Penny wise?

Written By: - Date published: 10:43 am, January 21st, 2009 - 53 comments
Categories: health, national/act government, public services - Tags:

Health Minister Tony Ryall has followed Paula Bennett’s* lead by cancelling a conference for PR purposes**.

In terms of symbolism it’s great. Even though the per-person cost of the conference was low, and it’s not like doctors would want to spend their precious time at a conference were it pointless, and the cost was only 0.001% of the health budget, cancelling it looks good.

If we’re interested in good government though, it’s very bad. Having campaigned on restoring the (supposedly lost) neutrality of the public service, Ryall has now twice over-ridden the judgement of the civil servants for political reasons.

Moreover, this is looking like a government that is spending more energy on minute stunts than the big issues. Three months as government and still no economic recovery plan, let alone action. In Ryall’s own portfolio, I have heard reports that emergency room hours have been cut in some hospitals despite Ryall identifying quicker emergency care as a priority.

National/ACT can cut all the conferences it likes but it is fiddling while Rome burns.

*(speaking of Bennett, can you imagine a minister standing by doing nothing when confronted with teens fighting?)
**(he admits the conference probably will go ahead later in the year).

53 comments on “Penny wise?”

  1. Steve matey they are always gonna be doing the PR thing over the reality thing – they know nothing else and it’s a strategy that in the current media environment wins out in the political short-term… Fuck the people though…

    cap: “intending Douglas” – that’d be about fuckin right…

  2. Janet 2

    Not on topic but I reckon Noelle Mc on Nat Rad is influenced by the Standard. After the obsequious interview with Key on Monday she turned rottweiler for English yesterday. Now she is either right in with the National Party factions on the Key side or she was embarrassed by The Standard.

    Now if we can have so much influence on others in the media!

    By the way I have heard rumours that there is a list of words that Tony Ryall has banned officials using in Ministry of Health reports. Stuff reflecting concern about inequities, social justice, environmental issues etc. The neolib market language of the 90s is back in favour instead. Anyone know more?

  3. Totally off topic SP – and I apologise in advance for that but you might be interested to read this:

    http://robinsod.wordpress.com/2009/01/21/money-for-less-than-nothing/

    It goes a long way to explaining the attitude of the gallery. The useless fucks.

  4. sweetd 4

    “By the way I have heard rumours that there is a list of words that Tony Ryall has banned officials using in Ministry of Health reports. Stuff reflecting concern about inequities, social justice, environmental issues etc. The neolib market language of the 90s is back in favour instead. Anyone know more?”

    Define: social justice
    Social justice refers to the concept of a society in which justice is achieved in every aspect of society, rather than merely the administration …
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_justice

    I can understand why he is getting rid of the language of socialists. Even though I can read the words for the definition above, they are still nonsense. Plain English please that people can understand without having to look up definitions.

  5. Whero 5

    Anyone costed the Goobers Gab Fest?

  6. Felix 6

    she turned rottweiler for English yesterday

    Really? Is that what we’re calling it now when journalists actually ask questions?

    I mean it’s good to see, but still…

  7. lukas 7

    Off topic again- any way of getting the stream turned off, it blares out as soon as I come onto the site…

  8. randal 8

    I have always believed John Kenneth Galbraiths assertion in his book the ‘Great Crash” that all conferences are a substitute for action
    Its a wonder ryall is not promoting more conferences so that it looks like he is doing something
    His actual capacity for action is minimal so he has always relied on silly little tricks to make it look like he is doing something anyway

  9. Janet 9

    Felix
    Rottweiler in comparison to Monday. So actually asking questions rather than just gushing.
    Sweetd
    I don’t know what the words are – just ones that deal with concerns about social inequalities and how the state might help to alleviate them.

  10. Felix 10

    Janet,

    Yeah, that’s why I would say she “turned journalist”.

  11. Tigger 11

    Yep, Bennett stops a fight, something that everyone and their dog has done at some point, and is given sainthood for it. Yawn. Can we have some real news please?

    As for Mr Ryall, I can assume ‘closet’, ‘beard’ and ‘young boyfriend turns up at house demanding money on Xmas day’ might be words he’d want to see banned?

    [while you’ve picqued my curiousity let’s keep personal lives out of it. SP]

  12. Jeez Tigger – are you the ‘sod?

  13. the sprout 13

    All part of National’s Bizzaro World strategy I suppose.

    Create a Talkfest when you’ve got nothing to say, cancel one when there are things to be said. If in doubt, consider the PR implications of an action and take it from there.

    Good for National, bad for the country.

  14. Chris G 14

    More intervention from the Nats…I see Anne Tolley has sacked the board of Selwyn College.

    I thought the market should have sorted that shit out?

    Big government – gone by lunchtime? No chance.

  15. Tigger 15

    Yes, fair enough. Private lives are off limits. Of course, voting against civil unions means that Ryall and Smith both tried to impact on my private life but still, I will play by the rules from now on.

    Has Key talked about his ER experience? What was his waiting time like and does he have an issue with it?

  16. tsmithfield 16

    On the other hand, if Ryall had proceeded with the conference, there would have been an article here complaining about how the Nats had promised to cut wasteful public spending before getting into government, but were being hypocrites now for carrying on with pointless conferences. Correct?

    Damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

  17. sweetd 17

    “More intervention from the Nats I see Anne Tolley has sacked the board of Selwyn College.

    I thought the market should have sorted that shit out?”

    The market did. The local community, ie the market did not support the school and did not send their children to the school. If the school was a business, the total loss of support of your local community and the not buying of your product would have seen them go out of business very quickly. The fact it is a public school, and its income is not dependent on the support of the local community supporting or buying its product shows it is an artificial situation. If it was private, then the market would have sorted that shit out.

  18. the sprout 18

    “Damned if you do and damned if you don’t”

    Just one of the many joys of being in government. It will be fun watching the more naive National supporters grow quickly tired of the role 🙂

    “Anne Tolley has sacked the board of Selwyn College”

    I wonder how much her decision was ‘informed’ by Alan “I’ve Got a Knife in Your Back” Peachy and his ongoing personal blood feud with the college?

  19. Whero 19

    “If it was private, then the market would have sorted that shit out.”

    What a crying shame the education is slowly devolving from a human right into a business.

  20. Tigger 20

    Any new government was bound to cancel stuff and sack people simply because they’re a new broom. The economic downturn just gives them a neat bow to wrap up these decisions with.

    This is all pennies compared to what it will cost to bailout business failures though. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10552736 And shouldn’t the market be deciding who survives and who goes under?

  21. Chris G 21

    Good point sprout, I’m sure she didnt act alone.

    Thanks for the explanation sweetd. But I was more having a go that you lot always bang on about govts telling us what to do.

    Also as SP says in the original post, the Nats: “Having campaigned on restoring the (supposedly lost) neutrality of the public service,”
    Then refer: Peachys aforementioned “Knife in Your Back” saga and one sniffs that the neutrality was hardly being restored in this firing of the board.

  22. sweetd 22

    “If it was private, then the market would have sorted that shit out.’

    Why then must the private schools feast at the public trough?

    Public schools, receive a much smaller percentage of monies compared to a same sized state school. Secondly, parents sending their children to private schools are paying twice for the privilege (once through tax, once through private school fees).

    So, if you want to dump the public tax payment to private schools, I would also expect tax payers who send their children to private schools to be exempt for that part of tax.

  23. sweetd 23

    “If it was private, then the market would have sorted that shit out.’

    What a crying shame the education is slowly devolving from a human right into a business.

    Its never been a right. The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice. Anything else you have to seek.

    Secondly, by making it more into a business, in the case of Selwyn College, you might respond to your local customers needs and wants. Clearly, as in this case the board were not and this was demonstrated by the local community not sending their children to this school.

  24. @ work 24

    “”Anne Tolley has sacked the board of Selwyn College’

    I wonder how much her decision was ‘informed’ by Alan “I’ve Got a Knife in Your Back’ Peachy and his ongoing personal blood feud with the college?”

    I was pleased to hear this at first, school boards get away with far too much, then when I read the article it was fiarly dissapointing to see it was due to political issues not performance, ahh well.

  25. Felix 25

    The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice.

    I’m curious to know why you think you have a right to any of those.

  26. @ work 26

    Felix
    “The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice.”
    I’m curious to know why you think you have a right to any of those.

    Well, it sounds awfully grand!

  27. sweetd 27

    The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice.

    I’m curious to know why you think you have a right to any of those.

    Paraphrasing, but its the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence. Anything else places a predetermined ownership on something or someone.

  28. the sprout 28

    “this was demonstrated by the local community not sending their children to this school”

    Unless of course parents didn’t want to send their kids to a school suffering from a vendetta campaign of ongoing destabilization and PR attacks. This would be a market distortion.

  29. sweetd 29

    “this was demonstrated by the local community not sending their children to this school’

    Unless of course parents didn’t want to send their kids to a school suffering from a vendetta campaign of ongoing destabilization and PR attacks.

    Maybe, but what come first? The lack of community support through a school board not acting in the interests of the local community resulting in the local community not sending their kids to the school, OR the vendetta campaign of ongoing destabilization and PR attacks resulting in the local community not sending their kids to the school.

    Dunno, guess you have to ask the locals for their reasons. Seems like something the board should have been doing though.

  30. Pascal's bookie 30

    “The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice”

    “Paraphrasing, but its the founding principles of the Declaration of Independence. Anything else places a predetermined ownership on something or someone”

    I’m busy and may write more tonight, but bollocks. Go and reread the DOI sweet. Life Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness are listed as some of the rights we are endowed with:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

  31. Felix 31

    sweetd,

    Why do you take an American document written a few hundred years ago to be the arbiter of what is a “right”?

    What is the relevance?

    When did the discussion about life in NZ become a discussion about American precedents? It’s a trend I’ve been noticing a lot lately from the right.

  32. sweetd 32

    Pascal bookie

    I paraphrased the DOI. Your point?

    Felix

    What does it matter where and when it came from? My point is how can you claim a right it it has a predetermined ownership on something or someone.

    As for the trend on american precedents, I hadn’t noticed.

  33. the matter of ministerial values.. I guess I’d put this comment under just curious.. after a guy I know said something about how a recent Labor-led government declined or took reduced pay increases when the annual auto-increase date came around.. whether true, false or variable it provokes my question as to the latest bunch of politicians responding likewise.. or otherwise..?

    Any ideas..?

  34. Pascal's bookie 34

    No sweet, when you paraphrase something you don’t contradict it, you say the same thing with different words.

    “The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice”

    is not an accurate paraphrasing of

    “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness..”.

    Not even close.

  35. sweet – stop digging mate.

  36. Whero 36

    Sweet said

    “The only rights you have are to life, liberty and justice.”

    Rubbish! The Declaration of Independence lists more than those three. Anyhow, what use are those rights if the populace remains uneducated.

    What has market forces got to say when an enterprise is confronted with a bitter PR campaign driven by the right, coupled with white flight.

    Education is a right – what we have to guard against is the creeping corporatisation of it. The silliness of universities spending millions on advisertising is just one example of how education is being corrupted by the thinking that defends a free market.

  37. Felix 37

    sweetd,

    Perhaps you missed my question, which asks: What makes you think you have the right to life, liberty or justice?

    I’m sure you don’t really believe they were bestowed upon you by some dead Americans.

    But you said they are the only rights we have. So you must know why, and from whence they came.

  38. sweetd 38

    Pascal

    What are you, the library monitor now? The DOI says a lot more than those couple of words. You are being very anal .

    From the DOI
    He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
    He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
    He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
    He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

    Seems like justice to me.

  39. sweetd 39

    Whero and Felix

    Those rights are the ones I believe I have. They weren’t bestowed on me by dead Americans, but those are the one I believe I have. Anything else, like the right to an education, places an obligation on someone’s time, skill, knowledge and money to teach me. By forcing them to do this is akin to ownership of that person. You may seek an education, but I believe you do not have a right to an education.

  40. Janet 40

    Selwyn College has encouraged its students to think for themselves – that’s the problem. It is also an openly inclusive school. That scares those parents who think education is all about uniforms and league tables. Not helped by vendetta by politicians, media and other secondary schools. Watch it be squashed into conformity.

  41. Pascal's bookie 41

    Yep, that’s from the dec all right. How does that help you defend your claim that the DOI says that the only rights we have are life, liberty, and ‘justice’.

    I don’t think it’s anal to point out that the DOI doesn’t say what you claim it says. Sorry.

  42. @ work 42

    Has anyone got some backround information on Selwyn College and the current issues facing it? (Janet?)

  43. Felix 43

    Those rights are the ones I believe I have

    So you just made them up. Fine. Why do you think you have the right to justice?

  44. sweetd 44

    Pascal

    I stand corrected. I should have said the only rights ‘I’ have. This is what I believe. I know there are other rights, but as I have explained, these are artificial rights.

    The DOI does point to a section on justice as shown, therefore Justice is part of the rights ‘package’ along with life and liberty.

  45. Felix 45

    See the problem you have sweetd, is that you are welcome to believe you have a right to justice, but you must impose on others in order to enforce that “right”.

    I would love to know how you differentiate between this and any other “artificial” rights. Then we can move on to liberty and life.

    Of course I have no right to expect a reply 😉

  46. the sprout 46

    [In best Peter Griffin voice] Touche Felix, touche.

  47. Pascal's bookie 47

    “I stand corrected.” Oh that’s no fun 😉

    I too am interested in this ‘right to justice’ concept.

    You could hide lots of things under justice I suppose.

    How does it differ from saying, “I have a right to the things I have a right to, a right to have my rights respected.”?

  48. Whero 48

    Sweet said

    “the right to an education places an obligation on someone’s time, skill, knowledge and money to teach me. By forcing them to do this is akin to ownership of that person”

    We all own the government and, in New Zealand, it is obligated to provide education. I can accept your position if private education was the only option, but its not.

    Access to world class health care is also a right. The decision by Limp Wrist But Strong Arm Ryall to prevent health care professionals from meeting is an attack on the standard of health care and it is perfectly proper that we use our right to free speech to point this out.

  49. Janet 49

    @work
    Have a look at the school website http://www.selwyn.school.nz and the ERO report at http://www.ero.govt.nz and read between the lines. A low decile, non pakeha school in Kohimarama. The pakeha kids go to Rangitoto or the single sex or private schools, except for those who are not welcomed at those schools, such as those with ‘issues’. Selwyn prides itself on diversity and inclusion and achievement in areas like performing arts – remember the Tampa kids were welcomed there. I suggest it is the board and school not fitting in with the Tomorrow’s School’s self governing, competitive, neolib model – maybe they are all too independent minded.
    But would be interested to hear views from current parents and students.

  50. Tim Ellis 50

    Janet I understand you’re not an Aucklander, but the Pakeha kids don’t go to Rangitoto. Rangitoto is in Mairangi Bay, about as far from Kohimarama than you can get in Auckland. Kohimarama isn’t in either of the Grammar zones. Parents overwhelmingly choose to send their kids to Glendowie, since they’re not in a grammar zone.

    A large chunk of the small roll of Selwyn College kids come from outside the Selwyn area. It’s all very well to take pride in your diversity and your new-age educational system, but the whole purpose of tomorrow’s schools is that local schools serve their local communities. This was the whole purpose of school zoning, too, that kids had the right to go to their local schools. Clearly Selwyn hasn’t been serving the interests of its local community for a very long time, which is why parents have been voting with their feet. Selwyn has been a failed educational experiment.

  51. Janet 51

    By the way a conference to strengthen primary health and cooperation between DHBs and the sector seems like a good idea to me. I hear it is going to be very costly and embarrassing to cancel. So lose lose all around.

  52. Janet 52

    TE
    Yes I know where Rangitoto etc are – I meant people who could shift zones or go private could. Rangitoto, esp under Peachey, was an example of a bigger school that could pick and choose at the expense of the littler more inclusive co-eds (and there was that personal vendetta of Peacheys against the Selwyn liberals.

    I thought Auckland was slightly larger than Kohi to Mairangi Bay. Western Springs is actually my pick of the secondary schools in Auckland.

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