There’s nothing vague about National’s education policy announcement *

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, July 30th, 2018 - 30 comments
Categories: education, making shit up, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, uncategorized, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

I was hoping to present a detailed analysis of Simon Bridges conference speech and what he was proposing by way of education policy.

I could not however because it was nowhere on the web, at least as far as I could tell.

When I went to the National Party website and clicked on the 2018 conference link I was led to this page:

National Conference page

And there was all sorts of other problems for National, like Social media with spelling mistakes.

But the cheerleaders were there to try and deflect attention from these shortcomings.  From Stacey Kirk at Stuff:

National leader Simon Bridges has delivered a commitment to reduce class sizes in primary schools, during a major speech in which he also attacked the Government’s economic management.

In a fiery speech to the National Party annual conference on Sunday, Bridges promised National would increase the number of primary teachers to reduce class sizes and give kids “more teacher time”.

“With the right education we can overcome the challenges that some children face purely because of the circumstances they were born into,” he said.

The announcement was met with thunderous applause as the high point of a conference designed to reinforce the party was still strong, in the face of its election loss.

“There is one thing every child needs to help them achieve their potential, from the one that struggles to sit still and follow instructions to the bright child that wants to be challenged to the gifted child that doesn’t know how to channel their talent,” Bridges said.

“And that’s attention from one of New Zealand’s world class teachers who can cater to the needs of each child, and spend more time with each of them.

Who could freaking disagree with that.  Of course smaller class sizes will be great for education standards.  So I keenly waited for details.  How much were they going to invest, what was going to be the new class size average and when were they going to achieve it?

Then crickets.  No detail.  Nada, nil. nothing.

Remember when David Cunliffe was castigated and hounded when in opposition when some of Labour’s policy detail, which included over 50 pages of information, was not quite pristine?

The difference in treatment is startling.

Is this what National has to show for a year in opposition?  A slogan without costing?

National will have some explaining to do because the last time it addressed the issue of class sizes it tried to put the student teacher ratio up, not down.

From Stuff in 2012:

The Government’s move to increase class sizes has sparked immediate controversy, with accusations it will have a ”severe impact” on the quality of primary school teaching.

Education Minister Hekia Parata this morning announced the schools funding formula would change, with the student ratios in the mid-years of education changed.

Instead of the existing range of anywhere between one to 23 up to one to 29, there would be a single ratio of one to 27.5, in a change that would save about $43m per year.

Parata said about 90 per cent of schools would either gain or have a net loss of less than one full time equivalent teacher as a result of the combined effect of the changes.

“These more consistent ratios will give schools greater certainty over their resourcing from year to year,” she said.

And teachers are not buying it.  From Newstalk ZB:

A number of those within the teaching sector are finding National’s promise of smaller class sizes hard to believe.

The promise was the centrepiece of Simon Bridges’ speech at his party’s annual conference at the weekend.

Auckland Primary Principals’ Association president Helen Varney told Kate Hawkesby over the past nine years the National government did little to show trust or raise the status of teaching.

“Three years ago the National government had plenty of opportunity to change their policies, and change the way teaching was viewed and bring more people into the profession but very little of that was done.”

Varney says she therefore has little confidence in the announcement.

“Look it’s a great idea, it’s wonderful, it’s actually what we want. But Mr Bridges is very short on detail, he doesn’t give us any detail on how many students are actually going to be in that class.”

This was a strange choice for National to make.  Sure it is a good think, like patting a dog is a good thing, but there is no idea of how, when or how much,

It is incredibly lazy.  I suspect that BBQ season will continue for National’s caucus.

30 comments on “There’s nothing vague about National’s education policy announcement *”

  1. Carolyn_Nth 1

    Well Bridges is saying National will aim to triple the number of charter schools. So, if they have very low class numbers, and are included in the overall average with state schools, that’ll bring the average down.

    Bridges on drums? Shades of Shearer on guitar. That went so well for him.

  2. Cinny 2

    Shared the ‘news’ with a teacher this morning, they burst out laughing and thought I was joking. I asked… don’t you believe simon? The teacher laughed even louder.

    I’m sure if the teacher saw simons social media post, about education, with it’s spelling mistake they would laugh ever harder still. That’s an epic as fail. I’m laughing hard myself.

    Great post Micky, was reading comments via stuff last night on said subject, they were scathing.

  3. Tuppence Shrewsbury 3

    Love the continual dog whistle trying to compere Bridges to Cunliffe.

    One is in charge of a party that is sure enough of itself it doesn’t have to appoint the new messiah. The other is david cunliffe

    • AB 3.1

      Yeah – dumb comparison.
      On one hand an intelligent, principled social democrat hounded by a vicious media and stabbed in the back by his own party.
      On the other hand a not too bright, unprincipled Tory endlessly talked up by a cheerleading media and (who will be) stabbed in the back by his own party.
      No similarities, none whatsoever.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 3.1.1

        Principled social democrat? I don’t even need to being to fill in the gaps to point out that is not true.

        how principled was David adopting a fake accent appealing to the bros, preaching about housing affordability, while living in the least affordable suburb in New Zealand. At least Len Brown lived in Manukau.

        Your comparison is more apt than mine, Cunliffe was stabbed in the back by his own party. As will Bridges be if he delivers Cunliffe-like election results.

        Even MS is trying to equate the uselessness of David Culiffe’s time as leader of the opposition to the position bridges is in now. And on a preferred leader basis, MS is not drawing that long a bow. That’s why I love the dog whistle and the subtle slap in the face it delivers to both men.

        But National aren’t Labour. Personality cult driven politics doesn’t mean much when the party is sky high in the polls.

        • Dean Reynolds

          I’m tired of this ‘sky high in the polls’ BS about National. The highest party vote that National ever achieved was 47% in 2011 & 2014 when Key was at the height of his popularity. 47% is not 51% which National will never achieve on its own, the arithmetic of MMP simply doesn’t allow it. So, which minor party will get National over the 50% line? No one – such a party doesn’t exist now & they won’t exist in 2020.

          • alwyn

            There are two minor parties that will get National over the 50% line of course. They are New Zealand First and the Greens. You only need 50% of the votes that count in the final result to get to be able to form a Government.
            When both New Zealand First and the Green Party fail to get up to the 5% barrier their votes will all be totally irrelevant. Thus there will only be National and Labour, and possibly little orphan ACT who will be represented in the next Parliament.
            Neither NZF nor the Greens will be missed of course. Both have sold out New Zealand in the pursuit of their baubles, and their seats in the Bimmers.

        • mickysavage


          You read too much Whaleoil.

          And that is a really long bow. All I was doing was remarking how extraordinary it was for Cunliffe to be hounded for a slight perfection in the detail but Bridges gets a free pass when there is basically no detail whatsoever.

          • Tuppence Shrewsbury

            There were plenty of times DC got away with no detail, it’s when everything had no detail that the media started pulling him up. It will happen to bridges to if he doesn’t flesh out the policy quickly and succinctly

            I don’t read WO. too many weird contributors who can’t make arguments stack up

    • compare not compere, TS.

      • Tuppence Shrewsbury 3.2.1

        Learning dictionairies on the iPhone don’t learn context or grammar. Still shoddy of me.

  4. The Chairman 4

    National announcing policy like this (reducing class sizes) which we on the left support, presents Labour (now that they hold power) with the opportunity to cut National off at the pass and just do it.

    • Chris T 4.1

      Bet they don’t

      • The Chairman 4.1.1

        It will be interesting to see if they allow National to outplay them on this one.

    • John up North 4.2

      Thanks for that reminder chairfella, I quite often get confused as to where you stand by most of what comes out of your keyboard. Nice to have your esteemed company on the left???

      • The Chairman 4.2.1

        It seems (like a number of others) you’ve mistaken my criticism of Labour (which lets face it aren’t really left) and the Greens (whose performance has been questionable to date) as a sign I ‘m not from the left.

        • Robert Guyton

          Are you “from the Left” and supportive of “the Left”, rather than “the Right” Chair?

  5. Michelle 5

    Funny that, to say they now want smaller class sizes when ten bridges party wanted to privatise education its his own party that has undermined our teachers and its no wonder people don’t want to be a teacher and we have a shortage. For 9 years they have been kicking the teachers in the guts and other public servants. All this from a party that is now backtracking. Their polices have exacerbated many of our social problems. The lack of affordable housing in areas like Auckland who would want to teach there on a teachers salary where are the incentives. Many of the problems stem from the tories privatisation agenda have they forgot what they truly stand for.

  6. The Fairy Godmother 6

    I seem to remember National proposing an option of online courses for students. All they need to do is define a computer as a teacher and they have much reduced teacher ratios.

  7. gsays 7

    i look forward to hearing the nats support for the teachers when their pay round comes up.

  8. Jeff 8

    Smaller class sizes is absolutely something that should happen! But there is a cost and the good people who vote National (oxymoron there!) don’t like “cost”. The cost includes not only the salaries of the teachers but also their training, building the extra classrooms where they will teach, the increased salaries necessary to attract more into the profession – and more!

  9. ianmac 9

    If a teacher is used to large class size then the methods to run such a class must change if given a class of less than 22. Opens up a whole new opportunity if the methods are altered to suit. But if the old big class methods are kept just the same for a small class, there would be little improvement.

  10. peterlepaysan 10

    Actchually I thort dat putting enough income to poorer families to feed, clothe and protect them would increase the learning ability would be a better place to start.

    People with good life security learn much better.

    Poverty and housing deprivation do not need attention?

    Smaller class sizes will fix that. YEAH RIGHT!

  11. Jackel 11

    Don’t fall for that one. Anyway, If the global economy does head a bit south Labour have said they will increase fiscal spending as required. We have room to move. You can’t ask them to be anymore sensible than that.

  12. peterlepaysan 12

    Damn! I did not connect dots.

    Smaller classes and charter schools. Silly me!

    Privatise privatise
    Piratise piratise
    Parasite parasite.

    The national party and simon bridges are beneath contempt

  13. peterlepaysan 13


    Mea culpa!

    In hindsight (6/6) my blindsight (0/0) explains my puzzlement over the nats interest in educaion under key/tolley/parata years. In previous decades they put troublesome mps into the Education portfolio to shut them up.

    The combination of treasury (double dipton, not a good look,) wonk binglish and a wall street trader and banksact came up with charter school idea. A great idea to privatise schools.

    Just think of the loot available to all those nice kind politically disinterested philanthropic capitalists brainwashing all those children. They would never exploit them or their parents?

    Anyone been to a retirement village lately, and seen what can happen at the other end of the age spectrum?

  14. Philj 14

    Sorry to change topic… But Simon’s education position, is just as treacherous as Minister of Broadcasting Curran’s position on providing a commercial free TV channel.

    • John up North 14.1

      Hey yeah! never mind the ongoing bullshit Nats pulled…………… waddabout Labour!

      Sorry about the deflection of your deflection.

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