Nick Smith: Ken Ring offensive; should be held to account

Nick Smith.
Ken Ring.
The moon.

ACC Minister Nick Smith has said that earthquake soothsayer Ken Ring was “reckless and “irresponsible” and that he ought to be held to account for his predictions of a further earthquake in Christchurch.

Lunch date with destiny
The minister and the Skeptics Society are planning to have lunch in the Sign of the Kiwi, one of the tallest and oldest buildings in Christchurch, at noon this Sunday, the day Ken Ring predicted another earthquake would hit the city.

The minister, who has a background in earthquake engineering and a PhD in geotechnical engineering, told NBR he had been taken aback by the number of people taking Mr Ring seriously.

Scaring the kids
He said he was worried that people had become so fraught that any level of credence given to Mr Ring’s predictions would cause anxiety. He was particularly worried about small children and said he had young nephews and nieces who had asked their parents to leave Christchurch because of Mr Ring’s prediction of an earthquake on March 20.

“I find it offensive when people make the claim that they can predict the timing of earthquakes particularly given the level of anxiety in Canterbury.”

Claims cause harm
He said he wished to make a stand and say Mr Ring’s predictions are “mumbo-jumbo nonsense.” Mr Smith said Mr Ring did not seem to comprehend the level of anxiety people felt in Christchurch and should not make predictions when he was not qualified to do so and when such claims cause harm.

“Frankly what Mr Ring is doing is no better than people crying fire without cause in a packed stadium or picture theatre.”

He said it was very important in moving forward with reconstruction and dealing with earthquake risks that a science-based approach was taken, including acknowledgement of what was not known.

“There currently are no credible ways of predicting when earthquakes will strike.”

Shouldn't leave Christchurch
He said perhaps science would evolve to when it could accurately predict a quake, but there was “absolutely no evidence” to show there is any connection between the phases of the moon and the timing of earthquakes. People should certainly not leave Christchurch because of Mr Ring’s predictions, the Minister said.

“I would invite those committed to science, including understanding what the limits of science are, should join us at the Sign of the Kiwi and, at this very difficult time for New Zealand, put their hand up for backing rational science.”

The minister said he had no worries at all about lunch and was looking forward to meeting with geologists and earthquake engineers at the Sign of the Kiwi this Sunday.

Moon man responds
Mr Ring said in response to Mr Smith’s comments that he was not fearmongering.

“So far, the media have one and all called me what Dr Smith is calling [me], in other words, the person who is scaring Christchurch, and making people flee their homes, which is absolutely not true.”

He said universities globally were working on the moon link to earthquakes and that he would email NBR website links to university studies on the subject.

“If I pointed out that there is lots of science and that it’s not just me saying but that many Universities around the world are working on the moon link to earthquakes, what would be considered science, if not that? What is not science?”

NBR received an email from Mr Ring this morning with links to a National Geographic article about a study co-authored by a graduate student from the University of California, showing a correlation between tides and earthquakes, and a link to a report on the study. 

Also included in the email were links to an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research titled 'Evidence for tidal triggering of earthquakes as revealed from statistical analysis of global data', a ThinkQuest site entitled 'Earthquake Predictors', a link to a Real News Reporter article mentioning Mr Ring, Russian scientists' support of him and predictions of earthquakes based on electromagnetic signals, and a link to a blog by biologist Dr Jennifer Marohasy focussing on Mr Ring's theories and the fact the moon was above Tokyo at the time of the quake.

Further links from Mr Ring can be found here, (article about a study from Paris Diderot University that claims a link between Earth tide and quakes) and here, (an article about Russian scientists saying neutron flashes and possibly the lunar cycle could forecast earthquakes).

Mr Ring finished his email with a question for Dr Smith:  "What part of these articles is not science?"

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155 Comments & Questions

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I totally agree with Nick Smith in this instance. Ken Ring is the author of a cat palm (paw) reading book called "Palmistry" and is a magician/clown in his spare time. He has absolutely no qualifications other than perhaps a Bachelor of Bulls**t. People are leaving or avoiding the city in droves because of his ridiculous statements.

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By the way Ken, nobody has claimed the study of links between earthquakes and the moon (or anything else) is "not science". What is not science, is the way you interpret these supposed links. Your APPROACH is unscientific. YOU do not UNDERSTAND the scientific process, and unfortunately, neither do the majority of people who believe your incorrect conclusions (especially when they are in the vulnerable position that Christchurch residents are).

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The sign of the kiwi is not one of the oldest (it was opened in 1917, according to its website) nor tallest (it's single storied!) buildings in Christchurch - because it's not even in Chch. It sits at the top of Dyers Pass, in the port hills. (Maybe you meant elevation, it's certainly higher than any building in the city :))
If you got this info from a press release from Nick Smith, and simply reprinted it, shame on you.
Ring is a charlatan, sure. But you are a newspaper- some would claim 'of record'- not a recycling service for PR hackery. :)

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the simple fact is that with his ETS scam which is being rammed down our throats Nick Smith has no credibility
liberte

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the simple fact is that with his ETS scam which is being rammed down our throats Nick Smith has no credibility
liberte

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It's kind of irrelevant who's right or wrong. The fact is earthquakes do happen and are happening now to Chch. We've always known there was the threat of earthquakes and yet human stupidity has meant homes were built on sand, the CBD was built on a swamp and stupid engineers signed off on highrise buildings built on this stuff. Throw the heritage dreamers into the mix and you've got a sluttery of human stupidity. And who pays for all this? The average working man - that's who. I've spent my working life of 45 years building Chch and I'm buggered if I'm going to build it a second time. The youth who have sat on their arses smoking dope, terrorising with their boy racer machines, drawing the dole and having a free ride can build it. I've done my bit and so have plenty of others. But here's the main reason why I won't be doing it: I con't be bothered watching councillors, politicians and vested interest parties argue about what Chch should look like for the next 15 years. The same people who made the wrong decisions last time will have a chance to stuff it up again. Mark my words!

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Landigen : You have summed it up just right.
No accountability on anyone who was responsible.

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Landigen
Powerful words spoken with passion.
I can tell. Its people such as you who are really the true spirit of your city and it breaks my heart wondering how we can really help those just like you who are the most deserving.

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Bring on the 20th and we will see.

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Why are the media and politicians being so agressive and rude? Are they are scared and its nervous behaviour because I am shocked at such strange behaviour and that they would want to make a bloke doing his job feel like he's to blame for anything. It makes me even more suspicious of both the media and politicians.

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their behaviour is really bizaare...than normal that is

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ACC Minister Nick Smith has said that earthquake soothsayer Ken Ring was “reckless and “irresponsible” and that he ought to be held to account for his predictions of a further earthquake in Christchurch.

Lunch date with destiny
The minister and the Skeptics Society are planning to have lunch in the Sign of the Kiwi, one of the tallest and oldest buildings in Christchurch, at noon this Sunday, the day Ken Ring predicted another earthquake would hit the city.

The minister, who has a background in earthquake engineering and a PhD in geotechnical engineering, told NBR he had been taken aback by the number of people taking Mr Ring seriously.

Scaring the kids
He said he was worried that people had become so fraught that any level of credence given to Mr Ring’s predictions would cause anxiety. He was particularly worried about small children and said he had young nephews and nieces who had asked their parents to leave Christchurch because of Mr Ring’s prediction of an earthquake on March 20.

“I find it offensive when people make the claim that they can predict the timing of earthquakes particularly given the level of anxiety in Canterbury.”

Claims cause harm
He said he wished to make a stand and say Mr Ring’s predictions are “mumbo-jumbo nonsense.” Mr Smith said Mr Ring did not seem to comprehend the level of anxiety people felt in Christchurch and should not make predictions when he was not qualified to do so and when such claims cause harm.

“Frankly what Mr Ring is doing is no better than people crying fire without cause in a packed stadium or picture theatre.”

He said it was very important in moving forward with reconstruction and dealing with earthquake risks that a science-based approach was taken, including acknowledgement of what was not known.

“There currently are no credible ways of predicting when earthquakes will strike.”

Shouldn't leave Christchurch
He said perhaps science would evolve to when it could accurately predict a quake, but there was “absolutely no evidence” to show there is any connection between the phases of the moon and the timing of earthquakes. People should certainly not leave Christchurch because of Mr Ring’s predictions, the Minister said.

“I would invite those committed to science, including understanding what the limits of science are, should join us at the Sign of the Kiwi and, at this very difficult time for New Zealand, put their hand up for backing rational science.”

The minister said he had no worries at all about lunch and was looking forward to meeting with geologists and earthquake engineers at the Sign of the Kiwi this Sunday.

Moon man responds
Mr Ring said in response to Mr Smith’s comments that he was not fearmongering.

“So far, the media have one and all called me what Dr Smith is calling [me], in other words, the person who is scaring Christchurch, and making people flee their homes, which is absolutely not true.”

He said universities globally were working on the moon link to earthquakes and that he would email NBR website links to university studies on the subject.

“If I pointed out that there is lots of science and that it’s not just me saying but that many Universities around the world are working on the moon link to earthquakes, what would be considered science, if not that? What is not science?”

NBR received an email from Mr Ring this morning with links to a National Geographic article about a study co-authored by a graduate student from the University of California, showing a correlation between tides and earthquakes, and a link to a report on the study.

Also included in the email were links to an article in the Journal of Geophysical Research titled 'Evidence for tidal triggering of earthquakes as revealed from statistical analysis of global data', a ThinkQuest site entitled 'Earthquake Predictors', a link to a Real News Reporter article mentioning Mr Ring, Russian scientists' support of him and predictions of earthquakes based on electromagnetic signals, and a link to a blog by biologist Dr Jennifer Marohasy focussing on Mr Ring's theories and the fact the moon was above Tokyo at the time of the quake.

Further links from Mr Ring can be found here, (article about a study from Paris Diderot University that claims a link between Earth tide and quakes) and here, (an article about Russian scientists saying neutron flashes and possibly the lunar cycle could forecast earthquakes).

Mr Ring finished his email with a question for Dr Smith: "What part of these articles is not science?"

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Really short version: Nick Smith is a small minded man of no intelligence. I wonder how people like him get into positions of power? One of the great conundrums of life.

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OK, where to begin.

NatGeo Article: Potential correlation of reverse and shallow slip faults that coincide with tidal forces. Mr Ring uses Solar, Lunar Jovian and Tidal forces to make his predictions. If the article noted a correlation with solar activity (it does not), lunar position (it does not), Jovian influence (none, and it does not) as well as the tidal force, then it would be on it's way to lending his theory water. It does not. And perhaps Mr Ring has forgotten that there are many other types of faults than just shallow and reverse slip faults.

ScienceXpress: Again, another potential correlation of shallow thrust faults with strong tides. Article notes that these influences are small, and the only place a correlation is visible is on certain crustal points with certain types of fault lines. In other words, you need a lot of perfectly exact coincidences for the correlation to even begin to show. Again, it also uses tidal forces, and does not account for Mr Ring's Solar, Lunar and Jovian influences.

JCR: Another article like the previous two expressing a potential correlation with tides and reverse slip faults. It also states that tidal forces appear to 'encourage' a fault of a certain type to go, but only when it is already at critical point. At which point it becomes difficult to tell if it was the tidal influence or the fault's natural progression that fired off.

ThinkQuest: Animals can detect quakes right before they hit. Well, Yes. They can. Animals can hear at different ranges from humans, and the P-wave of quake generates a sound below our sense of hearing that steadily grows in force. This is the 'freight train sound' so many earthquake survivors report. Animals can simply hear it before we do. This article has nothing to do with tides, solar activity, lunar position or the planet Jupiter.
No supporting evidence is given for Marsha Adam's EM invention, nor for "James" the Pet Detective. The Haicheng example is well-known urban folklore.

Real News Reporter: Let me get this right - This is an article provided by Ken Ring to prove his theories are right...that features as it's principle evidence...Ken Ring. Well. I'll leave the debunking of this one to time itself. According to the now suspect site, the US is in for a big quake within the next 10 days. It's also somehow completely missed the Japan 8.9 that occurred on the other side of the planet.

Jennifer Marohasy: Is a biologist. (As opposed to a geologist) The article is entitled "Opinion". The Moon was over Tokyo - yes, but using that logic, it was also over 50% of the planet Earth. And she uses Mr Ring again as her source. This is not proof of being right. This is proof that people do listen to Mr Ring. (Sadly)

,<quote> Mr Ring finished his email with a question for Dr Smith: "What part of these articles is not science?"</quote>

Well, 50% of them in terms of actual scientific inquiry, 83% if we're talking actual studies, and 0% if we're talking proof that Mr Ring is correct.

Case Closed.

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Gotta love it when a propeller head says "Case Closed" ...sorta like "the science is settled".

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The science is not settled, and there is academic debate about the exact effects of tidal forces on the earth's crust. What I was referring to was the specific 'evidence' presented by Mr Ring that fails to prove his point.

The "Case Closed" was a figure of speech.

Personally, I gotta love it when someone chooses to launch personal attacks on the author of a post instead of respectfully pointing out disagreements.

*propeller whirls furiously*

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Please mr smith on the 20th day please invite john key and the rest of the national party with you!

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Nick Smith is one of the most offensive unpopular MP's (posing as a public servant while self serving).
This NBR article is just getting more and more ridiculous.Its a dot com bubble waiting to return to its real value.....
I know Nick smith has probably invested much in the current tech and science stock bubble- but putting your name out there is well....embarassing.
At least it clearly shows the "collaboration" between science and govt.

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Did Nick Smith say this:
"He said it was very important in moving forward........... that a science-based approach was taken, including acknowledgement of what was not known."?
Really, he actually said that?
Not about climastrology though. Oh, right!

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I am not a Ken Ring advocate (his accuracy needs to be tested against the probability of random success) but it's a bit rich for Nick Smith to be critical. Nick has his own hocus pocus beliefs as an anthropological global warming advocate. Fact's show global warming is not influenced by man.

Worse still, Smith is getting everyone else to pay for his eco-faith views.

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My sister lives in ChCh - New Brighton. She had never heard of Ken Ring so, here's some food for thought over what some of us have read of Ken Rings OPINIONS. Just before she had gone to bed (this last ChCh earthquake), she had noticed the moon was really low and thought it quite weird as she had never seen it like this. She remembers thinking (her words) corr blimey, you could nearly touch it. The day she heard about Ken was when he had his interview on Campball live, where Campball had made a right d..k of himself and had to apologise too Ken Ring. So, she did a bit of research on him...obviously alot of people have read Ken's OPINIONS and can link what she saw to his OPINIONS. ....FOOD FOR THOUGHT.

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It is much easier to predict that Nick Smith will continue to make a fool of himself.

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@Footplate
In response to "Footplate | Wednesday, March 16, 2011 - 12:02pm It is much easier to predict that Nick Smith will continue to make a fool of himself."

Now that you could place money on!

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I wonder whether Key or his advisors read this site -- if the comments on here reflect general opinion, even in a small way, Smith should be pushed way down the pecking order.

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Many young people in Christchurch are scared and are passing each other misinformation about what the moon man has said. He is entitled to an opinion but not to pass that off as fact, as has been said - this is akin to yelling fire in a crowded stadium . These quotes are taken from his own website and are quoted verbatum rather than hearsay. Perhaps knowing what was actually said may be more helpful. His claim to have predicted the sep 4 quake rests upon "you'll be reading about floods and winds and earthquakes and snow over the next week or so, particually in the South Island." Where were the snow, floods and winds? If he gets kudos for the earthquake what about noting none of the others eventuated. Ok what about 22 Feb quake? Gns had consistantly commented that it was usual to have an earthquake of a magnitude lower ie a 6 within about six months of the initial quake. Mr Ring tweeted "potential earthquake time for the planet between 15th and 25 (ten day range of dates) esp 18th for Christchurch+/- about 3 days." ie between 15th and 21st. Missed the 22nd when it actually occured unless you keep stretching the range. On his website he wrote: "a 7+ magnitude somewhere is very likely...somewhere on the ring of fire..The range of risk may be within 500 kms of the Alpine fault." So in the tweet even allowing for a large window of days the quake still was outside it and with the website comment note the use of the word may and the range of 500 kms which could cover much of the South Island. Also from Mr Rings website, he wrote about an earthquake in Hokitika on 12 March 2011, I am sure you all heard about that? No well perhaps that's because it didn't happen. If you followed Mr Rings predictions it would become clear that people only remember what they think are hits and dismiss the rest. What if Hokitika had been evacuated last weekend and the wild foods festival cancelled on the basis of the prediction similar to that he is giving about Christchurch. So what about the 20th of March. Although Mr Ring is saying now that there will be quake, twice on his website he stated that:"Next March Christchurch might well be one of the safest places" and "In fact I think its more likely not to be the case in Christchurch." He went on the say: "it is reasonable to relax and assume another devastating shake is unlikely to unlikely to repeat anytime soon despite a Seismology department knee jerk reaction that a 6+ magnitude earthquake aftershook could be arriving in the district anytime soon." It would seem that even Mr Ring can not follow his own theory consistantly if he is now saying that there will be a quake on the 20th.
Mr Ring claims that scientists ignore his theories and if they only followed them up, well then they would see he was right. One scientist, Paul Nichols from Canterbury University has and even using Mr Rings own explainations of how the process works ie lunar distance and moon's phase, has found that the results do not show alignment of the quakes with the phases as would be expected if the theory held water.
As a resident of Christchurch I too would like to grasp at some certainty of how to be safe BUT to follow what Mr Rings says is to grasp at a straw which breaks in your hand. Having people say he is wrong because the outcomes do not fit his theory does not make him a scientist misunderstood or badly treated by an Establishment, it just makes him wrong. Believeing him is like a cult religion, requiring blind an unthinking faith but making one part of a special group for whom "persecution" is the proof that they are the elect and therefore right. Like the ugly sister in the fairytale who had to cut her toes off to fit into Cinderella's slipper, in real science, one that we can believe in, the outcomes fit the theory just as Cinderella's foot fit the slipper with no need to adjust anything. I know who I would rather take the ball! or in other words trust to keep me accurately informed.

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Thank you for some research and some logic, both seem to have vanished from many forums lately.

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Catsmother : Christchurchers have been so badly let down by those in authority. Instead of holding accountable those who authorised inappropriate buildings buildings on a swamp in a known tectonic zone, they rant at Ken Ring, who is only trying to highlight why he still thinks there will be more serious problems. GNS's report has never been retracted. That means they think there will still be severe earthquakes, tsunamis, and liquifaction, yet no one attacks them. Why? They don't ask why no one including Nick Smith didn't take notice of what are now proven good work done by GNS and the warnings ( including tsunamis) concerning Christchurch.

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I predict Nick smiths ratings will drop like the Nikkei.
What a foolish thing to do on NBR!

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I find the continued "Ken Ring Offensive" offensive.
Don't these MP's have anything to do but maintain their offensive positions ?

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Well Mr almighty Smith. Let's wait and see.

Why do you always think you are right and all else in coventry ?.

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Can't the MP go and write a twelve point memo to himself on How to identify ACC property fraud (in less than 20 years).

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OK, which is in reality dangerous, co2 or earthquakes? Smith says co2. What is the greatest danger to the NZ economy? - Nick Smith.
Smith sides with "skeptics" when it suits his political purposes, yet has forced a monster wind farm, the Turitea wind farm , on Palmerston North and IT IS RIGHT NEXT TO THE PAHIATUA FAULT LINE!. What an idiot.

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I'm pretty sure Sign of the Kiwi is NOT one of the tallest buildings in Christchurch.

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On March 19th, the moon will be closer to Earth than it's been since 1992. The full moon that night will appear about 14 percent larger and significantly brighter than usual, but despite the brightness, the supermoon has a dark side. Supermoons have been linked to massive natural disasters in the past, from earthquakes to floods--but that connection is typically touted by astrologists. Astronomers and scientists, with typical drollness, say a catastrophe is unlikely.

March 19th marks this year's lunar perigee, the point in the moon's orbit at which it is closest to Earth. It's the moon's elliptical orbit that's responsible for the differences in distance between the moon and Earth (the opposite, the point at which the moon is farthest from the Earth, is called the lunar apogee). This month's perigee will leave the moon, says Steve Owens at Dark Sky Diary, about 8 percent closer to Earth than usual, and about 2 percent closer to Earth than the average lunar perigee. In fact, it'll be the closest positioning since 1992.

Past supermoons have coincided with natural disasters--the Indonesian earthquake in 2005, Australian flooding in 1954--but scientists note that those are unrelated, more likely than not. Says John Bellini, a geophysicist at the U.S. Geological Survey: "A lot of studies have been done on this kind of thing by USGS scientists and others. They haven't found anything significant at all." The tides will pull a bit higher, but earthquakes are almost completely unaffected and volcanoes are not likely to show unusual behavior. John Vidale, a seismologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, said "Practically speaking, you'll never see any effect of lunar perigee. It's somewhere between 'It has no effect' and 'It's so small you don't see any effect.'"

Besides, it's still 2011. Everyone knows there won't be any world-ending catastrophes until next year, right?

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Photo caption "and when I think about privatizing the best bits of ACC it grows to this big".
I'm sorry I think you exaggerated the size of your potiential growth.
HAHAHA.

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hahahaha good one.

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Nick smith would have been one of those who would have continued to contend the world was flat as those who thought otherwise were not qualified to do so.
Nick can not tell us what effect fuel emissions have yet can say the charges are ok, he is not qualified to make such a statement, and as no one is, he should be held to account fro allowing actual money to be ripped form the pockets of new zealanders

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Nick smith would have been one of those who would have continued to contend the world was flat as those who thought otherwise were not qualified to do so.
Nick can not tell us what effect fuel emissions have yet can say the charges are ok, he is not qualified to make such a statement, and as no one is, he should be held to account fro allowing actual money to be ripped form the pockets of new zealanders

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Since when did anything on anyones personal website be regarded as scaremongering? Moon man albiet right or wrong is trying to help the situation not make one. Nick Smith, pull your head out of your ETS scheme and smell the scientific roses of your own rubbish.

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How about "Nick Smith Offensive, should be held to account"

Works for me.

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What if Ken Ring is right within a few days of the 20 of March there is another big earthquake in Christchurch. Im living in the UK and there has been a few articles in the papers over here about the moon being closest to the earth on the 19th of March. They also say the this will bring extreme weather and possible earthquakes. Surely if other people are picking up on this we can't write it off just yet. A warning is a warning weather you choose to believe it is up to you isn't it?

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Don't use your back like a crane!

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We have weather warnings, which are more often than not wrong. But we have been warned. We don't go for the kill of thw weather forecasters do we? We have tsunami warnings. So why can't we also have earthquake risk warnings? Something like "Wellington is on a known fault line. Many of the older buildings may endanger life in the event of a earthquake. No one in local government or local council will be repsonsible in the event that an old building falls down and kills you, even if they knew it was not up to modern building standards. You have been warned."

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Why is this shit still "news"

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... have you been to what used to be Christchurch? just to recap an earthquake wiped out the 3rd largest city in NZ. hope this answers your question.

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oh come on ........!!! to my knowledge Ken Ring never said "There will be another big quake in Chrischurch on the 20th March". He said it is "possible" that there will be quake activity around the 19th-21st March between marlbough and north canterbury! "Possible" is the word that sticks out to me, take this information as you see fit! But there is no need to ridacule the man or make it into a huge deal!!!

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What pratttish behaviour by Nick Smith.

An extraordinary attack on freedom of speech and thought which has been neither actionable or defamatory. This really is the Thought Police in action -disgraceful behaviour by a minister

Good to see others making the point about what a nerve Smith has considering he endorses the rubbish that CO2 is a damaging gas, atmospherically.

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Lisa, it's possible that you may get hit by a car today, tomorrow and any day of you life.

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I believe in science but i know its got some HUGE limitations and missing gaps especially in our solar system and the tectonics. its horrible that some people (eg Nick Smith) can be so blaise and self assured. the egg.

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It's funny because it actually happened, sure it wasn't as big as he may have thought, but so far his 'theory' has been right for the last 6 biggest quakes since the September one.

Take what you will, and read it from his website itself, not what wrap the news makes of it.

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