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Blueprint of Change

From the penthouse suite of the ivory tower of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the words of the Minister shine forth as a beacon light to focus on the way ahead towards the knowledge society we seek in the first decade of the third millennium. From a patchwork of well-worn cliches, the Blueprint stitches together a cloth of newspeak which out-brothers Big Brother. Is it significant that the "reforms" began in 1984?

Be not afraid. All is not change. Purchase agents will continue to purchase outputs in the output classes. These will continue to be direction-set in science envelope goals, strategically focussed to target outcomes, to be modularly measured by signalled expectations, which by way of a purchase agent and research and science technology provider may lead to a research, science and technology contract. I quote from part of only one page.

The Minister's light may well lose its focus in the verbal smog, and the Minister with it, before the way ahead is illuminated.

I am not a prayerful man, but as an old scientist who tried to do good, useful science, I am moved to exclaim "God help science, and God help scientists".

We were taught, and I hope we learned, that clear speech was a pre-requisite for clear thought, and that both were absolutely necessary for good science, and that only good science was useful science. Verbose jargon is not an adequate substitute for clear thinking and speaking. It is often a cover to hide their absence.

Those aspiring to higher floors in this Ivory Tower of Science Babel should take good heed of Blueprint for Change. I do not know how to advise those wishing to live in New Zealand and do good science, but to all I do advise "You'd better read it. You'd better believe it."

Has it got to be good for us?

Pat Palmer, Christchurch