web analytics
The Standard
Advertising

Nats to cut 500 teachers

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, May 17th, 2012 - 156 comments
Categories: budget2012, education, schools - Tags:

If there was any doubt that National has an anti-teacher, anti-education agenda, it’s gone. Increasing class sizes will ‘save’ $43m a year by reducing the number of teachers that would otherwise be required by 500. National standards will be used for performance pay. It’s a cut to the frontline, a cut to our kids’ learning. And Parata’s comments suggest more to come.

It’s pretty simple, really. The ‘saving’ from larger class sizes is all in wages. $43m is just over 1% of education’s wage bill. There are 50,000 teachers. If you got your education under Labour, you can see that’s a cut of 500 teachers against the status quo.

Parata pretended she couldn’t see that, of course. She gave a performance unworthy of her ministerial warrant on Checkpoint as she transparently attempted to evade the issue. But she gave away the game when she said the number of teachers would be static for the next four years. Pupil numbers increase about 1% a year, and so would teacher numbers normally. That implies a 500 fewer jobs each year – 2000 fewer over four years.

Parata has done an awful job trying to sell this (she has just admitted on Morning Report that the entire purpose of national standards is performance pay).

Parents won’t be happy that there will be hundreds or thousands fewer teachers for their children, or that their kids will be tested specifically to determine their teachers’ pay.

156 comments on “Nats to cut 500 teachers”

  1. ghostwhowalksnz 1

    The effect of teacher numbers cuts will be very obvious in small town schools which dont have any population growth.

    Sure the numbers may be static in growth corridors or suburbs with intensification, but in the rest of the country a lot of national party seats, it will be a cut to numbers and empty classrooms.

    I can see some schools which have zoning restrictions because there is no more space, they will increase the numbers of pupils to fill the empty classrooms. The effect of this will be to accentuate the decline in teacher numbers in other schools

  2. I’d prefer a slightly bigger class with a better teacher than a smaller class and a crap teacher – and anyone who’s been through school knows there is a wide variety in quality of teaching.

    • Stop trying to derail the post Pete.

      • Pete George 2.1.1

        Don’t be a nonce. Quality of teachers versus quantity/class sizes is the key issue – unless you mean straying off the intended narrow message of the day here.

        • higherstandard 2.1.1.1

          Quality of teachers is very important but so is the number of children they have to teach at any one time.

          The best one could hope for is quality teachers teaching small groups, unfortunately that is pie in the sky.

          • Pete George 2.1.1.1.1

            I’ve just heard an interbnnational education researcher on national radio – he said that lower class numbers are a no brainer – except that most countries find that better bang for buck come from investing in better teacher quality.

            Key question – should the priority in education be teachers retaining their jobs, or giving the best possible education to as many kids as possible?

            [false dichotomy. Teacher quality can be improved without cutting treacher numbers. Performance pay doesn't improve education, it erodes it by giving teachers narrow, perverse incentives. Better quality comes from attracting better teachers with higher qualifications, through higher pay. We would have money for both if we weren't borrowing two billion for tax cuts. JH]

            • Tigger 2.1.1.1.1.1

              Totally fed up with this threadjackoff. Pete, please stop this.

              • Chris

                How is it derailing the post to discuss the issues in the post. Or are the only replies to this post meant to discuss how crap Parata and National are rather than the underlying issue?

                • Because it is an inane substanceless comment.
                   
                  Of course there are varying qualities of teachers.  The more pressure you put on the profession and the worse you pay teachers the worse it will get.  This is not a measure to address teaching standards, it is a measure to save money and whack the union at the same time.
                   
                  Petey’s suggestion that it is not is a threadjack.

                • OneTrack

                  Chris – yes

              • Dv

                Ironic that pg is arguing for quality over quanity!

            • Pete 2.1.1.1.1.2

              New Zealand is ranked fourth in the OECD for education outcomes, behind South Korea, Finland and Canada. Our teachers are superb, not sub-par. Really the “key question” is why mess with success?

              Edit: and why would we want to follow models from the US which is way down at 14th.

              The only justification for a reduction in teaching numbers is demographic change – a baby bust.

            • Pete George 2.1.1.1.1.3

              As the NatRad interview explained, there always has to be a tradeoff between class size, teacher pay and teacher training and support. I don’t think anyone advocates for class sizes of one.

              Therefore any budget has to try and get the optimum balance between costs and outcomes.

              And something else in this mix of considerations – for the bulk of kids an extra person or two in class size will make little difference, especially in some subjects.

              The bottom 20%(ish) who are failing need smaller class sizes and more teacher support. Not all kids.

              • Jackal

                Ridiculous! Many people pay a considerable amount for private tutelage because it provides the best results. It’s a very simple equation, the more students you have the less time each student gets from the teacher. National’s policy would be OK if all students were the same. However students are not automatons and increasing class numbers will reduce the time spent on specific learning requirements. The result will be more struggling students trying to get the teachers attention.

                • Fortran

                  Jackal

                  Is ther any relationship in private education not only having smaller classes and the quality of teachers it attracts accordingly ?

                  • Jackal

                    I was talking about one on one teaching not private schools, sorry for the confusion. I have no idea about the quality of private school vs public school teachers. However you would expect that remuneration would play a part in attracting higher qualified teachers.

                    Apparently New Zealand teachers have one of the lowest starting salaries in the developed world.

                    Personally I think a sliding scale should be used where there are less young students per classroom and more older students per classroom. Being that we’re already seeing some students fail, reducing the amount of students per teacher overal would be advisable.

                  • insider

                    When you are talking about prestigious private schools, they tend to pay more than state schools. (Note there are a number of small Xtian private schools and I understand they don’t pay more – some may even pay less as it’s often the faithful who teach there.)

                    That said they expect quite a lot in terms of reporting and attendance/support for extracurricular activities. One of the biggest attractions is the ability to teach motivated and supported pupils without the classroom hassles you get in some state schools. Some also teach in them becasue they offer cheap and priority access for their children.

              • The Government is not looking for “optimum balance”.  It is trying to save money. 
                 
                And this Government raves on all the time about the bottom 20%.  So are you conceding Petey that the Government is deliberately making things worse for the bottom 20% by these cuts?

              • Rodel

                PG Your comments are so thick.Love to see you coping in a classroom…in spite of what your cherry picked interbnnational (sic) researcher says. Get back to retard radio talkbacks and let this website get on with reasoned discussions..

            • Psycho Milt 2.1.1.1.1.4

              Pete George: you may have noticed in the post they’re planning to cap teacher numbers, not to identify poorly-performing teachers and dismiss them. All they’re going to to do is keep teacher numbers the same for a while to save some money, ie these “crap” teachers you mention will retain their jobs under this policy, just like they would without this policy. In short, they’re quacking on about “improving teacher performance” without having any mechanism for improving it, and some dim bulbs, not mentioning any names of course, seem to be sucked in by it.

              • Someone as bright as you should be able to suggest the best course of action then. How do think they would best:
                - improve the quality of the bottom teachers?
                - improve the education of the bottom end students?
                - not escalate costs?

                Change nothing?

                • Being smart doesn’t make you an expert on education systems, something that National MPs would do well to learn. That is, I’m as unqualified as Hekia Parata to identify the best course of action.

                  As to your questions:

                  1. How best to improve the quality of the bottom teachers?
                  This makes a big assumption that there actually is a teacher quality problem, which is so far an evidence-free opinion expressed by a few right-wingers. Obviously there is a bottom end of teacher quality and we do want to improve it, but that’s what professional development programmes are for and I’ve seen no evidence the current ones are ineffective.

                  2. How best to improve the education of the bottom end students?
                  Given that factors external to the education system are overwhelmingly more influential on that than anything within the education system, I’d suggest leaving the education system alone for a bit and looking at the external factors.

                  3. Not escalate costs?
                  Improving things significantly without spending anything is only possible if your existing setup is crap. Our existing setup isn’t crap.

                  4. Change nothing?
                  Wouldn’t say that. Obviously something needs to be done about those external factors, but that would cost a lot more than beating up on the teachers’ union so isn’t likely to get a lot of traction.

                  • ianmac

                    From what I have seen very few “bad” teachers stay as it can be very tough unless you are successful. There is a very high drop-out rate of starting teachers who find it far to tough. It may have nothing to do with the money, just job satisfaction. Some say that the Government constantly undermining teachers is very destabilising and this leads to loss of confidence in parents and children.

            • mike e 2.1.1.1.1.5

              puerile git you were obviously in a very large class
              once again Australia is going to benefit from Nationals short sighted policies

    • Kevin Welsh 2.2

      So who makes the judgement on who is a good or bad teacher?

      Oh, thats right, with National Standards and ‘teaching-for-the-test’, that is all the information they will need.

      I never had single crap teacher from my first day at school til my last. At times I was a prick to deal with at school but that is my fault not the teachers.

      They have a thankless job dealing with the inadequacies of parents these days, from the ones who don’t give a shit about education, to the ones who molly-coddle their kids and blame everyone else when their kids don’t live up to expectations.

      I was in classes of 30 or more when at primary school and we were a bloody handful for even the most patient of teachers.

      And now, the government you condone, wants payback from a profession they have contempt for (except for the private schools, of course). They hate the fact that they are organised, have strong unions and most of all, that they now earn decent money after years of fighting for it.

      If I was a teacher I would be advocating for work-to-rule. No extras. Fuck ‘em.

      • Pete George 2.2.1

        I never had single crap teacher from my first day at school til my last.

        You were lucky then. Most kids aren’t, especially those at the bottom of the education/teacher heap.

        • Colonial Viper 2.2.1.1

          For them, the beat up of ACT’s charter schools.

        • fabregas4 2.2.1.2

          I’ve been a teacher and now principal for eleven years. There is a range of quality in teachers – of course there is. Are there many incompetent ones – not really. Are there lazy ones – I have yet to see one. Are they simply turning up for their pay – yet to see one. Are principals sitting there not working with and to improve teaching – haven’t seen it.

          Ask parents who actually get involved in schools and they will tell you what work teachers do. How difficult it is. How much teachers do, not just academically, but in every way to develop children. Especially in schools surrounded by social problems – these people deserve a medal not this rubbish. In my school teachers bring food, clothes, cover sores and treat sickness. I spend much of my time on social work caused by policies that cause poverty.

          I love this job, and I am bloody good at it. I am getting tired though of just how much is expected of my staff and I. But mostly I am getting tired of ill-informed bullshit flung at these people who every day work there butts off negating the affects of these policies and doing their darnedest to make a difference for kids that our leaders have largely abandoned.

          • Tiger Mountain 2.2.1.2.1

            Well said F4, my partner was a BOT member and later professional mentor for years (which does not guarantee any particular wisdom, but she is a unionist with lots of experience) and I learnt a bit about the education system on the way through by association and your comments match what I observed in the Far North cluster in my area.

            A lot of effort had gone into developing a new curriculum during the Clark years and then it was basically dumped by the nats. The last couple of years all sorts of talented people have left the MOE unable to eat the National Standards s**t sandwich.

          • higherstandard 2.2.1.2.2

            I can only speak from the perspective of being on the BOT’s of three schools over the years and can only agree with you 100% in relation to the vast majority of teachers I’ve come into contact with.

        • dan1 2.2.1.3

          Some of the best teachers in NZ are in the “difficult” schools. Teachers in the higher decile schools have a cruisy number.

          • fabregas4 2.2.1.3.1

            I am a good teacher, very good. You can check if you like. But I chose to come North to do my bit to help these kids many of whom are quite frankly behind the eight ball. Will I get them all to where I want them to be? – maybe not but my staff and I are working hard and cleverly to do the best we can and we are getting good results. Why isn’t this good enough? And whose responsibility is this holy grail of achievement for all? Why is just the teachers who are being subject to performance appraisal? Why not the Ministry of Education? Why not Anne Tolley and now Parata? Why not Paula Bennett whose policies affect my children so much? Why not Phil Heatley who as Minister of Housing allows some of my kids to live in 3rd world homes? Why not Tony Ryall whose health policies see many of my children subject to 3rd world diseases?

      • OneTrack 2.2.2

        I think many teachers already do

    • Draco T Bastard 2.3

      I take it you missed this link the other day when I posted it?

      The advice given by the Treasury was apparently based on John Hattie’s book Visible Learnings. But Professor O’Neill points out that Hattie himself notes that increasing class size is poor policy.

      Either that or you’re just here to defend NACTs atrocious policies with your ignorance – again.

    • aerobubble 2.4

      Go back to school. Everyone with an education knows you want quantities of quality.

      Government wants quality teachers to fail from over work because having more quantity of competent teachers is bad by some abusive metrics they can’t cite.

      Surely a quality competent government wants both quality teachers providing a quantity of teaching experiences.

      A simple analysis would show that experienced mostly competent, but some high quality teachers, will be sacked and replaced with better educated yet cheaper teachers who spend less time engage with children. The education budget won’t keep up with inflation and less teachers teach more children.

    • Georgecom 2.5

      Whereas the middle ground will be competent teachers in class sizes left the way they currently are. Thats what is being cut here Pete, competent teachers in current class sizes. If the government wants to spend more money on quality (ie not National Standards type fiasco training) professional development to upgrade teacehrs skills and understanding, good and fine. Cutting class sizes to develop a form of pay system that relies on things outside the teachers control is plain and simple dumb, or ideological.

      rob

  3. Parata on Radio New Zealand was particularly appalling. She kept saying that there would be schools with less teachers and schools with more teachers with the obvious spin that the changes were minimal.  Robinson did not nail her on it.  The obvious question was if the changes are so small then how come $42 million is being saved.

    And there should have been a follow up question, why is the funding for private schools being ring fenced?  Why is the state system being dumbed down in the name of “efficiency” but the private sector is spared?

    • ghostwhowalksnz 3.1

      If this ‘larger class size ‘ idea makes any sense , why does Kings College or any of the elite private schools tout it as an advantage to have small class sizes.

      Of course John Key sent his kids to private school where the class sizes are even less than the state system. One of the benefits ?

      Class sizes are limited and our policy of a low pupil-to-teacher ratio ensures students are given greater individual attention in the classroom. We prepare students for their best possible achievement in external national examinations
      http://www.kingscollege.school.nz/option,com_content/view,category/id,37/Itemid,299/

      • Fortran 3.1.1

        Ghost

        Is it not only John Key whose son goes to Kings – doesn’t David Cunliffe’s son go there also ?

      • Ben 3.1.2

        ghostwhowalksnz:

        That’s advertising, and it works because parents like the idea of smaller class sizes. It’s not proof that they’re better.

        Someone else – Pete George of all people – mentioned the interview with an OECD education researcher on RNZ this morning. His point of view was that if a decision needs to be made about where every dollar is spent, that dollar is better spent putting teachers through extra training than hiring extra teachers. A great teacher in front of 30 students is better than an average teacher in front of 25.

        That was his view point, rather than mine. I don’t have a view on this issue, really, though I agree Parata’s interview on RNZ with Mary Wilson was completely shocking. They’re hiding something.

      • insider 3.1.3

        Why does Buger King claim it just tastes better, or Coca Cola claim it is the real thing? – it;s marketing and they are a business. They are telling the customer what they want to hear to reinforce their prejudices and make them feel good about handing over money.

    • insider 3.2

      It’s appalling she can’t use less and fewer appropriately.

    • Dv 3.3

      Micky
      43 million saving on 500 teachers is about 86k per teacher

      It is obvious then that the nacts are going to increase teachers pay by about 30K

      OR are the nats numbers dodgy? (again)

    • The Baron 3.4

      How is what you’re doing here not threadjacking, but Pete bringing up a similarly related angle is?

      Oh, its cos you don’t like what he’s saying. Glad we cleared that up.

      If you wanna have a conversation in an echo chamber with your other moronic loyalists, then why aren’t you doing this behind a membership wall? Blogs involve diversity of opinion – and Pete’s allowed one too. In the mean time, I’m still trying to work out if you’re a bully or an idiot, Greggles – I think the answer may be both.

      • higherstandard 3.4.1

        “If you wanna have a conversation in an echo chamber with your other moronic loyalists”

        Have you been to his blog ? It is an echo chamber of one.

        • mickysavage 3.4.1.1

          12k pageviews last month.
           
          And some weirdo who keeps posting comments that I keep blocking.
           
          It isn’t you is it HS?

          • higherstandard 3.4.1.1.1

            Not me Greg, although I did click through today to see if it was still cak and i see you have redecorated the place.

            • The Baron 3.4.1.1.1.1

              Seems to be an even buggier mess than that which Whale Oil achieves… Crash-tastic under IE, Greggles. But you’re right – if you have 12k page views, then I guess every active member of the Labour party visits a dozen times a month.

              But vanity hour is over now, Presland, and still response as to why it isn’t threadjacking when you do it. I guess idiot fanboi bully was about right.

  4. BM 4

    I hope they reintroduce streaming.
    I can’t for the life of me see why they got rid of it, hell of a lot easier to teach a bunch of kids if they are all roughly at the same level,talk about making life hard for yourself.

    • insider 4.1

      It still exists. It’s a school decision.

      • BM 4.1.1

        Ok, that’s good to know, I was under the impression that it had being done away with completely.

    • higherstandard 4.2

      Many secondary schools still stream.

    • Hilary 4.3

      BM – So you want to reintroduce ‘cabbage classes’ as well? Nothing like a bit of stigmatising to motivate kids to be engaged in learning.

      Lots of evidence actually shows that having teachers who are good at teaching across abilities and a diversity of kids in the classroom actually benefits both the high achievers and those who find academic learning a bit harder.

      • BM 4.3.1

        Cabbage classes?, having kids of the same academic level within the same classroom makes perfect sense.
        I’m sure a child of limited ability enjoys being in a classroom were everyone is miles ahead them, talk about making you feel like a total dumbarse.

      • OneTrack 4.3.2

        I strongly doubt your evidence. Common sense will tell anybody that it is going to be more productive educationally if the teacher can focus their teaching at one level, instead of having half the time focused on the strugglers and the other half on the top kids, with the majority in the middle missing out. But I guess it helps someone to feel better that we are all mucking in together and not having people at different levels. That just wouldn’t be proper? But much of the class time these days is really spent on other subjects much more important than maths, reading and writing, such as kapa haka and “inquiry” (in other words, doing random searches on the interweb thingy), so you are probably right that that doesn’t matter so much. Carry on, nothing to see here.

  5. Vam 5

    Teaching is a vocation. You never really clock out at the end of the day, cos you’re always thinking about your job and your students, and you often take paperwork home with you. Most teachers give a hell of a lot to their job. More students = more paperwork, and the teacher’s workload is already beyond reasonable. The whole system depends on teachers’ goodwill, but that’s not a given, it’s already a diminishing commodity.

    • aerobubble 5.1

      Its an education alright. When business leaders need good will so much, to see it abused by their own Talley, etc, and in their fail schools, they might wake up to themselves and start supporting a more balanced approach to community. And dump the take no prisoners neo-liberal simplicities.

    • OneTrack 5.2

      Sounds good but the reality is that many teachers do clock out at 3pm in the afternoon.

  6. Dr Terry 6

    Parata is living evidence of a person (Minister) who, whilst intelligent, knows little about educational issues and policies. Never did I think we would get again someone at least as bad as Tolley! Did Hekia (Lady Gardiner) herself attend a private school? I shall try to find out. Obviously, she is “upper class” Maori. With all that grace and charm she is about to ruin our educational system, if she can.

    • Frida 6.1

      DrT, I’m in no way defending her by the point I’m about to make, I think what is proposed is APPALLING and I’m horrified by what this means for our children’s future, especially when the Govt is propping up private schools like Wanganui Collegiate and proposing to pour money into charter schools etc. BUT, just to answer your specific query, while I don’t know what school Hekia herself went to I was quite impressed recently to read her daughter attended Wellington High.

      • Chris 6.1.1

        She grew up in Ruatoria and went to Gisborne Girls – just read it in her profile. Not that ‘upper class’

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.1.1

          So she’s a class climber and class traitor?

          • Anne 6.1.1.1.1

            I have watched Parata quite closely these past few years. She is vain, full of pretences and is a snob.

            • insider 6.1.1.1.1.1

              I love it when lefties turn on those who they believe have got above their station…

              • Draco T Bastard

                She hasn’t got above her station – she’s acting as if she has. There’s a difference.

                • insider

                  exactly what is her station so we know how she should be acting? Has she progressed beyond cloth cap and forelock tapping in your egalitarian world?

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    The last two words in your second question answer for you. But, just to clarify, people do not have a station and shouldn’t hold themselves above others.

                  • OneTrack

                    No she should have stayed home and had many children.

          • insider 6.1.1.1.2

            Does she drive a porsche?

            • Tiger Mountain 6.1.1.1.2.1

              Well she has got above the station of Georgina Te Heu Heu under Don Brash one could observe. Hekia reeks of condecension and whats more is not as smart as she thinks she is if the offshore drilling debate is any measure.

          • OneTrack 6.1.1.1.3

            Class traitor :-). Mustn’t try to improve on where you started from.

        • ianmac 6.1.1.2

          You beat me to it Chris. She went to Manutahi Maori Primary School which never had class sizes above 25 as country schools were staffed at a much lower rate than town schools. Not that it makes much different to her policies.

    • ianmac 6.2

      Parata claimed to be in classes of 42 kids. If that was true ??? goodness knows what school she went to. A Private School? Wonder how we find out?

      • mike e 6.2.1

        By the look of it she’s probably right as she appears not to have learned much except being the teachers pet transferring those skills to being a greasy slimy spin machine.

    • Dr Terry 6.3

      Parata is, as one would expect, from a privileged background. Research uncovers that her first education was from her parents. There was some early-childhood schooling prior to her attending the Manutahi Maori Primary School in Ruatoria. After this, Hekia attended the Ngata Memorial College in Ruatoria (currently a small school with 8 teachers). From there, she enrolled at the Gisborne Girls High School, presumably at Senior level (rather than Junior).
      Consequently, it would appear that over vitally important earlier years in education, the Minister received a considerable amount of personal attention from parents and in small schools. In my assessment, good fortune indeed!!

      • OneTrack 6.3.1

        You mean having parents that support you is not usual where she grew up? Hmm.

      • Hateatea 6.3.2

        I am not a fan of Hekia Parata, her politics, her performance as a civil servant or politician but I do think the remarks about her ‘class’ background and whether or not her family is monied is inappropriate. All children would benefit from the upbringing that Ms Parata and her whanau experienced. What she has chosen to do with those benefits is a different matter.
        I think the Education agenda of this NAct government is appalling and her going along with it reflects her ambition as much as anything else. The sadness for me is that it is MY mokopuna will pay the price, not because we as a whanau are not united and committed to the best for them but that there will not be the quality of choice available to us and them.
        The cost to this country will be paid over and over in the years to come but the rich won’t notice or care. It will be the flaxroots that bear the burden, as they always do

  7. prism 7

    Oh it’s the right thing to play around with class sizes, the OECD spokesman says so. This fits with the frequent legislation we get that is based on what unanalysed, unreviewed for outcomes of policies from any overseas locality that has cut costs. It’s not all about quality, it’s about quantity (of money). What locality will be our next role model?

    • ianmac 7.1

      To mass produce results then class sizes do not really matter. 35 kids would work.
      But to assist the very bright and the underachiever, (who can be very bright) individual programs achieve better results. A teacher at the St Margaret’s Prep School, tells me that class sizes never have more than 20 kids, and every child has an individual learning program which involves precise feedback and analysis.
      Wonder why an elite school like St Margarets would bother to take such steps when Parata and Treasury say that larger classes will help get good results?
      Come to that the larger classes and the teacher improvements will take years to implement. By that time Parata will be gone leaving a trail of destruction in her wake.

      • prism 7.1.1

        Tolley, Parata – the dominoes will go down. But they are big enough objects to be stumbling blocks. And we don’t want to just think about bright kids not getting encouragement, ordinary kids having trouble settling or adjusting to school or coping with bullies or home or being hungry or having undiagnosed conditions such as bad hearing or… deserve to get as good an education as will set them up to look life in the eye and do okay for themselves.

        The ordinary life may not be headline stuff, but well-balanced, educated individuals who understand they live in a society who contribute legitimately for what they need and also give back to it, make a society of people good to live amongst.

  8. National standards will be used for performance pay.

    Surely that can’t be right. National standards are un-moderated, so using them for performance pay would offer a financial incentive to fake the results. I can’t believe even National MPs are that stupid.

  9. Bill 9

    I think the post is missing the point. To privatise institutioins you must first of all develop an ‘efficiency framework’. National Standards are a part of that. Teacher/class size ratios are also a part of that.

    It’s all about keeping an eye on the ball. And the ball is an ability to generate profit.

    • ianmac 9.1

      Wonder which ball you are eying Bill? What on earth are you saying?

      • Bill 9.1.1

        Take an institution….welfare, education, prison service or any number of public services. Reduce…maybe ‘reduce’ is the wrong word…reconfigure their functions to accommodate formulae that are ‘business friendly’. (Y’know, formulas that lend themselves to being viewed in terms of simplistic ‘inputs’ and ‘outputs’ so that costs and potential profits can be discerned.) Then privatise.

    • just saying 9.2

      I wish the opposition parties would do a better job of joining the dots.
      Every aspect of our lives, every part of our community, is being sized-up and prepared for private ownership and control, for the benefit of owners.
      The issue is far more about private ownership creeping into every nook and cranny, and less about overseas ownership, in the wider “owning our futures” picture, a point made in the latest post of the excellent, Bat,Bean, Beam, blog.
      http://bat-bean-beam.blogspot.co.nz/

    • prism 9.3

      I think I know your thinking Bill – you’re being sarcastic and showing us the value of education as a cold-blooded, calculating NACT sees it. Everything in government is a starter business for some entity to buy up once established and squeeze for profit and that includes schools, medicines, water – the things we have to have to live. What a safe, blue chip opportunity.

    • Bill 9.4

      Here’s a link to something I found by accident that’s slightly revealing. Notice the peppering of terms/phrases relating to ‘economics’, ‘percentages’ and ‘numbers’. “John Langley: Business tools can help education”…

      http://www.nzherald.co.nz/economy/news/article.cfm?c_id=34&objectid=10794586

      • prism 9.4.1

        Business-like take on provision of education. Class sizes shouldn’t burgeon but the optimum size is not spelled out and anyway its the quality of teachers that counts. Downgrades and fudges teachers’ legitimate concerns. Implies they are cry babies and police, medical etc. embrace criticism and not over-sensitive like teachers.

        Langley seems to me to be one of those consultants, fellow travellers who carve a niche for themselves exploiting and explaining the unexplainable and indefensible (from a human viewpoint) to all those who wish to remain in their jobs, and to their managers, how to get more juice from their lemons. And indeed this is how many principals regard their teachers, no appreciation, implied or spoken criticism, no support, just factory managers. And possibly no better than Talleys even. I’m not sure whether principals have to have had a good term of teaching practice.

        Perhaps someone could advise on what is sought when employing principals – which I suppose is done by the school board, usually accountants and aspirational middle class with little interest in the lower economic. (That’s obvious in the expensive school uniforms they adopt.)

  10. Blue 10

    What stood out to me in the announcement was that education is getting $511.9 million in this years budget.

    They spent $1 billion bailing out South Canterbury Finance.

    Priorities.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1

      Doubt that Educations is ‘getting $500 mill ( extra). The full education budget , primary secondary tertiary is $10 bill plus. And budget announcements are usually stretched over 4 years ( and re announced every year) Could be as little as $50 mill for each or primary and secondary per year

  11. Tiger Mountain 11

    The torys hate the teacher unions with a vengance and right or wrong they are going to try and deal to them as per student associations. Kevin at 2.2 is coming from the right direction–work to rule-But hold on–the Natz proposed changes to the ERA will enable lockouts for such behaviour.

    Pushing back hectoring Hekia (Lady Gardener indeed) requires parent and community support like with National Standards. The MOE, ministry of magic, has been deserted by many decent educationalists with tory toadies remaining in the senior jobs. I mean check out the secretary for education –Hogwarts reject Lesley Longstone.

    The end result of this bs is that a two tier education system will result, but only if we let it happen.

  12. Logie97 12

    Schools being judged by academic performance.

    When the funding formula is based on performance, rather than numbers of pupils enrolled, schools will jump for joy. At the moment they just welcome anyone coming through the gates.

    They will have boards of trustees and principals who will be able to tell the parents to take their poorly focussed and disruptive, aggressive, under performing children to seek their education elsewhere. Those children will become a ministry issue rather than a school’s. Teachers will be able to focus on the core business. The community will be queuing up to send their children to the school. Goodness, they could even develop pre-entry exams.

    Now let’s see what the government’s own edicts say..
    Vision statement “What we want for our young people … Read the rest here
    http://nz curriculum.tki.org.nz/Curriculum-documents/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Vision

    Meanwhile, on recruitment of these bushy tailed ‘eager to make a difference’ graduates,
    “Oh did we tell you that you will be going into bigger classes when you get out there in the big wide world…”

  13. tsmithfield 13

    Interesting debate.

    Firstly, there is not just the savings in teacher salaries. There would also be considerable savings in infrastructure costs.

    Secondly, what if the 500 jobs that are lost are the worst performing teachers? This would mean that the children from those classes would then be in front of higher quality teachers, which will be a positive for their education.

    • Secondly, what if the 500 jobs that are lost are the worst performing teachers?

      How would that happen? What mechanism would be used? At the moment, all we have is that teacher numbers will be capped.

      • insider 13.1.1

        Teacher numbers are already capped by the funding formula. The Funding formula is already an average. Principals can decide the teacher mix – how many above and below the formula average – but they can’t employ without funding, unless the school community pays extra.

      • OneTrack 13.1.2

        Well we could always implement a professional appraisal system, say like those poor suckers, I mean employees, in the private sector. You know, the ones who pay the taxes that pay teachers salaries.

    • Dv 13.2

      Ts
      Saving in infrastructure?
      How?

      What about the cost of increasing classroom sizes to cope?
      How about having to get more desks and chairs to cope with the larger classes?

      .

      • s y d 13.2.1

        well, when you think about there are massive savings to be had…consider
        500 less biscuits and cups of tea every day (1000 counting afternoon tea)
        500 less chairs in staffrooms, should fetch a pretty packet on trade me
        500 carparks now available for leasing
        500 less union rep’s  – as let’s face it, they are the worst performing teachers
        by my rough calculation thats at least ohh, maybe several billion dollars over the long term
         
         
         

      • tsmithfield 13.2.2

        The ratio is currently between 23 and 29 students per class. The proposed level is 27 students per class, still within the range above. So, we are not talking about doubling class sizes or anything. Rather, several extra pupils per class. I imagine this will be accomodated within existing buildings without too much problem. However, it will probably reduce the need for more new buildings.

    • Ross 13.3

      What do you think will happen to those 500 teachers? They are not going to disappear into the ether. Some may go on the dole, which of course will mean the savings are not what are claimed.

    • And what if the 500 jobs lost were the best performing teachers with the best chance of a career change?  Sheesh …

  14. hellonearthis 14

    National building a bigger underclass so that the average grade is changed making the people at the top seem smarter because there are more uneducated. NZ brighter future.

    I think bigger classes would be ok, if there was a skilled teacher and a second less skilled teacher.
    That would allow the skills to be taught to the new teachers, making them better skilled.
    Also it would be much easier to manage such a large number of student better.

  15. Every Tiny Straw has a post that will interest commentators here:

    http://everytinystraw.blogspot.co.nz/2012/05/laughing-now.html

    It’s author, Armchair Critic is contemptuous of the latest announcements and has this to say:

    “Here on National’s website is the announcement today from Hekia Parata. In this announcement she says:
    A post-graduate qualification will be introduced as a minimum for all trainee teachers, and schools leadership will be improved through the introduction of a new pre-principalship qualification.
    Part of National’s rationale is to improve the quality of teaching. So this sounds like a good step.

    But hang on a second, wasn’t there an announcement that affects tertiary study, just a few days ago? Steven Joyce said something about student allowances. Here it is, reported by Stuff.
    - Allowances for any study over four years cancelled.
    My partner did a DipTeach/B.Ed. It took four years. Requiring a post-graduate qualification would require a student loan. Teaching is not a profession that people choose if they are motivated mostly by money, and adding an extra financial burden, as National have just done, is ludicrous. Now I’m past the swearing stage, I’m laughing. In contempt.”

  16. ianmac 16

    I wonder if the current announcements are part of a Cunning Plan to force schools to accept Bulk Funding!
    If you want to employ more teachers, have control over your funding.

    • Dv 16.1

      AND the emplyment legislation that allows the employer can walk away from negotiation with a collective.

      • Bill 16.1.1

        In the case of teachers they’d have to fuck with the State Sectors Act too. And that would get very, very messy.

  17. millsy 17

    Lots of people around ranting and raving about how its perfectly acceptable to have overcrowded classrooms.

    If smaller class numbers are good enough for the private schools, why not the public schools?

    Ideally class sizes should be capped at 20.

    • insider 17.1

      where does the magic number of 20 come from?

    • Bill 17.2

      Increasing the class sizes is a primer for privatisation. Once privatised, some schools would be in a financial position to decrease class sizes again. (Note, that it’s an economic decision and not an educational one.)

      Those that failed to achieve a financial position that would allow them to cut class sizes would , in conjunction with other contributory factors coming into play, find themselves constituting the second tier of a two tier eductation system.

      Of course, there is every reason to believe that those schools who would fail to achieve a high enough economic performance would be spotted by would be private concerns, avoided and remain as state schools. deliberately underfunded and second rate in a (data collected, numbers crunched and scores allocated) comparison to private ones.

      • ianmac 17.2.1

        Now I get you Bill. :) It might help if we put upwards of 50 kids per room/hall. Combine say 5-6 Primary Schools together with a limit of say 2,500 kids and pay armed guards to keep control. Test papers would be handed out to children every day and repeat the same papers over and over until the average success rate exceeds 80%. The huge amount of money saved would enable Performance pay for the “Teacher” at the rate of $5,000 per child over the 50% threshold.
        There we have it. If bigger classes help improve performance and save money then we are all for it. Ha!

  18. Goober Grape 18

    Hopefully this will eventually become ‘user pays’, and we can break the monopoly the government has.

    • Draco T Bastard 18.1

      Only if we want things to cost far more. Working cooperatively is far cheaper and more efficient than acting alone.

      • Goober Grape 18.1.1

        Working cooperatively? Explain?

        • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.1

          “The government” is us working together to lower costs through reduction of duplication, research (That’s really what the ministries are for) and implementation of best practice (the government ministry really does know more about education than parents and ministers).

          Now, if we did it your way what actually happens is that each parent would have to go out and pay individually for everything and that means more bureaucracy (I’m sure NACT love that as it means more high paying jobs for their mates), more advertising (which is not needed for government schools), and fragmented standards. And, due to all those extra costs, a lot of children actually missing out on schooling as their parents (forced into poverty by the free-market delusion) wouldn’t be able to afford to pay for them to go. Those children would probably end up working as they did in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

          • Goober Grape 18.1.1.1.1

            “the government is us working together…”? Sorry, you have lost me there.

            • Goober Grape 18.1.1.1.1.1

              Does this Draco guy/guyette post often?

              • Te Reo Putake

                Yep and unlike you, he has credibility round here. DtB has laid his out thinking clearly. Try explaining your position, GG. Lets see if it stacks up as well.

            • Draco T Bastard 18.1.1.1.1.2

              That wouldn’t surprise me, you’re obviously an idiot.

  19. dd 19

    I did the one year course to become a media studies teacher last year.

    I have industry experience in TV, graphic design, and in IT.

    At the end of last year finishing with good marks I decided I’d stick with the media industry rather than apply for a teaching job simply because it’s a very time consuming job with little financial incentive. Very rewarding of course but you have to REALLY want to do it. It’s a lifestyle not a job from what I saw. There’s no just doing your hours and going home.

    I was considering doing it next year now there’s no way. Bigger classroom sizes are drain on your energy levels and take away from personally knowing the kids which is one of the reasons you do it. The performance pay thing for a below average amount of money just makes it not worth the effort.

    So effectively National have just put off one person who would have been a good teacher with relevant training. No doubt they will put off many others. I know of at least 5 other’s in my situation all with experience outside of the education sector. These type of people are in my opinion who you want teaching. Kids who have just gone straight from school, through uni, then to teaching can be excellent teachers but they will always lack experience in actually working in the sectors your training kids for.

  20. Fortran 20

    The number 20 children per class came from David Lange’s “Tomorrow’s Schools”.
    A great idea that never fruited.

    • OneTrack 20.1

      A great idea that no one could ever justify and that we couldn’t afford anyway. By the way isn’t he the guy that snuck in all that right-wing stuff? Was Tomorrow’s Schools part of the plan?

  21. infused 21

    “Parents won’t be happy that there will be hundreds or thousands fewer teachers for their children, or that their kids will be tested specifically to determine their teachers’ pay.”

    Not sure if serious…

    FYI, I went to private school where class rooms were 15-20. The only thing that was different is you really got to know the people in the room. I can’t say my learning improved because of it. Although, I was a shocker at school.

    Too busy running my BBS eh lpent.

  22. tsmithfield 22

    Back in the day I had a maths teacher known as “baldy King”. He was the most useless teacher I have ever seen.

    He had absolutely no class control, and would explode if wound up. Hence, in every class pupils had great amusement and entertainment in winding the poor bugger up to the point where he would explode and throw a massive tantrum. I didn’t learn very much that year.

    If losing 500 teachers means losing teachers like that, then the education system will benefit greatly from it.

    • Bill 22.1

      Agree that some teachers are kind of crap. And every single kid at school knows exactly who they are. So, seeing as how kids know who the crap teachers are, why not develop a system whereby crap teachers can be removed by the kids?

      I know that when I was at school I was assigned a particular english teacher whose class I flat stick refused to attend. I had it out with the head of department and she assigned me to her class instead. But there was no formal system in place that gave pupils a modicum of control over the quality of their teaching.

      So, the geography teacher who would belt you as soon as look at you…the PE teachers who confounded discipline with sadism…the other geography teacher who would literally send pupils to sleep and was known to use teaching time to extol the virtues of the KKK (he was a member), how to distil alcohol from shoe polish, … [ actually, he was educational in his own way]…the maths teacher who spent afternoons teaching such wonders as why boys squeezed toothpaste tubes from one end and girls the other…the R.E. teacher who (from memory) had three nervous breakdowns and kept being flung back in front of the class after time off to recover…the physics teacher and the english teacher, both of whom were too busy lechering 15, 16 and 17 year old school girls to focus on teaching…all these teachers and others got to stay in their jobs and probably retired as teachers.

      And everyone knew who they were. And nobody wanted to be taught by them.

      The severe disciplinarians (we’re talking back in the day when the belt was used) who were bloody good teachers? Nobody had a problem with them. We knew not to fuck with them in any way shape or form and in return they didn’t fuck with us; just taught us what they were meant to teach us and did it well.

      Are things so different today that pupils won’t recognise a good teacher from a bad one and so be incapable of using their power with discretion? I don’t think so.

      • tsmithfield 22.1.1

        Yeah. You are probably right.

        I actually felt, and still feel quite sorry for baldy King. It seemed to me he was actually a very bright guy who knew his stuff really well. The problem was he didn’t have a gift in teaching, and was in the wrong profession. Thus, I think the plan that the government has for pre-entrance screening is a good one if it enables good teachers to be selected and the likes of baldy King rejected.

      • Psycho Milt 22.1.2

        If losing 500 teachers means losing teachers like that, then the education system will benefit greatly from it.

        And if I had the winning lottery ticket, then I would benefit greatly from it. Wishful thinking isn’t a helpful tool for assessing education policy.

    • Schlurps McGoo 22.2

      Thanks for your unsubstantiated, generalised, opinion tsmithfield.

      We are gonna file this gem under Irrelevant Gasbagging for future reference.

      We thank you for this useless anecdote and we value any kneejerk uninformed distractions you might want to contribute in future.

      Have a nice day.

      • insider 22.2.1

        And thank you for wasting bandwidth with your self important irrelevances.

      • tsmithfield 22.2.2

        “Thanks for your unsubstantiated, generalised, opinion tsmithfield.”

        You seem to have difficulty with the words “unsubstantiated” and “generalised”.

        It was substantiated because I was a witness to what happened. It was specific, not generalised because it was related to a specific teacher. So, I suggest you learn a bit more about the english language before posting again.

        “We are gonna file this gem under Irrelevant Gasbagging for future reference.”

        By “this” you can surely only be referring to the tripe that was flowing from your keyboard as you typed.

        • Schlurps McGoo 22.2.2.1

          You reason that staff cuts and increased class room sizes are worth it because at some point in the past (however long ago) you had a teacher that you allege wasn’t able to control a classroom, to your standards I might add, thats unsubstantiated as in, not supported by evidence. Just your word.

          You then comment: ‘If losing 500 teachers means losing teachers like that, then the education system will benefit greatly from it.’ If thats not making a generalisation, I don’t know what is.

          The tone of my first comment was hostile, I apologise. I don’t like the idea of 500 layoffs based on ideological advice from Treasury, or arguments based on anecdote and bad experience. Nothing riles me worse than damning a whole group of people based on one hostile, unproven perception, I believe that one is called bigotry in the dictionary

          • tsmithfield 22.2.2.1.1

            “The tone of my first comment was hostile, I apologise.”

            Accepted. And my response was unnecessarily snarky as well, so I apologise as well.

            Can’t agree with the generalisation comment though. I didn’t say the 500 teachers were probably like that, which would have been a generalisation. I said if any are like that, which is not a generalisation.

            • Schlurps McGoo 22.2.2.1.1.1

              If or were, both are assumptions, policy (and by extension endorsing a policy) should be based on fact or evidence.

              But where are the facts about ‘bad’ teachers in all of this, I have encountered nothing but anecdotes. I had a real shit of a teacher once, but I still highly respect the profession, because its a shit of a job.

              See my anecdote is just like yours, as in: its not any kind of a basis for a decision to made about funding Education. Nor is it a justification of any kind for after the fact.

              Lets see how many bad teachers this vaunted performance pay scheme weeds out before we talk about making them redundant.

              OR we can just give them the flick now and claim that they were bad all along.

              That seems to be what the government is intent on.

              • tsmithfield

                The word “if” I used implies the need for research, so it doesn’t contradict your point at all. We can only know if there are 500 teachers like baldy king by doing the research, and if there are 500 or however many like him in the education system, then, it seems fairly obvious that the education system would be better if those teachers were weeded out, and perhaps retrained for a career more suited to them.

                I expect that performance pay, similar to other performance assessment systems, will be behaviourally rather than results based. So, if performance pay is similar to other systems, the evaluation process should identify severely under-performing teachers so the “if” can be qualified.

    • Colonial Viper 22.3

      Do you have nightmares of 500 “baldy Kings” hiding under your bed still?

    • fabregas4 22.4

      You say that in every class pupils had great amusement winding him up as though this is ok and a sign of his being a bad teacher. I’d suggest they were bad students and deserved not to learn to much. Losing 500 painful students would greatly benefit the education system too.

  23. Scintilla 23

    Note that teacher graduates from 2010 and 2011 have experienced great difficulty finding jobs. At least 500 have not found work and of those that did, many have been short term contracts (1 term -1 year) and many others have gone on to day relief teaching, including me. We are the well-qualified new teachers Parata says she wants – degrees, postgrad teaching quals and life experience, but what we’ve got is a student loan debt and any hope for a permanent job now demolished.

    Beware – all that extra professional development means teachers being OUT of their classrooms more often and more use of relievers – casualised labour.

    For those who think it’s lovely to have a huge range of abilities in a classroom and a great teacher can accomodate them effortlessly – dream on. In practice this means that if you are studying a unit on the Treaty, for example, and you have 30 students, some who are very bright and interested, some who couldn’t care less, maybe five who have limited ability at speaking English, a few whose literacy levels are pitiful, another four who play up because they can and do not care if they are sent out of class …. are you getting the picture yet?

    If that classroom size drops back to 15-20, so does the ratio of problems the teacher has to deal with. There is a BIG co-relation between disruptive classroom behaviour and poor literacy levels – they play up for camouflage, they don’t want to be derided or bullied by their peers. The only solution is smaller classes, more intensive teaching and individual attention. Individual learning plans create 3 times the workload for a teacher for each class. Multiply that by the number of classes a teacher has, usually 5 and you can see how much extra work is created.

  24. mike e 24

    along with more bullshit forms to fill out that private schools don’t have to National is busy dumbing down education.In the last term in opposition National complained bitterly over and over that teachers were spending to much time filling out forms for the bureaucracy and not enough time in front of the classroom since they’ve been in power its got worse not better.

  25. DH 25

    I always struggle with these arguments on education. How can you argue with Pete George, for example, he’s living proof that we must have bad teachers. He’s horribly off tune but he must also be right in being so wrong. Unless he went to school in another country, or slept through classes, or wagged, or just wasn’t sharp enough for even the bestest teacher to get through.

    Class numbers and teacher quality have no direct relationship with each other. But the output of all teachers is affected by class numbers. A good teacher will produce a lower output with a bigger class, as will a bad teacher. This govt is simply increasing class sizes, there is no corresponding increase in teacher quality to compensate for it. The output of all teachers must be reduced, including the best ones.

    Pete George says “I’d prefer a slightly bigger class with a better teacher than a smaller class and a crap teacher” No-one is offering him that, the government isn’t offering it either with this class size increase. So why is he annoying us with his inane bullshit.

  26. Karl Sinclair 26

    Sorry for the cut and paste from the 12 April 2012 at 9:55 pm

    National are average…. you see where they get there BS from…. The below just adds to the list educational genocide that is going on in our country… Dull, Dull, Dull…….

    I am truely bored with them…… they can’t even be creatively evil… they need to copy off another nation. JK, you’re average.

    http://www.democracynow.org/2011/8/26/poverty_is_the_problem_efforts_to

    As millions of students prepare to go back to school, budget cuts are resulting in teacher layoffs and larger classes across the country. This comes as the drive toward more standardized testing increases despite a string of cheating scandals in New York, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and other cities. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan also recently unveiled a controversial plan to use waivers to rewrite parts of the nation’s signature federal education law, No Child Left Behind. We speak to New York City public school teacher Brian Jones and Diane Ravitch, the former assistant secretary of education and counselor to Education Secretary Lamar Alexander under President George H. W. Bush, who has since this post dramatically changed her position on education policy. She is the author of “The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education.” [includes rush transcript]

  27. The Urban Maori 27

    In my experience teaching kids kickboxing (I should say not with any degree of frequency I only fill in) it’s much, much easier to teach a small classes. The idea behind smaller classes is simple enough even for some of the stupider commenters here, you can spend more time with those struggling and show those who doing well the small adjustments they need to make.
    That said performance pay may work as here in Colorado:
    http://www.educationworld.com/a_issues/issues/issues374c.shtml
    Of course problems with this scheme for Nact include the fact that it requires teachers having a strong base salary (Lady Gardiner believes the earn $71,000 on average, make your own Tui reference) and gasp, it was developed by teacher unions.
    That said I believe we would be best not to follow a country dumb enough to elect Bush twice or the state where South Park is situated.

Important links

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Justice for our boys
    As we remember the ultimate price paid by so many of our brave boys during the Gallipoli campaign, let us also pause to consider what their sacrifice really meant, and who is to blame for what happened....
    Imperator Fish | 25-04
  • Comparing the CMJ
    This is a graphical representation of just how much land we’ve turned over to out motorway network. The image below is of what effectively constitutes the Central Motorway Junction (CMJ). This is 49 hectares in size. It kind of reminds me...
    Transport Blog | 25-04
  • Remembering the Dead and Thinking of the Living
    More people are attending ANZAC dawn parades across the country than ever before and the harsh realities of past wars are becoming more widely known. We now know about the lost opportunities that could have avoided military conflict, the poor...
    Local Bodies | 25-04
  • March Madness 2014 results
    We already knew that rail set a new record in March by rising above 11 million passengers for the first time. What we didn’t know is just by how much it had passed and how the other PT modes fared. We...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • A sacred day
    There will be no politicking on this site on Anzac morning, even if John Key is an evil monster who must be stopped at all costs....
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • Fatah and Hamas – a marriage made in peace hell
    Rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Hamas want to have another go at marriage.They can’t promise anything, but are willing to have a try in order to reinstate the dwindling legitimacy they are both suffering from their respective enclaves....
    Pundit | 24-04
  • Know your Tory fellow travellers and ideologues: John Bishop, Taxpayers Uni...
    . . On 19 March, I reported on the Board members of the so-called “Taxpayers Union”. With one exception, every single member of the Taxpayers Union Board was a current (or recent) card-carrying member or supporter of the National and/or...
    Frankly Speaking | 24-04
  • Three Songs For ANZAC Day
     Eric Bogle:  And The Band Played Waltzing Matilda  Eric Bogle: No Man's Land (The Green Fields Of France)  Redgum: I Was Only Nineteen They tell us that at Gallipoli New Zealand came of age as a nation. Well, if that's true, why is...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • Labels for climate data
    “These results are quite strange”, my colleague told me. He analysed some of the recent climate model results from an experiment known by the cryptic name ‘CMIP5‘. It turned out that the results were ok, but we had made an...
    Real Climate | 24-04
  • Solemn Falsehoods: ANZAC Day, 2014
    Worthy Sons? Every ANZAC Day we tell ourselves that the blood sacrifice of Gallipoli marked the birth of New Zealand nationhood. But as the above poster attests, it was not our independence that George, the King Emperor, acknowledged but our...
    Bowalley Road | 24-04
  • Murray Horton Speaking Tour : Who’s Running The Show?
    Press Release – Campaign Against Foreign Control Of Aotearoa MURRAY HORTON SPEAKING TOUR May 4 – 29 Whos Running The Show? And In Whose Interests? Murray Horton is the long serving Organiser and spokesperson for two Christchurch-based groups, the Campaign...
    Its our future | 24-04
  • US President Obama and Prime Minister Abe of Japan – Presser
    Press Release – The White House PRIME MINISTER ABE: (As interpreted.) On behalf of the Japanese people, I would like to express my heartfelt welcome to President Barack Obama, who is in Japan as our state guest. Barack and I...
    Its our future | 24-04
  • Shane Jones’ new job raises Ministerial interference questions
    The Public Service Association says the announcement that Labour MP Shane Jones is to move to a new ‘ambassador-level’ role...
    PSA | 24-04
  • Evidence lacking for Northland council amalgamation
    The Public Service Association has told a Local Government Commission hearing in Kaikohe that there is a lack of evidence supporting...
    PSA | 24-04
  • World News Brief, Thursday April 24
    Top of the AgendaObama Navigates Asia-Pacific Security Challenges...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • This is treason, sirs!
    A guest post by Captain Horace Cockwood, RN, on the problems besetting the Labour Party...
    Imperator Fish | 24-04
  • The Beatification of St Jonesy
    This has been even stupider than I thought it would be. The majority of the media commentary regarding Jones has been – as Malcolm Tucker would put it – borderline homoerotic. Morning Report featured Damien O’Connor, Clayton Cosgrove, John Tamihere, Chris...
    DimPost | 24-04
  • Photo of the day – ANZAC
    I don’t know if they’ve done it again this year but this from 2012 was one of my favourite things to happen in Takutai Square Photo are credited to oh.yes.melbourne...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • How to become a climate change denier (in 4 easy steps)
    Cartoon drawn by Joshua Cakeburger Drummond as a contribution to the High Water Project, and rooted in bitter experience, I suspect…...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • TV3′s The Nation: Antarctica and public understanding of climate change
    A few days have passed since Lisa Owen’s interview with Antarctic scientists Chuck Kennicutt of the US and Gary Wilson of New Zealand on TV3’s The Nation but I hope it’s still worth drawing attention to. Programmes like The Nation...
    Hot Topic | 24-04
  • Shane Gones
    So, Shane Jones is quitting politics.  The reasons given, according to Polity, are because he wants the Labour Party to embrace a wide range of opinions, and that that too many people have opinions he doesn't agree with, like forming...
    Left hand palm | 24-04
  • Australia welches on open government
    Last year, Australia announced that it was joining the Open Government Partnership. But now that Tony Abbott is in charge, they're backing out:THE Abbott government is reconsidering Labor’s pledge to sign Australia up for a major international transparency and citizen...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • A counterproductive waste of money
    That's the quick assessment of Britain's participation in the "war on terror":Britain's military operations since the end of the cold war have cost £34.7bn and a further £30bn may have to be spent on long-term veteran care, according to an...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Shane Jones Nationalised
    Shane Jones is on Radio Live as I type this, explaining that he quit politics because he just couldn't be arsed etc.  "No reservoir of energy to..." as he put it.  Ridiculous.  Retirement at 54.  A career beginning and ending...
    Tumeke | 24-04
  • The ICJ orders Australia to stop interfering with witnesses
    Last year, in what was clearly the actions of a guilty government, the Australian government detained a former ASIS agent who was going to testify against them over their bugging of the government of East Timor, raiding his house and...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Here’s what a real bloke sounds like
    Kelvin Davis3 hrs ·...
    Pundit | 24-04
  • So long Shane, thanks for all the ‘fush’
    So Shane Jones is off. Retired from politics he says. Couldn’t give 100 percent to the cause so he did what he thought was best for the Party.Shane Jones has always been a polarising figure and never more so when...
    Greenpeace NZ blog | 24-04
  • The benefits of transparency
    Ministerial expenses were released today, and as usual, I spent an hour trawling through the credit card statements hoping to find evidence of Ministers rorting us. So what did I find? Nothing. No $1,000 a night luxury hotel rooms. No...
    No Right Turn | 24-04
  • Christchurch to use Auckland’s old trains?
    As the new electric trains roll out over the coming year or so, a question we don’t know the answer to is what will happen to the old diesel trains Auckland no longer needs. Of course we will need to...
    Transport Blog | 24-04
  • Access: Defective, deficient, deviant and delinquent
    As many NZ babies do, I developed eczema and asthma. My mother took me to various clinicians. I have vague impressions of kindly doctors with strange accents. In retrospect they were probably part of the Jewish diaspora - educated at...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • An FPP politician in an MMP world
    So, now that Shane Jones has gone, he's come clean about the reason: he didn't want to work alongside Russel Norman and the Greens. Which I think emphasises just how much of a throwback Jones was, and how unsuited he...
    No Right Turn | 23-04
  • Hard News: Friday Music: News from talented women
    As I may have noted once or twice, Janine and the Mixtape's Dark Mind EP is one of last year's overlooked local gems. Or perhaps not-so-overlooked now, given that her new video for 'Hold Me' was premiered this week on...
    Public Address | 23-04
  • Focus on housing costs, raise wages not interest rates
    "The increase in the Reserve Bank's interest rate, while expected, shows little imagination and will raise mortgage costs for home owners," says CTU economist Bill Rosenberg. “The focus should be on getting housing costs down, and raising wages to make...
    CTU | 23-04
  • One year on: progress made to prevent another Rana Plaza tragedy
    Date of Release: Thursday, April 24, 2014Body:  An official from one of the two global union bodies that negotiated the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety, currently visiting New Zealand, says that the Accord continues to make big steps forward to ensure...
    First Union Media | 23-04
  • Update from Dr.Gevil
    We wanted to share with you a little fun....
    Gareth’s World | 23-04
  • Matauri Bay: There are certain stories that get under your skin