Open mike 12/04/2023

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, April 12th, 2023 - 109 comments
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Open mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

109 comments on “Open mike 12/04/2023 ”

  1. Nic the NZer 1

    Purpose of a school.

    A description of how school should function as an institution from a Swedish perspective. I understand Sweden is succeeding in the same learning standards NZ is often described as declining in. However that doesn't seem to imply they don't have institutional issues occurring.

    • Incognito 1.1

      Undoubtedly, we can learn a thing or two from Scandinavian countries (and vice versa). However, their demographics is quite different from NZ’s. They also have a different attitude to innovation and R&D with thriving industries producing high-value products unlike NZ’s economy that’s stuck in high-volume low-margin primary products. Scientists and journalists (https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/mediawatch/audio/2018885345/mediawatch-turning-off-the-news), for example, have higher levels of trust & respect. As do teachers!

      One of the main issues with NZ’s international comparisons & rankings in education was the so-called ‘long tail’ of school kids performing & achieving quite poorly compared to the mean/median. Since schooling (achievement) and socio-economic factors are correlated, this tail has been stubborn & resistant and is likely to get longer.

      • Nic the NZer 1.1.1

        A lot of the proposals for education reform (often government driven) seem to be addressed towards all students, rather than targeting a long tail. Seems like that won't be fixed by another curriculum restructure anyway.

        • Incognito 1.1.1.1

          True that, and lifting all boats will still leave the long tail if indeed it lifts all boats. However, there is strong resistance from some quarters (not quartiles) to any (!) attempts at addressing the long tail.

  2. tsmithfield 2

    I think the decision to continue the 7 day isolation period for covid will cause nothing but grief for the government. Not because I think it is a terrible idea, in priniciple. That is, I think it would be a good idea if it was stringently followed.

    But more because many people I know simply don't bother testing now if they get sick. And others don't stick to the isolation period even if they know they have covid. So, given public attitudes now, the effect of continuing the measure is likely to have negligible effect on covid transmission. But, it will just remind people of the government control over their lives that they got sick of.

    • weka 2.1

      best we point out disruptions to society from spread of covid then. Might want to think about long covid and post-covid too, the elephant in the living room.

      • tsmithfield 2.1.1

        “best we point out disruptions to society from spread of covid then”

        From what I can see from my limited perspective with people I know, including our employees etc, people have become conditioned to staying at home if they feel unwell.

        So, for instance, our staff don't come to work even if they have a cold, and we discourage them to do so as well. That is because the disruption of having someone sick come to work and spread their bugs around is far worse if others get sick. We tend to be very generous with sick leave because we don't want people to feel under pressure to come to work unwell due to income pressures.

        So, from what I have seen from my company, and other business people I know, is that people tend to operate a defacto isolation system anyway. So, the government goal is likely already being met. And people may be getting less sick generally from seasonal viruses due to their tendency to isolate as a matter of course.

        So, that is why I think the effect of continuing the mandatory isolation will be negligible. But, the PR issues with an election coming up will be a lot more problematic for the government.

        • weka 2.1.1.1

          Good to hear your work place is doing this. I'm doubtful it's the norm though.

          There are obvious problems with governments doing away with public health measures to win an election.

          • tsmithfield 2.1.1.1.1

            There are obvious problems with governments doing away with public health measures to win an election.

            Being generous with sick leave was a pragmatic decision as much as anything else. We run a small team. So the consequence of mass sickness would have a major impact on us. We have good trust in our staff. So, it seemed like a no-brainer for us.

            I am all for public health measures that actually achieve something. However, I don't think this will do much. Heck, there isn't even any penalties for people who breach the isolation period so far as I know. So, it seems like a pointless and ineffective measure, especially if people are doing that as a matter of course anyway.

            The biggest pity for me is that the government has only just widened the immigration settings for health workers. That should have been done last year or earlier. It looks to me like we won't have our staffing issues resolved until next winter, rather than the winter coming.

            • weka 2.1.1.1.1.1

              But again, I doubt most workplaces are being generous like yours.

              what would be the impact of telling NZ people with covid no longer need to self isolate to limit spread?

              • tsmithfield

                One thing I agreed with the government was extending the sick leave provisions. I would be happy to see those extended further actually.

                And I think the government should be encouraging people to stay home if they feel sick for whatever reason.

                The thing is, that people end up in hospital from seasonal flu, and even from general cold bugs. So, if people stay home when they feel sick, there will be a lot less bugs circulating in the community, and a lot less people getting sick.

                Setting a mandatory isolation period for Covid misses that point I think.

                • Incognito

                  I think you are grossly underestimating compliance or rather the non-compliance of people receiving healthcare treatment. For example, why do people have to be specifically told to complete their antibiotics cure even when/though their symptoms may have disappeared? Compliance is a known problem and it doesn’t mean treating us like kids, Mr Seymour.

                • weka

                  completely agree about staying home sick. They should extend the mandatory isolation to other contagious respiratory illness 😈

                  • tsmithfield

                    I think you are grossly underestimating compliance or rather the non-compliance of people receiving healthcare treatment.

                    Sure. But it is a lot easier for many to comply these days. Now many are able to work from home, so there often isn't the same pressure to get back to work when sick.

                    completely agree about staying home sick. They should extend the mandatory isolation to other contagious respiratory illness

                    But, don't you think it would be better for people to make those choices for themselves? The problem with any mandate is that if it doesn't have teeth (as in consequences for non-compliance) then people will likely just ignore them.

                    What is needed is a shift in culture, which I think is something that has largely happened due to Covid.

                    The other point is that some people may still be too sick to come back to work after seven days. But, there will be an expectation for them to do so if the mandatory period has expired.

                    • Incognito

                      Reducing or limiting reasons for non-compliance to economic or logistic factors is missing a large(r) part.

                      You are implying that Government is (too) prescriptive yet (too) soft. The irony is that healthcare professionals have no power and authority to force prescriptions and treatments (with a few very specific exceptions, of course) other than to give their professional advice. Generally speaking, people know what is good for them.

                      Covid-19 has definitely caused shifts in culture and attitudes. However, these shifts are not all going in the same directions, are they?

                    • tsmithfield

                      Covid-19 has definitely caused shifts in culture and attitudes. However, these shifts are not all going in the same directions, are they?

                      That is true. But for those who's attitudes are going in the wrong direction, mandated isolation periods are likely to cause more non-compliance than compliance.

                      Back to my original point that the mandated isolation periods are going to make negligible difference, I think it is easy to make that point.

                      Firstly, it is well known that people can be contagious with Covid before they feel unwell, or test positive. Hence, many will be spreading Covid to their workmates and contacts before they even know they have Covid.

                      Secondly, as far as I know, the isolation rules don't apply to household contacts until they become sick. Hence, they could be spreading Covid in the community as well.

                      Thirdly, people generally feel fairly crook with Covid, so will take time off work as a matter of necessity. When I had it, I certainly need seven days to feel well enough to go back to work. So, in that case, mandatory isolation will only have an effect for the day or two that people might decide to come back to work if they feel well enough.

                      Finally, if Covid is running rampant, then someone who avoids Covid due to person A isolating is likely to pick it up from person B who doesn't know they have it yet. So, there is a degree of inevitability about all this.

                      So, I really don't think the mandated isolation period is going to have any significant effect on the amount of Covid circulating in the community.

                    • Incognito []

                      The Government made a judgement call that is crude in its simplicity of one-size-fits-all. IIRC, and as with all those pandemic measures, it is for 2 months and up for review. Which will likely take us into the flu season.

                      Clearly, not everybody would agree or necessarily object though:

                      https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/487721/now-as-good-a-time-as-any-to-lift-covid-19-isolation-rules-expert

                      Asymptomatic people by definition fly under the radar.

                      There are specific rules & guidelines for household contacts:

                      https://covid19.govt.nz/testing-and-isolation/contact-tracing/household-contacts/

                      Formalising a mandatory isolation period provides a buffer against unsavoury work-practices and unscrupulous employers.

                      Anything that can help to prevent an infectious repository disease becoming rampant is worthy of consideration.

                      We should stop pandering to people who act willingly & knowingly against their own best interests and that of others.

                      On balance, I think Government made the right call. The Opposition arguments are becoming old & tired and more partisan, i.e., they are politicking in their usual self-serving ways.

                    • tsmithfield

                      Clearly, not everybody would agree or necessarily object though:

                      And I guess that we don't disagree that much in terms of the impact of continuing the isolation requirements, in that I have said consistently that there will likely be neglibible effect not no effect.

                      And my opening premise was:

                      I think the decision to continue the 7 day isolation period for covid will cause nothing but grief for the government. Not because I think it is a terrible idea, in priniciple. That is, I think it would be a good idea if it was stringently followed.

                      I haven't really seen anything in the comments that followed that would dissaude me from that view. I guess upcoming opinion polls will confirm whether I am right or wrong on that.

                    • Incognito []

                      We do disagree. I thought that much was clear [enough].

                      I admire your certainty that opinion polls will prove (i.e. “confirm”) you right (or wrong) on a single minor issue. I can see what’s most important for you here.

                      Your semantic gymnastics are a sight to behold.

                • Ed1

                  I had thought that at least at one stage the mandatory 7 days meant that workers could take that time and not be sacked for non-attendance, and in many cases paid for (extended if necessary) sick leave. I suspect many people did not realise how many Covid patients are needing hospital services, and of those how many are in critical care, and how many deaths there are each week still. Keeping the need for hospital services low during the worst of winter seems quite reasonable. Many workers get upset if other workers come to work while infected – the mandatory 7 days reduces workplace friction. All in all a good decision.

        • Sabine 2.1.1.2

          i think it can be boiled down to

          you receive full pay for your week off, or you don't. What ever government aid there is to self employed people, or small business owners chances are it is not enough to cover business expenses and living expenses. So those that have to make money to meat the end of the week will go to work. Simple as that.

          Anyone working for govt, large business etc is relatively fine with 10 days paid sick leave, everyone else is shit outta luck.

        • Jilly Bee 2.1.1.3

          @tsmithfield, and who would be the first to jump up and down and complain bitterly about the hospital system not coping with a rapid influx of covid (and probably influenza) cases if the 7 day isolation period was scrapped. Dr Shane Reti, Chris Luxon, David Seymour et al screeching that it's all the Government's fault.

      • aj 2.1.2

        best we point out disruptions to society from spread of covid then

        Not least for touring musicians.

        https://twitter.com/NateB_Panic/status/1634847581665918977

        • weka 2.1.2.1

          slow chickens coming home to roost. The next few years are going to be challenging to many people, not just those with LC, but the people thinking we can still go back to the way things were.

          • joe90 2.1.2.1.1

            This time last year my niece, her husband, and their newborn caught covid. From the midwife, they reckon. Fit, active, late twenties and despite a rocky fortnight, they all recovered well. And then it started. The past year has been a fucking nightmare. An almost continual round of you name it, they've caught it; coughs, colds, chest infections, etc, etc.

            The baby's been fine though.

            • weka 2.1.2.1.1.1

              sorry to hear that. Glad the baby is ok!

              It's such a new weirdness. I don't understand why the government isn't talking about this, other than the MPs and staffers have the same cognitive dissonance as others.

    • AB 2.2

      Not because I think it is a terrible idea, in priniciple

      It's a good idea in principle. So if you are right (you probably are), there's something that's stopping people behaving in a principled way. You have observed the phenomenon but not come up with any explanation other than implying it's just sort of natural and inevitable. That seems a bit incurious. I'd want to suggest something about the limits on social cooperation in a competitive economy characterised by imposed scarcity. But whatever – I'm not sure anyone cares.

      • tsmithfield 2.2.1

        My reply to Weka above probably gives some rationale to my comments. I think people generally are now behaving like adults in their decision making with respect to sickness. But, I think they will likely feel that the government is treating them like children.

      • weka 2.2.2

        I care

    • SPC 2.3

      The government is just watching to see if the take up of bivalent impacts on the spread rate.

      And they have indicated, that even if it is continued beyond the next review, it will go by the end of winter.

      And with the extra sick leave people will cope.

      The sad thing is NACT first belabour the safety first focus and then out the other side of the mouth say the health system workforce are under a lot of stress (a rather obvious cognitive dissonance lapse – they said they would not have tried to limit impost on them resulting from greater spread).

    • Mike the Lefty 2.4

      The cavalier attitude to COVID is a problem. Yesterday I was told that one of my fellow bus drivers who had just come back to work after major surgery had driven a van load of apple pickers, some of whom, he found out later, had COVID. The orchard owner treated it as a bit of a joke when challenged about it later. I could be infected now. So National and ACT think it's a joke too, it seems.

  3. Sanctuary 3

    When the witterings of a fascist like Melanie Phillips are indistinguishable from the rants of Martyn Bradbury.

  4. tsmithfield 4

    Carrying on with the education theme, I think that most children from reasonably stable backgrounds will end up doing OK regardless of the education system.

    The biggest challenge I see is how to deal with extreme dysfunction, and help children from those backgrounds engage with education. There is a large number of children from dysfunctional backgrounds that have basically switched off education altogether. A symptom of this is the ram-raids often involving preteens, and teenagers.

    My concern is that we have a ticking time-bomb on our hands, and we have no way to defuse it.

    I am on the board of Crossroads Youth with a Future. (A 3 minute video about the trust in the link). We operate in Aranui, and deal with the children that the children that schools can no longer handle. They are often referred to us by schools.

    Our approach is showing total acceptance, and being totally non-judgemental so they feel free to open up about their situations. We aim to help them find better ways to think through their issues, and make better decisions.

    One example the chairman of our board related some time ago, was that he was meeting with the manager of the trust at Hampshire street (one of the roughest streets in Christchurch). They noticed a six year old girl walking down the road, crying. They went to see what was going on. It turned out that the father was in prison, and that the mother had just been arrested for being drunk and disorderly in a pub, and she was left to wander.

    When children have that sort of dysfunction in their lives, it is no surprise that we have the situation we do in society now.

    • Molly 4.1

      That looks like a great programme.

      The faces of the kids in the video are relaxed and smiling, and they don't appear to be performing for the camera.

      In terms of access to specialised educational support, we had many families join home education because they were unable to access it through school. (Also cut off in Home Ed, but often had a child with less distress and contact with other families with similar issues if you were lucky).

      I'm not sure what access to support is like at present.

      • tsmithfield 4.1.1

        A girl that came through the programme now works for us as a youth worker. She gained a Diploma in a related area, and was the first person in her family to ever achieve anything like that.

        It is really encouraging to see those sorts of outcomes.

        • Molly 4.1.1.1

          I was speaking to someone who works in Wellington at the Ministry of Education, and asked them if they were able to sum up the purpose of education. They went straight to the projected outcomes in terms of NCEA percentages and pass rates – which – fair enough – was their area of work.

          So, I asked again – for a more generalised statement that covers the full spectrum of education delivered from ECE to university and they found it difficult.

          I'd be interested in hearing what other Standardista's think is the value and/or purposes of education. Or what forms best deliver for individuals, communities and society.

          • Sanctuary 4.1.1.1.1

            A lot of words being expended here on what should be a pretty simple concept.

            Clarence Beeby:

            "Every person, whatever the level of his academic ability, whether he be rich or poor, whether he live in town or country, has the right, as a citizen, to a free education of a kind for which he is best suited and to the fullest extent of his powers."

            "I stand strongly for the role of education in producing well-rounded, highly literate, well informed New Zealanders who are aware of the world around us, of history, of cultural heritage, and of the great ideas and philosophies that have driven mankind."

            "Education can never be reduced to a mere economic output. It has the potential to transform the lives of individuals and whole communities."

            "Its focus must be broad and empowering, not narrow and confining".

            • Molly 4.1.1.1.1.1

              Mine included a preamble eg. "To develop a life-long appreciation and love of learning…." but pretty much agrees with the second paragraph.

              I didn't want to pre-empt anyone else's thoughts though, by offering mine up.

              Thanks for the Clarence Beeby quote.

              Out of curiosity – what would yours be, Sanctuary?

              • Sanctuary

                Formal education is one of those topics everyone has an opinion on, since they've all had one – to greater or lesser success. People feel it important to favour us with their view of the purpose of education even when they last experienced it forty years ago and were a shit/exceptional student. I am of a mind to leave the running of education to educationalists within the paramters of the high minded ideals of Mr. Beeby.

                Personally, I had a rather old fashioned education even for the time. All Boys school, lots of languages, history and the classics, compulsory sport wihin the confines of the Corinthian spirit and all delivered within a culture of the ideal being the seemingly effortless achievements of the gentleman amateur.

                I later surmised my education was primarily preparing me to go off and rule the Indians, alas for me that was something already in the distant rear view mirror of history.

                However, being bright (though I say so myself) and advantaged with a good upbringing from prosperous, newly minted middle class parents who sent us to "good" schools despite their own rather jaundiced views of the hoity-toity parents of my peers I would say a classical, liberal education to become the skeptical socialist lefty of the kind that is nowadays more or less extinct is the ideal I would aim for.

                • Molly

                  "I would say a classical, liberal education to become the skeptical socialist lefty of the kind that is nowadays more or less extinct is the ideal I would aim for."

                  yes

            • Macro 4.1.1.1.1.2

              Hear! Hear!

            • Gaynor 4.1.1.1.1.3

              Progressive educationalists like Beeby were not short of lofty sounding rhetoric but in practice giving everyone an education is not what they achieved in practice. The catastrophic disaster we have in education this century with plummeting standards is directly related to the Beeby reforms with socialism being of more importance than academic achievement . Only about 2% of decile 1 school students reaching the literacy, numeracy and writing standards is certainly not good education. We need to to have a major reform of education and get traditional pedagogy back into our schools. This is direct instruction not all child centered constructivism,phonics,learning times tables, knowledge not just skills, discipline ,work ethic, individual work not all group work, one method of doing arithmetic manipulations not several methods testing of achievement …..etc. Our education is a mess. Thanks to Beeby and his followers over the decades.

          • Incognito 4.1.1.1.2

            The value/purpose of education clearly is becoming a highly-paid Moderator on The Standard. Best job I’ve ever had, all thanks to my qualifications. The hard work in school and uni is finally starting to pay dividend for me and about time too!

            In case you wonder, I’m half-joking and half-serious – read between the lines.

          • tsmithfield 4.1.1.1.3

            I think the purpose of education should be firstly to empower people with the basic skills they need for success in life. But, more than that, it should be to generate a hunger for future learning that inspires people to seek to expand their knowledge and experience through their whole lives..

            • Molly 4.1.1.1.3.1

              Mine was similar:

              "To develop a life-long appreciation and love of learning so individuals can find their optimal place in their own lives and society, and contribute and participate accordingly."

              • tsmithfield

                Sounds good. I don't know how much you remember from school or university study. But I think I have learnt a lot more from following the spark that was ignited in me from that.

            • Peter 4.1.1.1.3.2

              I reckon a prime essential of education is to have people realise that school is a small proportion of one's life. The huge majority of your life before you turn 18 is not spent at school and after that it's considerably less.

              The massive majority of what is learned in life is not learned at school.

              It is a triumph for a teacher to kindle, arouse or promote powerful learning experiences more numerous and consequential than the ones which young people will bump into outside school. Or will bump into them.

    • Peter 4.2

      It's difficult dealing with the behaviour resulting from the dysfunction you talk of.

      More difficult is dealing with the attitudes of those who see the only way to handle the young people who have problems is the 'chuck 'em in jail' punitive approach.

      I suppose when National is in Mark Mitchell and the rednecks will get things sorted.

      It occurs to me that many flourishing businesses and factories and human activity of all sorts over years across the world have produced marvellous things and done wonderful things. At the same time they have produced flotsam and jetsam, industrial waste something not wanted.

      We have created the society, it's failures as much as its successes. Looking to store the failures in jails or Rotorua motels is a sign of abject our failure.

      • tsmithfield 4.2.1

        I think that governments of both stripes are unwilling to do what it would really take to make a difference. Really we could do with 1000 Crossroads, because we are only able to deal with small numbers.

        I think there is some value to isolating dysfunctional youth from the influences that are affecting their lives. But, that needs to be done in a way that identifies their deficiencies in a variety of areas, and aims to bring about improvement in those areas.

        But this would need to be combined with serious community psychology interventions to improve the environment that the kids return to.

        The problem is that it is relatively easy to get change in kids when they are isolated from the influences in their lives. But if they return to the same environment, then it doesn't take long for them to return to their previous behaviour.

        Hence the need for community intervention to improve the environment to accompany any such program.

        But, I doubt that either party would be prepared for the cost that would involve.

        • Molly 4.2.1.1

          "But this would need to be combined with serious community psychology interventions to improve the environment that the kids return to.

          The problem is that it is relatively easy to get change in kids when they are isolated from the influences in their lives. But if they return to the same environment, then it doesn't take long for them to return to their previous behaviour."

          I remember attending the graduation ceremony of a six week residential programme for teenagers, and talking to some of the others there. On the night, these young people looked revitalised and hopeful, but the concern was that they returned to environments that were abusive – physically, psychologically or both.

          They really needed some permanent access of escape, and support to find independence from those influences if they wanted it. As you say, that is a difficult and expensive undertaking.

          • tsmithfield 4.2.1.1.1

            I think that is the problem with programs to "fix" people.

            The guy who started the trust and ran it until he retired, always used to talk about going on a journey with people, and that was for as long as it took.

            He knew a couple where the father of a baby girl had been sent to prison for a long time (several decades I think). He took the daughter in to see her father every week until she was a teenager.

            • Molly 4.2.1.1.1.1

              There is perhaps an unintended cruelty in providing a short term hiatus from a terrible life, and returning people back to it without any further interactions.

              Not only do they experience what it is to live without fear or degradation, they understand that others consider their normal lives to be wanting.

              Yet they allow them to return.

              • tsmithfield

                I agree. It is a incredibly difficult and complex problem to deal with. And one of the greatest challenges we face as a country, I believe.

                At Crossroads, we often build long-term relationships with people that last well beyond the program that can usually lasts as long as they are at the school. And they are always welcome to come back and see us any time they feel the need.

      • Molly 4.2.2

        Some forms of disruptive behaviours – are best responded to with strict boundaries and very regimented schedules, which does not evidence the universal response of military style boot camps, just a recognition that for some – this is the case.

        For others, this kind of approach would be absolutely the worst possible thing to do. So, accurate individual assessment of needs and appropriate responses to meet those needs is what we should demand from our education system.

        • tsmithfield 4.2.2.1

          So, accurate individual assessment of needs and appropriate responses to meet those needs is what we should demand from our education system.

          I absolutely agree with you on that.

          I definitely don't like the image that the term "boot-camp" generates. My thoughts are more like what we do at Crossroads now. But, in a more intensive way. For a lot of these kids, the issues are far deeper than education. To start with, they need to learn how to respond in a better way to their problems, and gain a vision of hope that their situation can be different, and that they don't have to go through the same life-cycle as their parents.

          For many of these people, their world is incredibly small. We had a few days away at Hamner recently a couple of years back for family and supporters of the trust from the community. For those of us who are reasonably well off, Hamner is a relatively boring destination, an hour or so out of Christchurch. We would see it as a day trip, or somewhere for a weekend away.

          I was incredibly surpised to discover that a lot of those attending had never been there. For them, it was like we had shouted them a trip to Paris or something.

          • Molly 4.2.2.1.1

            "I definitely don't like the image that the term "boot-camp" generates. "

            Neither do I.

            But I do recognise that for some what others would see as overly regimented and strict is the best approach. (Many with FASD for instance, thrive in environments where boundaries are stable and expectations and consequences are clear).

            Others need a completely different type of support.

            "For many of these people, their world is incredibly small. "

            I remember reading a couple of good research studies many, many years ago – based on home education – where the academic benefits of home education for children were being looked at.

            Surprisingly – or maybe not so surprisingly – it was the freedom to add multiple experiences to children's lives that seemed to have significant impact on their academic achievements, rather than the academic work that home educators provided.

    • Anker 4.3

      Hats off to you Tsmithfield for the work you do

  5. Molly 5

    Sinead Watson, is a well-known Scottish FtM detransitioner, who was treated at the Sandyford gender clinic under the affirming healthcare model.

    Three hours ago she posted an offer on Twitter, that she would answer honestly any questions that were put forward about her experience. There’s been over 100 responses in that time, and the thread has seemed to be able to maintain a tone that is both respectful and matter-of-fact.

    I'm posting here for a couple of reasons:

    1. This is a first person account which needs no commentary;
    2. Anyone here with a Twitter account can engage while the conversation is current.

    https://twitter.com/ImWatson91/status/1645870355968593920?s=20

  6. Incognito 6

    Hipkins says his views on the internal culture at Parliament are only “half-formed thoughts”, but he does sometimes ponder what caused the change.

    “I haven’t got my hands around exactly what it is that’s caused it, I’ve felt it but haven’t been able to reach a landing on what’s the reason for it.”

    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/pm-political-relationships-have-become-polarised

    It is the Zeitgeist, Mr Hipkins.

  7. adam 7

    What is it with government departments not answering the phone any more?

    Is all to much for the bureaucrats in wellington to actually have to deal with real kiwis anymore?

    Or is it that they are just to bloody lazy?

    • Incognito 7.1

      Change your number

    • Corey 7.2

      Right?? I spent three hours on hold waiting for an msd worker so I could act as an advocate for a friend.

      Two hours on hold to study link

      An hour on hold to acc

      But strangely IRD picks up the phone immediately 😂😂

    • weka 7.3

      end of civ stuff I'm afraid. Neoliberal capitalism meets the pandemic. I've been thinking about strategies to make life easier but haven't gotten very far. Allowing days for things to happen rather than a phone call probably is reasonable at this point.

      • Johnr 7.3.1

        end of civ stuff I'm afraid.

        civ ??

        • weka 7.3.1.1

          civilisation. The long decline, or the hard crash, or transitioning to a regenerative economy. We still have time to make the choice, but not forever.

          Neoliberalism isn't equipped to deal with the kind of back to back and overlapping crises we now have.

          • Johnr 7.3.1.1.1

            Thanks for your explanation. I'm an old fart 77 but I'm trying my best to keep up.

            All the abbreviations and acronyms on this site, and every where else, to be frank,are a bit hard to get my pea brain around, to the degree that I've become a much more casual visitor.

            Travel well people

    • Descendant Of Smith 7.4

      I suspect time and motion (we've seen in health manning based on peak times, supermarkets stocked on the basis of daily transport of goods and just in time delivery) plus the pressure to reduce / not increase staffing.

      Laziness in funding enough staff is all across the whole public service combined with laziness in paying enough tax to fund the services we want.

      The crying from well-off insured people over not getting help from the government during recent CD emergencies is classic. Where are they they cry? What you mean the whole six local civil defence staff. My insurance company employs more people locally than civil defence.

      • Belladonna 7.4.1

        Certainly in the businesses I'm familiar with, there is a move away from 'just in time' stocking (which is at the mercy of international shipping and supply delays), to warehousing a reasonable supply close to hand ('reasonable' varies, depending on the product and its critical impact on your workforce).

        Of course, that costs. You have to pay up front, pay for storage, and don't get those costs back until you sell the product (hopefully as part of a value-add).

        That's one factor (of many) in the increased prices you're seeing on the shelves or online portals.

        The increases that we've seen in funding and staffing public service, is concentrated on managerial and marketing/PR – rather than extra bodies actually delivering front-line service. Combined with the push to outsource call-desks overseas – and the forced transition to online portals (no matter how much they're told these actively exclude some people from participation).

        Making it really, really hard to access services and/or people – is a capacity management tool. And one, all too widely used by some public service departments.

  8. Stephen D 8

    Too lightly regulated farming is killing us.

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/300851641/68-of-groundwater-failed-e-coli-standards-latest-freshwater-report-shows

    It’s a shame no government is strong enough to take on Fonterra. Unless we give them the mandate.

  9. Incognito 9

    I’ve been reading some rather odd notions here on TS about mathematics recently.

    Some misguided souls seem to think that mathematics [is OR (can AND should be)] neutral (whatever that is supposed to mean) and culture-free. In other words:

    When I see a black American* man and a white American* man, I see no B & W nor men because I see things only neutral and culture-free.

    This is abstract, context-free, unrealistic, absolutist, purist, and thus impact-free and irrelevant. Still, they’re in good company (e.g. Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell).

    For some much-needed context (aka reality check):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethnomathematics

    *any nation/nationality will do here, it is merely for illustration

  10. SPC 10

    I've noted reports on Twitter of stories of the Iranian regime doing chemical attacks on school students (some sort of head covering policing).

    https://twitter.com/emilykschrader/status/1645769983916490754

    • Sabine 10.1

      I guess that education thing for females is finding an end in Iran. Gas them long enough, hurt/kill enough of them and their parents will lock em up at home until the kingdom comes. Gosh, it is a great time to be a body with a cervix.

  11. weka 11

    Data from the Disinformation Project from 2022. Bookmarking. Data people could help by explaining how this relates to the current issues instead of doing anti Edwards rants.

    https://twitter.com/tzemingdynasty/status/1645963309143961605

    • Incognito 11.1

      I don’t know what you mean by “the current issues”.

      One issue that I can see is that some [here] seem to think that the scientists of The Disinformation Project fall short in the required level of (expert?) knowledge of the specific issue/topic that they’re studying and analysing. This appears to be an assumption based on a belief without supporting evidence.

      Given that those figures carry no title nor legend, the only way to gather the meaning of the data depicted is to read the associated text (provided in the tweet) in the context of the article.

      • weka 11.1.1

        She linked to a 2022 report. Current issues would be 2023 ones. u

        • Incognito 11.1.1.1

          She (?) linked to a 2022-report to show that Edward’s criticism of TDP is wrong.

          What is your question exactly?

          • weka 11.1.1.1.1

            I haven't asked a question.

            • Incognito 11.1.1.1.1.1

              Data people could help by explaining how this relates to the current issues instead of doing anti Edwards rants.

              I took this as an implicit question. My bad.

      • Nic the NZer 11.1.2

        The charts are basically page view counts. The series are categorised by source, either main stream media or supposed dis-info associated with the protest. This is however categorised by author so the implication is that that author will have said something categorised as dis-info, not that the thing being viewed is itself dis-info. Of course dis-info is hardly a well defined category. Yesterday Plunkett highlighted a RNZ story where most of the story seems to have occurred between the reporters keyboard and their chair. At the same time he also withdrew a story where he fell for some unsourced claims online about Jacinda's new job.

        The main question in terms of evidence would seem to be what are these page views going to actually cause people to do anyway.

        • Incognito 11.1.2.1

          I’m not familiar with Plunket’s latest shenanigans and an RNZ story. I thought this was about Bryce Edwards criticising TDP.

          • Nic the NZer 11.1.2.1.1

            This is the clip.

            I'm just highlighting that claims of what is information and dis-information are clearly political in nature.

            • Incognito 11.1.2.1.1.1

              Can you give a clear specific example of such political claims made by TDP?

              Can you give a reason with these academic researchers of TDP would make political claims rather than use scientifically sound (i.e. justified and defensible) criteria?

              Can you give a reason/explanation why Bryce Edwards, Sean Plunket, Martyn Bradbury, and a whole lot of other people, none of whom appears to be an information scientist, have become (so) critical of TDP?

              Can you think of a common theme that connects those TDP critics, by any chance?

              • Nic the NZer

                TDP is presently claiming that the online comments levelled after the PP rally reached 'genocidal' levels. Of course its going to be difficult to critique that claim of fact because none of the posts referenced are being presented in any form by TDP. Actually they didn't as far as I am aware even present any viewership analysis.

                I would say their reasons for not presenting evidence of the factual basis for this however are more rudimentary. There isn't nearly enough you could track about a population to draw any causal relationship about discussion online and actual violence occurring. I know enough about how online advertising is connected with internet profiles to understand this kind of causal correlation analysis doesn't exist. At best TDP is an implementation of marketing science. On the other hand, fortunately the number of violent outcomes resulting will be so low that the correlation model is completely untestable. In actual practice I think its imaginary and there is no prediction of any number of violent events being correlated at all, just a narrative claim that such a relationship exists.

                On the other hand I don't understand any obvious connection between those media figures, except that they all seem to agree about TDP. Probably you've got something in mind which you would claim they all obviously share as a motivation.

        • Anker 11.1.2.2

          Thanks Nic. I am seeing a lot of articles about the Disinformation Project that are challenging them. It seems like they are witnessing a phenomenal amount of material but I have to wonder how they can classify them as disinformation given the sheer volumne.

          I will post some of these articles tomorrow, because the DP claims seem to get more and more outlandish as one of the people writing about them says.

          I thought the RNZ thing that Plunkett raise was interesting. A self generating/perpetuating story with no real evidence.

          In fact I have not seen one example of disinformation, put out by the DP. Hmm. perhaps someone else has.

  12. Anker 12

    Yes Weka I am at a loss to understand those charts.

    Anyone able to translate?

    • joe90 12.1

      From the report.

      .
      These graphs show the video views on Facebook for mis- and disinformation producers and the country’s mainstream media with official Pages on the platform studied by TDP, on 10 and 11 February, respectively. For the first time, mis- and disinformation producers gathered more video views than all of the country’s mainstream media Pages combined. On 11 February, video content by mainstream media was viewed less than the day before, while engagement with mis- and disinformation accounts remained about the same.

      […]

      These wordclouds highlight the most commonly used phrases in posts to Instagram from 9 to 11 February. The wordcloud on the left is from the constellation of accounts studied by TDP on the platform promoting harmful mis- and disinformation. Those on the right are from mainstream media accounts on the platform. Wordclouds illuminate, through key phrases and what they mean, or (re)present, how a particular community, or ecology.

      https://thedisinfoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/The-murmuration-of-information-disorders-May-2022-Report-FULL-VERSION.pdf

  13. Anker 13

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2023/04/12/political-roundup-the-need-to-take-disinformation-seriously/

    this is excellent from the Daily Blog. Not sure who wrote (not Martyn’s style) but highly recommend it

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