Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Vision Thing

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  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Raymond A Francis,

    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?

    I don't think it's growing- but the 20% rate of under-achievement has largely persisted. And it's very close to the rate of child poverty.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1574 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Stewart, in reply to BenWilson,

    "NZ isn’t growing or dividing the pie – it’s actually fucking the pie"

    i hope they blow on it first – ouch!

    Pt Chev • Since Feb 2012 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Sacha,

    cos why would we want to encourage those in NZ?

    Heh. It was just what came up after going through a geophysics degree. Apparently the maths is very similar whether it's above or below the ground (different constants, though). One of the theories CSIRO's modelling in the super-computers at present is to do with masses of pollution from China having an effect that temporarily muffles some of the more extreme effects of climate change above Australia. Most of that krud drops out of the atmosphere within a couple of weeks, and with China investing so hugely in cleaner technologies and power generation, it's thought things could change dramatically in the next decade or more. I've been informed she's been ensuring New Zealand's included on the edge of the maps, but it's a shame NZ can't seriously collaborate on this kind of stuff.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 428 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Read the speech twice now and left with the impression that it is a decent start.

    It really will be important to see the detail.

    Stuff like enabling education professionals to make decisions about what is best rather than politicians.

    Like an appropriate role for tech institutes, tech trainees are as valuable to society as lawyers.

    Like appropriate management of universities to encourage the training of the kinds of skill we need not simply those that make money, yes that's social engineering but that is the point.

    And yes if you want the encourage the brightest to become scientists and engineers who can innovate a new economy you must fund them on excellence not some moronic treasury bullet point.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • mic weevil, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    yes that's social engineering but that is the point.

    It's a shame that Social Engineering has developed such negative connotations. In almost every other context engineering is a positive thing but for some reason planning a structure for society is seen as some undesirable imposition of control.

    our lives are controlled - by economics and politics. I think it would be great if it were acknowledged that engineering of our society might allow us to actually create the society that all these aspiring leaders are constantly claiming to aspire to in their frickin' ambitions for us all.

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 51 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to mic weevil,

    our society *is* being engineered, by selfish neoliberals and fellow travellers

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16740 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    And yes if you want the encourage the brightest to become scientists and engineers who can innovate a new economy

    None taken.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to mic weevil,

    It's a shame that Social Engineering has developed such negative connotations.

    Indeed it is. Especially since it is actually what all political positions that don't just say the status quo is sweet-as are trying to achieve. The question is not whether social engineering is being undertaken, but simply in whose benefit. And even conservatives who want no change typically, would like to engineer things to that effect, putting in place brakes to social change. The only people who aren't social engineers are the apathetic, even though of course a huge social change is happening as their position becomes more popular. Mostly to their detriment.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    None taken.

    The word was encourage. Not all will choose that path. But at present it seems we discourage the best and brightest from choosing that path and instead channel them to law and commerce. We need some of those just not as many as we train now.

    If your comment was meant to imply I lack an appreciation of the other fields taught at University, in particular the humanities, then you are mistaken.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    The word was encourage. Not all will choose that path. But at present it seems we discourage the best and brightest from choosing that path and instead channel them to law and commerce. We need some of those just not as many as we train now.

    Bollocks. At the University of Canterbury, it costs $6,217 per eft in Law for a New Zealand student. It costs $ $25,000 per eft for an overseas student. It costs $ 6,217 per eft in Engineering for a New Zealand student, and then $35,000 per eft for an overseas student.

    Now, assuming for the sake of it that the overseas price represents something like a fair market value of the degree (not entirely safe but let’s run with it) that means that the government is subsidising every single engineering student in the country to the tune of nine grand more than a law student.*

    That is a fuck load of money. We encourage people into engineering and sciences like mad.

    * bench science is subsidised about a grand more than law. An arts student gets about four grand less than a law student, i.e. around 13 grand less than a engineering student.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    I suspect that degrees for overseas students are a Veblen good. Besides this, a degree course for a foreign student has many valuable attributes that aren't created by the university:
    - putting thousands of kilometres between the student and their parents
    - an economic route to foreign residence (compared to the Kim Dotcom $10mln tarrif, that is)
    - the chance to convince future employers that you are a highly skilled overseas trained talent, when in fact you spent three years playing videogames and can just about read the menu in McDonalds

    (Not to be mean about our hard working overseas students - NZers would be even worse if we could afford foreign schooling).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    I think David Shearer needs media training and a lot of it, ASAP.

    He is utterly woeful at answering questions from the media. He is jittery, hesitant, muddled, indecisive and just seems unable to quickly articulate a coherent answer.

    It makes him look very bad on TV and is a turn-off to potential voters.

    Also, what the hell was he thinking, using National's "brighter future" slogan twice today ?

    He realy, really needs to see someone like Brian Edwards for advice on how to deal with this.

    He is obviously an intelligent, capable man, but he is letting himself and Labour down by his very bad, ineffectual handling of questions. A lot of these questions are basic, straightforward and predictable. All the other senior Labour MPs cane do it, Shearer must learn fast ho to do so as well.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 612 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Even if they are Veblen* doesn't really matter, it's the difference between that market and the subsidised cost that we care about. (After all, presumably if the government let the cost float we would end up with the same price for NZ & int'l students.)

    The whole thing is pretty rough, because fees aren't just held down by subsidies, the subsidies won't explain the whole difference (some will be profit margin which should be steadyish across the board but prob. isn't) but of course that's not the point. The point is that there is an undeniable and massive subsidy going towards engineering (and the sciences to a much less extent.)

    (Law should be $5,243 for NZ students above by the way.)

    (* Doubt they are Veblen though, I suspect in fact positional at most.)

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    That is a fuck load of money. We encourage people into engineering and sciences like mad.

    We do, and they get the bulk of the Marsden money, but that still doesn't mean that there are jobs waiting for them at the end of their degree. In order for the situation that Shearer envisages to come about we won't just need to increase the investment in education, but also, and massively, in research centres, and not just in the sciences.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    We do, and they get the bulk of the Marsden money, but that still doesn’t mean that there are jobs waiting for them at the end of their degree.

    Which suggests to me we have a structural oversupply of scientists. Instead of spending more money on science education, we should start spending less, and wait for the market to equalise. It's econ 101.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Which suggests to me we have a structural oversupply of scientists. Instead of spending more money on science education, we should start spending less, and wait for the market to equalise. It's econ 101.

    A free market solution! How could it possibly fail? Seriously, though, if Shearer actually intends to run with this thing, which I very much doubt, it will take a radical reorientation of taxation and public expenditure. So interesting too that he's taken as his explicit model a conservative one-term politician. Or rather, it would be interesting if he was actually serious about this.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7383 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I found the Finnish thing kinda strange, to be honest.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Do we know who wrote the speech yet?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16740 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    Bollocks.

    We pay lawyers many times what we pay engineers. Smart kids choose a profession where they get their loans back fast

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3414 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Not true. Pay for NZ lawyers is, generously, averaging around the $150,000 mark. If you think most engineers out there are on less than $50,000, then you are mad. Pay in engineering is in fact roughly comparable to pay in law.

    Even if it were true that engineers were paid many times less then lawyers, that would be because people think lawyers are more valuable than engineers.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    because people think lawyers are more valuable than engineers

    I doubt 'people' describes our weird and irrational market for salaries, unfortunately.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16740 posts Report Reply

  • NBH,

    * bench science is subsidised about a grand more than law. An arts student gets about four grand less than a law student, i.e. around 13 grand less than a engineering student.

    The actual per-EFTS government funding rates are here: http://www.tec.govt.nz/Funding/Fund-finder/Student-Achievement-Component/Rates/Universities/ (that links to the university rates - there are links there for other provider types are there as well). At degree-level (category 2), Science EFTS are worth $10,338 each, while Law and Arts EFTS are both worth $6,014. Engineering EFTS are $11,060.

    It's worth noting that these rates are not meant to reflect earning potential but purely the cost of delivery to the institution, nor do they necessarily bear any relationship to the actual student fees that TEOs charge.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    No, I think it does. People make decisions about how much they are willing to pay for services. Lots and lots of those decisions go to making up the market for engineering and legal services. And while you might argue that objectively, lawyers aren't worth as much as engineers or wevs, it turns out that the market takes a certain view, and fundamentally we do have a market economy.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Keir Leslie,

    often little choice involved. perhaps we can agree to disagree about whether market perfection exists.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 16740 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    I should add that the difference between the international price and the NZ price is interesting because it can be thought of as measuring the distortion caused to the market in degrees by government intervention. Not all of that is paid directly by the government, but it does represent a cost to NZ.

    The direct government subsidy* is still important to consider. If you do science or engineering, the government is willing to give you roughly four grand a year more than if you're doing law. Why? Why do we do that? Shouldn't we pass that cost on to the student, reflecting the fact that training people in engineering and science is expensive?

    * which ignores various inequities in terms of research and grant and etc funding.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1376 posts Report Reply

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