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

  • Government spend up on state house sell off
    The Government has spent $28.9 million and has 129 officials working on its misguided state house sell-off, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “This is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a policy that won’t deliver a single extra… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Housing crisis has huge impact on education
    The National Government’s failure to get on top of the housing crisis is having a major impact on the quality of education a lot of school kids are getting, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are thousands of kids… ...
    15 hours ago
  • Minister celebrates while arts organisations face cuts
    Maggie Barry was full of self-congratulations for her small arts announcement in the budget, ignoring the pain that a large number of organisations are facing due to her inaction, says Arts, Culture, Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “The Budget delivered a… ...
    16 hours ago
  • Regions miss out again in Joyce’s Koru Lounge Fund
      The regions have missed out yet again with Steven Joyce offering just $10m a year for key regional development projects while trumpeting a bunch of re-heated announcements, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The dairy downturn has put… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner misses out in Budget
      The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has missed out on a much needed boost in this year’s Budget, meaning they will be forced to continue their reduced monitoring role of CYFs residences, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Communities miss out in Budget
    Budget 2017 has left community and NGO providers feeling exposed about the services they provide to vulnerable families especially in smaller towns and communities, says Labour’s Whānau Ora Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Approximately $40m will go into Whānau Ora to work… ...
    2 days ago
  • Budget2016: Two Worlds
    Sometimes I feel as if I live in two worlds. The world created by the National Government where everything is great and they’re doing a great job and the world as seen through the eyes of child advocates, community workers,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Parekura would be proud – MTS gets boost
    The Labour Party is ecstatic that the Māori Party have shown support for one of Labour’s proudest policies, says Labour’s Māori Broadcasting Spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “The Māori Television Service was launched in 2004 by the late Hon Parekura Horomia. ...
    3 days ago
  • Māori housing in state of emergency
    The Government needs to declare a state of emergency for Māori Housing, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis. “The extra $3 million a year Māori Housing Network fund will not scratch the surface in… ...
    3 days ago
  • State house sell off in disarray after provider pulls out
     The Government should cancel its planned sell-off of state houses after the second big community housing provider pulled out leaving the process in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “It is time for the Government to back away from… ...
    3 days ago
  • Nothing in Budget to help police to solve crime
    The Police Minister has failed to make communities safer with virtually no new money in yesterday’s Budget for police to address the appalling burglary resolution rates, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It’s a disgrace there’s no money or aspiration… ...
    3 days ago
  • Blog – Budget 2016: What about ordinary working people?
    Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. Green Party workplace relations spokesperson Denise Roche For… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Real wages go backwards for next two years
    New Zealanders’ real wages will fall for the next two years as the cost of living outpaces forecast pay rises, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealanders have been doing it tough for far too long. They expect… ...
    3 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • The give with one hand – take with the other Budget
    The Minister of Health has pumped out media releases to 20 District Health Boards heralding increases in funding for their regions, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “But when you add population growth and inflation into the figures you get… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget offers no hope of fixing housing crisis
    The Budget’s underwhelming housing measures will give New Zealanders no hope that National is capable of fixing the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “There isn’t a scrap of an idea to help desperate young Kiwi families into… ...
    3 days ago
  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    3 days ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    3 days ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
    The Government’s $40 billion of buying power would go towards backing Kiwi businesses and jobs under a Labour Member’s Bill which will be debated by Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “My Bill – which was pulled from… ...
    4 days ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    4 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    4 days ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    4 days ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    4 days ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    4 days ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    4 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    5 days ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    5 days ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    5 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    7 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    7 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    1 week ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere