Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Report Card

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  • merc,

    Yes. High taxes and deep welfare seem to be good for children.

    Yes, I am coming round to this view myself, for the alternative as posited by the Kiwiblog crew (Sonic excepted of course, you are my hero) is simply...inhuman.
    In order to learn to care we must access within ourselves what is human.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • jon_knox,

    Crikey that Nat fulla seems well connected!

    Suspect getting the copyright legislation into a good state will be big ask...I'd been pondering copyright changes when considering impacts of regulation on telecommunications last year and found the (UK) Office of Communications site which has some good background information about regulation.

    Osterreich • Since Nov 2006 • 461 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Although I'm not deterred by the prospect of paying higher taxes, I suspect that the governments that fund comparatively high levels of social services also insist on data that makes this kind of international comparison possible - whereas those that don't (fund high levels of social services), are likely to have less data from which to make comparisons.

    I've not read this report in any detail but I'd be wary of isolating any one factor, tax or otherwise, to explain the relative performances of different countries.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Paul: You are quite right - there is no one single factor, and high levels of taxation are not enough on their own (e.g. witness the former Eastern Bloc).

    The common feature of the high achieving countries, as identified by a body of comparative political economic research, is that they are both generally relatively high taxers, and generally score relatively highly in their levels of democratisation.

    Simply put, places like Sweden and the Netherlands have more proportional electoral systems, inclusive coalition governments, inclusive political discourse norms, and public sectors that are better skilled at engaging with "the people" than places like NZ's selected role political economic models - generally the UK and the USA.

    It's about taking the money, and then respectfully talking about spending it - with the people it is intended to go to.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    It's about taking the money, and then respectfully talking about spending it - with the people it is intended to go to.

    Oh that's just crazy talk. Seriously, I have an in at the Council, and this seems to be the The Big Problem.
    When you talked about..."NZ's selected role political economic models", I thought you summed this problem up beautifully, I read it to mean that the people who are selected for the role of spending public money have difficulty getting beyond the politics of obtaining the money.
    Simply, we just don't seem to be mature enough to engage in effective communication with each other.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Yes, I am coming round to this view myself, for the alternative as posited by the Kiwiblog crew (Sonic excepted of course, you are my hero) is simply...inhuman.

    Well, more to the point, the results point in the opposite direction from John Key's more-private-charity pitch.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I've not read this report in any detail but I'd be wary of isolating any one factor, tax or otherwise, to explain the relative performances of different countries.

    Yes, I was being a bit tongue in cheek there actually ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Merc: I think you may have not read me as I intended... but that is a discussion for elsewhere.

    You are however quite salient in talking about "getting beyond the politics of obtaining money" - this is a real problem in the grouping of Liberal political economies. While tax rises are generally unpopular, there is a specific resistance in Liberal political economies - the discourse of politics in these countries is particuarly strongly orientated against them. With the death of the post-War national social settlements, there is now even less of place to argue from in the countries for redistribution - witness the ongoing obsession in the media with unaffordable tax cuts - except in the face of comparasions such as the UNICEF study.

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Maybe we could pickup all the children and drive them to the country to take their minds off things, with a camera crew present naturally.
    John, we have a major yoof problem in Kumeu (that'll be up the road from your electorate office), really we do, the kids are literally killing themselves on a regular basis, the local Police are shouting out for help and we're scraping bodies off the roads and P labs are multiplying exponentially...John, are you there...

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Marcus, yes sorry, I played it fast and loose with your words, I know you were talking about our, "selected political role models", but I kind of twisted it to fit my blurt.
    The tax is my money wasted by the socialists crew, really do make me wonder what they would prefer it spent on, defence?

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Che Tibby,

    put all those troublesome kids in the army. that'll sort them out.

    the back of an envelope • Since Nov 2006 • 2026 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    put all those troublesome kids in the army. that'll sort them out.

    Or Nasa perhaps?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • Marcus Neiman,

    Or, to be earnest, meaningful jobs or apprenticeships...

    Sydney • Since Feb 2007 • 107 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Apprenticeships - my fav. All we need to do first is re-nationalise railways, expand the Post Office, and re-develop a manufacturing industry.

    Sorry Marcus, I actually agree that declining apprenticeship rates are a problem - however other forms of vocational training have gone through the roof. Fixing apprenticeships relies on their being jobs and industries where employers can and will hire and train young people for four years... and that ain't Glassons(incidentally McDonalds have a good training record/program).

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2233 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    The most interesting thing about it as a piece of social research is that NZ - and the other Anglophonic Liberal political economies, with their majoritarian political culture and emphasis on marketisation and commodification as the de facto organising principles of social life - are almost categorically as a set of political economies doing worse than, particuarly the Social Democratic, consensus-orientated political economies of Northern Europe.

    Yep I would love to know how Northern Europe compares with us in terms of developing a culture that revolves around working long hours and buying "things".

    Do parents in ALP economies just have kids so that they can buy new different things ?

    There is ample reason within NZ to go along a different path. I can't help but be reminded of the challenge laid down by Manakura's recent post.

    What is needed is a foundation of shared social, cultural and political-economic objectives. What I'm talking about is a kaupapa that is specific, practical and pragmatic.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 728 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    There was a doco on Maori TV last night about apprenticeships for Maori 15 year olds from Wairoa in the late 50's early 60', to Christchurch. It was written by Mike McRoberts and featured his Dad.
    It was corker.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • TroyHoward,

    I have to admit my glasses were very rosey back when I was 21 as well...big ups to them...

    I wonder if G.Dubya was invited to the wedding?

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Graham,

    I wonder if the "consociational" system is a product of the society that looks after its kids, or is it that the "consociational" system produces the society that looks after its kids?

    On another rather horrifying note - the rate of young Maori (men?) leaving school without qualifications was appalling - but then I read that overall 20% of (male?) youth leave without qualifications. Surely this is a scandal worthy of a Keys speech?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 179 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    But if they all left with a qualification, it would just be a caucus race, where all must have prizes - and someone would complain about that.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • Span .,

    I'd be curious to know how many of those who leave school without qualifications go straight into jobs, and in fact may have left because of job offers that were more attractive to them than school.

    That wedding pic really made me feel bad. And generally frustrated that this crap is happening in our world.

    Auckland, NZ • Since Nov 2006 • 112 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Oh, also, all the people who ranted about Sweden's dreadful child welfare laws (the usual Sir Humptys suspects droned on about it for days as I recall) when Ruby Harrold-Claesson paid her visit last year seem to have gone ... quiet.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18991 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    that wedding photo breaks my heart

    It shocked then saddened me, but then I noticed that the bride's bouquet matched the crimson trim on her dress. So while things are going to be a little tougher for them than for other newlyweds, they still have little pleasures to enjoy.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1865 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    Giving the newlyweds some context. They are Ty and Renee Ziegel. The Times tells their story, and there's more of Nina Berman's photos.

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1865 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen Judd,

    Some interesting commentary from a Dutch and a UK POV at Crooked Timber

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2968 posts Report Reply

  • James Littlewood,

    Weird stuff. Feeling almost sanctimonious. Who are the people who don't read or talk to their kids, or who don't listen to them, or eat with them? People without books, time or food I guess. Enslaved to the salary as I am, I seldom eat with the 3 year old outside of weekends. I guess that gives me a score of 2 out of 3, which if it ain't bad, is exactly not in the top third either.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

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