Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Vision Thing

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  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    I agree with Ben that the quality of our managers and leaders also has a lot to do with NZ not capitalising on the knowledge economy we already have. I remain perhaps more optimistic about creating high-value industries around knowledge and creativity. But destroying local supporting expertise in sample machining did not help our high-end fashion industry, for instance.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • merc, in reply to Sacha,

    I agree with Ben that the quality of our managers and leaders also has a lot to do with NZ not capitalising on the knowledge economy we already have.

    I could say alot here but cannot at this time. Ben is correct in my experience that there are fundamental issues here in New Zealand about actually being secure enough to forward another's ambitions.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to merc,

    I fondly recall the CEO of a software development company telling me that if none of his senior specialists were paid more than him there was something wrong. He'd benefit more from his share as a Director so long as his ego was up to it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • insider, in reply to BenWilson,

    NZ isn't growing or dividing the pie - it's actually fucking the pie.

    Or the good old bite and suck (as Big Ben used to advertise). The seared mouth was usually not worth the runny muck that filled it

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • Mike Graham, in reply to insider,

    regulations about toasters and companies register etc should be separated out from the strategic planning element.

    Watch out for another leaky building type crisis in a few years after the ex-Economic Development people put pressure on the ex-Housing people to lower building standards – all in the name of productivity of course.

    There will be similar pressures on the ex-Dept of Labour people as OSH standards drop, again in the name of productivity. Of course the poor consequences of the merger won’t be seen until after the next election…

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 202 posts Report Reply

  • DeepRed, in reply to James Butler,

    Shearer can mumble about how “our community must take care of the needy” all he likes, but when no-one in Labour is articulating why we must take care of the needy, the field is wide open for National to tell us why solo mums, stevedores etc. just need to suck it up cos we’re in a recession didn’t you know.

    I can think of a few catch-phrases that Shearer could use to re-frame Key's agenda:

    - "Attacking the symptom" (crime, welfare etc)
    - "Your future nurses/vets/firefighters/cops" (child poverty & welfare)
    - "Safety in numbers" (occupational safety & health)
    - "Racing to the bottom" (wages & economic policy)
    - "John Frum economics" (asset sales & general economic policy)

    During the firefighters' dispute in the 1990s, there wer bumper stickers reading, "I support firefighters. The next life they save may be mine."

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 4301 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to DeepRed,

    "John Frum economics"

    surely 'cargo cult economics' would work better

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    This just in via twitter -

    Growing Pies so last week how about Inflatable Troughs....

    Thanks to Hadyn Green

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Sacha,

    if none of his senior specialists were paid more than him

    Basically he's saying that if he has hired well, then his specialist are more knowledgable and capable in their area than him and hence deserving of more salary.

    It also acknowledges that in many cases there are few people with the specialist skills whereas there are many people with the managerial skills.

    The only point about that I'd argue with is that really good managers are much rarer than the job titles would have you believe.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3389 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    I would suggest that every child in NZ *is*, by global standards, getting an excellent education....
    There are challenges for schools...
    But most of the problem is stopping National from undermining the hard work of just about everyone in the sector.

    Yes! PISA is probably the best source of data; 2009 is the latest year. (I've heard some mutterings about the data from China- possibly, I don't have a clue- but I don't think PISA is run by a bunch of suckers with a faulty calculator.)
    We may have slipped here and there, but we still do bloody well. As I've said before: if our businesses performed consistently in the top 10 of the OECD we'd have a lot more tax money, and education would probably do even better.
    Yes, we have a significant 20% 'long tail' of under-achievement, and we've been aware of and battling this for decades. Shearer touches on the fact that the kids who don't succeed in the education system are poorer than average. But anyone who thinks it's just a coincidence that we've also been growing poverty and income inequality in NZ over the last twenty years, and that has no relationship with educational achievement (or health outcomes) is in Lalaland.
    So slipping in a little 'get rid of some bad teachers' there feels like just another "I wanna be John Key but nicer" statement.
    Grrr. I'm getting increasingly cynical, and I not sure I can afford it!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1571 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    It also acknowledges that in many cases there are few people with the specialist skills whereas there are many people with the managerial skills.

    Which always makes me chuckle; Universities have a horrible habit of creating experts and then turning them into managers.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    FWIW I no longer advise students to undertake PhD's in New Zealand.

    PhDs in New Zealand are fine as long as there's no expectation of finding a job in New Zealand at the end of it. The main reason we're in Australia right now is because my wife spent a year being dragged through the mud by CRIs, frustrating recruitment agents and occasional companies for months at a time, without them being clear about whether there was a job or not. There are very few serious science jobs in NZ, few organisations want to hire anyone who's not already established at the top of their game (too much effort to get them established), in some areas it's necessary to wait for someone to die---seriously---before one of very few positions opens up, and then it means competing for the job on the international market.

    Once we finally decided we could tolerate leaving NZ, she found an Australian government climate science job at CSIRO very quickly, as part of an ongoing intake of quite a few relatively young post-PhD graduates from Australia and overseas.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 408 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    how about Inflatable Troughs

    would honour our nation's enduring fascination with weather

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to izogi,

    climate science job

    cos why would we want to encourage those in NZ?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16659 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to 81stcolumn,

    Universities have a horrible habit of creating experts and then turning them into managers.

    Companies are the same - "You're the best mechanic we've got, so we're going to make you the manager of all the mechanics and pay you more" - and then wonder why productivity slips.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn, in reply to izogi,

    Imagine the possibility of PhD qualified graduates with publications working on hourly rates and being asked submit PBRF portfolios. It just might come true.........

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

  • Raymond A Francis, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    Rob, serious question, are there any figures on this
    Just wondering if as poverty has increased in NZ, has the under-performing tail got any larger?

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 542 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Managers hating specialists in New Zealand since 1840.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Dear God, man. What do you call this:

    Number one: our community must take care of the needy. They deserve a share of the pie.

    And if people fall on hard times, we will help.

    But equally importantly, number two: everyone who can help to make that pie needs to be involved, and fairly rewarded for doing it.

    Here’s a hint: it is indistinguishable from what John Key has always said about welfare in his speeches.

    I must honestly disagree.

    Here’s Key’s November speech on welfare reform. I’d submit that the language is really different. The only time Key uses the word “fair”, for example, is in declaring that it’s “fair” that the parents of DPB children aged 14 to be forced to seek full-time work “because when children are 14 they can be left without parental supervision.”

    Key also explicitly offers the view that “many” beneficiaries are workshy and won’t work unless they’re forced to. I could go on.

    It’s reasonable to be suspicious of Shearer on this, but to describe his words as “indistinguishable” from Key’s seems objectively incorrect.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18877 posts Report Reply

  • insider, in reply to Russell Brown,

    That said Russell, surprisingly for the times, the political attack lines being used this year and it being a Labour leader's speech, the word 'inequality' (or variants thereof) was never used.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2011 • 31 posts Report Reply

  • stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz, in reply to nzlemming,

    Except in Universities no one gets picked out to be a manager---people go to great lengths (and get paid a great deal---perhaps there's a clue there) to apply for themselves.

    They are all self-selected---no coercion required!

    Hamilton • Since Nov 2006 • 55 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It’s reasonable to be suspicious of Shearer on this, but to describe his words as “indistinguishable” from Key’s seems objectively incorrect.

    You are mixing a specific policy speech (Key) with a broad political speech (Shearer). Go back and reread any of Key's direction-setting speeches and you'll find that the language is exactly the same. Example, from Key's 2007 state of the nation speech, his first as leader of the opposition therefore the most pertinent comparison:

    I have said before that I believe in the welfare state and that I will never turn my back on it.

    We should be proud to be a country that looks after its most vulnerable citizens. We should be proud to be a country that supports people when they can't find work, are ill, or aren't able to work.

    But we should be ashamed that others remain on a benefit for years even though work is available to them. That is no way forward for them and it is no way forward for New Zealand.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7360 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Except in Universities no one gets picked out to be a manager---people go to great lengths (and get paid a great deal---perhaps there's a clue there) to apply for themselves.

    They are all self-selected---no coercion required!

    Personal experience says you are incorrect in your assumption. It's also a well known way of trying to hold on to high performing staff, but companies won't pay specialist pay so they promote them.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    Universities have a horrible habit of creating experts and then turning them into managers

    To be fair, that's partly because management as a skill in its own right is pretty undervalued - if not viewed with downright hostility (see comments around the horrors of 'managerialism') - by many academic staff. Research expertise (i.e. publications, grants & prizes) is the basis of status in The Academy, so for managers to get the necessary respect they need from people in their Department, they pretty much have to be high-quality experts first. Can you seriously imagine, for example, a Chemistry department accepting as head someone who had 20 years management experience but only an honours degree in the field?

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn, in reply to stever@cs.waikato.ac.nz,

    Steve with all due respect I beg to disagree.........

    "....you're the one the most experience if you don't lead this subject team it will cease to exist....."

    No pay rise and said "manager" may shortly be in charge of a national development centre as well.

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 724 posts Report Reply

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