"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity" - Neil Roberts

Until we have legislation adopted into law to ensure fiduciary accountability and transparency in public affairs we will continue to have human rights breached because the existing crown immunity and lack of any independent oversight invites corruption to flourish.

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Friday, June 4, 2010

The Secret Life of Information 2: Ponygate - MAF sells infected animals to local meat works:

The Secret Life of Information part one shows a copy of the police apologies for failing to turn up to Court for the Billsticking hearing in 2003. The issue was a civil one in the first place and nothing to do with the police.

This is Part Two, it's about  serious questions being asked in parliament regarding MAF's disastrous experiment into an "unknown organism with the potential to cause international trade disruption", and the fact that MAF sold several horses infected with an unidentified organism which MAF themselves had classified as having the potential to cause major international trade disruption - to a local meat company in Masterton, Farm Meats. 

Here are the records of the experiment, drafted by Project Manager Mark Bosson.   You'll notice that they are extremely unprofessional, and in fact, they look like they've been drawn up by a standard one science student- not someone doing a Masters Degree at the taxpayer's expense! You'll also notice that the horses, and in particular the one referred to as Alpha, the only male horse of the four used in the "fatal fiasco" (Dominion Post November 29 1999 I think, will check soon) failed experiment Bosson was in charge of, were definitely infected and exposed to the unidentified disease, and it was indisputably recorded that this was so, in BOTH sets of records, the original set, and the second set of records Bosson made up to try and ameliorate his culpability.

The Minister lied in Parliament, saying the horses had not been exposed to infection, and it was "standard procedure" to sell them to a meat works. The Animal Ethics Committee were rightly horrified, but the Minister thought it was fine.  Here are the records, which show that every one of the horses exhibited symptoms of being infected with the organism:

After the serious injuries suffered by the horses, and the obvious neglect and lack of appropriate or skilled or experienced care for the four horses was revealed by the report of the Maidstone Vet (up soon), another set of records was drawn up, this one:

This also confirms that the horses were showing symptoms of being infected with an unidentified disease, they were all exposed to infection and they were all infected to some degree.

Now look at how MAF reacted to the complaint, click on the images to enlarge them.  

This email makes a mockery of MAF's claim that nothing was transmitted to the horses.

Not to mention MAF's dishonest claim that there are no photographs of the experiment. There were many of these jpg files, they were the photographs taken on the National Centre for Disease Centre digital camera.  There is a record of this email - government email systems are archived.  MAF lied to parliament about this serious biosecurity breach!  Incompetent AND corrupt!  Oh, and taxpayer funded!

Colin Wilks makes the point that even if it is not a mutant form of Foot and Mouth Disease (as he jokingly suggests), the point is that it is definitely something, and not nothing as MAF are now trying to claim.
This little "love, Nicci" rubbish from "Administration Team Leader" Nicci Rowswell refers to a conversation after she contacted me to tell me that I had been the victim of a constructive dismissal by the National Centre for Disease Investigation, that I wasn't very happy about it, and that I also had concerns about what she refers to as the animal ethics issue. MAF decided to make

up a story about me being a mad woman and suffering some sort of vague mental illness, thereby conveniently diverting attention away from the scandal.

The Ethics Committee report will be up soon, it validates and supports my complaints totally, but fails to address the fact that MAF sold three horses with an unidentified organism with the potential to cause major international trade disruption.

This is the next damage control masterpiece from Nicci Rowswell.

And one of the most REALLY damning pieces of evidence of the level of arrogance and ignorance common among our overpaid self important, unprofessional, devious, corrupt public servants that there is on this site, because of the way she spells out the strategy to just sack me and shut me up for raising legitimate concerns about the serious injury to the four horses at Silverstream, and the utterly appalling circumstances of Mark Bosson's "experiment", which we'll go into later. It proves that there was no intention by MAF of a proper inquiry, just a cover up and a nasty attitude.This next page consists of two emails, half way down the page the one dated 7th July (from Vicki Bee) begins:

"Well Nicci I suppose as Finola said, we weren't ever going to write the perfect script. Just one step at a time to shut down as many avenues as possible."

"In terms of the animal ethics issue, if you and Hugh feel there is any legal risk if she were to take up an issue, I would move to deal with it, otherwise just ignore it again."

And on it goes . . . click on it and read it for yourselves, it's outrageous!

"She rang Rhoda today (Thursday).

Having talked with Vicki Bee, George Capes, Hugh and Grant, I told Rhonda to try and fob her off "
Unfortunately she threatened to go to the papers, so I spoke to her"

Then they realised I wasn't going to just go away and shut up.

Head Office staff directed other staff "Do not engage in dialogue with her" as they realised that I was serious about my complaints and was not going to accept their corrupt cover up.

When we discovered that the horses had been sold to to a local meat works in Masterton - who were rightly horrified, like everyone else - we went to local MP Georgina Beyer, explained the situation to 'her' in simple terms, providing evidence to back it up.
The two sets of records of the experiment show beyond any doubt that the horse Alpha was infected, the other horses were in close contact and therefore definitely EXPOSED to the highly contagious disease and therefore likely carriers, it was absolutely unacceptable to sell them to a meat works!

Shortly after this, in 2000, there was an outbreak of Foot and Mouth in Europe. We discovered that the meat company in Masterton was an agent for another meat company, and when I rang them to enquire where these particular horses might be I discovered that the company exported rather a lot of horse meat to Europe annually, much of it for human consumption, to countries like Holland and Germany and others, apparently.

So we approached Georgina Beyer, as MP for Wairarapa.
Here are emails between her, MAF's 'Human Resources Manager' Peter Stipkovits, and I.
Note Stipkovits displays the same dismissive arrogance as 'love Nicci Rowswell'.
There are more of these emails, they go on and on with time wasting waffle, instead of admitting yes we did sell them to the meat works.

Note also that Beyer's message is clear: (1) How were the horses disposed of exactly? and (2) When are you going to give her the rest of the information she's requested (and the Ombudsmen have ordered you to provide)? Now read the rubbish from the 'Human Resources Manager'.

What's really outrageous is that MAF classified it as a 'human resources' issue!
As bad as the Green Party classifying it solely as an animal welfare issue - when the real issue was the serious biosecurity breach.

Beyer spun this out for months and then refused to deal with it - read for yourself her waste of time emails and the contemptuous way they are fobbed off by Stipkovits!

Original message
From: “G Beyer” gbeyer@wise.net.nz
To: Peter Stipkovits stipkovitsp@maf.govt.nz
Sent: Tuesday 31.10.2000 12.32.17 pm
Subject: Re: Fw: horse experiment

I have not yet received the information on the disposal of the horses, as discussed by telephone. You said you would be able to fax me the details of where, when and how the horses were disposed of. Could you please do this ASAP. Fax 06 370 1556. Also are you any closer to answering all the questions as outlined in the letter to Katie Raue. I believe most of them are straight forward and could be answered easily. To bring a speedy resolution to the matter raised by Katie, could you please send me a copy of the 306 pages you released to her under the OIA. The address is PO Box 913 Masterton. I appreciate your time and look forward to your prompt reply.
Jo Seddon, Electorate Agent to Georgina Beyer MP>

Original message
From: Peter Stipkovits stipkovitsp@maf.govt.nz
To: gbeyer@wise.net.nz
Sent: Tuesday October 31,2000 4:12 pm
Subject: Re: horse experiment

Hi Jo
Sorry we must have misunderstood each other. I thought that when I advised that I was attempting to seek clarification from Ms Raue on what she actually wanted under the OIA and you suggested that all she wanted was information as to the final disposal of the horses, I then advised that I would look forward to her clarifying this in response to my letter of 19 October 2000 to her (it appears at odds with the variety of requests contained in her emails of 4, 9, 10, 12 and 17 October) that I would fax you a copy of this letter which I have done and which I assume you have received?
I think I also implied that if this was all she wanted then I would probably have no difficulty providing it (although I would have to request the information from NCDI) and that I would probably not charge her.
Currently we have such far ranging questions bundled together that to answer them requires us to expend quite a bit of resources which we will seek to recover under the Department of Justice guidelines,. As you can appreciate we have expended significant resources on this matter to date answering Ms Raues questions and that of two other individuals that she appears to have requested also seek information from us. I thought I was clear in my letter to Ms Raue, that I faxed you, that I am seeking clarification as to what is available, what can be released under the OIA and Privacy legislation and what if any funds may be sought to reimburse the Ministry to some degree the costs we will incur. If you think this is unclear in our letter to her I would welcome this view. On a point of clarification, I assume that you are seeking the information regarding the disposal of the horses on behalf of Ms Raue. This would circumvent the OIA procedure we are currently engaged in with Ms Raue and the Ombudsmans office (which has been ongoing since June 1999). In discussion with the Ombudsmans office yesterday it was agreed between us that the best way to seek final resolution to the matter for all parties was to await the response from Ms Raue to my letter and then action the requests appropriately under the OIA. It is possible if Ms Raue is taking advice from you, that you could help bring this about by assisting her respond to my letter of 19 October 2000, hopefully confirming the only information sought is the information on the disposal of the horses, and as you state, this could bring “a speedy resolution” to this long running situation for which I’m sure we would all thank you. It would also be possible for you to obtain the papers previously released to Ms Raue from her directly. Should Georgina Beyer have any specific concerns on this matter I would be happy to arrange a verbal or written briefing and provide any specific documents such as the independent MAF Enforcement Unit Investigation file, or the AgResearch Animal Ethics Committee report that would allow an assessment of the matters to be made. Such an assessment would be difficult to gain from the 306 pages you request and in fact I am unable to release them to you without first arranging the deletion of significant amounts of information personal to Ms Raue, at significant cost, which is of course, able to be released to her, as their release in current form to others is restricted by privacy legislation.
Feel free to ring me to arrange a briefing.
Regards Peter Stipkovits.

Peter Stipkovits, and his mates, have got their snouts deep in the trough, sucking up our money, to write rubbish like this to cover up serious incompetence and corruption. The infected horses were sold to a local meat works, all very hush hush, from the National Centre for Disease Control for heavens sake! A P3 containment lab, host to smallpox, anthrax, mad cow disease and goodness knows what else. The Evening Post printed an article titled "Killer Bug Store Planned For Hutt" in about March 2000 about how a National MP, Eric Roy, had just discovered what I had been pointing out for ages, he was horrified about it, as was the editor who wrote an scathing editorial in the following days, and the editor of the Dominion, and the reporter (Jonathon Milne, who won an award for the articles I think) who wrote the articles titled "Mismanagement Claimed in MAF Experiment", Death of the Horses", MAF's Fatal Fiasco, etc. Peter Stipkovits should just own up that the infected horses were sold to the local meat works, because the Team at the National Centre for Disease Control at Wallaceville is lead by a totally incompetent Team Leader, and Manager, who think that it's fine to sell these infected animals to a meat works. This is as serious a breach of biosecurity as is possible!

Then this in 2001: "The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF) is pressing ahead with its plans import some deadly animal diseases to hold in containment near Wellington, as part of its biosecurity work.

MAF is applying to the Environmental Risk Management Authority for permission to import 24 organisms, including a "vaccine form" of anthrax, and another swine influenza, against which laboratory workers will have to be vaccinated to minimise the chance of infection.

It today released a public discussion document on the proposal so that neighbours of the National Centre for Disease Investigation (NCDI) containment laboratory, and the nation’s farmers could comment.

The ministry last month backed down on holding live infectious material for two transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) diseases – mad cow disease found in cattle, and scrapie, found in sheep.

Update - July 2012 - MAF slammed in Kiwifruit disease report - nothing's changed, the Ministry has been restructured so many times and deconstructed and fragmented that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing!

The New York Times is a bit behind the times on this one ;)

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