Hartevelt on bashing the yoof

Written By: - Date published: 10:02 am, March 7th, 2010 - 26 comments
Categories: education, transport - Tags:

A very witty and well-written article from John Hartevelt in the Dompost yesterday that exposes some of the weird stuff in National’s current crusade against kids:

Goodness only knows what the girls were smiling about. Perhaps the prime minister’s banana-shaped smile was infectious, but that couldn’t explain the girls fainting.

No sooner had the red-blazered private school students at Lower Hutt’s Chilton Saint James School recovered their poise than John Key was declaring the 15-year-olds among them were not fit to be allowed behind the wheel.

Politically, Key is safe on this but it’s another display of National’s gift of taking a problem and imposing something that isn’t a solution but hurts a lot of people. A contact at the Ministry of Transport tells me that 15 year old drivers have been involved in only a handful of fatal crashes, 1 to 1.5% of the total, in recent years and they’re not all the 15 year old’s fault. But no, National’s solution is to prevent all 15 year olds from driving. Dumb. It’s a carpet-bombing approach to policy when surgerical strikes are possible.

Then he started maligning the 30,000 teenagers who apparently bunk school each day. Then he said it should be easier for employers to get rid of troublesome employees (many of whom would be after-school job teenagers). Then he gave autographs.

This Hartevelt guy’s got a sense of humour 🙂  . No-one geniunely thinks that removing work rights or lowering the minimum wage of youth workers helps them. It’s really about profits and power for employers.

Mr Key’s Government has been pumping the “youth issues” vein all term, but it got a special priming this week. The formula is simple. There is an intrinsic conservative appeal to policies touted as either cracking down on slovenly and/or unruly youth or taking care of vulnerable youth. Neither are particularly welcomed by young people but both are vote-winners with parents.

Take Education Minister Anne Tolley on truancy this week. Only a Tory education minister could turn otherwise nasty figures suggesting 30,000 children are off school each day into a political opportunity. “Really shocking … absolutely outrageous,” Mrs Tolley thundered. The Government would double its funding to fight truancy.

But the measures were all parent and officials-based: text messages to parents; prosecutions for the “worst” parents; and more resources to hunt the darn scamps down. So what if you were a truant child? Probably, if you cared, you would be looking to Mrs Tolley for incentives to go to school. No dice, on this occasion. But then, if you are a truant, you don’t have a vote, so what do you expect?

In fact, politically, this package was not even about the parents of the truants. It was about the tut-tutting parents of children who are not truants parents like those of the girls at Chilton Saint James, where Mr Key opened a new science and technology block on Tuesday. Core constituency. Fundamental, fertile policy ground.

That’s right. We’re not seeing solutions to the problem. We’re seeing policies that will play well in key demographics. It’s government for the sake of being in power, not for creating a ‘brighter future’.

The Government has also sniffed slovenly youth on the taxpayer bill in tertiary education. Mr Joyce evermore the Minister of Everything in his newest portfolio of tertiary education says he is “kicking the tyres” around the student loans scheme. “Are people actually using it the right way?” he asks. “Do they end up at the end of five, six years with a qualification they can use? It’s not good if you end up with a significant debt and not a qualification you can use.”

But the Government is keenly aware that this is not the youth issues free-hit the others are nearly 80 per cent of university students are aged over 20 and half a million grown-ups have a student loan. Expect more of the favoured softly-softly approach in this area.

National’s attitude is that university should just be a production line for dorks with BComs (you know the ones, the ones who wear suits to lectures even though they don’t work) to be cogs in the corporate wheel. They understand the price of everything and the value of nothing. In reality, univerisity needs to get back to providing a wider education so that graduates have the well-rounded knowledge base to be the intellectual backbone of the country.

Fortunately, National can’t afford to anything really stupid like put interest back on loans (which would just mean access to university is even more on the basis of ability to pay, not potential) because a backlash from students and their families would cost them the election.

26 comments on “Hartevelt on bashing the yoof”

  1. gitmo 1

    Parp.

  2. Brett 2

    Young people are annoying they need to be beaten regular basis.

  3. Lew 3

    On a similar topic, Eric Crampton critiques the recent decision to zero the permitted under-20 drink-drive limit.

    L

  4. tsmithfield 4

    The problem with this analysis is it does not disclose the relative percentage of 15 year olds who actually have licences compared to other groups. If there are a lot less 15 year olds on the roads because a lot fewer of them have licences at that stage than other groups, then it stands to reason that their rate of accidents will be a lot lower.

    • Lanthanide 4.1

      Yes, that’s very true. What we really need is stats on the % of drivers for ages 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 and 21-25 that have accidents. That way we will be able to see if the 15 year olds really are hugely worse than other ages. I suspect that the numbers across 15-19 will probably be fairly similar.

  5. QoT 5

    This is such a pet hate of mine. Ian Smith commentating on the cricket a few weeks back summed it up for me (to paraphrase): “Last week 180 people got arrested at the Sevens, and you don’t hear anything about it. But a dozen students in Dunedin throw a party and it’s a national outrage.”

    I just cannot comprehend this attitude of “oh shit, young people are doing dangerous things! It must be because they’re young! Pay no attention to their parents or wider society happily getting pissed and driving drunk behind the curtain!”

  6. aj 6

    I can’t kelp but imagine what the reaction would be if Labour had advanced on this in it’s last year in office. It would have been another example of nanny state interfering in our lives.

  7. aj 7

    kelp = help lol

    I have the edit option on this post but not the previous

  8. It’s not just fatal crashes though, its the general driving behaviour of 15 years old.

    • QoT 8.1

      So … we’re not actually going to stop people doing things because they might actually be causing harm to themselves or others, we’re going to stop them doing it because we just don’t like their style?

      brb, off to start petition against wearing socks with sandals.

  9. Lanthanide 9

    Now that they are actively “kicking the tyres” around the student loan scheme, I think they are definitely going to re-introduce interest in some way. They uncharacteristically introduced the 10% early repayment bonus (a carrot), so it is likely they will bring back interest (as the stick).

    The excuse will be “too many people are going to university, slacking around for 3 years and getting no benefit out of”, eg they go to uni, get a BA and then go and work in a shop, which they could have done without the degree, but by getting the BA they stick the taxpayer with the bill and get to life a “party lifestyle” for 3 years on campus.

    Exactly what they’ll do remains to be seen, but I’d guess something like 5 years of interest free loans after you graduate, and then have to start paying interest. The general idea is to discourage people going to uni just for the sake of it.

  10. ieuan 10

    I can remember being 15 (just), I remember watching some of my school mates getting their license, I also remember the funerals. Silly accidents that were totally preventable, too much testosterone and not enough common sense.

    What is wrong with making our young people wait another year until they can get a license?

    • Marty G 10.1

      I remember getting my licence at 15. I remember attending the funeral of a 40 year old driver, silly accident.

      • ieuan 10.1.1

        Marty G, do you have any children? Honestly are you going to let them get their license at 15 (if the law still allows)?

    • Being a car nut myself, I see plenty of people doing silly things in cars at all ages. If you think about it rationally rather than through a kids-these-days point of view, driving skill is far more likely to correlate with level of driving experience than absolute age, with a few steps along the way.

      There is the whole, “well I just got my restricted license, dads not in the passenger seat, I wonder what happens when I push my foot allll the way down?”.

      Then there’s getting your full license and taking out all your friends, I don’t think this means too much more risk as anyone who caves to peer pressure and does something stupid for their mates has probably been taking them out on their restricted license anyway.

      Possibly the biggest one though is it’s not a good idea to line up receiving a full license with being able to buy booze, this is not often discussed, but in my opinion its pretty key.

      • Lanthanide 10.2.1

        “Possibly the biggest one though is it’s not a good idea to line up receiving a full license with being able to buy booze, this is not often discussed, but in my opinion its pretty key.”

        Unless you’re proposing to seriously push out the age of alcohol, say to 25 or so, then really there’s nothing you can do about this. So if someone gets their full license at 18, but needs to be 21 to buy alcohol – it is likely they will have friends that can buy it for them.

  11. Jenny 11

    I remember reading an article in New Scientist Magazine a few years ago, that reported that the number of car accidents for new drivers was the same, whether they got their licences in their early teens or later.

    I haven’t been able to relocate the article, but from memory it quoted Swedish statistics, when they raised their driving age to I8 from 16.

    I agree with Eddie that this is just more of the same shallow scapegoating by this government who have no real solutions to the real problems.

    Like the National Standards fiasco, the only purpose these things seem to have, is to make it look like National are doing something.

    • Armchair Critic 11.1

      Perhaps a fairer comparison would be of the rate of accidents in the first year of driving, both within a country (because not everyone gets their licence as soon as they can) and across countries.
      Wouldn’t take into account things like the differences in driver training (which could be a bigger factor than straight out age) or licencing schemes or road design standards, but could give an indication of how much of a factor age actually is.

  12. Adrian 12

    When Brendon Hartley as a 16 year old can drive a Formula 1 car (almost) as well as 40 year old Michael Schumacher then car control is about training not age. There has been research about how the inexperience accident rate moves out with the age profile but LTSA won’t acknowledge it. The critical point is that 15 and 16 year olds are under a lot more parental control than a lot of 17 and 18 year olds who have left school and earning their own money and possibly living elsewhere.

  13. aj 13

    I’d like to see the age remain, but with extended and increased restrictions. Don’t permit a full liscense until 17 years. Don’t permit ownership of a car until 17 years. To my mind part of the problem is the cheapness and accessibility of cars. Ownership restrictions won’t stop parents purchasing cars in their names but it puts a layer of responsibility above the young driver. Parents need to hammer home that the freedom to drive a car comes with huge responsibility.

    I can’t believe these captchas – ‘FAST”

  14. tc 14

    see how easy the clown has everyone all over this whilst he rips open our parks for some of Gerrys tourist attractions, sells out akl and generally does F all else……beware the white noise people

  15. Peter 15

    I remember very clearly being 15 yrs old and driving my own car (am 45 now), yes I made mistakes, but that is all part of life. some 15 yr olds shouldn’t drive until they are 18 or 19, and then some people of WHATEVER age should only be allowed on the road under supervision.

    This proposal is clumsy and doesn’t address the issue.. And I seem to recall that the Nat’s made a big show of NOT being a “Nanny State party”…

    Still, we get the politicians we deserve 🙂

  16. tc 16

    Peter’s got it in one….age’s a number, responsibility an individual quality. I know some 30 somethings behave like 12 year olds at the wheel and some 16 year olds who drive with more patience and experience than 40 year olds.

    Yet another pointless ‘look at us….aren’t we good’ initiative…….and annoying the farmers into the bargain…excellent. keep it up clown…..what next…..monorail to match your cycleway…..Tossers.

  17. tc 17

    tc you touch on and important point. You can learn at 15 – or 16 – or 17 but you are still a learner. Attitude on the road from my girls whom I taught at 15 & 16 was far better than many of my mates aged 40-60, the only thing that saves them is driving skill.
    Attitude = patience, good manners, knowledge of road code, respect for others.
    Young people pick up driving skills very quickly but are often far ahead in attitude right from the get-go.

  18. A Nonny Moose 18

    I was talking with a work mate about this policy and he commented that he remembered getting driver training at school (he’s now in his 50s), and where did that go? Does anyone remember when driver training was scrapped from schools?

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    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week 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 ...
    1 week 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
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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