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Monday, July 24, 2006

Christchurch man doesn’t get the point

The following is story from Stuff that I think clearly illustrates a great point about idiots. I have moved the paragraphs around to make the story clearer. Read on…

DOC cops flak for felling old tree

The Department of Conservation is under attack for felling an old rimu.

Christchurch man Gary Smith said that last month he and his group found the felled tree near a recently constructed hut on Anchor Island in Dusky Sound, part of Fiordland National Park. "It was 3½ metres in diameter. It could have been 300 years old" said Mr Smith (occupation unknown).

Department spokesman Martin Rodd said the rimu was in poor condition. "An assessment of the tree found it to be rotting in places and it was considered to be a safety hazard."

The department had "agonised" over its decision to fell the tree. The tree was also on the best site for a hut that was needed to house staff taking care of 30 recently released kakapo.

But Mr Smith said: "I saw the stump…and it was in perfectly good health."


Gibbs said...
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Gibbs said...

I think you are a being bit harsh, Green. Okay, so the guy was a bit guttered about the felling of a 300 year old tree. Im not convinced about the tree being on "the best site" to put a hut for people to look after some Kakapo that were probably released 500 metres away. Was it "the best site" because it was on flat ground? or perhaps not on the side of a cliff? or because there was a path leading up to the tree? The story you reprinted didnt give enough information to make a truly informed judgement. And having worked for DOC I can tell you that some "agonising" can only take ten minutes.

Hadyn said...

No way am I being harsh on Mr Smith. The only stuff I removed from the article was the line he made about the company here in Wellington that was fined for chopping into a protected pohutukawa. There was no real comparisson and it was fluff.

What do we know about Mr Smith? He is from Christchurch and has visited Fiordland once. Obviously only once otherwise he could have given more evidence about the tree while it was standing.

What is Mr Smith's occupation? We don't know, this means he isn't an arborist or any other profession that would add weight to his arguement else it would have been added.

Even the "300 year old" line is crap. Who says the tree was that old? Some guy who saw the stump.

Sorry Dom, I'm gonna pull the "anecdote doesn't equal data" line on you. The only good info we have in this article is that DOC conducted an assessment of the tree.

So here's the thing. This is another example of "I'm no expert but...". If you're not an expert keep quiet. And don't think you can extrapolate the whole story from the stump.

Gibbs said...
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Gibbs said...

Im just saying don't always take DOC's word as gospel.
Okay he's no expert, but im no expert either and i saw no mention of "it was a pine tree" which would have put the matter to rest immediately. It could have been a very big stump which would suggest, and im no expert, that the tree was pretty old. Maybe not 300 years, heck it might have been 350 or 50. whatever. Just don't be so quick to judge.
Having said that, he was from christchurch which would suggest, and again, im no expert, that he felt dating his cousin "in perfectly good health."

Hadyn said...

With no information, other than "a big rimu tree was cut down", this guy from Christchurch sought to discredit the Department of Conservation. He had never seen the tree before but was basically saying it was completely healthy and didn't need to be cut down.

My point has nothing to do with whether or not DOC actually did the assessment. My point is that based on one piece of evidence, "a big rimu stump", some guy (with no expertise in the relevant area) blasts an entire institution. It would be like you or I looking at a tiny piece of microbiology and making comment on the entire experiment.

Gibbs said...