March 06, 2014
Political skill needed to save think tank
Labour’s Maori spokesperson Shane Jones says Maori Affairs Minister Pita Sharples hasn’t done enough to protect the largest Maori research body.
The New Zealand Royal Society is dropping Nga Pae o Te Maramatanga off its shortlist of centres for research excellence, meaning it will close next year without ministerial intervention.
The centre is based at Auckland University but assists more than 100 researchers from 16 research entities who work closely with Maori communities.
Dr Sharples says the move is a slap in the face to Maori researchers and a sign that Government agencies are marginalising Maori development and communities.
Mr Jones says Dr Sharples can do more than put out angry press statements.
"He is a member of the Cabinet for goodness sake. It requires only a small amount of lobbying to ensure that such an institution is not starved of resources. After all, the National Party knows how to look after the farmers and their voters. It’s apparent that Dr Sharples has been found to unfortunately be inept in looking after his own," he says.
Mr Jones says the Government has systematically moved research funding into the farming sector at the expense of other sectors of the economy and society.
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