Latest News – congratulations and comment

Queen’s Birthday Honour to NZIAHS member

My congratulations to Professor Emerita Paula Elizabeth Jameson, a Fellow of the NZIAHS, who became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Professor Emerita Jameson, who recently ‘retired’ from the University of Canterbury, was honoured for services to plant science.
Her work has combined internationally recognised research on the regulation of plant growth with leadership across the wider biological sciences.
She has undertaken major collaborations with the applied sector in areas of forage, seed production and fruit development, as well as researching the regulation of flowering of New Zealand’s indigenous flora. She has also taken a lead role in outreach with industry, professional and community groups, with numerous presentations on genetic modification technologies. She has always been a voice of sound reasoning and balance in the gene debate trying to inform the public of the scientific evidence and issues underlying this contentious area.
Her achievements have been recognised with life fellowships from the agricultural, horticultural, and plant biology communities. She was awarded the Roger Slack Medal from the New Zealand Society of Plant Biologists in 2018 and received the 2019 Marsden Medal recognising a lifetime of outstanding service to the science profession.
She was Chair of the Royal Society of New Zealand’s Marsden Ecology, Evolution and Behaviour Panel, a ministerial appointee to the Independent Biotechnology Council, and Principal Moderator for Tertiary Education Commission’s PBRF 2018.

NZIAHS also congratulates
Dr Kevin Raymond Marshall, of Wellington, became a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to food science and technology. He has made a major contribution to New Zealand’s food and bio-processing industries over a 60-year career in a career that began at the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute.

Bruce William Massy Wills, of Hastings, became an Officer of the Order for services to agriculture and the environment.
As National President of Federated Farmers from 2011 to 2014, he rebuilt the organisation’s membership and led the farming sector in a new strategic direction to address farming’s environmental footprint.
He is a director of two National Science Challenges, Our Land and Water and Resilience to Nature’s Challenges, and is a director of Horticulture New Zealand.


Congratulations, too, to Professor Dame Juliet Gerrard FRSNZ , who has been reappointed as the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
Initially appointed for a three-year term beginning 1 July 2018. She now has been appointed to 30 June 2024.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says along with her leadership of science advisors across government agencies, Professor Gerrard “ … continues to demonstrate the critical role of science and technology to society and to support robust decision-making.”
Professor Gerrard has specialised in a range of disciplines including biochemical engineering. She is also the past Chair, Royal Society Te Apārangi Marsden Council giving her wide exposure to other science disciplines.

Research urged

The importance of further research into reducing agriculture biogenic methane emissions was quite properly highlighted in the recently released report from the Climate Change Commission. Work on building the world’s only farm-level emissions measurement, management and pricing system was similarly emphasised.
Agriculture was identified as one of the sectors vital to the low-emissions future which is enshrined in the Government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions of long-lived greenhouse gases and reduce biogenic methane emissions between 24%-47% by 2050.
As Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor, said, the Commission shows it is both affordable and achievable for the agriculture sector to play its part in meeting our climate change targets.
Farmers around the country were making good progress to align their businesses with efforts to reduce emissions, he said. The challenge now was to accelerate the use of existing technologies and ensure the further adoption of on-farm practices that reduce emissions.
How the Government plans to do this will be set out in the forthcoming Emissions Reduction Plan.
New Zealand is the first country in the world to legislate for a price on agricultural emissions and is developing what we are claiming to be the world’s only farm-level emissions measurement, management and pricing system, It is scheduled to come into effect in 2025.
A copy of the Climate Change Commission’s is available here.

Flooding around South Canterbury, the Manse bridge over the Temuka River.

Bridging finance

The Government’s response to the flooding which inflicted millions of dollars of damage on farmers, growers and others in Canterbury – the offer of $500,000 of help – was sadly ill-timed. It coincided with the announcement of a $780 million investment in a bridge for walking and cycling across the Waitemata harbour, to be built alongside but separately from the Auckland Harbour Bridge.
I reckon there are several farmers who would be happy to buy a few boats with bike racks, to transport the lycra-clad set to and fro across the hallowed water each day, and for a smidgen less than the $780 million price tag on a bridge. They could even be electric boats and I will give a big nod to ( ) in that respect.
To paraphrase the National MP for Selwyn, Nicola Grigg, should Government be supporting our most productive sector, or buying votes in Auckland? She came out swinging in the House, denouncing the Government’s response as “woeful” and “out of touch”.
I note that the Labour Party’s Rangitata MP, Jo Luxton, admitted the timing for the announcement of a new bridge was “not the best”, but she defended the Government’s Canterbury flooding response and said the Government had “come to the party” for Canterbury.

 NZIAHS Events

2021 Plant Science Central Conference
6-8 July 2021
Ag/Hort Lecture Block, Massey University, Palmerston North
Prof Nicola Shadbolt, Climate Commissioner and Dame Prof Juliet Gerrard will give the Opening Addresses.
Programme and Registration:

Notice to Members:

The NZIAHS Annual General Meeting will be held at the Plant Science Central Conference on Wednesday 7th July at 5pm.
Venue Ag/Hort Lecture Block, Massey University,
Tennent Drive, Palmerston North.
All members welcome.

2021 Canterbury Forum
Sustainable and Profitable Farming – what is our brand?

Wednesday 27th October 2021
Stewart 1, Stewart Lecture Theatre, Lincoln University, Lincoln
Programme and Registration:

Prof Jon Hickford
NZIAHS President