Posts by chris

  • Hard News: We're in this together, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Awesome words Russell. As someone who tends to push the barrow quite a bit, e.g. I have more logins than John Key has hats – it’s not that I’m attempting to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes; in the interests of transparency those logins: mark taslov, NSA, “chris” and this one – It’s just that I guess I tend to think of logins the same way our PM thinks of his job. And yeah, guilty of tub thumping, tendentiousness, being a bore, and worse, so I’m immeasurably grateful for your tolerance of my often injudicious longwinded posts. W.I.P. A Merry Christmas to you and to everyone here. And a goodish new year.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Inequality: Too big to ignore, in reply to Kiwiiano,

    It’s dismaying to find that we are world leaders in the equality gap

    If it’s any consolation we’re not even close. Were the OECD the world, and if in that period, the economic growth hadn’t skedaddled off to developing countries, where the greatest inequality incidentally is, then be dismayed. Chile, despite being the OECD country with the greatest inequality somehow absconded from graph duties there. It’s difficult to know exactly what we’re looking at, if the 11 most equal countries are: 11. Germany, 10. Finland, 9. Kazakhstan, 8. Austria, 7. Slovakia, 6. Luxembourg, 5. Malta, 4. Czech Republic, 3. Norway, 2. Hungary and 1. Sweden, and the economic growth of those countries is respectively ranked 203. Czech Republic -.9%, 201. Finland -.6%, 191. Hungary 0.2%, 186. Austria .4%, 185. Luxembourg 0.5%,183. Germany 0.5%, 178. Slovakia 0.8%,175 Sweden 0.9%, 153. Norway 1.6%, 135. Malta 2.4%, 58. Kazakhstan 5%.

    The OECD paper puts cart before horse asking:

    Does income inequality hurt economic growth?

    Push come to shove who really gives a hooton about degrees of economic growth – what we want is greater income equality. With available data, a similarly tenuous argument could be made that economic growth hurts income equality. Mainly, like most things, a fair suck of the accountability sav probably boils down to crappish management by the autorites.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Earning Confidence,

    Great stuff! I was impressed by Cunliffe, Mike Hosking seemed impartial enough considering his circumstances, but it’s just noise when people are talking over one another, perhaps someone a bit more authoritative could rein that in more ably.

    Joint Deputy Prime Ministers?! Indicative of the more progressive approach. I’m trying to enroll for the first time since 2002. Cool to put a face to Jolisa and to see you again Sacha. Nice work Russell and co.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Moz,

    We went through this in NSW very recently, and the “it doesn’t really matter” crowd vociferously objected to the proposal that ethics be offered as an alternative to Christianity where there was demand

    Not being at all familiar the circumstances there, I’m a little uncertain how to interpret that, “it doesn’t really matter” sounds neutral, “vociferously objected” clearly isn’t. A 2014 NZ poll found:

    The numbers show that we’re not particularly comfortable with ‘Christian’ education, at least as far as the first statement goes. 27% of New Zealanders agreed that “New Zealand schools should include classes on Christianity taught from a Christian perspective”, while 47% disagreed and 26% were neutral or undecided. Ethics is proud to be the first authorised provider of philosophical ethics classes. These classes are made available to children who don't attend the Special Religious Education (SRE) classes at their schools. We are a non-profit organisation, established by St James Ethics Centre.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to chris,

    The taint lingers.

    And sorry too keep rabbiting on here. The positive I got from Rosemary McDonald’s lesson was

    “it will not do them any harm as long as YOU, their parents, are the biggest influence in their lives.”

    It’s pragmatic, we can tell our own children that it’s all cobblers. In the eventuality that National are reelected, beyond the opt out, that’s all parents will have for three more years, three years that count. From what Dinah says above, that doesn’t sound much cop. Even if National aren’t elected, none of the parties seem to be coming out particularly strongly on the issue, even an – opt-in, not opt-out dispensation would still involve taxpayers forking out to God:

    "Churches by and large have not woken up to the fact that this is a mission field on our doorstep. The children are right there and we don’t have to supply buildings, seating, lighting or heating,"

    There is no question that parents are invariably the biggest influence on their childrens’ lives, but sometimes that’s the problem, every child deserves a chance to make their own mind up. And this goes right back to Emma’s first paragraph in which she mentions her mum. The Government can’t guarantee our children won’t be fed religion in the home. The Government can’t guarantee that religious parents won’t force their children to participate in the religious classes under an opt-in/opt-out system. What a Government can guarantee, if they choose to, by repealing the legislation, is to secularise state primary schools so that all New Zealand’s children, ours and theirs, might have at least some form of sanctuary, a safe haven, the slightest chance to escape… all that bollocks.

    Sorry to blather all over your thread Emma, I’m now officially passionate about this topic.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: In The Green Room,

    @Oh, God

    "The Green Party supports an inclusive education system. When families have to opt out of religious education it risks a child feeling excluded and their values or beliefs undermined. Education about religions is legitimate but not as “instruction”. A first step should be families who want RI to “opt in” at state schools, not the other way around."

    - Catherine Delahunty, Green party

    i.e. preserving this use of the state primary sector as a venue and vehicle for nonsecular activity.

    2 months ago on reddit Russel was presented with the wider implications of this.

    In its downloadable 2013-14 Annual Report, the CEC’s Chairperson Mitch Jordan wrote:

    I believe CEC needs to continue to strategically develop curriculum, teachers and programmes that maintain a Christian presence in every school in our nation. I believe that CEC needs to continue to explore alternatives to the traditional bible in schools classes, and continue to grow the work of Champions and other large-group formats.

    Lunchtime, Before and After School programmes need to be developed and marketed to schools, particularly those who are considering closing their traditional programmes.


    A.Given the high stakes organisations such as the CEC have in maintaining the status quo, what follow up steps are the Green Party be prepared to take?

    (as applicable)

    B.What is the Green Party’s position on eliminating this provision for nonsecular activity by repealing Sections 78-80 of the Education Act 1964?

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: UPDATED: Media Take: Election…, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I hadn't watched any of the new series, the streaming experience back on TV3 was incredibly frustrating and in the end I just had to give it a miss. Media Take on the other hand streams like a baby. The theme tune is your best yet, no frills, fat as the kauri trunk. The colour scheme, more reminiscent of what you've got going on here, is perfect. Toi is great, you are great, your greetings were a laugh and the overall energy is palpable. Looking forward to catching up on the rest.

    Mate atu tētē kura, whakaeke mai he tētē kura

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    I like that story 81st, it reminds me of a couple of things. As mentioned earlier, I attended a Christian secondary school. When I was 16, Dad decided it’d be a great idea for me to get admitted to Communion. I didn’t know what that meant, still don’t, I wasn’t a Christian, neither was dad. It involved me having a weekly Tuesday evening meeting with the Chaplain for about 6 weeks which culminated in some kind of communion ritual at the alter beside the one other student who was getting admitted. Dad’s rationale for getting me to do this was that it would look good on my CV. And yes indeed, in the 19th century, which is incidentally where he spent a great deal of time, it would look fantastic. But an employment environment where something like that had any kind of leverage…not for me thanks. The taint lingers.

    Scratching around, one of the partners in the law firm where CEC CEO Simon Greening works:

    is active in community and church activities with a keen interest in Christian education. He has extensive experience on Trust and Not for Profit boards, and chairs the Mt Albert Baptist Church

    Cynically, this informs my preferred interpretation of your tale. Isolated minority youth has moment of clarity, assimilates in order to forge successful career. Perhaps the alternative is too dire to consider.

    Back at school, we had RE with homework up to 5th form, chapel with hymns and sermons three mornings a weeks, compulsory Sunday communion once or twice a term and a voluntary Bible Studies club. There were 520 students at the school – and I shit you not – 5 actual card-carrying Christians. The card read ‘Bible Studies club’. Not only were those kids ostracised, they were actively persecuted and subjected to the most depraved bullying you can imagine. In spite of this, a couple of them stuck that out for the full five years. The only other student who received anything like that kind of treatment was the school satanist. Given the environment, one could even spin things in such a way to claim that this shit was administered in the name of Christianity. But yeah, tribalism.

    Of the 514 other students, it wouldn’t surprise me to hear that a number of the more successful remain connected quasi-Christians.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to BenWilson,

    It is, I’d avoided the video till now. Thanks Ben … What most astonished me is how these evangelical organisations, propped up by legislation, are not simply catering to a need but creating one.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, God, in reply to Sacha,

    These aren’t even trained teachers for the most part – just well-meaning local religious fans.

    Which sounds innocent enough. I was picturing a doddery old bit, there off her own bat, reciting parables over knitting needles. In Emma’s yahoo link the Churches Education Commission CEO Simon Greening claims their competition -The Wanganui Council for Christian Education are “too evangelical” despite CEC Chairperson Mitch Jordan being one of the drafters of the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization’s document Evangelization of Children. Of the 800 state schools believed to be running religious instruction classes approximately 600 are being run by the CEC.

    In his examination of things Dylan Reeve conducts a thought experiment:

    Would you still be as supportive of the idea of religious instruction in schools if the religion were not Christianity?

    and concludes:

    Of course this could happen – ultimately the decision to offer religious instruction is made by the school’s Board of Trustees. If the Board members were supportive of this idea, and a Mosque were willing to run the course then there’s nothing to stop it. The law makes no distinction about which religions may provide instruction.

    Have there been many cases in NZ where a state school’s Board of Trustees have allowed any other religion to run a course? New Zealand school boards aren’t exactly multicultural melting pots. Composed of pillars of the community, the access granted to marginalized religions must be limited at best. And that’s without even factoring in the competition.

    With a turnout of 80, the CEC’s ‘Business Breakfast’on March 1 2013 could probably be classed as a success. Christian banker would always be an odd fit, but Andrew Thorburn’s speech about his passion for God and “Tips for stressed out small business owners”was by one account “particularly well received!”.

    The third sector primarily relies on monetary donations. With countless community groups vying for attention, outstanding marketing and communications are essential. As one of New Zealand’s largest charitable trusts, these types of endorsements by community leaders are invaluable. Auspiciously in November 2013 Andrew Thornburn replaced Jonathan Ling as Chair of Australia New Zealand Leadership Forum, an appointment endorsed by the New Zealand Government.

    Set up to aid in the relief of poverty, the advancement of education or religion, charitable trusts that benefit the community in a charitable way and meet certain criteria outlined by Inland Revenue may be granted a non-profit tax exemption. Whether the CEC qualifies for this exemption is unknown but we’ll assume that it qualifies as a charitable trust by advancing either religion and/or education.

    In the CEC Annual Report (April 2013 – March 2014), Mitch Jordan states:

    "programmes need to be developed and marketed to schools"

    In 1897 The Education Board allowed the Rev. J. McKenzie of Nelson to organise Religious Instruction, using a loophole in the law, he was able to teach for a half hour one day per week from 9 to 9.30 am when the school was officially ‘closed’. The Bible in Schools League was formed in 1912 to lobby politicians to amend the secular clause. On no less than 42 occasions the League failed to get sufficient votes.

    in 1973, following a number of amalgamations, the current Churches Education Commission was formed, the Syllabus, Religion in Life, recently renamed Access Ministries, can be purchased from Epworth books. Academic Marion Maddox’s 2013 review of the Access course-ware stated:

    "In the case of ‘Religion in Life’, the message is barely-hidden: my assessment is that the material before me would clearly convey to non-Christian students that,according to the materials being presented as authoritative in a classroom context, not being a Christian is inferior to being a Christian and that they should follow the example of the people described in many of the lessons, and convert. The tone of ACCESS materials is unequivocally evangelical, not only in that it relentlessly pushes the participating students towards cultivating an individual faith but, perhaps more importantly, in that a person participating in the ACCESS program would come away with the idea that Christians believe that being (or becoming) a Christian is the only acceptable life choice."

    Unequivocally the CEC preserves its charitable trust status by way of its advancement of religion. Schools are being lobbied, and as commission director David Mulholland wrote in a 2012 newsletter:

    "Christian followers were also encouraged to join school boards so they could have “more influence” on holding religious study in class.”

    We’ve arguably drifted a little from from Rev McKenzie of Nelson wanting to teach some Gospel after school: An entity’s whose existence hinges on gaining/surreptitiously enabling access to New Zealand’s children in order to evangelise and induct potential donors, marginalising outsiders, infiltrating our boards of education, publicly denying the true nature of their activity, and as intimated in ’Evangelization of Children’ most likely and most subversively engaging in recruiting children to assist them in this pursuit:

    “Marketing companies have recognised that children have the power to enthuse others. Imagine if the church worldwide could harness the enthusiasm of children and encourage them to tell their friends and get them involved as well.”

    “Children bring unique gifts to the task of evangelization. For example, they have access to thousands of children outside the church – and are often the only means of reaching these children. They have a simple faith that is attractive. They put their whole heart into reaching out. Children will do the job of evangelism in simple obedience. Even adults will listen to children because they are perceived to have no hidden agenda.”

    …in a professedly secular state, with the cooperation of Government endorsed community leaders, while the Prime Minister of the nation unabashedly qualifies it all with:

    "That’s part of the choice we offer in our schools."

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 902 posts Report Reply

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