web analytics

Large representative bodies – “slow”, “unwieldy”

Written By: - Date published: 8:26 am, October 4th, 2013 - 22 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Steven Joyce - Tags:

That would be Steven Joyce describing university councils, but he could be describing any democratic governance – including parliament.

Dictatorship is so much more efficient.  That’s why we praise the likes of Bainimarama.  The getting rid of “large unwieldy representative bodies” is such a good aim.  Makes things faster.

Even better to appoint, rather than elect the small ruling elite.  Democracy can be so messy, people might not vote for the right thing (see ECAN).

So universities, those independent institutions, with academics free to critique and keep in check intellectually such people as the government…  Will have the government limit their governance and appoint up to half their ruling councils.  Staff and students will not have guaranteed (elected) representation on institutions in which they are the vital part.

Does that sound like an attempt to neutralise any opposition to you?  Of course they scarcely need to – they have academics by the funding.  Ever tighter funding, with academics spending more and more time helping more and more students achieve the grades to keep funding, never mind the research – and they wonder why our university rankings are dropping.

We’ve talked on this site about National’s contempt for democracy before, but here it is explicitly stated again, this time by Joyce.  Getting reasonable representation by having a decent size body with elected interest groups is “slow” and “unwieldy”.

Yes small appointed groups will make faster decisions.  But they may well not make better ones, or fairer ones.  Democracy is an important check and balance on power – as are independent academics.  This move by Joyce is an attack on 2 important conventions.

22 comments on “Large representative bodies – “slow”, “unwieldy””

  1. ianmac 1

    We must be vigilant about anything that Steven Joyce says. Ulterior motives? Yes.
    However according to far back Parkinson, the best size for a committee is 7 with max of 9. Thereafter committees break into factions which diminish effectiveness.
    Mind you Joyce would prefer a committee of just 1. Himself.

    • Colonial Viper 1.1

      Most city councils have more than 10 members. What are we going to do next? Chop them all back to single digits, in the name of “effectiveness” (effective for whom?).

  2. One Anonymous Knucklehead 2

    The Wisdom of Crowds.

    As for Joyce?

    Preaches free markets.

    Practises partisan intervention in every market.

    Out of his depth at the shallow end of the pool.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    “…Dictatorship is so much more efficient…”

    Except that when they collapse, they are always revealed to have been corrupt, venal, destructive and wasteful.

    What bothers me most about this move from Joyce is it shows yet again the contempt that this government of authoritarian managerialists has for the warp and weft of democracy. It is yet another hollowing out of civic society in the name of the cult of managerial efficiency. Aspiring young student politicans start to have the rough edges knocked off them when they see the complexities of governance on a council. Staff representatives who stand for election to a councils learn how to get elected, how to run an election campaign (however modest), and those electing them understand how to achieve a voice in their governance peacefully. It is This sort of democracy that is actually the DNA of democratic societies. Constantly eroding will simply ensure than when power shifts, those that get it are unready to use it – with the sort of disasterous consequences you see in those countries in the Middle East which try to have democracy without a civil society.

  4. marsman 4

    As well as his meddling in democratic governance of Universities Steven Joyce is telling them what they should be focusing on teaching, large animal studies was one of his choices. The man is a malevolent moron and the sooner he’s made inoperable the better for NZ.

  5. Tracey 5

    Yup. He views everything as a business. He has no concept of the social contract aspect of society despite having a leader who depended on that very contract while growing up. Its one thing to run sonething efficiently but another to demand it makes profit and behaves like a corp board.

    social contract and democracy are something this govt and its supporters are waging war against

  6. Bill 6

    really wish people would make the distinction between democracy and representative democracy. The former is quick and efficient while the latter – a name with no/little democratic substance – is a dog due to it’s reliance on bureaucracy. Anyway…

  7. Tracey 7

    can you point to a large democracy without bureaucracy?

    • Bill 7.1

      Representative democracy is necessarily woven around or shot through with bureaucratic structures. And insofar as ‘all’ nation states manage their societies via representative democratic means, the short answer is ‘No – I can’t’.

      The slightly longer answer is that it makes no sense to view democracy as some singular or unitary structure…that can only lead to an insistence on representative democracy.

      Non-representative democracy can only be fluid and multi-facetted ie,structured but impermanent and always being recreated by those participating in it into whatever new appropriate configurations suit matters are at hand.

      Eg. democracy allows for absolute dictatorial decision making where the decision does not affect any person beyond the person making the decision. And it also delegitimises any decision made without appropriate input from affected people.

      • Sanctuary 7.1.1

        I have seldom had the misfortune to have wasted my time reading such a load of wishy washy hogwash as I have just now. Your post makes about as much sense as a piece of parsley on a stale turd.

        • Bill 7.1.1.1

          So are you’re saying you have no grasp on what democracy is or how it operates in the real world? Or that you have no interest in democracy? Or maybe you’re suggesting my attempt to briefly summarise is unhelpful in some way and that you have something useful to say that you haven’t submitted as a comment yet?

        • Draco T Bastard 7.1.1.2

          Made perfect sense to me. Perhaps the problem is that you don’t have enough understanding of democracy.

  8. Tamati 8

    Just how many people sit around the Cabinet table Steven?

    I can think of a few bureaucrats around that table which would be well worth cutting.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 8.1

      Its seems to some sort of immutable law that cabinet is fixed at 20, with another 8 or so with training wheels.

      But of course the real work and energy comes from only 5 or 6 members. But that is the same with any group of 20. But you need that 20 or so to have a pool of skills that are useful

  9. xtasy 9

    Education has over more than two decades now increasingly been turned into a “commodity”, and this trend started with the introduction of student fees.

    Fees have continued to rise, curricula have been changed and “reformed” again and again, and it is not surprising that a National Party Minister pushes all the way to turn all tertiary institutions into “businesses”, designed to deliver “output” and “results” that serve the interests of business before anybody else. A government that caters primarily for business and their private sector lobby groups will feel obliged to do this, and hence we have this plan to limit the number of representatives to university councils.

    “Streamlining”, creating “efficiencies”, in a “competitive” environment, that is the slogan headed direction, and the day will come that many arts degrees, when history, political studies and much else that guys like Steven Joyce despises, will be abolished, so that all will just study business, science and technical subjects, none else.

    Democracy is only useful to them, if it is allowed only in the form of letting the brainwashed and ill-informed (by a collaborative privately dominated mass- or mainstream media) citizens vote once every so many years, merely to appoint a government that represents the ideology the public have been inundated and totally conditioned with. They will have lost all ability to think critically, alternatively and independently, and only vote for the supposedly “necessary”, undisputed policies, a bit like reaffirming self-fulfilling prophecies.

    I sadly see the vast majority of students at universities and other places of study being nothing but career minded individuals, that are totally focused on “buying” the “commodity” they need, to advance their career, and to ensure them a secure, well-earning job that guarantees a good living standard. There is regrettably too little questioning and participation, and collective spirit basically needs to be re-invented and rekindled, as most have not learned much of this, having grown up under nothing else but slight variants of neoliberal governments, all following free market, laissez faire dogma.

    So yes, opposition to this is needed, and I would appeal to all students to inform themselves and take a clear stand on this, and to stop the government “commoditising” them as “customers” or “buyers” of “commodity education” from “university businesses”!

    There is more to education and life than buying, selling, consuming, working, career aspirations and self interest. Some will only learn this when it may be too late.

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      I sadly see the vast majority of students at universities and other places of study being nothing but career minded individuals, that are totally focused on “buying” the “commodity” they need, to advance their career, and to ensure them a secure, well-earning job that guarantees a good living standard. There is regrettably too little questioning and participation, and collective spirit basically needs to be re-invented and rekindled, as most have not learned much of this, having grown up under nothing else but slight variants of neoliberal governments, all following free market, laissez faire dogma.

      QFT

      • Rodel 9.1.1

        I think the rot began when someone first talked about ‘delivering’ education as if education was parcel or product involving one way delivery only (as in a legitimate a business model) rather than using the verb ‘to educate’ which is an interactive process . Ministry bureaucrats and politicians seem to like the ‘delivery’ concept.

        • Murray Olsen 9.1.1.1

          Very true, Rodel. Education that is “delivered” can be left at the door, much like an unregistered letter. There is no onus on the “supplier” to ensure it is appropriate or received. Perhaps the worst aspect from my point of view is that this philosophy allows students to think of themselves as passive buyers rather than participants in a process. As well as being the favourite model of bureaucrats and politicians, it is loved by lazy, incompetent students as well.

          • Rodel 9.1.1.1.1

            Yes ..good added thought on the effect it has on recipient students…well delivered.

  10. Zaphod Beeblebrox 10

    Well we do need less MPs, what do they do all day? Auckland has 3 times as many MPs as councillors, surely aligning the electorates with the council wards and even having your MP as your councillor would make things a lot less unwieldy.

  11. tracey 11

    zaphod, why not just have auckland cede from the rest of the country

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Actually I think that there is some popular support for cutting the Cook Strait cable.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • How to earn ‘good’ returns on your KiwiSaver
    The National Government admitted last week that it will not be taking any responsibility for KiwiSaver funds that invest in cluster bomb, landmine, and nuclear weapons manufacturers. New Zealanders care deeply about whether or not their money is being used ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    1 hour ago
  • Disability sector is in a ‘slow burning crisis’
    Disability advocates say the sector is in crisis and broken, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “A roundtable at Parliament organised by the Labour Party, heard today how National has left disability services chronically underfunded. ...
    20 hours ago
  • NZ fisheries depend on the environment – they should protect it
    The attitude of the fishing industry and the National Government to our oceans, and the life within it, still amazes me. Like many New Zealanders, I find it perplexing that an industry which depends entirely on the long-term health of ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    21 hours ago
  • Bigger is not always better with local government reform
    I have written previously about the overwhelming opposition expressed by local councils and community members to the latest Local Government reforms.  The Select Committee heard more submissions this week, specifically about some of the unintended consequences that may arise from ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    21 hours ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour calls for state of emergency on homelessness
    Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford is calling on the Government to declare a state of emergency over the nation’s homelessness crisis. “There are 42,000 people homeless and living in severe housing stress while the National Government behaves like a possum ...
    2 days ago
  • Government must review state sector retirement investment
    The State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme has no business investing in companies which manufacture cluster bombs, anti-personnel mines and nuclear weapons, Labour MP and Parliamentarians for Global Action executive member Su’a William Sio says. “I endorse the call made by the ...
    3 days ago
  • Councils shouldn’t rush into Easter Trading
    City and district councils must ensure they don’t rush into trading on Easter Sunday ahead of local body elections next month, Labour’s Pacific Islands Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio says. “This decision must be taken seriously and only after extensive ...
    3 days ago
  • Minister can’t wash hands of illegal KiwiSaver investments
    The Minister responsible for appointing default KiwiSaver providers should take responsibility for ensuring they act legally, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “The National Government has now had confirmed what they were told more than a week ago – that ...
    3 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Fixing our broken economy
    Globally, the “neo-liberal” consensus is rapidly vanishing (I use quotation marks because there are some in Aotearoa who deny such a thing as neo-liberalism exists). Regardless of the debate around its meaning, neo-liberal is a useful descriptor for the general ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Government railroading Maori Land Bill through
    Maori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell seems determined to railroad his Te Ture Whenua Maori Bill through despite the large number of submitters in opposition to the bill, says MP Meka Whaitiri, whose Ikaroa-Rāwhiti electorate contains nearly 30 per cent ...
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • A national day to commemorate NZ land wars
    It’s fantastic that the government has agreed to a hold a national day commemorating the New Zealand land wars. Announced at Kingi Tūheitia’s 10th koroneihana celebrations, alongside the return of Rangiriri Pā to the Kingitanga, the news marked a significant ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    4 days ago
  • Government turns a blind eye to struggling sole parents
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley’s claims that her Government’s work with sole parents is her biggest success are in tatters after a major increase in homelessness amongst that group, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni. “Anne Tolley is seriously ...
    4 days ago
  • Time has come for state apology on abuse
    Labour is today calling on the Government to issue an apology for historic abuse in state institutions. Speaking after the launch of Elizabeth Stanley’s book “The Road to Hell; state violence against Children in Post-war New Zealand”, Labour’s Justice spokesperson ...
    4 days ago
  • It’s OK to have a few slaves, just not too many? Minimum wage loophole hasn’t gone away
    New Zealand still needs legislation to ensure adult New Zealanders are not exploited by being taken on as contractors for less than the equivalent of the minimum wage, says Labour list MP David Parker.  “My Minimum Wage (Contractor Remuneration) Amendment ...
    4 days ago
  • Lessons from the Future of Work Commission: Building Wealth from the Ground Up
    Good morning, and thank you for attending today’s Future of Work Seminar here in Wellington. I want to particularly acknowledge Beth Houston who has spent many hours pulling together the programme for today’s event, and to Olivier and the staff ...
    4 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Cooking 4 Change at the Auckland City Mission
    On Tuesday evening I participated in the launch of the ‘Cooking 4 Change’ recipe book, which Metiria and I both contributed our favourite recipes to. Along with Dick Frizzell, Trelise Cooper, Tiki Taane, Erin Simpson, Jono & Ben, Colin Mathura-Jeffree, a couple ...
    GreensBy James Shaw
    5 days ago
  • Backbencher Matt’s Bill is a Doocey
    The latest National Member’s Bill pulled from the ballot is yet another waste of Parliament’s time and shows the Government’s contempt for the House and the public with much more important issues needing debate, says Labour’s Shadow Leader of the ...
    5 days ago
  • Gun laws creaking under the strain
     Questions have to be asked  after surprising revelations at the Law and Order Select Committee about the police and their ability to manage the gun problem in New Zealand, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “The lack of resources is ...
    5 days ago
  • Most homeless are working poor – Otago Uni
    The finding by Otago University researcher Dr Kate Amore that most homeless people are in work or study is one of the most shocking aspects of the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Social service agencies report many ...
    5 days ago
  • Māori seats entrenched by Tirikatene Bill
    National and the Māori Party need to support my member’s Bill which is designed to entrench the Māori electorate seats in Parliament, Labour’s Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene says. “Under the Electoral Act the provisions establishing the general electorates ...
    5 days ago
  • Trade dumping bill could hurt NZ industries
    The Commerce Select Committee is currently hearing submissions on the Trade (Anti-dumping and Countervailing Duties) Amendment Bill. This bill worries me. I flagged some major concerns during its first reading.   I am now reading submissions from NZ Steel, ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Just 8 per cent of work visas for skills shortages
    Just 16,000 – or 8 per cent – of the 209,000 work visas issued last year were for occupations for which there is an identified skills shortage, says Labour Immigration spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway. “The overwhelming majority of the record number ...
    6 days ago
  • Hard won agreement shouldn’t be thrown away
    The Government should ignore talk across the Tasman about doing away with the labelling of GM free products, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “Labelling of genetically modified products was a hard won agreement in 2001 by Australian and the ...
    6 days ago
  • National’s privatisation Trojan horse
     The National government is using the need to modernise the school system as a Trojan horse for privatisation and an end to free public education as we know it, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There is no doubt that ...
    6 days ago
  • Shameless land-banking ads show need for crackdown
    The fact that more than 300 sections are shamelessly being advertised on Trade Me as land-banking opportunities during a housing crisis shows the need for a crackdown on property speculators, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “Of the 328 ...
    6 days ago
  • Standard and Poor’s warning of housing crisis impact on banks
    The National Government’s failure to address the housing crisis is leading to dire warnings from ratings agency Standard and Poor’s about the impact on the strength of the economy and New Zealand banks, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Standard ...
    6 days ago
  • Ihumatao needs action not sympathy
    The Petition of Save Our Unique Landscape (SOUL) calling on Parliament to revoke Special Housing Area 62 in order to protect the Ihumatao Peninsula and Stonefields, has fallen on deaf ears, says the Labour MP for Mangere Su’a William Sio.  ...
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Another delay to justice system reform for victims of sexual violence
    I believe most, if not all, New Zealanders would expect our court system to uphold the dignity of complainants, hold perpetrators to account for crimes including sexual and domestic violence and uphold the crucial right to a fair trial. Yet ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Student visa fraud & exploitation must stop
    The Government must act immediately to end fraud and exploitation of international students that threatens to damage New Zealand’s reputation, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. ...
    7 days ago
  • Government needs to show leadership in reviewing monetary policy
    The Reserve Bank’s struggles to meet its inflation target, the rising exchange rate and the continued housing crisis shows current monetary policy needs to be reviewed - with amendments to the policy targets agreement a bare minimum, says Labour’s Finance ...
    1 week ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Local democracy under threat
    The National Government is in the process of gutting our local democracy through it’s Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). We’ve been hearing submissions from councils, and a few community members, all around the country who are deeply ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Slash and burn of special education support
    Slashing the support for school age children with special needs is no way to fund earlier intervention, Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “National’s latest plan to slash funding for children with special needs over the age of 7 in ...
    1 week ago
  • National’s Pasifika MPs must have free vote
      Pacific people will not take kindly to the Government whipping their Pacific MPs to vote in favour of a  Bill that will allow Sunday trading  at Easter, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Su’a William Sio.  “We are seeing ...
    1 week ago
  • Maritime Crimes Bill – balancing security and free speech
    Parliament is currently considering the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill, which would bring New Zealand up to date with current international rules about maritime security. The debate around the Bill reflects two valid issues: legitimate counter-terrorism measures and the right to ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Rio Olympics captioning – setting the record straight
    In the House on Thursday, my colleague, Labour Party spokesperson on Disability Issues, Poto Williams asked a great question. After which the Minister, Nicky Wagner, stood up and finally publicly acknowledged the National Foundation for the Deaf for funding the ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    2 weeks ago
  • Teachers’ low wages at the centre of shortages
      Figures that show teachers’ wages have grown the slowest of all occupations is at the heart of the current teacher shortage, says Labour’s Education Spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  In the latest Labour Cost Index, education professionals saw their wages grow ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government’s Tax Law undermines common law principles
    A tax amendment being snuck in under the radar allows changes to tax issues to be driven through by the Government without Parliamentary scrutiny, says Labour’s Revenue spokesman Stuart Nash. “The amendment allows any part of the Tax Administration Act ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Government slippery about caption funding
      The Government has refused to apologise for taking the credit for funding Olympic Games captioning when the National Foundation for the Deaf  was responsible, says Labour’s spokesperson on Disability Issues Poto Williams.  “This shameful act of grandstanding by Ministers ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Default KiwiSaver investments should be reviewed
    The investments of the default KiwiSaver providers should be reviewed to make sure they are in line with New Zealanders’ values and expectations, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Most New Zealanders would be appalled that their KiwiSaver funds are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • New ministry should look after all children
    The Government has today shunned well founded pleas by experts not to call its new agency the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Labour’s Spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern says.  “Well respected organisations and individuals such as Children's Commissioner Judge Andrew Becroft ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Triclosan – nasty chemical will be reassessed
    Last week my campaign for this chemical to be reassessed by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) took another step forward. After many months of waiting, the EPA have agreed that triclosan needs to be reassessed. Triclosan is an ingredient in many ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Ratification okay but we need action
    Today’s decision to ratify the Paris agreement on Climate Change by the end of the year is all well and good but where is the plan, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods.  “The Government’s failure to plan is planning ...
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere