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New Zealand groups launch Save Science Coalition

 Image: Peg Hunter [CC BY-NC 2.0], via Flickr

Cuts must stop, national coalition of science workers says

Cuts to New Zealand’s science and research system must be stopped, a coalition of science bodies and unions has said.

The group, calling itself the Save Science Coalition, formally launched on 27 May, saying it wants to stop reductions in funding.

The coalition includes the New Zealand Association of Scientists, the Public Service Association, the Tertiary Education Union and numerous professional associations.

It says its aims go beyond advocacy and that it wants to “highlight and catalogue what is being lost through the current cuts”.

The group will ask for support for Māori knowledge in research and “make the case for a foundation of support for public science and recommitting to a target of 2 per cent of GDP to be invested in research and development in Aotearoa New Zealand”.

Devastating impacts

Lucy Stewart, co-president of the New Zealand Association of Scientists and a spokesperson for the coalition, said that science and research are needed to address national challenges.

“We are concerned about large parts of the science workforce moving overseas to find work, which will take decades to reverse and rebuild,” she said.

“This will have devastating impacts in areas where expert knowledge of our landscapes, hazards, ecosystems and people is globally unique. We are particularly concerned about the harm cuts will cause to world-leading indigenous research, including rangahau mātauranga Māori, which can only be done in Aotearoa New Zealand.”

Among the cuts, the coalition lists the end of the National Science Challenges, the cancellation of Wellington Science City, the discontinuation of the Te Ara Paerangi Future Pathways science reforms, internal government agency cuts and the “university funding crisis”.

It has promised a more detailed analysis of the cuts soon.

New Zealand’s national budget is due on 30 May.