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Vice Chancellor Grant Robertson? He's not Qualified & Does not Deserve the Job. What an Awful Message to Send Kiwi Students: NZ is not a Meritocracy.

Big Media are reporting that their mate, former Finance Minister Grant Robertson "will retire from Parliament next month as he becomes the vice-chancellor of his alma mater Otago University". What an outrage. Vice Chancellors are meant to be distinguished scholars. Meant to have a PhD. Meant to have had a lifetime of researching & teaching at the highest level. Our former Finance Minister has done none of those things. It took me 15 years to train for my job at Auckland University. It is impossible for a guy like Robertson to have a clue about what it takes to publish an academic paper, teach a great course, or attract the interest of a major business or philanthropist in one's field, without having been through that 15 year learning process. Does Otago think it is an extension of the NZ Labour Party? That the academic ideal of a search for the truth doesn't matter? That education is so politicized its best to have a politician running it? Otago already became politicized when it got close to Labour via folks like Michael Baker supporting the Ardern-Hipkins-Robertson Covid elimination "strategy". Hang on. Robertson has said in a Press Conference he is qualified because he "had once been a student at Otago". Its a national embarrassment.


What is this game of former members of parliament getting jobs they are not qualified for? What kind of message does it send our young people studying hard at school and in tertiary institutions? It doesn't matter how much you study or how smart you are? Better to become a politician if you want the top job at a University paying $625,000? Research is a waste of time? It's who you know not what you know if you want status and to earn big bucks? If you know people in Wellington then people will employ you hoping you can use your networks there for them? We're no longer a meritocracy? The University of Otago Council should resign. The whole lot of them.


Why should your children go & study at Otago University anymore - wouldn't they be better off going to Melbourne or Sydney where the Vice Chancellors have experience in research, teaching & academic leadership? Where's the proof? Well, here is a (small part of) the CV of the Vice Chancellor of Melbourne University, the main competitor of places like Otago & Auckland in our region of the world - spot the difference with Grant Robertson?:


Professor Duncan Maskell

Professor Maskell holds a Master of Arts and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge. He is a research specialist in infectious diseases. Professor Maskell’s career also includes the University of Oxford, Imperial College London and Wellcome Biotech .. In addition to academic & university leadership roles, Professor Maskell has enjoyed an active entrepreneurial career, co-founding four biotech companies among his accomplishments, including Arrow Therapeutics, which sold to biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, and Discuva, which sold to Summit Therapeutics.


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