Wednesday was sadly another example of the crumbling MetService infrastructure set up in 1991 and now constantly userped by NIWA. Over the past 24 hours MetService, along with their new Marketing partners at Auckland Civil Defence (who don’t seem to care about accuracy anymore – their manager clearly needs to ‘make the news’), simply ran a marketing campaign to be in the news ahead of being accurate with severe weather – something noted by not only the general Auckland public but some of Auckland’s largest corporates too – as they contacted WeatherWatch.co.nz today to ask ‘where is the major storm they are both forecasting?’.
It’s like the taxpayers of NZ being forced to fund the continuation of United Video or Video Ezy when Netflix is coming in.
MetService and Auckland Civil Defence (ACDEM) no longer appear to care about accuracy (they 100% refuse to work with the private sector) – instead “LET’S BE IN THE NEWS!” seems to be a far more exciting idea for those perhaps involved in NZ’s biggest city bureaucracy. Not sure about you, but when I was a kid growing up Civil Defence wasn’t about â€˜clickbait’ – instead Civil Defence was once a proud institution that was there for you in a disaster, when it REALLY ACTUALLY HAPPENED and MATTERED – not the day before hedging their bets to get in the news (to justify the bosses job).
Now, one must assume ACDEM are getting ‘ahead of the news’ to justify their own internal jobs – rather than the greater love and care of the Auckland general community, which has been WeatherWatch.co.nzâ€™s role for 15 plus years (and why under previous management Civil Defence hired WW for 8 years to reduce MetService false alarms for the city – something now sorely clearly missed). Which means Civil Defence is sadly becoming a brand New Zealanders should not trust – that is heartbreaking to write, but in the case of ACDEM they are proving they are on the side of commercial hype before accuracy. In my opinion there isnâ€™t a single other thing we could do to destroy their already waning credibility (remember in December last year – at the peak of Aucklandâ€™s worst power cut in several months ACDEM gave Aucklander’s the â€œall clearâ€ as literally the most destructive thunderstorm was underway. Why? Their commercial side wonâ€™t challenge MetService who clearly told them the risk was over. Ask Vector (the power company) if the risk was over).
Thunderstorms in June are very normal. Over the top warnings from a commercial Government Agency – MetService – are not. And yes – COMMERCIAL is the core of MetServiceâ€™s tax funded operation when they are now head on competing on a commercial level not with tiny WeatherWatch but instead with gigantic 200-million-dollar-a-year-tax-funded-NIWA which gets about an extra 150 million dollars per year more than MetService does from all of you – the hardworking Kiwi taxpayers.
If youâ€™re using WeatherWatch – none of your tax dollars go towards us. Over 200 million a year goes to MetService and NIWA and when the private sector challenge this the Government will give them an extra 17 million dollars (as they did just over the last few weeks – for no reason other than competition in our tiny private sectorâ€¦ which shows weâ€™re on the right track).
In recent years another (even more commercial agency) NIWA (formally the National Institute of Weather and Atmospheric research but these days NIWA seems to stand for “No Idea What’s Ahead”) has challenged MetService‘s accuracy on a COMMERCIAL level (NIWA is a *much* larger Government agency than MetService ever could be and their CEO John Morgan earns more than Prime Minister Adern and he believes he does not have to justify why – ok sure, but your taxes fund his nearly 700K a year job for no real reason Weird that he insists no one cares about how much he earns on your behalf).
Once again this week both Government agencies were on a different page. Why? Because both have commercial interests ahead of public interests. They both want to make money that Minister Megan Woods says she wants to then “spend”. Minister Woods never mentioned once in our 60 minute meeting last year that she cared about better weather accuracy for New Zealanders – her entire focus was on spending their (your) profits (and despite your tax investment they actually don’t always pay a profit back to the NZ Govt – talk about being ripped off – yet no one ever seems to care about this!).
MetService – along with their ‘marketing partners-in-crime’ Auckland Civil Defence – both tried to hype up a weather event for Auckland on Wednesday that was NEVER going to be a major event.
MetService even went out of their way to promote computer modelling they have – despite two years ago telling Stuff.co.nz they didn’t believe in computer technology, such as IBM.
MetService hyped today SO much they crashed their own tax and rate payer funded infrastructure – this also happens in most storms they both breathlessly hype up to justify their own commercial competition towards the bigger Government Agency – NIWA. Minister Woods didn’t care to hear about this – as she said, she wants to spend their profits – doesn’t care about their day to day ethics and she truly believes they donâ€™t compete – even though everyone with â€˜Googleâ€™ can clearly see they do.
MetService has recently issued new warning systems. They never once engaged the media or private forecaster in this process. Instead, much like a heavy Russian Government Agency they instead told the news media their new rules. Today their warnings were utterly confusing – but perhaps got them the commercial news attention they need now that NIWA has usurped MetService‘s power commercially (remember we fund both of these agencies!) (eg they break news to Radio NZ about Cyclone Gita hitting NZ – and Minister Woods blamed that particular news story on a reporter in the media – yet had no interest on NIWA actually responding!). Why? Because NIWA is a bigger agency and Minister Megan Woods simply said the weather monopoly was “good for New Zealanders” because it was additional money She/The Government could spend. They spend about 200 million tax payer dollars a year to get barely 1 million in return – and some years 0 return.
New Zealand remains the ONLY country in the ENTIRE western world that believes the public should not only FUND weather data, but they should pay several times that amount again to receive and use it. As we said, Minister Woods prefers to spend the profit than bank on better accuracy. That’s very weird in our view for a minister that should care about science.
In an exclusive news update – we’re now telling all of New Zealand we will fill this gap. We will find a private alternative so New Zealanders no longer need to fund a third world weather agency that makes a profit for one Minister to “spend”.
– Opinion piece by CEO and Head Forecaster Philip Duncan.
on 6/06/2019 6:52am
If you call the plonkers out they will retaliate by telling others that you have mental illness in a deliberate effort to defame you. I’ve had that done to me by MetVUW add NIWA, so be careful Phil, if you compete with MetService or NIWA, MetVUW will backstab you to the hilt. They are not nice people and their nastiness has no bounds. I have told them repeatedly that Weatherwatch is my preferred forecaster, and they do not like that one iota. I tried hard to get weather assistance and that is always the outcome, you are gas lit by these village idiots. Mention supercells and they go into melt down mode, which is hilarious.
I use WeatherWatch and BOM as the Govt forecasters have such a history of being a complete waste of space and time. WeatherWatch have an outstanding track record re how strong the next westerly and its fronts will be and your advance advice re the big systems is outstanding.
If Civil Defence really cared about public safety, they would work with closely all forecasters to ensure complete coverage. Something dangerous is about to strike and oh we’re sorry but only MetService users get advice and assistance is not satisfactory.
The new warning system is a copy of the UK MetOffice, but even they give the public a far superior radar to what NZ does.I mean to say who wants to watch the radar after a dangerous storm has struck, but that is what MetService does to us.
Their minister is Green Party and that is all about communist government ownership. Their needs to be a full Board of Inquiry re forecasting, recognition of severe wx, dissemination of critical safety information, and the treatment of the public, not to mention the waste of taxpayer dollars. I wonder what it’ll take … a disaster?
Keep going Phil, a lot of us rely on you.
on 6/06/2019 4:04am
Totally agree Phillip.
I cannot understand why we the taxpayer put up with this rubbish.
Both from NIWA who have a multi million dollar PC that cannot predict anything – just guess work like myself.
And Metservice which is a total embarressment after yesterday and much more.
What is scary but not surprising is that profit again comes before any public safety.
Heads must roll here…….full stop!
on 6/06/2019 1:16am
Thank the stars you are here WW and all the people who work within it.
A great editorial Phil and I can see that NZ unfortunately has another government minister with their head in the sand, following the trend of late that has infected a lot of ministers.
on 5/06/2019 8:56pm
Hit the nail on the head there Phillip. Same old story of profit before people. The safety of the public of NZ should take precedence over anything especially grandstanding and profits!!!
On a side note, as a good old Te Aroha old boy like myself I can tell you that she blew a hurricane around 3pm yesterday for 20mins or so and dropped a few trees. A bit more than the “gentle” Te Aroha blow. Keep up the good work as I rely on Weather Watch forecasts in my line of work.
on 5/06/2019 4:10pm
Thank you SO much for your editorial explaining to me, FINALLY, why MetService is SO inaccurate with their forecasts! I’ve been shaking my head for years as to how any of them keep their jobs, but now I understand.