Outlook went ‘bing-bong’ and a mail from NIWA arrived on my desktop. It was John Morgan, refusing my second request for publicly-owned information. The time elapsed since we first asked for it has reached 21 weeks.
Readers might remember I asked again on 20 February:
So would you please provide a copy of the scientific literature that approves of the measurement technique used by NIWA in the Review. This request is reiterated under the Official Information Act.
Here’s what Mr Morgan decided to say about it:
Dear Mr Treadgold
I write in response to your email dated 20 February 2014 indicating that you believe that my reply of 21 November 2013 did not answer the question raised in your email of 22 October 2013.
I believe that my reply of 21 November 2013 is in accordance with NIWA’s obligations under the Official Information Act 1982.
I remain firmly of the view that the question you have raised with respect to the methodology applied by NIWA in the Review has been thoroughly canvassed before the Court and, being a matter of expert scientific opinion, is not the correct subject matter of an Official Information request.
Section 28(3) of the Official Information Act allows you to complain to the Ombudsman regarding this response.
Chief Executive Officer
That’s balderdash, of course. He shamelessly corrupts a request for documents into “a matter of expert scientific opinion” which has been “thoroughly canvassed before the Court” and is not the “correct” subject for an OIA request. Stuff and nonsense, John, what are you drinking?
The documents which he brings to our attention because, he claims, they “recognise” NIWA’s methods are just documents, not opinions; they have been mentioned in, but strangely not produced to, the Court (the judge let them get away with that), therefore they are not available to us (so we must ask for them); but because they’re documents, the request is an ideal subject for an OIA request. He’s twisting everything.
So all right, I’m angry, but I replied carefully:
Dear Mr Morgan,
Thank you for your reply, but I’m having trouble understanding it. Perhaps you misunderstand my request, because I’m not asking for a scientific opinion. Please note also that this request is unconnected with any judicial proceedings.
I asked simply for a copy of the scientific literature that approves of the measurement technique used by NIWA in the Review. In other words, a copy of the documents you referred to in the Herald published on 16 October 2013, when you stated that the methodology applied by NIWA in the Review was internationally recognised. I ask for nothing more and nothing less and I have asked for it twice. Confirmation of your statement can only be found in documents describing the international recognition you cite, so nothing else will do; I ask you to produce them because you have not produced them anywhere else.
In the absence of your confirmation, doubts arise as to whether the documents exist. Yet as a prestigious institution steeped in the ways of science, NIWA surely understands the value to credibility of producing evidence.
My readers and I want to see a copy of those documents you cited in which international recognition of NIWA’s methods in the Review is described, or an Internet reference to such documents. As it concerns material whose existence you confirmed in a public forum, our request is an appropriate matter under the Official Information Act 1982. It doesn’t require scientific input. You can answer it easily with some photocopied pages.
What are staff in other departments thinking when they see their CEO blundering about with baffling replies and obfuscating our simple request?
There’s not much more I can say. I mean, why should I bother to sabotage a man so intent on sabotaging himself? The more often he intentionally “misconstrues” my request, the more clearly everyone can see his obfuscation. We have to wonder what he’s hiding.
Whatever it is must be simple. There are only a few likely sources of the “international recognition” Mr Morgan has claimed.
- A friendly Australian climate scientist.
- Jim Salinger, who studied at the University of East Anglia, which is overseas.
- The chief climate scientist of Senegal.
- Egos of NIWA.
I hope it’s not 4. Readers may think of other possibilities, but any real scientific source, like a university or a national meteorological office somewhere, is highly unlikely, or he would have told us by now. I know this will annoy him, but I’ve had enough.
Just send me the documents, John.