summarised by The Centrist
Prof Tim Dare and Eric Crampton discuss an Auckland university project to help time-poor American child protection workers. An assessment tool using administrative data produces a predictive score, which then guides decision making on whether or not an intervention may be necessary in any given case.
It was disallowed to be trialled in New Zealand by former Minister Anne Tolley who said children were not to be experimented on. The successive Labour government followed suit.
However, the programme was a success in the US county where it was trialled. Child hospitalizations were significantly reduced.
Crampton says this missed opportunity shows how New Zealand’s centralisation means a single bad Ministerial decision can cause a lot of harm for a very long time.
Prof Dare highlights how the study was observational and, while some important ethical questions needed to be addressed, there was no chance children at risk would be more so as a result of the study. It should have been allowed to proceed in NZ and not scuttled by a short comment by an opinionated minister.
Science collided with politics, and politics won.