Tag Archives: Prime Minister

Science communication in New Zealand

Here’s an interesting discussion from TVNZ’s Media7 programme (see video below). A discussion on the problems and issues with science communication in New Zealand.

Russel Brown discusses this with the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, the Science Media Centre’s Peter Griffin and NZ Herald’s feature Writer Chris Barton.

It’s an interesting discussion covering aspects like:

  • The lack of journalists with scientific background;
  • The low priority given to science by the media;
  • Poor communication skill of many scientists;
  • The Crown Research Institutes’ bureaucracy’s fear of the media and subsequent restriction on contact with scientists, and
  • The relative freedom of university scientists.

sciblogsThe NZ Sciblogs new blogging platform was also discussed. Due to be launched this month this will provide a platform for blogging scientists. About 20 scientists are involved initially but this will expand as more come on board. Peter Griffin hopes that this will encourage development of a new crop of science communicators.

Download the audio file: (media7_s3_e8_part1.mp3)


See also:
NZ science bloggers – new opportunity
NZ scientists twittering

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That ‘no’ vote

smackMedia reporting around the “child discipline” referendum has been atrocious. However,  the NZ Herald yesterday did provide some interesting information.

They brought to our attention the fact that some of the groups campaigning for the referendum have been receiving funds from conservative US religious groups (see US funding for ‘no’ vote). the article gave information for Focus on the Family but I am sure that US fundamentalist largess extends to other NZ groups.

Take, for instance, the United church of God – New Zealand. In 2008 it received 40% of its revenue from its parent organisation based in the US. I suspect these sort of subsidies are widespread amongst religious groups.

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Domestic violence

There’s been a few high profile cases of domestic violence in New Zealand recently (see Veitch opens up over violence shame and Ex-partner tells of fight with Fox). I don’t want to comment on these here (except to congratulate our Prime Minister with her balanced statement that “it is never right to hit your husband or wife”).

No, I want to raise an issue which must be relevant to many New Zealand households. This is the constant taunting and ridicule, the frustration of individual ambitions and pleasure, even the destruction of one’s honest attempts at creativity which is a common experience for many of us. Its this sort of constant provocation which can cause people to ‘lash out’ – and for most of us there is no-one to turn to for help.

Even when the situation doesn’t precipitate actual physical violence victims of this provocation can suffer emotional damage as a result of constant feelings of frustration – even rage.

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