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Flip-flop still leaves hole in education budget

Written By: - Date published: 6:28 am, June 8th, 2012 - 65 comments

With its polling slip-sliding away, National had no choice but to dump its ideological class size increases. But why did they dump the spending on teacher quality too? If that was such a priority that it justified sacking 1,000 teachers, couldn’t something else be cut? And what other education spending will now be cut to fill National’s budget hole?

Only money matters

Written By: - Date published: 8:21 am, June 6th, 2012 - 12 comments

How did National get it so wrong on the cuts that would costs too many schools far too many teachers?  Did the Nats do any consultation at all?

Postcards from the “brighter” future

Written By: - Date published: 12:26 pm, June 5th, 2012 - 18 comments

Hey John – where’s our “Brighter Future”? Hey National voters – was this what you voted for?

One law for some

Written By: - Date published: 7:48 pm, June 4th, 2012 - 18 comments

Financially troubled private school Wanganui Collegiate received a $3million grant in Budget 2012, 3 times the annual operating grant of the larger Wanganui City College. Since then it has been advertising its low class sizes and ability to  reduce fees significantly. Private schools will no doubt be using the current outrage over increased class sizes for recruiting purposes, but they should not be doing it with taxpayers’ money.

There is no alternative?

Written By: - Date published: 8:49 am, June 4th, 2012 - 77 comments

We all know National is on a record borrowing binge. But when they say they need to slash education investment to balance the books, what dumb spending are they leaving untouched? Which leaves the obvious question: why were these Tory sacred cows protected while public education was cut?

Call off the education cuts

Written By: - Date published: 7:21 am, June 1st, 2012 - 17 comments

National has no choice but to call off the education cuts. The sooner they do it the sooner it will stop killing them in the court of public opinion.

Polly Parata

Written By: - Date published: 12:11 am, June 1st, 2012 - 69 comments

Hekia Parata is demonstrating how political lines endlessly repeated can go horribly wrong if you have nothing else to say. Her Polly Parrot repetitions are wrongly-based, and the longer she and Key go on about how fewer teachers and larger classes  is going to improve the quality of teaching the worse its going to get for National. The hubristic Parata  has galvanised and united the education sector and more backdowns are likely, both in policy and politics.

Key’s future gets shorter

Written By: - Date published: 7:03 am, May 31st, 2012 - 60 comments

Budgets allocate money not just for 1 year, but for the next 4. When National says its putting $511m into education, that’s actually $128m a year over 4 years (less than inflation). So, it stands out like a sore thumb that National has promised to limit teacher loses at 2 per school for only 3 years. After that? Seems like Key doesn’t expect it’ll be his problem.

Sacking ‘only’ 400 teachers ‘good news’ say Nats

Written By: - Date published: 7:41 am, May 30th, 2012 - 87 comments

National has copped a hell of a backlash for increasing class sizes. The internal polls are said to be diabolical. There are a million parents of school-age kids out there, and they’re pissed off. Now, they’ve flipp-flopped and dipped into the emergency money. They won’t say how many teachers they’re cutting but it’s at least 400, probably 1,000.

Budget app a waste of money

Written By: - Date published: 10:37 am, May 29th, 2012 - 17 comments

National is crowing that 8,600 people downloaded the Budget App. Pity it doesn’t work.  And, of course, you can view the budget via your phone or tablet’s browser already without an expensive app. The Nats reckon the $59,000 cost is ‘free’ because it came from printing fewer paper editions – a bit like how if you save $100 at a sale it doesn’t matter if you set $60 on fire.

Who’s National looking out for?

Written By: - Date published: 7:22 am, May 29th, 2012 - 45 comments

We’re told that these are tough times and we all have to share in the pain. Yeah, right. National dug this hole with $2 billion in ‘fiscally neutral’ tax cuts, billions in subsidies to polluters, and white elephant motorways that aren’t worth what they cost. And who’s being made to bear the cost? The rich are doing well, while the poor and middle class go backwards.

Spin update

Written By: - Date published: 7:52 am, May 28th, 2012 - 20 comments

Just as a quick update on my pre-budget Spin v reality about a Government that has the worst growth record of any since before Michael Joseph Savage, and has a 52% increase in unemployment despite more than 1,000 NZers leaving for Australia each week.

Budget nasties

Written By: - Date published: 8:27 pm, May 25th, 2012 - 37 comments

This afternoon a couple of ‘hidden treasures’ have come out of the budget. In changes not announced, but discovered 1122 teachers could be losing their jobs and changes are being made to the assets old people are allowed to keep once in residential care. Sneaky, Bill, sneaky…

ImperatorFish: Budget’s School Report

Written By: - Date published: 2:31 pm, May 25th, 2012 - 5 comments

Budget is a sluggish student who shows no enthusiasm or energy, and must be coaxed into making even the tiniest effort. His attitude is all wrong. He is something of a braggart, repeatedly telling all of his peers how fast he is, even though when challenged to a race he always finds an excuse to back out.

National’s budget priorities: Roads to Nowhere

Written By: - Date published: 1:58 pm, May 25th, 2012 - 4 comments

The 3 most expensive items in the Budget: 1. $10.24 billion: Superannuation, 2. $3.69 billion: Debt Servicing, 3. $3.32 billion: National Land Transport Agency (Roads of National Signficance etc) – up $334 million. National are prepared to sack teachers, raise prescription costs and pick paperboy’s pockets to defend their roads that make no economic sense.

Caption competition

Written By: - Date published: 12:58 pm, May 25th, 2012 - 41 comments

Key’s plan arse backwards

Written By: - Date published: 11:21 am, May 25th, 2012 - 23 comments

Getting back to surplus is not the first step to growing the economy. It’s the other way round.

Mr Australia waves goodbye

Written By: - Date published: 6:46 am, May 25th, 2012 - 170 comments

In his Budget speech, David Shearer labelled John Key ‘Mr Australia’. Because that’s where he’s pushing us. The zero hope budget offers a thousand and one nasty little cuts for students, for kids, for low-income workers, for schools, for community groups, for your public services. All to barely – if rosy growth forecasts come true – achieve a micro-surplus in 2014/15 for purely political reasons.

Fail Budget

Written By: - Date published: 2:09 pm, May 24th, 2012 - 106 comments

Budget reaction here. Seems the Nats’ preferred budget tag line is ‘Investing in the future’. Should have called it ‘Waiting for Godot’. Here’s a quick summary: Zero = Fail.

Update: Nats planning to tax kids’ after school jobs. No, not joking.

Pre-budget reading

Written By: - Date published: 7:09 am, May 24th, 2012 - 3 comments

An excellent column from Bryan Gould, and a picture of working families in financial distress. Something to ponder, as we await the zero budget.

Where National lost control of the budget spin

Written By: - Date published: 7:04 am, May 24th, 2012 - 18 comments

Poor political choices, lazy spin management, a succession of statistics highlighting National’s poor management of the economy, a much more active Opposition, and, let’s not forget, a much less friendly media ever since the teapot tapes have combined to make this the first budget that has hurt National, rather than bolstered it.

Failure to deliver

Written By: - Date published: 7:11 am, May 23rd, 2012 - 15 comments

National has undershot every one of its growth promises. I bet that doesn’t stop them promising big tomorrow.

David Parker’s Greece-proof paper

Written By: - Date published: 5:05 pm, May 22nd, 2012 - 30 comments

Don’t blame Greece: if you change nothing, nothing changes. National’s problems are their own to solve, but they don’t have the guts to look at the big problems in New Zealand’s economy. 0.6% growth in total over the last 3 years – less than population. But National only tinkers and distracts, as our brightest and best head to Aussie.

Four years of failed promises

Written By: - Date published: 2:57 pm, May 22nd, 2012 - 22 comments

Labour has published its budget website and a video ripping John Key’s record of broken promises. It’s pretty damning. Yet Key and English want to claim that there’s nothing wrong and growth has been in line with projections. It’s like they’re operating in a parallel universe.

Greens Budget Alternative

Written By: - Date published: 1:11 pm, May 21st, 2012 - 68 comments

The Greens launched their Budget alternative this morning. Titled “Smart Green Economics” it lived up to the billing.  Extra heft was provided by BERL economist Dr Ganesh Nana  paper arguing that the Government’s asset sales programme leaves the government accounts permanently worse off. It was also good to hear about opportunities and their alternatives. We’ve had enough of TINA.

The thinner blue line

Written By: - Date published: 11:16 am, May 21st, 2012 - 19 comments

National is going to cut 125 police staff. They’re not sworn officers but who’s going to pick up the work they were doing? Sworn cops, of course. Course, tying up cops with paperwork will help the crime stats drop. And with the navy so underfunded half its inshore patrol vessels are being mothballed I bet illegal fishing instances drop too. Funny that.

One more promise I couldn’t keep

Written By: - Date published: 9:13 am, May 21st, 2012 - 14 comments

Last Budget, National promised 36,000 jobs in the year to March 2012. We got 20,000. They promised 1.8% growth. We got 1.1%. They promised a $9.8 billion deficit. Now, it’s heading for over $12  billion. Ready for a repeat on Thursday?. English will say last year’s failures were all someone else’s fault. Key will grin and make some weak jokes, the beakbenches will hoot and holler. But will anyone outside National be smiling this time round?

Mr Key’s remarkable lack of ambition

Written By: - Date published: 7:01 am, May 21st, 2012 - 59 comments

Remember ‘ambitious for New Zealand’? Remember ‘brighter future’? National used to at least say they wanted to do something significant. At what point did all that get replaced with ‘surplus by 2014/15’? Key and National have $70 billion a year to play with to better this country, and the best thing they can come up with is making sure government operating revenue exceeds operating spending by about half a percent in three years time.

NRT: Highways and fiscal responsibility

Written By: - Date published: 12:03 pm, May 18th, 2012 - 12 comments

The government is, softening us up for higher prescription charges, fewer teachers, and a further assault on beneficiaries. Meanwhile, they’re spending billions on “Roads of National Significance” that do not meet basic cost-benefit tests, to service a declining demand for road transport. The Greens are right: this is not “fiscally responsible”.

Nats to cut 500 teachers

Written By: - Date published: 7:30 am, May 17th, 2012 - 156 comments

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.

Stop press!

Written By: - Date published: 8:15 am, May 11th, 2012 - 3 comments

Bet there’s some last minute changes to the Budget happening. A few mil to reverse the bio-security cuts now the fruit fly’s in. A few mil for monitoring MSD contracts – Bennett’s ‘high trust’ (ie too lazy/cheap) model clearly isn’t working. They could find savings by not giving money to fronts for gangs and other corrupt groups, predictably, sucking on the Whanau Ora teat.

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