Head meets brick wall | The Jackal

30 Aug 2013

Head meets brick wall

Today, the Office of the Prime Minister's Chief Science Advisor reported (PDF):

Promoting the use of evidence in policy formation across government

As a priority, I have engaged in the promotion of quality scientific evidence in policy formation and its evaluation. This has been developed much further over the last year. The Office completed a survey of 17 public service agencies to critically assess the knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding the use of research-derived evidence in their work. I have analysed these results and presented my findings and recommendations to you in a draft report scheduled to be released in September 2013. In short, policy responses that are grounded in local needs and values and that are evidence-informed will stand a greater chance of success in effecting positive change for New Zealanders.

Wanting the current government to take an evidence based approach is admirable, but I doubt it will happen. National is full of ideologically driven policy that when compared to what the evidence shows, falls flat on its face. Government MP's also have a number of vested interests that ensure the evidence is ignored.

Here is a case in point. Sir Peter Gluckman's previous report (PDF) was all about climate change and what New Zealand should be doing. He succinctly states that:

There is unequivocal evidence that the Earth’s climate is changing, and there is strong scientific agreement that this is predominantly as a result of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

However Gluckman's observations and recommendations are being ignored by the Prime Minister. By pushing ahead with a deep sea oil drilling program and expanding New Zealands fossil fuel industry in other damaging ways, the government is ignoring the risk that climate change posses.

National is determined to build more highways when there is no evidence of any positive economic return compared to the astronomical cost. They clearly have no consideration for the additional greenhouse gas emissions their policies will cause.

That's because John Key is essentially a climate change denier. There is no real indication that he's changed his opinion from when he scoffed at the idea, as displayed in this video from before he became Prime Minister: