The Prime Minister’s former chief science advisor has been named winner of the 2019 Communicator of the Year Award, for his debunking of the “meth test myth” and stimulating public discussion on contentious issues such as genetic modification.
The Award citation says Sir Peter Gluckman’s “premeditated forthrightness” to end misuse of methamphetamine contamination tests made him the outstanding choice.
Mark Blackham, director of award organisers BlacklandPR, said 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.
Mr Blackham said there was no ambiguity in Sir Peter Gluckman’s 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.
“Sir Peter’s 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 out 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 2019 Communicator of the Year Award were Dr Lance O’Sullivan, Dr Marewa Glover, Waitomo Group boss Jimmy Ormsby and businesswoman Cecilia Robinson.
BlacklandPR also named Banks Peninsula farmer Roger Beattie as the year’s Communicator of the Moment, for an interview he gave with Stuff.co.nz on raising and killing wild lamb at his property.
“When asked what the squeamish may think, he said ‘the sort of people we are targeting know that if you want to have meat you have to kill the animal.’
“That was a perfect response to people who are not his target market. He trusted the good sense of his customers and used simplicity and humour to persuasively make his point.
“It’s a lesson for all professional communicators, to keep laser sights on the audience that matters, and not to try to please everyone.”
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 (2018), Labour Party MP Greg O’Connor (2017) and economist Shamubeel Equab (2016).