Good governance, democracy and investment in science

By Grant Jacobs 28/08/2014 1


From what others have written here at sciblogs most readers will know that we have elections on in New Zealand soon.

While reading the newspaper last weekend I encountered an opinion piece by political commenter Colin James that includes commentary on investing in science that readers might be interested in.

His essay opens by talking about democracy,* governance and good longer-term policy, and closes on the same topic. Sandwiched in between, the central portion of the essay offers strong investment in science as an example of properly supporting longer-term policy that is good for the nation as opposed to short-term electioneering,

Good government has both short-term and long-term perspectives. Durable, long-term policies are the pillars of government. Longer-lived governments maintain those pillars (Bill English is this lot’s main maintenance man). But election campaigners often divert into the short term.

So the campaign will pay little attention to investment in science.

Ministers in recent governments of all stripes have kept scientists on short rations. The Key government has spent more energy restructuring institutions than money for good science.

Comments welcome, of course. What do you think is good science policy?

Footnotes

Another ‘lighter’ post to keep you lot busy while I try find time for original material!

* I share James’ concerns re democracy and good governance. He has elected to focus on his example, but it seems to me that an entire series of essays could be written about governance. As a science forum, and being distinctly and amateur at political analysis, I feel I can’t go into that here.


Other articles on Code for life with a political bent:

Putting government policy on trial

What do scientists want from politicians?

Elections – time for policies to be deposited in advance?

US government shutting down science too

Nutt saga rattles on

Gluckman on science in small countries


One Response to “Good governance, democracy and investment in science”

  • The problem, I suggest, is defining “good science”. Politicians may tend to define it as “profit making science” ..