Mark Unsworth - Asshole of the Week | The Jackal

25 Nov 2012

Mark Unsworth - Asshole of the Week

Earlier this month, the New York Times reported:

Dr. Joy said that for a country purporting to be so pure, New Zealand seemed to be failing by many international environmental benchmarks.

Last month, the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment released a survey showing that more than half of the country’s freshwater recreational sites were unsafe to swim in. Fecal contamination of waterways, caused largely by dairy farming — the source of 13.9 billion New Zealand dollars, or $10 billion, in annual exports, nearly a quarter of New Zealand’s total — was widespread.

The survey showed that people who swam in those rivers were at a high risk of illness, including serious diseases like giardiasis, cryptosporidiosis and campylobacteriosis. The waterways were the cause of 18,000 to 34,000 cases of waterborne disease each year.

On Thursday, the NZ Herald reported:

A prominent government lobbyist is standing by his leaked comments which slam leading scientists for speaking out about New Zealand's poor environmental record.

Mark Unsworth, of government relations consultancy Saunders Unsworth, e-mailed Massey University environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy on Wednesday in reaction to Joy's comments to the New york Times on New Zealand's 'fantastical' 100% pure image.

Mr Unsworth's email - which was sent at 12:15am under the subject line 'Ego trip' - was posted by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman on his Facebook page today.

In the emails, Mr Unsworth said although he was an academic, Dr Joy had "let his ego run riot worldwide" while risking jobs and incomes from decreased tourism.

"You guys are the Foot and Mouth Disease of the tourism industry. Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up," he wrote.

"You may not care given your tenure in a nice comfy University lounge, but to others this affects income and jobs.

"Give that some thought next time you feel the need to see your name in print in New York. And possibly think of changing your name from Joy to Misery-its more accurate [sic]."

It's very disappointing to see this sort of thing happening in this day and age. Instead of actually doing something about the problem, Unsworth is only concerned with hiding the fact that over half of our freshwater recreational sites are too polluted to swim in.

This is an unacceptable position considering the amount of people who are becoming unwell because of that pollution. How much that costs New Zealand in lost productivity isn't known, but it's likely to be in the millions if not billions of dollars.

In my opinion, scientists should be allowed to speak out about important topics of public interest, especially when it might increase people's awareness about the problem and help promote change for the better.

To use a position of power to try and close somebody down just because of what they're saying is disgusting enough, but especially so when what they're saying is the truth. Only a real asshole would do that.

On Friday, the NZ Herald reported:

Mr Unsworth said he did not wish to comment further. He stood by the emails and they were his own personal views. Saunders Unsworth clients include Caltex, British Gas and Air New Zealand.

Mark Unsworth is clearly a deluded old fool! Saying that somebody is akin to foot and mouth disease and then not retracting that insult is entirely unacceptable behaviour.

But what makes Unsworth's criticism all the more repugnant is that responsibility for any negative press doesn't lie with the whistle-blower, it lies with the industry that is causing the environmental damage. They're the ones who are causing New Zealand's reputation as a clean and green nation to be degraded, and they are therefore costing us billions in lost tourism revenue.

Responsibility also lies with the government who are ensuring the environment continues to be damaged by not requiring farmers to clean up their acts. In fact they're causing further environmental degradation of our lakes and rivers through more intensive farming and increasing irrigation, irrigation that the taxpayers are paying for.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

But Dr Joy said his detractor had taken aim at the wrong target.

"If he wants to have a go at somebody, he should have a go at those who are polluting our rivers, not the guy researching it," he said. "I'm pretty disgusted . . . I have been quoted in this article commenting on the state of the environment and people have called me a traitor to this country. I'm just the one doing the research."


"I have dedicated my life to trying to save the environment . . . to have someone label me a traitor is pretty horrible."

"It's up to independent scientists like me to highlight the real issues because no one else is going to and that is part of my responsibility as an academic."

Clearly Mike Joy is not a traitor to his country. In fact it appears that he has New Zealand's best interests at heart. Only a true patriot would work tirelessly to protect the environment, which New Zealand relies on for our way of life and economic wellbeing.

Mark Unsworth on the other hand is a lecherous cretin who places more importance on the short-term interests of big business over people's health and the environment. He's undoubtedly a capitalist running dog who has had his day.