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NZ Academic Freedom An Orwellian Joke

NZ Academic Freedom An Orwellian Joke

Thursday 25 Sep 2003 Stephen Franks Press Releases -- Treaty of Waitangi & Maori Affairs

The Labour Cabinet guessed right that most of our academics are craven cowards when it decided to demand that all research proposals be examined through a Maori lens. Otago University is in the news, but at least some there resisted that racist demand. Other academics have capitulated without protest, ACT New Zealand Maori Affairs Spokesman Stephen Franks said today.

"Why aren't academics rioting, and the students marching out in support? How is this forced consultation different from universities being told to discuss research proposals first with the Catholic Church, or environmentalists, or the British Council, as the original source of our higher learning traditions?" Mr Franks said.

"Maori threats to academic freedom are no less than from such other `sections' of the community. In future, why not local Labour Party branch secretaries? At least they understand the thinking in the compulsory new charters for every tertiary institution.

"What part of Maori superstition will improve our research? What Maori contribution to law, commerce, governance, medical science, dentistry, engineering and geology theories and disciplines will academics have to pretend to respect to get through this stage?

"This demand should have remained a gleam in the eye of a Labour Treaty fanatic. It is disgraceful to have senior academics and university councils, including sober business people, meekly agree to subject all research proposals to Maori `consultation'.

"This will not help Maori. It will only increase the backlash when academics finally get the courage to say no.

"At least National's Simon Power is criticising it - but this is not `creeping political correctness' as he calls it. New Zealand higher education is forced to leap to the dark ages. Why, for example, have the law and history academics not denounced the lie that their institutions have Treaty obligations?

"Next time the universities claim privileges as defenders against Government oppression and group think, there is a simple answer: `yeah right' Mr Franks said.

For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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