“Boosting science and innovation”

Written By: - Date published: 2:19 pm, March 15th, 2011 - 7 comments
Categories: Economy, flip-flop, national/act government, science - Tags:

No Right Turn says all that is required on another of Nationals aspirational failures.

For the past year, the government has been talking a lot about “boosting science and innovation” as the “keys to economic growth”. Today, we saw the reality behind that talk, with news that NIWA is planning to sack 5% of its total workforce:

The crown research company NIWA is proposing to cut 17 science and 17 support staff positions. Most of the science job to be cut are at the company’s Wellington regional office but nationwide include marine taxonomists, molecular biologists, fisheries stock assessment scientists, an environmental economist, a renewable energy scientist/engineer, a catchment water quality modeler, an atmospheric physicist, a marine ecologist, and a remote sensing scientist.

SO much for boosting innovation. But hey, who really needs to know how many fish we’ve got, or what sort of fish they are, or how they work anyway? And who needs to know what our climate is doing, whether our lakes are polluted, and how to build wave turbines? Its not as if these things let us understand our world, manage our resources, and identify and deal with environmental problems, right? We can just rely on Gerry Brownlee to tell us these things, the same way he tells us whether heritage buildings can be preserved…Note that scientists aren’t accountants; when you sack one, their NZ career is over. They are too highly specialised, and there are too few NZ employers, for them to find work elsewhere in their field (sometimes, they are their field). The lucky ones go overseas. Most get out of science altogether. Either way, we effectively lose their knowledge, permanently. But its not just them – this also sends a message to everyone considering a scientific career that they shouldn’t bother, or that they should go overseas – because they won’t find a stable research environment here

Its stupid. Its short-sighted. It will result in a permanent loss of scientific knowledge and expertise to the country. Far from “boosting science and innovation”, this government is doing the exact opposite.

7 comments on ““Boosting science and innovation””

  1. Shane Gallagher 1

    Maybe they were seen as impediments to business innovation… Anyway, according to NAct climate change isn’t happening and the market will successfully “take care of” our environment.

    • Bored 1.1

      Cycleways and the bicycles used thereon are well established true and tested technologies. These buggers cant even get that right. How do you expect them to do anything higher tech and scientific that might involve retaining the services of 34 staff any one of whom has a higher IQ than the collective Nact cabinet?

  2. Tigger 2

    National hates science. It provides facts and facts get in the way of spin.

    • Jim Nald 2.1

      And the Nat rats like to fluff a perception they are doing something – no need to really boost science and innovation and no need to hire at NIWA.

      If you can’t get a job and you’re about to leave for Australia, no worries – just contact the PM’s office

      [tip: PM making his office available for contact in today’s Question Time in the House]

  3. ChrisH 3

    Good point re scientists being specialised. All islands are prone to extinction of their more exotic species, if nothing is done to protect them. Unfortunately, from the manager’s point of view, such overspecialisation is an invitation to “take it or leave it” conditions. And if a top scientist buggers off to Australia, well, that’s one less four-eyed brainbox, who need’s ’em anyway…

  4. Afewknowthetruth 4

    Once you understand that everything in government is Orwellian (war is peace, ignroance is strength, freedom is slavery) it all makes perfect sense.

  5. randal 5

    this government has adhd when it comes to finance.
    if it wont make a return in the first quarter then flag it.

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