Author: Talking Risk


COVID-19 Emergency Powers

The New Zealand State, Medical Capture & the Role of Strategic Ignorance. Summary New Zealand’s Unite Against COVID-19 ‘stamp it out’, or ‘elimination’ strategy is revealing it’s democratic and political deficit. The strategy relied on the deployment of policy, legislation and simple slogans focusing on case rates, vaccination, masking and […]


A Case for Refocusing Upstream

The River Story, attributed to Irving Zola, by New Zealand sociologist John B. McKinlay “A Case for Refocusing Upstream: The Political Economy of Illness” McKinlay, J.B. (first published 1975) My friend, Irving Zola, relates the story of a physician trying to explain the dilemmas of the modern practice of medicine: […]


What is Uncomfortable Knowledge?

The process of unwrapping the drivers of persistent societal and environmental problems involve extraordinary political challenges. Persistent wicked problems include such diverse issues as pervasive anthropogenic pollution, nutrient loss in food, the privatisation of data, climate change, obesity and non-communicable disease. Wicked problems require that the public, scientists and policy […]


Innovation & Ignorance

In an abstract presented at The Australian Sociological Association Conference, November 26, 2021 the relationship between science policy in New Zealand; the decision-making practices of funding committees and the funding outcomes of scientists were explored. The conference abstract was titled Innovation and Ignorance: How Science Funding Schemes Deter the Production […]


Bee killers – Neonicotinoid pesticides in New Zealand

Biodiversity rhetoric often excludes comment on contamination and pollution from economic activity. Narratives relating to biodiversity loss often exclude the relationship of biodiversity decline and persistent applications of pesticides over years. Also avoided are the low level, or sub-chronic exposures to surrounding ecosystems -the soil and water profiles, and the […]


What is an endocrine disruptor?

‘There is increasing Evidence That Endocrine Disruption (EDC) Exposures Play a Substantive Role In Disease Causation Or Progression.’ Gore et al 2015 An enormous quantity of medical literature involves the manipulation of synthetic chemicals at ultra-low doses – parts per billion, for example – to alter hormone function. Hormonally active […]


What is a wicked problem?

The theory of ‘wicked problems’ originated in the planning literature in 1973. Horst Rittel and Melvin Webber proposed that planning could no longer be efficiently managed by scientists and engineers due to the trickiness of goal setting and problem definition in dynamic systems with feedback loops, and the commensurate requirement […]

Biased Science

Biased Science: Pesticides

Pesticides. It’s Simple.  The Corporation Selling The Product Should Not Select The Safety Studies. In the world of pesticides, regulatory agency policies preferentialise unpublished industry data over published scientific data. This is enabled through the production of policies which favours the decisions made by unaccountable institutions, the WHO-FAO JMPR and […]