Tuesday, 7 July 2009

More blog comment on the BERL report

Lance Wiggs, a new blog to me, comments on the BERL report under the heading Fix the Berl report on alcohol and drugs.

The title says pretty much all that needs to be said. Lance writes
While the level of professionalism to produce a credible report should command the (apparently) $135,000 fee, I am disappointed that people inside both Berl and the Department of Health are not reacting to the responses – indeed it seems defensive. While there has been some good robust discourse, but it seems a bit tit for tat, and much as we like to see a good fight, I’d rather see a quest for an agreed answer.
and importantly
On such an important topic I feel that the only thing that matters is that we get the facts straight – and I would dearly like to see a re-worked and perhaps expanded paper that can be acceptable to academics, media, the public and even bloggers.
With reference to BERL, Lance says
Their paper was presented at the NZ Economists Association Conference last week, but sadly I only saw the last few minutes. (I was diverted by a macro economic discussion of the global financial crises). I did see the reply, given by Messers Crampton and Burgess (below) but sadly at this standing room only event, the question period was killed in favour of lunch.What I did observe from the back of the room where several covered smiles and quiet snickers – while the sheer number of people in the room made it feel like a veritable lynch mob.

More concerning to Berl is that my understanding is that Berl are not revising the report in light of the academic and media criticism. I could be wrong, and I hope so, but I had a very brief chat with one of the authors at the conference – but he wasn’t happy talking to “a blogger”.
Lance closes his comment by asking, Where to next?
We are now waiting for the Law Commission’s policy document – and the reaction to that will be interesting. Indeed the Berl report has probably had the effect of increasing awareness of the forthcoming policy and thus activated many people whom otherwise would not have been engaged. Like me.
And me.

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