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

Gordon Campbell: On The Brexit & Huawei Clusterfudges

Come December 2019, the West’s social democracies could be gone through quite a few changes at the top.

British PM Theresa May might not even make it through to the New Year. In a year’s time Angela Merkel’s shaky coalition will have probably collapsed, and another German election will have been fought by the newly chosen leader of Merkel’s party... More>>

 

Joint Select Committee Report: Achieving Smokefree 2025

In a historic first for select committees, the Māori Affairs Committee and the Health Committee presented their joint report on achieving the Smokefree 2025 goal to the House on Tuesday, 11 December 2018. More>>

"Shared Interests And Democratic Values": Peters To Visit USA

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters will travel to Washington D.C. for talks with US Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo and other senior members of the US Administration. More>>

Science Advisors: Stopping Family Violence – The Evidence

A new report “Every 4 minutes: A discussion paper on preventing family violence in New Zealand” by Justice sector Chief Science Advisor, Dr Ian Lambie, discusses the evidence and asks us, as a community, to get involved. More>>

ALSO:

Misuse Of Drugs Act: Medicinal Cannabis Legislation Passes

“Ultimately, this legislation will greatly increase availability of quality medicinal cannabis products, and will allow for their domestic manufacture. It will help people ease their suffering by making a wider range of quality medicinal cannabis products available over time." More>>

ALSO:

Conflicts, Inadequacies: IPCA Finds Police Investigation Flawed

The Independent Police Conduct Authority has found that a Police investigation into inappropriate contact between a teacher and a student in Gisborne in 2014 was deficient in several respects. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference Multimedia: Grace Millane, ACC Levy Hold, Absent Execs

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern began her Monday post-cabinet press conference with an emotional comment on the murder of English backpacker Grace Millane. More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty Monitor: Food Poverty Due To Inadequate Income, Housing Cost

The latest Child Poverty Monitor released today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner reveals alarming facts about children suffering the impacts of family income inadequacy, says Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG). More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels