I don't think that's correct Craig, I can't recall Clark dodging interviews on any significant issue but it was a while ago (perhaps you mean speeding tickets or paintings rather than substantive matters).
I agree Paul, and the idea that the previous government used to engage in behaviours like refusing to front for the media, extensive use of urgency etc. is a pretty pernicious one that needs to be stamped out. It's particularly concerning given that it frames doing these things as 'business as usual', and so future governments will feel more comfortable continuing such practices.
Please correct me if I'm wrong, but Key's DPS detail is exactly the same size as Clark's.
You're wrong - at least accordinging to comments from friends and colleagues who have worked in the parliamentary complex under both administrations. My understanding from them is that, with the exception of major public events like Waitangi, Clark was pretty resistant to having a significant DPS presence shadowing her and there was a clear increase in the size of the standard day-to-day detail under Key.
Note that I'm not actually passing judgement on that situation. The DPS might genuinely believe that there's an increased security risk for Key (or any other Prime Minister these days), or Clark may have been too cavalier with her security.
This is based on a false premise, namely, that CSM provides meaningful democratic participation in the institutions that govern students. You'd need to back this up, because I haven't seen any evidence for it of late.
I do have to agree with you on this Graeme - CSM by itself does and will not provide meaningful democratic participation in the institutions that govern students. What it does do, though, is establish structures that allow for meaningful democratic participation in those institutions. The relevant question then becomes how we can ensure that those structures work effectively, and as I said upthread, I agree that there's a lot that could be done in that area. VSM, on the other hand, works against that - for example, by (almost) inherently making associations' membership less representative of the student body as a whole.
This would have been a great and important conversation to have several years ago, when all of these points were still obvious and salient, and the massive flaws in the existing system didn't make it effortless for the unions' political enemies to destroy them.
Well it's still an important conversation in my view, and I was just being explicit about my views there. But to be fair to NZUSA my understanding is that they are just as concerned about this situation as anyone, and do try to give their member executives some training - it's the individuals who get elected that cause these problems, which VSM will do nothing to resolve.
Actually that's another point worth noting: while individual associations have their (in some cases, absolutely massive) issues, I think it's important to note that those same points don't apply at the national level. I've dealt with NZUSA in a couple of different professional capacities over the past five or so years, and have been quite impressed with the people I've encountered there. In particular, the current co-presidents seem to be very good value from my interactions with them.
In other words, members of these organisations are forced to belong to them even if they are virulently opposed to the agendas of these organisations
People are forced to fund them. They are not forced to belong to them
That is the finest of fine distinctions, and one can make exactly the same argument about student associations (except that students are forced to neither because, as Keith has been saying: 'opt-out clause').
And cheers for the clarification re: the NZLS. :-)
Lawyers are not now required to be members of District Law Societies. Lawyers are not required to be members of the New Zealand Law Society. Doctors are not required to members of the New Zealand Medical Association.
Doctors are subject to regulation by the Medical Council etc. Nurses are subject to regulation by the Nursing Council (but don't have to be members of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation) etc.
But Graeme, my point is specifically with regard to regulatory bodies such as the Nursing Council, Medical Council, Teachers Council etc. (clearly my understanding of the Law Society requirement was incorrect, so I'll withdraw that part). Practitioners in these areas are required to be members of these organisations - they are fully-funded (in most of the cases of which I'm aware) by their members through a levy that all practitioners are required to pay. These organisations then regulate practices within their professions/ industries in the interests of their members - even when significant bodies of opinion within their membership disagree - and provide input on behalf of their profession (i.e. lobby) to officials and within relevant consultation processes.
In other words, members of these organisations are forced to belong to them even if they are virulently opposed to the agendas of these organisations - and there are public examples of this such as the existence of the "2nd-level nurse", or the massive stoush that's gone on in the plumbing industry. In fact, to stay in the health space, the situation of the various Medical Colleges get even murkier, as these are not established as statutory bodies under legislation, and yet membership in them is required to practice within a medical specialty.
I think the term 'union' here is clouding the issue a little, as you refer to in your point about a student-run disciplinary body. Would you have a problem with a legislative requirement that all public tertiary institutions develop arrangements for independent, student-funded systems for the representation of student interests to the university and the management of student welfare, support & disciplinary systems? That, in essence, is the equivalent to a compulsory regulatory body of the type you mentioned you're okay with.
And for the record, like (I think) many, I'm of the opinion that there seems to be a need for serious change within the system of student associations we currently have - there are far too many Joel Cosgrove's in the system as it stands, and as Paul Williams mentioned upthread, it obscures the really valuable work most associations do. But attacking them in this way is not going to lead to that reform - if anything, it will simply see a continuing decline in quality as revenues start to dry up and a vicious cycle around membership starts up. Reform is what we need in this space, not destruction.
Graeme, perhaps a better analogy than Rich's upthread would be the various compulsory regulatory bodies for professions and trades (such as the health regulatory authorities, the Teacher's Council, the Plumbing, Gasfitting & Drainlaying Board, I believe the Law Society etc.).
To be a practitioner in these areas you have to belong to these organisations, pay often quite significant fees etc. This is the case even if you disagree with their stances and decisions around regulation and standards, their lobbying activities, and the like. Do you have a problem with those arrangements from a freedom of association point of view?
For what it's worth, according to the Dept of Labour's Jobs & Tertiary Education Indicators (JTEI) tool the percentage of male teachers is 1%/ 15%/ 41% in early childhood/ primary/ secondary respectively. That's 2006 data (as it's taken from the Census) but I doubt anything would've changed noticeably in the past five years.
I guess teachers have a sense of social responsibility that stops them engaging in either collective action or aggressive individual bargaining to improve their pay.
They do strike, you know.
Yeah - I know quite a few people involved in education policy who would laugh hysterically at that statement...
To me, yachting isn't a sport - and I mean this at America's Cup level - simply because the thing that seems to define it is how much money you spend on your boat. And the skill required to sail said boat is secondary.
But that point - the more resources/better technology you have compared to your opponent the better your outcome - is true of any sport that depends on equipment, and arguably of almost sport. I think you're seriously downplaying the level of skill involved in competitive yachting - possibly because it isn't as immediately obvious as the skill involved in making a successful pass or tackle, hitting a bullseye etc,