Posts by B Jones

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  • Polity: Protesting too much: responses…,

    Speaking as someone whose cohort drew a few short straws (I now have The Beaten Generation running through my head), I don't think that's an argument not to improve things. That's not how our forebears thought when they established the welfare state.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Protesting too much: responses…, in reply to william blake,

    I'm not saying it should be gruelling. I think no fees is a lot better than the current system, and good for those who can benefit from it. There's been enough ladder-pulling-up in recent years. It's just at the edges, where it meets the idea that market forces dictate the supply of courses, there's potential for things to go a bit awry. It's probably more a problem with the market forces concept than the zero fees concept - it's equally wrong to charge a self-funding student $46,000 a year for a Bachelor of Commercial Aviation when there are almost zero pilots jobs available, than for them to be funded for it by the government. Lifting the crushing burden off the individual in that case is a good thing, but not if the number of students then triples.

    I don't believe that tertiary education needs to be purely vocational, but the other extreme, laissez-faire course proliferation, can generate some perverse outcomes. You'd like to think that people can, by and large, make sensible decisions, but I know too many people who have clocked up huge loans on questionable qualifications to have faith in rational utility maximisation. We need to give people the space to grow and develop themselves, but it shouldn't be unlimited. There's surely some point down the slippery slope to put a fence before we hit government funded pet homeopathy and skydiving courses, both of which are currently NZQA approved.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Protesting too much: responses…,

    I'm curious about the impact this will have on very high cost/low job prospect courses like aviation or diving - I remember an ad for one along the lines of "serious learning! serious fun!" and I've always had a sense that they prey a little on young people who haven't quite found their way yet, but have access to free credit for training. I'm not sure how big that problem is, or whether there's a practical solution, but a proliferation of NZQA-approved fun but not very useful things is a likely outcome of this policy unless there were corresponding lids on the number of places in certain industries commensurate on the jobs available.

    I'm of a very unlucky cohort with respect to student loans. I started university just as fees approached $2000 a year, and finished before interest free came in. I remember Rob in some of my classes, though I doubt he knew me. This policy wouldn't have helped me enormously while I was studying (I found myself ineligible for living costs one year and had to use course costs for that, back when you could get them as a lump sum, to supplement 20hrs work a week on $8.50/hr). But it would have made starting off in the workplace afterwards easier (I paid my loan off hard and fast, objecting to a daily interest bill of more than a coffee a day), and might have made a first home possible before prices started to rise in the mid 2000s.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: On tour with The Boss,

    I think there's a charming novelty value to one senior labour party person being publicly nice about another one. That to me is the takeaway from this - not whether someone is smart or inclusive or authentic - but that the labour folks may have stopped stabbing each other in the back and started to play nice.

    Anyone writing something like this is putting their rep on the line. You can't do this while still thinking "what if he lasts ten minutes like the last guy, then what's his successor going to think of me?"

    This doesn't change my opinion of Little (all of the above could be true of a leader I'd hate) but it makes a nice change from the past.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: New Zealand's most racist law,

    I think this is a positive initiative, overall, it's just that I'm familiar enough with the terrain to know there are often unexpected fishhooks, and that efforts to do good can often be held up by plans to do better.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: New Zealand's most racist law,

    Fair enough, Graeme. But the idea of doing this by private member's bill raises a few questions for me about where the Crown is in all of this and what its responsibility to Maori is in terms of the Treaty (not passing that law back in 1962 in the first place, maybe). I wonder whether any of the 2000 or so registered historical claims mention this issue. One could always be amended to include it, I suppose.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: New Zealand's most racist law,

    Yes, it's definitely racist to return a tiny fraction of what the state appropriated from Maori after promising it wouldn't, and also to fund health and education services in such a way as to reduce inequalities, which is why governments of every flavour have been doing it for decades.. FFS. 2004 called; it's for Royal Courtier and wants its race relations back.

    Speaking of decades, it's been customary since the mid 80s to consult with Maori when you make policy changes that affect them. I'm assuming Graeme and Trevor M have a process in mind for doing that? Otherwise there's a risk that you're charging in to rescue a princess without stopping to check whether the dragon's actually bothering her. It's not a bad assumption that this law is a problem, but it does seem to be an assumption.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: New Zealand's most racist law,

    But, given their positions, and their philosophical consistency, I can guarantee you 100% that both of them would be in favour of repealing this section of law.

    You'd have thought in their many years of campaigning for one law for all, they'd have spotted it and mentioned it, if only in support of their claims not to be racist. I can't find any examples of them mentioning it online. Mike Butler and David Round, who write for NZCPR and are more or less in Muriel Newman's ideological camp, both talk about it only to complain that it or its review gives too much power to the Maori Council.

    I've followed this issue closely for a long time, and if there were any philosophical consistency to Brash and Newman et al, they'd have campaigned vigorously for the protection of Maori property interests in the foreshore and seabed.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Music: Lemmy,

    I’m sure they know what they’re doing, I’m just curious about the effect I perceived. You know how when the car stereo is on too quietly and you can hear the high frequencies and enough of the vocals to tell what song is playing, but you can’t quite tell what pitch to sing along at? I had a similar effect but at really high volume – I couldn’t tell whether the sound I heard matched the note I expected to hear. I’m just not sure whether the problem was in my brain, my ear, the speakers, or some other part of the setup. I know nothing about sound engineering and don’t have much experience listening to amplified live music, but I normally have a reasonable sense of pitch and it was odd to have that disappear for a few moments. I couldn’t tell that anyone else noticed, so maybe it was just me.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Music: Lemmy,

    I asked the acoustic engineer in the family and she says some speakers don't do so well at low frequencies, human hearing isn't as sensitive, and that it's a sign I'm getting old, complaining about the noise at concerts.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

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