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Hekia Parata wants to punish poor schools

Written By: - Date published: 9:43 am, March 17th, 2014 - 45 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, national, national/act government, same old national, schools - Tags:

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Like Labour, National has a strongly held view of the importance of education.  Unlike Labour National prefers that the system is tailored so that market forces operate in such a way that the children of its supporters benefit.

When it was first elected National obviously wanted to increase state support for private schools.  In the 2009 budget briefing for Education it was suggested that an increase in funding of $17.5 million per year was appropriate.  National made it $35 million while at the same time cutting funding for many worthwhile education programmes.  It was clear from the start what National’s priorities were.

National MPs have always been upset at the prospect that poorer kids should have more spent on their education.  The reason why this is the way schools are funded is obvious.  Resources should follow need but National MPs do not see it that way.  Their propaganda surrounding education is to suggest that failing educational standards are the fault of individual teachers even though it is abundantly clear that poverty is the primary cause. Many on the right would be sympathetic to the funding model being “flattened” so that support for the poorest schools was lessened to the benefit of the wealthiest.

It seems that Education Minister Hekia Parata is interested not only in flattening the funding for students across the different deciles but she wants to actually tilt things so that kids in wealthier schools tended to receive more funding per student than kids in poorer performing schools.  Because this is the only interpretation that can be given to Parata’s latest announcement.

According to the Herald:

The Government is looking to fund schools according to the progress their pupils make, the Education Minister has revealed.

In an interview with the Herald on Sunday, Hekia Parata described the existing regime, in which schools with deprived neighbourhoods are paid more, as a “blunt instrument”.

The Ministry of Education is calculating new decile rankings for the nation’s 2500 schools from last year’s quake-delayed Census. Parata agreed that schools in some gentrified areas, especially in Auckland, could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, while others would gain similar amounts.

Parata said the current funding system was unsatisfactory. “I think we need to be looking for something else.”

The Government is spending a record $9.7 billion on education, she said, but achievement levels were below the 85 to 100 per cent New Zealand needed. The most successful funding systems narrowed the gap between high-achieving rich kids and under-achieving poor kids by “strongly incentivising” pupil progress, she said.

The Government did not want to fund schools according to their raw results in National Standards or NCEA, but on how much teachers had helped students to learn over the course of six months or a year, “the consistency and the progress”.

“You’ve got to work out which school is delivering achievement, which schools are focusing on how they raise the quality of their teaching and leadership practice, and how is that translating into kids demonstrating that they’re learning more?”

Parata presents no information on what are the “most successful funding systems”. The PPTA states that overseas experience in the area is that funding is taken away from the poorest students.

There are four major concerns with Parata’s proposal. Firstly the rate of improvement in education standards tends to be lower in the poorer areas. There is just too much happening for schools to be able to provide education on top of dealing with a myriad of social problems. Secondly “white flight” will be exacerbated as pupils seek out the “better performing” schools that receive greater resources. Thirdly gaming of the system will become more pronounced as schools make decisions based on what will enhance their statistics and not on what is good for their pupils. And finally why should we tolerate a system which claims that by definition half of our schools are not up to scratch and should therefore be penalised financially because of their inability to comply with an arbitrary statistical norm?

This morning there appears to have been an effort to shut down the story. A spokesperson for Parata has said that the proposal is not currently on the table, that said it could be looked at in any future overall funding review but not before the the election.

A better reason to vote this Government out of office I cannot imagine.

45 comments on “Hekia Parata wants to punish poor schools”

  1. Bill 1

    From the summary

    Yesterday Hekia Parata floated the idea that funding of schools should be based on measuring the periodic change in academic standards.

    If anyone still had any doubt about National introducing measurable criteria into education, in order to form a basis for generating profit so that the private sector could then operate in the education system…

  2. captain hook 2

    if the same criteria was applied to her personally then haka paratai would only be getting half a salary by now.

  3. Zorr 3

    It’s funny because this is obviously intended as a distraction to the Oravida scandal

    But it’s looking more and more like Hekia has done what she always does best – pouring petrol on to a fire. This is just fuel to strengthen the support that Labour/Greens/Mana have because it is such an obviously pro-poverty stance.

    It’s almost like National/Hekia went “hey, I see you’re going to fight the election on social inequality… here, have some ammo”

  4. ianmac 4

    Yesterday Puddlegum and Greywarbler drew attention to the Hefferman interview.
    Parata is a perfect example of the thinking that increasing competition will achieve better results. Hefferman points out that the greater the accent on results forces learners to concentrate on getting good scores at the expense of the process of learning. How you learn is far more important than what you learn. Competition is so damaging to being willing to risk and learning from mistakes.
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/2589144

    • Tracey 4.1

      yup. greater competition doesnt magically provide resources to assist english second language students, not r doe sit change the non speaking parents back at home come time to do reading and writing homework. Not all parents can afford tutors.

      A friend of mine has 21 students in year 1. 6 came to school this year speaking NO english. 11 have parents who speak no english.

      Last year the breakdown was similar.

      NONE of her 6 non english speakers reached the NS level for that age, but had come close. The 11 who spoke some english but whose parents did not, also largely did not meet NS. 4 did.

      That they even came close, to me, points to some good teaching, especially with the restricted resources. This needs to be put to Parata. In the above scenario, does her proposed scheme give that teacher a pay rise or not?

      If she says the school wil get more funding in those circumstances because the school and teacher will be measured from the starting poin tof each child, will she confirm that if there is a single instance where that happens she will;

      A. resign if still in parliament;
      B. personally donate $50,000 to a school that does not get so rewarded?

    • Craig Glen Eden 4.2

      Brilliant stuff ianmac Puddlegum and Greywarbler thanks for sharing. Really worth listening to callaboration is certainly the way forward.

  5. tricledrown 5

    This is just another step in demoralizing the teaching proffession.

  6. MaxFletcher 6

    From memory when they introduced such a policy in some US states there was widespread grade inflation as teachers were desperate to secure funding.

    So all in all – a bad idea

  7. greywarbler 7

    Yesterday Hekia Parata floated the idea that funding of schools should be based on measuring the periodic change in academic standards.

    Isn’t it more that the funding will be based on observable achievement to whatever arbitrary measure is chosen?

    And let’s be practical, from NACTs viewpoint, why should they bother about endeavouring that all children should receive a wide education of a good standard that enables them to think and act logically and in a reasoned manner. Better that we should lurch along in constant crises and discontent.
    Slogan for us, ‘Don’t get lost in the shuffle – Shuffle along with the lost”.

    *They don’t want our education levels and R&D to advance, progress.
    *They don’t expect to be employing many NZ at any education level as they can choose their employees from the whole world, already trained and experienced beyond their own, so the country’s capacity for innovative thinking, and new business providing employment cannot advance, progress.
    *They don’t care about our society being able to advance, progress.
    *They don’t care if NZ falls behind in measures achieved by the rest of the advanced world, except in those measures that enhance their own pursuit of wealth and resources.

    NZ is to be their elite supermarket where they can shop for all the goodies they can imagine, no restraints. The purpose of the country is to continue existing to serve their interests. And bug.er the other beg..rs.

    • mickysavage 7.1

      Isn’t it more that the funding will be based on observable achievement to whatever arbitrary measure is chosen?

      I’m not sure gw. Parata is one of the most imprecise ministers in Government!

      • greywarbler 7.1.1

        But she has been to “Sound Confident” school. Probably with Brian Edwards or his wife. And as every General from Blackadder knows, one should stand tall and say in a determined firm way, Over the top, Chaps. Do or die for the good of the – NACTs. (Because either way we have ways of coming out on top SAFELY.)

    • greywarbler 7.2

      I have decided I have been too gloomy about NZ educational possibilties and have found a bright keen willing flagbearer for those of us lagging behind Parata’s expectations.
      I present Manuel who learns – and the horse.

  8. Chooky 8

    I am repeating the obvious yet again!

    ..it means that teachers will not want to teach in pooer schools because they will be designated as under performing teachers based on grades of their students.

    ..whereas they may be the most brilliant teachers and highly morally principled …doing a difficult job with kids whose families are deprived and struggling due to NACT’s policies of punishing the poor

    ….definitely a NO WIN ‘catch 22’ situation for poor kids and their teachers

    ….worse , this failure based on grades will give NACT the spurious reason to advocate for Charter Schools ….which is an introduced American big business model for education based on profit for the
    private Charter School BUSINESS…

    ….this will have the effect of undermining New Zealand’s high quality State Education System which is free, secular and non discriminatory …when well funded

    …it will also undermine the professionalism of teachers, education and their unions

    • dw 8.1

      To expand on your last point, it seems clear that a key driver here is to actually destroy the teaching unions through divide and conquer, and hence remove a source of support and funding for the left. Following the USA right wing nut job playbook to the letter.

    • georgecom 8.2

      One of the keys to a good education is a good teacher. So you have a school where National Standards statistics (this is how the Govt would like to judge schools) are not as good as others, that school is ‘under performing’ Take some money off that school and give it to others.

      Teachers will migrate to the schools with better NS statistics, the majority will be in higher decile schools, not lower decile. One asset in their education the students in these ‘under performing’ school have, good teachers, will be denied them.

      The Govt delivers a strong message to ‘under performing students’ that they must try harder by removing 10% of their funding and passing it to another school. That’ll teach them. Learn to do more with less, if you want the money back, try harder.

      Even more so, extend the lesson. If they are not working harder, try removing 10% of their food. If they are lacking in sleep, remove their bed one night in 10. If they are not breathing properly, remove 10% of their air. All good sharp lessons that will drive them to achieve.

  9. logie97 9

    Now here is a novel idea for meeting her criteria and at the same time producing some valuable dollars for the education system.
    Sell off the likes of Auckland Grammar School and other famous public schools in New Zealand.
    These “high achieving” schools would no longer be in the draw for the “performing schools” bonuses. They would no longer draw on government funding, as we know it, full stop.
    The arguments over zoning would dissipate.
    Mmmm gets better all the time.

    Note ‘high achieving’ does not necessarily equate to ‘value added’

    • Chooky 9.1

      @ logie 97….+100

      …very good idea and very logical!…they dont need help ….but State Schools do ….especially for special needs students ….and especially those State Schools drawing on students from poorer areas

      …and as well as selling off a few of the most elite schools ….get rid of ALL funding for private schools …and if they cant survive …sell them all off as well

    • ianmac 9.2

      Note ‘high achieving’ does not necessarily equate to ‘value added.’ Exactly logie.
      I did put that to a past Minister of Education who was at the time lauding the fine example that he said Private Schools were setting.
      Did he think it possible that advantaged pupils were not getting value added?
      How would he know?
      Was it possible that advantaged pupils just floated along without being extended as much as a kid from a poor home where language is limited who learns to speak in whole sentences and become able to socialise and therefore start learning? Huge steps with clever dedicated teachers.
      The Minister seemed to be a bit uncomfortable and said, “Perhaps.”

    • tinfoilhat 9.3

      And where pray tell would the 2000 add students go to school instead ?

      • Chooky 9.3.1

        …they can go to the local State School , which will be well funded and of very high quality and secular

        • tinfoilhat 9.3.1.1

          Auckland Grammar is the local state school.

          • logie97 9.3.1.1.1

            Yes it is a state school and is believed by many to be the best school in New Zealand. Of course the in zoners are generally drawn from the well heeled professionals. The out-of-zoners are generally potential sporting reps/academics etc.

            The school sits on prime real estate and there will be many in the business round table set who would love to buy it and make it a private school. It’s “record” makes it a top sales prospect – megabucks. And the wonderful new governors could handout scholarships to the deserving peasants.

            • tinfoilhat 9.3.1.1.1.1

              So because a school is on “good real estate” and has a reputation of being a very good school you propose to punish the school and local population by selling it off….. what rubbish you talk.

              You should also note that no preference can be given to ‘talented’ academic or sporting students who are out of zone for NZ public schools

              • logie97

                Where is the punishment sunshine? The locals who scramble to live in zone, can move to cheaper areas of the city and the families can pay the fees that the school would charge.
                Or, if you have faith in your current minister, the neighbouring schools will be coming up to first class delivery of education.

                Who are you kidding when it comes to selection of out-of-zoners?

                • tinfoilhat

                  What a ridiculous proposition.

                  Auckland Grammar like many of the older schools in NZ main centres has been where it is for decades during which time it and the teachers and support staff have served its community with distinction. Just because you have a dislike for that school you propose the Ministry sell it off and make it private disadvantaging the local community…. disgraceful and just what I’d expect from a RWNJ.

                  “Who are you kidding when it comes to selection of out-of-zoners?”

                  Public school in NZ which have to run a ballot for out of zoners do so under strict rules set by the MoE … apart from siblings and occasionally children of old boys/girls everyone else goes into a ballot which is drawn under police supervision

                  • logie97

                    Not a dislike for the school at all old chap.
                    Just a bit of realism.
                    The school could stand on its own and not need to draw on the public purse. “Teachers and support staff have served its community with distinction.” Any evidence that they have been any better than at other schools, or is it just that the school has had an “easier pool” of pupils to draw from.?
                    Do you have any measures of “value added” to make such statements.

    • Plan B 9.4

      My thought is to build more Auckland Grammar Schools, at least 3-4 in Auckland. The right to build housing near them could be sold off to developers- everyone gets to be ‘in-zone’ the cost of building the school can be met by the developers of the housing estates nearby.

  10. ghostwhowalksnz 10

    Strange comment in the article about decile data being ‘seven years out of date’. Well of course it is, the census was delayed because the Christchurch earthquakes.

    The way this is indroduced means it came from Hekias office

    However decile numbers arent going to change that much even over the regular 5 year cycle. Over say 15 years maybe in some of the larger urban areas.

    • ianmac 10.1

      I thought that each school’s Decile Rating was done on a school by school basis where the occupation of parents chosen by sampling the school roll, was averaged out to the rating. Surprised that it had anything to do with the Census???

        • ghostwhowalksnz 10.1.1.1

          So its easy for readers heres the gist

          A major reassessment of all school deciles is undertaken following each 5-yearly Census of Population and Dwellings.
          Census information is used to calculate the decile. A school provides its student addresses and these are used to determine which areas its students come from.

          The student addresses are assigned to the smallest Census areas, called meshblocks. A meshblock contains around 50 households. However, only Census information for households with school-aged children is used. The number and percentage of students from each meshblock is determined and the meshblock is examined against five socio-economic factors.

          Note: It is not the general area around the school that is used to calculate the decile, but the specific meshblocks where students live.

          The background to the attack on ‘decile funding’ is they want to cut this money to fund their other policies like Irrational standards and charter schools.

  11. Saarbo 11

    I was recently on a Decile 9 school BOT and often the Principal plus other BOT members would complain about the amount lower decile schools were receiving. I would reply that it made perfect sense, to ensure that lower decile schools could employ additional teacher aides etc to improve their results…once this was pointed out, no one agued…most kiwi’s are fair minded I think. But one thing that is happening is that all schools including high decile schools are screaming out for more resources, its tough for all schools to make their books balance. However there is no doubt that schools in higher decile areas have the ability to find additional funds, the current school my kids are at (D7) earns over $700 per child in additional funding (only 65 kids). I think the current decile system of funding seems to make sense.

    • georgecom 11.1

      Yup, often the debate about decile funding is a fight for less than adequate total quantum of funding. Reframing the debate, each school, is saying it could do more with more funding.

      The basic funding model for schools, minus some of the ad on funding like deciles, was developed in the late 1980s or at least no later than the early 1990s. The requirement on schools was quite a bit different than today. The pace of life was slower. ICT was a banda machine-spirit duplicator, no need for expensive programme licenses or ‘connected’ classrooms. There was maybe a part time admin person in the school office and a part time teachers aide. The social pressures which mounted on schools was not as intense as today. Whilst society and societies demands on schooling had increased, the basic school funding model has not.

  12. tricledrown 12

    A report in todays news pointed out that children with disabilities in decile 10 schools claimed 10 x the number of funding than those in decile 1 schools.
    Decile 1 to 3 schools don’t have the same expertise of those in decile 10 schools.
    Fund raising is another area low decile schools loose out on .
    A low decile school is often only able to raise a few hundred or thousands of dollars.
    High decile schools in some cases can raise upwards of a million dollars.

  13. captain hook 13

    I guess thats what you call the survival of the fattest!

  14. Clemgeopin 14

    National party is a nasty outfit. This evil minister, Parata has now shown that the party is also dangerous, pretty stupid, damaging, and a little crazy too. I am sure that many people will agree that Parata has been the most stupid, most incompetent, most trouble making. most useless and the most clueless minister of education this country has ever had!

  15. ianmac 15

    Jolisa Gracewood has written a stunning piece on the Educational direction that Parata and Government are taking us. If you have kids or concern for our school system you must have a read. If the Herald really cared it would publish her work because it really should get a much wider audience – before it is too late to stop them!!!
    Jolissa’s observations fit in with Mickey’s post above.

    http://publicaddress.net/busytown/school-bully/
    Be warned though. It will make you very very angry.

    • MrSmith 15.1

      Please read ianmac’s link http://publicaddress.net/busytown/school-bully/ very well written by Jolisa Gracewood on Public address.

    • mickysavage 15.2

      Yep her post puts mine to shame. Please read it.

      • logie97 15.2.1

        Listen to Joyce every time the question of Novopay comes up.

        It’s now a call-centre-management issue and THE COMPLEXITY OF THE TEACHERS PAY STRUCTURE.
        He intends simplifying it and the easiest way will be to bulk fund schools and tear up the current agreement. (The years of contract negotiations to cover all eventualities when employed to deliver the national curriculum across the whole of New Zealand – the complexities involved to make employment fair for all involved) – just rip it up and pay an hourly rate, as if you are a clerk in the minister’s back office.

        After all, to the layman (like Joyce) who observes the profession from without, and wouldn’t have a clue what the job entails, sees all practitioners as just like clerks in his office.

        Of course, all of the government members have been through the New Zealand education system and are therefore experts in the field of education. (Which brings to mind, Michelle Boag she attended the Auckland College of Education at Epsom as a mature student in the 1990’s – did she graduate/intend teaching or did she attend to get the inside running?)

  16. red blooded 16

    This concept is an obscenity and an attack on the most vulnerable children in our country. Why, oh why do we keep on importing failed extremist experiments that diminish the focus on real learning, discourage collegiality and sharing of best practice and deprive our young of the resources they need at the time they need them?

    Because we have an elitist, extremist, arrogant bunch of buffoons in charge of our country, that’s why. Sigh…

  17. tc 17

    There is enough in education to see off the nact, people have little idea the damage and systemic stupidity they have introduced in deliberately breaking what worked.

    Higher education has taken its flogging quietly as the dark lord had that given to him early in the aya tolley era.

  18. Whateva next? 18

    Hekia dropped the ball there ( again) but by crikey, nice catch by those that were listening.

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    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Against a carbon bailout
    If we are to avoid making the planet uninhabitable, we need to cut carbon emisisons fast. Which basicly means putting the fossil fuel industry - coal, gas, and oil - out of business. But this means that the banks and other lenders who have bankrolled the industry's environmental destruction will ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Still a criminal industry
    More evidence that the fishing industry suffers from pervasive criminality, with Forest & Bird highlighting some odd numbers in the annual statistics:The Annual Review Report For Highly Migratory Species Fisheries 2018/19 (Pg 4, Table 4) showed only 4% of commercial long lining trips for tuna and swordfish reported non-fish bycatch ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?
    A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response ...
    SciBlogsBy Alison Campbell
    7 days ago
  • The emerging coronavirus outbreak in China
    By now you’ve probably heard of the new virus causing an outbreak of severe pneumonia in China. The question on most people’s minds is, how worried should we be, especially as hundreds of millions of people will soon be travelling across China and beyond to visit family for the Lunar ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • How did climate change get so controversial?
    An excerpt from the book Cranky Uncle vs. Climate Change, released Feb 25. Our human brain is poorly equipped to deal with a threat like climate change. Over millions of years, we’ve evolved to avoid life-threatening dangers like predators jumping out of bushes. We’ve survived by quickly detecting and avoiding immediate, short-term ...
    1 week ago
  • Farmers are ruining Canterbury’s rivers
    Its summer, so people naturally want to go for a swim. But in South Canterbury, you can't, because the rivers are full of toxic goo:As of Monday, the Waihi River at Wilson Street footbridge, Geraldine, the Waihao River at Bradshaws Bridge, and three spots on the Opihi River - at ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Sack Shane Jones
    Late last year, NZ First was caught trying to enrich itself from public office, with a dodgy forestry company linked to a number of NZ First figures sticking its hand out repeatedly for government money. Regional Economic Development Minister shane Jones' "explanations" were patently unconvincing, and his recusal from deciding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BIG idea physics
    This morning I’ve been having a quick look through some documentation from The Ministry of Education on proposed changes to NCEA Level 1 Science. For those not familiar with the NZ secondary education system, a typical student would complete NCEA level 1 at the end of year 11.  In this ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    1 week ago
  • Revolution in New Zealand? Not Even Close!
    No Fires Thanks, We're Kiwis: For the moment, in those close-to-home places where revolutions are born, there may be tetchiness and resentment, frustration and complaint, but nowhere is anybody uttering the cry that will bring a New Zealand revolution into being: “We have found the way to make tomorrow better ...
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3
    Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... Story of the Week... 'It's heart-wrenching': 80% of Blue Mountains and 50% of ...
    1 week ago
  • Britain exits the European Union and takes a sharp right turn
    by John Smith  Britain’s exit from the imperialist bloc known as the European Union (EU) is now irreversible. The crushing electoral defeat of the Labour Party has dismayed many workers and youth who had placed their hopes in Jeremy Corbyn, its left-wing leader. This article assesses these historic events, neither of which ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 12, 2020 through Sat, Jan 18, 2020 Editor's Pick The Past and the Future of the Earth’s Oldest Trees Bristlecone pines have survived various catastrophes over the millennia, and they ...
    1 week ago
  • How climate change influenced Australia’s unprecedented fires
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections, and has been adapted into a new myth rebuttal on climate-wildfire connections with the short URL sks.to/wildfires Australia’s frightening bushfires, which kicked off an early fire season in September 2019, have already had cataclysmic effects, and the continent is still just in the early ...
    1 week ago
  • Gender Identity Ideology – A Partial Bibliography of Online Coverage
    This great resource has been contributed to Redline by Janie Doebuck. Janie made some notes on the bibliography: 1) It is by no means exhaustive. There are tons more gender critical posts, essays, articles, podcasts, youtube videos, etc. online. 2) There are links in the bibliography that are behind paywalls. There ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • About those biased Oscar Nominations
    There’s been a lot written about the 2020 Oscar Nominations and their apparent lack of diversity. It’s true, there are in fact no women nominated for the Best Director and very few nominees of colour across the board. But is this a result of a biased process or a symptom ...
    2 weeks ago
  • How New Zealand media reports chronic pain
    Hemakumar Devan Around three million New Zealanders access news media (both paper and online) every week. Yes, you heard that right! So, the potential for news media to shape public health beliefs is common sense. As chronic pain affects one in five New Zealanders, we wanted to find out how ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Still Waiting For American Democracy.
    Unfinished Republic: Though the United States' crimes against democracy are legion, most Americans are blissfully unaware of them. The brutal realities of American life: the officially sanctioned violence; the refusal to hold racists accountable for their actions; the seemingly endless tragedy of African-American suffering; of which White America is the ...
    2 weeks ago
  • In Outrage Over Its Bunk Science, Goop Finds Fuel for Growth
    Michael Schulson For years, experts have said that Goop, the wellness and lifestyle brand founded by the actor and entrepreneur Gwyneth Paltrow, markets pseudoscience and overblown cures. And for years, despite the criticism, Goop has just kept growing. Now the company, which was valued at $250 million in 2018, ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Tobacco Excise Taxes and the Smokefree 2025 Goal: Some Ways Forward
    Janet Hoek, Richard Edwards, George Thomson, Andrew Waa, Nick Wilson Debate over tobacco tax increases has intensified as research indicates potentially conflicting policy directions. On the one hand, excise tax increases continue to stimulate quit attempts among smokers yet, on the other hand, they may lead to financial hardship for ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    2 weeks ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #2, 2020
    Conflation and how to fix it VIa AMS,  Raul Lejano looks at what in a layperson's thinking would be called conflation— confusion and blending of entirely different topics— when people think about climate change. Ideology and the Narrative of Skepticism  (open access) starts with some arguably frightening false connections between the science and ...
    2 weeks ago
  • ‘Cranky Uncle’ smart phone game will show you how to disarm climate deniers
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Bud Ward (Image: Courtesy of John Cook) When it comes to climate change, it seems every family has its own version of the proverbial Cranky Uncle. An uncle, cousin, grandparent, in-law, neighbor, whatever. Just think back to the recent holiday season’s large ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Science in the ’20s – part 1
      Outrageous, immoral or downright dangerous. That’s a description of the lifestyle of women “flappers” in the 1920s. Could it apply to science (and scientists) in the 2020s? Actually, you could look back at the past decade and see those, or similar terms, used about some science and scientists. Sometimes ...
    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    2 weeks ago
  • Postscript: Citizenship Granted.
    I am pleased to say that I have been granted NZ citizenship. I need to do the ceremony for things to be official, but the application was a success. I now join my son as a dual NZ-US citizen. To be fair, very little will change other than the fact ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Music: Morales is coming
    It will be no secret to longtime readers that I, Russell Brown, love the disco.   So I'm pretty excited by the fact that one of the greats of the game is returning this summer – and also pleased to say I have tickets to give away.Legendary mixer and DJ ...
    2 weeks ago
  • The WHO Vaccine Safety Summit – from someone who was actually there
    The conspiracy I saw a new conspiracy theory flying around the other day. According to the conspiracy (that seems to originate from Del Bigtree), the World Health Organization have been ‘caught on camera’ questioning the safety of vaccines. Gosh this sounds as though someone was a mole at a ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    2 weeks ago
  • The timely death of the British Labour Party
    Below is an article submitted to Redline by Alec Abbott  At its inception, the British Labour Party was a vehicle for the propagation of racist and imperialist views within the working-class. Such views are still widespread in the party, as they are in Europe’s Social-Democratic parties, though, in the case of ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Mystery China pneumonia outbreak likely caused by new human coronavirus
    Connor Bamford, Queen’s University Belfast Since December 2019, there has been a cluster of 59 cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, eastern China. The pneumonia is associated with a previously unidentified coronavirus related to the deadly SARS virus. Seven of those cases are thought to be serious, and one person – ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    2 weeks ago
  • Yes, koalas are cute – but should we bring them to NZ? Errm, no
    It’s been hard to miss the extreme fires raging across Australia and the tragic plight of the animals – human and otherwise – affected by the fires’ insatiable spread. I know I’ve been captivated and concerned by the tales of how Australia’s famous wildlife has been coping. Koalas approaching cyclists ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s negative campaigning
    Anybody who looked into the Dirty Politics saga knows all too well that honesty is often in short supply within the National Party. You would think that after the exposure the John Key government received over their untruthful attack politics, the National Party would learn from its "mistakes" and leave ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Ending the government’s charade over water
    For the past decade, the government has been responding to the obvious Treaty issues raised by water allocation with the mantra that "no-one owns water". But last year, the Waitangi Tribunal ruled that actually, Māori owned it, and that those rights had never been extinguished. They recommended that iwi bring ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Northern Ireland joins the civilised world
    Same-sex marriage has finally become legal in Northern Ireland. But not through any decision of the Northern Irish Executive or Assembly, which has only just reformed after a three year walkout by the DUP; instead, Westminster made that decision for them. I've talked before about the constitutional impropriety of this, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • I had an intense conversation at work today.
    Claire Cohen-Norris volunteers with Citizens Climate Lobby as a chapter founder and leader in rural New York. Her climate advocacy sprung from her drive to provide a secure, joyful and fulfilling life for her two wonderful children. It has become a life’s mission, shared with her like-minded husband and partner. Claire ...
    2 weeks ago
  • French transport workers take on Macron over pension reform
    by John Edmundson Starting on December 5th, 2019 workers in the Parisian rail network commenced an open-ended strike in opposition to French President Emmanuel Macron’s proposed changes to their pension scheme. Rail workers in the Metro Underground have, for decades, had retirement conditions that compensate them for the low wages, ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • What a difference the decimal point makes
    I’m back at work following a nearly three-week break over Christmas. We were fortunate to be offered a house to stay in for a week over Christmas, which enabled us to have a holiday in Dunedin and see the extended family reasonably cheaply. But the house came with a catch:  ...
    SciBlogsBy Marcus Wilson
    2 weeks ago
  • Who’s Going To Stop Him?
    Blank And Pitiless: Having ordered the assassination of the Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, President Donald Trump promised to reduce the cultural monuments of Iran’s 3,000 year-old civilisation to rubble if a revenge attack was mounted. A breach of international law? Certainly. A war crime? Indisputably. Who’s going to stop him? Nobody.WHAT ...
    2 weeks ago
  • A worker’s story
    This interview is from Aotearoa Workers Solidarity Movement (AWSM) and is the first of an ongoing series of interviews they plan to do with workers from various sectors who are having their well being and livelihoods damaged. They begin with an educator in Southland. Due to the attitude and actions ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • 2020 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2
    A chronological listing of news articles linked to on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 5, 2020 through Sat, Jan 11, 2020 Editor's Pick Debunked Australian Bushfire Conspiracy Theories Were Pushed by Alex Jones, Murdoch Media   As unusually intense and widespread bushfires have ...
    2 weeks ago
  • J.K. Rowling, the Seattle Library, and the Issue That Must Not Be Named
    This article was submitted to Redline by Seattle-based activist Lucinda Stoan J.K. Rowling recognizes repression when she sees it.  That’s why the author of the wildly popular Harry Potter books recently tweeted in defense of Maya Forstater. Forstater lost her job for stating that sex is real and immutable. A judge ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Rules of Empire: Laws simply do not apply and “National Security” excuses all else.
    Empires rise and fall, and the American Empire is absolutely no different. But while an Empire, in order to further the footprint, it seems to pay to do one primary thing above all else: project that everything – everything – is “simply for the good of the world” at large, ...
    exhALANtBy exhalantblog
    3 weeks ago
  • Indian lessons for NZ workers – the January 8 general strike
                    by Phil Duncan On Wednesday (January 8) another massive general strike took place in India.  Some 250 million industrial workers, white-collar workers, agricultural labourers struck against the government’s economic policies and attacks on the Muslim population through new proposed citizenship rules. This ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    3 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: The action that counts
    Over on Newsroom, Professor Jacqueline Beggs writes about the action she is taking on climate change. Its the usual list: reduce meat, don't fly, consume less. I'm doing some of this myself, and none of it hurts - but the way our economic system is constructed means the impact of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 weeks ago
  • Fossil fuel political giving outdistances renewables 13 to one
    This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Karin Kirk Corporations, special interest groups, and individuals inject billions of dollars into the American political system every year. Much of the financial support in politics is concealed from public view, as some rules – and loopholes – allow “dark money” and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Animal response to a bushfire is astounding. These are the tricks they use to survive
    Dale Nimmo, Charles Sturt University Have you ever wondered how our native wildlife manage to stay alive when an inferno is ripping through their homes, and afterwards when there is little to eat and nowhere to hide? The answer is adaptation and old-fashioned ingenuity. Australia’s bushfire season is far from ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Should I ditch my fossil-fueled car?
    Yes. Reducing the number of cars in your household, or switching from petrol/diesel to electric, will dramatically reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. It’s one of the easiest and highest-impact climate steps you can take. New Zealand is being flooded with cars The New Zealand vehicle fleet is increasing rapidly. In ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    3 weeks ago
  • Speaker: Planet History: Taking Tea with Quentin
    This interview with Quentin Crisp is part of a series of articles republished from Planet, the independent magazine I edited in the early 90s from a base at 309 Karangahape Road, along with Grant Fell, Rachael Churchward, Fiona Rae, David Teehan, Mere Ngailevu and others.Inevitably, you forget things, and over ...
    3 weeks ago

  • Week That Was: 2020
    We are back for 2020! From changes to Family Funded Care, to a record high number of Kiwis in construction in the trades - we're already back making progress on those long-term challenges. Read all about it and more ...
    5 days ago
  • Winston Peters: “Ihumātao deal still a long way off”
    Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters told Mike Hosking that a settlement deal regarding Ihumātao in Auckland is still a long way off. The Maori King's flag was lowered at the site near Auckland Airport yesterday, sparking suggestions an announcement of a deal could be made by Waitangi Day. Pania Newton, ...
    6 days ago
  • Winston Peters accuses Gerry Brownlee of ‘politicising’ Holocaust memorial
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters is accusing Gerry Brownlee of "politicising" a Holocaust memorial event after the National MP questioned the lack of Kiwi representation there. The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre in Jerusalem, Israel, is holding the World Holocaust Forum on January 23 to mark 75 years since ...
    6 days ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund to help Waipukurau Pā sites attract thousands of tourists
    The Ngā Ara Tipuna - Waipukurau Pā Site Interpretation project is receiving $2.798 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It is is expected to boost the town's employment and tourism, creating sixteen new jobs once completed and attract up to 15,000 visitors a year. Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development ...
    7 days ago
  • “Common sense will prevail, not extremism” Winston Peters backs Shane Jones’ pro-meat stance
    New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is backing his MPs who have spoken out against a new climate change teaching resource that advises students to eat less meat to save the planet. The new teaching resource, announced by Education Minister Chris Hipkins and Climate Change Minister James Shaw, tells students ...
    1 week ago
  • Violent assault on paramedic highlights need for law change
    Darroch Ball MP, Spokesperson for Justice Today’s horrific violent assault of an on-duty female paramedic which rendered her unconscious is truly unsettling. “Our thoughts are with the paramedic, her loved ones and the St John’s team at Warkworth Station,” says New Zealand First Justice Spokesperson Darroch Ball. “Harsher penalties for perpetrators ...
    1 week ago
  • Acting PM Winston Peters confirms NZDF troops in Iraq not hit by Iranian attacks
    Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters called for calm and diplomacy following Iranian missile strikes on bases housing United States troops in Iraq, but confirmed New Zealand's base in the country was not hit. The New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) was earlier today investigating claims New Zealand's base in Iraq had ...
    1 week ago
  • Kaikōura $10.88 million boost in tourism & business
    Fletcher Tabuteau MP, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $10.88 million to boost business and tourism opportunities in Kaikōura, Parliamentary Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. As part of the Kaikōura Marina Development Programme, the following two projects will receive ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Delivering a stable water supply to Wairarapa
    Hon. Ron Mark, New Zealand First List MP based in Wairarapa The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $7.11 million to create a sustainable water supply for the Wairarapa. The PGF will provide a $7 million investment to Wairarapa Water Limited to progress the Wairarapa Water Storage Scheme towards procurement, consenting, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Housing consents hit highest level since 1974
    Housing consents have hit a 45-year high, as Statistics NZ data shows a total of 37,010 residential consents were issued in the year to November --- the first time they have breached the 37,000 mark since the mid-1970s. Statistics NZ said the trend had been rising since late 2011, when ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Darroch Ball MP: “Violence against first responders is a problem on the rise”
    New Zealand First MP Darroch Ball says that a paramedic being kicked unconscious last night in an attempted burglary in Warkworth, north of Auckland, is a symptom of a larger problem. "Incidents like this are becoming more and more frequent...and it’s getting worse," Mr Ball said. The MP is pushing for ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister Ron Mark asks NZDF to conduct fire risk assessment from defence point of view
    Defence Minister Ron Mark said there was nothing to prevent similar large-scale bushfires seen in Australia from also happening in New Zealand, and has asked the New Zealand Defence Force to conduct a nfire risk assessment from a defence point of view. The defence assessment would help prevent a disaster ...
    3 weeks ago

  • PM announces election date as September 19
    The 2020 General Election will be held on Saturday 19 September, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. “I will be asking New Zealanders to continue to support my leadership and the current direction of the Government, which is grounded in stability, a strong economy and progress on the long term ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into constructionProvincial Growth Fund supports Waika...
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • Provincial Growth Fund supports Waikato youth into construction
    Two projects focussed on supporting Waikato youth into the construction industry have been given combined funding of just over $1 million from the Te Ara Mahi allocation of the Provincial Growth Fund, Undersecretary for Regional Economic Development, Fletcher Tabuteau announced today.  The two Te Ara Mahi PGF projects announced are: ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    17 hours ago
  • New Zealand to support Pacific Public Sector Hub
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters today announced New Zealand’s support for a Pacific-led hub that will strengthen public services across the region. “Strengthening public services is a core focus of New Zealand’s Pacific Reset, as efforts to improve democratic governance in the Pacific contributes to a strong, stable and more ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Minister pays tribute to journalist, author and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan
    The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, has paid tribute to well-known New Zealand author, journalist and broadcaster, Gordon McLauchlan, following Mr McLauchlan’s death today. “Gordon held a statesman-like place in New Zealand’s media, which was fittingly acknowledged in last year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours, when he was ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Minister wishes best of luck to those heading back to school
    As Kiwi kids and teachers return to classrooms over the coming weeks, the families of around 428,000 students will feel a bit less of a financial pinch than in previous years, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The Government’s decision to increase funding for schools that don’t ask parents for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Health staff to meet flights from China as precautionary measure
    Public health staff will begin meeting flights from China from tomorrow, to actively look for signs of the novel coronavirus and provide advice, information and reassurance to passengers. Health Minister Dr David Clark says the additional measures are being taken following the arrival of the disease in Australia, via flights ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • National Yearling Sales 2020
    National Yearling Sales at Karaka   26 January 2020    [CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY] Good morning. It is a pleasure to be here on opening day of the 2020 National Yearling Sales Series. Let us all acknowledge Sir Peter Vela and the Vela family for their outstanding contribution to the New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government and construction industry to build big, lift productivity with Transformation Plan
    Delivering the workforce and productivity gains required to build the houses, schools, roads, rail and hospitals New Zealand needs will become easier with the Government-industry Construction Sector Transformation Plan launched today, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says. “The action plan launched today delivers on the Government’s Construction Sector ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Log trains to begin on Wairoa-Napier line
    Log trains are about to start running between Wairoa and Napier following Provincial Growth Fund investment to reopen the rail line, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The Government invested $6.2 million to reopen the mothballed rail line which was closed after significant storm damage in 2012. “With PGF ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Minister of Defence concludes successful visit with his US counterpart
    Minister of Defence Ron Mark met with United States Secretary of Defense Mark Esper today. “This was an excellent opportunity to meet with one of our closest security partners,” Ron Mark said. “The main focus of the meeting was to discuss challenges that New Zealand and the United States share ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New Zealand acknowledges ICJ decision on Myanmar
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today acknowledged the ruling of the International Court of Justice in relation to the Rohingya people in Myanmar. The ruling ordered the Government of Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of acts of genocide in relation to members of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • NZ’s trade aims advanced at Davos meetings
    A proposal to cut “trade and production-distorting subsidies” in the agricultural sector by 2030 has set out important measures to ensure a fair agricultural trading system.  Speaking after attending meetings of trade ministers in Davos, Switzerland, Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker welcomed the joint proposal from the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Great news for New Zealanders with cystic fibrosis
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says he is delighted that PHARMAC has struck a provisional deal to fund Kalydeco – a medicine which is set to improve the quality of life for about 30 New Zealand children and adults with cystic fibrosis. “While rare, cystic fibrosis is an awful inherited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand least corrupt country in the world
    New Zealand has regained its position as the least corrupt country in the world for the second time under this Coalition Government, says Justice Minister Andrew Little. “New Zealanders can be proud that our reputation as one of the least corrupt countries in the world has been restored,” says Andrew ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost for Rēkohu/Wharekauri/Chatham Islands Community Conservation
    Community conservation in Rēkohu/Wharekauri/the Chatham Islands is receiving a boost, with grants to support local projects announced today by Minister of Conservation Eugenie Sage. “Rēkohu/Wharekauri/ the Chatham Islands are home to 20 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened bird species and 11 per cent of New Zealand’s threatened plant species. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Rātana Pā goes high-tech with UFB
    Iwi, hapu and visitors to Rātana Pā near Whanganui now have access to ultra-fast broadband following its connection, completed in time for annual Rātana celebrations, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. The connection and associated hardware were funded from the Provincial Growth Fund’s $21 million Marae Digital Connectivity programme, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Govt’s strong financial management acknowledged
    The Government’s strong financial management and plan to future proof the economy with new infrastructure investment has gained further recognition from an international ratings agency. Credit rating agency Fitch has upgraded one of its main metrics assessing the Government’s books, lifting its foreign currency AA rating outlook to ‘positive’ from ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Boost in Whānau Ora funding to keep changing lives
    Whānau throughout New Zealand are set to benefit from an extra three million dollars that will go directly to Whānau Ora Commissioning Agencies, the Minister for Whānau Ora Peeni Henare announced today.  Including previous funding boosts, the Agencies will now receive $87 million this year between them.  In Budget 2019 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • More people getting into work
    The December quarter benefit numbers released today show the Government’s plan to get people off the benefit and into work is starting to pay off,” Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.   “Nearly 19,000 people cancelled their benefit and went into work in the last few months of the year – ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Wairoa gets up to $6.1m to rebuild heart of CBD
    The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing up to $6.1 million to revitalise business and tourism opportunities in Wairoa, Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Regional Economic Development Fletcher Tabuteau announced today. The PGF is funding: Up to $4.8 million for the Wairoa Integrated Business and Tourism Facility Up to $960,000 for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Major Events support for creative and cultural events
    Creative and cultural events that highlight New Zealand’s diverse culture and build national pride are set to get a funding boost through the Major Events Fund, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford said today. The new Creative and Cultural Events Incubator, which is funded through the Major Events Fund, will open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Classroom internet in hundreds of schools to get a boost
    The Government has begun a massive IT upgrade to provide more seamless internet access to 200 schools around the country. Te Mana Tūhono – Technology in Schools work programme will launch with a pilot of 10 smaller state schools early this year. IT equipment that gives students access to the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Construction workforce, apprenticeships hit record highs
    Working with industry and committing to rebuild New Zealand’s infrastructure has produced a record high number of Kiwis working in the construction industry and learning trades, says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa. New figures available today from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment and the Tertiary Education ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • NZ concludes digital economy trade talks with Singapore and Chile
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