Political science

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 am, May 20th, 2013 - 30 comments
Categories: Economy, science - Tags:

As I/S pointed out yesterday, the Government’s “innovation” agenda is nothing more than a cuts to R&D and hidden subsidies.

Today in the Herald that’s confirmed by the Associations of Scientists President, Shaun Hendy.

there is also a strong primary sector flavour to several challenges and the primary sector is already the benefactor of a large share of our current spending on science.

“Did the public really want to fund more research aimed at further exploitation of our marine environment? Surely that is something that the private sector could fund.”

It shouldn’t be surprising. National have a habit of approaching every political decision with a primary question in mind – “how can we transfer wealth to our mates?”. We’ve seen it with the ETS subsidies, with the Warners Deal, with the tax cuts, with the privatisation agenda, and now we’re seeing it in science.

And as with most of National’s dealings (for example) this rewarding of mates it the product of backroom lobbying:

Professor Hendy was also concerned over what he saw as a lack of transparency in the process used to set the challenges, which he felt lent itself to lobbying by institutions.

R&D is critical to New Zealand maintaining its wealth and standard of living into the 21st century. Indeed there are few things more important for our economy in the medium to long term/ And National is f**king it up with short-term politicking. A blighted future for sure.

30 comments on “Political science”

  1. in yr pic..i think you’ve given him a longer finger ‘finger’ than he deserves..

    phillip ure..

  2. the central scutinizer 2

    It is that long. It needs to be so he can pick his ever growing nose.

  3. MrSmith 3

    We all know the Nats just hate those pesky scientists getting in the way of the continued destruction and pollution of our environment for profit, on one hand they cry science will save us, but on the other hand science and scientists can be a bloody nuisance when they point out things like nearly half of New Zealand’s lakes and 90% of the country’s lowland rivers are polluted.

    • prism 3.1

      Trouble is the country as a whole is over-educated. Commercial television and radio are helping to anaethesitise brains but there are still vestiges of pesky thought and ideas left. /sarc

      • Colonial Viper 3.1.1

        What education level is appropriate for an economy based on flipping burgers, stacking shelves, herding cows and vacuuming offices?

        • Tim

          Apparently a degree of some sort so that the whole student loan/international student/’keep the buggers in debt’ fiasco can be kept going.

          • prism

            Nice little earner for gummint! Adds to the GDP figures too. We need more of it, and perhaps more earthquakes seeing we are bereft of thinking other things up as viable business. (Just had one near Blenheim 3.8 so could be a goer.)

            • fender

              Yeah Double Dipton is supposedly the ‘envy of the world’ due to an earthquake adding around 2% to growth, great work Bill.

        • aerobubble

          Companies by law require a board to oversee them. Its obvious that the lack of a board to oversee govt (an upper chamber) has given to much power to the executive branch of government. Now intelligence in NZ isn’t very high since the implications, the results, of all the poor government, its haste, its use of urgency, its poor legislation, and now laws that breach human rights, all are tied up with the lack of a chamber to peruse the work of government.
          NZ is a hollowed out economy because its too easy to corrupt parliament and select winners, whether property developers, leaky home wood suppliers, or finance companies. What goo
          is a world class education system that produce people who can’t see the need for oversight, well what happens is the CTV building, the pike river mine, the exodus of skilled NZ, and the second worse fiscal position in the world, with private debt running decision making in Wellington.

          • alwyn

            “the second worst fiscal position in the world”
            Please tell us which ONE is worse. I am quite unable to decide as there are at scores I can think of that are worse than New Zealand.
            Which, oh which is your one and only?

            • ghostrider888

              Here. , courtesy of Poission.

              • alwyn

                That doesn’t seem to be a terribly relevant statistic given it is comparing 2007 and 2010 and doesn’t really seem to be relevant to Fiscal Policy.
                If you are really talking about Fiscal Policy I would have thought a rather more relevant number would have been Public debt as a percentage of GDP.
                I suggest you might like to consider the following reference.
                This gives, for 2012, thefigures of public debt to GDP.
                New Zealand was at 40.21%
                I haven’t looked at all the figures but counting the countries that start with an A, B or C I got to 20 of them.
                Second worse? Tripe.

          • Draco T Bastard

            Its obvious that the lack of a board to oversee govt (an upper chamber) has given to much power to the executive branch of government.

            An upper chamber doesn’t do that. All it does is prevent law being passed when the houses are controlled by different parties and be the same rubber stamp that we see in our parliament when both houses are controlled by the same parties. We see this all the time in the US where the Democrats are trying to pass legislation that will make the US actually better off and the Republican house is blocking them. Remember the Debt Ceiling fiasco? That’s only possible because one house is controlled by one party and the other house is controlled by the other party.

            If we want better governance then we need BCIR and an open and accountable parliament.

      • kiwicommie 3.1.2

        Well a lot of people coming out of universities believe neo-liberal theory like it was the bible.

        • Draco T Bastard

          That’s because that’s what they’ve been taught. They’re not taught that the neo-liberal paradigm has been proven wrong several times over the last century. They’re not taught that the underlying assumptions of the theory are unrealistic and so prevent the theory from having any real world application.

          The way that economics is taught and researched in schools and universities needs a major overhaul.

  4. ghostrider888 4

    -“a lost opportunity”
    -“Fighting disease’ garnered the most support”, then the primary sector, (are they gonna write a paper that restructures society’s relationships with long-work hours, higher productivity requirements, environmental toxins produced by Big Business, income inequalities, Big Pharmaceutical, highly-proceesed marketed food, excessive consumption, love of the motor-vehicle, violence in, and by, the media, binge-drinking, resentment, entitlement, greed, and non-democratic government drunk on the power of their commercial associates?) ; look forward to the executive summary of that paper, might plagiarise Ecclesiastes though.

  5. weta 5

    I would be wondering .. are there any more Aaron Gilmores out there ?

    • ghostrider888 5.1

      “And did we tell you the name of the game, boy?
      We call it ‘Riding the Gravy Train’.”

    • kiwicommie 5.2

      They are struggling to find candidates for their party list, they ran out of Bob the Builders, and Aaron Gilmore is gone, maybe they can run cardboard cut outs of old National MP’s and see if National voters even notice the difference.

      • Tom 5.2.1

        It occurs to me that Key has built a network of followers and supporters who have joined the party recently, such as Aaron .. although the full story of his demise does not seem to have yet emerged.

        Are you out there Aaron ? We would like to hear your side of the story .. we understand that the timing may not be quite right just yet. It may be too soon, but the things have a habit of coming out.

  6. Wayne 6

    However politicians did not choose the challenges – an independent science panel did led by Sir Peter Gluckman. Mind you I happen to agree they were underwhelming and seemed to be the very things normally being funded. Which was not the point when the concept was developed prior to the last election.
    Unlike many on this site I think the ideas might have been more imaginative if politicians were involved. As a principle politicians (Left or Right) are more inclined to look at the big picture of what will benefit their country. It is why they stood in the first place.

    • kiwicommie 6.1

      I think the trouble is that once some MP’s get in power they get overwhelmed or sidetracked, while others get taken over by special interest groups in business or elsewhere; those factors pretty much lead to politicians losing touch with what the country really needs.

    • Murray Olsen 6.2

      The sort of scientists who get on those panels are not those who are expected to rock the boat or come up with anything too outrageous. In effect, the politicians choose independent scientists knowing the things they are likely to suggest. They’re also self-regulating in that scientists will suppress their own creative instincts in favour of things they think the politicians will accept. You end up with the same effect John Pilger talks about with journalists, where censorship becomes unnecessary.

      • kiwicommie 6.2.1

        Personally I just fall asleep whenever the political science groups open their mouths, at lot of them just speak textbook politics – and pretty much sweep political reality under the carpet. Won’t hear a political scientist cosy to the establishment talking about government corruption, interest groups, insider trading and the like by the powers that be in the government at the time. You can’t call them dishonest, but you can’t call their views worth listening to either. I don’t respect people that won’t say things how it is because they are too scared of rocking the boat.

        • Colonial Viper

          That real life stuff doesn’t fit into nice clean academic frameworks and theories. The utility of academics in meeting the current and upcoming crisis needs of our society is lacklustre, at best.

          There is also a problem with enforced academic group think: if you want your thesis accepted and your work published, you better not stray too far off what the institutions and journals think is acceptable and current.

          • kiwicommie

            Which is what I don’t like about New Zealand universities, there are universities overseas (especially in Germany,etc) that provide much more academic freedom, most of them are private though (as in the public universities many academics are under attack by governments i.e. they are being sacked, having their salaries cut,etc). Another issue is that New Zealand universities have become disconnected, and a bit insular (they live in their own world) due to distance from European and American universities.

            • weta

              Have you heard of that wonderful confabulation known as the ‘internet’ ?

              It cuts down the tyrrany of distance, but all countries and cultures
              have their own form of provincialism .. academic and otherwise.

              Groupthink is not unique to the net. Deal with it ..

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