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Is Bill English’s ‘big data’, Big Brother & privatisation of govt?

Written By: - Date published: 11:00 am, June 30th, 2014 - 135 comments
Categories: benefits, bill english, business, capitalism, child welfare, class war, democratic participation, election 2014, families, john key, poverty, privatisation, slippery - Tags:

vto has been drawing attention to some comments made by Bill English, about how a third term Key government would majorly reform the government’s budgeting and spending.

English’s comments on this does raise some serious concerns that deserve to be examined in depth.  The way English framed the planned reforms makes it sound like the ability to aggregate data will result in a Big brother type governance.

john_key_bill_english

He also refers to a competitive approach that sounds a little like the further outsourcing of public sector provisions to non-government entities.

On 15th June of this year, Rod Oram reported on some of the results of the Key government so far, and on the new goals being flagged for a third term:

… the government has improved fiscal discipline, initiated its Better Public Services programme, and set itself 10 big challenges such as reducing long-term welfare dependency and boosting skills and employment.

If National wins the election, English says his next budget will be the most radical restructuring of government spending in 50 years as he seeks to take an investment-led, performance-driven approach to programmes.

This is fleshed out a bit more by a couple of posts by Bernard Hickey on Hive News. On 9 June 2014, Hickey posted about,

… Bill English ‘s comments about how a third-term National Government might use big data to change the way it organises itself and reports its spending in future Budgets. I attended a Data Futures Forum at Telecom’s conference centre in Auckland on Friday.

English spoke at length about how Treasury’s new Data Analytics Unit is beginning to pull together the Government’s disparate sets of data to better measure the performance of spending in hitting the Government’s targets. He emphasised the Government’s investment-led approach and flagged the biggest changes in 50 years in the way Budgets were written if the Government was re-elected. See the full report below.

In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, this resort to the power of the government’s capabilities to use ‘Big Data’, is worrying.

DunedinGCSB-5

Hickey explains further in another post of the previous day (8 June 2014):

“We’re now starting to adopt an investment approach. Where you would say we invest now for income later, we’re saying we invest now for cost reduction later, such as in our sole parents under 20,” English said, referring to how the Government had reduced the number of single mothers under the age of 20 by 2,600 or 40% over the last three years, thus reducing future liabilities by hundreds of millions of dollars.

English referred to the development by Statistics NZ of its Integrated Data Infrastructure, which allowed various Government departments to link the names and birth-dates of the recipients of health, welfare and education spending over 35 years to better track and understand the performance of that spending.

The Government had opened up these data sets to the research community to better understand these trends, “so they can chew on our mountains of data.”

“We’ve got a data analytics unit at the Treasury and in the next Budget round, should we have the privilege of being able to be the Government, we’ll probably reshape how we do the Budget – the most significant change in about 50 years – because we want to go direct to the customer,” English said.

I’m not sure how the government has used Big Data, and budget allocations to “reduce the numbers of single mothers under 20 years old.  It does sound a little like eugenics, and (the dread of the right) “social engineering”.   Is this a reference to the social obligations aspects of Bennett’s reforms that have been particularly nasty in their impacts of single mothers.

Gordon Campbell’s post in February 2012, highlights the same kind of language being used by English now in talking about Big Data: the “investment approach”.

Underpinning the reforms, Bennett explained, was ‘an investment approach’ – more details promised next year – “that will change long term, who we work with, and who we spend money on”.

the real beneficiaries_aaap_bene_online

Adding to these worries, Michael Fletcher reports that the government won’t tell us how they are evaluating their welfare reforms. [h/t veutopviper]

As reported by Hickey in his second post linked above, English -speaks loudly of Big Brother monitoring of individuals, especially those receiving government spending. English speaks of aggregating data about individuals who have received funding for health, welfare and education.

English goes on to identify a shift away from government to private provisions of such “health, welfare and education spending,” as quoted in Hickey’s post of June 8th:

That’s the power the data gives us, and over time that’s going to mean quite dramatic shifts for the way Government does its business,” he said.

“(That’s) simply because the decision makers called ministers can know a hell of a lot more and understanding of what we’re trying to do is not controlled by the entities between us and the customers.”

English gave examples of how Government and business could work together to better understand or help people in need of help. He pointed to how the Government often struggled to find young single mothers or children who had been through many schools, or former students who were living overseas and not repaying their loans.

Here the Big Data shift is identified as a shift away from government provisions to bringing”business” more into the centre of decision-making.  People in communities are described as “customers” not citizens, or members of the public. And again the example used is that of single mothers on benefits.  These women are the ones that have been the main targets of the Team Key’s nasty beneficiary-bashing programme.

corporat welfare social welfare

Vote for the people, against Big Brother and Privatisation of the public sector!  Vote left!

vote left 2014

 

 

 

135 comments on “Is Bill English’s ‘big data’, Big Brother & privatisation of govt?”

  1. dimebag russell 1

    oh well.
    they will discuss it for half an hour on 9-noone one morning and then thats that.
    isn’t it?

  2. Chooky 2

    Another great post karol…and scarey!

    …another reason why the Cunliffe Labour Left coalition MUST win this election!…to prevent the further erosion of democracy and a John Edgar Hoover Key and English big brother spy society…where New Zealanders are regarded as the problem!… and the enemy

  3. dimebag russell 3

    yeah key and co are off their fucking heads trying to do this sort of shit.
    whats wrong with them?
    is it guilt or paranoia that makes them want to spy on everybody.
    brave new world bulldust.
    they just creeps.

    • karol 3.1

      It is Brave New World-ish.

      They are bloody sneaky with it, in the way they use language to seem like one thing, while almost being the opposite.

      English’s language is all framed in positive corporate-style jargon, while actually being about bennie-bashing, and repressing the least powerful people. It’s necessary to concentrate and focus on what he actually means.

      e.g. the use of the term “investment” approach – which also has been used by Bennett with her bennie-bashing welfare reforms.

      • Once was Tim 3.1.1

        Don’t be surprised if they trot out “Kaizen” soon – as in continuous (corporatised) improvement. It’s due for a recycle.

  4. Tracey 4

    Surely it is easy for the Government to show precisely where the 2,600 mothers under 20 have gone? And why wouldn’t they want to proudly show us?

    Into work?
    Into marriage?
    Into de facto partnerships?
    Back home to parents?
    To education moving them to student allowance/loan rather than DPB?

    • ianmac 4.1

      Terrifying Tracey that they have reduced the under 20 pregnant mothers by 2,600. How on earth can a Government do that? Have they refused to acknowledge their existence and therefore “disappeared them” off the data?

      • Tracey 4.1.1

        I forgot the other possibility for a few of them…

        Adoption
        Child now cared for by family
        Child fostered

        • ianmac 4.1.1.1

          But those possibilities have always been there Tracey. 2600 is too big to explain that drop. Perhaps teens are no longer eligible for help?

          • Tracey 4.1.1.1.1

            That is what i am getting at. The breakdown would be easy to get if the govt wanted it and if it backed their rhetoric. 2600 into employment. But they havent got the breakdown to hand… I shouldnt have to do an OIA. The press should be demanding the brwakdown from the minister or no story.

  5. Mike the Savage One 5

    This is interesting and worrying stuff, and I would expect the worst.

    Also did I come across this new post under ‘Speaker’ at Public Address last night, which shows that in regards to welfare reforms and evaluation of their success, there is an immense degree of secrecy in what the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) are doing:

    “How is Government evaluating its welfare reforms, and why aren’t we allowed to know?”
    (by Michael Fletcher)

    See the article found via this link:
    http://publicaddress.net/speaker/how-is-government-evaluating-its-welfare/

    So they seem to intend to gather more data, as they are to my knowledge already doing, whether it is for taxation, immigration, education and social security policies, but they are highly reluctant to let anyone in the public get the slightest idea, what their policy formation and evaluation of implemented policies are all about.

    With so much that this present government has changed and brought in having been ideologically driven, we will have to expect more of the same, should National get a third term.

    This all deserves further research and study, I may suggest.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.1

      So they seem to intend to gather more data, as they are to my knowledge already doing, whether it is for taxation, immigration, education and social security policies, but they are highly reluctant to let anyone in the public get the slightest idea, what their policy formation and evaluation of implemented policies are all about.

      Well, it’s like John (the fraud) Banks said: if they wore their policies on their sleeve they’d never get elected. (paraphrased)

  6. One Anonymous Bloke 6

    I think the answers to the questions posed in the title are ‘no’ and ‘yes’.

    Big Brother represents a totalitarian state – Big Bruv and King Kong would applaud, but few others.

    As for the privatisation agenda it’s obvious. The Left has to be prepared to dismantle it entirely: render its advocates unemployable, and return public service to public servants rather than ideologically handicapped sycophants.

  7. dimebag russell 7

    Yes well where is the parliamentary press gallery on this one?
    Go to parliament at 2pm and the gallery is packed but none of them has the nous to investigate this story.
    they all too busy trying to get themselves on the 6o’clock news in their finery for their skite reels.
    what a bloody sham.

  8. Tracey 8

    More data sharing proposed. ostensibly to catch money launderers. We will have to trust that is all it’s used for, right? I feel particularly trusting of the Minister introducing these measures, don’t you?

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/politics/307181/collins-acts-money-laundering

  9. Ennui 9

    Karol, good post. Sitting right in front of me now is an insidious Request fro Information from the Dept Internal Affairs which illustrates another “privatisation” by stealth. It is for government network services.

    The jist of this document is to enable “easier” information flow between all government funded entities, not just the core ministries. It is being pushed out to Health Boards, Education etc etc. The methodology is to build a supply chain that precludes independent action, a unitary procurement and controlling body over which government information will flow.

    The next move (once the information can be captured and become aggregated) is to start consolidating meta data, et voila, all those little bits of information given in confidence etc (should some government body, or maybe even private “provider” wish to) can be pasted together, manipulated, utilised. And where it “can”, it will.

    As an aside the commercial deal on All of Government procurement is to make it bloody hard for the smaller players to get listed as suppliers, the corporate players get the business because they can afford to bid, they then set higher prices, we the taxpayer pay more and the profits leave the country. Its a double whammy, the corporate mates of the National Party get fed handsomely for enabling “Big Brother” to become a reality.

  10. Draco T Bastard 10

    In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, this resort to the power of the government’s capabilities to use ‘Big Data’, is worrying.

    Whereas I’d say that it was a great idea. Still, it is National proposing this so I suspect we need to look for the way that they’d use it to keep information from us rather using it to keep us informed.

    English said, referring to how the Government had reduced the number of single mothers under the age of 20 by 2,600 or 40% over the last three years

    See, government can’t actually do that. Those mothers are still mothers and probably still require support – support that they’re probably no longer getting.

    English referred to the development by Statistics NZ of its Integrated Data Infrastructure, which allowed various Government departments to link the names and birth-dates of the recipients of health, welfare and education spending over 35 years to better track and understand the performance of that spending.

    Nothing wrong with that per sè but National will use that information to make cuts rather than to fix what’s actually going wrong which would cost more but be more effective.

    English goes on to identify a shift away from government to private provisions of such “health, welfare and education spending,” as quoted in Hickey’s post of June 8th:

    Yep, the problem is National who will use their position in government to enrich the already rich at everyone else’s expense.

    “(That’s) simply because the decision makers called ministers can know a hell of a lot more and understanding of what we’re trying to do is not controlled by the entities between us and the customers.”

    A promise of more dictatorship from National.

  11. vto 11

    BM the other day referred to John Key as “the CEO of New Zealand”. We subsequently swapped some comments on how New Zealand is a community of people and not a business. Bill English’s approach here smacks of the same absolute ignorance.

    New Zealand is not a bloody business ffs. People live here, they get married and raise families here, they get educated and grow from babies to young people, they retire and play bowls, walk on the beach. People argue and fight, relax and play, chase each other in circles. They also buy plastic buckets at The Warehouse…….. now really … how much of that life in NZ is about business ?….. the plastic buckets is about it.

    ….. for those actually in business I imagine about 40% of their life is about business and the rest is about, well, life. For everyone else business is probably about 20% of their life. So across the board business would make up maybe 25% of life…

    This idea that every component of life can be made into a business is just flawed. Fundamentally flawed. Life is not business. New Zealand is a community not a business.

    These people have bloody rocks in their heads and it is no wonder that so many components of our community are failing when the approach to them is so fundamentally flawed.

    This is the meme that needs highlighting and attacking as part of the opposition approach.

    New Zealand is a community not a business.

    • Tracey 11.1

      Those on the right have no concept of “social contract”, this is why their drive to turn NZ into a business model must fail. MOST businesses do not have any form of social contract to adhere to or implement, being able to focus almost entirely on a financial bottom line shown in a spreadsheet.

      Undoubtedly some aspects of business can be applied to aspects of government operations but not in tot.

      • Colonial Viper 11.1.1

        MOST businesses do not have any form of social contract to adhere to or implement

        In this regard it is crucial to differentiate between local small businesses and trans-national corporates. Those sitting in New York or Sydney board rooms are the ones who find it easiest to treat us like a mine and a sweatshop.

      • srylands 11.1.2

        “MOST businesses do not have any form of social contract.”

        That is because such a concept is most profoundly stupid. It impedes markets and reduces prosperity, ultimately hurting the poor the most.

        Friedman had it right: “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”.

        This issue of business and social responsibilities emerged in the 1990s. I thought it had gone away until I spotted your post.

        In 1996 Roger Kerr wrote an excellent and detailed essay debunking the desirability of business having a social contract. I suggest you read it. It has not dated.

        http://nzinitiative.org.nz/site/nzbr/files/speeches/speeches-96-97/aiesec.pdf

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.2.1

          Friedman had it wrong (in this as in everything else, cf: the evidence), and Kerr should be disinterred then reburied in an unmarked grave after suitable indignities have been performed upon his corpse.

          I’ll settle for evidence-based policy though, it would have much the same effect, with the added bonus that ideological policy maggots end up on the scrapheap.

        • dimebag russell 11.1.2.2

          @sryland
          friedman was fool and so are you.
          any examination of an enterprsie shows that the primary goal is to maintain the life of the peculium.
          any attempt to maximise profits and to obtain total market share is a sure sign of a rapid decline and eventual demise of any enterprise that only has these goals.
          Roger Kerr was a freidmanite but he was a person who wanted more than his share without working for it and all profits transferred to him.
          ie. he was just a greedy pig and he followed a doctrine that was barbaric and short term solely to provide for himself.
          and it should be noted he never started a business himself.
          nor did friedman

          • Murray Olsen 11.1.2.2.1

            I don’t think we can write Friedman off as a fool. He was very able and effective in his services to big business. This made him a dangerous enemy. On the other hand, SSlands, who worships at the Rand/Friedman altar, is a complete fool. More so if he expects us to believe that Friedman gave a shit about the poor. Pinochet was the first to follow the Milton prescription, and about all it got the poor was torture and extrajudicial executions. Friedman economics are for the filthy rich who need an excuse to feel superior as they run over people in the streets, evict communities from their houses, and rape the environment.

        • vto 11.1.2.3

          srylands: “Friedman had it right: “The social responsibility of business is to increase its profits”.”

          And that is why the application of business processes to community structures is so very very wrong. In a complete and total nutshell.

          Ffs srylands, you have the entire fatal flaw in your idea of running NZ and all its myriad components as a business right in front of your eyes, and in your very own words no less, yet you still cannot appreciate the gigantic gaping hole ?………

          you are lost in space man …….. completely and totally lost in space

          This has to be absolute high point of your inverse understanding.

          • srylands 11.1.2.3.1

            Where did I say state that business processes should be applied to all New Zealand institutions? They should not.

            I stated that businesses should have no social obligations. Their obligation is to maximise their return to shareholders and to act lawfully.

            Individuals have such obligations. So do a range of institutions. or are you saying you know better than Friedman?!

            You have very poor comprehension.

            • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.3.1.1

              So do a range of institutions. or are you saying you know better than Friedman?!

              The average, run of the mill, cockroach knows better than Friedman.

            • dimebag russell 11.1.2.3.1.2

              you are still a fool and yes I know more than friedman. I have read all his books and discussed them with the professors.
              milton thought he was in posession of a higher truth.
              so did roger kerr.
              but it was only compound interest..
              howzat chump.

            • framu 11.1.2.3.1.3

              friedman aye?

              you mean the guy whos ideas were so repugnant that they have never been openly voted for by anyone, ever. Have always been enacted by force or stealth. And never saw any implementation till a murderous rightwing dictator opened the door for his underlings, to work hand in glove with him to screw a countries economy to make them and theirs wealthy, while the dictator killed a large chunk of the populace?

              that friedman?

              thats part of his legacy – and youve just pinned your colours to it

            • vto 11.1.2.3.1.4

              Don’t be so disingenuous again, it is painful. Debate the issue.

              You implied agreement with Friedman that business has no social obligation other than making profit. I did not disagree with that but furthered the point by saying this….

              “that is why the application of business processes to community structures is so very very wrong. In a complete and total nutshell.”

              You have claimed countless times that business processes should be applied to countless institutions (and I did not claim you said all institution – you being disingenuous again), the example just above being electricity supply… now, if you can keep up with the line of reasoning here ….

              Electricity supply is not like plastic bucket supply. Electricity is needed for absolute survival – people die earlier or simply die mid-winter when they have insufficient heating. As such the electricity supply has a very very large social obligation on it. A social obligation that you have just admitted business does not have.

              The gap in your philosophy is laid bare for all to see, including yourself as you put it in your very own words no less.

              • Tracey

                plus 100 vto.very well said mate.

              • Gosman

                Similar arguments could be made for all sorts of services and goods. Food being a prime example. We can’t survive very long without it so it should be made available as a social good. You could even expand it to recent developments such as Internet access given how important it is to modern society. Taking such an approach leads to stagnated development and shortages generally.

                • Tracey

                  “Taking such an approach leads to stagnated development and shortages generally.”

                  Links? Sources?

                  Just because business is practiced as though social obligation and it are mutually exclusive doesn’t mean it is the only way business can “work”.

                  • Gosman

                    Ummm.. I have provided numerous links in the past to this sort of stuff both in relation to NZ and also to other countries where the State attempts to turn commercial enterprises in to social services. How about you provide a link to show that doing so brings about improved services and no shortages? I don’t think there are many real world examples of that. Hence why not even The Greens are calling for the Electricity companies to be nationalised and turned back in to a government department.

                    • Tracey

                      No Gosman, You are arguing, along with slylands, that businesses cannot operate with any social contract or obligation. I have already shown an example of where that is patently false.

                      Now re-read the posts in this line,get back on point and dont divert by making me prove things you state as fact.

                      I am asking you to prove that your statement (which I quoted) disproves what VTO and I have written (to which you were replying)

                      I stopped posting to you weeks ago, and ought to have stuck to it.

                    • Gosman

                      What obligation did businesses in the former Soviet Union have beyond the social? They certainly weren’t there to make profits or accumulate capital for the owners. How did that work out for them?

                    • Tracey

                      i see you did not re read mine and vtos statements or you didnt understand them, you couldnt have to come up with a soviet union example. You are answering things not asked.

            • Tracey 11.1.2.3.1.5

              you believe that electricity should be run by business. Ergo you do not believe there is a social obligation to provide people with affordable electricity.

              Friedman is wrong. Their is no “social” aspect to doing whatever it takes to return profit to shareholders.

              Businesses only exist by dint of law. A simple law change could bestow a social obligation and define it, on all companies. You seem to have this idea that a business/company is this animal that has always existed and cannot be altered. A change of companie rules and the companies act and hey presto a company can have any number of social obligations.

              • srylands

                “A change of companie [sic] rules and the companies act and hey presto a company can have any number of social obligations.”

                Which would make New Zealand a much poorer place. Also if you chnaged teh Companies Act companies operaing in New Zealand would seek to avoid the stupid rules by incorporating somewhere else. Is that what you want? Or are you going to pass a law to “ban” that? Is that consistent with our WTO obligations? So craziness just leads to more craziness. Which is what highly regulated economies tend to encounter.

                And of course electricity should be provided by business. It is a commodity. If the Government wants to make electricity “afordable” for some favoured goup, it can subsidise it for those groups. Othwerwise you are simply distorting markets.

                To reitarate, this is perfectly orthodox policy. It is not “right wing”.

                • McFlock

                  Who cares if they incorporate somewhere else? If they do business in NZ, they have to take account of their social responsibilities.

                  We might have less cash, but we’d be much better off. Although the distinction is no doubt lost on you, SSpylands.

                  • srylands

                    See this is what I mean – simply childish personal abuse like an 8 year old.

                  • srylands

                    It is “sylands”. You are simply incapable of adult exchanges. Shocking behaviour that is a very poor advertisement for your political ideals.

                    • McFlock

                      Wow.
                      You jumped on your high horse twice in the hope of avoiding the fact that country of incoporation is irrelevant.

                      Nice bunny-hopping, “sylands”. I like the way you added hypocrisy to your list of online contradictions.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      He’s a Tory maggot,
                      He don’t care,
                      He cuts down trees,
                      Privatises welfare,

                      I cut down trees,
                      I privatise lunch,
                      I add, more GST,
                      On facts I am complacent, no reality check, for me,

                      He’s a Tory maggot,
                      He don’t care,
                      He cuts down trees,
                      Privatises welfare,

                      etc etc.

                • Tracey

                  “afordable (sic) “teh” (sic) “reitarate (sic) Slylands (sick)

                • Tracey

                  would that be Greek or Jewish?

              • srylands

                But I don’t expect you to change your view. Like most communists, you are immune to reason. You are also on the wrong side of history.

        • Tracey 11.1.2.4

          No slylands it is you who are ignorant. A very recent, and prominent example of a company which has incorporated a form of social contract has just won a worldwide award and is profitable.

          You are confusing a desire to have no form of social obligation with some kind of inherent, and unchangeable, mechanism preventing it.

          http://www.stoppress.co.nz/blog/2014/06/all-good

          • srylands 11.1.2.4.1

            Stop being so rude. It is “srylands”

            • vto 11.1.2.4.1.1

              It is you and your approach to the way that society should be run that is rude, given its negative effect on so many people.

              It aint tiddly winks srylands, grow up.

              • Gosman

                No apparently it is even more infantile than tiddly winks.

                I find the attitude expressed here and by others on the left as an example of the potential of the left to rapidly degenerate in to suppression of opposing views when in power. This can be justified because the policies put forward by the right are framed as being harmful to society.

                • dimebag russell

                  tough shit gosman. if you dont like it hten piss off. who do you think you are.
                  oh I know. you are a pre programmed computer feed giving off pre written lines as if they are rational responses when they are just the interjections of a bloody machine.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  I’ll settle for evidence-based policy thanks Gosman. That’ll be quite sufficient humiliation for right wing ‘thinkers’ everywhere.

                  • Gosman

                    The trouble is there is multiple ways to skin a cat so all this talk of evidence based policy is just wishful thinking largely. For every example of a left wing policy that seemingly works I am sure I can find examples of how it fails.

                    Take Labour laws as an example. If you look at countries with stricter protection of workers rights they generally have higher rates of unemployment than those that don’t. Southern European countries are a good example of that.

                    Policies generally have trade offs between benefits and negatives. It is a value judgment if the benefits outweigh the negatives and therefore it is a ‘good’ policy. Politics is the process of coming to a decision about this. This is why it will never be eliminated and we will continue to have a debate between the right and left so long as humans are around.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Sure, Gosman, when there’s legitimate evidence I expect you to bring it to your worldview.

                      cough Charter schools cough

                      cough National’s standards (which are neither) cough

                      cough RONS cough

                      cough Friedman cough

                      cough AGW cough

                      cough three strikes cough

                      cough privatised welfare cough

                      cough Max Bradford cough

                  • Gosman

                    The trouble is there is multiple ways to skin a cat so all this talk of evidence based policy is just wishful thinking largely. For every example of a left wing policy that seemingly works I am sure I can find examples of how it fails.

                    Take Labour laws as an example. If you look at countries with stricter protection of workers rights they generally have higher rates of unemployment than those that don’t. Southern European countries are a good example of that.

                    Policies generally have trade offs between benefits and negatives. It is a value judgment if the benefits outweigh the negatives and therefore it is a ‘good’ policy. Politics is the process of coming to a decision about this. This is why it will never be eliminated and we will continue to have a debate between the right and left so long as humans are around.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Debate ≠ ‘I can show you someone who’ll give you a counterview’

                      New Zealand needs better wingnuts, Gosman. Evidence-based wingnuts. Don’t take it personally.

                • Tracey

                  and yet it is slylands who is not answering those who suggest where he may be confused or wrong, and it is he who starts with the name calling. he calls people stupid simply because they disagree with him. When challenged he ignores the information and gets precious about a pseudonym he uses on a blog site. But because you agree with him, you manufacture a scenario where he is some kind of victim. Try keeping stock of yourself.

                  I look forward to reading your chastisement of him and his tendency toward abuse as a form of suppression of opposing ideas (sarc/).

                  • srylands

                    Suggesting I am confused because I point out:

                    • the obvious desirability of using data to guide social policy based on the highest returns (David Parker will do exactly the same if he becomes Finance Minister)
                    • the stupidity of “printing money” to build houses
                    • the questionable (at best) value of commercial social contracts and “fair trade” policies.
                    • the global benefits of removing trade and investment barriers.

                    I mean these are not radical, crazy ideas. They are perfectly orthodox.

                    Your ongoing problem is that New Zealand has a centre left government. New Zealanders will never elect a right wing Government. John Key knows that and has said as much.

                    So we have a government with left wing social policies that it is financing by market orthodoxy (or mostly).

                    That only leaves you and your fellow travellers one way to go, which is communism, aka The Green Party. So you get your “corporate evil neoliberal bla blah blah” rubbish, printing money, banks are evil, and on and on.

                    That is why National is going to win the election, and if you keep it up they will win in 2017 too.

                    • Gosman

                      Agreed. I can understand why the hard core lefties think Labour hasn’t adopted their proposals. This is because most if them think they are still captured by neoliberalism. I don’t get how they reconcile that The Greens are not calling for it though. Surely if it was such a no brainer set of policies it would form the basis of any left wing party’s platform in NZ. Strangely it is not.

                    • Tracey

                      Suggesting you are confused because you dont understand what has been written preferring to treat the words written as different to their form and then answering the question you have formed in your mind and then proclaiming yourself right. Having gosman come along and agree bolsters your view but does not address what people wrote to you. You mix several different posts, cherry picking and constructing a view you can challenge regardless of whether that view was espoused.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      I mean these are not radical, crazy ideas. They are perfectly orthodox.

                      The orthodox just failed completely – as it has done for centuries. Continuing to believe those same ideas is completely insane.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.1.2.4.1.2

              Stop being such a hypocrite, policy maggot.

            • dimebag russell 11.1.2.4.1.3

              @slylands
              who gives a shit.

          • srylands 11.1.2.4.2

            No it is you who is still ignorant. I read your link. I stopped when it said the company won a “Fairtrade” award. Is that your measure of success?

            Fairtrade is a damaging ignorant concept which does nothing but distort markets and hurts the poor.

            The Economist recently discussed the damaging effects of “Fairtrade” coffee. I can send you a wide literature that expands on this.

            This company should maximise its profits. The worldwide award is not worth a pinch of shit, and worse will hurt the poor. But The Green Party will no doubt applaud it – the party with the most damaging policies for the poor.

            “http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab/2014/05/agriculture-ethiopia-and-uganda

            • McFlock 11.1.2.4.2.1

              we had to exploit the village in order to save it, huh.

              • Tracey

                you can read the bits that slyland didnt. He stopped after the first paragrapgh.

                Purpose over profit: All Good Organics named world’s fairest trader

                As a story in Adweek noted recently, “purpose transcends business and product (the what) and delivers on human principles (the why).” A lot of companies tend to tack this purpose on to the marketing department, or make it part of a corporate social responsibility programme. But All Good Organics, as the name implies, has goodness running through its veins and its efforts have been rewarded with a global award as the fairest trader of them all, beating out 27,000 products from 120 countries that carry the Fairtrade mark.

                The Fairtrade Trader award, which takes place as part of Fairtrade International General Assembly in Bonn, Germany, recognises outstanding and special efforts from traders worldwide and takes into account innovation, ingredients, communication of its message and the tangible differences the company makes to the communities that supply it with products. Co-founder and director Simon Coley says a typical approach might be to put the Fairtrade logo and a picture of a smiling grower on the pack. But he thinks All Good has “gone a bit further than most do” by regularly visiting the growers, trying to understand the supply chain and using revenue from the sale of those products to create useful facilities.

                Coley, Chris Morrison, founder of Phoenix Organics, and his brother Matt Morrison conceived the idea for All Good on a West Auckland beach over five years ago. They started with bananas because they are the most consumed supermarket commodity and arguably one of the least ethical. And in 2010 they began importing New Zealand’s first Fairtrade bananas from the El Guabo Fairtrade cooperative in Ecuador.

                “There’s a 1950s song that goes, ‘if you want to be the top banana you have to start at the bottom of the bunch,’” says Coley. “It certainly applies to us. The banana industry is big, its history isn’t pretty, it’s littered with failed dreams and there have been many times we’ve wondered if we’d bitten off more than we could chew. When we launched New Zealand’s first Fairtrade bananas just over four years ago we were told that no one would want to pay $1 more a bunch. But we’ve shown Kiwis where their bananas come from and why it’s a good idea to buy the ones that directly support growers,

                All Good Bananas are available in supermarkets throughout the country and sales have grown by 30 percent in the last year (it’s now selling 60,000 bunches of Fairtrade bananas each week in New Zealand, or one bunch every ten seconds). In total New Zealanders have consumed about 6.8 million bunches of All Good bananas in the last four years and that has contributed over $5 million to the El Guabo economy, with $500,000 earmarked for development projects including assistance to 17 school and two medical clinics.

                The support of conscious Kiwi consumers gave it confidence to push on down that road, so in 2012 they launched Karma Cola (a recent blind taste test by The Guardian showed it did alright against other craft colas, but couldn’t top Coca-Cola). Proceeds from the sale of every bottle go back to the Boma village in Sierra Leone to help the people who grow the cola rebuild their lives in the aftermath of war.

                It followed up Karma Cola with two more Fairtrade products, Lemmy Lemonade and Gingerella, and it’s selling 25,000 bottles per week in cafes, restaurants and bars throughout New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore and, as of last month, London. It has also launched a range of sparkling waters.

                He says its drinks business has grown by 500 percent in the last 12 months and, rather than sending bottles overseas, it’s looking at manufacturing drinks in the UK in the next couple of months.

                “We’re getting regular calls for our product from almost every continent.”

                And with very high awareness of Fairtrade in Europe and around the world, the award will probably increase those requests.

                As a result of this growth, the All Good team has doubled over the last year and now numbers over 20 in New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

                In some cases, it seems like being good comes at the cost of making money. Profit isn’t a huge motivation for Coley and co, but it is a great lubricant and Coley says it’s working hard to manage this growth.

                “We’ve been in the game for five or six years now and it feels like were here to stay. But we break even and occasionally we make a profit. The banana business in particular is really tough. We began as the fourth brand and now there are nine.”

                In the food sector, there is a trend back towards natural ingredients. And in an age of increased transparency, provenance has become increasingly important. So brands are increasingly realising that they can’t just tap into emotions, they need to find a purpose.

                “It’s beyond the zeitgeist. It’s a trend and it’s about doing good all the way through.”

                He admits that it’s easier for a small, relatively new company like All Good to do this as it has no legacy or old systems to change. But it’s good that more companies are thinking about their impact, as evidenced by the work of the B-Team.

                Like most start-ups, it doesn’t have a huge marketing budget, so a lot of the awareness is created by seeing the products instore. The media also love a good food story, so it’s had plenty of positive PR.

                As Ecostore’s founder Malcolm Rands (and presumably anyone else trying to sell environmentally-friendly products) said, there is a big difference between what people say and what they do, so people often say they’ll buy the good product but end up sticking with engrained habits and buying a cheap and possibly nasty option.

                “But there hasn’t always been a choice.”

                And thankfully All Good is offering it.

                their families and the environment—the All Good ones.”

                • McFlock

                  lol

                • Gosman

                  The question is whether this “ethical” approach to business actually helps the people it is meant to or retards their economic development. The study srylands refers to that The Economist discussed suggests the Fair Trade approach does not lead to better economic outcomes for the suppliers of fair trade goods.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    “Economic outcomes”.

                    What about social outcomes, Gossie?

                    What about studies that deal with social bottom lines in developed countries, Gossie?

                    What about the World Bank’s mistakes, Gossie? Did the economistas correct for those in their ‘findings’?

                  • McFlock

                    Yes.
                    SSpylands found a report he agreed with, even though it seems to contradict the weight of literature, and accepted it as truth without considering some possibly major methodological issues.

                    what more can you expect from a religious zealot. Not that you give a shit, anyway. You’re just here to trool.

                  • Tracey

                    and the point that i have been making and that led to you and sylands commenting is that businesses can have social contracts or social obligations as part of their business. That company proved my point.

                    You and sylands have either deliberately, or through lack of comprehension addressed different matters to that simple statement while accusing others of stupidity and oppression.

            • Tracey 11.1.2.4.2.2

              ” I read your link. I stopped when it said the company won a “Fairtrade” award”

              I rest my case. Slylands posts contradictory statements side by side.

              • KJT

                The economist. The magazine that thinks that destroying tribal habitats for latifundia, and shifting the rightful owners to slums in the cities, is more “economically efficient”.

                The one that said that Chile was better off under Pinochet and Freidmanism.

                The one that has been an uncritical cheer leader for the neo-liberal religion for decades.

                That Economist, Right……….

            • Draco T Bastard 11.1.2.4.2.3

              Markets themselves create the poor.

        • KJT 11.1.2.5

          The Roger Kerr that “invested” in SCF knowing full well his National mates would be bailing it out, plus interest, ensuring his guaranteed returns.

          At least a 100mil return paid for by taxpayers, which he didn’t mind grabbing.

          Like all neo-liberals, the only principle was his own gain.

    • KJT 11.2

      “CEO of New Zealand”.

      Very appropriate.

      A typical overpaid CEO, that flogs off the capital equipment, underpays the staff so the good ones leave, under-invests, to make the short term profit look good, then bails out with his “golden parachute” before the “chickens come home to roost” leaving the shareholders and employees with a “golden shower”……..

      NZ, the ENRON of the South Pacific.

      • yeshe 11.2.1

        oh, KJT … your comment is so incisive, and chilling. ENRON indeed. We must do everything we can to ensure their non-return to power, else we are in deep, deep shit and poverty for the rest of our lives.

        I hope someone somewhere will ask ShonKey in a public forum if he will offer the following guarantees if re-elected:

        1. Not to privatise ACC
        2. Not to sell Kiwibank
        3. Not to privatise our health system
        4. Not to privatise our welfare system
        5. Not to increase GST .. yeah, right, I know!
        • srylands 11.2.1.1

          On (1) do you mean “introduce competition on the employer account” or privatise ACC? If it is the latter I am sure he will say yes.

          On (2) it can’t be sold at any decent price – it is a bit like Kiwirail so forget that.

          3, and 4 are nonsensical (and/or been explicitly rejected in the context of the welfare working group)

          5 has been done.

          There you go.

          • yeshe 11.2.1.1.1

            There you went. Useless response as usual. Wonder why you waste your minutes here .. unless maybe you are paid so to do ??

            • srylands 11.2.1.1.1.1

              Who would pay anyone to comment at The Standard?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                Do you honestly not understand the value of social media in an election campaign? I could believe that.

            • Tracey 11.2.1.1.1.2

              sylands is john key? That is quite a revelation he has made here.

              He ignores pwc report too….

        • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1.2
          1. why not? It can then be renationalised without compensation and that will be a valuable lesson to S Rylands and other Tory maggots.
          2. is already well under way.
          • srylands 11.2.1.2.1

            Referring to people you disagree with as “maggots” – you really are charming aren’t you? BTW New Zealand governments cannot nationalise corporations without compensation as we would be in breach of the WTO.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 11.2.1.2.1.1

              No, I refer to people who pay lip service to small government then take money to push ideologically driven policy as parasites, those who dine on rotten flesh.

              Like you.

              • Tracey

                in sylands world you call people who disagree with you “drunk”. I hope this helps.

                • srylands

                  I apologise for calling you drunk. On those occasions it was a sincerely held belief based on your behaviour.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Are you going to use the same excuse for your mendacity?

                    • srylands

                      No, because I am an honest person.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      Of course you are. Mistaking the Green Party for communists is your sincerely held belief too.

                      Paging Drs. Hodson & Busseri…

                    • srylands

                      There is no mistake there. Why do you think they are called the Watermelons? You think R Norman has changed his views since he was in the SWP?

                      As I explained previously there are different factions in Green supporters but most of their policies are communist, wealth destroying, and ultimately will be devastating for the poor. I can explain them again but am conscious of getting off the topic of the thread.

                      That is why big data is so brilliant. It is about evidence based investments in people to maximise returns. Good data. Good policy.

                    • McFlock

                      That is why big data is so brilliant. It is about evidence based investments in people to maximise returns. Good data. Good policy.

                      lol

                      But not everyone has access to big data.
                      So if it’s as great as you say it is, then the power to make sensible investment choices is in the hands of the already wealthy.

                      So really, big data is just another way for the ruling class to maintain its power over the masses. As they’ve done from generation to generation, yea unto the middle ages.

                      The other fascinating thing is that the Soviets thought they could get the economy sorted if they could analyse enough data. You seem to be repeating their error.

                      Don’t get me wrong, I love data. Literally. Sometimes even physically. But one has to be aware of its limitations – something economists never understand.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      S Rylands, I think they’re called watermelons because it’s a convenient smear that avoids any rational analysis of their policies.

                      In any case I thought you frowned on such things – playing the person rather than the ball, no, wait, I don’t think that – I think you pay lip service when it suits you.

                      You’ve failed to cite actual policy every other time you’ve mentioned this particular argumentum ad nauseam, why start now?

                    • KJT

                      Green party policy would have been entirely unremarkable in New Zealand’s past Governments, including Holyoaks National Government.

                      Confusing the Greens, mildly left social democrat policy, with communism, is a prime example of Fisiani’s and his co-fanatics reality disconnect.

                  • Tracey

                    and that ladies and gentlemen is from the playbook of banks, key, williamson and collins. Preach personal responsibility to others but incapable of it themselves.

              • srylands

                Well according to your little mates, I have never been to New Zealand so you have nothing to worry about.

      • Weepu's beard 11.2.2

        It’s a strange conflict that the ideological right find themselves in when they say governments have no business in running businesses yet applaud the CEO style of Prime Minister John Key as if bringing the pure business model to government is desirable.

        They are all over the place.

  12. Jack 12

    Unfortunately Key and English are divorved from social accounting and the intangible benefits to society, a sound balanced country such as we had in the 1970′s when we lead the OECD on a number of measures,

    Since then the country has been Asset Stripped by the Merchant Banking Community and we have a misbalanced socio-economic structure with all the wealth at the top of the pyramid.

  13. SPC 13

    The clue is in the policies of ACT.

    Voucher education and opening up all schools to becoming charter schools.

    National has to be asked as to the evolution of their coalition agreement with ACT in matters related to delivery of public services, whether education, health, welfare and housing.

  14. Tom Jackson 14

    Here the Big Data shift is identified as a shift away from government provisions to bringing”business” more into the centre of decision-making.

    The connection is, I suspect, much stronger. Adam Curtis has an interesting documentary on this. The idea is to introduce incentives and targets at all levels which big data enables monitoring of. Somewhere some faceless bureaucrat in front of a monitor will be able to push a button and incentives will be pushed out to all workers, managers, and beneficiaries who as rational economic units will then proceed to act in efficiency maximising ways. Such services can then be contracted out to private interests who will merely have to meet “targets” set by their customer (the government). The rationale for privatisation is that it managers are acting like private contractors anyway, so it will make no difference.

    The Blair government tried this in health care. It’s insane.

    http://www.disclose.tv/action/viewvideo/145348/The_Trap_The_Lonely_Robot_23_BBC/

  15. vto 15

    I would like to know where Wayne has gone….

    After all, this started with a reply to him. He subsequently returned to the thread from whence it came but ignored this issue.

    Wayne ignored this issue and scurried under a rock pretending he hadn’t seen it. Like a cockroach.

    Wayne, where are you? Come in mr Map.

    Calling Wayne …..

    don’t be a chicken mr mapp, come out from under your rock and answer …… bok bok booork ….

    something is up for this to happen – maybe the far right wing are worried the cat is scratching out of the bag?

    • Mike the Savage One 15.1

      Are you talking about Wayne Mapp, former Defence Minister?

      Maybe he is busy trying to find a way out of some new problems he faces, which were presented in the first part of Native Affairs on Maori TV on 30 June?

      There are many questions to be answered, re an incident in Afghanistan in 2010 or 2011, where deaths of civilians are supposed to have occurred in a strike by US forces, aided by SAS soldiers. A former investigation seems to have been nothing else but a cover up.

      Check this perhaps, or see the repeat at 10.30 pm on Wednesday night:

      http://www.maoritelevision.com/tv/shows/native-affairs/S08E017/native-affairs

      It is symptomatic of the Key led government (aka #team key), and we can expect more cover ups if they get a third term, and the above in this post here, will mean, cover ups in all areas, investment, policy evaluation, policy formulation, data gathering, data management, and what else there may be.

      Times to be very concerned, I would say, times to be very afraid and guarded!

      • Tautoko Viper 15.1.1

        Derek Cheng reported on this in NZH

        “Dr Mapp said investigations had found that no civilians were killed in the strike. It was not unusual for the SAS to move out of Kabul, where they were usually based.

        “It is in the remit of the special forces to be able to undertake operations at the direction of ISAF and Nato, and in this case particularly to protect our people.” ”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10720722

        This statement from Dr Mapp seems to contradict the evidence that civilians were killed.

        • freedom 15.1.1.1

          You surely mean the evidence seems to contradict the statement made by Dr Mapp.
          Did you even watch the Native Affairs report?

          • Tautoko Viper 15.1.1.1.1

            My bad word choice- should have said “conflicts”- thought the word “evidence” would convey my meaning so I give myself an F for clarity of writing.
            I do mean “the evidence seems to contradict the statement made by Dr Mapp.”
            Thanks for that, freedom.
            Yes, I did watch the Native Affairs programme – 8:30pm Mon nights on Māori TV is one of the few regular slots on my viewing list.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 15.1.1.2

          I’d like to see the investigation documents before I believe that. Is it an unequivocal ‘no’ or ‘on the balance of probabilities we conclude that’?

  16. DH 16

    It is a bit worrying.

    What they want to do isn’t rationallly possible however it won’t stop them trying. You can’t place an arbitrary value on say, a solo parent, but the beancounters will still invent arcane formulas to work out the ‘return’ on ‘investing’ in the DPB.

    Morality is being consigned to spreadsheets and placed in the hands of faceless bureaucrats. A frightening thought.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      Treasury and the Reserve Bank need serious downsizing. Maybe reassign 30% of their staff to work in WINZ offices for a year.

      • Draco T Bastard 16.1.1

        Only if you want WINZ offices to be even worse than they are now.

      • Tracey 16.1.2

        last time they reassigned someone he became nationals poorest polling leader and current minister of finance, so, please, no more reassignments from there

  17. Lloyd 17

    Isn’t this the sort of stuff that Allende was trying to do in Chile?

  18. philj 18

    xox
    No surprise when you have a Money salesman and a bean counter economist at the helm, taking instructions from the corporates. Looking like Act. Government is only to provide police and defence. The rest is corporatised. Look out NZ Inc! You are being sold off.

  19. srylands 19

    I think some of you have the wrong idea on Big Data.

    This very helpful video explains the benefits. An incoming Labour Government will go down this track. They might call it something different, but the benefits are so compelling, that there is no alternative.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oK6T9DsH4SU&feature=share

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      Was that the only example you could find? Consider giving a trigger warning the next time you share something like that.

    • McFlock 19.2

      Surpisingly, you only linked to the benefits rather than answering some folks’ concerns about the evident costs.

      Sorry, not “surpisingly”, I meant “predictably”.
      For someone who throws the red “C” word around as an insult, you sure seem to be a fan of the machinery of totalitarianism.

    • KJT 19.3

      Interesting that we had a Department of Statistics, which used to provide all this data, are being de-funded.

      Much of the data was embarrassing to National and Treasury, contradicting their narrative with inconvenient fact.

      Instead of addressing the problems shown by the statistics, National are moving data collection to a tame “Ministry of Truth” run by Treasury.

  20. srylands 20

    I am sure I would never call anyone the “C” word.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 20.1

      You remind me of one: their intentions were as pure as the driven snow too, and look how that turned out.

      • KJT 20.1.1

        Not sure that you can call Russia, or China, examples of communism. As Russia was Democratic, and communist, for all of two weeks before the authoritarian and totalitarian dictatorship took over.

        Just as the USA, and New Zealand, are being taken over by arrogant and unprincipled fools, with authoritarian and mercenary motives.

        As far as I am aware the purest and longest lived examples of communism were Israeli collective communities. They foundered eventually, in their relationships with an outside world with different values.

        • McFlock 20.1.1.1

          KJT gets the point ;)

          SSlands has a mysterious mind. I’m not sure I want to know what his fevered little brain was thinking about…

  21. politikiwi 21

    “In the wake of Snowden’s revelations, this resort to the power of the government’s capabilities to use ‘Big Data’, is worrying.”

    To infer there’s any sort of link between Treasury and the mass surveillance being collected by the Five Eyes is total fantasy.

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