In New Zealand, election madness is upon us.

The various parties are pitching their promises.

What do scientists what from political parties?[1]

To get the conversation going, a few starters are listed below.

I’m not saying these are all sound or that I even endorse these. They’re offered to encourage tongues to waggle or, more accurately, fingers to type into that comment box below in the hope that more practical suggestions than my feeble efforts emerge.

Humourous contributions are welcome too! Serious policy can get too staid… Non-scientists are welcome to offer thoughts, too.

  • An enlarged government science advisory service, tasked to serve all of parliament not the PM’s office. Ideally this could take it’s lead from the British equivalent and serve all the government departs, informing policy while standing independent of any political party. (See also footnote 1.)
  • Strengthening research-to-business links I’ll chicken out and leave suggesting how to achieve this to readers.
  • Increased funding for research and development I’m preaching to the choir here, obviously. In my own defense, politicians do too!
  • Should academic research be dominantly driven via Public Good Science evaluations? A hot potato, but perhaps someone has to raise the topic? No value in pointing fingers without better alternatives, however.
  • Better regulation of ‘alternative’ remedies, practices and their marketing There seems to be movement towards registering practitioners so that they are to carry the responsibility in a similar way to the ‘mainstream’ medical industry, and to increasing the onus on business to demonstrate the worth of their wares before making claims of them. (Some might argue that remedies should be not be offered until their worth is shown.)

Enough from me – bring your suggestions on.


1. This post is in part inspired by floating the concept of a NZ Science Party two years ago now, leading off some something Peter Gluckman in his capacity as Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of NZ presented to the Institute of Policy Studies, Victoria University of Wellington. My imaginary party was to ’sit in the house and force the other parties to face the evidence-based aspects of whatever issue was at hand, but with few political agendas beyond that.’

Related articles on Code for life:

When is a scientific paper political campaigning? (This relates to scientific advisories clashing with politicians wishes)

Nutt saga rattles on (more on the above)

Gluckman on science in small countries (originally intended to be a series, I never did find time or sufficient interest to take it further)

Science in the House? (Folate supplementation)

Another R&D stimulation package leaves out the smaller players?

Career paths, redux — the academic research career is the exception

On alternatives to academic careers and ’letting go’

More inclusive re-entry to encourage departure to businesses?

Time for disclaimers on remedies?, ’alternative’ or not

Homeopathy — practical remedies to address it? (Homeopathy is only one form of ‘natural remedy’; what’s thought about it could be applied more widely, where appropriate.)

Homeopathy check-up: Not in the health system, disclaimers on labels