Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Bad Judgement

71 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

  • Simon Sjorn,

    I agree the story is small cheese. It has seemed to Me that for some time many of the prominent political 'presenters' or 'analysts' (Garner, Gower, Hosking, Espiner) all operate, more or less, with an obvious slant. These guys have the most significant power in shaping the political landscape I would have thought, not this guy. Maybe I am wrong.The way Key and National have been able to dominate and control the news cycle so far this year leaves me with an ominous feeling for later.

    New Zealand • Since Sep 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    This really is a distraction and very small cheese. So, if I use my university email address to forward on messages from Labour or the Greens, I am breaking some vow?

    Would you like to share the University of Waikato’s policy around staff use of university e-mail accounts and computers? I’m sure much of it is blindingly obvious (do your porn on your own broadband, for example), and highly dependent on the basic good sense and professionalism of staff. YMMV on whether that's in plentiful supply at TVNZ nowadays.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Simon Sjorn,

    The way Key and National have been able to dominate and control the news cycle so far

    Relies on the opposition not doing the same.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    university

    a protected case in state-funded organisations. Not that I'm agreeing 90% commercial broadcaster TVNZ fits in that category any longer..

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Geoff Lealand,

    genteel corruption

    plenty of that, yes

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    Some people don't ever have a personal email address. Their email address is always their work email, wherever that is. The concept of having a personal email address might be a totally new idea. But this is the sort of thing that an employer needs to sort out, like an intro to the basics of a personal account.

    Great point. Never thought of that.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Would you like to share the University of Waikato’s policy around staff use of university e-mail accounts and computers? I’m sure much of it is blindingly obvious (do your porn on your own broadband, for example), and highly dependent on the basic good sense and professionalism of staff. YMMV on whether that’s in plentiful supply at TVNZ nowadays.

    I might be wrong, but I thik what we're talking about here wouldn't really raise an eyebrow in an academic environment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Sacha,

    Relies on the opposition not doing the same.

    A big factor is that Helen Clark's Chief of Staff Heather "H2" Simpson left very big shoes to fill - and no one's come close to replacing her.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I might be wrong, but I thik what we’re talking about here wouldn’t really raise an eyebrow in an academic environment.

    Using university space might, but probably not e-mail.

    Even so, I'm fairly careful about keeping my party political work separate from my paid work, and I pretty much use my university e-mail only for university work. And once we get to Nomination Day, my university will put me on unpaid leave (about 4 to 6 weeks out from the election, depending).

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Well, thanks again for your sage advice. Guess we'll leave those hoardings down for the time being, or just flash them at sympathetic passers-by.

    Hi Carol - I worked for a CRI for 12 years, including at middle management level, and we had very few restrictions to what you were allowed to do on your own property (like letting a political party put up hoardings), or being politically active in your own time. We were just told to use our common sense and that we had a responsibility to be always seen to be providing neutral scientific advice to whichever client was employing us (important here to stress that CRI staff do not work for the government, they work for clients, who may be either govt or private concerns) - this was also stated in our CEC.

    So hosting a meeting of a political party on-site would have been an absolute no-no, but using your work email to organise a political meeting at your own home out of work hours would have been fine, for example.

    As mentioned earlier, how senior/high public profile you were played into this. A clerical or IT employee, or low-level technician, had more leeway than a senior scientist. In my case, I appeared occasionally at hearings and in the Environment Court as an expert witness, so I was personally very conscious of not giving opposing counsel any chinks in my armour to attack my independence (and they really *do* dig around in your past for any dirt - one of my colleagues had been a member of Greenpeace 10 years before he even joined the CRI, and this was used to attack his credibility in the EC). So I chose to avoid any political involvement in those years, without ever really discussing it with my bosses.

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in. Taking on roles like that was actually a requirement of the FRST funding of our research (in the community engagement/research outcomes bit of the bid and contract), but I had to go through about 15 minutes of cross-examination about whether this proved I was some kind of biased greenie sleeper before the judge finally instructed connsel that it was an irrelevant line of questioning and to please move on :-).

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    Most universities have political clubs for every party and staff are welcome to join 'Princes St Labour' being one of the most famous and they will often use rooms at the university for party meetings.

    There would be hell to pay if this didn't happen, freedom of political expression and all that

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    There may well be a university policy on computer use (eg be cautious and courteous in replying to dumb inquiries from your students) but I don't think I have ever read it. Universities do have extraordinary opportunities for freedom of expression but I just wish it extended to all sectors of society.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2560 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Biobbs,

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in.

    Something the lawyer only knew because you’d fully and properly disclosed that fact in accordance with your legal, contractual and ethical obligations?

    I might be wrong, but I thik what we’re talking about here wouldn’t really raise an eyebrow in an academic environment.

    Maybe, maybe not. My point (and one I could have made better) is that of course tertiary institutions have rules around the use of e-mail and computers, and people like Geoff and Deborah can follow them without undue trauma – or needing to be micro-managed by their department heads. As you’ve said, and I totally agree, the bewildering thing about Taurima & Morris’ action is that they ever thought their actions were OK.

    Look nobody worth taking seriously is saying Taurima or anyone else at TVNZ has to be a "political eunuch" (to use Brian Edwards' unlovely turn of phrase).

    But here’s what really raised my eyebrows, because it’s not entirely clear to me.

    When Taurima was re-hired after the Ikaroa-Rawhiti nomination was decided, did he or didn’t he assure management that he was no longer actively involved in the Labour Party, and would not seek selection again? Did TVNZ really have no idea this wasn’t the case until Three News rang asking for comment on their story – as some reports I’ve seen have stated?

    That’s a serious question, because everything else aside, if the above is true Taurima’s position should have been untenable simply because he misled his employers – even if by omission rather than commission.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Deborah,

    And once we get to Nomination Day, my university will put me on unpaid leave (about 4 to 6 weeks out from the election, depending).

    It's great that you don't have to burn any bridges.
    There are of course some notable precedents for academics going into politics ..

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Biobbs,

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in.

    My grandparents were active members of the Communist Party in England, and it caused difficulties for their eldest son (my uncle, who was a university-based geneticist) when he tried to further his career in the US.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 828 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    One of the funny ones that once happened in the EC was when an opposing counsel tried to attack my independence because I was a trustee for a grass-roots environmental restoration group in the area of science I worked in.

    Something the lawyer only knew because you’d fully and properly disclosed that fact in accordance with your legal, contractual and ethical obligations?

    Well, I'd just routinely put it in my bio details/ qualifications at the start of my evidence brief like I always did, as a positive thing (demonstrating 'expertise' in applying science to the real world and community involvement), never dreaming that this time it would be used against me! There's no requirement to reveal your every activity related to your area of expertise in your evidence - you just have to make sure you don't leave out anything that could raise genuine doubt about your neutrality and independence. My experience was that EC judges were pretty smart - they understood the difference between actual conflicts of interest and stuff that all professional people in resource management do.

    Nowadays, it's compulsory for all EC expert witnesses to state in their evidence that they have read and agreed to abide by the Court's Code of Conduct for Expert Witnesses (especially the bit that says you understand that your duty is to the Court, not your client), but back then it was optional. It was pretty obvious that some ew's had never even heard of the thing, let alone read it :-)

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • Biobbs, in reply to Carol Stewart,

    Scary thing is, same thing would probably happen today :-(

    The River Mouth, Denmark • Since Jan 2011 • 114 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    For reference, the SSC has a handy list of the organisations to whom the State Sector Code of Conduct applies: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/code-organisations. Note that CRIs and universities are not included in that, so in those cases it's purely down to organisational policy.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 97 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Biobbs,

    Thanks for the reply - and I think you (and others) have nailed something really interesting: In general, there's a presumption that most people have fundamentally sound judgement and the ability to seek (and follow) advice around the margins. And so you should, otherwise it would be terribly hard to run any organization.

    But I guess the flip side of that is the human genius for not seeing what we don't want to, and making situations a lot more complicated than they need to be (or really are).

    Ah well...

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Trouble up at mill, Guv...
    I wonder where Chris Finlayson's 'jargon jihad' and 'obfuscation obliterating' is at?
    Why has no one risen to the defence of the rapidly eroding meaning and concept of the word, 'politics'.
    Brownlee accuses Lianne Dalziel of 'politics':

    ''Just three weeks ago, the mayor publicly called on all political parties to leave politics out of the recovery. Since then, numerous public statements have suggested she's intent on putting politics back into the recovery.''

    Gerry, darling, politics is:

    the activities associated with the governance of a country or other area, esp. the debate or conflict among individuals or parties having or hoping to achieve power

    So please don't leave it out, get on with it, we want proper governance,
    please stick to the basics and stop confusing 'working for the people' with politicking.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Ian Dalziel,

    To Gerry, 'politics' is anyone having the gall to disagree with him. Oaf.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.