Science Media Centre

Science Media Centre
Q&As:

Text-based Q&As with experts on topical issues in the science and technology world.

Cyclone Cook and flooding – Expert Q&A

A mere week after the tail end of Tropical Cyclone Debbie hit the North Island, another cyclone is on its way. The MetService is warning Kiwis that Cyclone Cook could bring heavy rainfall especially to areas already saturated from last week. The SMC gathered expert reaction on the cyclone and flood risk, please feel free […]

April 13th, 2017 Read full Story

Toxic algal blooms in NZ – Expert Q&A

UPDATED: Last week, the New Zealand Government announced its intention to make 90 per cent of NZ’s waterways ‘swimmable’ by 2040. Yet with Summer hitting its peak, rivers and lakes are across the country are being closed to swimmers due to toxic algal blooms. The SMC asked Cawthron Institute’s Dr Susie Wood about whether these […]

February 27th, 2017 Read full Story

Will NZ’s future energy be clean? – Expert Q&A

Approximately 80 per cent of New Zealand’s electricity comes from renewable energy sources. But is this the full picture behind NZ’s clean and green reputation?  This week the University of Otago’s Centre for Sustainability releases ten policy briefs from its Energy Cultures research. The SMC asked experts how New Zealand’s energy usage compares to the […]

February 16th, 2017 Read full Story

HPV vaccine now funded for boys – Expert Q&A

As students head back to school this week, boys, as well as girls, will have funded access to the HPV vaccine Gardasil. The rollout follows Pharmac’s decision last year to extend the vaccine programme. Though Gardasil is commonly known to protect against cervical cancer, human papillomavirus (HPV) also causes other cancers in both men and women. […]

January 31st, 2017 Read full Story

Predator Free NZ: what will it take to achieve our own ‘moonshot’ – Expert Q&A

Nearly six months ago the Government announced it would aim for a Predator Free New Zealand by 2050. We asked experts about the tools needed to pull off the audacious plan and what the hurdles to success might be. Please feel free to use these comments in your reporting. – Professor Neil Gemmell, University of Otago […]

January 18th, 2017 Read full Story

What are NZ’s cybersecurity threats? – Expert Q&A

With the 14th annual Privacy, Security and Trust conference held in Auckland this week, the Science Media Centre asked cybersecurity experts about the biggest threats facing New Zealand. Please feel free to use these comments in your reporting. – Dr Ryan Ko, University of Waikato – Professor Hossein Sarrafzadeh, Unitec – Dr Henry (Hank) Wolfe, […]

December 15th, 2016 Read full Story

Antimicrobial resistance – Expert Q&A

Growing rates of antimicrobial resistance could leave us without effective drugs to treat serious infections – “the end of modern medicine as we know it”, according to the WHO’s Margaret Chan. November 14-18 was World Antibiotic Awareness Week and Dr Siouxsie Wiles at Te Pūnaha Matatini planned an awareness campaign about antimicrobial resistance: InfectedNZ. It was […]

November 21st, 2016 Read full Story

Kaikoura earthquake – Expert Q&A with GeoNet

Scientists are still unravelling what happened a week ago on several faults near Kaikoura and Culverden. We asked GeoNet scientists about what they have been finding out. What do we know about the possibility of stress added to neighbouring faults? “We understand this is an important question. We are currently developing the model for this […]

November 21st, 2016 Read full Story

Earthquakes and landslides – Expert Q&A

The magnitude 7.8 earthquake that struck North Canterbury on Monday morning caused numerous landslides, blocking roads and damming rivers. Early estimates suggest there could be tens of thousands of landslides through the area, causing hazards such as blocked rivers which could result in floodwaters if the dams break. Dr Tom Wilson and Professor Tim Davies […]

November 17th, 2016 Read full Story

Earthquake effect on tourism – Expert Q&A

Over the coming days and weeks the full impact of Monday morning’s Kaikoura earthquake will become apparent. We asked an expert in the effect of natural disasters on tourism what the recovery of this tourist town might look like. Dr Caroline Orchiston, Deputy Director, Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago How do natural disasters like […]

November 15th, 2016 Read full Story


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