The Point of Order Trough Monitor alerted us today to a handout which will benefit – among others – the university which banned former Opposition leader Don Brash from its campus on spurious security grounds.
The ban brought Massey’s compliance with Section 161 of the Education Act into question, although Point of Order was left wondering who (if anybody) actually enforces the law which deals with academic freedom:
It is declared to be the intention of Parliament in enacting the provisions of this Act relating to institutions that academic freedom and the autonomy of institutions are to be preserved and enhanced.
For the purposes of this section, academic freedom in relation to our universities includes —
The freedom of academic staff and students, within the law, to question and test received wisdom, to put forward new ideas and to state controversial or unpopular opinions.
In the performance of their functions, the councils and chief executives of institutions, Ministers, and authorities and Crown agencies “shall act in all respects so as to give effect to the intention of Parliament as expressed in this section”
This aspect of the legislation is incorporated in a Massey University policy document which informs staff members of the standards of conduct expected of them as university employees.
Never mind. There’s plenty of money in the Provincial Growth Fund and it has to be spent somewhere.
Regional Economic Development Under-secretary Fletcher Tabuteau accordingly has announced the fund is supporting a new Rural Innovation Lab based at Massey University’s Palmerston North campus.
A $400,000 grant from the PGF to Massey University will be used to help establish a Rural Innovation Lab which will engage farmers and growers across Manawatū-Whanganui to drive new thinking in the primary sector – particularly digital farm opportunities.
“This initiative will help to develop and potentially support the commercialisation of new ideas and technologies which will improve land use in the primary sector,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
“For Manawatū-Whanganui in particular, land use optimisation is a central plank in the region’s economic action plan. This project will help to unlock new economic opportunities across the region.”
Massey University is one of several organisations supporting the Rural Innovation Lab. The others are the Palmerston North City Council, Microsoft New Zealand and local economic development agencies.
“The Rural Innovation Lab is a model example of local people, businesses and the community, progressing a project that aligns with their economic aspirations. The Government is proud to support this work,” Fletcher Tabuteau said.
Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has welcomed the Provincial Growth Fund’s support of this project.
“This project is another example of the Government and primary sector working together and working smarter to extract more value for our great kiwi products. It reflects the appreciation we have of our provinces and what they do for our economy.
“Sustainable value growth is the objective of our Government, and so is ensuring that that value flows right through our economy,” Damien O’Connor said.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced before contracts are negotiated.
Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.