Lobbyist stands by 'ego trip' email

The 100 per cent Pure New Zealand 2011 rugby ball was taken around the world to promote the country. Photo / Natalie Slade
The 100 per cent Pure New Zealand 2011 rugby ball was taken around the world to promote the country. Photo / Natalie Slade

A government lobbyist is standing by his leaked comments which criticised leading scientists for speaking out about New Zealand's poor environmental record.

Mark Unsworth, of government relations consultancy Saunders Unsworth, emailed Massey University environmental scientist Dr Mike Joy on Wednesday in reaction to Joy's comments to the New York Times on New Zealand's "fantastical" 100 per cent Pure image.

Mr Unsworth's email - which was sent at 12.15am under the subject line "Ego trip" - was posted by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman on his Facebook page yesterday.

In the emails, Mr Unsworth said although he was an academic, Dr Joy had "let his ego run riot worldwide" while risking jobs and incomes from decreased tourism.

"You guys are the foot and mouth disease of the tourism industry. Most ordinary people in NZ would happily have you lot locked up," he wrote.

"You may not care given your tenure in a nice comfy university lounge, but to others this affects income and jobs.

"Give that some thought next time you feel the need to see your name in print in New York. And possibly think of changing your name from Joy to Misery - its more accurate [sic]."

The emails were posted on Dr Norman's Facebook page yesterday, and he said Mr Unsworth's behaviour implied he wanted to stop scientists performing their academic duty to report environmental degradation.

Dr Norman said corporate lobbyists exploited New Zealand's "100 per cent Pure" image but then tried to stop any protection of the environment on which it stood.

Mr Unsworth said he did not wish to comment further. He stood by the emails and they were his own personal views. Saunders Unsworth clients include Caltex, British Gas and Air New Zealand.

- By Josh Martin

- NZ Herald

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