Winston Peters is on the attack over Tariana Turia’s slush fund again. This time, Turia and John Key find themselves defending a $60,000 grant to a rugby club to investigate “undertake whanau development research” on “whanau connectedness” and “resilience” (which sounds like code for a hell of a piss-up to me), on the spurious grounds that ‘the old way doesn’t work, this is something new, so let’s try it’. In that spirit, I have a proposition for Mr Key.
You see, there is a lot of evidence that the government’s old model of running the economy isn’t working – at least, far more evidence than there is that current social welfare agencies are failing the families that will supposedly somehow benefit from a rugby club carrying out vague socio-economic research. Treasury clearly can’t model its way out of a paperbag, for starters.
And me and my girlfriend have this dream of cycling across Eurasia but we can’t afford to go.
Two birds with one stone time.
I propose that me and my girlfriend get a grant from Treasury for ‘immersive research into alternative economic models”. Our programme of research would involve travelling and living among the people and economies of Europe, the Middle East, the Indian sub-continent, South-East Asia and China. We experience, investigate, and report upon different economic systems from Greece to China, the Netherlands to Nepal.
We estimate that, to do a proper job, we would need funding for at least two years – say $500,000 (Our actual budget is half that time and a tenth of the cost but when you’re doing important work with public money, you don’t want to do this kind of thing by halves).
If $100,000 in additional funding can be secured, we’ll present our findings in the form of an app.
Now, you may very well ask what expertise me and my girlfriend would bring to such a role. Well, I’ve read an awful lot of Chomsky and she did Anthropology 101. So, that makes us at least as qualified for this work as, say, a rural rugby club is to investigate socio-economics.