Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Limping Onwards

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  • Kyle Matthews,

    The present problem for Labour I feel stems from Helen Clarke and Michael Cullen not sticking around long enough to help bed in successors and assist with developing the opposition mindset (running gear) and strategy, what Goff got left with was a job no one appeared to really want.

    I think this is based on the assumption that Labour is a party without splits in the caucus. Clark's successors to who she passed on that information will probably be on the left wing of the party. Goff ain't part of that faction so might have missed some of that.

    My feeling on the discussion that people have been having about the extent to which the Labour party needs to deal with the situation in front of it in terms of media and public engagement with them and their policies is...

    The party needs to work from where people are at - both their base that they'd expect to vote for them, and the middle swing voters in particular. I'd hope they'd have done some good work over the past two years figuring out where those people's priorities were, their beliefs, what change they'd like to see in NZ, what they'd like to hold onto.

    There's really two things that they can do with that information - seek to use their position to change those views, particularly where they contrast with what they consider to be 'core Labour party values', and 2. feed into them in terms of their policies and how they present themselves. They'll be doing a mixture of those two things in different areas.

    But the whole process isn't very obvious from where I'm sitting. On the presumption that they've done/doing it, their ability to communicate the outcomes are pretty appalling. Yes the media and political culture in NZ is pretty average, but they're running for election in New Zealand, so they need to work through and try and improve what's in front of them, and I'm not seeing it.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    John Armstrong notes plans.

    On Monday, Goff will launch Labour's campaign against state asset sales - one of the prongs of Labour's election strategy, others including the cost of living and jobs.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Yup, I can’t warm to the guy, who was the Minister of Education when student fees were first introduced. 15 years later, after I finally pay my loan off, he wants me to elect him Prime Minister? Cheers dude, but die already.

    22 years ago. I pay off my student loan this year, thanks largely to one bulk payment when I inherited some money. Though the loan scheme is Lockwood, not Goff's.

    Section 8 of the 1989 Education Act (which set up Tomorrow’s Schools) legislated for the right of all children, including disabled children, to attend their local school from 5-19 years, This was huge and I think Goff was minister at the time.

    Lange launched Tomorrows Schools in 1988 as Minister of Education and would have headlined most of the work on it. The legislation came through in 1989 I believe.

    I’ve got to say, having vehermently opposed student loans when I was in student politics, I’m not entirely sure they’re so bad albeit in need of modifications.

    I'm clicking the unfriend button on facebook as we speak. C'mon Paul!

    I think the "why won't someone replace Goff now" answer is:

    1. It's not just what the party wants, it's what individuals are happy to put themselves forward. I think any of the potential candidates will be thinking about their political careers as well as the good of the party.

    2. The party isn't an amorphous blob. It will take some of the right wing of the party to abandon him, and them and the left wing to come behind one candidate. It's not just "what's good for the party", there's lots of politics and factions involved.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Sacha,

    Labour's campaign against state asset sales

    Twitter account established it seems. I presume there's Bookface and other stuff too.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ex-Goff-staffer Phil Quin gives one perspective on some of Labour's factional elements (also links to his Herald story about mid-90s leadership manoeverings). Partly superseded by Tizard deciding today not to re-enter the fray. Filter for bias.

    Blaming Goff for the Party’s woes is spectacularly missing the point. Goff’s problem is that he inherited a party over which he has little authority. It remains in the grip of a tiny elite who has benefited over decades from declining membership and the gradual dissolution of other groups capable of competing for influence.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19705 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Filter for bias.

    That's putting it mildly.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Sacha,

    Partly superseded by Tizard deciding today not to re-enter the fray.

    First plus for Labour in a while.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2932 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    Sacha, Quinn's analysis is interesting but I don't agree his conclusions. Drawing back over 15 years to assess Goff's power today makes little sense to me. Quinn's also over playing the factors convenient to his theory and also ignoring the more recent nine years which are not congruent. I can't help but think Phil wants a return to factions, since he once played a role in one.

    I’m clicking the unfriend button on facebook as we speak. C’mon Paul!

    Kyle, I have meant to come back and elaborate my brief comment but the NSW election has led to a lot of work. My views on loans aren't fixed but I think a case can be made for them if they are structured so that they increase and importantly broaden participation without unduly disadvantaging graduates with unmanagable debt. In simple economic terms, if there is a reasonable internal rate of return - wage benefits - then they can be justified but it's always been a more complicated matter I conceded.

    The NZ loan debt problem derives from minimal access to allowances and, under National, no restrictions on fees. Changing some of these settings, as Labour did, can make them less problematic. They are not as problematic in Australia in part because the arrangements include discounts, have higher thresholds etc (Australia wages are also higher, another important factor).

    NZ has a high tertiary participation rate, though I suspect the composition of students is still skewed towards high SES (it'll be better than it was pre '89 though). One element that I do wonder about is the interest write off. Could this money be better allocated, say to broaden access to allowances?

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    My views on loans aren’t fixed but I think a case can be made for them if they are structured so that they increase and importantly broaden participation without unduly disadvantaging graduates with unmanagable debt.

    I think at face value, that's true.

    However the loan scheme became part of the structure which allowed governments to cut funding (increase fees), and restrict access to allowances. You couldn't do those things in NZ unless you could point to a loan scheme so that people could access it anyway. It's the convenient answer to the challenge "but fees and lack of allowances mean people can't afford tertiary education".

    It's an essential part of the structure of user pays tertiary education in New Zealand. It's only an answer to that challenge in theory, in reality we know that the costs of tertiary education deter people despite the existence of the loan scheme.

    And at some stage the government is going to have the balls to put interest back on. Which is going to go back to the end result of people that earn less as a graduate paying more in real terms for their tertiary education.

    That's because it's a loan scheme, not a graduate tax or a bonding scheme. It's based on a financial system which is commercially based.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It's the convenient answer to the challenge "but fees and lack of allowances mean people can't afford tertiary education".

    Yes, loans are there to give the illusion of meaningful democratic access to our (public) universities. They make sense, insofar as we have also abandoned progressive taxation, so why should the high earners of tomorrow not pay for their own education? But once you go down that road, you've already conceded the whole argument. You're right to note that the privatisation of public education needed to be stopped before we reached that point.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    And at some stage the government is going to have the balls to put interest back on. Which is going to go back to the end result of people that earn less as a graduate paying more in real terms for their tertiary undergraduate education.

    I actually appreciated the student loans brought in by that grinning Thunderbirds puppet Lockwood Smith, because they were the only means by which I could have continued my tertiary education… after Goff had kicked away the ladder he had climbed himself.

    And at the moment we have a government – and “opposition” of people who have climbed the ladders of opportunity and then, with crocodile tears flowing in torrents, kicked them away. A real opposition dedicated to social mobility would make sure that they remain fixed in place for perpetuity. It comes down to what one thinks of as being good for society overall, not just now. That requires a vision, a broader scope, not just a sense of what might be tactically sensible and what might not frighten the horses today. I see that Trotter, weathervane that he is, has transferred his allegiance to yet another Golden Boy (and it’s a boy of course), which is symptomatic…

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Not to mention the way they undermine the 'liberal arts education'.
    Ok I have one of these, and so I'm biased. But I want to live in a society where a scattering of folk have made an intellectual investment in history, art, literature philosophy et al, knowing it's not leading to any specific career or ability to improve their earnings, but just because they want to know more about cultural stuff. I'd like to think we all benefit.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    +1 as is written - amittedly by one who also has an earnings interest...

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    While there have always been factions in the NZLP, one hasn't seen factionalism until they've been to an Aussie Labor AGM.

    On tertiary ed, fees and loans issues aside, we seem to have no trouble producing the know-how. The real problem lies with keeping the know-how here, attracting it back or otherwise making it work for us - Baker vs Straker was just a microcosm of it.

    And some writings from 10 years ago still ring true. The focus of the latter article ran a now-defunct website, TheVisibleHand.net, to counter the Roundtable propaganda machine that was in full force at the time.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5429 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    Baker vs Straker was just a microcosm of it.

    Indeed, an investor who is generally productive contrasted with one who deals in virtual wealth, of the kind that only benefits the dealer - sometimes, under artificially-maintained conditions. Was it Gramsci who spoke of "morbid symptoms" or does plain old "decadence" suffice as a descriptor?

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Kracklite, in reply to Kumara Republic,

    On tertiary ed, fees and loans issues aside,

    I think that the student fees discussion here has not so much been about the fees themselves, as the fact that the ladder-kicking by Goff was an indicator that he is simply not leadership material, but merely a follower. Placed in the position of a leader, he has simply demonstrated his fundamental, intrinsic inadequacy. Then he was a follower of Douglas and now he's a follower of whatever his latest auger says the chicken entrails decree this week.

    The Library of Babel • Since Nov 2007 • 982 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    It’s only an answer to that challenge in theory, in reality we know that the costs of tertiary education deter people despite the existence of the loan scheme.

    I'm not entirely sure that this is as clear as you say. For instance, tertiary participation in Australia trebled since HECS was introduced, unfortunately, participation by low-SES students hasn't changed!

    And at some stage the government is going to have the balls to put interest back on. Which is going to go back to the end result of people that earn less as a graduate paying more in real terms for their tertiary education.

    Again, in Australia its CPI only and the repayment rates increase as you earn more. So, if a scheme could be designed that increased and broadened participation and did not unduly burden grads with debt...

    Kracklite, Gio, Rob and Islander... I'm fearful of you as a consensus I must say... I guess my ambivalence about loans is that I don't think fees/costs of tertiary education are quite the barrier I once did. Kids are being dissuaded at Years 7 and 8, a long time before they think about $4k fees. There must surely be a set of priorities for funding and perhaps shifting some of the cost of loans - particularly the interest write off - to more meaningful investments is worth considering.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    I’m not entirely sure that this is as clear as you say. For instance, tertiary participation in Australia trebled since HECS was introduced, unfortunately, participation by low-SES students hasn’t changed!

    You can say something similar about NZ - indeed we've both heard many national ministers of education say that very thing. Correlation does not equal causation however.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • glennd, in reply to Islander,

    (I find Glennd's comments really strange but - I dont have much to do with conservatives-)

    Kind of odd to assume I'm a conservative, Islander, based on some limited criticism of Obama in a particular area of discussion. Still, leaping to such grand conclusions says a lot more about you than me I suppose. But - I don't have much to do with... whatever you are... possibly... But hey it's easier than thinking hard.

    Since Mar 2011 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to nzlemming,

    First plus for Labour in a while.

    Possibly not. You know something, I really really think Moira Coatsworth needs to tell Andrew Little to STFU. Now. The spectacle of him sniping at Goff and Tizard through the media has been vastly entertaining (well, I would say that) but is remarkably ill-disciplined. As both Labour and National have found to their cost, the best kind of party president is an invisible one.

    (Having said that, it's going to be interesting to see how Little handles the step change from the public face of one of New Zealand's largest unions and NZLP president to... well, just another candidate in a not particularly high profile electorate. Not everyone handles the change from big dog to reef fish.)

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Kyle Matthews,

    No it is not an assumption that Labour is a party without splits in the caucus - they could have gone through a process that delivered a "better" opposition (governent in waiting).

    Labour are presently languishing in the land of dysfunctional mediocrity.

    Is Moira Coatsworth the new Prez "capable" and now that they are sticking with Goff can Labour make a decent fist of "it"?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Danyl Mclauchlan,

    I want to live in a society where a scattering of folk have made an intellectual investment in history, art, literature philosophy et al, knowing it's not leading to any specific career or ability to improve their earnings, but just because they want to know more about cultural stuff. I'd like to think we all benefit.

    But you don't have to go to university to study those things. If you're interested in literature or philosophy or history you can just read about those things yourself, without getting the rest of the country to pay to indulge your interests.

    I think the social value of people going to university and studying literature, philosophy etc is currently a negative value, since the net result is generally a person who is unable to communicate their ideas about art/philosophy/whatever to a non-academic audience.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 927 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Paul Williams,

    Again, in Australia its CPI only and the repayment rates increase as you earn more.

    That's what it was here when I signed the contract. The government just decided to break the contract and turned it over to market rates. I've never trusted a "contract with the government" ever since. Then they took away my lifetime license too!!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10650 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    I think the social value of people going to university and studying literature, philosophy etc is currently a negative value, since the net result is generally a person who is unable to communicate their ideas about art/philosophy/whatever to a non-academic audience.

    If this is a critique of much post-modern lit-crit as nonsense that doesn't rhyme, I'm largely with you.
    Otherwise, not so much.
    Of course anyone can study these things on their own. Engineering, medicine, and accountancy, too. But I bet you don't go to a 'self-taught' doctor :)

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2108 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    New post on Tizardmania:

    http://pubadr.es/7088

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22817 posts Report Reply

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