Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Speaker: My People,

    But what I would like to see are more support services. More drop in centres, with social workers and school homework helpers; more free budget services around low income areas; more green spaces (maybe even with community vege gardens) and better communal playground areas and sports fields; district nurses doing the rounds again; supported community centres with cheap/free exercise groups and 'healthy cooking on a budget' lessons; safe and healthy evening/weekend entertainment ('blue light discos' and the like) - more uplifting, genuinely helpful stuff


    and more people like Jackie, articulate, dedicated, talented.

    and we need to suck it up and pay for it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: My People,

    I don't think it's a question of dividing up the same pool of money between those with and those without children, or comparing their value.

    With any finite pool of money if you make decision to fund one thing then you are by default choosing not to fund something else. Inherent in that decision is a value judgement. There is nothing wrong with making value judgements. My problem is when people make decisions without taking the time to make the value judgement.

    But before we start making those judgements we need to accept that we must have a bigger pool of money. And that means more tax. Anyone advocating user pays is simply saying poor people don't deserve to have good child care etc which is also a value judgement (one that says rich people are more important).

    You seem to be interpreting my comment as saying we shouldn’t fund early childcare because some people don’t have children and hence they get nothing. That is not at all what I believe, as a non-parent I desperately want the very best education for children, including pre-school. It is simple logic for me that says those children need to be productive and creative in order to keep me in my dotage. But more importantly it is simple morality that demands those children be given the best care possible. That said there are childless families who need and deserve care as well.

    But the fact that we're stuffed as a society if no-one makes this choice, or if there is a substantial reduction in the number of people who continue to make this choice

    This is something that gets said a lot. Essentially the thesis is that if we don’t keep growing our population then we can’t keep growing our productivity. It is a holdover from manual labour days and the times (and places) when children died a lot. The idea that the planet can sustain a continually growing population has been well and truly debunked. But the economic ideas around growth have yet to adapt.

    I believe we can have a healthy productive society that does not have a continually growing population, I actually believe we must find a way to do that or the planet is stuffed. That means having families with one or no children accepted as normal and valued. A declining population is not something to be feared, but included in that is that those children we do have should be cared for as best we can and we'll need more money in the pool to do that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Southerly: When Otters Get Famous,

    An email went out to previous PA Books buyers last week

    There are disadvantages to cash transactions in bars, though I treasure the inscriptions..

    Same problem here.

    Of course it could simply be that David hates us - yeah that'll be it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: My People,

    Tolley is elsewhere for a while

    Pretty certain she has always been on another planet

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: My People,

    I'd love to live in a world where parents are equally supported whether they choose to be in paid work fultime, parttime or not at all and where caring for young, elderly, ill or disabled family members and friends was considered as high status a vocation as, say, investment banking.

    There are two parts to this.

    First is "Who pays?" That isn't a trivial question as the cost will be high. It is clear that the "free market" will not pay for such a thing. You might create fantasy scenarios where the free market might pay for it but those scenarios have yet to be made real. The only logical conclusion is that this would have to be something we all agree to pay for - the same way we agree to pay for the fire department. In short we would have to contribute tax and elect a government on the basis that they make sure our tax goes towards paying for that.

    To me that logic seems utterly compelling and demands that we need to pay more tax.

    The second part is harder :). "How do you value tasks?" Does a parent get paid as much as a fireman/policeman/doctor/scientist/IRD employee? Included in that is some consideration for those who are not parents? Are those who do not have children lesser in some way and hence undeserving of support?

    This is not meant undermine Isabel's idea. I actually agree very much with her. But if we want it to be so, then we have to make it so ourselves and that means answering some of those questions in real terms. And then we have to convince most of New Zealand that it is worthwhile and we should really do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Unreasonable people vote,

    Could I haz my thread back plz?

    Certainly. Here you go.

    I Lol'd

    and then I had to explain why I was laughing to my office mate, which turned out to be quite difficult

    "people fighting about sexism on the internet" sounds really silly when you say it out loud

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Unreasonable people vote,

    Yes, Jeremy: women can be grumpy right-wingers, too! Whatever will they do next?

    Well in The South they make babies and load their husband's guns.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Unreasonable people vote,

    The longer I'm in this country the more I get the impression that it's built, in a large degree, on the idea of just not caring about people who aren't you, or your immediate circle. It's bloody terrifying.

    Hang in there Lucy. It's a big place and while you do end up in surreal conversations where it's hard to believe you are on the same planet let alone belong to the same species, there are also places full of reasonable decent friendly people who can actually think. And who actually care about their fellow humans.

    You just need to accept that the loonies seems to clump together and move on to a different (better) group.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit,

    "your treachery will not be forgotten"

    Tee-shirt. Dare you.

    and on the back

    People are kinda stupid sometimes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit,

    The EU is changing the post-doc setup so that anyone who has been in the same place 5 years becomes an employee not a contractor. This is to counter the increasing casualisation of academic work.

    Yup and the US is having issues with their whole academic system because of the "cheap labour" of post-docs messing up with academic career progression.

    However, neither the EU nor the US are actually prepared to pay for the research so labs try and get it done cheaper with post-docs ... a little cyclic methinks.

    And who says this kind of contrscting doesn't exist in NZ employment law at the moment? There are loads of post-docs happily (or unhappily, as the case may be) working around the country.

    Well yes there are loads of post-docs around the country. But whether the law actually allows them to be employed the way they are is another question. Post-docs aren't litigious by nature but it is an open question still as to whether the rotation of post-docs is illegal.

    The simple fact is most post-docs who come here for 3 years actually want to leave at the end of their contract and head back home or on to a new lab. Which makes the law an ass. However even in NZ I know of labs that openly abuse the post-doc system to get cheap labour knowing full well they should be hiring permanent employees.

    Like I said this isn't simple stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3435 posts Report Reply

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