web analytics

Sir Peter and his DonKey

Written By: - Date published: 9:09 am, August 20th, 2010 - 13 comments
Categories: education, families - Tags: ,

Something John Key did right on entering government was to appoint a science advisor, and Sir Peter Gluckman was a great choice.  Maybe it’s the BSc talking, but I like having science further up the agenda.

But the danger with having independent sorts as advisors is that they often contradict you.  It’s not a mistake National have repeated with their working groups; there they’ve taken their advice directly from Sir Humphrey: “never set up an enquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be”.

Sir Peter meanwhile keeps coming up with evidence contrary to government policy.  His latest: in his own roundabout way, criticising the cuts to early childhood education.

Evidence suggests that for each $1 spent in ECE $13 are saved in later life.  Those who have a lot invested in them in early childhood get better education, better jobs, and pay more taxes; those who are neglected are far more likely to end up on the dole, in prison and straining the health system with bodies that are knackered with cigarettes, drink, drugs and stress.

Sir Peter is talking about more than Early Childhood Education, although that’s the first step.  He talks about a “more integrated approach”.  This must involve a lot more support for parents in those early years.  Our maternity & especially paternity leave isn’t particularly generous compared to most in the west, and those early weeks are so important for establishing bonding and attachment.  Freely available and heavily encouraged parenting classes (presumably in our now defunct ACE program…) would also be a welcome step.

It must also include more intervention in children’s early lives if things are going wrong, and to make sure they don’t.  So many brain pathways are laid forever in the first 3 years – empathy may never be developed if those first years are damaged.  And a lack of empathy will lead to a life of crime, or worse, trawling right-wing blogs.

Somehow we must avoid the tag of ‘the ultimate nanny state’ and get more involvement in those early years from outside the nuclear family (from appropriate agencies like plunket, ECE centres and doctors).  Few parents would claim to be experts when a child arrives in their laps, but no-one likes interference in their family – so this needs to be done with care.

Rather than looking at increasing investment in early childhood though, Sir Peter has to put up with being attached to a government that is instead slashing it.  So while Sir Peter says:

“let’s encourage our policy makers to look at whether we have the balance where the investment is right. I don’t think we’re talking high in the narrow sense yes, it may be that there appears to be an expense, but the economists tell us the rate of return is worth it.”

we have a government that doesn’t think it is important to have qualified teachers to extend our toddlers in their formative years, and a minister of education that thinks cutting $400 million from our youngest children is some sort of opportunity.

Hat Tip: David Clark

13 comments on “Sir Peter and his DonKey ”

  1. Chris 1

    I have always thought the idea not you don’t need 100% qualified ECE teachers was really odd. Imagine if you had 80% qualified doctors, or 80% qualified police, or 80% qualified nurses.

    Having children being taught by people who have no qualification is just plainly dumb.

  2. Bored 2

    Nice article Bunji, you raise one concern Somehow we must avoid the tag of ‘the ultimate nanny state’that is always pounced upon by the right.

    Given that you point out that every dollar spent saves $13 later, perhaps we should by rebranding “Nanny State” with the “Caring State” or similar. Any suggestions?

    • Blighty 2.1

      take out the state too. the state is just a mechanism for the community to get things done. caring communities

      or you could say that 13 return for 1 invested is just value for money in government spending. Beats the pants of any of their motorway projects.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        I like that, imagine a government devolving down to “community” level, or even making that their concern. Flies in the face of Thatcherism.

    • bbfloyd 2.2

      @bored… what we need is to raise the level of debate above petty sloganeering, and reactionary namecalling. unfortunately, for that to happen there needs to be a large number of “journalists” lined up and shot.
      without the constant white noise going on in the background, people would have the chance to actually think clearly about these issues. at that point, rational debate can start to dominate decision making.
      p;s: (just joking about the shooting bit) leather muzzles would do at a pinch.

      • Bored 2.2.1

        Dunno, shooting sets a better example, its the Admiral Byng scene from Candide.(pour encourage les autres ..crap French but I think thats how its goes)

        • bbfloyd

          i think it would look good in 3d as well. it could be turned into a weekly event. perfect use for the wasted area left behind when “party central” folds up and blows away.

  3. Blighty 3

    A truely excellent post.

    anyone heard of the ‘rat park’ experiments? basically, if you give rats, or by inference people, a good upbringing – where they become integrated with a community and their environment is nice to live in – they don’t get addicted to drugs even with repeated exposure. Just doesn’t interest them.

  4. comedy 4

    Wow that $13 for every 1 spent sounds fantastic ….. got a link to the actual study ?

  5. J 5

    Investment in the education of our children at a time when they literally hang out for learning is so obvious its painful to have to debate it. It is just another example of science running 50 years ahead of the ever present slow brake on our society….right wing parties

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Tokelau Language Week reminds us to stay united and strong
    Staying strong in the face of challenges and being true to our heritage and languages are key to preserving our cultural identity and wellbeing, is the focus of the 2020 Tokelau Language Week. Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio, says this year’s theme, ‘Apoapo tau foe, i nā tāfea ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ announces a third P-3 deployment in support of UN sanctions
    The Government has deployed a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion (P-3) maritime patrol aircraft to support the implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolutions imposing sanctions against North Korea, announced Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters and Minister of Defence Ron Mark. “New Zealand has long supported ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Pacific trade and development agreement a reality
    Pacific regional trade and development agreement PACER Plus will enter into force in 60 days now that the required eight countries have ratified it. Trade and Export Growth Minister David Parker welcomed the announcement that the Cook Islands is the eighth nation to ratify this landmark agreement. “The agreement represents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Securing a pipeline of teachers
    The Government is changing its approach to teacher recruitment as COVID-19 travel restrictions continue, by boosting a range of initiatives to get more Kiwis into teaching. “When we came into Government, we were faced with a teacher supply crisis,” Education Minister Chris Hipkins said. “Over the past three years, we ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exceptions for a small number of international students with visas
    The Government has established a new category that will allow 250 international PhD and postgraduate students to enter New Zealand and continue their studies, in the latest set of border exceptions. “The health, safety and wellbeing of people in New Zealand remains the Government’s top priority. Tight border restrictions remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • First COVID-19 vaccine purchase agreement signed
    The Government has signed an agreement to purchase 1.5 million COVID-19 vaccines – enough for 750,000 people – from Pfizer and BioNTech, subject to the vaccine successfully completing all clinical trials and passing regulatory approvals in New Zealand, say Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods and Health Minister Chris Hipkins. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • International statement – End-to-end encryption and public safety
    We, the undersigned, support strong encryption, which plays a crucial role in protecting personal data, privacy, intellectual property, trade secrets and cyber security.  It also serves a vital purpose in repressive states to protect journalists, human rights defenders and other vulnerable people, as stated in the 2017 resolution of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ministry of Defence Biodefence Assessment released
    The Ministry of Defence has today released a Defence Assessment examining Defence’s role across the spectrum of biological hazards and threats facing New Zealand. Biodefence: Preparing for a New Era of Biological Hazards and Threats looks at how the NZDF supports other agencies’ biodefence activities, and considers the context of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020
    New Approaches to Economic Challenges: Confronting Planetary Emergencies: OECD 9 October 2020 Hon David Parker’s response following Thomas Piketty and Esther Duflo. Good morning, good afternoon, and good evening, wherever in the world you might be. I first acknowledge the excellent thought provoking speeches of Thomas Piketty and Esther ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Kaipara Moana restoration takes next step
    A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed today at Waihāua Marae between the Crown, local iwi and councils to protect, restore and enhance the mauri of Kaipara Moana in Northland. Environment Minister David Parker signed the document on behalf of the Crown along with representatives from Ngā Maunga Whakahī, Ngāti ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New Zealand and Uruguay unite on reducing livestock production emissions
    Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor and Uruguayan Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries Carlos María Uriarte have welcomed the launch of a three-year project that will underpin sustainable livestock production in Uruguay, Argentina, and Costa Rica.  The project called ‘Innovation for pasture management’ is led by Uruguay’s National Institute of Agricultural ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 3100 jobs created through marae upgrades
    Hundreds of marae throughout the country will be upgraded through investments from the Provincial Growth Fund’s refocused post COVID-19 funding to create jobs and put money into the pockets of local tradespeople and businesses, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta have announced. “A total ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Health volunteers recognised in annual awards
    Health Minister Chris Hipkins has announced 9 teams and 14 individuals are the recipients of this year’s Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.  “The health volunteer awards celebrate and recognise the thousands of dedicated health sector volunteers who give many hours of their time to help other New Zealanders,” Mr Hipkins ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community COVID-19 Fund supports Pacific recovery
    The Minister for Pacific Peoples, Aupito William Sio says a total of 264 groups and individuals have successfully applied for the Pacific Aotearoa Community COVID-19 Recovery Fund, that will support Pacific communities drive their own COVID-19 recovery strategies, initiatives, and actions. “I am keen to see this Fund support Pacific ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Community benefits from Māori apprenticeships
    Up to 50 Māori apprentices in Wellington will receive paid training to build houses for their local communities, thanks to a $2.75 million investment from the Māori Trades and Training Fund, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Ngāti Toa Rangatira Incorporated to provide its Ngā Kaimahi ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Training fund supports Māori jobseekers
    Rapidly growing sectors will benefit from a $990,000 Māori Trades and Training Fund investment which will see Wellington jobseekers supported into work, announced Employment Minister Willie Jackson today. “This funding will enable Sapphire Consultants Ltd. to help up to 45 Māori jobseekers into paid training initiatives over two years through ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Ruakura Inland Port development vital infrastructure for Waikato
    The Government is investing $40 million to develop an inland port at Ruakura which will become a freight super-hub and a future business, research and residential development for the Waikato, Urban Development and Transport Minister Phil Twyford, and Māori Development Minister Nanaia Mahuta announced today. The funding has been has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Appointments made to Defence Expert Review Group
    Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today the establishment of an Expert Review Group to review a number of aspects of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) structure, information management and record-keeping processes.  The Expert Review Group’s work arises out of the first recommendation from the Report of the Government’s Inquiry ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • No active community cases of COVID-19
    There are no active community cases of COVID-19 remaining in the country after the last people from the recent outbreak have recovered from the virus, Health Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “This is a big milestone. New Zealanders have once again through their collective actions squashed the virus. The systems ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • Clean energy upgrade for more public buildings
    More public buildings will be supported by the Government to upgrade to run on clean energy, the Minister for Climate Change James Shaw announced today. Minister Shaw announced that Lincoln and Auckland universities will receive support through the Clean-Powered Public Service Fund to replace fossil fuel boilers. Southern, Taranaki, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago