Monday, 22 June 2015,
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party
by David Cunliffe
Science and Innovation Spokesperson
Independent investigation needed into claims scientists gagged
Steven Joyce must launch an independent investigation into claims that scientists are being gagged, says Labour’s Science and Innovation spokesperson David Cunliffe.
“When 40 percent of scientists say they are being gagged and can’t speak out on issues of public importance, it’s clear evidence something is wrong.
“It’s not good enough for the Minister just to shrug his shoulders, look the other way, and say he doesn’t know if there is really a problem.
“He should immediately launch an independent investigation into what is happening at our universities and CRIs to ensure there is no inappropriate pressure being placed on scientists to stifle public debate.
“New Zealand spends less than half the OECD average on research and innovation. That leaves scientists increasingly reliant on the private sector for funding.
“The Minister has a responsibility to ensure that scientists can contribute to public debate in New Zealand without fair of reprisal.
“Science is a public good. It is an essential part of building a high income, sustainable future economy and society.
“When scientists feel gagged it threatens the public good. New Zealand needs free and open inquiry and debate,” says David Cunliffe.