‘SPC’ on Labour’s predicament

Another response to Kiwi in America’s essay on Labour’s failings, SPC has posted at both Kiwiblog and The Standard.

FACT 1 – The Rogernomics era had no mandate from the party. It nearly destroyed Labour.

FACT 2 – It took till 1999-2002 and a Labour government that delivered on its manifesto to restore trust between caucus and party member – this lead to the end of any need for “New Labour”.

FACT 3 – However this alone was and is insufficient for restoration. The Labour Party is not yet over what Rogernomics did to it (but then nor is New Zealand).

To have a party based on democratic, and meritocratic, selection involves trust that candidates will remain loyal to the party and its manifesto. This was something completely breached in the 1980′s. So between 1987 and 2011, selection was based on a party faction patronage – this of course meant it was somewhat insulated from inclusive participation by the general public.

The Labour Party was so abused by its caucus in the 1980′s that only the recent party reforms, the retirement of the last of the 1980′s era personnel and the decline of the party factions of recent decades will enable renewal.

Too much focus on the people involved just obscures the circumstance in which they operated.

However

FACT 4 – Being expert in managing factions gave Clark an advantage in MMP.

The irony however is in that with a majority in caucus being of the ABC persuasion, when he was the choice of the wider party, we have continuance of the caucus and party divide that began their problems 30 years ago. And for the same reason, those dominant in caucus “knew better” (about policy or who should be leader).

FACT 5 – Cunliffe will only get confidence from his caucus if the membership of it changes or he wins an election.

FACT 6 – Labour Leaders are now required to retain the trust of their party, and thus the idea that a caucus leader can lead the party in new directions without first getting a mandate is now buried. The party can no longer be hijacked by turning its leader or finance spokesperson – a message to Treasury, whether in domestic and international aspect, as much as to the caucus.

Whether this makes for a more left wing party is harder to say. The party activist is less likely to want caucus to compromise for centrist votes, yet a more open party means more internal diversity and a broader base membership.

 

DPF’s Himalayan adventure

David Farrar runs one of the most widely read and respected (and hated) political forums – Kiwiblog. He doesn’t stick to politics, he often posts about what he does, he reviews arts and he reports on his frequent travels. He gets some friendly criticism for this but they can be a good diversion from hard core politics.

He is currently trekking in the Himalayas and has posted a series of accounts with numerous photos. It’s a very interesting look at something very different to New Zealand politics.

A lot of the trekking is at 4,000-5,000 meters, with a peak of 5360 metres going over the Chola Pass. Mt Aoraki/Cook is 3,724 metres.

DPF described this as “Just to prove I was here” but he’s been known to use Photoshop.

The region of the trek (from Google Maps)

Sagarmatha

The trek went was past the Gyoko lakes that can be seen just above and below the text “Sagarmatha National Park” beside the glacier.

A sickness within politics

There’s a pervasive sickness that runs through New Zealand politics from top to bottom, from Prime Minister to grass roots. There’s an entrenched culture of nastiness and abusive behaviour that wouldn’t be acceptable in most parts of a decent society, but it’s practiced and aided and abetted by politicians, parties, activists, supporters, traditional media and social media.

Some in politics protest but that’s usually futile – in fact it commonly attracts even more abuse.

The public generally hate it and show their displeasure through the ballot box, with increasing numbers being turned off any participation in politics.

The major parties have long seen nasty attack politics as an essential tool in their arsenals, so there’s often more of a focus on negative, nasty and dishonest tactics than promoting their strengths. Even the normally principled Greens have been drawn into mild forms of it.

Traditional media aid and abet the worst of politics, following their wider ‘if it bleeds it leads’ approach. The media sharks swarm at any hint of political blood. They promote dishonest or speculatory accusations and praise the attackers as effective politicians.

Attempts to demean and discredit are common, aiming to provoke character and career destroying momentum.

It goes far beyond robust debate and holding to account.

Social media has long been touted as a more inclusive way of doing politics but it has taken on the worst of toxic politics, largely because of the involvement of old school party activists.

In an interview on The Nation last October leading political blogger Cameron Slater said:

Well Auckland politics is the same as where any politics is, in that it’s a dirty disgusting despicable game, and it involves dirty disgusting despicable people at all levels. And to have this high and mighty belief that New Zealand politics is clean, it isn’t.

Slater has long been involved in dirty politics and has pushed boundaries with his attacking abusive style. Prime Minister John Key demonstrated an acceptance of this when he said recently that he often talks to Slater. Ironically Slater has made an attempt recently to clean up the comments section of his Whale Oil blog.

Another leading blogger David Farrar doesn’t do personal abuse the same but he is often involved in attack politics. He also enables and allows a toxic environment at his Kiwiblog where stalking and abuse are common.

Both Slater and Farrar have close links to National but it isn’t confined to the political right. Personal attacks are common at The Standard and Dim-Post and to a lesser extent at the heavily moderated/censored The Daily Blog.

Lynn Prentice calls the shots at The Standard and often brags about how nasty he can be. This sets the standard. Another Standard author Greg Presland has close links to David Cunliffe. Presland attacks far less now than in the past but he still allows abuse to go unchecked.

In one thread at The Standard yesterday here is some of the abuse that was allowed as normal – it was done by a small number of commenters but this sort of behaviour is rarely questioned (I’ve seen similar degrees of abuse at Kiwiblog). Ironically this was on thread of a blog post complaining about the use of blogs for political smears.

You are a walking smear campaign, a gossiping whispering nasty little insect. Every single comment you make oozes dishonesty like pus from a sore.

Oh look, here’s some weasel slime pretending butter won’t melt in his mouth. What an asshole.

What a passive aggressive, boring, dishonest asshole.

You, Mr George, are really quite a horrible person.

The MSM are a product of human discourse, not the sum of it. Political revolution was possible with a printing press and analogue distribution methods, so it is possible with memes and social media.

Rock-Snot as i said yesterday is a fungal organism that attaches itself to any mode of transport from gumboots to twigs to enable it to enter an untainted waterway from there multiplying to pollute the whole expanse,

Such is Pete George…

You sound like right-wing scum,(now have a whine about abuse why don’t you)…

Your right SSLands, i agree with you that John Drinnan,(why does that name make me think of drain cleaner), should lay off the abuse, and, quite frankly i did not think you had the intellectual where-with-all to have noticed the convoluted writing style of Mr Drain Cleaner,(have you got your Mummy reading the comments and providing you an interpretation tonight),

No, wait…this just in: you’re an asshole Pete.

SSLands, read my comment below at 8.30pm, its al the answer you either deserve or are going to get other than to be told to fiuck off back to ‘wail-oink’ and share your syphillated drivel with the inmates of that particular zoo…

Several blog moderators were active through that thread, at times directly supporting abusive comments. This is just a small symptom of a much wider and deeper problem.

People who would regard themselves as intelligent and reasonable passively and actively allow this and often climb on the bash wagon.

Some see blogs and other social media as a grand opportunity to give ordinary people more of a voice in politics. By becoming infected the sickest and saddest of political behaviour they add to the problem rather than provide a solution.

The language is different to MPs in Parliament, due to anonymity and to a social disconnect.

Presumably most of this abuse would not happen face to face. The more intelligent would not think of allowing and participating in this manner in person, the others wouldn’t have the guts.

The aim is the same as MPs and parties – character assassination of perceived political enemies, although some may just use it as an excujse to be abusive. There’s nothing logical, democratic, decent or positive about it.

If this social and political sickness is allowed to continue then we will continue to have trouble attracting quality candidates and we will have diminishing voting percentages as more and more voters are turned off by the rot.

Unless it is dealt with from the top down – the top of parties and the top of blogs – the sickness will continue to vomit over our political discourse.

Confronting it simply invites more abuse. If I posted this at Kiwiblog or The Standard it is likely it would increase rather than decrease abuse levels.

I believe many MPs don’t like the standard of political and Parliamentary behaviour but they are drowned out and shat on by an entrenched minority of old school politicians who see and use dirt is their strongest weapon.

But this is a major weakness in our politics. It needs leadership to address it but our leaders are a part of the problem. David Shearer promised a better standard of politics when he became Labour leader but it became one of a number of failings for him.

If John Key really wants a laudable legacy he could lead a clean-up of caucus and party behaviour. It would do far more good for our democracy and our country than painting over the cracks of our flag.

Our democracy is flagging badly. Key has proven successful as a political manager but not yet as a leader. He could try leading by example.

Market manipulation and madness

A comment on market manipulation at Kiwiblog by ‘wikiriwhis business’:

This is the year to get into the NZ market. It’s being manipulated for the key govt and there’s proofit to be made. Also, the stratedgy is to encourage investment and mop up extra liquidity in consumers pockets the market missed in 08. The market will definitely crash before the next US election. The dollar will be taken over by the yuan. Neo Nazi’s are thriving in the crashed economy of Greece and they will build momentum across Europe. We are on teh brink of 1930′s Germany all over again.

Srylands responds:

I like simple explanations. They are generally the right ones, especially when it comes to markets, the effects of incentives, and individual welfare.

Whereas folk like you, Wiki, make the most mad statements – “the stock market is being manipulated (by some evil person or persons) to benefit the government” – and expect to be taken seriously.

A common theme at the Standard – in fact the dominant theme of the whole blog – is that evil forces (banks, landlords, economists, speculators, money market traders, the “rich”) are all conspiring to manipulate markets and steal money from Jo Bloggs. The Government should do something about this. In fact that should be the role of government – to adopt a myriad of interventions to make all these nasty people give the money back, and drive them out of existence.

If only the Government would make the rich pay their tax. If only the Government would give is a living wage. If only the Government would ban speculators. If only the Government would regulate rents.

Of course all this is like Alice’s world – where everything is not what one believes. So, for example, the rich DO pay most of the tax, and markets actually DO make everyone better off.

The bad news is that a sizeable slice of the electorate believes all this moon bat madness. The good news is that more people just don’t buy it. So what you are seeing at The Standard is a bunch of people becoming more and more frustrated that there is no traction. The stories are getting weirder, and the comments are getting more bitter. Expect more of that.

New Zealand actually needs a viable alternative government in waiting. It is a good and necessary thing. What that will require is a viable, evidence based, policy theme around wealth CREATION. The voters might happily buy a bit more redistribution but only if it is accompanied by wealth creation. So to take the latest example: solar panels WON’T do that. Because (back to my opening comment – “simple is good”) the proposal is to promote expensive electricity generation over existing cheaper generation. Hence this will make New Zealand POORER. End of story. Stop right there.

Labour’s worst week leading to an omni-shambles?

The TVNZ/Shane Taurima issue looks like being a major embarrassment to Labour. While there is virtual silence on it at The Standard it is the hot topic of the day at Kiwiblog where David Farrar blogs: An appalling breach of neutrality at TVNZ

 

And it’s not the only embarrassment – Labour is looking very vulnerable with disaster after cock-up occurring,

Farrar also posts: A day of horrors for Labour

Monday started off badly enough for Labour with the weekend poll showing them 17% behind National.

Then they veered towards the ridiculous with David Cunliffe saying that he thinks the National Party may be paying people to follow MPs about.

It got worse when Cunliffe attacked John Key for living in a $10 million mansion, as this shifted focus on the fact he lived in a $2.5 million mansion himself.

Then the news broke that TVNZ had been hosting Labour Party campaign meetings, and that a senior TVNZ manager has resigned after hosting a hui which David Cunliffe attended.

A disaster of a day for Labour. No political management. And just to make it worse, the Taranaki Daily News reports that a young photographer was asked by David Cunliffe to delete a photo she took of him.

And in the comments section davidp rates the Labour’s worst weeks.

Third worst week in politics, any where, any time: A few weeks ago when Labour lied about the Baby Bribe. Their leader was clueless about the policy. They wanted to ban Facebook and then changed their mind. They announced a neonatal policy that was identical to the government’s current scheme. And Cunliffe didn’t know how to spell Lorde’s name.

Second worst week in politics, any where, any time: Norman and Peters both sold out NZ’s justice system in return for political favours. Peters lied about his secret meetings. Curran and Ardern had secret meetings too. And most of Labour, NZ First, and the Greens dressed themselves in tinfoil hats when they alleged GCSB were monitoring Winston Peters, when the “super secret” information they were concerned about was already in Whaleoil and the Herald.

First worst week in politics, any where, any time: Cunliffe climbs on to the Moonbat Express when he implies that GCSB must be Whaleoil’s source, rather than a small army of irregularly paid and disgruntled Dotcom staff. And it turns out that the Labour Party have taken over TVNZ and run it for corrupt purposes. AND it is only Monday.

The Labour – Greens – NZ First coalition is the reason Malcolm Tucker invented the word “omni-shambles”. Just when you think they can’t get any more corrupt, any more hopeless, or any more deranged… they pull out all the stops and take themselves to a whole new level of failure.

It’s not an omni-shambles yet, but it’s only Tuesday.

There has to be a major turnaround to prevent a Labour shambles at least (if it’s not too late). If Labour bomb out in the election it will be an omni-shambles because they will ruined Greens’ best chance yet to have a taste of power in Government , and it will keep Mana on the sideline.

And if it result’s in Winston Peters enabling a continuation of National in Government that could well lead to an omni-shambles.

Kiwiblog redneckery

Waitangi Day brought out predictable grumping about the so called grievance industry at Kiwiblog, prompted by Finlayson on Treaty settlements.

The second comment was ‘kowtow’:

What “real grievances”?

These things ,if they did occur ,happened years ago,they are ,”historical”, in other words ,past and have no grounds today other than in the minds of those who will benefit.(Be they the elites,lawyers or anyone else in the grievance industry.)

And it only took three comments until Godwin’s law took effect – “Godwin said that, given enough time, in any online discussion—regardless of topic or scope—someone inevitably makes a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis” – Fletch:

“We are determined, however, to put right the thoroughly and accurately documented cases of hurt caused by the Crown’s wrongful actions in the past.”

How bogus is that – 100 years from now a claim for this “hurt” will be in the offing

I suffer great “hurt” for the actions of the Third Reich against my family as do millions of others but I don’t see any recompense forthcoming from the current German Government – does anybody?

Number five was MH:

Ngapuhi need as much blood money as we can give them. The day other tribes can then sue them for confiscation of lands, enslavement, and internecine genocide will be an interesting test to validate their purported claims of nationhood under the Confederation of United Tribes and their signed declaration of Independence. Is that too much to ask? When have they apologised to other tribes? One sided morality and a scam unequalled.

The answer is that it is “our business”,”our” money to deal with as we see fit, and we can’t apply todays morality on aspects of “our” culture such as utu to pre 1840 conditions. Somehow the wrongs post 1840 are more important?

What standing then for verbal contracts between Maori. Hone in the breach. No honour amongst murderers.Yet it was the acceptance by the British of lands in possession of these war criminals that has brought about the greatest grievances. Who was there to speak on these victims behalf,where were the great oral historians, their mouths choking on the remains of their enemies oral historians. Full and final,right you are.

There were some contrary views but the redneckishness dominated (although thumbs up/down were more mixed). RRM

It will never end.

Contemporary generations of Maori ™ who’ve had nothing taken from them will continue demanding that free stuff be given to them.

And my generation, who’ve NEVER taken ANYTHING from anybody, will continue to pay and pay for it all.

It will never end, filth like Tuku and the Harawiras have too much to gain from perpetuating racial hatred to let it all slip away.

I have good working and personal relationships with plenty of Maori GCs who have nothing to do with the Waitangi Shit.

But I am SO FUCKING OVER THIS WAITANGI SHIT and the Maori ™ who are behind it.

David Garrett (yes, the ex-Act MP):

RRM: I totally agree with you.

BeaB: Boy, does Finlayson have you fooled! You are quite correct that he is smart and sharp..well smart and sharp enough to know that these “settlements” will never end.. No less than the government’s support partner in Parliament says so openly! “No generation can bind future generations” say Turia and Sharples…it’s in Hansard…What part of that do you not understand?

The taxes of my children and their children will be used – in small part admittedly – to make further “full and final” settlements.

It will never end unless there is either a break-away state, or a civil war.

It is common to see treaty settlements that redress past wrongs like illegal or unfair confiscations of land (much of which have been settled) confused with ongoing Treaty obligations.

Odakyu-sen:

The government should hold a referendum and ask the citizens of NZ whether or not to end the Treaty payments. Let the people decide; after all, it’s their money.

It’s common to see demands that Treaty payments end immediately, despite the fact that it’s part way through the process and would be profoundly unfair to those tribes who have not yet settled.

David Garrett again:

One of the several reasons it will never end is quite simple. The payments made thus far are a small fraction of the improved value of the land confiscated or otherwise misappropriated by successive governments. This is because no government could afford to make full compensation. That fact provides a good reason for continued and continuing claims.

If Key was serious about settling the Ngapuhi claim he would simply give them six months to decide who was negotiating on their behalf, and if the appointment was not made by then, declare there would BE no settlement…but that wouldn’t work either…See the preceding para…

It should always be remembered that the Lange government – advised by Palmer – started this crap when they extended the Waitangi Tribunal’s jurisdiction back to 1840…

Garrett is one of the more reasoned. There is some other reasonable discussion.

Paulus:

For some years since Maori began to obtain by fraud taxpayers money thanks to Palmer and Lange I have come to the idea that in reality whatever the settlements it is not all bad for New Zealand unless the assets purchased are sold overseas, and they may well be.

It is because the money injected into the part Maori economy will be used up in time as it filters into the whole economy.

Many of their ventures will go belly up due to theft and or bad investments, which may well be the same thing.
What goes around comes around, but in different hands and again is spent.

But we must take recognise David Garrett’s comments in that when the part Maori lose their money and investments they will come back to the 86% of the population for more and more and more. Will any Government now state that “Full and Final Settlement” mean what it says – get stuffed.
Doubt it.

big bruv:

Two things….

1. These “real” grievances are nothing more than bullshit. Sure some bad things might have happened years ago but deal with it and move on.
2. Anybody who thinks that these settlements are going to be full and final is a moron. Our grandkids will still be dealing with bludgers using colonisation as the excuse for all that ails Maori.

Manolo:

“Some people say they want an end to historical settlements. Most people agree. I do. Maori want them resolved as well.”

I don’t think so. The Maori elites want the gravy train to continue until the end of time.
Where else would the Stone Agers get such easy taxpayer’s money?

Manolo is a frequent anti-Maori commenter, usually calling them Stone Agers. His views aren’t particularly modern.

Steve (North Shore):

Throughout History all land has been won by conquest – so get the fuck out of my wallet.

Note that these commenters are only a small proportion of Kiwiblog participants, and as per the post David Farrar is much more moderate and understanding of Treaty realities.

igm:

Until the Treaty is destroyed, Maori forget the past, and taxpayers’ benevolence ceases to fund election bribes, the better for all concerned. I, for one, am sickened by the word “Treaty”, and its connotations and interpretations, pandering to a select few fat cats that don’t give a stuff about the plight of their over privileged iwi.

jaba protests:

imagine the mayhem if every “1st people” of every country performed like SOME (and it is only some) Maori .. it’s bad enough watching the shit fights in the Middle East and Africa over this sort of issue.
Harawira, Sykes, Mair, Smith and their ilk will never ever stop protesting and demanding compensation for something.

Scott the Christian has different views to the early Missionaries:

I agree it is hard to see the process ending. White liberal guilt is inexhaustible. While Maori are quite happy to enjoy the transfer payments from the already overburdened taxpayer. I do think some kind of conservative government that believes in our future together as a nation may be inclined to finish the settlements.
Unfortunately both Labour and National are dominated by progressives who don’t like western civilisation and accept the radical views of Maori activists.

deadrightkev:

Chris Finlayson is a traitor in my books.

He has no justification handing over the legitimate birth rights of all New Zealanders to a small group of Iwi elite via the corrupt Waitangi Tribunal on the basis of compensation. It is a disgrace. If there was a proper independent legal process to analyse these treaty scams based on fact none of them would pass muster.

One day this whole fraud will come back to haunt the National party.

That comment got eleven thumbs up and two down (so far). I challenged him on it: “deadrightkev – how many corrupt treaty claims do you have evidence for?” That got three up, four down.

David Garrett:

deadrightkev: I would like to think you are right…but the youngsters coming behind us are now indoctinrated from about year 6 (standard 4) in “grievanceology”…how much we owe the dispossessed brown proletariat for what “we” have done to them…in 15 or 20 years, those kids will be in positions of power…already you and I and the sensible commenters here are minority voices in the wildnerness…think what it will be like in 20 years?

Kowtow responded to my (and another) challenge:

The Ngai Tahu one qualifies.

How many times does honkey have to pay for past “injustices” when in fact the wiley Maori entered into commercial deals with their eyes wide open and have taken advantage of white guilt ever since. The whole “process’ is a sick and very expensive joke on the taxpayer with active conivance from government.

The perpetual top up clause they got is also an appalling abuse of the taxpayer.

Just an assertion with no supporting evidence.

Graham2:

“The Ngai Tahu one qualifies.”
I agree Kowtow. Perhaps PG would like to read Twisting the Treaty, The Great Divide or When two Cultures Meet for plenty more examples.

wiseowl:

Late in tonight and reading this makes my blood boil.
Finlayson would have to be one of the worst people the National Party have ever engaged for anything.He is obviously not interested in the truth (although I realise the Tribunal don’t get presented with the real facts) and has sold this country down the road.
Many of the settlements are based on mistruths and porkies.

No-one has mentioned the absolutely shocking division that is being created by having separate Race seats and representation on councils and so-called co-governance which needs to be stopped in its tracks by some brave politician.
National have actually created a timebomb for this country and when Key said on radio that the treaty was a partnership I thought what a big let down.
The treaty is NOT a bloody partnership.

Ben Dover:

The truth is Maori were not the first people of Aotearoa.

The truth according to a few. No evidence, but Ben Dover continued.

Let’s see
Rat DNA that pre dates Polynesian settlement
two distinct breed of “Native Dog”

Hmmmmm so who were they?

Kupe having red hair in polynesian records?

all sorts of references all through their oral records of the

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patupaiarehe

Patupaiarehe, also referred to as Turehu, Ngati Hotu and Urukehu (red heads), were said to live in large guarded communities.

Itstricky countered:

“Perhaps PG would like to read Twisting the Treaty, The Great Divide or When two Cultures Meet for plenty more examples.”

So, PG & Tom ask for examples of corrupt treaty claims and the best anyone can come up with is:

(a) A book labelled as being full of deliberate historical inaccuracies to try to divide the country across racial lines (not to mentioned being authored by a certified);
(b) A book written by a fully Christian conservative who promotes articles for the tin-foil hat brigade (bet ya he and Colin are good mates) and describes himself as a “professional controversialist”; or
(c) A book by an author who feeds off of people’s sky is falling self doubt suggesting that the country is going to apartheid if they don’t rush out and shout at someone. This review should be enough to give it away: The book needed editing, to tone down prose more than the message, lose silly sweeping assertions and to clean up many little infelicities and errors – I should think the author probably has a large case of small man’s disease by the sounds of it.

Right, good response fellas. I’m glad we located those corrupt treaty claims and reported them to Chris Finlayson pronto so he can take all that money back.

Newsflash! Did you know that not everything you read on Wikipedia is the truth? Similarly, did you know that anyone can publish a book? Sensational, isn’t it? I mean all my life I thought books were the source of all truth.

Time to stop picking up books that mearly reinforce your own world views. Try something different for a change.

Well, that’s certainly enough sarcasm for one night. I think I’ve lowered by humor reserves to the bottom of the barrel.

deadrightkev came back:

“deadrightkev – how many corrupt treaty claims do you have evidence for?”

I cringe every time I see Finlayson hand over millions of taxpayers hard earned money to an Iwi for grievance and I spit when I see him apologise on behalf of NZ.

I have spent a number of years researching the origins. Ngapuhi as one example were the core tribe that invited the Crown to NZ for protection twice. They signed the treaty ceding sovereignty forever at Waitangi and here they are effectively holding their hand out for 500 million? What is even more stupid is our dumb ass politicians will hand it over. More socialism from National.

Its time people removed their “we must settle any just and genuine claims of the past” tinted glasses and woke up. There simply are not any justified claims beyond the template grievance model manufactured by the WT industry. They are simply all lining up for a feed on the basis that “the other tribe got some so why shouldn’t I get some too”.

Kiwis don’t like what is going on and every poll related to Maori issues gets over 80% against. Is there a political party that will rise up against it? I wont hold my breath. Which party stands for upholding property rights?

Itstricky:

Kev, So your evidence of corrupt treaty claims comes down to an interrpretation of The Treaty that you read about in a book then…

After theses and further challenges the claims backed off.

And as usual no one is likely to have changed their mind. That’s Kiwiblog and that’s blogging- actually the comments on this thread have been relatively mild, but similar views aren’t uncommon in the real world.

As long as we have a few Maori claiming they should get much more from the Crown (all of us) there will be some non-Maori claiming that Maori have been given far too much.

 

Teacher views on National’s education proposals

There’s been a lot of political reaction to John Key’s education announcement today – see National’s Raising achievement in schools.

There has also been some very interesting comment from within the education sector, including on Kiwiblog (where David Farrar calls it Absolutely brilliant!)

Rigthandleft:

I would have to say tentatively that this all sounds good. My only concern is over how the top teachers and principals will be chosen. I’d also like to know how the top teachers posts differ from Specialist Classroom Teachers, which we already have. The position sounds very similar.

The expert and change principals and teachers sounds very good though as I’ve always said a key problem in our system is the failure to share best practice between schools. Another good thing is that this funding comes outside a collective agreement negotiations round, so other teachers aren’t having to sacrifice a pay increase to fund this.

Smart move in an election year.

Bill Courtney corrects Farrar…

DPF: “The international research is crystal clear that the biggest single factor in a child’s educational success is the quality of their teacher.”
Just to correct the common mistake that David Farrar repeatedly makes, the true position of the OECD is as follows:
“The first and most solidly based finding is that the largest source of variation in student learning is attributable to differences in what students bring to school – their abilities and attitudes, and family and community background.” Source: OECD 2005 Report titled “Teachers matter: Attracting, developing and retaining effective teachers”.

…but then goes on the agree with Rightandleft:

I agree with Rightandleft that there are going to be a lot of practical issues to wade through before these measures can be analysed properly. Another problem that comes to mind is location. Many of the schools that need a lot of help are not close to other schools where some of these “experts” will be based. So, let’s hear more about the detail before getting too carried away.

Finally, as a general observation, anything that encourages more collaboration within and across schools is to be commended. The quasi-competitive model that Tomorrow’s Schools ushered in has done enormous damage, so this is step back in the right direction.

Rightandleft again:

I’m actually not that surprised the PPTA is being supportive. They’ve long been calling for a better career path for experienced teachers to allow them better pay prospects without having to leave the classroom.

The performance pay they’ve been fighting is the idea of just paying teachers more simply for having better test results or being picked by the principal as ‘good.’

Having mentor teachers be paid more for taking on new responsibilities has always been supported. Specialist Classroom Teachers have done just that for years. They’ve also been calling for more collaboration between schools for some time.

Key has also been very smart in not simply foisting this on the sector. He’s promised to work with the unions to implement it by 2017. He seems to recognise that the devil is in the details and he will need to support of the sector to get it right.

One concern I have is the amount of time these expert teachers will be out of their own classroom and the effect that could have on their students. These are things we need to get right for the sake of the students.

And…

I can assure you there is plenty of competition between schools, at least in urban areas. I sit on the BOT of my school and we always discuss our efforts to win as many kids from the local intermediates as possible. We send teachers in to advertise and to find out exactly where all the students there are going and how we keep them at our school. Every good exam outcome, every sporting win is considered vital to keeping our roll up.

The same can be said of the competition to woo the international students who pay for a lot of our resources. We need to win them to our school over all the others across NZ.

Now I am not saying that’s a bad thing. I think the competition keeps us on our game and drives us to perform better. Monopoly breeds complacency. But at the same time it does cause the problem that some schools excel while others fail and we don’t want kids left in failing schools.

This effort seems to be a good step at tempering the excesses of Tomorrow’s Schools. (and yes the term comes from reforms put in place in 1989 but that is still the model of schooling we follow. Also there have been changes to the competitive model. In 1990 National eliminated school zoning, but in 1998 the same govt reinstated them because removing them was a total failure).

Rightandleft later concedes:

I will accept that it was more Labour/Alliance in 2000 than National in 1998 which re-instituted the zones.

It’s early days on this policy proposal but it has kicked off National’s election year positively.

 

Smacking fans back Laws without facts

The Herald has reported on police investigating a child assault complaint laid against Michael Laws – Michael Laws accused in child-smacking case.

The incident allegedly happened at Whanganui Hospital last year.

The Herald on Sunday understands the alleged smack was witnessed by a nurse in the assessment, treatment and rehabilitation ward. She reported it to the DHB and complained to police.

The Herald on Sunday asked police whether Laws was under investigation for allegedly hitting a child.

A spokesman replied by email saying: “Police can confirm they are investigating a child assault complaint made against a 56-year-old Whanganui man.

Scant information.

But that’s enough for some at Kiwiblog (Laws investigated for smacking) to jump to Laws’ defence regardless of what actually happened. They have also ripped into the nurse, accusing her of being the guilty party.

“That nurse should be awarded the Order of Lenin, for advancing the cause of socialism in aoteroa.”

“Sue bradford will no doubt proclaim that laws is a vicious child beater in the league of of the worst murderers and violent offenders.”

“So Laws and his kids are in hospital to see the kids mother who has had a STROKE, and a lefty nutbar nurse thinks its important to dob Laws in for smacking a kid who was playing up. It’s good when nurses concentrate on the important stuff – we need more like her. Not.”

“The nurse is a member of the Wanganui Branch of NZ Labour!”

“Seems strange how Wanganui DHB and a nurse find time to get involved in this ridiculous waste of time, when they have a deplorable record for patient care! Seems they must concentrate on trivia, not fact.”

Etc. The last comment “they must concentrate on trivia, not fact” was particularly ironic. Typically on a blog the facts never get in the way 0f jumping on your favourite bashwagon.

Laws has previously blogged:

“Yes, I smack. The singular swift slap on the bottom is applied by myself – in public – if my kids cross the line.”

That’s not a sign of a parent in control or well versed in child discipline. It seems ego driven, like it’s all about himself and little to do with good parenting or the good of his children.

Interesting that it seems that the most vocal people proposing parents should not be dictated to by the state laws are those dictated to by historic religious rules. So it’s not so much no rules versus some rules, it’s one set of archaic religious dictates versus modern and evolving laws.

NZ Power double whammy?

It has been widely suggested that the price of Mighty River Power and Meridian shares where severely impacted by the Labour-Green-NZ First announcement of radical NZ Power reforms of the wholesale power market. It has been referred to by some as economic sabotage. See:

It’s unknown by how much but it seems to be generally accepted that it had some impact on both the share prices and the number of people interested in purchasing.

A comment by Akld Commercial Lawyer at Kiwiblog suggests there was a double whammy from the NZ Power policy announcement.

And incidentally, I continue to hear over the barbecue that the Power NZ snowjob cost the taxpayers more than just the depressed price and demand for MRP & Meridian. Anecdotally, the level of hedge fund activity that this tragically naive crusade engendered – meant that many of us were fleeced twice at least. So they made the folk they profess to hate – even richer. How ironic.

Ordinary New Zealanders are pawns in the big political and business power plays.

“Disturbingly fascinating” blog exercise

Does The Standard have a predominant “gruff salty vernacular”? Recent discussions at there centering around abuse and behaviour turned up an interesting comment by NZ Femme:

In my pols paper last semester at Otago, during one of our tutorials that followed a couple of lectures on NZ Politics and the Media, our tutorial group had to divide in to four smaller groups. Each smaller group had to represent one of four NZ political websites: The Standard, The Daily Blog, Whale Oil, and Kiwi Blog. (Couldn’t choose which blog team you could be on, and to my barely disguised horror, I ended up on the Whale Oil team. It was excruciating.)

Anyway, the interesting thing was that the three females on “The Standard” team, all took on male gendered persona’s, and started talking in this kind of gruff salty vernacular. It was kind of disturbing.

As another commenter said “disturbingly fascinating” – fascinating yes, but I don’t think it’s disturbing, it’s not unusual for people to adapt their behaviour to fit their perception of the social group they are in.

And another comment (by blue leopard):

There are a couple of points that arise to explain what occurred in your tutorial:

a. The Standard is full of male gendered personas talking in a gruff and salty vernacular.

b. There are a variety of personas, male, female and gender neutral on the Standard and there are many polite and reasoned comments as well as gruff ones, yet the male gendered personas speaking in a gruff way are what that group of people noticed.

I choose b. as being the most accurate explanation.

I’d go for b. too, there’s a wide range of personalities at The Standard but a few often dominate the forums so will be far more noticeable to new visitors.

It would be even more fascinating to take this further and analyse the behaviour of students in all the blog groups.

It might depend on how well they thought they identified with and fitted in with the group they were assigned to. I’d guess that NZ Femme’s horror meant she adapt to a Whale Oil persona.

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