Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: From soundbite to policy

411 Responses

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  • Tom Semmens,

    On top of all that, Mr. Bill "No one will be worse off" English is now admitting that National's tax cuts will actually make some poor New Zealanders worse off than they would have been under Labour.

    Bill English - "No one will be worse off": Liar.

    Anne Tolley - caught on video telling teachers the 90 day fire at will bill won't afffect them: Liar.

    John Key - No mention of the ramming through the fire at will legislation - I suppose his flexible corporate morality means he thinks being economical with the truth merely makes you oh so smart, funny and clever, but I'm calling him a liar as well.

    National appear to be trying to set some sort of dubious record for being the biggest liars in the shortest possible time.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2213 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    I share your disquiet with the performance of the present government during its first week on the Treasury benchs. As a private citizen I have few options to lodge my concerns with anyone.

    I wonder if anyone online can advise me on this point? If I was to write a letter of complaint on the current use of urgency in Parliament, should I address it to:

    -the Prime Minister
    -the Leader of the House
    -the Speaker

    Or all three? Or more people?

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Dear New Zealand voter,

    It has come to my notice that your performance in electing a sensible and democratic government has been sorely lacking. Before the election, it was obvious to any thinking person that should National/ACT be elected, they would abandon democratic, evidence-based government in favour of knee-jerk policies rammed through without proper thought or scrutiny. It's no surprise that this is now happening.

    Could I suggest that you refrain from voting until you are able to treat politics as more than a rugby game.

    Yours etc..

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Mikaere Curtis,

    From soundbite to policy

    Great title, both accurate and scary.

    There seems to be a sense of entitlement emanating from the National government driving their arrogant disdain for proper democratic process for bills that will actually have significant impact on peoples' lives.

    If their bills are so awesome, wouldn't public discussion generate support for them ?

    Perhaps the abuse of urgency has an upside, though, because National will not be able to defend themselves against criticism that they are doctrinaire and arrogant (which, ironically, is probably what caused Labour to lose office in the first place)

    Tamaki Makaurau • Since Nov 2006 • 528 posts Report Reply

  • James Green,

    On Herceptin, I can commend people look at the graph on page 4 of this document. The green FinHer line is the 9week consecutive course of Herceptin. Because of its relatively smaller sample, there is a lower degree of precision with the estimate, but it's worth noting that the trial has both a strong estimate of efficacy, and one of the longer follow up times of the trials available.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 703 posts Report Reply

  • Zippy Gonzales,

    Much of what Lessig said about copyright could also be applied to patents. Cultural innovation is stifled by anachronistic rules on both copyright and patents, favouring the big players protecting their modes of production.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 186 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    There have been a hundred great New Zealand music videos? I'd have thought 100 pretty good music videos might be a more fitting title.

    my two noms are, obviously not included in the competition, because I lack networking skills, which as APRA and NZMIC will go to great pains to inform us every May are the most essential skill to garner success in the music field:

    from 2001
    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=Fut29Hr4UQg

    2007
    http://nz.youtube.com/watch?v=QdkhRlMpeSs

    This education policy is only going to breed corruption. I'm reminded of an instance in 2006 when working for BSFU, having completed the training to become a BEC examiner (the internationally 'standardized' Cambridge University Business English Certification). In final preparations for the exam, the professors (who were concurrently in negotiations with Nottingham University) , contravening the specified procedure, instructed us to remove certain questions from the exam, citing them as being too difficult for Chinese students.

    Ultimately the Beijing results were more or less in line with those of other countries.

    Being the only foreign examiner, I questioned this and wasn't invited to examine again.

    I'm not convinced such corrupt meddling won't be considered by HMs and HODs in the NZ education system, in order to preserve jobs and funding.

    and I'm pretty certain, a tolerance for this breed of ideological laxity is what brought Fonterra to their knees here.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce,

    Despite the outcry from the left about the use of urgency, the actions may be interpreted on the other hand by the electorate as the new government just getting stuck in and more or less doing what they said they were going to do...

    Isn't that what the country voted for ? (well about 1/2 the country give or take)

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 501 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    Testing Standards in Schools? Where in the world has this been shown to have a positive effect? A negative effect? Certainly negatives in Britain and USA.
    As well there have always been a group of kids who will never be clever enough to meet an "average level". They deserve support and confidence at their level of competence.
    With the testing currently available and being used what a pity that the kids identified as being underachievers, are not supported. Every teacher knows who these kids are but early failures, peer pressure (better a riot in class than to be seen as dumb!) and pressure of class numbers means that these kids slip out and become truants. Use the money from National Testing instead on support for underachievers. Sad!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    ... the actions may be interpreted on the other hand by the electorate as the new government just getting stuck in and more or less doing what they said they were going to do...

    Two-thirds of respondents to this poll seem to feel that way.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    if there's an editor in the house, could all this '160@ ...' business be removed?

    just ain't working

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    if there's an editor in the house, could all this '160@ ...' business be removed?
    just ain't working

    I fixed it. The ampersand in the URL confused the system into thinking it was an email address, but I made a TinyURL that works now.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22756 posts Report Reply

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    I have to disagree Glenn, although adding the voting percentages up for the National party, ACT, the Maori party still comes to around 52%, I believe, the other 48% of the voters selected other parties to provide them with a voice in parliament. This is their democratic right.

    Circumventing the select committee process when passing legislation removes this voice.

    I don’t think I can comment for the entire ‘Left’, but for myself, I want to register a complaint. So if anyone can provide advice on which offices in Parliament I should write to, I would be grateful to receive it.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    thanks Russell.

    Most disturbing snippet I just read about this bill is this:

    "The bill also contains provision for a huge increase in fines for the parents of truants, from $150 to $300 for the first offence and from $400 to $3000 for second and subsequent offences. The penalty for failing to enrol children in school will jump from $1000 to $3000 a year."

    in the midst of the alleged greatest depression since 1929?


    like Ian said above;

    instead on support for underachievers. Sad!

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Okay, so my outrage goes from a column to a long comment. Straight after yoga, I said...

    I read through the Education (National Standards) Amendment bill this morning, and three things struck me

    1) National Standards is a phrase rich in irony

    2) WTF is the spurious justification for putting this through under urgency? So the last govt was anti-family, but ramming this through so no families get any input is... what?

    3) two things are missing from this bill - individuals, and causes.

    The bit that made me laugh out loud was this:

    Benefits

    Once the national standards are implemented -
    - parents and the community will know how their children are progressing compared to the national standard and compared to other children their age. This will help them understand how they can help their children to learn better, both at home and at school, and emphasise the importance of information for producing systematic school improvement

    HOW? This bill does absolutely nothing to address or even identify the reasons that children under-achieve. It certainly does nothing to help parents become better teachers.

    The simplest way for a school to improve its performance against national standards is to boot out the under-achieving children. How long before we see the back of zoning? The schools that take the 'worst' children, the 'problem' ones, and work to help them will be seen as failing, while the schools that cherry-pick the bright kids and then sit on their prestigious reputations will be successes. Yeah, that'll make us better at science.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4650 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    In the immediate aftermath of the election John Key came across favourably compared with the spiteful insecurity that marked John Howard's rise to power back in 1996. The generous tribute to Helen Clark, with the expressed hope that she'd continue to serve NZ in some capacity, couldn't have been further from Howard's petty and spiteful purge of dissenting elements, even within his own party, in his paranoid drive to rule the political roost.

    I think it was Tom Scott who once described David Lange as the affable front man for a bunch of vicious little kneecappers. That was well into Lange's career as PM. While I should have known better, I'm surprised to see Key cash in on the nice guy credentials that got him elected so early in the game.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    seems potentially cheaper and safer not to enrol your child than to risk two cases of truancy.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    I was fascinated by the education ammendment. The whole document only uses education (small e) about three times. If you take out the extended soundbites and the legal/procedural detail - there remains some 60-100 words that actually detail policy on testing and standards, which as you would expect rests in the footnotes. It also occrred to me that the fines scheme by the nature of truancy puts it in conflict with the Treaty. As the document points out Maori are heaviliy represented in truancy statistics. The same group that enjoys lower health, wage and educational expectations and you're going to fine them heavily for the actions of their children. Ah I've got it punitive legislation that punishes Maori - haven't we been here before ?

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Rogan Polkinghorne,

    I was having a discussion with a friend last night, about the whole urgency thing...

    Being a National supporter, his stock response to any question about motivations/reasons etc was 'They've got the mandate, the country voted for them'.

    Even when I pointed out only some of the country voted for National, and what they're doing a flat out assault on Parlimentary & Democratic processes, he'd reply 'They've got the mandate'.

    This got rather tedious, so I reverted to hassling him about not knowing what 'mandate' means...turns out he didn't! If there's anything more depressing than a National supporter, it's a stupid National supporter...

    A-town • Since Nov 2006 • 105 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    Go easy on the yoga/outrage Emma, I've got a friend here, who's been laid up in bed for a month with a yoga injury.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    This is what I meant a few weeks back about 1 day of democracy, 3 years of totalitarianism.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The schools that take the 'worst' children, the 'problem' ones, and work to help them will be seen as failing

    Yes, although I must say that our local school gets a lot of problem children and results-wise... it kicks ass.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    This Herceptin issue has me a little worried. It seems to make a mockery of Pharmac's systems without really offering anything more positive than the lesson "if you lobby hard enough and get in bed with the drug companies it might pay off". It isn't that I don't feel sympathy for the sufferers who will benefit from this move, its more that there are plenty of others who suffer as well who either may be punished by this funding choice, or are equally as deserving.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    This Herceptin issue has me a little worried. It seems to make a mockery of Pharmac's systems without really offering anything more positive than the lesson "if you lobby hard enough and get in bed with the drug companies it might pay off". It isn't that I don't feel sympathy for the sufferers who will benefit from this move, its more that there are plenty of others who suffer as well who either may be punished by this funding choice, or are equally as deserving.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1019 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I've heard two reasons today for the removal of the requirement to have bio-fuels:

    1. It's (possibly) not produced sustainably.
    2. It uses carbon to get it here.

    Which are true, but both those things also apply to oil. My understanding of the main reason for introducing biofuels was that it can be renewable, oil is only renewable over a couple of million years.

    I could understand National scrapping it if it was 'too expensive', or 'too hard to source', or 'denying people the choice', though I'd disagree with their reasoning.

    But their reasoning seems to be 'Oh my god, actually as bad as oil in a couple of ways! (but not others)'.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

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