Nats’ shortsighted penny-pinching will cost us big in the end

Written By: - Date published: 12:28 pm, September 28th, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: education, same old national, wages - Tags:

While the cat’s away the mice will play. And while the clown’s sunning himself in Hawaii (again) the ideologues in his Cabinet will launch vitriolic attacks on public service workers. As teachers are forced to endure another day of loading the news sites and seeing the country’s most powerful figures attack them, we should consider the consequences of underinvesting in teaching, medicine, and other vital public services.

The surest way to lower the quality of your workforce is to play less. Add to that insults from arseholes like Tolley who do next to nothing for her quarter of a million dollar salary and anyone with talent who hasn’t already rejected the profession because of the low pay and poor conditions will have even more reason to leave. Down goes the depth of talent.

It’s the best teachers who are the most likely to leave. They’re the ones who can get better paying work elsewhere. You’re losing the experience, the role-models, the leadership. And who are you going to replace them with?

Well, last time National caused a crisis in teaching by underpaying and cutting places at teachers’ colleges, they ‘solved’ the problem by allowing people who weren’t registered teachers to teach. The problems that resulted were entirely predictable. Try replacing the cream of your teaching profession with non-teachers and education suffers.

This is not, by any means, limited to teaching. Across the whole public service, the government is giving the best people a big financial and emotional push to leave. I’m hearing stories from every type of public service worker all saying pretty much the same thing: ‘I can understand not getting big pay rises but they want me to take a pay cut and kiss their feet in thanks, why should I bother to give up my life working for these people?’.

By undervaluing them and telling them they ought to like it, the government may as well buy tickets to Sydney for our most talented and dedicated public servants.

It’s another manifestation of this cheapskate mentality that afflicts the Right in this country. They can see the cost of paying teachers (that’s my taxes!) but they can’t see the cost of undermining the quality of education in this country. Perhaps the cost is too far in the future for their minds to process. Perhaps they say ‘well, my kids go to good (private) schools, who cares about the poor’, which is just an example of the ‘man is an island’ fallacy that underpins so much right-wing ideology.

Whatever, National will try to save pennies today on payrises but we’ll all pay the big bucks in years to come as the consequences inevitably come back to bite us with worse health, less effiicent public services, and an undereducated workforce.

51 comments on “Nats’ shortsighted penny-pinching will cost us big in the end”

  1. Bill 1

    “….as the consequences inevitably come back to bite us with worse health, less effiicent public services, and an undereducated workforce.”

    And as social indicators drop due to poorer public services and as we (citizens) become less able to make sense of what is happening in our society due to a number of reasons including poorer education, then the solutions will be found in identifying the culprits (public service workers) and ‘letting them have it’.

    And as social indicators drop due to poorer public services and as we (citizens) become……

  2. Brett 2

    Being one of the many who pays teachers salaries, I say sorry no pay rise.

  3. Bunji 3

    He’s on holiday again? Frickin’ heck. That man cannot cope with a bit of hard work. We need to do some more holiday tallying up. And why doesn’t he support New Zealand and holiday here – he’s meant to be the Minister of Tourism for Pete’s sake.

    Also: in the UK under their last Labour govt they massively increased teachers’ salaries. Guess what? They got a whole load of new talent in – experienced people from a wide variety of professions went back and became teachers, greatly increasing quality. Finland pays a mint for teachers, gets PhDs teaching and has the best education system in the world. So, if National do the reverse… well they can watch our education system reverse…

    National: Penny-wise, Pound foolish

    • insider 3.1

      Teachers don’t need to strike, they just need to stop doing school plays, sports, music, camps etc, refuse to be involved in the running of exams and only mark within allotted hours. Politicians will soon get the message via parents.

    • Anne 3.2

      “He’s on holiday again? Frickin’ heck. That man cannot cope with a bit of hard work.”

      Now come on Bunji. Give the man a break!
      All that to-ing and fro-ing to CHCH for TV film and photo shoots with the little children must have been exhausting. I mean it lasted for two weeks on end.

  4. HitchensFan 4

    Bunji@1.24 pm

    Yep. Exactly. I have four degrees, including two Masters and would LOVE to make the switch to teaching. From volunteer work I do I’m told I’d be good at it too 🙂
    But with a husband on less than me and two young children, I couldn’t afford the drop in salary.

    • Roger 4.1

      Speaking of salary, I personally know two people who have teaching qualifications and are not teaching, one works for another government department and the other one orders Coke drinks for stores. Both are paid better than teachers. Too many good people are willing to do something else other than teaching.

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    Yes let’s get rid of all the back room muppet’s because they are not needed we all know that, lets move the back room to the front desk. First place to start the Prime Minister’s office. Lets see him practice what he preaches. Then we could get rid of all the muppet’s in treasury because they never get anything right, fire those bastards forthwith. Lets not put up GST because thats just cost my company $500 for nothing. Sack English for this fire his arse I am sick of paying his rent he can pay for his own rent, theirs no f—-n free lunches you know Bill.

    • Colonial Viper 5.1

      Yeah I second the sacking of English. Looking forwards to making that happen ASAP hehehehe.

  6. Bored 6

    I just posted on Open Mike concern about youth unemployment…it sort of tracks the teacher salary issue. There are no meaningful jobs for most school leavers, only “student loan servitude”, and this government has done nothinng to improve this. I contend that their actions mean they really dont care.

    If then teachers are turning out pupils into the job market who despite any qualifications they get at school wont find meaningful work why would the government give a damn about the quality of teachers, or their salary level? They too are as unimportant to this government as their students.

  7. tsmithfield 7

    Teachers might be better advised to focus on teaching children core subjects such as maths and english rather than proselytizing them into being little mini-me’s for the teacher’s union.

    • Maynard J 7.1

      Isn’t letter writing a core component of English? Or are you merely suggesting they were out of date and should be learning to write emails?

      Although I must say in the environment the nats seem intent on fostering (vis. one sans employment opportunity), writing speculative cover letters is probably the best skill:

      “Attn Human Resources, Mcdonalds New Zealand.

      I am writing because I live in your area and have experience at….”

      • tsmithfield 7.1.1

        But it doesn’t even qualify as “writing” does it, considering the article says that the letters were scripted and following the same template.

        So, you actually think its OK for teachers to be imposing their political views on their students?

        • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1

          Neither you nor Tolley has any evidence they are doing that. Read the article. It’s all Tolley reckons teachers are behind it and she reckons it’s being done in class time.

          Given she is an idiot, I don’t give her reckonings much credence.

          • tsmithfield 7.1.1.1.1

            You obviously didn’t read the article too well. How do you explain a lot of the correspondence coming on PPTA stationary?

            From the article: “Curiously though, the letters have been turning up on PPTA-branded stationery.”

            How much more proof do you need?

            • Pascal's bookie 7.1.1.1.1.1

              More than that, because that’s ‘none’.

              Go ahead and explain how that ‘proves’ it was written at a teachers direction during class time?

              • factchecker

                Give it up – you could provide video evidence and he would refute it – welcome to partisan politics NZ 101

              • tsmithfield

                You’re quite right. It doesn’t “prove” it.

                The explanation I came up with to explain the facts was that someone from the teachers’ union had given the students PPTA stationary so that the students could write to Tolley. But of course their could be other explanations for how the students got the stationary.

                Perhaps the students mounted a clandestine operation to steal stationary from the PPTA. Perhaps aliens transported it to them. I’m am sure there must be other “plausible” explanations as well.

                Whether it was done in school time or not is small potatoes in the scheme of things.

                • Pascal's bookie

                  “The explanation I came up with to explain the facts was that someone from the teachers’ union had given the students PPTA stationary so that the students could write to Tolley. “

                  That’s one “explanation”, true. What would be wrong with that though? Your complaint is that teachers are “imposing their views”. You’ve yet to provide any evidence for that, and this explanation doesn’t support it at all.

                  Another explanation is that the material was sent home with the students as part of the PPTA communicating with parents. It doesn’t have the exciting alien angle but you know, it has the benefit of being exactly the sort of thing that goes on all the time which is why I prefer it.

                  That sort of thing happens with my kindie aged kid, so I suspect it happens at older levels as well. We get stuff from the ministry, stuff from the dreaded and obviously evil unions, and press clippings with the minister’s views. All very politibureau I’m sure. The unions are smart enough to include form letters I can can fill out and send if I so desire, the mindwashing bastards.

                  Or you could just claim to proven that the teachers are ‘imposing their views’ by using the ‘fact’ that they are doing so as a premiss. That might fool the obviously partisan factcheckers of this world, but in terms of argument I understand that it is formally known as ‘a signifier of fucking idiocy’.

                  Whether it was done in school time or not is small potatoes in the scheme of things.

                  It’s the substance of Tolley’s complaint ts. Without that, there is no real complaint

                  • tsmithfield

                    And the fact the letters were written to a template?

                    Come on, Pascal.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      The unions are smart enough to include form letters I can can fill out and send if I so desire

                      Come on, ts.

                  • insider

                    I’m surprised the union or the ministry is communicating with you via the kindy, or that the kindy is facilitating such things. It’s not been my experience and I think it is wrong.

                    If the ministry wants to talk to me as a parent or taxpayer, they shouldn’t be doing it through the school. If they want to talk to the school they go to the board and prinicpal. The union have no business talking to me as I am not a member. They can use public channels for advocacy work, as with recent newpaper adverts.

            • insider 7.1.1.1.1.2

              If they are form letters then the PPTA should be embarassed on many fronts, most importantly that they have very poor English. They read like the work of someone who has English as a second language.

              “The value and respect for teachers has faded.

              “If pay isn’t increased, teachers will intentionally leave without hesitation and the youth will gradually fail.”

              Say wha? reads like a poor translation of an electronic device’s instructions

    • Marty G 7.2

      “mini-mes”

      “teachers’ union”

      “dumbarse”

  8. Shona 8

    Drivel and spin tsmithfield . How many children have you raised and put through the education system??? None I’ll bet
    Tolley is talking out her bum as usual.
    Teachers do focus on the effing curriculum, you shit stirring ignoramus. They do not discuss union activities with students, they teach.
    That’s how students pass core subjects at NCEA levels 1,2 and 3 in the state system and then go on to university . DUH! Who’d have thunk it! Parents by and large support teachers because they know the importance of sound teaching on their children’s future job opportunities.
    I’d just love to be a fly on the wall when one of your offspring has to join the military to have a career and pay that fucking student loan because there are no jobs for young people at the moment. Especially if they are tertiary educated and not prepared to teach straight away.

    • tsmithfield 8.1

      Shona ” How many children have you raised and put through the education system??? None I’ll bet”

      Actually, the answer is four.

      Your answer leads me to believe you may well be a teacher yourself. If that is the case, and you are reflective of the state of our teachers, then God help our children.

      • Colonial Viper 8.1.1

        TS: meh.

      • insider 8.1.2

        Seconded! But in my experience she’s not reflective, and I know a lot them.

        With that kind of chip on your shoulder Shona you might want consider a career change.

        • prism 8.1.2.1

          Shona sounds like a good teacher with devotion to her job and who is fired up over the education system being experimented with by a polly who is trying to look like a bold, ground-breaking leader. Tolley is prepared to mess up our education system to dramatise herself, thinking that will assist her public profile. Most cabinet members will be after that delusional goal no matter how damaging to the fabric of the country.

          • tsmithfield 8.1.2.1.1

            She sounds like someone who can’t control their temper. Do you want someone like that working with children?

  9. Kevin Welsh 9

    I’m still trying to understand why the Minister of Tourism, has his holidays in Hawaii.

  10. I thought it might be handy to know that the destruction of public funded education is not only happening in New Zealand. Like a lot of the policies heaped on the hapless NZ population who does not understand that our masters do not want an educated great unwashed (not that they would conspire of course) this policy is just an extension the destructive policies of what the ruling elite in the Western world is perpetrating on all of us.

    As for John Key holidaying again he is just doing the same thing as Obama (With Bush the most holidaying president ever). Hanging with the rich boys in Hawaii waiting for the next batch of orders.

    Captcha: progress. I guess it depends on how much you are an insider of the ruling elite. Rich means less tax, less educated rabble to content with and more help from the MSM in getting your propaganda across. If you are like everyone else it means more tax, more tax and more tax and less of everything else.

  11. IrishBill 11

    This is exactly the agenda the Nat’s ran in the 1990’s and back then it created a vicious cycle of recession. Funnily enough English was in the thick of that government too. You’d think he’d have learned.

  12. aj 12

    The Nat’s mantra is that the public sector is losing jobs as ‘back office workers go to the front line’

    If this were true the overall number’s wouldn’t be dropping. Time this was called for what it is – BS.

  13. Malcolm 13

    tsmithfield

    Please consult a dictionary.

    Stationary – (adj.) not moving: a line of stationary traffic.

    Back to school!

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    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
    1 week 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
    1 week 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
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • A Step Too Far.
    A Crown Asset? For reasons relating to its own political convenience, the Crown pretends to believe that “No one owns the water.” To say otherwise would re-vivify the promises contained in the Treaty of Waitangi – most particularly those pertaining to the power of the chiefs and their proprietary rights ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Where Money Comes From
    Most people would say, no doubt, that they have a pretty good idea of what money is. They live with the reality of money every day. It is what is needed to buy the necessities of life and to maintain a decent standard of living. You get money, they would ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Banned by the Green Party leadership: Jill Abigail on women’s rights and trans rights
    The article below was an opinion piece that appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Te Awa (the NZ Green Party’s newsletter) and on the Greens website.  In keeping with their policy of hostility to women defending women’s right to female-only spaces, Green bureaucrats have since removed the opinion piece.  ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The fallacy of the proximity argument.
    Longer term readers may remember my complaining that, as a political scientist, it is burdensome to have non-political scientists wanting to engage me about politics. No layperson would think to approach an astrophysicist and lecture him/her on the finer details of quarks and black holes, but everybody with an opinion ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Where We Stood: Chris Trotter Replies To Stevan Eldred-Grigg.
    Joining The Fight: Stevan Eldred-Grigg's argument for New Zealand staying out of the Second World War fails not only on the hard-headed grounds of preserving the country’s strategic and economic interests; and not just on the soft-hearted grounds of duty and loyalty to the nation that had given New Zealand ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Universities back the climate strike
    On September 27, School Strike 4 Climate will be striking for a future to pressure the government for meaningful climate action. This time, they've asked adults to join them. And now, Lincoln University and Victoria University of Wellington have signed on:Victoria University of Wellington has joined Lincoln University in endorsing ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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