This morning John Edens has written more generally about contractual constraints and funding-related pressures on academics.
I think one aspect he didn't touch on which could also be of concern is the apparent rise of privately funded research institutions which are engineered to focus their research in a promotion of a particular bias of the benefactor. This alone certainly doesn't make the research itself bad, and sometimes good research wouldn't happen without this model, but it often then gets spun by the benefactors or cherry-pickers to justify more ideological agendas without resources necessarily having been allocated towards any realistic criticism. The phrase "think tank" should always ring alarm bells.
Has an NZ government employee ever been held liable in this way, except when they’ve engaged in out and out fraud or malpractice?
That’d be interesting. I came away from reading the Cave Creek Platform Commission of Inquiry disappointed that some people at the top of DOC weren’t held more directly accountable. (14 people died with the collapse of a hideously built viewing platform.)
There’s always been an outcry that various low-level DOC employees who built the thing, during an informal working bee, should have been prosecuted. But there’s also plenty of evidence that DOC was being run as a severely disorganised, under-resourced mess in 1995, where completely unrealistic outcomes were being demanded from under-resourced and untrained staff at ground level. The Commissioner made a point of commenting that upper management of DOC at the time "simply did not seem to appreciate the concept of accountability in personal terms". (Then he went on to talk about the private sector as a much better example though, after Pike River, I doubt it's such a great example any more.)
I also know that senior executives have some legal liability responsibilities that deserve compensation.
This is true, but (like you and other here) I’m having trouble making it stack up. The Prime Minister, at least symbolically, has the ultimate public sector responsibility in the land, yet his salary is only 2/3 of the top public servants.
Exactly what accountability does New Zealand get from Mike Bush for $680,000+ if it’s excusable for the government body most directly responsible for upholding the law to have a culture that pays lip service to laws like the OIA, or which (just one example) doesn’t properly handle cases involving young men raping young women?
Do we need to pay him more for these things to be adequately handled?
I really like the idea of linking highest salaries to the lowest in any organisation. If the boss wants a pay rise she/he needs to figure out a way of paying the lowest more first.
Could this, however, encourage organisations to simply re-structure companies in weird ways, or sub-contract their lower paid work?
Apparently Mike Bush is on a salary of between $680k-$690k/year, which is the third highest (equal) public sector CEO salary.
I can vaguely appreciate arguments that commercial competition pays absurdly ridiculous amounts to its CEOs and so government must compete, but where’s a Police Commissioner going to go and receive an equivalent or better salary than $680,000 a year?
Is this salary meant to be entirely about accountability for things like, I don’t know, making sure the New Zealand Police adhere to the law and stuff? What’s the supposed justification for such a salary?
Apparently iPredict is being shut down by Simon Bridges, reportedly as a money laundering risk stemming from the site not identifying its customers. Or, at the very least, it's not being given an exemption to continue operating in its current state, and is not willing to change.
It’s probably unrelated to the allegations of manipulating odds to generate headlines, but Stuff has still picked up on that…
A number of staff around Parliament, as well as MPs, are known to have used iPredict. Although some of the information brought out in public could be embarrassing to the Government, Todd believed many in the Beehive found the website “useful” and so did not think there was a political motivation to the decision.
[Edit: Whupps. I see Alfie already picked this up in another thread.]
We know at least with THIS referendum that there is a conscious spoiling of the paper.
This is sort-of what I’m getting, at though. We know that some people are spoiling voting papers in protest. But that’s only one possible reason for a spoiled voting paper. In the end, it won’t be possible to look at the resulting number and know how many people spoiled their ballot for that reason nor any other reason.
Sure, people can spin the outcome whichever way, and they will, but ultimately it’s nowhere near as meaningful as having identifiable people clearly saying what they think.
I don’t agree with Graeme though, invalid papers WILL be seen as a protest and the protest will be noted.
I think a problem, though, remains that it'll only be seen as a protest by people who choose to see it as a protest. Annette King will be out there screaming it's a protest by thousands of people who obviously think this whole flag thing is stupid, if for no other reason than because she was previously telling people to spoil their voting papers if they wanted to protest.
But votes remain anonymous. It's not even possible to verify who marked a voting paper let alone try to identify why they did it. Even if the odd person photographs their ballot paper, where's the evidence that it's the vote they mailed away? Even if it can be verified, does that mean thousands of other ballot papers were spoiled for the same reason? It's also risky to make assumptions on why people act/vote the way they do, especially if those assumptions are just based on "but everyone I know thinks this way and I can't think of other plausible reasons". But that won't stop people making whichever assumptions most suit their agenda.
Based on past performance, if there's a significant count of spoiled votes then the PM's office will spin up some excuse for it to not matter, just as Annette King et al will spin up reasons for it to matter. It'll be processed ad-nauseum by the apologists through the machine, just to provide an excuse for anyone who needs one. Maybe the referendum process could even be abolished if private polls tell the National Party elite that it's so unpopular, but it'll be attributed to something much more excuseable than a torrent of outraged people spoiling their voting papers in protest.
I'd agree with Emma's comment on page 1. Mark your ballot paper however you like, but if you want a real message to be heard then get out and say it. Tell people. Tell MPs. Tell Ministers. Tell media. Otherwise the "message" of a spoiled ballot paper will only be regurgitated by those with a pre-existing agenda, as they see fit. Ballot papers are inanimate objects disassociated from those who marked them. They're sealed away in a place where they can't be re-opened, by law, before being destroyed, except for strictly defined reasons. Even if you wrote your reason on it, ballot papers won't argue back when their meaning is mis-represented.
If, during the count, your most preferred choice gets ruled out (by being least popular after counting first preferences), your vote is transferred to your second choice. Then, if your second choice remains least popular, your vote is transferred to your third. Then your fourth. Then your fifth. Eventually one of the options is left, and everyone's voted for it.
In practice, counting stops once an option hits 50% and it can't be overtaken.
Preferential voting tends to make sure that a less popular option won't be elected as a consequence of a larger number of voters having their votes split between two similar options. If 60% of people wanted "a fern option" but split their first preferences 20/20/20, and meanwhile 30% wanted hypnoflag, then as long as those 60% ranked the three ferns first then we'd end up with the fern option which that 60% wanted most, instead of getting a hypnoflag which fewer people wanted.
This, however, doesn't validate the mechanism by which everyone's choice was restricted or why we're doing this at all. That's really a question for the government.
I think preferential voting would be a much fairer way to vote for MPs in electorates. It'd mean candidates disliked by a majority of voters couldn't so easily win as a consequence of votes being split against similar people running against them. Parties wouldn't have to do dumb things like telling their supporters to vote for someone else so as to avoid an even less preferred option. But it comes with the cost of fewer people understanding and trusting how the counting works, and that's also quite an important thing to consider.
Having the right to see the reports in advance is reasonably standard, though not uncontroversial. Veto power over publication is not.
Hypothetically, what would happen if Police attempted to veto someone's publication, but they went ahead and published anyway?
Would Police have much of a show in court if the information was, indeed, deemed discoverable under the OIA? Can a court, if given reason to do so, declare an agreement like this illegal across the board?
Not to suggest that it should be necessary to challenge this type of thing in such a way to begin with, of course.
My first thought on seeing this was that it's really tiresome to see MSM even bothering to pay attention to these inconsequential attention-seeking sideshows (or at least that's how they seem to me). Sadly there's still a chance Colin Craig could return at the next election, even without publicity like this to remind everyone he exists. It'd be a shame if there wasn't much of a public record of these weirdisms if and when he does.