Coalition appeals NIWA case

The NIWA case is to be heard before a panel of three judges at the Court of Appeal in Wellington tomorrow, Tuesday, 15 October.

The focussed grounds are that all three NIWA temperature series resulted from serious mistakes of fact, which impugned the rationality of the Crown Entity’s decisions.

The Coalition is also seeking reversal of the High Court’s costs order.

NIWA is cross-appealing. It apparently suggests that CRIs should not be subject to public law, but that CRIs are akin to SOEs. Also that NIWA’s supply of temperature research to the Crown is the result of commercial research contracts.

The judgement is likely to be reserved.

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52 Thoughts on “Coalition appeals NIWA case

  1. Andy on 14/10/2013 at 4:23 pm said:

    This could be interesting…
    Good luck

  2. Andy on 14/10/2013 at 4:58 pm said:

    Counting down to the inevitable PratWatch/Cranks blog posts about to burst forth upon us

    • Yes, because we’ve been very naughty.

    • Andy on 14/10/2013 at 8:11 pm said:

      Does this require a whole load more evidence and submissions to be presented?

    • No evidence, because the appeal is based on what was said during the original hearing, but submissions, certainly. I find it horrifying that NIWA, who argued during the hearing that it was not obliged to use best practise, nor even to strive for excellence, now seems to claim it’s beyond the requirements of ordinary law. It should be an interesting tussle.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/10/2013 at 7:42 am said:

      The primary evidence (The Statistical Audit) wasn’t considered first time around. Perhaps this time it will.

  3. Pingback: The last refuge of scoundrels

    • Here we go. It didn’t take them too long to find it. Now we learn that I started everything. What will I get up to next?

    • Andy on 14/10/2013 at 9:35 pm said:

      It s all your fault Richard.

      Plus Exxon Mobil and the Koch Brothers.

      Think of the fame!

    • Hah! I’m waiting for something less transient than fame — the cheque, if you don’t mind.

    • the continuing effort of the cranks to litigate away warming in New Zealand over the last 150 years.

      Gareth, you exaggerate. At the original hearing the Trust criticised NIWA’s temperature record of the 20th century, which was only 100 years.

      Oh, and, if you can, please substantiate the claim of warming you refer to over 150 years. How much was it?

    • Huub Bakker on 15/10/2013 at 6:17 am said:

      Why would you want to litigate away the last 150 years of warming? It’s only the last 50 years that are at issue since that’s the only period where man-made CO2 is supposed to have any influence. The temperature increase before then only makes a better case for natural causes.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/10/2013 at 8:24 am said:

      >”continuing effort of the [citizens] to litigate away [,as is their right,] [some of the] warming in New Zealand over the [100] years [1909 -2010]”

      There, fixed.

    • Magoo on 15/10/2013 at 11:48 am said:

      Well they’re a cheerful bunch aren’t they. OT – In news today they’ve found a forest under an Alaskan glacier that coincides with the Roman Warm Period.

    • Andy on 15/10/2013 at 2:05 pm said:

      I think some (or one of them), is taking the P***

      We can’t let the cranks turn the recorded warming down. If anything we need to turn it up so more people can be aware that this climate disaster is coming!

    • Richard C (NZ) on 15/10/2013 at 7:04 pm said:

      NIWA’s NZT7 warming is already way more than the Southern Hemisphere average. Turning it up even more wont make any difference.

      Besides, just like the global average, there’s a little problem with the 21st Century NZT7 record (NIWA & NZCSET) – no warming whatsoever. Even GISS are having trouble turning that up.

    • Mike Jowsey on 16/10/2013 at 12:27 am said:

      Twenty years ago it was much easier to adjust history, but now that everybody is watching so closely, and the Wayback Machine does not lie, there is a great difficulty in adjusting historical data. Which is why the Cessation is hard to hide.

  4. Willy on 15/10/2013 at 7:17 am said:

    It’s a pity, because we all would like some warming, but the AGW scoundrels have commandeered it for their own profit and political benefit. So now I am cheering on the growth of the polar ice caps, cheering against myself, so to speak. Damn the scoundrels!

    • Mike Jowsey on 16/10/2013 at 12:22 am said:

      Well put Willy. It’s a conundrum for sure. However, impending cooling is yas (yet-another-scare). Don’t get caught in that web. Don’t cheer on anything ad agumentum. Simply seek the truth. Simply question more. (Good for the soul).

      The problem is that as the world governments focus on a non-event, they are probably missing a real threat. Who knows – climate science is still in nappies.

  5. Simon on 15/10/2013 at 8:19 pm said:

    More legal bills. I doubt the legal system will allow the Trust to dissolve without paying them.

    • Mike Jowsey on 16/10/2013 at 12:00 am said:

      Simon, don’t you get it? Here is a small group of self-funded sceptics asking awkward questions of one of the bastions of scientific record-keeping, namely NIWA. Such a robust and prestigious Institute should be in a position to welcome such questions. What have they to hide? Au contraire, they should throw the hallowed doors open to the inquiring mind and inundate him/her with empirical, unassailable evidence, it being so freely available.

      However, this intrepid group which dares to question such hallowed realms is treated to scorn, derision, slander, mocking on high, and shonky judicial results. Which they are now (politely) contesting. You should welcome it, Simon. What have you got to lose? Welcome the sceptical mind – it gives opportunity to strengthen your unassailable and hallowed case!

    • SimonP on 16/10/2013 at 7:05 am said:

      Although I have some sympathy for your position (the warming over the first half of last century looks a little high), going to the High Court is the wrong way to do it. The legal system will make a decision weighted by those who gave evidence, and the Trust did not produce any experts in statistics or climate science.
      It’s also a waste of time, the T7 series has never been used as a basis for policy decisions of any Government.
      Note also that NIWA is under no obligation to follow Salinger’s thesis exactly. If you disagree, write a peer-reviewed paper on why your way is better.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 8:30 am said:

      >”…the Trust did not produce any experts in statistics”

      Wrong, and this is the problem. The NZCSET had the ‘Statistical Review’ independently reviewed (i.e. the peer-reviewed paper has already been written just not published in a journal) by three expert statisticians and this was stated in the Dedekind affidavit as I recall (stated somewhere in evidence anyway).

      However J Venning ignored that fact, preferring to take the word of Dr Mullen who is not a statistician. The issue is not a specific climate science issue, it is a statistical break-point issue common to statistical analysis of any time series data and signals. Hopefully the Tribunal will be a bit more open minded to the evidence than J Venning was.

      BTW, the BOM in its ACORN-SAT series discards break-point adjustments that are less than 0.3 C but both the NIWA and NZCSET series make adjustments of less than 0.3 C. I suspect that the NZT7 trend would be further reduced if BOM methodology was adopted.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 8:53 am said:

      This is the evidence that J Venning ignored:

      ‘Statistical Audit of the NIWA 7-Station Review’

      “In this report, we examine the adjustments in detail, and show that NIWA did not follow the Rhoades & Salinger method correctly”

      Reviewed independently by 3 expert statisticians. The first time the NIWA NZT7 has undergone a rigourous audit (the BOM review was not a technical review) but sloppy is apparently an OK MO at NIWA and OK by J Venning, going by his decision.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 9:27 am said:

      >”..independently reviewed ……….by three expert statisticians and this was stated in the Dedekind affidavit:

      See item 16 on page 4 of the affidavit:

      Also see items 3 & 4 re Dedekind vs Mullen.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 3:30 pm said:

      >”The issue is not a specific climate science issue, it is a statistical break-point issue common to statistical analysis of any time series data and signals.”

      The Chow Break Test (similar but not the same as the Rhoades and Salinger break test – see Appendix of ‘Statistical Audit’) applied to the global temperature series:

      ‘Did the global temperature trend change at the end of the 1990s?

      Tom Quirk, MSc, MA DPhil (Oxon), SMP (Harvard)


      There is a strong set of coincident events at or around 2000 that suggest the onset of a cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. This is supported by the decreasing humidity in the Northern Pacific Ocean after the break in 2000 (Figure 6) where the probability of the straight line fit showing no decrease is 3%. However for the global surface temperature this analysis has not established whether the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation dominates the warm phase of the North Atlantic Decadal Oscillation. […]

      Also from Tom Quirk (via the NZCSC website):

      ‘Why Global Warming Does Not Threaten Dangerous Temperatures’


      Figure 5: Annual Australian temperatures from the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) high quality data series. The break and jump in the solid lines of 0.40C is a consequence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation moving from a cool to a warm phase, often called the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1976-78 that is also reflected in the global temperature.

      Reflected in NZ temperature too. A Salinger paper (might be Salinger and Mullen – can dig it out if anyone wants to read it) documents this but we don’t hear about that from NIWA (or Salinger either) these days.

      Figure 4 on page 5 (HadCRU ten year averages) is similar to IPCC AR5 SPM Figure 1(a). HadCRU has confirmed that the first 2 years of 2010+ are tracking on average cooler than 2000-2010.

  6. Pureant on 16/10/2013 at 7:56 am said:

    I see Bjorn Lomborg cannot be held responsible for writing misleading books because

    “but Lomborg himself not guilty because of lack of expertise in the fields in question”

    Several environmental scientists brought a total of three complaints against Lomborg to the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DCSD)



  7. Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 7:44 pm said:

    Update: Tuesday 15th @ 3-50pm

    Word reaches me [Gareth Renowden] that the NZCSET have just capitulated and abandoned their appeal against Justice Venning’s decision — in other words, a comprehensive victory for NIWA and a further vindication of the work done by their team on the NZ temperature record. The Appeal judges have reserved their judgement on costs,

    Is this correct?

    • Andy on 16/10/2013 at 8:19 pm said:

      Even if it is true, it seems a leap to call this a vindication of NIWA work.

    • Richard C (NZ) on 16/10/2013 at 8:38 pm said:

      Legally (if true), vindication in absentia

      Statistically, no vindication.

    • Andy on 16/10/2013 at 8:49 pm said:

      It is a bit like saying that the Climategate inquiries were a vindication of UEA science, when they conveniently managed to avoid looking at the science

      Some interesting parallels

    • Clarence on 16/10/2013 at 9:26 pm said:

      If this is true, will we now be able to have a no-holds-barred conversation about some of the extraordinary methods Salinger used to crank down the temperatures in the first half of the twentieth century?

      It feels like this case has been running for years and during that time everybody on the skeptic blogs has been tip-toeing around the scandals to avoid upsetting the precious judges.

      Why did this country have more warming than the globe in general?
      Why did we have about 90% of our warming during a period (1940-55) when the rest of the world was experiencing cooling?
      Why did all Salinger’s “random” adjustments go in the same direction?
      Why has there been no statistically significant warming in New Zealand since 1952?
      Why does NIWA’s latest 7SS use techniques from a 1980 thesis when Salinger himself admitted his method was wrong in Rhoades & Salinger (1993)?

  8. Barry Brill on 16/10/2013 at 9:11 pm said:

    The trust did withdraw the appeal shortly after commencement of argument in the Court of Appeal at Wellington.

    Two of the panel of judges raised preliminary points regarding jurisdiction and procedure. Grant Illingworth QC who is very strong in his area of speciality, turned two of the points very convincingly but the presiding judge was not to be gainsaid on his third point and eventually told Grant that the appeal should be withdrawn.

    In essence the point was that, as the appeal relied upon NIWA’s self-contradiction, David Wratt should have been cross-examined on that issue at the High Court. We naturally pointed out that Judicial Review proceedings are heard “on the papers” so there is no opportunity for cross-examination. The presiding judge said (in effect) this was because JR is not designed for factual disputes, and most such disputes do not involve allegations that Government agents have made major mistakes. When such allegations are being made, a plaintiff should make application for an exception to the “no cross-examination” rule.

    The trust’s QC advises that this ruling is unprecedented. However, that might reflect the fact that s 92 of the Evidence Act is new and these particular circumstances may not have risen before. While he questions the ruling, an appeal court is as infallible as the Pope.

    Any suggestion that this technical jurisdictional point was a vindication of the New Zealand Temperature Record (NZTR) is as ill-founded as many of Renowden’s other fulminations.

    I’ve told the NZHerald that the Coalition would probably now consider another forum, perhaps the Minister or the Auditor-General, but NIWA should certainly be accountable to somebody. The NZTR is a key national archive and the principal driver of modelled projections of future NZ warming.

    • Willy on 17/10/2013 at 7:08 am said:

      So the legal view is that because a legal exemption was not applied for, the process therefore didn’t follow legal procedures? That’s legally atrocious, but sort of Goedelian — shows that the law can’t be tactically utilised against the will of the practitioners of the law, which is commonsensical. Treat it as a new beginning — abandon the legal avenue.

    • Andy on 17/10/2013 at 7:56 am said:

      This is unfortunate and thanks for reporting back Barry

    • Richard C (NZ) on 17/10/2013 at 8:02 am said:

      Thanks for this clarification Barry. Was the Tribunal made aware that J Venning overlooked peer-review of the ‘Statistical Audit’ by statistical practitioners?

      Seems to me that the NZ Judicial system was not and still isn’t capable of dealing with a case of this nature, whether in procedure or arbitrative capacity. Not a good look I have to say.

  9. Richard C (NZ) on 17/10/2013 at 8:32 am said:

    [NZ Herald] Niwa chief executive John Morgan said he was pleased but not surprised by the outcome. “We never doubted the excellence and integrity of our science and our scientists,” he said. “The methodology applied by Niwa was in accordance with internationally recognised … methodology.”

    The application of the methodology (the central evidence was that it was incorrectly applied) was never addressed so Morgan can’t make that claim as a result of the outcome.

    NIWA’s not off the hook, besides, warming is sooo last century.

    • Clarence on 17/10/2013 at 8:43 pm said:

      It’s astonishing that NIWA’s CEO has again demonstrated that his organisation’s credibility depends heavily on the claim that their adjustment techniques accorded with “internationally recognised methodology”.

      The 7SS which appears on their website under the heading “New Zealand temperature record”, was adjusted by a method described by Jim Salinger in 1981. That method was jettisoned 12 years later by Salinger himself and has never been used since by any climatologist anywhere.

      This was the central nub of the appeal case that didn’t get heard. It was probably the reason why the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) criticised the revised 7SS in the report which has been kept secret. It was almost certainly the reason why NIWA was arguing that CRI’s are not accountable to the Courts (or anybody else) except in extreme cases like provable fraud.

      Now that John Morgan has staked his reputation on the claim that the method was “internationally recognised”, the Ombudsman should be prepared to check whether that claim can be backed up.

    • Bob D on 18/10/2013 at 9:45 am said:

      Good summary Clarence.

      “The 7SS which appears on their website under the heading “New Zealand temperature record”, was adjusted by a method described by Jim Salinger in 1981. That method was jettisoned 12 years later by Salinger himself and has never been used since by any climatologist anywhere. “

      Quite right, and the results obtained using S81 are vastly different to those using the internationally-accepted methods of RS93, which they claimed to have used but never did.

    • Australis on 18/10/2013 at 8:14 pm said:

      Bob D

      Has anybody in NIWA (or any other NZ Government agency) put out a temperature series which was adjusted in accord with the Rhoades method? Or any other identified method, for that matter?

      If not, I assume Mr Morgan’s “internationally-recognised methodology” is some sort of secret formula, known only to NIWA insiders?

    • Bob D on 20/10/2013 at 1:15 am said:


      No, it appears nobody has. NIWA claimed in the court case (Wratt) that the 1992 7SS was based on RS93, but that is clearly not right, as we showed in the Audit, and there is little evidence that RS93 was ever used except a passing reference in an internal publication that claimed that some stations were checked using a method called RS92 (which was presumably RS93 prior to peer-review) but the internal publication only dealt with the period 1920 onwards, unlike the 7SS at that stage that covered 1853 onwards.

      They have since thrown RS93 under the bus, even claiming (Mullan, 2012) it is unstable unless at least four years are used either side of a change point, even though this directly contradicts RS93 and completely negates the worked example (two years either side) in that paper.

      They appear completely confused, which is probably why they are resorting to legal arguments instead of fronting up with the science.

  10. Alexander K on 17/10/2013 at 8:58 am said:

    As you say, Richard C, ‘warming is soooo last century!’
    The Brit Met office is currently accusing a number of commercial weather forecasters (who exist because Commerce cannot afford to take the Met Office seriously) of being alarmist in their predictions of the coming extremely severe Winter for the UK, Europe and North America. The Met Office still clings to their warming fantasy and I fear for the survival of my elderly friends and relatives in the UK as their government appears to be fully committed to a truly idiotic reliance on alternative energy technologies. The latest pronouncement by HM Govt’s so-called science advisor, as reported on Bishop Hill, is weirdly unscientific to say the least.

  11. Andy on 17/10/2013 at 10:13 am said:

    The main issue to me seems the accountability of government bodies (semi-autonomous or whatever) to the taxpayers who are funding them.

    The seven station series has taken a back seat in this debate, in my view

    Doug Keenan’s battles with the UK Met Office seem to offer some parallels.

  12. Brandoch Daha on 12/11/2013 at 10:28 pm said:

    Another day, another smackdown by the judiciary:

    Care to comment, boys?

    • Andy on 13/11/2013 at 6:03 am said:

      You must be pulsating with excitement Taylor.
      Do you also celebrate when EQC manage to shaft yet another Christchurch earthquake claimant, or Len Brown gets away with yet another scam in the Auckland council?
      It must make you feel so proud to live in this banana republic.

    • Andy on 13/11/2013 at 10:56 am said:

      Nice of Taylor and his eco-fascist compatriot Thomas to link back to here.

      Welcome gents

    • Richard C (NZ) on 13/11/2013 at 6:56 am said:

      “the law is an ass” – Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist,

      When the character Mr. Bumble is informed that “the law supposes that your wife acts under your direction”. Mr. Bumble replies “If the law supposes that … the law is a [sic] ass—a idiot. If that’s the eye of the law, the law is a bachelor; and the worst I wish the law is that his eye may be opened by experience—by experience.”

      Similarly in NZCSET v NIWA.

    • Magoo on 13/11/2013 at 11:24 am said:

      Another 2 decades and still a lack of warming, no tropospheric hotspot, no positive feedback from water vapour, or ANY predictions from the IPCC to eventuate for that matter.

      Care to comment anyone?

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