More thought-provoking thoughts from Richard on the duties and responsibilities of statutory bodies like NIWA. (NIWA is actually an incorporated body that is owned by the Crown, where-ever that plays into things.)
Anyway, everyone seems to agree that their handling of the temperature records in New Zealand is biased and deficient. The issue is, does scientific incompetence violate their charter?
With all this evidence, the Coalition case is looking very good on the plain facts. The threat comes from the need to prove that NIWA has a duty to apply good science. They deny this, and effectively say that Parliament has given them a free hand to do what they like. They argue that the obligation to pursue excellence is merely “aspirational”, being un-measurable and unenforceable.
They are prepared to damage to their reputations by arguing they are under no compunction to do good science. They are prepared to jettison this in favor of “independence”. What follows from the independence of NIWA from a lack of duty to do good science? Only politics.
But how tied is their present funding to their present obedience to their present political masters? If strongly, it corrupts and debases their “independence” to mere subservience and makes a mockery of their representations to the Court. For it could be that their right to self-determination is no more than a claim to public funding by virtue of their obedience.
In fact the NIWA website states just that:
CRIs are stand-alone companies with a high degree of independence. Each year, the shareholding Ministers lay out their expectations for the Crown Research Institutes in an ‘Operating Framework’. Amongst other things, this defines how CRIs should interpret their obligation to maintain financial viability.
The link to “Operating Framework” is dead, unfortunately.
Waiting anxiously for the judges determination on this.