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Charter schools

Written By: - Date published: 2:30 pm, December 6th, 2011 - 112 comments
Categories: act, education, national, schools - Tags: ,

It is frankly disturbing that the Nats care so little about education that they make major policy decisions on the fly, as part of political agreements with minnow political support “party” ACT. Neither ACT nor National went in to the election campaigning for charter schools, and now without any consultation or (I’d bet good money) serious consideration of the evidence, charter schools are to be introduced.

They’re calling it a “trial” this time, instead of a brute force national standards approach, but it is clear that this development fits the Nats’ profit driven ideology.  Derek Cheng at The Herald has a reasonable first look at the issue and even manages to find some balance:

Schools plan ‘bulk funding in drag’

The Labour Party and teacher unions are panning a National-Act proposal for charter schools as a step towards privatising the education system with a proposal that neither party put forward before the election.

Charter schools – effectively state-funded private schools – will be introduced to South Auckland and Christchurch within the next three years as part of the confidence and supply deal between the National and Act parties.  The goal of charter schools is to lift the performance of low-achieving students by giving schools more flexibility and autonomy – including the possibility of for-profit private management, an independent curriculum and performance-pay for teachers, which teach unions are vehemently opposed to.

Charter schools will be expected to be faith-based with an academic focus on approved curriculum and qualifications. They can raise revenue through partnerships or sponsorship with iwi, community groups or the private sector. …

But NZEI president Ian Leckie said the Government had no mandate for charter schools. “Overseas experience shows they can take students and money away from existing schools, undermine communities and increase social segregation. They are also less accountable.  “New Zealanders should be very concerned that Act is suddenly shaping and dictating key education policy.”  Labour’s education spokeswoman Sue Moroney called the trial “bulk-funding in drag” and exposed National’s true colours. …

Charter schools overseas have had mixed results, with some improved learning outcomes amid accusations they have been used as a vehicle for religious indoctrination. … The New Zealand model will be based on the Knowledge is Power Programme in the US – which involves about 100 schools and 27,000 students from primary to high school- and to some extent the UK system.  KIPP has been lauded for improvements in maths and reading, but criticised for selecting the most motivated students; the National-Act proposal is for charter schools to have to accept all student applicants, regardless of academic ability.

As a very first look at the issue, concerns about the efficacy of these schools seem well founded.  Educational historian Dianne Ravitch used to be a strong supporter of charter schools (and national standards), but the evidence has changed her mind:

Scholar’s School Reform U-Turn Shakes Up Debate

Diane Ravitch, the education historian who built her intellectual reputation battling progressive educators and served in the first Bush administration’s Education Department, is in the final stages of an astonishing, slow-motion about-face on almost every stand she once took on American schooling.

Once outspoken about the power of standardized testing, charter schools and free markets to improve schools, Dr. Ravitch is now caustically critical. She underwent an intellectual crisis, she says, discovering that these strategies, which she now calls faddish trends, were undermining public education. She resigned last year from the boards of two conservative research groups.

“School reform today is like a freight train, and I’m out on the tracks saying, ‘You’re going the wrong way!’ ” Dr. Ravitch said in an interview.  Dr. Ravitch is one of the most influential education scholars of recent decades, and her turnaround has become the buzz of school policy circles. …

Here’s Ravtich on the efficacy of charter schools (in a piece critiquing a film on the topic):

The Myth of Charter Schools

… Some fact-checking is in order, and the place to start is with the film’s quiet acknowledgment that only one in five charter schools is able to get the “amazing results” that it celebrates. Nothing more is said about this astonishing statistic. It is drawn from a national study of charter schools by Stanford economist Margaret Raymond (the wife of Hanushek). Known as the CREDO study, it evaluated student progress on math tests in half the nation’s five thousand charter schools and concluded that 17 percent were superior to a matched traditional public school; 37 percent were worse than the public school; and the remaining 46 percent had academic gains no different from that of a similar public school. The proportion of charters that get amazing results is far smaller than 17 percent.

Like Ravitch, but for different reasons, the creator of charter schools in America has changed his mind on their value.  From the same piece:

… charter schools were created mainly at the instigation of Albert Shanker, the president of the American Federation of Teachers from 1974 to 1997. Shanker had the idea in 1988 that a group of public school teachers would ask their colleagues for permission to create a small school that would focus on the neediest students, those who had dropped out and those who were disengaged from school and likely to drop out. He sold the idea as a way to open schools that would collaborate with public schools and help motivate disengaged students. In 1993, Shanker turned against the charter school idea when he realized that for-profit organizations saw it as a business opportunity and were advancing an agenda of school privatization.

Once again, under National, we get to repeat an experiment that failed 20 years ago.  All cooked up on the back of an envelope in a coalition deal.  Education deserves much better.

112 comments on “Charter schools”

  1. grumpy 1

    The education system in New Zealand is seriously stuffed in providing decent education to low socio-economic areas.

    This proposal can’t be worse than the status quo and deserves a try.

    • King Kong 1.1

      Agreed. If the existing scheme was perfect and kids were not being left behind I could understand the union insisting that the status quo is the only acceptable method.

      Talented teachers will be over the moon about this.

      • Uturn 1.1.1

        Do you two qualify your statements or are we to just accept the idiocy at face value?

        I can play this game too:

        Schools are fine as is; excellent teachers everywhere getting good results; education results effected by larger environment; “seriously stuffed” is not an official measure; causes for children being left behind has wider implications than education; measures for academic success are wider than just mathematic ability; low-socio-economic does not equal low intelligence; people who support charter schools really don’t give a shit about low socio-economic anything; “can’t be worse than status quo” is not an intelligent reason for action.

        So there we are. Line in the sand. Step to your side, put your fingers in your ears and jump like monkeys.

    • RedLogix 1.2

      This proposal can’t be worse than the status quo

      All school systems struggle with lower socio-economic populations, for the simple reason that much of what determines successful outcomes happens in the home and is largely outside the influence of the school.

      But overall NZ’s education system rates pretty well globally; so the chances are that this ‘charter school’ proposal WILL be worse than the status quo.

      Of course this doesn’t mean that the status quo is perfect. You are doing what is called ‘binary thinking’; ie you are only allowing two possible choices in your mind… in this case ‘the existing system’ or ‘charter schools’. And in your mind you have decided that because the existing system is not perfect .. that your charter school alternative must be better.

      Do I need to point out the obvious fallacy here?

      • grumpy 1.2.1

        I am not saying that Charter Schools are better that the top performers in the state sector (that give the NZ rankings a high result) but it is better than nothing for those poor performing schools.

        Although not the universal panacea, charter schools have had some success in both the UK and USA.

        Obama has opened 5000 of them FFS.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1

          The UK and the US also brought in “National Standards” which brought about a decrease in education so I want to see proof of your assertion.

          BTW, “some success” is indicative of overall failure.

          • grumpy 1.2.1.1.1

            So, are you opposed the the Australian Labor Party’s education policy too, which has both National Standards AND League tables?

            • Draco T Bastard 1.2.1.1.1.1

              Yes, but what’s that got to do with this thread?

              Oh, that’s right, nothing. You’re just trying for another useless distraction.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      The education system in New Zealand is seriously stuffed in providing decent education to low socio-economic areas.

      That would be why our students keep getting ranked in the top few…

      Oh, wait.

      There’s nothing wrong with our education system. What’s wrong is the resource distribution system that channels the countries wealth to the few and is otherwise known as capitalism.

    • Jackal 1.4

      grumpy

      This proposal can’t be worse than the status quo and deserves a try.

      Studies show that Charter Schools perform on average 20% worse than Public Schools.

    • Rodel 1.5

      Grumpy and King Kong.Ridiculous empty statements ..worthless… no evidence..as dumb as John Banks rubbish.

  2. r0b 2

    I see we’re going to get the usual “the school system is failing” nonsense from Right wingers in this thread.  Hello reality check:

    NZ near top in OECD education figures

    New Zealand’s education system has won major praise with it nearing the top in literacy, mathematics and science according to a highly recognised international assessment system.

    But the data points to some alarming gaps in New Zealand – especially socio-economic.

    Our education system does very well.  It’s problems are created by inequality.  The solution is to end poverty, not to tinker with failed educational ideology. 

    • grumpy 2.1

      “But the data points to some alarming gaps in New Zealand – especially socio-economic”

      Looks like we are saying the same thing………………

      • RedLogix 2.1.1

        So if the if these ‘alarming gaps’ are strongly correlated with ‘low income’, (while the educational system can be shown to serve most of the rest of NZ very well indeed)… then the most plausible root cause is:

        A. A deficient school system that needs reform to perform better?

        B. A deficient economic system that needs reform to distribute income better?

        • grumpy 2.1.1.1

          …but….the Left is not going to be able to “redistribute income” in the forseeable future (if at all) and have made a bloody poor job of it when Labour was last in power.

          The “redistribute income” option is not a goer – so option A is the only one on the table.

          • RedLogix 2.1.1.1.1

            Translated:

            “We don’t believe in doing the correct solution; so we’ll go with a demonstrably wrong solution that suits our preconceived ideological position.”

            Why am I not surprised?

            • grumpy 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Wrong translation.

              Charter schools have shown some success.

              How about this translation:

              “We lost the election so we’ll just oppose everything the government come up with, regardless of whether it might increase the opportunities for some children……”??

              • Draco T Bastard

                Wrong translation.

                No grumpy, that was a perfect translation. You really are saying that you’ll go with the demonstrably wrong solution on ideological grounds.

              • spratwax

                wrong again! “We have no ideas about economic policy but we must follow the current US idealogical bent, and after consultation with their people we will institute a way to prop up private schools with taxpayer money (socialisation of private losses again) and enforce free market competition in lower decile schools so we can squeeze more hours out of their teachers for the same money (or less, depending on how you look at it), resulting in the flight of ‘good, better qualified experienced teachers’ to ‘better’ schools in higher socio- economic areas, and the probability that lowest decile schools will close down because they don’t meet Government achievement levels.”

                Watch how public money will be channelled into private schools, and of course the system distributes quality teachers into these schools due to the free market application, – this is the Key to this policy, securing a brighter future for the elite in society and guaranteed dumbing down for the rest.

                …….and they complained about Helen Clark and social engineering! This is in a completely different league altogether.

                • Fermionic Interference


                  wrong again! “We have no ideas about economic policy but we must follow the current US idealogical bent, and after consultation with their people we will institute a way to prop up private schools with taxpayer money (socialisation of private losses again)

                  +many
                  well said and how so accurate.

                  as to the teachers who are the best actually choosing to wrok in these schools is 50/50 because the teachers who are best at inspiring students and helping them learn are more likely to be in the job for the reward of helping kids not money (or not just the fact that they too have to put food on the table).

            • Draco T Bastard 2.1.1.1.1.2

              +1

      • fabregas4 2.1.2

        You’re not saying the same thing at all. What those who critique NZ Education and Educators say is “Teachers and schools are failing” without considering the impact that socio ecomomic and family factors bring into the equation. The research says that these two things have a greater influence on learning than anything else. Research also tells us that only Canada is better in the OECD at lifting achievement of children in poverty than NZ (and in NZ we spend less).

        There is no surprise that as poverty has risen in our country educational outcomes have fallen – rather it is surprising that as we grow poverty so quickly that our achievement levels stay so high.

        Rob is correct. The way to lift achievement of all children is to ensure that all children live without poverty. Not easy, but if we want our schools to achieve then something has to be done and it certainly isn’t labeling low decile schools failing and making them businesses.

    • King Kong 2.2

      Oh goody we are near the top of the tree.

      We needn’t bother with the kids that leave school unable to read or count because we are just about the best.

      We are near the top for not having homeless living on the streets but it doesn’t seem to stop you banging on about that,

      • Bored 2.2.1

        A gorilla of an intellectual effort KK. Have you ever bothered to work through what causes underachievement at school?

        Give you a little hint: teachers and teaching standards are pretty low on the list of causes. Underachievement has its causes well outside of the school gates.

        Which makes me pose some questions:
        1. Why do so many jerk offs expect teachers to pick up the pieces and get results?
        2. What makes proponents of Charter Schools so confident they can achieve results when every other organ of state cant get ahead with the same people / students?

        • King Kong 2.2.1.1

          So the children of the poor are mongs and there is nothing teachers can do about it so you may as well just leave them to play touch rugby.

          • Bored 2.2.1.1.1

            Where exactly did I say that????? Read it again King Mong.

          • Draco T Bastard 2.2.1.1.2

            No KK, that’s what you said. What needs to be changed is the socio-economic circumstances of the parents – not the teaching.

          • ianmac 2.2.1.1.3

            For 50+ years those who “fail” at school have been known. Who they are and why they are is well documented. The solutions to helping those “failing” kids are also known.
            Poverty.
            Lack of family support.
            English as a second language.
            Slow learners buried in classes to big.
            Testing to prove failure.
            What a pity that Government didn’t deal with those issues instead of rolling out unproven, worthless, expensive political projects.
            Ask a school or two where there are many failing kids just what they would do if they had money and resources at hand. They know what they would do.

    • insider 2.3

      But then you have schools which consistently have only a 50% pass rate at NCEA. Education is not just a symptom of deprivation it is a way out, so to blame society and income perhaps doesn’t do enough to motivate kids and their parents to make that next generation a step better.

      In a NZ system with integrated and independent schools, charter ones are just going to be a whiter shade of pale, not the end of education as we know it. If providing a bit more to the mix lifts some of the bottom end, that’s a good thing isn’t it?

      • McFlock 2.3.1

        But then you have schools which consistently have only a 50% pass rate at NCEA. Education is not just a symptom of deprivation it is a way out, so to blame society and income perhaps doesn’t do enough to motivate kids and their parents to make that next generation a step better.

         ???
        Because all liberals and socialists believe that children will do better if you just “blame society and income”. /sarc
          
        I like the way you pretended to care about the problems other people face in order to imply liberals just blame society and do nothing. Almost made you look like something other than a sociopathic spin-merchant.
         
         

      • red blooded 2.3.2

        Christ – our schools can’t win, can they? If too many kids pass NCEA, it’s being “dumbed down” and teachers are not demanding enough of students; if the bell curve (which, let’s remember, RULED School Cert and Bursary) starts to be seen again, the schools are failing kids and it’s a disgrace that 20% leave without Level 2 NCEA. How about looking at the half-full side of the glass 80%(!) achieve Level 2 (over time, and often with a lot of hard work from their teachers to support their learning).

        NZ kids consistently score in the top 5 OECD countries for both reading and maths skills. The US is nowhere near this! Why are we importing their (failed) ideas?

        Our biggest challenge is meeting the educational needs of kids who come to school without prior (and ongoing) reading experience, who have high absenteeism, live in families who can’t afford to give them the breadth of background experience that most middle class kids get… Nobody’s saying that working class kids are thick. Don’t be simplistic (and manipulative).

  3. Spratwax 3

    This tells me that Key and National have a direct line to their US ideological paymasters, just as Tory, David Cameron, has instituted policies from advice given by US right-wing reform experts.

    Read this: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/nov/07/britain-welfare-state-born-usa

    The similarities to what is happening here (and is probably being planned for the next 3 years) makes my skin crawl but I would wager that ‘tea party politics’ has been instilled in National and dictates their programme.

    • Bored 3.1

      I have a deep suspicion of schemes like this: follow the money and we might see whats behind it.

      Two probabilities pop up….
      1. Somebody wants to make a profit here running schools.
      2. Private schools see this as a progression toward full state funding without having to join the state system.

      • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1

        Both. It’s another way for unaccountable, unelected people to tax the country.

      • insider 3.1.2

        I reckon #2 if going to make a choice. Many independent schools without large historic bequests seem to be begging to be integrated, particularly newer smaller Xtian ones. You don’t see many opting out for the bundles of cash they’ll make.

  4. Drawn up hastily on the back of an envelope during coalition talks?

    Possibly. I know that accepted wisdom is to choose incompetence over conspiracy but that ignores a third possibility – incompetent conspiracy.

    I find it hard to believe that, in the lift going to the 9th floor, Banks suddenly thought – “Ooooh! How about Charter Schools? – must mention it to John.” Some research must have been done on this prior to the election, at least by ACT ‘policy wonks’ (if they have such things).

    I also liked Mary Wilson’s roasting of both Key and Banks on Checkpoint last night over the lack of any mention in their respective campaigns about Charter Schools.

    Key brushed it off with words to the effect of ‘Well, ACT’s campaign is their business and, anyway, this is what you get with MMP coalition deals …’

    Whatever happened to personal responsibility?

    Nothing to do with Key, apparently – despite signing a deal that includes a significant policy that wasn’t mentioned by anyone on the campaign trail.

    Mr Moderate and Transparent strikes again. 

    • fender 4.1

      Yes Mary Wilson has to be the best interviewer in the country, she demands answers and stomps all over any attempt to deviate off topic. I love her pitbull method and would love to see Espiner, Garner, Sainsburry and those other TV hacks follow her lead.

      • Hami Shearlie 4.1.1

        TV hacks is right. Mary Wilson makes them all look so bad! Remember when Kim Hill and Linda Clark were on tv? The tv political reporters and interviewers now are so mediocre, so much personal bias and so little actual research, so little actual reporting of fact and so much of their own personal opinions which they try to pass off as facts!

  5. Draco T Bastard 5

    Banks is a National Party man, so is Don Brash. I suspect that you’ll find that this is a National Party initiative being passed off as an Act Party initiative and that the “agreement” came about before the coup that replaced Mr Hide with Don Brash.

    • Spratwax 5.1

      Absolutely correct, Draco. Both Brash and Banks are National party through and through- ACT

      was a scam. National had to get rid of Rodney Hide to gain control of ACT. National and

      the ‘business elite’ will be looking to manufacture other parties (under their control) to use as

      coalition partners in the future- the nature of their politics in this country, puts them at a

      disadvantage under MMP, that’s why the campaign against MMP hasn’t yet finished as far as

      they’re concerned.

  6. Gravedodger 6

    Of course the socialist oppose any initiative to give the bottom 20% a chance to escape the welfare trap, how else do they maintain that dependent base for their electoral hopes every three years.
    Add another 20% of dreamers to the greens moonbat base and Bob’s yr uncle and hes stayin the night.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1

      What a load of bullshit. Like you give a fuck about the “bottom 20%”, when in the next breath you’ll be off slandering them as “bludgers” or claiming that 80% of the minimum wage is all they deserve.

      Go long on guillotine manufacturers.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.2

      Of course the socialist oppose any initiative to give the bottom 20% a chance to escape the welfare trap…

      No we don’t. We just recognise that these charter schools won’t actually do that. To get people out of the poverty trap requires paying them more and this government is determined to pay people less just as John Key promised.

  7. ianmac 7

    Hey . How about setting up Charter Schools where the bottom 20 percent of kids are chosen to go. (No chance of picking off just the great learners like Private Schools do now.)
    Fully funded, expertly staffed, and curriculum designed to be in context with kids’ lives.
    Wow. That would show that the pollies really really care. And by next year the long tail will be gone- forever! Roll on Charter schools just for those in need!
    Let our excellent State Schools get on with what they already do so well.

    • King Kong 7.1

      Great idea Ianmac. The ability of Iwi to get involved in this scheme means that you can even specifically target poorer Maori and tailor the delivery to the audience.

      Why the assumption that this is only targeted for smart rich kids? Just because Danyl says so doesn’t make it true.

    • insider 7.2

      Even better, why not encourage schools that aren’t mass market blancmanges, but that specialise in things like languages, science, art, culture, sport, disabilities or music so that aptitude is nurtured in a focussed setting, and then allow children to go there and not be penalised for being out of zone.

  8. Looks like the main difference between the proposed “charter schools” and our existing “schools” is that private schools will be publicly funded. All this “give the bottom 20% a chance to escape the welfare trap” blather is just bullshit – what’s actually being proposed is privatisation and union-busting. If it does turn out the privatised schools do better than the regular ones, the Johns will no doubt look on it as a bonus, but it will be tangential to the actual purpose of the exercise.

    • ianmac 8.1

      By the time evidence of success/failure appears, those who chatter for chartering will be long gone. 8-10 years?

  9. Stevo 10

    This is the great leap backwards…..faith based anything. But that’s the nats for you..blind faith in their ideologies counter to the best evidence provided by Treasury, history or even scientists.

    The cult of Key. The responses in this thread in favour of this un- capaigned for policy proves it is real.

    The National party IS a cult, their supporters nodding away like the dog in the back window of an Austin 1100 on the holiday highway to hell.

    How soon till we have the…Destiny State Funded Faith Based School?
    How soon till we have a state funded Muslim schools then?

    This will only create separatism. I am surprised at the right supporting opening the door to religion in our education in this way. They should know better.

    • insider 10.1

      We already have

      the papist opus dei state funded faith based schools (Catholic integrated)
      the English heretic Faith Based Schools (Anglican integrated)
      the hippy Green Faith Based Schools (Steiner integrated)
      the rapturist Faith Based Schools (various fundie cults represented)
      The libertarianz Faith Based School of choice (Montesorri)
      and not forgetting the future islamofunditerror faith based school (Al-Madinah in Mangere)

      So your fear of the cult of Key is about 30 years too late

      • mik e 10.1.1

        Insider trader these private schools have a worse pass rate than the public schools

        • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1

          Got link?

        • mik e 10.1.1.2

          I just read the exam results every year in the paper and private school in my area -private schools have a lower academic achievement rate than most of the public school including lower decile schools, all that private schools do is set up cliques for life so their networking is more important than their school working.

  10. ianmac 11

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/michigan-privatize-public-education
    The list of initiatives reads like a grand plan to dismantle public education as we know it: Slash education spending. Outsource public teachers. Curb collective-bargaining rights. Kneecap teachers’ unions. Open the floodgates to charter and “cyber” schools.
    Sound familiar? This is in Michigan but could be here and coming to a school near you. (Thanks to Millhouse for spotting this on “Mother Jones.”)

  11. Nick C 12

    http://www.nber.org/~schools/charterschoolseval/how_NYC_charter_schools_affect_achievement_sept2009.pdf

    “On average, a student who attended a charter school for all of grades kindergarten through eight would close about 86 percent of the “Scarsdale-Harlem achievement gap” in math and 66 percent of the achievement gap in English. A student who attended fewer grades would improve by a commensurately smaller amount.”

    Note that the study uses random lotteries which account eliminate any selection bias. It also finds benefits to children who dont go to the charter schools due to the increased comeptition.

    • spratwax 12.1

      The Hoxby study has been thoroughly discredited due to flawed methodology.

      Read this instead: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/03/education/03ravitch.html?scp=2&sq=Diane%20Ravitch&st=cse

      • Nick C 12.1.1

        Oh I thought you were going to link to evidence that the study has been discredited, rather than just asserting that it had..

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          this is all shit, bet you any equally resourced public school could match those results easy.

          [lprent: please no betting. We all remember the unfortunate fate of the mods and myself having to reread the fallout after big bruv made that unfortunate bet with bLip. Never again... ]

        • Draco T Bastard 12.1.1.2

          Found this one but it doesn’t say much. Just that the methodology of the report sucked. Of course, methodology is everything. If the methodology sucked then the report is useless.

          And this one which calls it misleading, rips it a new one while also praising it and then it’s pointed out that it hasn’t been peer reviewed. I think sums it up though:

          but to make matters worse, the authors present (again, in their executive summary) the finding that, for each year students attend a charter high school, they are seven percent more likely to graduate than are comparable students in regular public schools.…What the authors fail to mention in their summary is that this result is not statistically significant at any conventional level.

          Dodgy seems to be a good description of that report you linked.

        • Spratwax 12.1.1.3

          Here’s the link then: http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=981

          Hoxby is also a senior fellow of the Hoover Institution, which is funded by corporates and is a right-wing public policy think tank. I notice your avatar seems to refer to the american flag- another sad sack promoting the americanisation of NZ. Everyone knows that research results merely reflect the wishes of the those that fund the research.

    • dave brown 12.2

      Those kid’s ‘ll close that Scarlem gap lightnin quik when they occupy their skools. They will learn to count as the bankers drop from the sky over Wall St and spell as they rename all the parks and streets after the working class heroes and martyrs. On the index of cmopteiiton they will score in the 80th percentile behind the intifada and Arab Spring teams. Performance art, music, poetry, will break out everywhere led by the rapsta Banksta from Ouckland NooZeeland performing ‘I done a deal, its a steal, those black queers make me squeal.’

  12. joe90 13

    The Myth of Charter Schools

    First, I thought to myself that the charter operators were cynically using children as political pawns in their own campaign to promote their cause. (Gail Collins in The New York Times had a similar reaction and wondered why they couldn’t just send the families a letter in the mail instead of subjecting them to public rejection.) Second, I felt an immense sense of gratitude to the much-maligned American public education system, where no one has to win a lottery to gain admission.

  13. DS 14

    If this was such a brilliant move, why did no-one campaign for it?

  14. Mike Smith 15

    As I predicted in October http://thestandard.org.nz/is-key-going-where-goves-gone/. Sell assets to fund charter schools – classic Tory bait and switch. No mandate for this either.

    • DS 15.1

      One wonders what other non-disclosed and non-campaigned-upon policies are going to come tumbling out of the woodwork.

  15. Michael Bott 16

    Earlier this year John Key announced in a public meeting in Masterton that funding was going to be cut for the Wairarapa’s flagship last chance school Ohorere Student Transition Programme. That school has a proven track record with an 85 percent success rate at taking troubled young children and getting back on track to return to and complete mainstream education. It cost just $150,000 a year to run (the same prices as 10 minutes of fireworks used to open the Rugby Worl Cup). It has ERO report after ERO report congratulating the school on its success. It is shameful that a school which has a proven record of success with some of the children from the poorest levels of our communities, is going to be binned when Mr Key can find millions of dollars to plough into charter schools, just to make a deal with a former National Party cabinet minister, when the bulk of research suggests charter schools are a failure

    • Stevo 16.1

      perhaps mainfreight will fund it, with logoed shirts n all

      • Puddleglum 16.1.1

        Here in Christchurch, Banks is hoping that construction companies like Fulton Hogan will ‘invest’ in schools. Why?

        Banks said yesterday that Christchurch was chosen as a trial area because of the opportunities that had arisen from the earthquakes.

        He refused to name the groups that wanted to set up charter schools in the city, but hoped business interests in the building industry would work closely with a charter school to bring workplace education into the classroom.

        Banks said he envisaged building and construction companies co-funding charter schools, which would focus on getting pupils into the work force.

        “This will give opportunities for education to become very relevant to people like myself who were not interested in school work,” Banks said

        So, here we have it pretty plain and simple. Those (low socioeconomic) pupils who – curiously – are particularly predisposed to work with their hands and are “not interested in school work” are being ‘helped’ to become the ‘work force’. Coincidentally, large corporations get to make money out of it and provide themselves with a ‘captive’ population of future workers.

        But, what about all those poor souls who are the children of Fendalton and Merivale people who will miss out on this amazing opportunity to become part of the manual workforce and who are “not interested in school work”?

        Why should they be denied this wonderful opportunity to be freed from the expectation to become lawyers, doctors, accountants, teachers, etc.?

        Seems unfair. 

        • joe90 16.1.1.1

          .

          The British Secondary Technical Schools were supposed to do the same thing but very few were ever built and most kids were turned into factory fodder at a Secondary Modern School.

          And oddly enough the country had numerous post secondary trade schools, I attended the NZED trade school in Mt Wellington, but the eighties reforms closed the lot.

  16. logie97 17

    There are many issues regarding charter schools, but one out of left field is some tidy real estate a few years out.

    The Nats know it. ACT knows it.
    And if those who are currently investing their time in the state system would open
    their eyes they should know it as well.

    The state school sites will be valuable real estate.
    Our schools are going to change through the influence of new technology. The delivery of the curriculum will see children learn more and more through private providers on-line. The rapid growth of the home schooling movement is also testament to this. (The Correspondence school is tailor made for on-line learning.)

    So the traditional school as we know it will become surplus to requirements, and the savvy industries who are going to be able to get into these charter schools will have a foot in the door when they come to be sold off.

    And what about the staffing of the charter schools? While the government is pushing for a post graduate degree required for new teachers in the primary sector, there is still a large pool of youngish teachers with diplomas (who currently get paid $12000 pa less than those with any sort of degree) who could suddenly be in demand to staff the charter schools.

    In the meantime, how is the government able to float the need for the charter schools? Some nebulous argument that the tail can be catered for. We are told there is a need for these initiatives – the public perception of a failing state education system is being formed and influenced by a concerted attack on the profession by the government.

  17. mik e 18

    this is just union busting nothing more.

  18. Dr Terry 19

    One picks up on many words and phrases among these comments: restraint “has only just started”; “faith-based” – exactly what does this mean – faith in Messiah John Key (or Banks)?; a “business opportunity” (you bet!); perfection – what in hell IS “perfect”?; “some success” will do (in fact this is minute); the solution is to end poverty (much closer to reality!); “a deficient economic system” (good again, except for the word “system”; “a brighter future for the elite in society” (what else would we expect?); finally, and most important of all “what other non-disclosed and non-campaigned upon policies” – we have seen nothing yet (but so much of the country has begged for what is coming!!)

    With the enormous input of giant intellects Banks and Dunne (added to that of Tolley!) what educational marvels should we expect? We are going down the gurgler.

  19. randal 20

    Unlike gullivers travels where he only had to deal with small people now we have to deal with complete loonies who seem to want to destabilise society just to appease some groups who want to pay off politcial support with patronage with suspect education.
    the country has gone bonkers.

  20. ionmannz 21

    So they can select their students can they? Well what about the students they dont select? And note that they will only do it in areas where there are large numbers of students so they can choose (cherry pick) and not take in disruptive, aggressive or special needs students. Here is a challenge – go to Mangakino or Murupara or a similar socially deprived area where there is only one school and you have to take all students – ie no cherry picking!! I’ll wager they never will!

  21. randal 22

    this has nothing to do with education but everything to do with ignorati who think they know better and have the political clout to pull it off.
    the country has gone mad.

    • Draco T Bastard 22.1

      +1

      We’re seeing the rise of the dictators and psychopaths that will bring our civilisation down.

  22. Draco T Bastard 23

    Scott ovewr at Imperator Fish sums up NActs arguments:-

    * If the teachers unions are against it then, by God, it must be a good idea!
    * Oh well, bad luck, that’s MMP for you.

  23. Descendant Of Smith 25

    It would be simpler and easier to simply put more funding into low socio-economic schools.

    The school my kids went to gives everyone a chance at education – those who have been rejected or kicked out of other schools included.

    They have the best outputs in the area I live for the improvement from entry to exit, but the second lowest for actual NCEA outcomes.

    Does that make them a good school or a bad school?

    Two different outputs and no measure at all of outcomes.

    One of the low socio-economic pressures on these kids is the pressure to go to work at an early age to help support the family – the same pressure that meant my father left school at 15, my aunty left school at 15 to help raise the younger children, and so on.

    The past pressure that used to mean kids worked in coalmines.

    The teachers can do little about that pressure apart form instill in these kids a passion for ongoing learning, by conveying it them that in this modern world you still have some access to educate yourself further.

    The trouble is some of those outlets have been destroyed by this government – e.g. adult learning classes, which not only removed an option but also removed funding from these schools – about $70,000 per annum from my kids school. That money was taken to put more funding into private schools.

    What I also know is that there is a world of difference between the school I went to (NPBHS) with a vast old boys network, a trust that owns the racecourse in New Plymouth, The land NPGHS is on, the land the polytech is on, an education minister at the time who was an old boy (Merv Wellington) who quite happily ensured that the school got funding for a new gymnasium etc in time for the school centennial, and so on.

    If my kids school had half the external funding and support that NPBHS has they could probably do quite a bit more – but still wouldn’t necessarily overcome all those barriers that exist.

    It might mean however that some poor kids for instance could afford to do sport – the school has to provide for most of the costs associated or it doesn’t happen. It was quite evident at the NI champs that our kids had none of the personal coaches, spiked running shoes, gymnasium access that many of the kids they were competing against did.

    Fuck if business are that keen to get involved all they need to do is give money to the low socio-economic schools – no strings attached. If they are concerned about the plight of these kids – give their parents a job. Give the schools some cool resources and donate some salary money for additional teachers.

    They don’t need to set up more schools with more buildings and more infrastructure – though they could provide funds to improve some of the existing infrastructure.

    There’s heaps they could do right now with hardly any effort. They could seriously lobby for the funding to stop being reduced e.g. the change to funding based on term rolls for high schools – high rolls drop off as the year goes on – another $40,000 loss in funding for our school. Primary schools on the other hand who have rolls that go up as kids turn 5 apparently aren’t good enough to be funded this way.

    In saying that there are businesses and businessmen who do support the school and for that no doubt the school is eternally grateful – though no doubt they would rather be properly funded through taxation and have to spend time teaching the kids and not figuring out how to get foreign fee paying students and filling out funding applications instead of administering the school.

    • burt 25.1

      It would be simpler and easier to simply put more funding into low socio-economic schools.

      Right, so ease of administration. IE: A state run monopoly with a highly unionised workforce operation under a simple collective takes less administration… shit it must be the best way!

      • Descendant Of Smith 25.1.1

        No it’s more cost effective .

        Even replacing the $110,000 a year in funding lost from my local school in the last 2 years would help.

        Tell me how that $110,000-00 taken from that schools budget – much transferred to private schools (who are clearly less cost effective because they operate on a much higher $ per student basis) has helped these students do better.

        The reality is my local school is run much more cheaply than NPBHS, Auckland Grammar, etc and that’s just state schools.

        If the minister wants to produce some tables show the cost per pupil that each school has from all sources of funding. Put that table against the NCEA outputs and lets compare schools.

        Tell me burt should a young person from a disadvantaged background get more, less or egalitarian equal funding applied to them in order to make them a contributing member of society, to counter that disadvantage?

  24. Dv 26

    Good comment DOS.

    • Descendant Of Smith 26.1

      Apart from not proof-reading it – that’s my two fingered typing rather than my spelling and grammar. Sorry for the bits that need a little deciphering.

  25. AB 27

    Over time, the best way to improve the performance of low-achieving kids is probably to increase the incomes of their parents.
    So $15 min wage, WFF for beneficiaries, free early childhood education, etc.That’s the ‘long game’ – reduce inequality over time.
    Dopey tinkering round the margins of the education system won’t help. That’s not to say there isn’t a ‘short game’ too, but I doubt this is it.

  26. lilli2000 28

    NZ has one of the best education system in the world and this nonsense about 1/3 teachers failing and 20% of children failing is rubbish. Has anyone ever challenged the govt on where they get their facts? Oh from bullshit tests they designed to fail %50 of those who sit them. The National Standards are based on closing ones eye, opening the curriculum and letting ones finger fall on page and announcing that that is the standard. They were not developed by teachers or educators, they were designed by business people who have limited understanding of what happens at school these days, but they went to school once so they know.

    Education costs money and they want don’t want to spend money on education… they want to spend money on tax cuts for the rich. So they are figuring out ways to cut spending on education so they can.

    If they cared about children they would have teacher ratios of 1:12, they’d have one teacher aide to every five children, they’d pump money into class sets of kindles, they’d better resource schools.

    But they don’t see education as an investment, they see it as an expense.

    New Zealand’s education system is great, but yes we do need work and resourcing to move it to excellent. Here are some facts, feel free to google to check them for yourselves:

    Nz’s Education system ranked best in the world by the Legatum Prosperity Index 2010.
    92% people feel that children are learning & growing every day (Gallup World Poll, as cited in the Legatum Prosperity Index 2010).
    New Zealand leads the world, along with Norway & Australia, in the 2010 UN Human Development Index, which measures education, health, & income.
    At tertiary level, many more students come to New Zealand to study than leave New Zealand to study overseas
    Ranked second in the world by the OECD in terms of entry rates to diploma-level study (Education at a Glance 2010).
    Ranked second in the world by the OECD for the share of people aged 25 to 64 with a qualification at Level 4 or above.
    The NZ early childhood curriculum, Te Whāriki, when it was developed in the 1990s, was a world-leading early childhood curriculum document. It is still considered an international exemplar.
    New Zealand 15-year-old students’ overall reading performance was substantially higher than the average for the 34 OECD countries (PISA 2009).
    Of the 65 countries or economies participating in PISA 2009, only two OECD countries, and two non-OECD partner economies performed better than New Zealand.
    Close to one in six of New Zealand students were top-performing readers (PISA 2009).
    Only one OECD country and three non-OECD partner countries or economies achieved a higher mean scientific literacy score than New Zealand (PISA 2009).
    Mew Zealand primary school students finished in 5th place on World Maths Day 2011, and one New Zealand student took top place in the 8-10 yr old category.
    New Zealand is the most peaceful place to be a student – listed as the world’s most peaceful country in the 2010 Global Peace Index.
    The National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) at the University of Otago found in 2009 that out of 14 subjects, mathematics is the second most popular subject for year 4 students and the third most popular subject for year 8 students. At least 85% of students in both years were positive about doing mathematics at school.
    The National Education Monitoring Project (NEMP) at the University of Otago found in 2009 that the percentage of year 4 students who indicated that they practised basic facts and tables (mathematics) in their own time (not at school) increased by 11% to 47% from 2005 to 2009.

    • Draco T Bastard 28.1

      Education costs money and they want don’t want to spend money on education…

      Had a short conversation on twitter with a suspected RWNJ. I pointed out that properly funding education would bring about as good or better results than charter schools and his response was:-

      so throw money at schools, (great idea) and where does this money come from ?

      He didn’t seem to appreciate that that was all that the government was doing with the charter schools (they’ll spin it as costing nothing but in reality it will be massively expensive) and that nothing is free.

      But they don’t see education as an investment, they see it as an expense.

      They’re RWNJs, they seem to see everything except themselves as an expense and they see themselves as the Great Creators.

  27. red blooded 29

    Well, I guess we now know why Key wanted Banks in – so he could impose a raft of loopy, ideologically driven ‘experiments’ on us and tell us he had no choice. National have wanted this (or something like it) for years. I remember arguing it off in seminars during the Bolger years.

    A few facts on the table, though:
    1) NZ ALREADY HAS one of the most extremely devolved, community controlled schooling systems in the world. Each school is run by a locally elected Board of Trustees, who have control over all employment and most curriculum matters. For heaven’s sake – our schools don’t even have to use our national qualifications system (NCEA) to asses students.
    2) There is already a significant amount of competition between schools (too much).
    3) Not only do all schools develop their own characters, and their own areas of specialisation, but along with competition between the various state schools in any one area, there are likely to be integrated schools. These are ALREADY ‘special character’ schools that receive state funding and are allowed to accept and reject (ie, cherry-pick) their students, as the proposed charter schools would be.
    4) On top of that, we have fully private schools, which (bizarrely) also receive state funding, even though they have no obligation to teach the NZ curriculum (and can accept/reject/cherry-pick as described above).
    5) Note – teachers in these private schools are not members of NZEI or PPTA and so are paid whatever their school decides (as Key and Banks want for the charter schools).
    6) All NZ teachers have to have prior qualifications and teacher training (although the Nat.s want to dump this and let people train on the job, but that’s another story…). They have to be registered with the Teachers’ Council and have their registration renewed every 3 years. This is only possible if they have been professionally assessed and judged to be competent each year. They must also take part in professional development training on a regular basis.
    7) There is no automatic progression up a pay scale. Again – this depends (at first) on ongoing reviews of competency, then on taking on extra responsibilities.
    8) None of the requirements for qualifications, training, registration or professional development described above are planned for staff in charter schools. This is idiocy. Not only that, it’s irresponsible and extreme.

    It’s always been obvious that Key and Tolley don’t value state education. Let’s remember that their 1st decisions for secondary education after the last election were to give an extra $30 million to independent schools (basically stolen from state schools) and to lift the caps on the numbers of students funded at integrated schools (even in areas where there were state schools with extra space, and equal or better academic records).

    The other thing they don’t value, of course, is the education sector unions, which still have 90%+ membership and considerable strength of purpose. These are not just ‘self-interest groups’ as Banks & Key claim, though. There is a strong focus on education policy driven by a sense of professional calling. It’s also telling that other education sector expert groups like the absolutely apolitical Teachers’ Council (a government body) and the (usually right wing) School Trustees’ Association are also against this extremist experiment.

    One last thing (I know this is too long – sorry); whoever said that schools were becoming irrelevant because of digital learning, think again. Students need human interaction. Their learning can certainly be scaffolded around some great digital material, but they still need teachers, and to get a chance to be with their peer group. Plus school is much more than happens in the classroom, now. Schools are vital, challenging places that offer kids the chance to explore all sorts of interests and abilities outside of classtime.

    The NZ education system needs to keep asking itself some pretty hard questions, but we need to crate our own answers, based on our own issues. The last thing we need to do is import another failed policy from a system that we so consistently outperform.

  28. Ari 30

    The details of this policy look very disturbing, despite the fact that in principle I like the idea of experimenting with different policies.

  29. Hocuspocus 31

    Talk about reactionary. The empirical evidence is equivocal – (http://shankerblog.org/?p=4201). Some charter schools have done exceedingly well. Others not as well. The same could be said of public schools. On average they tend to be no better nor worse. If that is the case (and the evidence suggests that it is) then the world isn’t going to end if some (a small minority of schools) become charter schools.

    The US expert quoted in the herald this morning suggests that external accountability is key in ensuring charter schools do well (http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10771435).

    The Nat/Act confidence and supply agreement suggests that accountability for the proposed for the charter schools will be no less than that for public schools.

    One can only surmise that teacher and principal unions are opposed to change (Change Obama Can Believe In) for interests other than student achievement particularly given the selective quoting of evidence (as this post also does).

    • Puddleglum 31.1

      One can only surmise that teacher and principal unions are opposed to change (Change Obama Can Believe In) for interests other than student achievement particularly given the selective quoting of evidence (as this post also does).”

      Given that you claim there is no difference, overall, in the effects of student achievement between public and charter schools and that the ‘success’ of charter schools (up to the point where they provide equivalent outcomes to state schools) depends on ‘accountability’ and that the only assurance we have of that accountability is motherhood and apple pie words in the coalition agreement – then, surely,

      One can only surmise that those who support the charter school proposal are doing so for interests other than student achievement, particularly given the selective quoting of evidence

      Those other interests might be (a) undermining teachers’ unions; (b) providing further areas for private profit in the economy; (c) channelling low socioeconomic pupils into the construction and industrial workforce (where they ‘belong’)??

      Wouldn’t you agree? 

  30. neoleftie 32

    oh if one studies the chosen model type, its language and framing one can see that it simply turns a few chosen schools in a few carefully selected areas into private like schools with selected and limited entry.
    Me, i’m more concerned between the obvious lack of support, infrastructure and funding between socio eco areas after visiting ECE centres in my local area.
    Make no mistake this is about expanding schooling for the elites in a few selected area’s, depowering the teachers union and other groups. Objective = create more elites = more stabalised right leaners.
    We all know the ideology of the right and it aint about floating the boats for everyone…more likely improving the lot, control and connectiveness of the selected few…almost time for the barricades.

    • ‘Make no mistake…’

      I think you are making a mistake trying to frame this policy as part of a conspiracy before you have any idea how they intend implementing it.

      We should wait for details and discuss and explore it surely? That’s better than closed mind ideological entrenchment.

      • neoleftie 32.1.1

        PG – both idiological sides frame events, objectives, policy through the narrow framework of the party blue coloued specs and red coloured specs – any other observation is naive in the extreme…
        Trouble is once the detail is available that allows discourse the policy is basically in motion and unstoppable.
        Also i’m a realist there PG,but one who believes in opportuntiy for all and not just a selected few. the help is needed at the bottom..so bottom up not top down approach with meaningful and measureable solutions to real issues

        • Pete George 32.1.1.1

          Trouble is once the detail is available that allows discourse the policy is basically in motion and unstoppable.

          That’s why we should be discussing and exploring this policy now, rather than putting up instant ideologocal barriers.

          I agree the bottom up approach is important, but we need – and will get – top down proposals. We need to establish better ways of meeting in the middle and working together.

          • rosy 32.1.1.1.1

            This is ideologically driven from the right, Pete. If you’ve read this thread it appears there is no research to support charter schools, and plenty to show they are not effective. It’s not an ideological position from the left and there cannot be a meeting in the middle when the proposition under discussion will probably leave those that are subject to it worse off.

            • Pete George 32.1.1.1.1.1

              It pays to read more than just one thread rosy. Like this..

              In 2009, the most authoritative study of charter schools was conducted by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) at Stanford University. The report is the first detailed national assessment of charter schools.

              It analyzed 70% of the nation’s students attending charter schools and compared the academic progress of those students with that of demographically matched students in nearby public schools.

              The report found that:
              17% of charter schools reported academic gains that were significantly better than traditional public schools
              46% showed no difference from public schools
              37% were significantly worse than their traditional public school counterparts.

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

              Doesn’t it make sense to see how the 17% better was achieved and see if similar can be done here?

              • rosy

                It makes even more sense to understand what 37% significantly worse off means before announcing changes, don’t you think? BTW that report is discussed on this thread.

              • felix

                Jesus, Pete.

                Your own quote states that it’s twice as likely to make things worse than better.

                • Yes, so we should avoid what makes things worse and learn from the 17% better outcomes and consider utilising what might make things better.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    So we study those 17% and then duplicate the processes in our public schools. No need for the extra complication of charter schools.

                  • felix

                    “Yes, so we should avoid what makes things worse”

                    And I agree with you on that. In this case it’s charter schools, according to what you quoted.

              • Draco T Bastard

                I’d be more concerned about the 37% worse off. According to that research, charter schools will leave our children worse off.

  31. oftenpuzzled 33

    What really upsets me is that we the tax payer have to contribute to this scheme through our taxes. We already contribute far too much to the private school system. If the money that goes to Private schools from the public purse went into the public school system our schooling and educational achievements would be even higher. I don’t care how many and in what form private schools take but let the creators and attenders/families of these schools pay their own way and not call on the public purse.

  32. Gruntie 34

    this is classic Shock Doctrine – Christchurch post earthquakes is our version of New Orleans post Hurricane Katrina – make no mistake – this is a far right, neocon move to privatize schools – the thin end of the wedge

    http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine/excerpt

  33. Dv 35

    http://www.apple.com/asia/education/profiles/escondido/

    This study reports on impressive lieracy improvement using an ipod touch.

    I suspect that there are major gains to be made by the use of the new techologies tablet, kiddle, ipads
    And i suspect it is extremely cost effective learning tool.

    If any teachers reading this who are using the new tecnolgies, could you comment on their effectiveness.

  34. stever 36

    Slightly related…too big to fail??…”corporate” (they’re a mutual???)….Southern Cross ask for Govt subsidies….

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/property/news/article.cfm?c_id=8&objectid=10771374

  35. KJT 37

    Why? when we have one of the better performing education systems on earth, as well as one of the most cost effective, do we want to emulate two (UK and USA) which are way down the scale.

    Shouldn’t we be looking at taking the best from systems which do better than ours?
    What the new NZ curriculum was set up to do. Now being dumped to emphasize failed right wing policies.

    Nationals backers spy a new way of extracting more wealth from us. Methinks!

  36. randal 38

    the same idiots who want to f*ck the school system must be the same ones that believe in aliens and ufo’s.
    the ignorati rule.

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    Judith Collins, Justice Minister, is playing dumb in parliament at question time and avoiding media. Her patronising responses, or non-responses, to allegations of corrupt influence is not becoming of a Cabinet Minister.  Her abuse of the House by criticising questions...
    Tumeke | 17-04
  • Can fracking save the climate?
    Blogging is a great way MPs can communicate and engage with citizens about the issues facing us. I have joined The Daily Blog blogging team and have so far posted on Anadarko’s failure to find oil and a piece outlining...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • New Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Labour’s manufacturing plan
    David Cunliffe has launched Labour's policy to get more manufacturing jobs back in New Zealand: Labour leader David Cunliffe launched the policy to an Auckland business audience this morning, adding the depreciation and procurement policies to the known suite of...
    Polity | 17-04
  • Easter PT shutdown
    It’s Easter weekend and that invariably means the rail network is shut down for works. Auckland Transport advises the rail network will be closed for Easter and there are changes to timetables for buses and ferries during the holiday break....
    Transport Blog | 17-04
  • Another perspective on the postgraduate allowance cuts
    I have already shared two stories from psychology students about how the postgraduate allowance cuts have affected them. These stories demonstrate the widespread impact the changes are having. Here is yet another story I have received, this one giving the...
    frogblog | 17-04
  • Against secret "justice" in NZ
    Last year, in response to a series of court cases challenging its control orders or claiming compensation for human rights abuses by its intelligence services, the UK passed the Justice and Security Act 2013. The Act introduces a "Closed Material...
    No Right Turn | 17-04
  • Massey chancellor sets up company in opposition to university
    Massey Chancellor Chris Kelly will chair the board of a company that intends to be New Zealand’s largest private training provider (PTE)...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Gibbs, Hayek, Canterbury and the free market for degrees
    The New Zealand Herald notes that philanthropist Alan Gibbs is about to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Canterbury today. One of the many institutions Alan Gibbs has donated his money to...
    TEU | 16-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: Record Store Day
    As readers will know, I have long embraced the internet music revolution. The ability to discover and download new things pretty much as they're being made has reinvented and refreshed my lifelong relationship with popular music. But I still really...
    Public Address | 16-04
  • Great Sorkin Parody
    Aaron Sorkin (SportsNight, The West Wing, The Newsroom) makes a very particular style of TV. Some good parts to that, some really silly parts. Amy Schumer' Comedy Central parody of Sorkin is pitch-prefect and hilarious. Enjoy: Inside Amy SchumerGet More:...
    Polity | 16-04
  • Photographic proof
    Deborah asked for a picture of my bicycle, after I wrote about it, and there is now one in existence which even includes me riding it along Mt Albert Rd, thanks to a dear friend who drove past me and...
    The Hand Mirror | 16-04
  • Our future lies in science
    This is not a column on global warming, climate change or whether humans are or aren’t having an impact....
    Pundit | 16-04
  • Gordon Campbell on drone strikes and Judith Collins‘ last stand
    Reportedly, US drone operators refer to their kills as “bug splat” – mainly because when the carnage is viewed on their screens thousands of kilometres away at home, it looks like an insect strike on a windscreen. The name has...
    Gordon Campbell | 16-04
  • Revealed: Steven Joyce’s select committee submission
    Dear Education Select Committee, Well, there are less than two weeks for people to get their submissions in to you on my proposals to remove staff and students from university and wānanga councils. You...
    TEU | 16-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 17
    Top of the AgendaTensions Rise in Ukraine’s East Ahead of Talks...
    Pundit | 16-04
  • Northern Europe looks to end fixed-term agreements for academics
    Long strings of fixed term employment agreements are not just a problem here in New Zealand but Sweden too, according to Education International. But the Swedish Association of University Teachers (SULF) has a plan to solve this. It is turning...
    TEU | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 17, 2014Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today.The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company, Christchurch Yarns, go into...
    First Union Media | 16-04
  • Collins: More contemptible lying
    Yesterday, Judith Collins treated New Zealand's media and people as if we were all complete fools. Here is what she said (via this morning's Herald): Ms Collins said she was unaware Oravida was having any problems getting its products into...
    Polity | 16-04
  • The Downside of Park and Ride
    Flicking back through older Atlantic Cities posts led to one from last year about Park and Ride catching my eye. It’s a fairly well reasoned cautionary tale which highlights the pitfalls and potential perverse outcomes from something that would appear...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • Heartland logic: More people have heard of Fidel Castro than Michael Mann, ...
    This is a guest post from Narahani.   Or is happening and is good for you, or has stopped happening, or is caused by CO2 but only a little, or is about to reverse due to lots of yet-to-be-discovered negative...
    Skeptical Science | 16-04
  • Submission
    Below is my draft submission on the Environmental Reporting Bill. I'm primarily interested in the freedom of information issues; I expect other groups to be focused on the reporting itself. I support the aims of the Environmental Reporting Bill of...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Government’s ‘rock star economy’ throws hospital staff ou...
    The Public Service Association says administrative staff at hospitals around the country are missing out on Bill English’s ‘rock star...
    PSA | 16-04
  • Lip service: it’s all climate action ever gets from Key & Co
    As expected, the New Zealand government’s response to the IPCC’s Working Group 3 report on mitigating climate change pays lip service to the science, while maintaining that NZ is doing all that can be expected. Climate change minister Tim Groser’s...
    Hot Topic | 16-04
  • Progress of FCV “slave ships” Bill is good news – but much work remai...
    The Maritime Union of New Zealand says the progress of the “slave ships” Bill in the New Zealand Parliament is good news – but much work remains to be done....
    MUNZ | 16-04
  • Judith Collins’ reputation dependent on Slater’s scandals
    Judith Collins' reputation as the possible next leader of the National party is in shreds. Her reputation as a minister of the crown in the Key owned National party caucus is in tatters. A resignation is the only honorable thing...
    the Irascible Curmudgeon | 16-04
  • Photo of the Day: Red III
    Learning Your Stripes, 2013, Regan Gentry, Papatoetoe. Commissioned by Auckland Council aer  ...
    Transport Blog | 16-04
  • The cost of tax cheats
    How much do corporate tax cheats cost? In the US, over US$180 billion a year:US taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals...
    No Right Turn | 16-04
  • Cats cavorting through capital – Morgan
    The capital’s cats are cavorting through Wellington properties at a rate of 49 million trespasses a year, according to a new study by anti-cat campaigner Gareth Morgan. Island Bay and the rest of the Southern Ward turned out to be...
    Gareth’s World | 16-04
  • “Stick to your knitting”…Gratuitous insult from Minister Groser to NZ...
    Climate Minister Groser continues to insult the New Zealand people – this time through our leading scientists. On Monday the IPCC released Working Group III’s section of its 5th Assessment Report.  Building on Group I (science) and II (impact), this...
    frogblog | 16-04
  • Businesses need to respect workers this Easter
    Businesses intent on flouting Easter shopping laws should face stiff penalties, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today. This Easter, at least one major garden centre chain intends to open on Good Friday despite this being in breach...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney's Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members' ballot. “It’s time the Government acted in the interests of families,” Sue Moroney says. “National has tried every...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the price for Genesis far too low in a desperate attempt to beef up demand....
    Labour | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Associate Immigration spokesperson. “In the past 12 months, temporary...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Since 2009 resignation rates among sworn staff have...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand to revisit its decision to evict an essential community organisation in Christchurch with only eight weeks notice.Yesterday at the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence support services the organisation...
    Greens | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “Auckland Council has implemented a by-law banning the use of psychoactive...
    Labour | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination after revelations that three out of seven properties sold in Wanganui tested positive for methamphetamine,...
    Labour | 17-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Before his departure, John Key said he would wait until all...
    Labour | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today.The report tabled in Parliament yesterday shows that total use of ozone depleting gases in New Zealand has...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.  ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Collins must admit misleading Parliament
    ACC Minister Judith Collins must front up and admit she has misled Parliament over ACC’s policy to stop paying compensation to clients who refused to fill in its privacy form, Labour’s ACC spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway says. “Judith Collins claimed Labour...
    Labour | 16-04
  • English confirms he has no plan to raise wages
    Finance Minister Bill English has confirmed he has absolutely no plans to lift wages, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues, Andrew Little says. “Bill English told the Chamber of Commerce yesterday that workers could expect a rise in average income of...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Govt careless and callous about threatened birds
    The National Government is increasing the threat to two of the world's most threatened and unique birds by opening up Victoria Forest Park to petroleum drilling, the Green Party said today.Scientists have recently published a ranking of the 100 most...
    Greens | 16-04
  • Genesis: The biggest fire sale of them all
    National has finished its asset sales with a massive bonfire of a fire sale, showing once and for all how much of a disaster this programme was, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “Just 68,000 Kiwis bought shares in Genesis,...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Interest rates rise but only smokes increasing
    Mortgage rate rises are making life harder for homeowners, and many of them will be surprised the latest CPI figures show inflation would be zero were it not for tobacco tax hikes, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson David Parker. “New Zealanders...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Term One Report Card for Hekia Parata
    Assignment Teacher’s Comments Grade      ...
    Labour | 16-04
  • Hekia Parata kept exam book errors from schools
    Schools will be appalled to learn Education Minister Hekia Parata knew since January that hundreds of exam booklets had been returned to the wrong students but said nothing about it, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Exams are stressful enough...
    Labour | 15-04
  • What has ACC Minister been doing?
    The ACC Minister needs to front up and explain what, if any, changes she has made to the broken culture of ACC rather than denying that she has any part to play in the dysfunction of her Ministry, the Green...
    Greens | 15-04
  • Promise of jam tomorrow takes the cake
    A claim by Minister of Finance Bill English that average wages will climb by $7,500 over the next four years is a cynical promise of jam tomorrow by a government whose record on wage growth is atrocious, Labour spokesperson on...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Judith Collins has to fess up on ACC blunder
    ACC Minster Judith Collins must front up and tell New Zealand how many people who refused to hand over their private details to ACC have been denied cover, says Labour’s ACC Spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The legality of ACC’s privacy waver,...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Board of Inquiry conditions will save rivers in New Zealand
    The Ruataniwha dam decision released today has protected the Tukituki River and dashed the Government’s hope of the “one nutrient model” (TRIM) being adopted nationwide, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson. “It is a massive victory for those in the...
    Labour | 15-04
  • Labour turns wheels for cycling safety
    With more than a million New Zealanders now using cycling as an attractive alternative means of transport it is past time their safety was taken seriously, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Darien Fenton says. Due to speak to a cycling rally at...
    Labour | 15-04
  • SPEECH: Institute of Directors
    LEADING AND MANAGING OUR ECONOMIC FUTURE David Cunliffe MP, Labour Leader Speech to the Institute of Directors 15 April 2014, Auckland It's a privilege to be speaking here. The Institute of Directors has a proud history of developing New Zealand's...
    Labour | 15-04
  • More Oravida endorsements from John Key
    The use of a picture of John Key in an advertisement for Oravida’s scampi products in a Chinese airline magazine is further evidence of an unhealthily cosy relationship between the National Party and this company, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says....
    Labour | 15-04
  • Workers at Canterbury Yarns need redundancy support
    Workers faced with redundancy at Canterbury Yarns need a redundancy support co-ordinator, Green Party industrial relations spokesperson Denise Roche said today.Last week, Canterbury Yarns was placed in receivership. Canterbury Yarns joins a long list of New Zealand manufacturers who have...
    Greens | 14-04
  • Making the holidays easier for Kiwi drivers
    The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “There’s nothing Kiwis like more than getting on the road and going on holiday. But on...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Ae Marika! 15 April 2014
    Our MANA AGM down in Rotorua on the weekend was a sold-out affair – even the media were struggling to get in! Political conferences can be very dull, but not this one. We had a great line-up of speakers including...
    Mana | 14-04
  • Green light from Labour for cancer screening programme
    Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today committed to a national bowel screening programme, starting with extending the current service to the Southern and Waikato districts. “Around 3000 New Zealanders develop bowel cancer each year and about 1200, or 100 a month,...
    Labour | 14-04
  • Adequate resourcing needed for victims’ advocate
    The establishment of a victims’ commissioner role will only be meaningful if it is properly resourced to do the job of advocating for victims’ interests, Labour Justice spokesperson Andrew Little says. Justice Minister Judith Collins has just recently indicated her...
    Labour | 13-04
  • IPCC report shows Government ignoring climate experts
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) report into climate mitigation, just released in Berlin, shows the National Government is ignoring the pleas of the world's best climate scientists.The report says deep and fast emission cuts are vital from all...
    Greens | 13-04
  • Japan’s quick turnaround on whaling disappointing
    News that Japan plans to recommence some form of “scientific” whaling programme so quickly after the International Court of Justice’s ruling against it is very disappointing, says David Shearer, Labour’s Foreign Affairs spokesperson. “New Zealanders expected the ICJ ruling -...
    Labour | 13-04
  • Reviewable tenancies will increase risks for vulnerable children
    Instead of kicking families out of their homes if they can pay their rent, parents with young children should have the opportunity to purchase equity in a state-built home over time, the Green Party said todayFrom July, Housing New Zealand...
    Greens | 13-04
  • 48,000 New Zealanders drinking faecally contaminated water
    Some 48,000 people were provided with water that had issues with faecal contamination, 18,000 of whom were from Canterbury, the Green Party said today. The Ministry of Health's Annual Report on Drinking-Water in New Zealand for 2012/13 shows that 48,000...
    Greens | 12-04
  • Labour will move to save the Kauri
    Labour will spend $20 million over the next 10 years to stop the spread of Kauri dieback disease, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “We are facing an ecological disaster with over 11 per cent of the Kauri trees in the...
    Labour | 12-04
  • SPEECH: Saving our Kauri
    Seech notes Good morning. Thank you for joining us here today. As a West Auckland MP I am very aware the kauri is an important part of this place. The Waitakere Ranges with their thousands of kauri, are a taonga....
    Labour | 12-04
  • MANA to continue negotiations with the Internet Party
    The MANA AGM has decided unanimously tonight to continue negotiaitions with the Internet Party. Within a month further negotiations, further consultation with MANA branches and a final decision on whether to proceed with a relationship is expected....
    Mana | 12-04
  • National’s tax dodge
      National’s insistence that it is cracking down on tax dodgers is little more than a bit of election year chest beating, Labour Leader David Cunliffe says. “Revenue Minister Todd McClay surely doesn’t believe collecting $100 million of an estimated...
    Labour | 12-04
  • Housing prices go up – Gens X & Y give up
    Today’s REINZ report shows house prices continue skyward while first home buyers are dropping out of the market, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “According to the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand the national median house price has risen...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Do Key and Adams support Chorus appeal?
    John Key and Amy Adams must tell New Zealanders whether they support Chorus’ appeal of the High Court’s ruling in favour of the Commerce Commission, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. “Chorus’ appeal is a waste of time. The company is...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Is Judith Collins unapologising
    Judith Collins appears to have retracted her apology for failing to disclose her meeting with her husband’s fellow company directors and a senior Chinese border control official just weeks after being ticked off by John Key for not doing so, Labour...
    Labour | 11-04
  • Media Advisory
    There have been a few minor changes to the MANA AGM agenda. Moana Jackson is unable to attend due to family commitments. Speaking in his place on Saturday morning MANA is pleased to welcome Georgina Beyer and Willie Jackson. MANA...
    Mana | 10-04
  • Green Party requests inquiry into Peter Dunne and Trust
    Green Party MP Denise Roche today wrote to the Parliamentary Registrar of Pecuniary Interests requesting an inquiry into whether Peter Dunne should have included his involvement as chair of the Northern Wellington Festival Trust on the Register of Pecuniary Interests...
    Greens | 10-04
  • Veterans short-changed
    The Veterans’ Support Bill reported back to Parliament today rejects a key recommendation of the Law Commission Review on which it is based and ignores the submissions of veterans and the RNZRSA, says Labour’s Veterans’ Affairs Spokesperson, Phil Goff. “A...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Tribute for Maungaharuru- Tangitu settlement
    Labour Member of Parliament for Ikaroa-Rāwhiti, Meka Whaitiri paid tribute to Maungaharuru-Tangitu today as their Treaty of Waitangi settlement became law. “The Bill acknowledges Treaty breaches that left Maungaharuru-Tangitu virtually landless. Today we were reminded of the history, mamae, loss...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Neglected rural and regional roads will cost more lives
    The government must take urgent action to prevent more accidents to truck drivers and other road users of increased logging trucks on neglected roads, says Darien Fenton, Labour’s Transport spokesperson. “The dangers to drivers and other road users in the...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Judith Collins’ refusal to answer a disgrace
    If John Key is holding his Ministers to any standards at all, he must make Judith Collins answer questions about the senior Chinese official she met during her taxpayer-funded visit to China last October, Labour MP Grant Robertson says. “Judith...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Ryall needs to heed hospital workforce issues
    The public health workforce, the same one Tony Ryall argues is making a lot of progress is facing increased pressure and staff burnout through his continued shuffling of the deckchairs, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Mr Ryall uses all...
    Labour | 10-04
  • Key ducks but can’t avoid High Court slap
    The High Court’s slap in the face to John Key and his Government over Chorus has left it with no option but to accept the Commerce Commission’s lawful process in deciding the price of copper, says Labour’s associate ICT spokesperson...
    Labour | 09-04
  • First home buyers shut out as LVRs bite
    The bad news continues for young Kiwis as the latest Core Logic report shows the proportion of first home buyers has declined since LVR lending restrictions came into force, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. Twenty two centres across the...
    Labour | 09-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • GUEST BLOG: Daniel Bruce – Internet Party: What Seems Ridiculous To The O...
    Imagine you’re a 18-21 year old, from a working class family. You’ve never had a landline phone at home, because your parents can’t afford the fixed monthly bills, so everyone in your familiy has a pre-pay mobile phone. Because of the same tight...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Greens to push for housing standards in MOU with Government Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release We don’t need any more official reports. We know the problem and we have the plans....
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Mighty River squanders $3.8m preparing for sale Tuesday, 28 Aug 2012 | Press Release New Zealanders do not want asset sales and they do not want the Government wasting millions of dollars on...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government’s economic agenda on shaky ground Monday, 27 Aug 2012 | Press Release Instead of betting on a boom and bust industry and selling off assets the government needs to invest in a...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: National’s tax cuts haven’t cut tax avoidance Sunday, 26 Aug 2012 | Press Release It is not fair that many rich New Zealanders are cheating on their tax. National’s 2010 tax cuts, that...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Waitangi Tribunal report adds to crisis in asset sales agenda Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release In its rush to sell our assets, National has found itself in a crisis of its...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Privacy across all departments needs checking
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Privacy across all departments needs checking Friday, 24 Aug 2012 | Press Release “People don’t have a choice about giving their information to the state so the Government has an absolute duty to...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Reports show Government role in driving ACC dysfunction Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Restoring public trust and confidence is an essential goal and will require very major change starting from the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government must front up on full costs of asset sales
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government must front up on full costs of asset sales Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release It’s time for the Government to front up over just how much these asset sales are...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New report: middle NZ worse off, inequality grows Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release Our society has never been as unequal as it is today. New research from the Ministry of Social...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Government to delay addressing climate change indefinitely Thursday, 23 Aug 2012 | Press Release “It would be a shock for any other Government to introduce such a self-defeatist piece of legislation but unfortunately...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Time to deliver on 26 weeks Paid Parental Leave Today marks two years since Labour MP Sue Moroney’s Bill extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks was drawn from the members’ ballot. “It’s...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Taxpayers robbed of $130m in Genesis sale Kiwi taxpayers have been robbed of $130 million by the Government in its final failed asset sale, says Labour’s SOEs spokesperson Clayton Cosgrove. “National set the...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Service for victims of sexual violence pushed out in cold Thursday, 17 Apr 2014 | Press Release Christchurch cannot afford to lose this agency The Green Party is calling on Housing New Zealand...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Resignation rates among cops soar
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Resignation rates among cops soar The number of frontline officers quitting the police force is at a four-year high, with more than 350 walking off the job in the past year, Labour’s Police...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Work visa problems need monitoring
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Work visa problems need monitoring The Government is handing out temporary work visas to migrants to work in jobs that could easily be filled by unemployed Kiwi workers in the Christchurch rebuild, says...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Legal high ban worthy of wider pick-up Auckland Council’s ban on using legal highs in a public place is an excellent idea that should be replicated around New Zealand, says Labour’s Associate Health...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Smith sells state P-houses to first home buyers Nick Smith must reassure worried first home buyers that any Housing NZ houses sold under his First Home policy will be tested for P contamination...
    The Daily Blog | 17-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Brazil: Human rights under threat ahead of the World Cup     Protests in Brazil:Brazil Franciscan friar kneels in front of Brazilian riot police officers asking for calm during confrontation with Landless...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Libya: Trial of former al-Gaddafi officials by video link a farce     Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi will face the courts on 14 April. © IMED LAMLOUM/AFP/Getty Images         Read...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights ...
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Algeria: Pre-election clampdown exposes ‘gaping holes’ in human rights record     Freedom of expression, association and assembly are under threat ahead of elections in Algeria. © FAROUK BATICHE/AFP/Getty Images    ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed
    Source: Amnesty International NZ – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Viet Nam: Prisoners of conscience released but dozens remain jailed     Vietnamese activist Nguyen Tien Trung was one of the prisoners of conscience released this week. © Private      ...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: PM’s China visit assisted Oravida, not Fonterra Questions must now be asked whether it was Fonterra or Oravida who really benefited from the Prime Minister’s recent visit to China, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases
    Source: Green Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: New Zealand’s use of ozone depleting gases increases A new Government report highlights that the amount of ozone depleting gases New Zealand is using is increasing, the Green Party said today. The report...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • The issues behind the possible MANA-Internet Party Alliance
      Last weekend Kim Dotcom spoke at MANAs AGM to discuss the possibility of the Internet Party and MANA Party working together to defeat John Key this election. As someone who knows both Hone and Kim, I have a unique...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Manufacturing Upgrade
    Source: Labour Party – Press Release/Statement: Headline: Manufacturing Upgrade   Labour is determined to support and grow our manufacturing sector. These policies grew out of the findings of the 2013 Parliamentary Inquiry into Manufacturing.   – The claims and opinions...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Get work on 29th and the ANZAC spirit deserts the TPPA
      Groser and co would have been spitting tacks last week as the ANZAC spirit deserted the TPPA negotiations. Australia has done a deal directly with Japan which undercuts the demand for Japan to opening all agriculture in the TPPA....
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • No fracking solution to climate change
    Some British tabloids and oil lobbyists have jumped on comments made by an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change author that fracking could play a role in addressing climate change as an argument for it here in Aotearoa, so is fracking...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    Source: First Union – Press Release/Statement: Headline: At Last: A Manufacturing Policy Date of Release:  Thursday, April 17, 2014 Body:  FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Drone murder of New Zealander “justified” by Prime Minister
    Yesterday Prime Minister John Key justified the extrajudicial killing of a New Zealander in a US drone strike in Yemen with a few cynical, callous words at a stand-up press conference. Key said he’d been briefed by our spy agencies...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Secret Policeman’s Ball
      Amnesty International’s Secret Policeman’s Ball is back in New Zealand for one night of some of the best stand-up comedy from both national and international comics The freedom to provoke and in some cases offend is essential to the...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • So the US has assassinated a NZ citizen – what did Key know?
    A non judicial assassination by the US on a NZ citizen raises questions. Key made the idea that NZers were training with terrorists part of his farcical defence for the GCSB mass surveillance legislation. I say farcical because even if...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Something Better Than Something Worse: Why John Key could become our longes...
    IN HIS MEMORABLE holiday-home encounter with the host of Campbell Live, the Prime Minister, John Key, did not rule out running for a fourth term. Were he to be successful, the long-standing record of Sir Keith Holyoake (11 years and 2...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • GUEST BLOG: RIO TINTO WINS 2013 ROGER AWARD
      Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third  The seven finalists for the 2013 Roger Award for the Worst Transnational Corporation Operating in Aotearoa/New Zealand were: ANZ, Chorus, IAG Insurance Group, Imperial Tobacco, Rio Tinto, Sky City Casino and Talent 2. The criteria for judging are...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • National drowning in an ocean of poisoned milk
    It is becoming difficult to keep up with which National Party MP is bleeding the most at the moment. Simon Bridges is being crucified by Whaleoil almost as much as Greenpeace are attacking him, suggesting Cam is seizing the moment...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Want to get rid of synthetic cannabis? Legalize real cannabis
    Have we managed to appreciate the madness that synthetic cannabis is legal yet more harmful than organic cannabis which is illegal? I find the current moral panic over synthetic cannabis difficult to become concerned with when alcohol is FAR more...
    The Daily Blog | 16-04
  • Save our homes – stop the evictions!
    “We will keep on fighting because it frightens me to think my grandchildren could become homeless,” Tere Campbell told me. Tere is a member of Tamaki Housing Group. In September 2011, tenants in 156 state homes in Glen Innes received...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The daily humiliation of women and the constant policing and shaming of our...
    The last few months have been particularly bad for the shaming and policing of women’s bodies in the media, both in New Zealand and globally. First we had NZ Newstalk ZB presenter Rachel Smalley referring to women weighing over 70kgs...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • A case study of racism by Police at Auckland Airport
    A couple of days ago I returned from Samoa after attending a family matter and some contract work. Spending a few days in the warmth of our homeland was welcome relief from the cold weather starting to make its presence...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • An acute shortage of emergency youth housing
    The housing crisis is effecting everyone in Christchurch but some are more vulnerable than others. Recently I attended a workshop on emergency youth housing hosted by the 298 Youth Health Centre, who I worked for from 2001-2003. Over fifty people...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The Oceans Issue
    The ‘Earth’ is 71% water but our oceans are the last frontier. The oceans are huge, relatively unexplored, full of weird and wonderful diversity. In New Zealand we’re never far from the sea, and our identity, our landscapes, our communities,...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Fear of South Auckland
    Fear of South Auckland...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • TV News Geography
    TV News Geography...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • The best bit about gay sex
    The best bit about gay sex...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • On not voting 1
    On not voting 1...
    The Daily Blog | 15-04
  • Global unions applaud NZ ‘slave ships’ progress
    Global unions the ITF (International Transport Workers' Federation) and IUF (International Union of Food, Agricultural and Hospitality Workers) today applauded the steps forward made in preventing often shocking abuse of crews on fishing vessels in New Zealand...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Families before commerce at Easter
    Families before commerce at Easter The retail workers’ union has hit back at critics of New Zealand's modest Easter trading restrictions. "Some things are more important than going to the mall, and for just three and a half days each...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Easter trading laws archaic, in need of overhaul
    Press release: ACT New Zealand Easter trading laws are outdated and in need of a major overhaul, said ACT leader Jamie Whyte today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • ALCP welcomes Campbell Live poll result
    The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party welcomes last night's Campbell Live poll, saying it is an overdue reality check for public opinion on personal cannabis use....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Q+A This Week 20/4/14
    Q+A This Week SUNDAY 20 APRIL, 9AM ON TV ONE The latest on the US-NZ relationship from the US military’s top man in the Pacific, Admiral Samuel J. Locklear . Deputy Political Editor Michael Parkin asks him whether we’re allies,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Community detention for pokie theft
    A 67-year-old former company director, convicted of stealing pokie machine profits, was today sentenced to six months community detention, 160 hours of community work and ordered to make reparation of $6,000....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Waitangi National Trust Board Amendment Bill
    The Māori Affairs Committee is inviting public submissions on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Wednesday, 14 May 2014....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Collaboration stops drugs from crossing borders
    Collaboration between Hong Kong and New Zealand Customs has stopped millions of dollars worth of drugs coming into New Zealand this year, with a number of seizures and arrests in both countries....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Call for public enquiry into the future of farming
    Fish & Game NZ is calling for a public enquiry “to examine the future of agriculture in New Zealand”....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Comment on Labour Policy Announcement by NZMEA President
    “This policy release from the Labour Party is so important that if it becomes government policy it would define a shift in New Zealand’s culture,” says Brian Willoughby President of the NZMEA and Managing Director of Plinius Audio and Contex...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Manufacturing policy makes sense but….
    On the surface much of Labour's prescription for manufacturing is sound though questions remain over some of the detail not yet announced, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Where Are The 15,000 Jobs?
    “Paula Bennett is today proudly telling New Zealand that beneficiary numbers have decreased by 15,000 in the past year. There is no proud declaration that 15,000 jobs have been created in the same period,” says Auckland Action Against Poverty spokesperson,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Change of approach to government procurement needed
    The rail engineering industry has been totally let down by National’s lack of manufacturing policy, and Labour’s measures outlined today represent a marked shift in approach to supporting domestic industries, the RMTU said today....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Depreciation Policy Shouldn’t Be Just for Pet Industries
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Labour’s announcement to beef up rates of depreciation in the manufacturing sector, but is questioning why David Cunliffe is picking winners rather than applying the policy across all sectors. Jordan Williams,...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • FIFA U-20 World Cup NZ 2015 Kick Off Times Announced
    An array of kick-off times to suit football fans of all ages has been confirmed for the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015. With 52 matches spread across the nation, the public will be able to enjoy a collection...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • “Legitimate purpose” provides no protection under 167 form
    On Radio New Zealand today, the Privacy Commissioner indicated that ACC could only request information that was "relevant" for a "legitimate purpose". His view was therefore that the ACC167 form is not a "blank cheque" or...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • State: still keeping you safe on the road this Easter
    The long-awaited Easter/ Anzac break is nearly upon us while the weather may have taken a turn for the worse in several parts of the country, many Kiwis will still be packing up their cars to take a road trip....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Govt plan for community input into residential red zone
    Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel has welcomed Prime Minister John Key’s announcement today of a community participation process for the public to have a say on the future use of the residential red zone....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Governor-General to visit Turkey
    The Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, is to visit Turkey next week to lead New Zealand’s representation at the annual Gallipoli commemorations....
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Actions of Police prior to death in custody were justified
    A report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority on the death of Adam Palmer while in Police custody found the actions of Police were justified during the arrest. The report also found that Police took all possible steps to try...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • New Electorate Boundaries Finalised
    New boundaries for the country’s 64 General and seven Māori electorates have been finalised – with an additional electorate created in Auckland. The 2014 Representation Commission has completed its statutory role of reviewing and redrawing electorate...
    Scoop politics | 17-04
  • Save The Children Welcomes Strengthening Children’s Rights
    Save the Children New Zealand welcomes a new treaty which allows children to complain directly to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child about alleged violations of their rights....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour takes manufacturing seriously
    Labour takes manufacturing seriously Manufacturing workers and employers will all benefit from economic policies announced today by the Labour Party leader, David Cunliffe. The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union has welcomed the announcement...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Manufacturing policy welcomed
    “Today’s announcement of Labour’s manufacturing policy is very welcome,” says CTU Economist Bill Rosenberg. “Just as many other developed countries are realising, having a strong manufacturing sector pays off in good jobs, retaining...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Operation Unite – a Blitz on Drunken Violence
    New Zealand Police are hoping to reduce the number of victims from alcohol related crime by asking the public to say ‘Yeah, Nah’ more often this holiday weekend....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Dunne Speaks
    Dunne Speaks 17 April 2014 There have been a number of harrowing cases presented this week about the impact of psychoactive substances on vulnerable young people. At one level, the tales are deeply disturbing. It is awful to see anyone...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Research announcement welcomed
    A leading Māori researcher has welcomed the announcement of the 2014 Te Pūnaha Hihiko - Vision Mātauranga Capability Fund by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce and Māori Affairs Minister Dr Pita Sharples....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • At Last: A Manufacturing Policy
    At Last: A Manufacturing Policy FIRST Union congratulates Labour on the release of its Manufacturing policy today. The union represents workers in the wood, food and textile manufacturing sectors. “In a week that has seen another manufacturing company,...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Republic campaigners still positive after royal visit
    "Campaigners for a New Zealand Head of State are still feeling positive after ten days of royal events" says NZ Republic Chair, Savage. "Our polling before the visit showed increased support for a kiwi head of state. We have a...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Selling homes to foreigners benefits New Zealanders
    Winston Peters has apparently convinced David Cunliffe that when foreigners buy New Zealand property they make New Zealanders worse off. Mr Cunliffe has announced his intention to adopt Winston Peters’ policy of banning foreigners from buying...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Taxpayers’ Union Welcomes Key’s Rejection of ‘Fat Tax’
    The Taxpayers’ Union is welcoming Prime Minister John Key’s rejection of fat and sugar taxes ahead of this year's election. Jordan Williams, Executive Director of the Union, says:...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Law Commission Paper on a New Crown Civil Proceedings Act
    The Law Commission has released A New Crown Civil Proceedings Act for New Zealand , its Issues Paper on reforming the Crown Proceedings Act 1950. The Issues Paper proposes a new statute to replace the Crown Proceedings Act 1950....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for NZ workers
    Maritime Union says focus must now go on fishing industry jobs for New Zealand workers...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Make the choice to stay safe on the road
    With Easter and Anzac Day giving us two successive long weekends this year there will be a lot of happy families preparing for trips....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Students Welcome Engagement with StudyLink
    The New Zealand Union of Students’ Associations (NZUSA) has welcomed the improved performance from StudyLink in 2014. There is no doubt that getting their loans and allowances processed on time makes it easier for students to concentrate on being...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised
    Deaf And Hard of Hearing New Zealanders Marginalised Imagine if you could not access vital news and information. What would you do?...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Public lose interest in this council, 2016 to be a watershed
    The second term Auckland Council is proving to be an interesting one and very different to the inaugural 2010 – 2013 Governing Body. We are currently going through a budget round to lock in where council’s $3b expenditure is directed...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Labour and National join forces in new Maori confiscations
    Chris McKenzie, former-treaty negotiator and Te Tai Hauauru Maori party candidate, says that the Minister of Primary Industries’ plans to remove temporary exemptions for vessel operators derived from settlement negotiations is akin to confiscation...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • The FCV Bill – Flagging 30 years of failures?
    Paying seafarers at least a minimum wage under the Minimum Wage Act 1983 has applied to the New Zealand fishing industry for more than 30 years. It was, and is, a basic protection which had two universals – it was...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014
    Oxfam’s Morning Tea 2014 Kiwis across the country are getting together over a cuppa to make a difference in the lives of people living in poverty in the developing world. They’re getting involved in Oxfam’s Morning Tea, a fun and...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • 1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know How
    1 in 4 Want to Improve Financial Literacy But Don’t Know Where to Go...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award
    Sky City Casino Second, Chorus Third - The criteria for judging are by assessing the transnational (a corporation with 25% or more foreign ownership) that has the most negative impact in each or all of the following categories: economic dominance...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • ACC’s Strategy to stop compensation using ACC 167 Form
    On Radio NZ national’s morning report on 15 April 2014, ACC’s spokesperson Sid Miller denied the non-compliance was just a way for ACC to refuse people....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Workers support plain packaging of tobacco
    The CTU have today presented to the health select committee in support of plain packaging of tobacco. “Any steps that can be taken to lower smoking rates will result in New Zealand workers and their families having healthier and better...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke
    Christchurch Housing Accord a Joke Hugh Pavletich Performance Urban Planning Christchurch New Zealand 16 April 2014 The Housing Accord entered in to today between the Government and the Christchurch City Council, can only be described as a joke. Christchurch...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Infographic : World Giving Index 2013
    Infographic from Charities Aid Foundation World Giving Index 2013 A Global View Of Giving Trends (click to see full size version)...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Tranter questions CEO’s assurances
    “There is a bizarre notion among bureaucrats, politicians and others that if they say something then it must be so - despite all evidence to the contrary” said David Tranter, Health spokesman for Democrats for Social Credit....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • UNICEF NZ Urges Progress on Plain Packaging of Tobacco
    In its oral submission to the Health Select Committee today, UNICEF NZ expressed its strong support for the Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill as a measure that will help reduce the uptake of smoking, and urged parliament...
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • Whitebait partners look for solutions
    Waikato-Tainui, local marae, councils and agencies are working together to better manage whitebait fisheries at Port Waikato following the compilation of a new report....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
  • NZ’s biggest killer fails to receive the Roger
    The Smokefree Coalition is disappointed Imperial Tobacco did not win the Roger Award for Worst Trans-national Company operating in New Zealand, despite manufacturing products that kill 5000 New Zealanders every year....
    Scoop politics | 16-04
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