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Expert Reactions:

A round-up of comment from experts on breaking stories and ongoing issues in science and technology.

Seabed mining in Taranaki — Expert Reaction

On Thursday, the Environmental Protection Authority released its decision to allow Trans Tasman Resources Limited (TTRL) to mine iron ore sand offshore in the Taranaki bight. The decision-making committee was split 2:2, with chairman Alick Shaw making the casting vote to approve the application which allows TTRL to extract 50 million tonnes from the seabed off Patea and […]

August 11th, 2017 Read full Story

Kauri dieback in the Waitakere Ranges — Expert Reaction

Auckland Council yesterday released a report stating that infection rates of kauri with dieback disease in the Waitakere Ranges Regional Park have more than doubled in the last five years. The report shows that the number of kauri within the park has risen from 7.9% in 2011 (with a further 2.7% possibly infected) to 19.0% infected […]

August 10th, 2017 Read full Story

CRISPR used to edit embryos — Expert Reaction

After much speculation last week, US scientists have published a study in Nature in which they used CRISPR to edit human embryos, removing a mutation linked to a heritable heart condition. The researchers say more than 10,000 heritable disorders controlled by a single gene have been identified, and CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing provides a potential method to […]

August 3rd, 2017 Read full Story

Drop “complete the course” message for antibiotics — Expert Reaction

In an analysis article just published in The BMJ, Prof Martin Llewelyn argues that it’s time to drop “complete the course” message for antibiotics as it’s not backed by evidence and should be replaced. Patients are put at unnecessary risk from antibiotic resistance when treatment is given for longer than necessary, not when it is stopped early […]

July 27th, 2017 Read full Story

Government announced results of ETS review – Expert Reaction

UPDATED: The Government has announced a package of changes to the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) following a review of the system. Agriculture was not included in the scope of the review and while the ETS will be re-opened to international units, with limitations, the timeframe on this has not yet been set. The SMC asked experts to […]

July 26th, 2017 Read full Story

Police issue warning about synthetic cannabis – Expert Reaction

The Chief Coroner and NZ Police have issued a warning following at least seven recent deaths in Auckland that they say appears to be linked to the use of synthetic cannabis. The SMC asked experts to comment on the police announcement. Feel free to use these comments in your reporting. Dr Paul Quigley, emergency medicine specialist, Wellington […]

July 21st, 2017 Read full Story

Antidepressants during pregnancy and autism – Expert Reaction

A new study in the BMJ found a small increase in the rate of autism in children whose mothers took antidepressants during pregnancy The UK SMC prepared a ‘before the headlines’ analysis of the paper, along with expert reaction. The analysis, and the researchers themselves, highlighted the small increase in absolute risk: 95% of the women […]

July 21st, 2017 Read full Story

Larsen C iceberg breaks away – Expert Reaction

After weeks of teasing, a trillion-tonne iceberg has calved off the Larsen C ice shelf into the sea. A UK scientist who has been monitoring the ice shelf cautioned that it was too early to blame the calving of the ice shelf to human-generated climate change, and the event “may simply be a rare but natural occurrence”. […]

July 13th, 2017 Read full Story

Major slip blocks highway into Wellington – Expert reaction

Commuters heading north out of the capital face major delays getting home as a result of this afternoon’s landslip, which is still blocking a number of lanes in both directions. Geotechnical engineers have been surveying the area as the effort to clear the rock and debris continues. The slip in the Ngauranga Gorge follows a […]

July 11th, 2017 Read full Story

Supreme Court rejects Ruataniwha appeal – Expert Reaction

The Supreme Court has denied an appeal to allow a land swap for the proposed Ruataniwha Dam project in the Hawke’s Bay. The court’s decision was released today, following a Court of Appeal ruling last year that found the process of acquiring the land was unlawful. The SMC asked environmental policy experts to comment on the decision. Feel […]

July 6th, 2017 Read full Story


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