Mallard’s moa musings

July 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

With nine terms in Parliament under ’s belt, critics might say he is a political dinosaur. But no-one could say his latest idea is old-school thinking.

With “the science of de-extinction advancing quickly”, as he put it, the Hutt South MP has laid down a challenge for Lower Hutt and for scientists: Let’s work towards the possibility of moa one day striding again through the bush of Rimutaka Forest Park.

While admitting it sounded “a bit Jurassic Park”, Mallard said scientists had been making progress on techniques for using recovered DNA from extinct animals to reconstruct new life.

Fifty to 100 years from now, Wainuiomata could again be home to the moa, which would make an enormous difference to the environment, community and economy, he said.

And people say Labour doesn’t have an economic development plan. They do. it’s bringing back the moa. And to be fair it is more credible than most of their other policies.

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64 Responses to “Mallard’s moa musings”

  1. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    I actually think it’s a pretty good idea. I’d rather some of my tax dollars went into scientific research then, oh, 95% of the ways they are currently spent.

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  2. KiwiGreg (3,224 comments) says:

    …and yes. I already put my own money into petri dish for my pet research preferences.

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  3. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    David Cunliffe has tried to paper over this as just a wisecrack – mickysavage seems to have become a part Cunliffe’s PR team Cunliffe tries to paper over Mallard ‘wisecrack’ – but this was deliberately prepared, it was promoted to media and it was responded to by Mallard with apparent seriousness.

    What’s Mallard up to? The most likely answers are he’s going bonkers or he is deliberately sabotaging Cunliffe’s campaign/

    When you see the bizarre photos Mallard is using on his Twitter and Facebook – see Is Mallard serious? – it suggests the former, but it could be both.

    Mallard is taking the piss. Cunliffe won’t be laughing but trying to paper over the cracks in Labour via The Standard is not the strong leadership Labour needs.

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  4. OneTrack (2,832 comments) says:

    Mallard admits Labour wants to live in the past.

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  5. tvb (4,255 comments) says:

    This overshadowed any political capital the Labour Party could have made out of the Diplomatic Immunity bungle. David Shearer seems to be on the money on this.

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  6. Manolo (13,517 comments) says:

    Mallard, the socialist fuckwit, has spoken more of his usual rubbish.

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  7. George Patton (351 comments) says:

    He needs to talk more about his plan

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  8. Akaroa (552 comments) says:

    What an incredibly damaging own-goal for the Labour Party on the part of this seasoned and wiley old political campaigner.

    Weeks out from a General Election and he comes up with loony-toons crack-pot idea like this!!

    What’s he smoking, I wonder?

    Its almost as if Mr Mallard doesn’t want to see a Cunliffe-led Labour Government next time.

    But that can’t be right!

    Well?

    Can it??????

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  9. m@tt (612 comments) says:

    “This overshadowed any political capital the Labour Party could have made out of the Diplomatic Immunity bungle. ”
    ‘bungle’ used to describe the alleged assault of a woman with intent to rape, the subsequent claim that “”our hands are effectively tied” (Key) and now the revelations that when Malaysia apparently offered to waive immunity someone at Mfat said, ‘yeah, nah. You guys can handle it’.
    Yeah, that’s totally not as important as someone talking about the Moa…
    I’ll see your bungle and raise you a shit storm.

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  10. Tarquin North (213 comments) says:

    Trev probably thinks Jurassic Park is a documentary.

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  11. nasska (10,917 comments) says:

    It could be time to take dna from the Labour parliamentary team as it seems likely that they will become extinct at the wheel without fresh blood ever being introduced.

    If this motley lot could be reconstructed under rigorous laboratory security sometime in the future they could shed light on how species evolve or are superseded by more intelligent variants.

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  12. OneTrack (2,832 comments) says:

    Labour will be announcing free bio engineering degrees to meet their goal of a Moa for every kiwi family.

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  13. Elaycee (4,333 comments) says:

    m@tt: and now the revelations that when Malaysia apparently offered to waive immunity someone at Mfat said, ‘yeah, nah. You guys can handle it’.

    Best you bring yourself up with the play… NZ Police wanted to press charges. Malaysia invoked diplomatic immunity.

    The comments prompted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mfat) to take the rare step of releasing its correspondence with the high commission. In a diplomatic notice on May 10, Mfat wrote: “The New Zealand police believes it is in the public interest to prosecute these offences due to the serious nature of the offending.” Ismail was facing charges of burglary and assault with intent to rape after following a 21-year-old woman home in Brooklyn the previous day. Mfat asked Malaysian authorities to waive the personal immunity granted to diplomats under the Vienna Convention. In its response on May 21, the high commission said it would not waive immunity and had “decided that [Ismail] should be repatriated to Malaysia as soon as possible”.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11285736

    Sorted.

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  14. OTGO (526 comments) says:

    So Labour’s de-extinction of Moa would be called “Kiwi Moa” then?

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  15. Duxton (596 comments) says:

    In fairness, Mallard, King, Dyson and Goff can probably remember when moa roamed the bush of Aotearoa :-)

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  16. mikenmild (11,246 comments) says:

    It’s a bit more complicated than that, Elaycee. The letters don’t cover a meeting between MFAT and Malaysian officials at which MFAT reportedly said that it would be okay for the diplomat to leave and have the Malaysians handle it. McCully has described the meeting as ‘ambiguous”.

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  17. wiseowl (832 comments) says:

    I think Murri should pay for the research because they were responsible for taking the moas lands and decimation of the moa population.

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  18. Salacious Crumb (31 comments) says:

    This has the whiff of the duck running a Liu Block. Come out with some ridiculous story, add a hint of butting heads with the leader and hey presto; no one is asking questions on Labour’s hypocrisy or lack of delcaration on certain donations.

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  19. Pete George (23,345 comments) says:

    I think it has more of a whiff of Mallard running a Cunliffe/Labour “fuck you”.

    Coverage on 3 News last night showed Cunliffe saying “the moa is not a goer”.
    This was followed by Mallard saying “Ah, well the the moa WILL be a goer”.

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Mallard-Bring-the-moa-back-to-life-within-50-years/tabid/1607/articleID/350976/Default.aspx

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  20. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    mickysavage seems to have become a part Cunliffe’s PR team Cunliffe

    Really? Thanks for the heads up.

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  21. Nigel Kearney (919 comments) says:

    People should be ambitious about what science may achieve. A Moa burger might be nice but Labour would be more likely to get my vote if they focus on developing a robot that mows lawns and cleans guttering.

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  22. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    Trev probably thinks Jurassic Park is a documentary.

    Whereas it is of course a reference to the liebour caucus room.

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  23. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    Who will be the first gummint member to refer to the liebour benches as Jurassic Park?

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  24. kiwi in america (2,477 comments) says:

    I’m with Whale and PG on this – Mallard poo fingered Cunliffe. National’s front bench had a field day during Question Time yesterday. The ABCs don’t want Cunliffe to have a noble loss – an ignoble loss not only sweeps him from the leadership but gives the caucus ammunition to say letting the unions decide the leadership perhaps ought to be a thing of the past.

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  25. wiseowl (832 comments) says:

    TDM. I was watching parliament yesterday and noticed something from the Jurassic period sitting in the Green leafy area.
    I think they were found in the Coromandel area.

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  26. davidp (3,558 comments) says:

    I’m not sure I really want Moa back. They’re big, they’re dangerous, and they don’t look like happy birds. I’m sort of okay if they’re confined to Wainuiomata because, like most people, I never go there. But I’d hate to find them wandering in to the city, chasing people down the streets, and overturning cars and shit.

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  27. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    Get over yourselves you pack of boring predictable old farts.

    The fact is, it can be done. We have the technology and now it just needs to be perfected. Getting over the political rhetoric, and the need to diss every single thing that comes from the left, the fact that science has progressed to the level where such things can be achieved is incredible.

    I truly believe that we will see several species that have been extinct for sometime again. I recently watched a documentary on efforts to get the DNA of the mammoth and how relatively easy the process is, if they can get the right match.

    There is a very real and distinct possibility that what Mallard has claimed could happen. Its just a pity Jonzo didn’t think of it first, or you’d all be knitting Moa bootees by now! (I realise that wouldn’t have happened, he has the imagination of flea)

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  28. holysheet (300 comments) says:

    I had an old moa once. Put a new spark plug in it and it was good as new.
    Tell trev to ask me, I’ll fix his moa problem.

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  29. peterwn (3,215 comments) says:

    wiseown – on the contrary, there would be a small matter of taniwhas and koha to sort out.

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  30. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    @ holysheet (234 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:25 am

    He wouldn’t be able to understand you. You can’t even spell mower correctly. :P

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  31. holysheet (300 comments) says:

    I taught he wood unnetand bro talk

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  32. Colville (2,191 comments) says:

    Yeah its white anting but using a huge extinct bird.

    Awesome, keep it up Trev. Best thing you have said since forever.

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  33. kowtow (7,953 comments) says:

    “Why stop there? Why not bring back some old Labour Party prime ministers … some extra talent for their caucus. This is a huge vista of opportunity,” Mr Joyce said.

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  34. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    kowtow (7,421 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:35 am
    “Why stop there? Why not bring back…

    Muldoon! Oh wait, we already did, and called him John (according to the N&S magazine).

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  35. Lance (2,565 comments) says:

    Nah
    Haast’s Eagle, that’s more like it. Death from the skies… no wait

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  36. publicwatchdog (2,294 comments) says:

    Doesn’t the Public Records Act 2005 apply to MFAT? Less ‘informal chats’ and more proper written records? How can you have transparency and accountability without proper written records? Penny Bright – future MP for Helensville? ;)

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  37. tom hunter (4,568 comments) says:

    It’s not generally known but this technology has already been used to bring back the Dodo, several of which can be seen in the Labour caucus.

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  38. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    @Judith

    The problem is that DNA degrades relatively quickly in normal conditions. Mammoths have the advantage of being stored in permafrost, which helps preserves sequences. Also, most DNA that is recovered is mtDNA (mitochondrial) which is relatively easy because they’re much shorter sequences and cells have a lot more of them. Recovering intact DNA is much harder- I think the Thylacine project floundered on that point- and that is for an animal of much more recent extinction than moas.

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  39. publicwatchdog (2,294 comments) says:

    Sorry David – my comment should have been in General Debate :( Penny

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  40. Cunningham (829 comments) says:

    Judith (6,902 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:24 am
    Get over yourselves you pack of boring predictable old farts.

    There’s an election coming FFS and the opposition want to talk about resurrecting an extinct bird. I thought you of all people would be bagging them for not focusing on important things.

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  41. Scott Chris (5,981 comments) says:

    Well to give Trev his due, if/when labour next make it into government the technology may well be viable.

    But I suspect that by that time the duck species mallard trevori will be extinct.

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  42. Judith (8,460 comments) says:

    @Cunningham (808 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Hey, he’s giving the finger to Cunliffe – why bag the man for doing something we’d all like to do?

    I actually think its a great idea, and should be mentioned.
    Just consider the possibilities in a practical way for a minute here.
    I encourage science and innovation – it is what NZ needs to rebuild our economy in a way that is less based on agriculture.

    This may seem to be pie in the sky stuff, but just for a minute think of what it would bring our country if we did achieve this? Apparently it would be one the easier extinct species to clone. It would put us back up there with Lord Rutherford.and so on. Don’t be so quick to throw it away – everyone laughed at Sir Ed when he first talked about climbing that bloody great hill.

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  43. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    Penny, I’m not sure anyone can tell the difference.

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  44. scrubone (3,090 comments) says:

    There was extensive informed comment this morning on National Radio. And he made the point I’ve been making – the money would be much better spent on conserving existing species, which is a difficult enough task.

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  45. G152 (232 comments) says:

    Trev wants his fellow fossil back

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  46. kiwi in america (2,477 comments) says:

    Judith
    This is in the same category as Don Brash walking the plank. A grown up needed to tell Mallard how silly it sounds – note I use the word sounds. I don’t deny that it would be an exciting development but it had an eminently mockable quality written all over it and so it turned out. When reporters are asking the leader about it in his Morning Report interview about Labour’s upcoming Congress, you know it has rained on Cunliffe’s parade and he was pretty miffed about it.

    That Mallard is persisting talking about it after Cunliffe has quashed all talk of it as Labour policy is all the evidence you need that he’s deliberately poking Cunliffe in the eye especially when Cunliffe needs all the positive message-focused media coverage he can get.

    In politics perception is everything and the proposal was an easy lay up for Key and Joyce in the House yesterday.

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  47. burt (8,036 comments) says:

    There is nothing more pressing in Hutt South to put on the political agenda over and above spending millions on Mallard’s pet “make me popular” project. Disgrace – Resign Mallard !

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  48. burt (8,036 comments) says:

    Trev has fond memories of running around chasing Moa as a mid 40′s man – a few hundred years ago.

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  49. Scott (1,736 comments) says:

    As I often do nowadays I am intrigued by the way the media reports this. Although there is a little bit of joking generally Stuff and the New Zealand Herald have played this with a straight bat – slightly offbeat idea but could well be worth exploring. That’s because Trevor Mallard is a centre-left politician.

    Now imagine if Colin Craig had said this? The media would be off their head to condemn him. That’s because he is a centre-right politician. He also espouses traditional morals. So he must be stopped!!

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  50. GPT1 (2,106 comments) says:

    Mallard the saviour of the extinct – first the Moa, then the Dodo and for his coup de grace – the Labour party.

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  51. Maggy Wassilieff (313 comments) says:

    @Judith… I doubt very much that moa would be one of the easier species to clone. To date, I think no bird species has been cloned.
    Remember the buzz a decade or so ago when some folks wanted to clone Huia?….. hasn’t worked out.
    Perhaps you could acquaint yourself with the difference in development between a mammalian egg and a bird egg…. and that might give you a clue as to why our taxpayer funds shouldn’t be diverted in our lifetime from science research to science fiction.

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  52. Lindsay Addie (1,183 comments) says:

    At least Trevor can explain policies and ideas succinctly and clearly in a way that the average Joe can understand (even if in the case of this one it is rather daft). Cunliffe and Parker lack the same skill.

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  53. freemark (519 comments) says:

    Perhaps Mallard can see the writing on the wall and is pimping himself for a Post election job in the Marketing Dept of a NZ Brewing Company that is struggling…:)

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  54. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    Mammoths have the advantage of being stored in permafrost, which helps preserves sequences.

    The parallels with liebour keep coming spiderman.

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  55. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    Judith

    Could this wonderful technology be used to bring back the Bain family? Then they could finger the murderer.

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  56. Lindsay Addie (1,183 comments) says:

    thedavincimode,

    Re cloning the Bain’s. Do you mean clone Robin and say to him,’Only you deserved to be cloned’?

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  57. Chthoniid (2,029 comments) says:

    @thedavinicmode

    Exactly :)

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  58. goldnkiwi (1,179 comments) says:

    Maggy Wassilieff (214 comments) says:

    July 2nd, 2014 at 9:58 am

    Perhaps the Jurassic Park ‘documentary’ has prompted the idea re the moa as opposed to mammals, birds being related to the dinosaurs I believe?

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  59. Maggy Wassilieff (313 comments) says:

    @goldnkiwi.. who knows what has prompted Mallard’s vision for moa in the Orongorongos?
    I just comment on the scientific accuracy/inaccuracy of some of the postings here on KB.

    The statement by Judith (9:03) that moa would be one of the easier extinct species to clone is rubbish.
    She had ignored Chthoniid’s valid reason why Mallard’s idea is pie in the sky.

    When someone can produce evidence that a chook or a lizard/turtle can be cloned by implanting a completely enucleated ovum with alien DNA into a bird/reptile oviduct then perhaps we could think about wasting our resources on resurrecting extinct birds.

    In the mean-time how do you assemble a mass of disconnected DNA into a functioning set of moa chromosomes?

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  60. thedavincimode (6,590 comments) says:

    In the mean-time how do you assemble a mass of disconnected DNA into a functioning set of moa chromosomes

    Don’t ask cunners, that’s for sure. He doesn’t seem to be able to.

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  61. RRM (9,667 comments) says:

    Now that is one big pile of sh!t:

    http://images6.fanpop.com/image/photos/32600000/one-big-pile-random-32625449-500-272.jpg

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  62. Anthony (785 comments) says:

    This is the funniest political story for a long time – it has generated plenty of funny lines like Cunliffe says the Moa’s not a Goa, and Mallard should worry more about that other endangered species that is about to become extinct after September!

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  63. Crusader (295 comments) says:

    Judith (6,914 comments) says:
    July 2nd, 2014 at 8:24 am

    Get over yourselves you pack of boring predictable old farts.

    The fact is, it can be done. We have the technology and now it just needs to be perfected. Getting over the political rhetoric, and the need to diss every single thing that comes from the left, the fact that science has progressed to the level where such things can be achieved is incredible.

    So what would the Green Party have to say about genetic engineering being done in New Zealand, and the resultant birds being released in the Wellington hinterland?

    (Imagine for a moment a National minister suggesting such a crackpot idea. Imagine the squeals of outrage from the Aussie redhead.)

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  64. MH (692 comments) says:

    I think it’s concussion from another lively debate with throw in the Towell Henare.

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