A scientist’s lot is not an easy one

December 13, 2010

A graduand was considering post-graduate study but a summer with scientists put her off.

It wasn’t the work but the scientists’ stories of the frustration of time wasted applying for funds which took them away from their research.

The government has increased funding for science and innovation and private individuals and organisations also fund research. Even so a scientist’s lot is not an easy one with the challenges of work complicated by insecurity of tenure.

It doesn’t help that a lot of the work scientists do goes unrecognised, even in farming where the uptake of research findings is pretty good.

But perhaps this will help:

 It’s the work of singing scientist Dr Matthew Barnett who was interviewed on Nine to Noon this morning.


Public Service no place for zealots

April 9, 2010

“Public servants have to implement the policies of the government of the day

Many people come to government to try to support a good cause. They don’t realise the one who has to determine which good cause is to be supported is the democratically minister of the day. And quite a lot of departments, not slinging off at their professionalism but say DOC, you get a lot of people who join DOC because they know they want to save a kakapo and if not a kakapo it will be the lesser spotted whatever. And if the lesser spotted whatever is not on the minister’s list of priorities they’ll find it hard to do.

A key part of the role of senior public servants is to explain to them well it is the minister who has to take the heat in public about that and the public servant really isn’t just employed to follow their own interests and if they want to follow their interests they can go and work in the private sector like anyone else. . .

. . . No public servant should be zealous about the particular cause they’re interested in. They should be zealous about democracy and respecting the law. . .”

This is an extract from Mark Prebble’s  discussion with Kathryn Ryan on Nine to Noon.

He was referring to central government but Kiwiblog’s posts on why ECan was sacked  and ECan vs its own commissioners show what he says should also apply in local government.

Some of the officers have at times adopted more of an advocacy role than a neutral advisory role. …

The regional councillors have been replaced by commissioners. Very little has been said yet on the need for a change of staff as well but unless there is a change of attitude and/or personal the problems in ECan will continue.


Sue Bradford resigning

September 25, 2009

Just heard on Nine to Noon that Green MP Sue Bradford has announced she’s resigning from parliament next month.

UPDATE:

The next person on the Green list is David Clendon. If he enters parliament the Greens will then have five male and four female MPs.

The NZ Herald says Clendon is:

. . . a sustainable business advisor, who is of Ngapuhi, Te Roroa and Pakeha heritage.

Kathryn Ryan interviewed RadioNZ National’s  chief reporter Jane Patterson who said the decision was prompted by Bradford’s loss of the contest for co-leadership to Metiria Turei. The interview will be online here soon  is now online here.

Ryan’s interview with Bradford will be online at the link above soon.


Blogger on blogs on radio

August 25, 2009

Denis Welch devoted his weekly media spot on Nine to Noon to blogs and the Tumeke! blogospehre rankings.

He discussed how blogs break stories and influence the media.

His conclusion was that there haven’t yet been many stories breaking out from the blogosphere to the mainstream media but politicians have been breaking-in to the blogosphere.

The discussion is online here.

He didn’t mention his own blog Opposable Thumb.


Personal perspective kinder than political

June 3, 2009

Had this been last year and I’d just heard the news that a minister had resigned I’d have looked at it from a political perspective.

Because I know and like Richard Worth I am seeing his resignation from a personal perspective and I’m sorry.

Kathryn Ryan said she will be talking to John Key about this on Nine to Noon  at 10.45.


What’s happend to the gatekeepers?

April 18, 2009

The media used to have gatekeepers.

They were the experienced people who used their intelligence and judgement to decide what was news and what wasn’t.

They knew the difference between what was in the public interest and what the public was interested in.

They knew the fact someone wanted to speak didn’t mean that others had to hear.

They saved people from themselves when a mistaken belief that telling their story would help might have done more harm than good.

It wasn’t censorship, it was discretion and events over the last few days have shown it’s a quality sadly lacking in our media.

What would a visitor to New Zealand have thought had they turned on television for the news on Thursday?

One of our neighbours is having a constitutional crisis, the OECD released a report on our economy, the Prime Minister was in China . . . and the lead item on both channels was a tabloid item about someone who used to work on television who’d admitted assaulting a woman.

 

Trying to find something to listen to while driving to Dunedin yesterday morning I found the issue leading Nine to Noon, and being discussed on NewsTalk ZB & Radio Live.

 

It’s also been given prominent coverage in newspapers and their websites.

 

We’ve got past the mistaken view that some violence can be dismissed as “only” a domestic and is best ignored, but turning the aftermath into a circus is almost as bad.

 

A report on the plea and sentence might have been news, saturation coverage of he-said-she-said isn’t. It’s merely prurience.


Greenmail or compensation?

February 16, 2009

When is money paid by the applicant for resouce consent to an individual or body objecting to the consent greenmail and when is it compensation?

The question has come up as the story (three posts back) about Meridian Energy paying DOC has developed.

John Key says the payments would be okay if it was to offset environmental impacts  but not if it’s hush money.

Director-General Al Morrison said a suggestion DOC accepted money in a secret deal to remain quiet over the windfarm proposal is totally inaccurate.

“In this case an agreement was reached which resulted in $175,000 being set aside to improve public access to nearby conservation land and for a series of plant and birdlife issues to be addressed,” Mr Morrison said. . .

. . . “Clauses were specifically entered into the agreements to ensure the details could be publicly released once signed and they have already been fully tabled, including the amount agreed, before the Environment Court,” he said.

Trust Power spokesman Graeme Purches says it  also had an agreement with DOC but:

Mr Purches said some people are calling these deals bribery but that is wrong.

“It’s about working with stake-holders to get a win-win. It’s not about bribery. I think anyone who suggests you can bribe a Government department like DoC has got rocks in their head,” Mr Purches said.

The Resource Management Act allows for payments to be made to mitigate or compensate for adverse effects of any development.

What raised hackles with this example was the suspicion DOC had accepted the payment to remain silent and had done that because of a decision by the previous government to take a whole of government approach in support of the application.

P.S.

Kathryn Ryan had extended interviews and also covered the issue in this morning’s political slot on Nine to Noon;  and Mary Wilson interviewed Al Morrison on Checkpoint.

Alf Grumble  asks, what’s up Doc?


%d bloggers like this: