NIWA thinks OI Act “doesn’t apply to us”

Parliament Buildings through an onion

We’re working through several answers from the Hon Wayne Mapp, Minister of Research, Science and Technology, concerning questions posed by ACT about the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA). This is a real good one, you just have to know what happened elsewhen to appreciate the depth of its stupidity.

Proposed NIWA-gate screenplay

Weekly NIWA management meeting

“OK, Dave, we’ve received a request from the Coalition for all the info from when Jim put together … no, old Jim … put together the national temp series. It’s pretty dusty, but there’s something in those old boxes, I’ve seen them moving. What should we send them?”

“Damn! Who the hell told them about the Act! Look, don’t SEND them ANYthing. Official information! That Act doesn’t really apply to us. This is war, we’re trying to save the planet, ah, national security’s at stake here, ah, these are operational matters and ah, we don’t have to answer questions. Oh, Tim, don’t look so worried, Wayne’ll back us up; he always has. He doesn’t have a clue what’s going on. Let’s move forward. What’s next? Come on.”

Actually, boys, the game is up.

When the Hon Dr Mapp was asked in the Parliament “what source material was consulted in [the] preparation [of the specific document of adjustments to the Hokitika site]”, why did you advise the minister to answer this week as follows?

Source material used to construct the document comprised: notes in the Hokitika station history file; raw monthly mean temperature data for the Hokitika sites (NIWA National Climate Database “agent numbers” 3907 and 3909); original paper records of monthly data over 1943-1945; raw monthly temperature data from the Climate Database for a number of other sites around New Zealand, which were used in station comparisons described in the final document; NIWA’s “Virtual Climate Station” described in the final document); Appendix C from Dr Jim Salinger’s 1981 Ph.D. thesis; and the “schedule of adjustments”.

Because earlier, when asked by the Coalition under the Official Information Act for:

An explanation of how those original observations were processed to provide the current individual records. Please provide copies of the original worksheets and/or computer records used for such processing.

You advised your legal counsel to send them precisely no documents whatsoever.

Which was very silly of you. When you tell lies, you must have a very good memory. Because our next question is going to be:

Why, in answer to our request under the Official Information Act, did you not send us the material you specified in the Parliament in answer to a written question? Which material you must have, for you wouldn’t lie to the Parliament, would you?

You’re a distinct problem. Which of you should we sack first? Jim, Jim or Jim, err, Dave? Ah, Jim was already sacked. Oh, I’m confused already.

Does anyone else have a sense of farce? Or Abbott and Costello? The Two Ronnies? Chaplin, anyone? Monty Python?

NIWA, or the Climate Science section of it, must be about to become defunct. Its own scientists are dragging its good name through the mud.

It’s incredible.

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