'I’m abosutely thrilled' - PM announces new Chief Science Advisor

Professor Juliet Gerrard replaces Sir Peter Gluckman. Source: 1 NEWS



PM insists no 'division' between NZ First and Labour after embarrassing last-minute Three Strikes Law repeal backdown

The Prime Minister has downplayed the extent of division between Labour and NZ First when it comes to criminal justice reform, insisting yesterday's embarrassing backdown over the Three Strikes Law repeal was just "one tiny part" of the Government's overall ambition to reduce the prison population. 

Justice Minister Andrew Little yesterday announced the Three Strikes Law repeal would not go before Cabinet as he had promised, because NZ First indicated to him they would be unlikely to support it.

Speaking on TVNZ1's Breakfast this morning, Jacinda Ardern denied the coalition parties had a "division" over the Three Strikes Law repeal.

"We've got a particular perspective on it, they do too, we work through it. Sometimes we'll find agreement and consensus, sometimes we'll seek a compromise," she said.

"On the wider issue of criminal justice reform, we are all on the same page, including the Greens and NZ First."

The Prime Minister explained the reason for Mr Little's premature public announcement the Three Strikes Law repeal would come before Cabinet was "triggered by a release of documents by a department".

Justice Minister Andrew Little fronted media today about the blow to Labour’s law and order reform. Source: 1 NEWS

"That's what triggered that conversation, but ideally, we always wait until Cabinet makes a call," she said.

Ms Ardern said the Government was concerned with "taking the public with us" in solving the problem of New Zealand's rising prison population.

"We need public buy into that. Justice is so reactionary, it's so political, and it's difficult."

The Prime Minister said she wants to make sure criminal justice reform isn't rolled out "piecemeal" and individual policy and law changes will be announced as part of a wider plan following consultation with NZ First and the Greens.

Jacinda Ardern has assured on wider issues of criminal justice reform Labour and NZ First are on the same page. Source: Breakfast

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Prime Minister's new Chief Science Advisor announced by Jacinda Ardern

Auckland University's Professor Juliet Gerrard is the Prime Minister's new Chief Science Advisor.

Professor Juliet Gerrard.
Professor Juliet Gerrard. Source: The MacDiarmid Institute.

Jacinda Ardern confirmed the appointment today in a press conference.

She reiterated the importance of using science and facts to make policy decisions and acknowledged the work of National to establish the Chief Science Advisor role which was filled by Sir Peter Gluckman.

Professor Gerrard gained her Doctorate in chemistry and biological chemistry from Oxford University, and is a Professor of Biochemistry from the University of Auckland. 

"I am very much looking forward to connecting with a cross section of scientists from all types of institutions, especially emerging scientists," Professor Gerrard said in a statement. 

"New Zealanders owe Sir Peter Gluckman a great debt of gratitude for his tireless work as the country's first PM Chief Science Advisor and he will continue to make a contribution through his highly respected international and academic roles."