Sir Peter Gluckman named NZ Communicator of the Year

The Prime Minister’s former Chief Science Advisor and founder of the University of Auckland-based Liggins Institute has been named winner of the 2018 Communicator of the Year Award.

Professor Sir Peter Gluckman won the award for his successful debunking of the ‘meth test myth’ and stimulating public discussion on contentious issues such as genetic modification.

The Award citation says Professor Gluckman’s ‘premeditated forthrightness’ to end misuse of methamphetamine contamination tests made him the outstanding choice for 2018.

In his capacity as Chief Science Advisor, Professor Gluckman released a report last May that found no evidence for harm from meth contamination from smoking by past occupants. “In terms of the housing estate,” he told journalists, “mould is far more dangerous than meth”.

Mark Blackham, director of award organisers BlacklandPR, says, “Fear of meth contamination in homes had become an institutionalised hysteria. Sir Peter Gluckman tore that down in a single day of insight, expressed clearly and unequivocally.

His clarity, and his reputation, ended the misuse of the testing and the standard being used by the Government.    

Mark Blackham BlacklandPR

“There was no ambiguity in his statements. His message to New Zealand was not to bother with a meth test except where a clandestine lab was suspected, because passive exposure to levels measured after smoking does not cause health effects. His clarity, and his reputation, ended the misuse of the testing and the standard being used by the Government.

“Certainty and conviction are critical to effective communication. Without it, messages are not heard, and meaning not understood. You never misunderstand what Sir Peter thinks about topics.”

BlacklandPR established the award to promote clarity of communication in public life. It is awarded for those who demonstrate the value of using clear and persuasive communication.

Finalists for the 2018 Communicator of the Year Award were Dr Lance O’Sullivan, Dr Marewa Glover, Waitomo CEO Jimmy Ormsby and businesswomen Cecilia Robinson.

The Communicator of the Year receives a bespoke Māori kōauau, designed and crafted by Wellington based Māori craftsman and designer Sam Hauwaho. The kōauau is a traditional Māori flute, reflecting the art and history of human communication.

Previous winners of the Communicator of the Year award were mental health advocate Mike King (2017), Labour Party MP Greg O’Connor (2017), and economist Shamubeel Equib (2016).