National MP’s lobbying for MSI position

By Peter Kerr 26/07/2011

Rumour has it that at least three National cabinet ministers are chasing the soon to be vacated Minister of Science and Innovation role. Present Minister Wayne Mapp steps down from Parliament after the upcoming election.

Assuming National gets back into power post-November, it’s an encouraging sign and recognition of role that science, and more particularly its income-generating kissing cousin, innovation, can play in the economy.

Ideally John Key would take on the role (though he’s not one of the three names being whispered at this stage). Like the Denmark and Finland’s of the world, having your top dog literally and figuratively trying to herd the economy down a growth path could only be good.

However, the recognition by politicians of both the benefits of a strong science and innovation platform, and for their own political aspiration, of the Minister’s role, is a welcome change.

Post-election, it might also be an opportunity for the Minister of S&I position to rise above its present ranking of 13. Again, if government really wishes to indicate the importance it sees for the conversion of good ideas to income, an elevation of its position can’t come soon enough.

Finally, on a ‘but of course’ moment, an observation as recently pointed out to sticK.

The recent merger of the Foundation and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology into a single MSI entity makes things a lot easier from an overseas trade mission point of view.

Other countries, when visiting New Zealand, bring their trade, defence, science and other officials as part of the general discussion team.

The fact that New Zealand, until recently, has had two government science overview bodies, has made it problematic of which officials to take overseas when we head to other countries.

No such problem now.

0 Responses to “National MP’s lobbying for MSI position”

  • Thanks for the comment, interesting. Wayne Map is speaking to my campus (Uni Otago ChCh) on Friday. I wonder what question you (and anyone else reading this blog) would ask him?

  • “Ideally John Key would take on the role”

    Is this the same John Key who overode the Pharmac decision on Herceptin?

    • Why not ask him if he thinks the role of innovation in the economy is important enough that John Key should take the Minister’s role. (Note: after the last election, John Key was apparently tossing up whether to take Tourism or Science. He took, almost immediately to his regret, Tourism)

  • The argument for the PM taking the science portfolio was decisively summed up in Sir Paul Calaghan’s recent lecture series which showed the gulf in value to the country of the tourism sector versus commercialised science.

  • @Peter – I asked your qn of Wayne Mapp. Got a laugh and an evasive…. he’s very interested in science, but not necessarily – answer. A couple of things of interest were very clear:
    Plans are in place to raise govt investment in Science and innovation from current 0.55% of GDP to 0.8% of GDP over 5 years. Implementation was to have started this year, but the Canterbury earthquakes have set it back. He spoke at length about us being at a total (govt and prvt) of 1.3% of GDP whereas other comparable economies have raised to 2%. It’s good this is being acknowledged.
    The minister was also supportive of a strong science focus in the centre of ChCh and was off to a meeting with Bob Parker about that (as an aside, note this am’s Press had an article about Science Alive wanting to build new premises closer to the centre of town and work in with an IT hub).