Interviewed this week, Mr de Bres seemed as irritated by the fact that the research was done at all and that a media outlet had the temerity to report it as with any “issues” that the study might have raised. The commissioner seems unhappy that the paper gained access to Dr Clydesdale’s research and to believe – erroneously – that those who disagreed with it had no chance to comment.
He needs to reread the article. Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban was quoted as seriously rejecting Dr Clydesdale’s findings, which may well be flawed. So was Samoan Advisory Council spokesman Tino Pereira.
Mr de Bres seems in danger of forgetting this is a democracy, in which academics have the freedom their institutions allow them to comment and critique society and newspapers have the right not only to report such comment and criticism but also to decide what prominence to give what is, by any definition, news. …
Mr de Bres is entitled to his review. But if it does not find that it is totally legitimate for an academic to research immigration policy and for the media to report it, then the review will be flawed. Society is benefited in no way by political correctness taken to extremes.
It does all seem an extreme reaction to one academic study. The more worrying reaction is the reported comments by Labour Minister Shane Jones who allegedly said on Newstalk ZB that he had called Steve Maharey about the author.
The Association of University Staff should be very concerned about this, if correct. To have a Cabinet Minister contact the Vice-Chancellor (and a former colleague) because he disagrees with the research of an academic is obviously inappropriate and intimidating. Let alone boasting about it on radio and suggesting the academic should be teaching primary school children only.
So maybe the AUS could take a break from complaining about Massey students winning beauty contests and say something about Massey academics having academic freedom.
This is not to suggest that academic freedom means you can not criticise academics. Far from it. But to personally contact the Vice-Chancellor and advocate he should not be teaching at a tertiary level is very different from merely criticising.
Perhaps Mr Maharey (who seems to think being Vice-Chancellor is a part time job as he is still an MP) could reveal what he said back to Mr Jones.