A Measure of Science

New Zealand’s agri-food future under threat?

Shaun Hendy Apr 19, 2010

KPMG released a report today by Ian Proodfoot, who predicts that New Zealand has as little as 5 years before its competitive advantage in production of bulk commodities is eliminated by the growth of large scale intensive farming practices in developing countries.  This will not be news to many in the agri-food sector. Last Wednesday I attended the … Read More


Shaun Hendy Apr 16, 2010

Why compute with electrons?  Why not use something a bit less exotic, like, say, water?  Sixty years ago, strangely enough, a New Zealander invented a computer that did exactly that.  Next time you are in Wellington, pop into the Reserve Bank Museum at #2 The Terrace and take a look at the MONIAC: The … Read More

NZ S&T post-doctoral fellowships: A key part of New Zealand’s talent pipeline

Shaun Hendy Apr 12, 2010

One of the most important steps in a scientist’s career is their first post-doctoral fellowship. Science becomes something to be practised rather than studied, you get a salary not a scholarship, and you start paying taxes rather than tuition fees.  At the end of the fellowship, a fellow will have established their own research direction, and will be capable of … Read More

New Zealand’s productivity paradox: Part III

Shaun Hendy Mar 31, 2010

Let’s continue the discussion of Philip McCann’s paper, ’Economic geography, globalisation and New Zealand’s productivity paradox’, New Zealand Economic Papers, 43: 3, 279 – 314 (2009). In Part II, I looked in depth at the productivity paradox.  As McCann notes, the debate about New Zealand’s poor productivity performance often focuses on regulation, taxation and institutions.  However, McCann … Read More

New Zealand’s productivity paradox: Part II

Shaun Hendy Mar 18, 2010

In this post, I will continue my discussion of Philip McCann’s paper ’Economic geography, globalisation and New Zealand’s productivity paradox’, New Zealand Economic Papers, 43: 3, 279 – 314 (2009). In a previous post, I briefly introduced the idea of the New Zealand productivity paradox: The mystery is why a country that seems close to best practice … Read More

New Zealand’s productivity paradox: Part I

Shaun Hendy Mar 18, 2010

Philip McCann is a Professor of Economics at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands who has developed a very interesting view of New Zealand’s economic situation.  After a talk by Philip in Motu’s public policy lecture series last year (‘Economic geography, globalisation and New Zealand’s productivity paradox’), and a lively discussion over at Public Address, a number … Read More

A few noteworthy happenings

Shaun Hendy Mar 04, 2010

The Crown Research Institute (CRI) Taskforce report was released this morning — it is available here.  Reading the recommendations, I think that the Taskforce has nailed it.  If its recommendations are implemented, I think CRIs will finally gain the ability to work strategically for the interests of New Zealand.  Not everyone will be pleased; I have no doubt that … Read More

Angels with fat tails

Shaun Hendy Mar 01, 2010

I'm a sometime theoretical physicist, sometime mathematician, so it's good I like numbers. As a researcher in the MacDiarmid Institute I'm also interested in innovation. Over the last year I've been exploring whether I could use numbers to study innovation after a chance conversation at a Dragons' Den exercise organised by Industrial Research Ltd. We crashed and burned in the … Read More