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The problem is not in the schools

Written By: - Date published: 7:29 am, July 20th, 2011 - 90 comments
Categories: class war, economy, education, employment - Tags: ,

The New Zealand Institute is “a privately funded think-tank” which attracted a fair bit of attention recently with its report “A goal is not a strategy”. It has just released another report which is also likely to be controversial. The Herald reports:

Disadvantaged NZ youth bottom of OECD league

A leading think tank has slammed New Zealand’s education system for producing disadvantaged youth who are worse off than in any other developed country.

A shocking indictment of our schools? That certainly seems to be the framing:

The business-backed New Zealand Institute, which has focused until now on economic policy, says the education system has lost sight of the need to keep young people engaged in school and transition successfully into work.

It recommends radical reforms including widespread use of computer-based e-learning, putting students on to pathways to work from the first year of intermediate school (Year 7), giving employers more input into what schools teach and giving all students career advice through school years and support after leaving school. …

A business-backed think tank arguing for businesses to have “more input” into schools – fancy that. But we already know that our schools do a great job on international measures of learning outcomes. So what’s really going on here?

The NZ Institute report finds that “disadvantaged youth in New Zealand are more disadvantaged than youth in other OECD countries, that poor youth outcomes are concentrated in Maori and Pacific groups, and that the situation is not improving”.

However, New Zealand is fourth-best in the 30-nation OECD group for reading, numeracy and scientific reasoning of 15-year-olds. But we are the worst in the OECD for the number of young people who drop out of school early and become unemployed. By age 16, 36 per cent of students say they are usually or always bored with school, and a quarter have either left school or want to leave as soon as possible.

What this tells us is that the underlying problem is not in the schools, it is in our society. The visible problems are worst where the poverty is worst, in our Maori and Pacific Island populations. The desire of so many to leave school is not (for the most part) a reflection on schools themselves, it is a reflection on a society which offers (for so many) no compelling reason to attend. The summary at the end of the article makes all this abundantly clear:

HOW WE FARE WITH OTHER NATIONS

4th BEST in OECD, reading and maths scores
7th WORST Teen birth rate
4th WORST Death rate aged 15-24
WORST Youth share of unemployment
WORST Cannabis use
WORST Youth suicide

Schools are doing well on their core business of education. The other (negative) indicators are all symptoms of much broader failures. Consequently the report’s proposed solutions are narrow and misdirected:

Proposed solutions:

* E-learning to engage bored students.
* Pathways to work starting in Year 7.
* Match education to economy’s needs.
* Connect schools with employers.
* Career guidance and transition support for all students.

Some good ideas in that list, and some actively harmful ones. But, as above, these “solutions” miss the point. The real problems are poverty, the obvious lack of viable jobs and futures for the young, the consequent break down of family and social support structures, and the loss of hope. Our current rates of teen cannabis use, suicide rates, and pregnancy rates and so on are all children born of two parents: (1) the neoliberal economic revolution of the 90’s, and (2) our persistent failure to address the social and economic disadvantages of the “underclass” (notably in Maori and PI communities). We won’t solve these problems until we stop blaming the schools, and take a long hard look at ourselves.

90 comments on “The problem is not in the schools”

  1. TightyRighty 1

    everything is the 90’s neo liberal reforms fault according to a leftie. that same old tired line, despite the fact it set the nations economy up to be the mobile, flexible, resilient beast it is. god i hate to have taxed and spent like the euro nations, aussies or the yanks like commentators on this site and others on the left wanted us to do. they are looking pretty sick right now. How about the welfare state antony? encouraging parents to sit around on state handouts, drink and smoke dope all day, and passing those values on to their kids? equally plausible

    • r0b 1.1

      everything is the 90′s neo liberal reforms fault according to a leftie.

      Not everything – but a lot.

      that same old tired line, despite the fact it set the nations economy up to be the mobile, flexible, resilient beast it is.

      Is that deliberate irony?  I can’t tell.  Just FYI – our mobile flexible resilient beast of an economy spent much longer staggering about in the recession doldrums than most others.

      god i hate to have taxed and spent like the euro nations, aussies

      You’d hate to have the economic performance of Australia 1990 – today?  You need to read the odd newspaper TR.

      How about the welfare state antony?

      A vital safety net for those in need.  Even your hero Key can see that.  Do you propose that we try and do without it?

      equally plausible

      Except that we’ve had a welfare state since the 1930s of course. 

    • mik e 1.2

      National must be adopting those policies with DPB receipients up 20,000 the first time in 20 yrs. obviously Anne Tolley is not up to the job especially when right through the nineties National claimed there was to much paper work bureaucracy etc but soon as they get into power they institute another layer of needless teacher time wasting . The answer is obvious more teacher time in front of pupils . Stable housing so poor parents that aren,t drifting from school to school. the unemployment figures would look worse if you take the record numbers that are leaving for Australia. Then look at the long term unemployment its gone up three fold under National same as last time they were in power .and when they were in power last time they had many reports commissioned on poverty it came down to long term unemployment and housing affordability.This flexible labour market you talk about may be alright for someone on a reasonable income but those on the bottom it means moving and up rooting a family with very little resources n who can,t afford baby sitters in their new town or city let alone find a deposit for a new rental ,find the money to move furniture and then when it gets to much they split up and become more itinerant so schooling keeps being fragmented and thats one of the biggest problems we have with poverty . It would be nice if they could all have a state house to grow up in like that nice Mr Key

    • Vicky32 1.3

      parents to sit around on state handouts, drink and smoke dope all day, and passing those values on to their kids? equally plausible

      Have you ever met any parents like that? Because in my very long life, I never have…

    • Gordon 1.4

      You cannot drink and smoke weed all day on a benefit, and you’ll be lucky to eat anything that won’t kill you by 50…
      … but don’t let that kill ur hate TightyRighty, keep up the gross generalisations. Maybe the ‘bludgers’ will ‘pull their heads in’ and get a job washing dishes in an average restaurant you think is top notch… or they’ll just say ‘nah’ and keep some sense of liberty.

  2. “We won’t solve these problems until we stop blaming the schools, and take a long hard look at ourselves.”

    Yes, definitely. And as well as not blaming schols an important step is to stop blaming everyone and everything else. It’s our problem, out family’s problem, our community’s problem, our town or city’s problem.

    The biggest problem is finding and implementing solutions.

    One thing we all can do better is to show by example, and own responsibility for our own problems. In a place like this that means not automatically blaming the government for everything.

    • Colonial Viper 2.1

      It’s our problem, out family’s problem, our community’s problem, our town or city’s problem.

      Ah more socialist wisdom from the Squirrel. I understand, we are in this together, let’s act together! I believe this is true.

      One thing we all can do better is to show by example, and own responsibility for our own problems. In a place like this that means not automatically blaming the government for everything.

      Except here you say we’re not in this together, we have to take responsibiity separately, not as a wider community…or as a nation…WTF didn’t you just say we were in this all together a second ago…?

      In a place like this that means not automatically blaming the government for everything.

      No we should not blame the Government for everything, it is the largest most powerful, largest spending agent which represents our communities and towns as a whole after all…wait I thought you said we were in this together but you want to leave Government out of the equation and place the responsibility on the little one on one relatively powerless individuals…?

      Bottom line is that individuals have to pull their weight but Government is a massive enabler and leader, both sides need to do their part. And whereas individuals aren’t accountable to any one but themselves and their mum, Government is accountable to us and better get on to it ASAP.

    • r0b 2.2

      In a place like this that means not automatically blaming the government for everything.

      Glad I didn’t do that then eh?

      We need to take a long hard look at ourselves. That includes governments, yes, but it also includes the media who shape opinions, and we the people who keep electing governments.

      • I know, I’m supporting what you’e saying in this post.

        Part of the problem is highlighted by CV, relying on the government to be “a massive enabler and leader” – real societal change works from the bottom up, not “enabled” from the top.

        Leadership is important, but only works if the base is ready and willing to do something about it and not just leave all the “enabling” to government. Good leadership means enabling grass roots groups and organisations to deal with things directly, different approaches for different areas and issues, and not by applying one fix fits all from the top.

        • r0b 2.2.1.1

          I know, I’m supporting what you’e saying in this post.

          Apologies, I misinterpreted your comment.

    • In a place like this that means not automatically blaming the government for everything.
       
      Well this current government can be blamed for its appalling handling of education.
       
      Did you know that the briefing to the incoming Minister for Education provided after the 2008 election told the Minister about “notable improvements in student learning as a result of teacher professional development programmes in key areas such as literacy, numeracy, ICT and assessment.” (page 17).
      To quote:

      “The Numeracy Development Project was established in 2000.  This ministry-led professional development programme has been introduced into 95 percent of primary, intermediate and composite schools (including 85 percent of Maori-medium schools) and 40 percent of secondary schools.  
      Between 2002 and 2007: 

      the percentage of Year 6 students achieving at or above the expected level in mathematics increased from 40 percent to 61 percent.
      the percentage classified as at risk decreased from 30 percent to 13 percent.”

      There was also a thing called the Literacy Strategy which Labour also set up in 2000.  According to the report:

      “Over the first three years, this ministry-led professional development programme focused on literacy leadership and involved approximately 4,000 principals and literacy teachers from almost 2,000 primary and intermediate schools.  From 2004 onwards, the focus has incorporated both literacy leadership and professional development for teachers.  Around 44 percent of primary and intermediate schools have participated to date. 
      A 2008 evaluation shows that 

      after taking into account expected growth and maturation, students’ gains in reading and writing were twice those that could be expected without the intervention 
      schools accelerated the rate of progress for the majority of the at-risk students by four times the expected rate.”

      Further,

      “Teachers also need ongoing opportunities to update and improve their practice.  Research shows that high-quality in-school professional development is a cost-effective way to improve student achievement in areas such as literacy and numeracy.  Ongoing professional development that is focused on everyday classroom practice has the most impact on teacher behaviour and learner outcomes.  As evidence grows about which programmes or approaches work best to enhance teaching and learning for all learners, the next step is to embed effective professional development across the sector.”

      So what did Tolley and the Nats do?  They decreased funding for what looks like the Numeracy program by $8m in 2009 and by further amounts increasing from $24m to $34m over the following three years.

      Go figure.  A very successful program is gutted so that the Minister can score political brownie points.  Of course the Government and Tolley can be blamed.  That mixture of doctrinare stupidity is potent and very destructive.
       
       

      • And what do you achieve with that?

        Parenting and early childhood issues (and not specifically ECE as that doesn’t address the worst at risk kids who don’t get ECE) are something that needs far more attention and effort for the long term good of the country. It impacts on wellbeing, health, education, education and crime.

        Youth unemployment and pooer education statnards (of the bottom end) is a shorter term major problem that also needs more attention. Longer term solutions include looking back to early childhood.

        Collectively I think this is one of the most important community inclusive things we should be working on.

        After my wee experiment ends in November, no matter what the result, I intend to work on promoting action on this in Dunedin, and I’ll work with the expected MP on it if he’s willing.

  3. Shona 3

    The jobs aren’t there. I know this from my own offspring’s experience. And they didn’t drop out. There is unskilled work, stable permanent jobs with a career path and skills training are virtually non-existent. The steady exodus across the Tasman will keep on happening.. We will continue to be a society of the very old and the very young with a middle class consisting mainly of migrants for whom english is a second language and whose skills by and large are not that good.We have only ourselves to blame. Greedy , greedy shortsighted kiwis.

  4. millsy 4

    Mind you, it doesnt help that Tomorrow’s Schools has turned the focus of BOT’s and principals from ensuring every child at their school gets a decent education to ensuring a school’s ‘brand’ is attractive to lucrative fee paying international students.

    Put in a permanent moratorium on international students and take more power from schools and give it back to the MoE (and fund schools more) and youll be suprised at the improvements in a generation.

    • higherstandrad 4.1

      “Put in a permanent moratorium on international students and take more power from schools and give it back to the MoE (and fund schools more) and youll be suprised at the improvements in a generation.”

      I can see where you’re coming from Millsy, but there is a perverse situation that with decile based funding for schools that many require the extra income from international students to have sufficient funding to enable them to continue to offer the students an acceptable education and schooling environment – this occurs particularly in the primary and intermediate settings but also at some high schools.

      and in relation to the proposed solutions

      Proposed solutions:

      * E-learning to engage bored students – yep if carefully introduced and manage.
      * Pathways to work starting in Year 7 – seems very early to me.
      * Match education to economy’s needs – bit of silly jargon.
      * Connect schools with employers – yep via the career guidance function in highschools.
      * Career guidance and transition support for all students – eh doesn’t this happen now at high school level ?

      • millsy 4.1.1

        Yes, I realise that. That’s why I think that the goverment needs to start pouring more money into state schools than it already is, and we are going to have to adopt some innovative ideas, such as schools staying open after 3 to allow students to do assignments, etc on site.

    • Vicky32 4.2

      Put in a permanent moratorium on international students

      Not such a good idea, as many schools rely for funding on international students! (Not to mention that I still hope to get a teacher aide or ESOL job on their account.. 😀 )

      and take more power from schools and give it back to the MoE (and fund schools more) and youll be suprised at the improvements in a generation.

      I do agree about this, however…

  5. Craig Glen Eden 5

    This is just bullshit, another right wing lobby group pushing its agenda. so now they want year seven students (11 year olds) set on a path/ career to be the woodgit maker for the said business.

    These clowns and thats what they are, have no idea. I would suggest that before they spout any more shit, that is one step away from stuffing small children down chimney stacks that they take some time to watch Ken Robinson at http://www.ted.com/ . Then they might get some idea that NZ education is on the right tract and in many ways leads the world.

    • Lanthanide 5.1

      Personally I think some sort of ‘pathways to work’ programme for younger students is a good idea.

      My school made half-hearted attempts in 5th form and didn’t really kick into gear until 6th and 7th form. For some people (who dropped out in 3rd or 4th form) this is far too late.

    • Gosman 5.2

      You mean like how Germany manages their education system? Yeah I can see why you wouldn’t want us to follow that. I mean it hasn’t worked out for them at all.

      • Craig Glen Eden 5.2.1

        No I didnt mention Germany did I Gosman, so watch Ken Robinson, specifically have a look at his presentation at TED in 2010. Maybe you don’t know what you don’t know Gosman?

      • freedom 5.2.2

        Gosman, the german situation is not all milk & honey. I have family that live there, with a Niece and nephew who have done all their schooling there. Once the system has decided what path you are to embark on it is very hard to change tack. Asking kids when they are ten and eleven to decide on the future of their education is highly restrictive. Do you really want to force a twelve year old to decide if they want to go to University? There are massively complex processes a kid must go through if they, for example, decide a science future is not their thing and want to try Arts. Vice-versa is even harder as the testing is based on early reaults and the types of schooling children are exposed to are highly specialised from an early age. Our system is a lot more flexible allowing for diverse and natural alterations in a persons character to develop within an education system that adapts to their needs. It just requires Governments that refrain from cutting it to its bones, and instead start feeding it the healthy diet of funds it so richly deserves.

  6. Craig Glen Eden 6

    Sorry, forgot to say I would recommend this to all reg standard posters both left and right wing, not only is Ken Robinson very informative he is very clever and funny if you do nothing else this week have a look and have a laugh I am sure you wont be disappointed. See what you think

  7. Gosman 7

    So even though our unemployment rate over the past two decades has been consistently under those from many other OECD nation suddenly our youth have no hope? Ummmmm… how does that work out?

    BTW when did it become the primary responsibility for Government to ensure employment for young people? That is mainly the role of the private sector in a mixed economy. Oh that’s right, you Socialists don’t think that way and hold on to this fantasy land view of the world where Governments can give everyone a meaningful job.

    • millsy 7.1

      Well Gosman, your beloved private sector is not doing to well at the moment.

    • mik e 7.2

      Where the private sector fails in modern small economies like ours, its more important for govts to step in to keep our economy strong ie R&D Innovation, good education,good healthcare, good housing etc . their is no laissez fair economy in this world that exists or has worked in the past same with communism, the best economies know what works and implement those policies in other words they harness the wild bull/ bear free market to provide them with a consistently performing economy .Look at Singapore its lucky that it does have an out of control totalitarian in charge .It does have much better educated treasury advisors than us, they know where to put the peoples taxes to make the economy grow they do provide good quality cheap housing for 80% of their population . Thats maybe why they get 17.4% growth per annum as opposed to our 1.7% growth .Anyone like Gosman obviously hasn,t studied economics beyond the party political broadcast commonly known as PROPAGANDA

    • Draco T Bastard 7.3

      BTW when did it become the primary responsibility for Government to ensure employment for young people?

      I don’t put the responsibility onto the government, I put it on to the people of the government is the administrative arm.

      That is mainly the role of the private sector in a mixed economy.

      Now that’s total BS. The private sector should be a minor part of society. Have it as the driving part, as the neo-liberals do, and what you end up with is an unsustainable economy that shifts the communities wealth to a few rich people while going through boom/bust cycles that entrench poverty for the majority.

  8. NickC 8

    No the problem is with our school system which gives huge advantages to wealthy families. If you live in Parnell your sons get to go to Auckland Grammer, which has some of the highest educational achievement in the country. If you live in South Auckland, god knows where your kids will go to school but I wouldn’t send my kids there. This is true regardless of how bright your kids are, what their spesific educational needs are and even how much you might be prepared to pay to send them to a better school (unless of course you can afford Kings).

    One solution would be a school choice system, where the money for a childs education goes where the child chooses to go to school. We could still give more funding to the education of poor children (as we currently do with decile funding, with nothing to show for it). The system has been most notably successful in New Orleans: http://www.showmedaily.org/2011/06/school-choice-continues-to-succeed.html

    • millsy 8.1

      Or we could just give ALL schools more money, and make them good schools. But of course, people would have no reason to send their kids to your beloved Auckland Grammar so they can learn to be snobs, would they?

      School choice just an excuse to close down schools in poorer area after bleeding them dry.

      • NickC 8.1.1

        Well of course being a decile 10 school, Grammer recieves less government money at the moment than most other public schools. Doesn’t seem to effect their grades though. Pumping more money into the education budget has been our approach for the last 10 years and it hasnt improved educational achievement for maori, the gap has increased.

        As for schools in poor areas: Who chooses whether they get closed down or not under school choice? Seems to me that if parents in those areas want to send their children to those schools the schools will have no problem at all.

        • Craig Glen Eden 8.1.1.1

          While Grammer might get less funding per student now they have a shit load of very good resources at their disposal and a very well off old boys net work.So they don’t have less resources at their disposal than a low decile school!

          Secondly who says that going to Grammer gives your child a better education, its my understanding that these boys often don’t do a s well as kids from what would be considered a normal public school when they get to varsity.

          Thirdly kids in South Auckland who want a similar education to Grammer would probably go to Kings, just thought you should no heavens forbid you might end up living in South Auckland and I would hate you not to know where to send your kids..

          • Nick C 8.1.1.1.1

            Yeah good luck to the average South Auckland parent finding the money to fully fund their kids education at Kings! And it’s hardly fair is it, that if you live in South Auckland and you want your kid to go to a school with high educational success and low levels of violence (and lets face it most south Auckland schools aren’t in that catagory) you have to pay unaffordable fees, but if you live in Parnell you get to go to Auckland Grammer for free/a ‘donation’.

        • Vicky32 8.1.1.2

          Well of course being a decile 10 school, Grammer

          Well, if you’re going to praise it, at least spell it right!
          G R A M M A R
          Please?

    • The New Orleans school choice system is not quite the ‘notable success’ you imply. It’s a lot more complicated and the ‘endgame’ is unknown. Also, it’s not always the child’s (or parents’) choice that determines where the child ends up. It’s sometimes parents’ ability to navigate the application process.

      In a society besotted – in knee-jerk fashion – with the idea of ‘choice’, it’s interesting that there is by no means universal acclaim for such a scheme. 

      • NickC 8.2.1

        No system is perfect and I would never argue that school choice is. But even the article you have cited accepts that school choice is better than the alternatives and has improved educational outcomes in New Orleans.

        • Puddleglum 8.2.1.1

          But even the article you have cited accepts that school choice is better than the alternatives and has improved educational outcomes in New Orleans”  

          Indeed, I chose the article because it was ‘local’ and showed a range of perspectives, including praise, caution, positive and negative commentary. Personally, I saw the article as canvassing those views rather than definitively ‘accepting’ or ‘rejecting’ the approach.

          One interesting point comes out clearly in the first graphic box, that while parents thought it a very good thing to have choice, a majority disagreed with the proposition that they got their first choice of school (35% ‘strongly disagreed’ – perhaps suggesting some may not have even got their second choice?).

          In fact, the main point of the article (expressed in its title) was that the means of expressing the ‘choice’ may be systematically disadvantaging parents without the resources or what I would call ‘middle-class capital’ to navigate the application process (perhaps those with that capital were the 37% who agreed that they got their first choice). In other words, the rhetoric may not match the reality: Parents/children don’t get to choose what school the child goes to.

          Another interesting point was that those schools which still retained a geographic/ neighbourhood catchment were the most sought-after schools. Which I interpret as suggesting that the ideal is a good local school. Perhaps that’s what we should aim for directly in every neighbourhood in New Zealand? But, as the post points out, perhaps the biggest obstacle to that goal is well beyond the school gate.

  9. Afewknowthetruth 9

    Schools are elaborate babysitting and regimentation enterprises. Intelligent and motivated children manage to get something out of schooling, despite the system.

    Present social and economic arrangements are in the process of collapsing, due to peak oil, the unravelling of fiat currencies (NZ dollar at 85.cents US today) and environmental collapse.

    We will soon be living in a completely different world. Work, in the conventional sense, is almost over, and schools are unlikely to exist in their present form 5 years from now. The school system is a product of industrial living and must collapse with it (as is already happening in the US).

    Most people remain ignorant of the facts or locked into denial of reality.

  10. randal 10

    I wanna:
    motorbike
    car
    girlfriend
    cell phone
    flatscreen dvd
    anything and everything I can get my hands on.
    of course the problem is in society. New Zealand is an aquisitive, unaesthetic collection of people who’se only gratification seems to be making shop people beg for their money, bribing grandchildren for affection or going somehwere and coming back and telling everyone else all about it.
    now focus group that!

  11. George.com 11

    Schools are achieving in the area they have most control over – teaching and learning. Our high international education rankings show this. There are a range of very bad statistics as well however much of this falls outside the direct control of schools. They are familial and societal issues.

    This report seems to suffer from a commonly repeated mistake, lay the blame and responsibility at the door of schools whilst abrogating responsibility for any other sector. It identifies the problems but fails to focus on the areas where change can be made.

    Moreover some of the ‘soultions’ have been the focus of work in schools over the past decade – more vocational based education, a greater emphasis on trades and apprenticeships, raising the leaving age. Those are not startling new discoveries but are things identified some years ago and steadily worked on ever since.

    Does the report (1) add anything new that is not already known? (2) offer any significant solution for the actual outside school problems?

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    Match education to economy’s needs

    I get really pissed off with narrow minded, authoritarian BS like this. How about we match the economy to the needs of the people instead? That’s the economies purpose – to support the people. The people aren’t there, no matter what the capitalists think, to support the economy.

    (1) the neoliberal economic revolution of the 90′s,

    The neo-liberal revolution happened in the 1980s under the 4th Labour government. The 4th National government in the 1990s merely continued that course and so have following governments.

  13. Colonial Viper 13

    How did we do on the alcohol use stats compared to other countries?

    • freedom 13.1

      gold stars for all in the highly contested ‘most drunken youth’ and ‘most violent offences by drunken youth’ and two highly commended awards for ability to fashion a bong from household detritus

      or was that just a flashback of highschool in the 80’s

  14. Rusty Shackleford 14

    It’s weird how the most dysfunctional areas of the economy are those with the most most top down state control.

    • Colonial Viper 14.1

      Yeah like Enron or SCF or AMI or Blue Chip or Lehman Bros or Telecom

      Oh yeah that’s right in most of those cases the Private Sector came crying to the Public Sector to save their sorry lying cheating inefficient or invidious asses

      • Rusty Shackleford 14.1.1

        Insurance, energy, finance; all highly regulated industries.

        • Colonial Viper 14.1.1.1

          Hey Rusty you notice how in terms of INSURANCE the NZ Govt is having to step up to the plate because the PRIVATE SECTOR refuses to help out? How AMI thought it would make an extra buck by critically under re-insuring then requiring a public bail-out?

          A time honoured tradition. When there is money to be made the privateers are all warm words and handshakes and “huzzah for the free market!”. When there isn’t and the risk is too high for their shareholders, you can hear the crickets chirp.

          Also you must be a fool to think that Enron was operating in a highly regulated environment. Or Lehman. Or Madoff.

          For gawdsakes don’t you know that the appearance of regulation is not the same thing as actual regulation???

          Pitiful and naive mate.

        • Puddleglum 14.1.1.2

          Finance is ‘highly regulated’? Compared to when? Prior to the 1990s I think most would claim that the finance sector was far more regulated than it is presently.

          Of course, it still may be far too regulated for your tastes but, comparatively, it was less regulated during the period it facilitated the current problems than it was prior to creating such problems – wasn’t it? (I’m happy to learn.)

          • Rusty Shackleford 14.1.1.2.1

            The “deregulation caused the financial crisis” meme is just that. A meme. Some regulations were repealed but many, many more were enacted. Try to guess who wrote those new regulations? The major players in the given industry.

            The big players in any market hate deregulation. It stops them from raising barriers to entry against new firms.

            So, yes. I would like to move away from regulations that are written by the regulated.

            • Puddleglum 14.1.1.2.1.1

              So, yes. I would like to move away from regulations that are written by the regulated.

              Completely agree. 

              The big players in any market hate deregulation. It stops them from raising barriers to entry against new firms.

              I can see the logic in this comment. and realise that – e.g., highly expensive H&S – regulations could be a problem for small firms. The problem, however – at least from the public’s (and, often, workers’) perspective – is that small, new, ‘entry level’ firms one day become big firms anyway (if they are allowed to ‘enter’ the market).

              I’d love markets to be always made up of lots of little firms but how many markets are (or would be) like that (even in an ‘ideal’ world)? Isn’t this a problem with markets? Big players become big players initially by ‘giving people what they want’ and, then, when they get big they can rig the market? It’s like a fundamental flaw in market theory – once economic power is gained it is used to manipulate and undermine the market (if not through ‘regulation’ then it will be through some other clever means or even violent means – it’s only ‘rational’, after all, to try to rig markets given the big rewards that inevitably accrue especially in the monstrously large markets we have today.).

              And, I’m sorry, I don’t think any ‘law enforcement’ could ever stop it – humans respond to those with power and money and give them what they want (e.g., the ‘revelations’ emerging from the Murdoch fiasco). Call it ‘human nature’ if you like – the one thing that ensures that market economies will never be as you hope they will/can be. Hence, the need for regulation – as imperfect and rationally ‘sub-optimal’ as it is. Life’s a messy business.

              In a nutshell that’s why I can’t go along with a right wing libertarian viewpoint – it ignores what, for convenience, I’ll call ‘human nature’. Those propensities burst out of the confines of a notional ‘free market’.

              • Rusty Shackleford

                In a free market the only way to become big is to offer a good product at a good price. If you do that well enough you become big. The size of the firm is irrelevant. Whether it is one big firm or 50,000 little ones. The price and the product (or service) is all that should matter.

                “when they get big they can rig the market? It’s like a fundamental flaw in market theory – once economic power is gained it is used to manipulate and undermine the market”
                Can you give an example? And why was it worse than the environment we have now?

                • rosy

                  “The price and the product (or service) is all that should matter.”

                  Should, but isn’t. Advertising, inducements to buy and substandard inputs that aren’t discovered until after the $$ have been made, buying up the best locations to sell from, negative marketing against your competitor…. Just for a start. Even small firms can engage freely in these distortions of the market.

                  • Rusty Shackleford

                    Advertising- Freedom of speech. Of which all the ads and freedom of speech in the world can’t save rubbish products.

                    inducements to buy – like what?

                    “substandard inputs that aren’t discovered until after the $$ have been made”- I can see how this would be a problem for a space shuttle or a new type of tank, but for things people use day to day how is it an issue? If the phone I bought is sub standard, I either take it back to the store, or if that isn’t an option I buy from a different manufacturer. The company making rubbish phones isn’t going to last long with thousands of people doing this.

                    “buying up the best locations to sell from”- This isn’t going to help if your product sucks.

                    “negative marketing against your competitor”- I’m pretty sure there are studies that say this actually works against the firms engaging in it. Anyway, freedom of speech.

                    • felix

                      Except that in the real world there are rubbish products being consumed in vast quantities.

                      Shouldn’t, but is.

                    • rosy

                      inducements to buy – like what? – ‘free’ gifts. Also interest-free loans, deferred payment. and all with unfathomable extra costs. Where have you been Rusty?

                      If two products are rubbish, the one with the best location will sell more of the rubbish, likewise if one product is rubbish and the other good, the one with the best location will still sell more. Take for example a drinks seller with the right to sell at a rugby match whereas another seller has to sell at the gate, or a similar scenario for ice-cream sellers on a beach in summer – the one with ‘rights’ to the best location will sell more. Econ101 example, that one.

                      “anyway freedom of speech” I love how you think the right to tell lies is an absolute. Not.

                      Negative marketing doesn’t work?? I think there are a few political campaigns were negative marketing has worked quite well. Al Gore and John Kerry will attest to that. Similarly health promotion campaigns with negative marketing get quite a bit of traction. Cadburys also lost big time over the cocoa content, as did Ribena over Vitamin C. The competitors had a point in these cases but I betcha boots if there was no regulation on negative marketing there will be plenty of companies that would fall due to baseless allegations of competitors.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      All TV advertising should be in black and white, no music and only allowed to play between 5am and 8am

                      😉

                • In a free market the only way to become big is to offer a good product at a good price. If you do that well enough you become big. The size of the firm is irrelevant. Whether it is one big firm or 50,000 little ones. The price and the product (or service) is all that should matter.” (emphasis added by me)

                  Ermm … yes, as I conceded for the sake of argument, it is possible that “Big players become big players initially by ‘giving people what they want’

                  “when they get big they can rig the market? It’s like a fundamental flaw in market theory – once economic power is gained it is used to manipulate and undermine the market”

                  “Can you give an example?”

                  Ermm … that was your argument I was paraphrasing in that question. Examples include lobbying for – and backing – regulations; ‘influencing’ politicians (Murdoch springs to mind at the moment).

                  And why was it worse than the environment we have now?

                  Ermm … the point was that it is the environment we have now. But, more to the point, big players (i.e., big companies) will always try to manipulate markets and undermine competition with the resources they accumulate through market transactions and cease to have ‘good products’ as their main strategy – e.g., Starbucks’ strategy of establishing multiple stores in a very small area even though they cannibalise each other – in order to ‘starve out’ small, local cafes. I thought strategies like this were well known? (Please don’t say ‘And, what’s wrong with a company acting like that?’)

                  I was also saying that some such ‘rigging’ will always happen – whether through ‘regulation’ or some other means – because ‘big players’ will always be tempted to use whatever means available (inside and outside of ‘the market’) to distort the market and market arrangements to favour them. That includes corrupting players in the market as well as players outside the market (politicians, enforcers, etc.).

                  It’s inevitable that the wealth at the disposal of the ‘big companies’ will be used in ways to ensure that a ‘free market’ will no longer exist – even if we permit, for the sake of argument, that one might at some time get established somewhere. Short of forbidding the accumulation of massive wealth (and market dominance) that very human process won’t be stopped (and certainly not by removing all regulation of businesses and industry).

                  Hence, the very notion of a ‘free market’ is simply a convenient discourse and can never be a reality. Apart from the ideologically pure (and, I’d add, naive), talk of ‘free markets’ is simply discursive cover for various forms of rigging. That’s my argument. 

                  Call me cynical, if you like.

    • lprent 14.2

      Telecom? Or the power companies? They have a regulatory control but it has a rather light application for semi monopolies

      A few years ago it was probably the finance companies which were just pyramid schemes waiting to fall.

      What does that have to do with this topic?

      • Rusty Shackleford 14.2.1

        They are semi-monopolies because of monopoly.

        They are related because education is another monopoly.

        • Colonial Viper 14.2.1.1

          You’re living in your own fantasy world. Go back to your SimCity economy.

          • Rusty Shackleford 14.2.1.1.1

            Sim City? You are the one advocating central planning.

            • Rusty Shackleford 14.2.1.1.1.1

              Here is a quote from the guy who built the “perfect city” in Sim City. It sounds exactly like what a top down, centrally planned state looks like in real life.

              “Technically, no one is leaving or coming into the city. Population growth is stagnant. Sims don’t need to travel long distances, because their workplace is just within walking distance. In fact they do not even need to leave their own block. Wherever they go it’s like going to the same place. There are a lot of other problems in the city hidden under the illusion of order and greatness: Suffocating air pollution, high unemployment, no fire stations, schools, or hospitals, a regimented lifestyle – this is the price that these sims pay for living in the city with the highest population. It’s a sick and twisted goal to strive towards. The ironic thing about it is the sims in Magnasanti tolerate it. They don’t rebel, or cause revolutions and social chaos. No one considers challenging the system by physical means since a hyper-efficient police state keeps them in line. They have all been successfully dumbed down, sickened with poor health, enslaved and mind-controlled just enough to keep this system going for thousands of years. 50,000 years to be exact. They are all imprisoned in space and time.”

        • Rusty Shackleford 14.2.1.2

          “They are semi-monopolies because of monopoly.”

          Whoops. I cocked that up. Why did no one jump on me for writing nonsense? I guess it goes un-noticed considering some of the stuff that passes for fact around here.

          It should say “They are semi-monopolies because of regulation.”

          • mickysavage 14.2.1.2.1

            Why did no one jump on me for writing nonsense? 

            Because we would be doing it all the time …

            ; ) 

          • lprent 14.2.1.2.2

            Well I’ve been off shopping and fixing another website with a cache problem. I usually only scan through every three or four hours on moderation sweeps. Sometimes like the last weekend I even sleep (pesky winter flus).. 

             

          • felix 14.2.1.2.3

            CV has been jumping on you for writing nonsense.

            Trouble is it only seems to encourage you.

            • Rusty Shackleford 14.2.1.2.3.1

              CV just shouts the same two things over and over. He seems to have added Sim City to his repertoire of late.

              • Colonial Viper

                yeah its the classic broken record approach. I’m not actually trying to convince you of anything these days because you already know what you believe in and doing so would be a waste of time and energy.

                At the moment I’ve ascertained that TPTB will never let any of your ideas reach actual fruition or implementation so they’re all sort of irrelevant. Probably even as thought experiments.

                The bloody NATs on the other hand, they need stopping. Their ideas are real and being put into damaging practice now.

          • Draco T Bastard 14.2.1.2.4

            No, it went uncommented because everything you write is nonsense.

  15. McFlock 15

    Source? Because finance companies and property developers don’t seem to be all that functional, and I think get put under statutory management more often than schools.

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      He’s just repeating the Republican meme of more government bad, less government + more private sector control =- good

      And he’ll keep repeating it without recognising that throughout the OECD there is no distinguishing line between government, banks and corporations any more, much to the detriment of citizens.

      Hey Rusty you implemented your perfect free market economy in SimCity yet?

      • McFlock 15.1.1

        Yeah – he called it Mogadishu. He can’t figure out why it so closely models the real world, though. It’s not a problem he’s encountered with Randian economics before.

  16. Rusty Shackleford 16

    Nice strawman CV.

    “And he’ll keep repeating it without recognising that throughout the OECD there is no distinguishing line between government, banks and corporations”
    A quick look at my browsing history will show that I indeed understand this fully. Yet you are the one who advocates for warfare and inflation. Corrupting factors that those three entities crave. Weird.

    • Colonial Viper 16.1

      How can you accuse me of raising a strawman when you raise an entire strawcountry?

      No economy in the world uses the kind of Austrian/free market model that you use yet you say its clearly so much better than everything else.

      As i have said to you before – TPTB don’t care for a level playing field. its not profitable enough; they want corporate welfare and if not true monopolies then duopolies and shadow cartels.

      Your ideas will never see the light of day.

      • ChrisH 16.1.1

        These public utility sectors have to be regulated because they are monopolies, or semi-monopolies. That’s also why the most worthless and wretched finance-capitalists want to get exclusive control of them.

      • Rusty Shackleford 16.1.2

        How does that make my ideas wrong?

        • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1

          ideas aren’t right or wrong mate, its just that yours will never see the light of day.

          TPTB won’t allow it. Especially if you kneecap government the way you want to, no one will be able to stand up to corporate power to set up the changes needed for what you want to see.

          • Rusty Shackleford 16.1.2.1.1

            Corporates derive their power from big govt.

            • rosy 16.1.2.1.1.1

              No. I’m not sure that corporates under Stalin would agree, nor those under Castro or Chavez – very big government, very little corporate power.

              Corrupt corporates and corrupt government have a symbiotic relationship. Corporates would gain power and probably misuse that power even if there was no big (democratic) government.

            • Colonial Viper 16.1.2.1.1.2

              That’s because all businesses need societal systems and infrastructure (including law and order) to conduct commerce.

              Also you keep talking as if corporates and governments are two separate entities.

              They ain’t, not any more.

            • lprent 16.1.2.1.1.3

              Think it through by looking at alternatives – not I’d admit one of your stronger traits. For instance…

              So do small companies benefit immensely from the state. In just one example of many…

              They rely really heavily on the legal structure that is set in place by the state to operate a business at low costs. It means that their collection costs are lower and that they do not require as much starting capital. This is why countries that have lousy legal frameworks and enforcement are always so damn expensive to operate in. Legal structures are one of those common services that operate in a collective fashion and benefits immensely from scaling upwards in effectiveness and efficiency.

  17. Reality Bytes 17

    4th BEST in OECD, reading and maths scores
    and
    WORST Cannabis use

    Well clearly weed doesn’t turn you into a moron then. I’m not endorsing that youth smoke weed, I don’t think it’s good at all, and many of the other stats are also very sad and extremely concerning.

    But I just found these two particular statistics quite contrary to the standard ‘smoke a bit of weed and you will become brain damaged moron’ mantra that the anti weed hysteria brigade are continually badgering us with and on their high horses about.

    If any young people are reading this, please don’t take that as an endorsement that drugs are harmless (including alchol). Focus on your studies, you only get this chance once in your life. Do your bit to get us up to 1st BEST in OECD! You won’t regret it.

  18. Dr. X 18

    FAO Mr. Bytes. It may be true that many, perhaps even a large majority of those who smoke cannabis suffer no long-term consequences as a result. It appears to be the case, however, that there is a certain percentage of any given population who happen to be at risk of adverse short-term and long-term consequences as a result of cannabis usage.

    Having seen someone suffer a cannabis-related psychotic episode, I would not wish that fate on a dog.

    On the more general point about education – isn’t it fair to say that the NZ education system has been fully neoliberalised for nearly twenty years now?

    • Colonial Viper 18.1

      Bring back the teaching of NZ history to the classroom.

      Confiscation and break up of farms in the 1890’s, universal suffrage, Great Depression, Waterfront strike, Vietnam War, Springbok tour,…many other things…including all the great things NZ achieved and how it achieved them

    • Reality Bytes 18.2

      It may be true that many, perhaps even a large majority of those who suffer no long-term consequences as a result. It appears to be the case, however, that there is a certain percentage of any given population who happen to be at risk of adverse short-term and long-term consequences as a result of cannabis usage.

      Yeah fair enough, can’t disagree.

      Not meaning to sound a hypocrite, because of course each of us will find our own way etc… I’m just saying don’t be so eager to get wasted on whatever drug, legal or otherwise, especially if you are young. Youth is an awesome buzz as it is, coming from someone that’s been there.

      • Draco T Bastard 18.2.1

        Youth is an awesome buzz as it is…

        That would depend upon the circumstances of the youth. We’re presently talking about 1 in 5 children living in poverty. I don’t know what proportion of youth are but that statistic doesn’t bode well for them.

        • Reality Bytes 18.2.1.1

          Of course stats like that suck, I’m just trying to be positive, and personally discourage any youth whom may be reading this to resort to any sort of drugs whilst they are still young and learning, plenty of time dabble in it later once you’ve thought it through. Bear in mind one of the greatest harms from smoking a bit of weed is getting a black mark on your police/criminal record, and when you’re young you tend to take risks, so perhaps the chance of that is greater.

          Don’t get me wrong I’m not judging anyone who does try it. Hence my original post that I find it curious that we have the highest amount of pot smokers, and yet still have the 4th best academic results.

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    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • And God spake all these words, saying
    As the first week of Level Four lockdown unfolded, mounting questions grew as to just what was (and was not) allowed under its “rules”. Partly these were driven by some apparently contradictory messages from different authority figures and explanations carried in the media. Partly they reflected a somewhat sketchy legal basis ...
    PunditBy Andrew Geddis
    5 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 9
    . . April 3: Day 9 of living in lock-down… Another late-start to my work day. Everything is temporarily upended as clients are shuffled around so we can minimise our “bubble” by reducing the number of people we help. One of my colleagues has been removed from his clients; his ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    6 days ago
  • Death to our lockdown enemies!
    We must root out the traitors among us! ...
    Imperator FishBy Scott Yorke
    6 days ago
  • Climate Change: The benefits of electrification
    In order to meet our 2050 carbon target and do our bit to avoid making the Earth uninhabitable, New Zealand needs to decarbonise our economy, replacing fossil fuels with electricity in the energy, industrial and transport sectors. The good news is that it will mean cheaper power for all of ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of a pretty flower, .   . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a cute animal video. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 8
    . . April 2: Day eight of living in lock-down… Today, my work day starts late. Our rosters and clients have been dramatically changed, lessening (theoretically) the number of people in our work “bubble”.  If just one of us catches covid19 the impact could be considerable as Grey Base Hospital ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    7 days ago
  • A note on apartments and bubbles
    As Aotearoa enters week two of lockdown, it’s clear we’re all still working out what our “bubbles” look like and how to stay in them to stop the spread of Covid-19. New to the government’s Covid-19 website is some good guidance for people living in apartment blocks. Recent decades have ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    7 days ago
  • Getting in futures shape 
    “There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen.” Lenin Don’t we all know that feeling now.

    Prospect Magazine alerted me to this particularly apt quote. It is a much more evocative quote than Hemingway’s “gradually then suddenly” which is also doing ...

    SciBlogsBy Robert Hickson
    7 days ago
  • Maybe axing Clark would be unfair. But what about any of this is fair?
    Yesterday was the day the consequences of the lockdown suddenly got very real for many. Firms have been closing and laying people off since the outset of the quarantine but this has mostly been happening out of the public eye. The mass closure of a number of iconic New Zealand ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    7 days ago
  • Might a ‘Coasean’ social contract mitigate overall societal harm from COVID-19?
    Brian Williamson1, Prof Nick Wilson2 (1Economic consultant, UK; 2University of Otago Wellington) In this blog, we outline how a win-win social contract could be forged to address the major dimensions of response to the COVID-19 pandemic when using a mitigation strategy: the particular need to protect older people from high ...
    SciBlogsBy Public Health Expert
    7 days ago
  • Returning To “Normalcy”.
    Resuming Normal Service: The Republican Party's nominee for in 1920, Warren Harding, promised the American people: “not heroics, but healing; not nostrums, but normalcy; not revolution, but restoration”. If she wishes to remain our prime minister, then Jacinda Ardern will offer New Zealanders the same.HOW EDUCATED AMERICA snickered when the ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand’s Government Must Save New Zealand’s Media.
    No Free Society Without A Free And Functioning News Media: If we are to surrender our civil rights to the broader cause of defeating Covid-19, then foreign corporations must, likewise, surrender their right to inflict immense economic and cultural harm on New Zealanders simply because it improves their bottom line.I’M ...
    7 days ago
  • Corona fevers and the madness of models
    by Daphna Whitmore A third of the world is under lockdown and a clear assessment of this measure to curb the spread of COVID-19 is urgently needed.  With any high-stakes decisions it has to be asked what are we dealing with here? Are the measures warranted? Will they achieve their ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Lockdown day 8
    I haven’t done a huge amount in the last few days. I’m reading The Poppy War and I’ve sort of poked at a couple of games – I started SOMA but I’m a wimp and I quit while in the first room after the brain scan. I might try it ...
    The little pakehaBy chrismiller
    1 week ago
  • Backstage and Theatre
    The swan politicians may be gliding on the water, occasionally snapping at one another. Meanwhile, as the Covid19 crisis illustrates, the officials are desperately paddling below providing the real locomotion. One of the most fatuous recent grandstanding comments (of about a week ago), adding to the public’s anxieties, was ...
    PunditBy Brian Easton
    1 week ago
  • Legal Beagle: Waiver, the singular Crown and the conduct of Crown legal business
    Much has been written about the importance of discretion in an emergency situation, and the concerns raised by the potential for it to be exercised arbitrarily. Given the quality of the discussion, there seemed little point in adding to it at any length. In particular, I point to the evidence ...
    1 week ago
  • Highlights from Bauer Media’s science-related reporting
    Today has felt surreal. I was all set to touch base online with my science communication students when a colleague shared the news that Bauer Media would be shutting down its publications immediately. The first link I saw implied it was Woman’s Weekly affected, and even that shocked me. But ...
    SciBlogsBy Sarah-Jane O'Connor
    1 week ago
  • Outsiders.
    Bogeymen, Real And Imagined: Is the number of psychopathic and sociopathic individuals in any given society truly as vanishingly small as we like to tell ourselves? Isn’t it more likely that the mass-shooters and serial-killers filling the headlines represent only the tip of a much, much larger iceberg of frightfulness? ...
    1 week ago
  • We have a right to know the rules we are expected to obey
    Outgoing Police Commissioner Mike Bush appeared before the Epidemic Response Committee today, who asked him for the rules police are using to enforce the lockdown. He refused:Police Commissioner Mike Bush has admitted the advice given to Kiwis about what they're able to do during the lockdown hasn't been clear enough. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7 (sanitised version)
    For those folk who find my other Lock-Down Diary versions too “negative” or otherwise unpalatable… Here’s a photo of my cat, . . Better? Tomorrow’s Sanitised Version: a pretty flower. . . . =fs= ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 7
    . . April 1: Day seven of living in lock-down… This morning I had a brief chat with one of my neighbours, “D” (social distance between us, a good three or four metres). I learned he had resigned from his previous job and had been hired by another company – ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • RIP The Listener, New Zealand’s pioneering voice
    Funnily enough, my thought as I start this post is whether it will be well written enough. Or should that be well enough written? Because so much of what I know about good writing came from my two stints at The Listener, which this morning was shut down due to ...
    PunditBy Tim Watkin
    1 week ago
  • OK, Britney: stop sniping at National for doing its job
    With normal democratic procedures in abeyance, there were two ways to go. First, it was open for the government to dissolve itself and invite the National Party to join a ministry of national salvation. That would have lessened the democratic deficit of the times by having a team of rivals without ...
    PunditBy Liam Hehir
    1 week ago
  • Helpful tips for parents during lockdown
    Dr Kirsty Ross Children and young people can respond differently in times of distress. This also varies by age and developmental stage, with younger children having more magical and imaginative thinking, and older children having more awareness and knowledge of the issues our communities are facing (which brings up ...
    SciBlogsBy Guest Author
    1 week ago
  • Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13, 2020
    1 week ago
  • Hungary is now a dictatorship
    Hungary has been a virtual dictatorship for a decade now, as Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has gradually eroded its democracy. But now, its official, with the passage of an indefinite emergency law allowing rule by decree:Hungary’s parliament has passed a new set of coronavirus measures that includes jail terms for ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A new Ministry of Works
    While the economy is on pause under lockdown, the government is beginning to plan how to cope with the post-lockdown, post-tourism, post-export education world we will eventually find ourselves in. They're planning a lot of infrastructure spending as economic stimulus, and have asked for proposals which can start the moment ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Capture: Well spaced out
    It's my distraction,  setting up tiny scenes to photograph.  I've got stuck on the Babushka dolls for now.  Something about their bubble shape.  Something about their never changing, smiling features, suggesting persistent equanimity.  Can we get through everything that is being thrown at us and keep at least a tiny ...
    1 week ago
  • Life in Lock Down: Day 6
    . . March 31: Day six of living in lock-down… This time I managed to sleep a little longer and the alarm woke me at the pre-set time: 6.55am. Then remembered I was working a later shift and could’ve slept in. Oh well, there are things to do at home. ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • March ’20 – NZ blogs sitemeter ranking
    Image credit: Diamond Harbour School Blogs I notice a few regulars no longer allow public access to the site counters. This may happen accidentally when the blog format is altered. If your blog is unexpectedly missing or ...
    1 week ago
  • Hard News: Poll Pot and the partisans
    Yesterday's Horizon poll showing support for a "Yes" vote in this year's cannabis referendum sliding into the majority for the first time in a year looked like good news for reformers – and it probably is. But the result warrants some scrutiny.The poll is the fifth in a series commissioned ...
    1 week ago
  • Why those bubbles are so important
    For almost a week now, every one of us who isn’t an essential worker has been confined to their bubble. We are allowed to go shopping for groceries, to visit the doctor, and to get a bit of exercise if we stay local. The reason we are doing this is ...
    SciBlogsBy Siouxsie Wiles
    1 week ago
  • A Government System That Works
    The Covid-19 saga will no doubt produce many twists and turns for us before it is finally brought to an end. But one thing it has shown us – and what comfort it should bring us – is that our country’s government is in good hands. I am not thinking ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • Smashing down the barriers: Where are we at with COVID vaccines?
    In the absence of a vaccine or a cure for a deadly disease, staying home in your bubble is what you do, the concept is not new.  To the best of my knowledge last time we did this in NZ was for polio, in the years before a vaccine came ...
    SciBlogsBy Helen Petousis Harris
    1 week ago
  • National Network on Cuba (USA): “Cuban medical solidarity is a pillar of its society and is founde...
    The following statement was released on March 28 by the National Network on Cuba, a coalition of 40 groups, based in the United States. In recent weeks, Cuba has deployed hundreds of medical providers to over a dozen countries in Europe, Asia, as well as to their neighbors in Latin ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago

  • Decisions made on urgent turf maintenance
    The Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson has announced that urgent maintenance of turf and care for plants in non-plantation nurseries will soon be able to go ahead under Level 4 restrictions. “The Government has agreed that urgent upkeep and maintenance of biological assets will be able to go ahead ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Acknowledging an extraordinary te reo champion
    E tangi ana a Taranaki iwi, e tangi ana te ao Māori, otirā e tangi ana te motu. Mōu katoa ngā roimata e riringi whānui ana, mōu katoa ngā mihi.   E te kaikōkiri i te reo Māori, e Te Huirangi, takoto mai. Takoto mai me te mōhio ko ngā ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    10 hours ago
  • Prime Minister’s remarks halfway through Alert Level 4 lockdown
    Today is day 15 of Alert Level 4 lockdown. And at the halfway mark I have no hesitation in saying, that what New Zealanders have done over the last two weeks is huge. In the face of the greatest threat to human health we have seen in over a century, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    12 hours ago
  • Licenses, WoFs and regos extended under lockdown
    All driver licences, WoFs, CoFs, and some vehicle certifications, that expired on or after 1 January 2020 will be valid for up to six months from 10 April 2020, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced. “People shouldn’t have to worry about getting fined for having an expired document if driving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • Inquiry report into EQC released
    The Government has today released the report from the Public Inquiry into the Earthquake Commission chaired by Dame Silvia Cartwright.  Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission Grant Robertson says the Government wants to learn from people’s experiences following the Canterbury earthquakes and other recent natural disasters. “Dame Silvia’s report documents ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    15 hours ago
  • More time for health workers and elderly to get flu vaccine
    The Government has extended by two weeks till April 27 the amount of time priority groups, such as health workers and those aged over 65, have to get their flu vaccine before it is made available to the wider public. This year’s vaccination campaign is a key component of the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Communities step up to help New Zealanders stay connected and fed during lockdown
    Communities stepping up to help New Zealanders stay at home to break the transmission of COVID-19 and save lives have received Government support, said Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni. “Delivering groceries for the elderly who can’t shop online, providing data packs for low income families to keep them connected, and being ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • 120 COVID-19 testing centres now operating
    Across New Zealand 120 sites are taking samples to be tested for COVID-19.   68 community based assessment centres (CBACs) have been established to take samples from people with COVID-19 symptoms. Alongside this, 52 other centres including designated general practices, swabbing centres, and mobile clinics are now testing people for ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Covid19: Government moving quickly to roll out learning from home
    The Ministry of Education is working with partners to develop a package of options so that students can learn at home when Term 2 begins on 15 April, Education Minister Chris Hipkins said today. Supports are also being prepared for households with children under five, to help parents and whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Making learning from home accessible to Māori learners and whānau
    Māori Television to begin educational te reo programmes Ki te Ao Mārama – a new online learning space Thousands of hard copy learning packs ready for distribution Helpdesk and advice service for kōhanga, kura and wharekura Television, the internet and hard copy learning packs are some of the ways whānau ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New Zealand to provide assistance to Vanuatu following Tropical Cyclone Harold
    Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has announced an initial package of support to help the people and the Government of Vanuatu respond to the impact of Tropical Cyclone Harold. “Our Pacific neighbours have been hit by a Category 5 Cyclone at the same time as dealing with the economic impacts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Planning for the future of tourism
    Tourism New Zealand to lead work reimagining the way tourism operates in post-COVID-19 world. Ministers to review International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy investment plan. The Government, industry and business are working together to develop a plan for how tourism will operate in a post-COVID-19 world, Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ horticulture sector feeding Kiwis and the world during COVID-19
    More New Zealanders are taking up the chance to work in horticulture as the sector keeps New Zealanders fed and in jobs during the COVID-19 Alert Level 4 lockdown. “Our horticulture sector has long been one of New Zealand’s export star performers, contributing around $6 billion a year to our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Work to repurpose PGF funds begins
    The Provincial Development Unit is working through applications and projects to see where Provincial Growth Fund money can be repurposed for initiatives deemed more critical to fighting the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones says. “We need to be throwing everything we have at ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • A million workers supported by Govt wage subsidy
    The Government’s wage subsidy to protect jobs and keep workers and businesses connected during the lockdown has now supported over a million New Zealanders, with $6.6 billion already paid out. “We’re supporting businesses to pay wages, and stay connected with their workers so that we are all in a better ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government helps Pacific communities fight COVID
    The Government is stepping up efforts to help protect New Zealand’s Pacific communities in the fight against COVID-19. Cabinet has agreed that $17 million will be allocated to support a COVID-19 Pacific Response Package, which will: Support Pacific health and disability services facing increased demand; Ramp up public health messaging ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from the Prime Minister on Dr David Clark
    “Yesterday evening the Health Minister advised me of his trip to a beach during the lockdown and offered his resignation,” Jacinda Ardern said.  “Under normal conditions I would sack the Minister of Health. What he did was wrong, and there are no excuses.  “But right now, my priority is our ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Statement from David Clark
    Last night as part of my preparation for the Epidemic Response Committee, I provided the Prime Minister with a complete picture of my activity outside my home during Alert Level 4.  That included the fact that on the first weekend of the Alert Level 4 lockdown I drove my family ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 mental health support begins
    A range of support is being rolled out across New Zealand to help people look after their mental health during COVID-19 Health Minister David Clark said this morning. “COVID-19 has brought a lot of uncertainty into our lives and many of us will be feeling some level of distress or ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • New Zealanders in Peru to be assisted by Government charter flight
    The New Zealand Government has made arrangements to charter a flight for New Zealanders stranded in Peru to depart the country, following agreement with the Chilean government to allow the necessary transit through Chile, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters announced today. “Like many travellers around the world at the moment, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • COVID-19 Hospital Preparation Well Advanced
    Hospital preparations for COVID-19 are well advanced says Health Minister David Clark. “Hospitals across New Zealand are repurposing buildings and training staff to get ready for COVID-19 patients. This gives me confidence that we are well prepared for any potential increase in COVID-19 patients needing hospital level care,” said David ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Further measures to support businesses
    The Government will be introducing legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to COVID-19 to remain viable and keep New Zealanders in jobs. The temporary changes include: Giving directors of companies facing significant liquidity problems because of COVID-19 a ‘safe harbour’ from insolvency ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Govt’s COVID plan, economic strength recognised
    The Government’s plan to cushion the blow of COVID-19 by supporting incomes, jobs and businesses, and position the economy to recover has been backed by another international report. International credit rating agency Moody’s today reaffirmed its highest Aaa credit rating on New Zealand, saying the economy is expected to remain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Government supports air services to offshore islands
    The Government has stepped in to support vital air links to our offshore islands, the Chatham Islands, Great Barrier Island and Motiti Island, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. “As part of our $600 million support package to minimise the impacts of COVID-19 on the aviation sector, the Government has ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Funding certainty for sports through COVID-19
    National sports organisations have been given certainty of funding to ensure they can remain viable through the COVID-19 pandemic, Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson announced today. “The global spread of COVID-19 has had a significant impact on sport and recreation in New Zealand, including the cancellation or postponement of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 days ago
  • Butchers now allowed to process pork
    Changes have been made to allow butchers to process pork, only for supply to supermarkets or other processors or retailers that are open, Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor has announced. “We carefully weighed the risk of allowing butchers to open their shops for retail customers, but the risk of spreading COVID-19 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential workers leave scheme established
    Essential workers who take leave from work to comply with public health guidance are being supported with a leave scheme to ensure they will continue to receive income, say the Minister of Workplace Relations and Safety Iain Lees-Galloway and Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni. A number of essential businesses ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Govt WhatsApp helps share COVID-19 information
    A Government WhatsApp channel has been launched to help make information more easily accessible and shareable in the fight against COVID-19. Govt.NZ, which is free to use on any mobile device, will carry information and news for the public, businesses, healthcare providers, not for profits and local government. It can ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Managed departure plan for stranded foreign nationals enables safe, orderly exit
    The Government has announced a plan to enable the safe, orderly exit of tens of thousands of stranded foreign nationals from New Zealand during the current COVID-19 Alert Level 4 restrictions, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Winston Peters has said. “When we moved into lockdown a week ago, the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government delivers COVID-19 support to GPs and Pharmacies
    Health Minister Dr David Clark says the Government is delivering on its commitment to support general practice doctors and nurses, and pharmacies on the front-line of our fight against COVID-19. "For us to overcome COVID-19, we need community health services such as general practice and community pharmacy to step up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Susan Thomas the new Chief High Court Judge
    Justice Susan Thomas has been appointed Chief High Court Judge, Attorney-General David Parker announced today.  She replaces Justice Geoffrey Venning who has resigned from the position.   David Parker paid tribute to Justice Venning, who he said had stewarded the High Court very capably over the last five years.   “On behalf ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Business Finance Guarantee – applications open
    Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the New Zealand economy during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re moving quickly to protect New Zealand businesses, jobs and the economy during this unprecedented global economic shock,” Finance Minister Grant Robertson said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Work starts on ways to fast-track consents to boost recovery from Covid-19 downturn
    Work is underway looking at measures to speed up consents for development and infrastructure projects during the recovery from COVID 19, to provide jobs and stimulate our economy.  Environment Minister David Parker said the COVID-19 pandemic is a serious global crisis that will have a wide ranging and lasting impact ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Advance payments to support contractors
    Advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand’s COVID-19 economic recovery, Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced today. He said keeping the workforce required to build ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Government seeks infrastructure projects
    The Government has tasked a group of industry leaders to seek out infrastructure projects that are ready to start as soon as the construction industry returns to normal to reduce the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford and Infrastructure Minister Shane Jones say. The Infrastructure ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Health system scaled up to prepare for COVID-19
    Work to scale up the health system in preparation for COVID-19 was today outlined by Health Minister David Clark, as he reported back to the new Epidemic Response Committee. “We are well placed to contain the spread of COVID-19. We have taken early and decisive action at our borders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Essential media COVID-19 guidelines refined
    The Government is refining its COVID-19 essential business guidance to include the distribution of news publications for communities which are hard to reach. The Minister of Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media, Kris Faafoi, said the move was in recognition of the importance for New Zealanders who might be harder to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supermarkets able to open on Easter Sunday
    The Government is ensuring supermarkets can open on Easter Sunday so we can buy groceries, but stay closed on Good Friday allowing workers to take a break. This provides a balanced approach and ensures we avoid large queues that two days closure may cause. “Supermarkets will be able to open ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand defence personnel conclude mission at Taji
    Following the successful conclusion of the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission at Taji, New Zealand defence personnel are returning to New Zealand from Iraq, in accordance with the Cabinet decision made in June 2019, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters and Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today. “New Zealand is very ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • State of National Emergency extended
    The State of National Emergency to help stop the spread of COVID-19 has been extended for a further seven days, Minister of Civil Defence Peeni Henare said. The initial declaration on March 25 lasted seven days and can be extended as many times as necessary. “Since we went into isolation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago