“Dumbing down a generation”

Written By: - Date published: 7:02 am, March 21st, 2017 - 137 comments
Categories: education, national, schools, useless - Tags: , , , , ,

“Dumbing down a generation”. That’s the challenging title of an excellent piece by Simon Collins in the weekend Herald:

Dumbing down a generation: Performance of NZ schoolchildren plummeting

International tests reveal the performance of our schoolchildren is plummeting despite years of education reform designed to create brighter futures for the next generation. …

When Elley chaired the international steering committee for one of the first world literacy surveys, in 1990, Kiwi students came fourth.

A decade later, when the Programme for International Students Assessment (Pisa) started testing 15-year-olds, NZ students came second only to Finland in reading, third in maths, and sixth-equal in science.

But it has been downhill ever since. In six three-yearly Pisa surveys, the most recent (2015) reported last December, each group of NZ students has scored lower than the group that went before them in both reading and maths.

Over Pisa’s 15-year history New Zealand’s average score for maths has dropped by more than any other country (down 42 points), closely followed by Australia (down 39 points).

Our average for reading has dropped by 20 points, a steeper fall than in all except three countries (Britain, Australia and Iceland).

Even in science, where we have had ups as well as downs, our average is down 15 points since 2000, although eight other countries including Australia declined more. …

It’s a long piece, full of information, well worth a read. In general the graphs show a fall to 2003, level to 2009, and falling again since (tests are every three years). We have to ask ourselves why NZ’s educational scores in international comparisons are locked in a downward spiral.

There is some suggestion in the piece that the problem is streaming. (I personally doubt it, schools were streamed for decades and NZ did all right.) More significant, however:

In our case, the two biggest changes since Pisa started have been the introduction of the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) in secondary schools from 2002, and of National Standards in primary schools from 2010.

Elley points to declining Pisa scores in all five OECD nations that have standards-based assessments with “high stakes”, with results published in league tables: New Zealand, Australia, Britain, the United States and Sweden.

“The majority of OECD countries don’t allow league tables,” he says.

Both NCEA and national standards were born with good intentions – to close our shamefully wide gaps by focusing schools on ensuring that every child achieves the standards.

But Elley believes they have actually dragged most students down. …

Read on for the problems. Those relating to national “standards” at least have been frequently raised, and those relating to NCEA need to be seriously considered at the least.

Changes in teacher training may also be a factor, along with the increasing stress and workload that under-resourced teachers are under, and the increasing difficulty in attracting teachers (especially in Auckland where a teacher’s salary is increasingly unlivable). Then there’s the problems created for families by the housing / rental crisis, where frequent moves disrupt education.

If we were actually interested in educational outcomes as a country, if we believed in evidence based policy, if Bill English was actually serious about “social investment”, we would be modelling our education system on what actually works (etc, etc). But no, instead we get National’s failed ideology.

137 comments on ““Dumbing down a generation””

  1. tc 1

    Dumbing down enough so they can hold low wage jobs and not indulge in too much critical analytical thought.

    Thats working as designed, you forget who it’s designed by. Rip George carlin, that’s from his rant ‘rigged system’

    • Cinny 1.1

      Heaven forbid we taught the kids financial management, ethics, media and advertising manipulation among other things at school.

      I teach those things to my kids, all kids should be taught those things, in school.

      Funny story… the other day my mum took my girls to a mayoral function. My youngest during the event decided to tell the Mayor that John Key was a liar. Which he is, the mayor replied ‘that is very interesting’, their grandmother revealed to the girls later on that the Mayor was friends with Key.

      Almost split my sides when mum filled me in on that.

  2. Antoine 2

    +1

    Although i think the bad ideas come from the MoE rather than the pollies, in the main

    • tc 2.1

      Easy when you have your elves all over the public service on large daily rates….remember that women from the UK Nats parachuted in.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2

      Then you think wrong.

      Right wing education policy comes from right wingers. Key started lying about student abilities, manufacturing a crisis, well before the 2008 election. His lies were debunked within days, but he just kept on telling them.

      Notional Standards are having exactly the impact they were predicted, some would say designed to have. Hurting children is a National Party hobby.

      • Antoine 2.2.1

        For sure, I don’t think National’s done much good for education

        A.

      • SpaceMonkey 2.2.2

        I have done work inside MoE and I can tell you that in the main, the dumb ideas all come from the politicians at the top. Their ideas frequently run counter to the advice of the educationalists, whose advice is regularly backed by evidence.

    • Tricldrown 2.3

      Antoine what rubbish this testing endless testing came from the right wing.
      1 to dumb down education
      2 to demoralize teachers by bogging them down with paper work taking away teaching time dumbing down again

      • Antoine 2.3.1

        Yes, it’s not the whole of the problem, though.

        • Cinny 2.3.1.1

          Education is possibly the most important factor in life.
          If one does not agree with how the outgoing government is running our education system, then the wise thing to do is vote for change.

          • Antoine 2.3.1.1.1

            Yes, on the other hand, how can one have confidence that the other lot would be significantly better?

            A.

            • Muttonbird 2.3.1.1.1.1

              An airy-fairy response. It’s as if you are not interested in the decision making process.

              • Antoine

                Its just hard to make an informed decision

                (Not that one person’s vote counts for much, anyway)

                • Muttonbird

                  I’ll help by spelling it out for you.

                  The opposition will address the two main factors in a child’s performance at school. They will reduce class sizes, and they will support housing security in low income communities.

                  So there you go, vote for change.

                  • Antoine

                    Smaller class sizes is great, but at what cost? Will the money come from somewhere else?

                    A.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  And here he is telling us it’s all too hard – again.

                  Are you a National Party Spokesman?

    • D'Esterre 2.4

      Antoine: “Although i think the bad ideas come from the MoE rather than the pollies, in the main”

      A lot of years ago, I attended a conference at which the guest speaker was the then-chief statistician Len Cook.

      He talked about the vast amount of data collected by the stats department on every aspect of NZ society. With regard to policy development, government officials and advisors worked hard to put relevant data before ministers and MPs generally, he said, but it was mostly ignored. Pollies generally put much more weight on anecdotes, he said: what their constituents told them down at the dairy or the takeaway shop.

      I very much doubt that anything at all has changed in that regard.

  3. Tamati Tautuhi 3

    Sounds like we can’t even teach the basics these days, reading, writing and arithmetic.

    These are the basic skills a person needs to function in society, however everyone today is obsessed with technology which has actually sped things up with many people working or engaged 24/7?

    A lot of learning comes within the home however we have a lot of dysfunctional families these days and stress in the lower socio economic sectors due to low wages and inflated living costs especially housing which puts added stress on families/households.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 3.1

      The single most influential predictor of educational achievement is household income.

      • Tamati Tautuhi 3.1.1

        … and with the neoliberal experiment with trickle up economics the lower socio economic sectors of society have been hammered further.

        Goods and services tax is another example of a tax on the lower socio economic groups, it is an additional 15% tax on the tax payers net income.

        Have a think about that, and Governments over the last 30-40 years still can’t balance the books, they have had to rely of the sale of State Assets to fund their operations?

      • Muttonbird 3.1.2

        This. We are fast becoming a two tier country thanks to National. Could take a generation of proper social governance to repair.

      • Mordecai 3.1.3

        As shown by the declining educational outcomes during the depression…oh wait…

    • Mordecai 3.2

      Declining educational standards goes back decades. The core learning priorities you mention have been diluted with a variety of poorly conceived theories of learning (eg the numeracy project) that have been the work of Ministry pointy heads, and which have had disastrous results in our children’s education.

      • Tricldrown 3.2.1

        Your argument is full of hole’s.
        We have had very good periods in that During the last Labour govt we climbed from 18th under Shipley Bolger govt.
        To 4th under Clark govt in international education achievements.
        Clark focussed on smaller class sizes and better trained and qualified teacher’s.
        Increasing funding as well.
        National have focussed on turning education into a business model.
        Continuous testing cutting funding rote learning teacher bashing demoralising the education sector across the board .

      • Antoine 3.2.2

        > The core learning priorities you mention have been diluted with a variety of poorly conceived theories of learning (eg the numeracy project) that have been the work of Ministry pointy heads, and which have had disastrous results in our children’s education.

        That’s what I was thinking, although you expressed it better.

        A change of govt may not do much to change the state of affairs, as long as the same pointy heads are still in the Ministry.

        A.

    • Tricldrown 3.3

      Your argument is full of hole’s.
      We have had very good periods in that During the last Labour govt we climbed from 18th under Shipley Bolger govt.
      To 4th under Clark govt in international education achievements.
      Clark focussed on smaller class sizes and better trained and qualified teacher’s.
      Increasing funding as well.
      National have focussed on turning education into a business model.
      Continuous testing cutting funding rote learning teacher bashing demoralising the education sector across the board.

      • Mordecai 3.3.1

        Much of the money the Clark government introduced was in ECE, and that mostly went private providers. Most of your final comments are demonstrably false. Education funding has not been cut, it has risen under successive governments. And having more qualified teachers does not, in and of itself, guarantee better outcomes. I’ve encountered many ‘qualified’ teachers who were dead set useless.

    • Tricldrown 3.4

      Itinerancy is one of the biggest problems broken families poor families not having stable accommodation and functional family life.

  4. BM 4

    The lack of ability to retain information is a huge issue.

  5. Al 5

    Fancy thinking that removing teachers from the loop will actually improve student outcomes – not to mention the chartered schools debarcle which, at best, shows mixed results overseas. But oh no – push on with internet learning etc – what a load of old plonkers. Talk about not learning from the mistakes of others.

  6. Gosman 6

    Why are standardised tests okay when done at an international level but not at a national one?

    • Tricldrown 6.1

      Because the local testing is a continuous burden on teacher time and reduces teacher time also demoralising teachers who become govt statisticians.
      World surveys are done on a small scale of cohort’s.
      Your still a product of dumbing down Gooseman trying to spin your demoralizing propaganda BS.

      • Gosman 6.1.1

        So you are happy if we have standardised testing once a year then?

        • Tricldrown 6.1.1.1

          No I like the Finish model where have well trained teachers teaching.
          Gooseman you want to put children’s learning into a business model of bean counting.
          Which is a complete failure where ever in the world it is used.

          • SpaceMonkey 6.1.1.1.1

            Speaking of Finland… this article gives an excellent overview of why (I believe) the Finns are on the right track.

            https://fillingmymap.com/2015/04/15/11-ways-finlands-education-system-shows-us-that-less-is-more/

            The “more” thing is a feature of our education system as well. The number of initiatives that are implemented by the Ministry and that require teachers to monitor, assess and report on keeps going up. As a result we have a very high spend per student but a low direct spend on the students themselves (and that includes teacher remuneration), i.e. money for education is being sucked up into initiative after initiative, monitoring of standards, etc.

            The other thing about Finland is that teachers themselves are seen as professionals as important as doctors, for example, and trained accordingly.

          • Mordecai 6.1.1.1.2

            Are you suggesting we don’t have well trained teachers in NZ?

          • Mordecai 6.1.1.1.3

            What ignorance that is. A ‘business model’ in education delivery has been a successful part of the educational landscape for eons. it’s called private education, and families cue up for it, and have done for a very long time.

            • adam 6.1.1.1.3.1

              ROFL Mordecai, if they so successful why did they come cap in hand to beg for hand outs from this government?

              • Mordecai

                What hand outs? You mean like every school does when they need capital or operational funding?

                • adam

                  LOL, really. Typical Tory. Privatise the profit, socialise the cost. Learn some economics then we can have a debate.

                  • Mordecai

                    You made a comment about hand outs. Partnership Scholols costs are funded because they provide a service the the government. Perhaps you should take some time to learn how they work before commenting?

                    • adam

                      4 days and that all you got, classic. You said a model for charter schools was private schools, and I said they came begging to national in it’s first term for money. Which they got by the way – public record and all that.

                      So 4 days for you to try and twist what I sad – sad man. Just sad – you need to work on your rhetoric, like this government – it’s total garbage.

                    • Mordecai

                      “You said a model for charter schools was private schools, ”

                      This is the second time you’ve attributed a claim to me I didn’t make.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 6.1.1.2

          No, let’s employ education models that work instead. You’ve had your face rubbed in this topic enough times to know better.

          • Gosman 6.1.1.2.1

            How do you know they work?

            • adam 6.1.1.2.1.1

              One thing we do know is the libtard model does not work. I mean apart from them coming begging to the state to bail them out. Funny how you lot love welfare for business, but when ordinary people need a hand not to fall over – you lot reach for the hate card.

      • The Fairy Godmother 6.1.2

        +111 Trcldrown. Testing wastes time that could be spent on teaching and learning and I think this waste of time is the main reason for the drop on pisa scores. I posted on this waste of time below.

  7. Tricldrown 7

    Gooseman Texas where this right wing BS testing began is dropping standardized testing
    They have found it doesn’t work.

  8. The Fairy Godmother 8

    I think student and teacher time wasted in accountability processes and assessment is a huge factor. My year thirteen daughter at the moment has internals due for all her subjects. From about September most of her school time will be devoted to practise exams, revision and then final NCEA exams. Imagine if this time was actually spent on teaching and learning!

    I teach in Early childhood and teachers spend a lot of time often their own time writing learning stories and putting lots of written stuff and planning up on the wall. This is all accountability stuff to prove that learning and teaching is happening. It is sometimes justified that all this written stuff on the walls will promote literacy. Perhaps, but the main literacy young children need to learn is people literacy, that is how to get along with others and oral literacy. They also need lots of play to make sense of the world and develop people literacy and oral literacy. I really despair at all the time teachers are spending on this written stuff when they could be supporting children in what they really need to learn. Imagine what it would be like if teachers didn’t write lots of learning stories when they could be working with the children and if their home time was spent on work stuff it was on say getting some free wood for construction activities from the local hardware, and if their own time was really their own so they came to work refreshed and ready to work with the children. I suspect our pisa scores would rise big time.

    This would take an understanding at all levels that school should be about learning not ranking students for their place in society and that teachers were trusted professionals with a similar status to the medical profession as it is in Finland.

    • Mordecai 8.1

      Your last comment is, sadly, illinformed. Teachers in Finland are relatively poorly paid, and by comparison with Dictors, very poorly.

  9. One Two 9

    It will be multiple generations of damaged children abused by the state and governments wedded to abusive ideology

    Politicians are the representatives of the abusers, and are responsible for delivering the ‘reforms’…

    How much longer adults will allow the abuse to continue is uncertain, but the abuse will continue until it is stopped

    The abuse is delivered in a myriad of forms. Education is a single piece of a larger puzzle

    Can the adults mount the necessary actions to halt current and future NZ government agendas?

    At present time, the answer is…No

  10. mpledger 10

    I don’t agree with any of the educational policy that National have introduced **BUT**
    I would take the PISA data with a grain of salt.

    The PISA exams don’t test the NZ curriculum and doesn’t test knowledge in the way we test knowledge. Written, multi-choice questions tend to test the lowest cognitive abilities – memory and basic manipulations. NCEA has a lot of practical tests – e.g. giving speeches in English and other languages – it’s not just about the narrow, book-learning, academics.

    Also, the PISA table tends to be a political football in countries’ internal politics so there is quite a lot of manipulation going on in some countries to game the system for political benefit. For example China restricts who can enter. And countries have diverse educational policies – I believe Japan educates their children with disabilities through their health system so those kids are never included in PISA/TIMSS.

    And then their is motivation – I know some kids who have taken PISA/TIMSS and because they don’t find out their score and their score has no effect on them anyway, they don’t bother with the exam once the questions start getting a bit hard.

    To get better at PISA/TIMSS we’d have to go down a pathway in our education system that would be a throwback to a time when learning facts was all that mattered.

    • BM 10.1

      Why do teachers put no value on memory?

      • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1

        Who said that teachers put no value on memory?

        The problem, IMO, with memorisation is that it the builds belief that those things memorised are true factual when they may not be and will need to be changed as new information is learned by the scientific community. Beliefs, as we know, are very hard to change.

        Much better to teach people to think and to do research.

        • Poission 10.1.1.1

          What is the age of the universe?

          How do you know?

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.1.1

            What is the age of the universe?

            Old.

            How do you know?

            Because I’m not stupid and looked it up some time and don’t believe in creationism because it goes against all the research.

        • ropata 10.1.1.2

          I think the modern curriculum includes *both* traditional concrete facts and skills/strategies for young learners. Both are needed

        • BM 10.1.1.3

          Memorisation is incredibly important in the trades, maybe that’s why so many young kiwis struggle in a trade environment?

          When you’re attached to a computer all day having a good memory doesn’t really matter, you can jump on the internets and find what you need, when you’re out on the job site or underneath a car you don’t have that option.

          Who said that teachers put no value on memory

          From the post I first replied to

          The PISA exams don’t test the NZ curriculum and doesn’t test knowledge in the way we test knowledge. Written, multi-choice questions tend to test the lowest cognitive abilities – memory and basic manipulations.

          • Draco T Bastard 10.1.1.3.1

            Memorisation is incredibly important in the trades,

            No, I’d say that being able to think is more important. My nephew, a builder, gets the fixup jobs because he can think of how to fix them.

            And he carries his phone with him so he can look stuff up on the internets.

            From the post I first replied to

            But that’s just the opinion of one person – not ‘teachers’.

            • BM 10.1.1.3.1.1


              No, I’d say that being able to think is more important. My nephew, a builder, gets the fixup jobs because he can think of how to fix them.

              Most Trades are about systems and procedures you’ve got to be able to retain that knowledge in your head and be able to extract and use it when necessary.

              How’s your nephew going to get on whens he’s in an area with no internet coverage?

              • Draco T Bastard

                How’s your nephew going to get on whens he’s in an area with no internet coverage?

                Probably pretty well.

                Most Trades are about systems and procedures you’ve got to be able to retain that knowledge in your head and be able to extract and use it when necessary.

                And if you use them all the time you’ll remember them but if you can think you can replace them. Those memories don’t become a belief.

                That seems to be the biggest problem with RWNJs – they believe that what they learned as a child still holds sway when most of it doesn’t but they won’t replace the outdated BS. They can’t because they can’t think.

                • BM

                  And if you use them all the time you’ll remember them but if you can think you can replace them. Those memories don’t become a belief.

                  This is the problem a lot of employers are facing ,you can repeatedly demonstrate how to do a task but it doesn’t seem to sink in and be retained by many young employees.

                  Current teaching methods don’t lend themselves to knowledge retention.

                  No idea what you’re babbling on about with “Those memories don’t become a belief.”.?

                  • McFlock

                    Or it could be that a lot of employers today are untrained, unskilled, and unfit to manage staff.

                    That’s the trouble when the sole criterion for a position is money.

                    • BM

                      How about you pull your flabby carcass out from behind that public servant’s desk and get out there and show them how it’s done.

                    • McFlock

                      lol

                      What, like when I was supervising half a dozen people under 25? That was pretty cushy work, if you knew how to A)manage staff, and B)deal with people.

                      And keep your mind off my flabby carcass, please.

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    No idea what you’re babbling on about with “Those memories don’t become a belief.”.?

                    I mean that people who just memorize things and don’t think about them turn those memories into beliefs that they won’t change no matter what the facts are. This is seen extensively in RWNJs.

      • adam 10.1.2

        Wow BM you got anything to back up that stupid comment? Or are you going all bill english, and going with the vibe you been told?

        Come on man, I know you lot are failing, but do you need to flail about as well?

  11. SpaceMonkey 11

    Maybe it was always there but it seems to me that an ideological divide has opened up in NZ and it is evident at all levels of our education system. It comes down to the purpose of education.

    Broadly speaking, on one side sit those who believe that the purpose of education is to develop well-rounded human beings who have the capacity and ability to think for themselves.

    On the other sit those who believe that the purpose of education is simply to provide qualifications and skills for people to get a job. This view has been the sole focus of this National Government with its education policies.

    • BM 11.1

      On the other sit those who believe that the purpose of education is simply to provide qualifications and skills for people to get a job. This view has been the sole focus of this National Government with its education policies.

      Getting a job and a career are rather important, you’re a bit fucked without any means to make a living.

      • Robert Guyton 11.1.1

        But should it be your sole focus?
        All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy, BM…

        …hang on!!

      • Psycho Milt 11.1.2

        Getting a job and a career are rather important…

        Very. But they’re not the purpose of the school system, or shouldn’t be. The public education system exists to educate children, not to train them to do a job. I get why National’s members and donors would want it to re-jig public schools as a delivery system for work-ready employees, but there’s no reason the rest of us should be happy to see that happening.

        • ropata 11.1.2.1

          The other purpose of the school system, since the Industrial Revolution, was to “free” the parents to go work in factories (and train a new batch of workers). Seems a little outdated given the future of work is robots.

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    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    3 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    3 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    3 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    3 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    4 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    4 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    5 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    5 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    6 days ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago

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