Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

Canterbury academic receives Critic and Conscience Award


Canterbury academic receives Critic and Conscience of Society Award

On 22 February 2011, Dr Ann Brower’s life was changed by the Canterbury earthquake.

The only survivor of 13 people in a bus crushed by falling masonry from the unreinforced parapet and facade of a Colombo St building, Dr Brower has spent the years since both recovering and fighting to ensure that what happened to her will not happen again.

For that work—and her outspoken stand on South Island high country land reform—the Gama Foundation, a philanthropic entity established by Grant and Marilyn Nelson, has awarded Dr Brower the 2017 Critic & Conscience of Society Award.

The Critic & Conscience of Society Award is to encourage the academic staff at New Zealand universities to act as ‘critic and conscience of society’ by providing the public with independent, expert commentary on issues affecting the New Zealand community and future generations.

Currently senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Canterbury and formerly of Lincoln University, Dr Brower is an environmental geographer. The judges (Gama Foundation’s Grant Nelson, Professor Pat Walsh and Professor Steve Weaver) identified three components of her work that, taken together, make her a worthy recipient of the award.

“Without doubt her interest in earthquake-prone buildings and the threat of unreinforced masonry stemmed from her traumatic experience,” says Prof Weaver. “Dr Brower identified an issue of national significance and used her academic credentials and training to research the issue and quickly became a recognised expert on building safety.

“In submissions to Parliament and in numerous newspaper opinion pieces and journal articles, she pressed for the Building Act to be amended to prioritise the reinforcing of masonry, parapets and facades, because these are the first to fall and have deadly consequences.

“They are also the cheapest to fix. Her work lead to the ‘Brower Amendment’ to the Building Act and, in 2017, Cabinet shortened the timeframe for reinforcing masonry in an aftershock zone from 15 years to 12 months.”

Dr Brower has also spoken out on land reform and in favour of the protection of high country lands, especially in the Mackenzie Basin, where the privatisation of Crown pastoral land had led to significant conversion to agriculture.

“She used newspaper articles, and TV and radio debates in her evidence-based campaign in favour of environmental protection and was staunch in the face of criticism, often of a personal nature, from others on the opposing side of the debate,” says Prof Weaver. “Her work has resulted in legislative changes that enhance the protection of high country lands.”

Dr Brower's experiences led her to launch in 2017 the Little Guy's Guide to Making a Difference. The guide is for scientists and engineers offering practical tools for raising ‘critic and conscience’ issues emanating from their fields.

“The judges were of the opinion that Dr Brower is the epitome of an academic taking on responsibilities as Critic and Conscience of Society as a very legitimate component of her academic activities,” says Prof Weaver.

This is the second year of the Award, which is accompanied by a cheque for $50,000 to be used for research purposes. The presentation to Dr Brower will be made before an event at the University of Canterbury, at which Dr Brower will discuss The Little Guy’s Guide to Making a Difference: Lessons in Politics from the Christchurch Earthquakes.


/ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ardern Speech: Justice Summit Opens

If we want to talk about an effective justice system, we shouldn’t start with a discussion about prisons, but a discussion about New Zealand...

We believe in a ‘fair go’. We are fair minded and like to give people a chance. Ensuring everyone is treated fairly is part of the fabric of our culture.

And equally, we are defined by what we don’t believe ourselves to be – and we certainly don’t feel like the kind of place that would have one of the highest incarceration rates in the western world, and yet we do. More>>

 

Christchurch Quake: New Red Zone Payment For Uninsured

The Government will pay former residential red zone owners 100% of the 2007/08 rateable value for uninsured homes, Minister Megan Woods has announced today. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On MP Pay And The REAL P.C. Danger Zone

There has never been anything remotely credible about the way parliamentarians would paint themselves as the helpless victims of the Remuneration Authority when it came to their pay increases... More>>

ALSO:

Repatriation: Remains Of NZ Service People Return Home

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Minister for Veterans Ron Mark say they were honoured to be with the families of service personnel as they welcomed their loved ones home. More>>

ALSO:

Cop Shop Top-Up: 1800 New Police Through NZ

Police Commissioner Mike Bush has today confirmed further details around the allocation of the 1800 additional officers, following a $298.8 million increase for Police in Budget 2018... “These 1800 officers, alongside 485 support staff, will really enhance our work to keep people safe, and ensure they feel safe,” says Mr Bush. More>>

ALSO:

Human Right Commissions: Concern On Aged Care And Consent

A new report published by the Human Rights Commission raises concerns about the legal and human rights safeguards for an estimated 5000 elderly New Zealanders in secure dementia units and psychogeriatric facilities. More>>

ALSO:

Greens AGM: Leadership Stands Firm On Waka Jumping Bill

The Green Party leadership have dug in their heels and will not be reversing any of the decisions they have made in government. Former MPs Jeanette Fitzsimons and Sue Bradford had hoped the caucus might be persuaded this weekend to pull its support from the waka jumping bill. More>>

ALSO:

TOP Still Going, Actually: New Leader For Opportunities Party

New leader Geoff Simmons' aim as the leader of TOP is to take the party into Parliament at the next election where it can advocate and implement progressive reform in areas including fair taxation, cannabis legalisation, affordable housing, and environmental protection. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Another Reason To Loathe HR Departments (And On The Teachers Strike)

This morning’s news item about Police emergency call centre staff turning up for work while they’re sick – because they’re afraid their sick leave statistics will be used against them, and their jobs put in jeopardy – is not an isolated case... More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages