Hard News by Russell Brown

Read Post

Hard News: Briefing, blaming, backing down

191 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

  • DeepRed,

    Latest on the asset sales debate: 'Parachute clause' added to asset sales.

    Are asset sales on a collision course with reality? Or just lipstick on a pig?

    They'll be even cheaper to buy back if a new Govt unleashes the Commerce Commission on the privatised assets. How's this for a meme: "We have regulatory chainsaws and we're not afraid to use them!".

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed,

    Actually, make that, "We have the Commerce Commission and we're not afraid to use it!" Coming soon to a T-shirt near you.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4306 posts Report Reply

  • David Chittenden, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Agree, agree!

    When I studied (a few years ago now) I was quite taken by Funtowicz and Ravetz's concept of Post Normal Science where they tried to drag science and society's direction together in a structured way - a lot of similarities with 'wicked' problems.

    I like the analysis as it really challenges hierarchies

    Of course that's why the system finds it difficult. But this always bugged me because if the politicos and their advisers better understood this they could get more done, with better outcomes for more people, but it would probably take a little bit longer. It would therefore be much cheaper overall but there would be a little more expense in the public service to run really good processes (and we know how popular that is!).

    Unfortunately, my experience in the public service was that things moved in the opposite direction. There was an increasing "need" for almost instant policy advice such that any semblance of the 'policy analysis cycle' (that I was dutifully taught in my first few months) went out the window. Our term for such analysis was 'policy on the hoof'. ('Analysis' is giving us too much credit, we were basically making it up on the spot. But when the PM asks, the PM gets.)

    What worries me even more (I seem to worry a lot :)) is that we are not having meaningful discussions as a nation. It seemed to me that one of the real missed opportunities of HC's 9 years in government was the lack of a meta-conversation about who we are and where we are going. We of course don't have adequate institutions to do this. Did you know we used to have a Commission for the Future (1972-1992, I think). That would be one small way to get ourselves thinking outside of 3 year election cycles. (More recently, Landcare Research did some great work on future scenarios for NZ but that funding was discontinued.)

    We could also learn from the Swedes who put important and long term things (such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions) outside of government! The government of the day can change the methods to meet the goals, but the goals remain. Reporting on progress goes to parliament and the goals can only be changed by a parliamentary (not governmental) process. They always seem to be good at including opposition MPs in their processes as well.

    rant ends

    Since May 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to David Chittenden,

    Yes remember the Commission for the Future. Under the last Labour government there was also a wonderful community-wide discussion about the future of education in NZ, that sought feedback from all over the place and had a small secretariat in Wellington. Wonder what happened to their work? (National standards and increased class sizes were never raised as far as I can remember.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2089 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    I am also a fan of the Royal Commission on Social Policy. There is some really good stuff in these volumes, but by the time it reported Rogernomics was dominating the political landscape and enlightened social policy didn't have a chance.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2089 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to slarty,

    Imagine if our parliament were so erudite, intelligent and plain polite.

    You'd have to figure out a different way of selecting politicians. We select for people who can shout down hecklers in public meetings and who can appeal to the lowest common denominator. We select political game players and are then disappointed when all they can do well is play games.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Jane Pearson,

    +1

    +2.

    Unlike other blogs/communities, reading every comment is necessary and informative (and effectively a prerequisite for adding comments which is why I sometimes dip out of the dialogue, not a complaint, just an observation).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    My research suggested one vital approach in tackling wicked problems: policy people and politicians need to build good relationships with all parties involved, including those who have ‘lived experience’ of the issues. The wisdom of those who are the targets of the policies is invaluable in formulating solutions that will work in the real world.

    This sounds so obvious when you put it like this Hilary.

    Having lived the experience of helping out in my son's class this morning, our discussion here could not be more relevant. My son is in year 2 in class of 28, having had 19 in year 1. (They usually aim for 24-25 in year 2 but for some reason the numbers didn't work out this year). 28 feels like it is too many: the room itself is too small, everyone is tripping over each other; it's too noisy, the kids are constantly being told to be quiet. And there at least 4 groups of kids of different abilities, so they break out into different activities for reading and maths.

    I don't know whether student achievement will be affected by this. Hattie would say perhaps not. But I think the kids feel it and if I was the teacher I would be needing a stiff drink (or three) by the time I got home.

    Anyway, I've had an email to say that Hattie's book is now waiting for pickup at the library, so I'll report back. I might be a while.

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    We select for people who can shout down hecklers in public meetings and who can appeal to the lowest common denominator

    How do we do that though? I've never seen it play out that way. We certainly select bullshitters who look good in media.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    Blue-Green Red allowed...

    You’d have to figure out a different way of selecting politicians.

    Could we perhaps grow them from biofilms, many do seem to have photosynthesis down to a fine art and are capable of a waving motion, the Beehive does look a bit like a stromatolite...
    Even the First-Lawyer-of-the-Free-World, Barack Obama, is promoting pond scum...
    ...oh hang on, that's some other kind of AlGore Bloom...

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 4962 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Nat,

    You're a good parent helping out like that. I'm sure the teacher and the kids appreciated it (although your son might not be so appreciative of having his father in the classroom when he is a teenager).

    But it does give you insight, doesn't it? Some kids will be doing fine and the environment won't bother them, but others will really struggle and they are the ones who need lots more attention. They miss out in Year 2 and it is a long road to ever catch up.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2089 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    How do we do that though? I’ve never seen it play out that way.

    I mean we select for people who can look/sound good to the RSA meeting and the local Lions and the local PTA and the local womens group and the local League club and the local business association and the party branch office and the two guys who are best mates of the pres ...

    Doesn't take much thought to realise all those groups have utterly different agendas and hence politicians need to sound/look different each time. And in each place there is a chance of running into hecklers and folks who just hate whatever party you stand for just because and the better you deal with those the more people you win over in the room.

    It's not a nice process to go through and I certainly couldn't do it (far too likely to say what I actually believe). And it does not seem to select for people who, when they are in parliament, are good at the kind of analysis and discussion we see here. And who also are able to admit when they are wrong and change position, which to be fair is a really hard thing for most folks to do so maybe that's asking a bit much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3394 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Nat,

    (They usually aim for 24-25 in year 2 but for some reason the numbers didn't work out this year).

    There's 22 in my 7 year old daughters Yr 2/3 composite class (Yrs 1 and 2 in NSW terms) and it feels about right (I think the lived-experience is an entirely valid measure). There's four reading groups of four to five kids and the room is not over-crowded meaning the teacher can maintain a pretty constant and calm engagement with them all. I'd say it's close to optimal.

    ...oh hang on, that's some other kind of AlGore Bloom...

    ROFLNUI (we still use that right?)

    although your son might not be so appreciative of having his father in the classroom when he is a teenager

    Nat is short for Natalie in this instance Hilary.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Nat is short for Natalie in this instance Hilary.

    Thanks Paul. Although the point still stands - he's not going to like his mother there any more than his father!

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Hooton,

    Do you really want us to talk tonight about boring old intermediate school cuts? ACC Chairman and CEO resigning. Auditor-General investigating the Prime Minister's pokie deal. The class size backdown is positively passe.

    Auckland • Since Aug 2007 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    The pokie deal is <sorry> a deal breaker. If they prove that JK halted the tender process, outski PM quicksi.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Do you really want us to talk tonight about boring old intermediate school cuts? ACC Chairman and CEO resigning. Auditor-General investigating the Prime Minister's pokie deal. The class size backdown is positively passe.

    Matthew, agreed. Listening to Parliament right now, two things strike me. One, the PM's seriously struggling. Two, Eric Roy's a pale imitation of Smith.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Though it might appear overly partisan, Collins performance in Parliament just now was woeful and it was surprising how little support she received from her colleagues. And now she must face an urgent debate.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Paul Williams,

    we still use that right?

    please do (not that I'm biased)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    or it's a sign of things to come, Matthew.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16680 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Matthew Hooton,

    Do you really want us to talk tonight about boring old intermediate school cuts? ACC Chairman and CEO resigning. Auditor-General investigating the Prime Minister’s pokie deal. The class size backdown is positively passe.

    I'm sure we'll get onto that, Matthew :-)

    BTW, I don't think I've mentioned that our third panelist tonight is Mike Williams.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18893 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Nat,

    Sorry Nat (the Nats I know are Nathans or Nathaniels - or National Party members). You can call me 'he' in retaliation.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 2089 posts Report Reply

  • Nat, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Sorry Nat (the Nats I know are Nathans or Nathaniels

    I love those names! No worries at all.

    Sydney • Since Jun 2011 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to merc,

    The pokie deal is <sorry> a deal breaker. If they prove that JK halted the tender process, outski PM quicksi

    With Key he is just so great that legal constraints - the law – doesn’t present any issue - nor are the objects of an Act of Parliament anything to be given consideration to in the running of a SOE or Govt Dept.

    These guys are all about making "it" happen regardless of what "it" is, and what "it" is whatever they want "it" to be on any given day.

    ACC needs to be made subject to a Judicial Review or a Commission of Inquiry - good on Bronwyn Pullar for detonating the bomb that ACC manufactured.

    I can’t help feel that even with a Labour Govt the thrust of ACC would have been the same – the overall direction of governance seems to be based in treating the Taxpayer/Voter/Member of the Public as the enemy..

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1195 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to DexterX,

    I agree. It is sad that it should be up to JK as to whether he has legally erred or not in granting the tender, one would have thought there are other checks and balances in place with higher authority.
    Same goes for ACC, just who watches over the ilk? State Services Commission? Yes I think all Govts. need to be accountable to us the people.
    The fact that such toxic cultures still exist and persist (remember IRD and the suicides) is testament to the lack of will from Govt. to have rules that are transparently adhered to. Indeed it is heading in the opposite direction with corporatism, and blatant cronyism (ref. Idiot Savant on this one, http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2012/06/another-crony-appointment.html).

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.