NRT: A model for unaccountability

Written By: - Date published: 1:32 pm, September 30th, 2014 - 14 comments
Categories: act, national, national/act government, same old national - Tags: , , ,

no-right-turn-256Reposted from yesterdays No Right Turn.

National signed its confidence and supply agreement with ACT today. The headline news is that David Seymour get more patronage from National, in the form of being appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister of Education and Parliamentary Under Secretary to the Minister for Regulatory Reform. For those who don’t know, a Parliamentary Under Secretary (or PUS) is a rarely-used holdover from our Westminster roots. PUSes exercise specific delegated authority from Ministers, but are not members of the executive. They cannot be asked questions at Question Time (but can answer for an absent Minister), so their official conduct is not subject to Parliamentary oversight. And they’re not subject to the Official Information Act. Case Note W44374 (no permalink, but you can look it up here) notes:

An Under-Secretary’s appointment is not part of a Minister’s appointment. The position of Parliamentary Under-Secretary is a distinct appointment made pursuant to s 8 of the Constitution Act 1986 by warrant of the Governor-General.

The post of Parliamentary Under-Secretary is not listed in Part II of the First Schedule to the Ombudsmen Act 1975 or in the First Schedule to the Official Information Act 1982. Neither is information held by an Under-Secretary deemed to be information “held” by the relevant Minister for the purpose of the Official Information Act.

In the circumstances, information held by an Under-Secretary is not “official information” for the purposes of the Official Information Act.

In other words, its a model for total unaccountability. Which raises serious questions about what the National government is trying to hide.

Its also highlighted a loophole in our OIA regime which needs to be plugged. Anyone want to bring a member’s bill?

14 comments on “NRT: A model for unaccountability”

  1. Tony Parker 1

    It’s so they can push through unpopular, untested, unresearched education reforms in the guise of improving learning outcomes yet have more to do with privatising education and demonising teachers. With a PSU these reforms will happen without accountability or question.

  2. Tony Parker 2

    “For example, why can’t we experiment more in education?”

    Yeah that’s right lets experiment on kids-our most vulnerable and important people. And when it all fails like Charter Schools do, never mind, maybe there’ll be another school they can go to.

  3. lprent 3

    Answering 2.1.1

    No they didn’t – that is simply a right nutter myth achieved by only looking at the few successes or much the same programmes that are much the same, ignoring the much higher numbers of failures, and ignoring the vastly increased dollars transferred from efficient public programmes.

    Whenever a realistic cost-benefit is done, then it shows that the costs of charter schools are massively higher per student to achieve overall similar or worse median outcomes.

    You will note that I haven’t given you any links? That is because I want you to feel what it is like.

    • Rodel 4.1

      TP- Thanks for the link.
      Gordon Campbell’s comments on Seymour are spot on.

      e.g.”an annual salary of $175,000 while he learns the ropes. Shouldn’t Seymour at least be put on a 90 day trial before he gets his hands on that sort of serious moolah? “

  4. GregJ 5

    Hardly surprising is it – they probably don’t want him saying anything in the House. David Seymour is the S. Baldrick of the NZ Parliament representing NZs own “Dunny-on-the-Wold” Rotten Borough. They’d be better off putting a turnip in his seat in the house.

  5. yeshe 6

    he is also assoc minister of regulatory affairs … this much secrecy around rma reform ? and do ‘regulatory affairs’ cover anything to do with TPPA?

  6. Ovaries Muddy 7

    Your kids will be seen as economic meat. Check out the report on Charter Schools USA

    Note at present children (widgets/meat) are not considered the best investment out there just yet:

    1. we anticipate that ratings will continue to move to the lower end of our rating spectrum, and our outlook on the sector remains negative overall

    2. Of our 214 public charter school ratings, currently, 41 (19%) have negative
    outlooks while only 5 (2%) are positive. Although funding may be beginning to stabilize in many states, it generally hasn’t returned to pre-recessionary levels, and some schools are struggling to operate in this “new normal.”

    Note the Graph, a higher number of schools seem to be at the S&P BBB- and below.

    Ratings here mum and dad investors…….

    ‘BBB-‘—Considered lowest investment grade by market participants.
    ‘BB+’—Considered highest speculative grade by market participants.
    ‘BB’—Less vulnerable in the near-term but faces major ongoing uncertainties to adverse business, financial and economic conditions.
    ‘B’—More vulnerable to adverse business, financial and economic conditions but currently has the capacity to meet financial commitments.
    ‘CCC’—Currently vulnerable and dependent on favorable business, financial and economic conditions to meet financial commitments.
    ‘CC’—Currently highly vulnerable.
    ‘C’—Currently highly vulnerable obligations and other defined circumstances.
    ‘D’—Payment default on financial commitments.

    This is what Seymore butts on Charter School seats has got planned for your kid….

  7. Ovaries Muddy 8

    So I see Mr Seymour has worked at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (circa 4 years?)

    Oh look, Roger Douglas was an advisory board member

    “you will see that one of those members is Roger Douglas, the man who turned New Zealand inside out with his horrendous slash and burn polices”


    “Douglas was also the driving force behind Ralph Klein, Mike Harris, Stephen Harper and Preston Manning, and it would appear that he is still helping to shape neoconservative policy.”

    The Winnipeg Labour Defense League, protested at the Frontier Centre during 10th Anniversary, because of FPP’s promotion of damaging policies, including:

    privatized child-care;
    a frozen minimum wage;
    privatized utilities for Hydro and Water;
    a “flat tax” where those with lower incomes pay the most;
    even more tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations;
    no pay equity for women or other discriminated groups;
    no marketing boards such as the Wheat Board to protect farmers and consumers from the big Agri-monopolies.

    I see young Seymore has worked for Manning Foundation to.

    Oh, one last thing when considering charter schools.

    When considering all the information and mixed results achieved by charter schools, one wonders what can possibly be gained by allowing them to open here in Nova Scotia, and why, exactly, AIMS seems so bent on them.

    The obvious reason, of course, is that charter schools are often staffed by non-unionized teachers who are paid less and have fewer benefits than their unionized counterparts. Having fewer taxpayer dollars going into workers’ pockets is probably deemed a rather attractive option, regardless of how students are served.

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