Chris Turney and his now infamous Ship of Fools are looking more and more foolish as evidence mounts as to the real purpose and backing of their little trip of fancy to the ‘ice-free’ waters of the Antarctic.
When this debacle unfolded people started rummaging through their website. One page, that of their supporters, raised alarm bells.
It appears that taxpayers funds may have been used to promote this little warmist holiday camp on ice.
Following theÂ well publicisedÂ case of global warming scientists being stuck in record pack ice in Antarctica (ironically theÂ expeditionÂ was intended to study the dwindling sea ice) and the efforts to rescue them, theÂ Taxpayers’ UnionÂ began enquiries late last yearÂ to find out precisely how much taxpayers’ money the NZÂ GovernmentÂ “supporters” listed on theÂ exhibition’sÂ websiteÂ had contributed.
It appears that thankfully New Zealand taxpayers’ haven’t forked out the huge amounts feared. In fact, it appears that theÂ Australasian Antarctic Expedition (AAE) is claiming at least one ‘supporter’ it doesn’tÂ have…
TheÂ expedition’sÂ websiteÂ lists expedition supporters the Department of Conservation,Â Landcare Research, andÂ the University of Waikato.
Despite asking theÂ AAE leader (via emailÂ and his very activeÂ twitter account), and the media contacts at theÂ UniversityÂ of New South Wales, no one would tell us how much kiwi taxpayers had contributed via the three agencies.
On 1 January we lodged Official InformationÂ Act requests with DoC, Landcare and the University of Waikato.
To DoC’s credit it responded by 8 January, stating that DoC were not participants in the expedition and therefore the information (i.e. what financial and non-financial support was given) does not exist. Â
Well, that is pleasing news. It appears there is still no answer from Landcare Research and University of Waikato though.
However, given that the Department of Conservation was very quick, for a government department over the holiday period, to distance themselves from the Spirit of Mawson claims of support, one has to wonder how many of the other “supporters” are actually ghost supporters like the Department of Conservation.
It seems that Chris Turney has time to tweet about all manner of things except answering valid questions about his claims in all respects of his expedition from go to woe.
We await answers from Chris Turney and from the other organisations as to what qualified them for inclusion on the Spirit of Mawson website as “Supporters”.
Meanwhile the embedded journalists from The Guardian and Radio New Zealand seem to be avoiding asking similar hard questions of their expedition leader.
The Department of Conservation appears to be very concerned meanwhile with their Director of Policy phoning the Taxpayer’s Union himself to clarify:
Last night DoC’s Director of Policy Jeff Flavell called me and confirmed thatÂ the Department not being ‘a participant’ in the expedition was intended to mean thatÂ DoC did not provide any support to AAEÂ at all.Â In fact he seemed surprised that DoC was listed as a supporter on the AAE website and that he would ask hisÂ officials whether it was known that the AAE was using the DoC logo and claiming support.
One thing is becoming abundantly clear, the Spirit of Mawson expedition and Chris Turney appear to be less than honest in answering questions about their expedition. This is now proven categorically by the Depart of Conservations official reply to legal queries under New Zealand’s Official Information Act.
Chris Turney needs to immediately clarify these details in a much more forthcoming manner than he has previously displayed. Unlike the selection of his team…this is not a laughing matter.