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The nuclear meltdown at Fukushima ... the Fonterra botulism scare ... the Christchurch earthquakes – in all these recent crises the role played by scientists has been under the spotlight.
What is the first duty of scientists in a crisis – to the government, to their employer, or to the wider public desperate for information? And what if these different objectives clash?
In this penetrating BWB Text, leading scientist Shaun Hendy finds that in New Zealand, the public obligation of the scientist is often far from clear and that there have been many disturbing instances of scientists being silenced. Experts who have information the public seeks, he finds, have been prevented from speaking out. His own experiences have led him to conclude that New Zealanders have few scientific institutions that feel secure enough to criticise the government of the day.