Storms ahead for NIWA after noble prize-winner sacked

Friday 24 April 2009, 6:29PM
By Green Party

The Green Party is appalled that one of New Zealand’s foremost scientists has been sacked from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) - apparently for trying to help TVNZ’s weather man – Jim Hickey.

Dr Jim Salinger, a noble prize winner, was dismissed from NIWA earlier this week for helping TVNZ weather man Jim Hickey with some climate related inquiries. NIWA have a contract with TVNZ.

“NIWA’s actions will make all Government scientists nervous about their jobs,” said Green Party Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons.

“New Zealand is on a slippery slope when trying to provide Kiwis with a greater understanding of our climate is a sackable offence.

“Scientists should be able to assist the public and media with scientific problems - particularly around areas such as climate change – which concerns all of our futures.”

The Green Party is concerned both for Dr Salinger and New Zealand’s international reputation among the world scientific community if action is not taken to remedy this situation.

“The Minister for Crown Research Institute’s, Dr Wayne Mapp, needs to call in the board of NIWA and instruct them to get to the bottom of this messy matter,” said Ms Fitzsimons.

“An investigation is needed into how it came to be that one of NZ’s foremost scientists was frog-marched out of his job for what appears to be trivial and petty reasons.”

Note: As Dr Salinger’s sacking is an operational matter (the employment of staff) the Government cannot directly intervene however the responsible Minister Dr Wayne Mapp can call in the Board of NIWA and instruct them to investigate the matter.