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Two big policy fails

Written By: - Date published: 10:24 am, February 24th, 2017 - 10 comments
Categories: education, housing, national, schools, useless - Tags: , , , , , ,

This is what you get with a hasty, reactive, “top down” policy process. Fail one:

Bill English struggles to offload a billion dollars

Back in July last year, the Government reacted to the calls from fast-growing cities – mainly Auckland, but Tauranga, Hamilton, Queenstown and Christchurch as well – for assistance to pay for the roads, sewers and water services that underpin any new housing development.

This was “only for substantial new infrastructure investments that support more new housing”, not plans already on the books.

Fast-forward to the first of this month and a little-noticed Government statement suggesting a rather feeble appetite for all this free money.

It encouraged councils “to be more ambitious in their final proposals”, saying that “only a small number of the 17 proposals received … would result in projects being advanced earlier than previously planned”.

So what’s the problem?

In short, the problem is that the targeted councils, and Auckland in particular, baulked at taking funds that are not a grant, but a loan.

Auckland has worked hard and still has work to do keeping its balance sheet in shape to maintain a AA credit rating. …

Councils can already borrow money, are already in debt, and don’t want any more – as any idiot could have seen at the time this boondoggle was announced.

Fail two:

Huge $330m under-spend in flagship education policy

Just a fraction of the $359 million budgeted for a flagship government educational policy has been spent, raising questions over the scheme’s worth.

National’s Investing in Educational Success (IES) initiative was touted as a key policy to tackle under achievement and change the way schools operate.

The Government pledged $359 million to IES over the first four years, and $155 million a year after that, when it announced the scheme in 2014.

However, only $26 million of that pot has been allocated in the first three years of the initiative – or only 7 per cent of the total – figures, provided to the from Parliamentary questions lodged by the Labour Party, show.

It leaves a whopping $333 million un-spent with only one financial year left.

Labour’s education spokesman Chris Hipkins said the under-spend showed teachers were sceptical about jumping into another government scheme aimed at raising achievement.

“It would be fair to say that they’ve been under-whelmed by the whole concept and as a result [the Ministry] can’t give the money away,” he said.

Hipkins said the lack of consultation with the sector when IES was designed was now showing.

“I think if you’re going to pour $360 million into schooling you need to know it’s going to make a difference.

“Whereas they’ve poured that money in, it’s barely been touched, and that shows the whole concept was badly designed from the beginning.”

The $330 million under-spend would only “stick in the craw of schools that are basically struggling to make ends meet”, he said. Especially given the Government’s freeze on schools’ operational spending at the last Budget. …

Because listening to teachers’ actual needs is just too crazy.

What a mess.

10 comments on “Two big policy fails ”

  1. simbit 1

    NZ run like an SME, with all the fears and internal dysfunction and miscommunication that entails. Jeez Wayne…

  2. greywarshark 2

    A fusion of policy, ideas and sleight-of-hand pilot pop-ups, give NZs brief glimpses of possibilities in vaunting speeches, about things that never happen, and result in a mix of what should be useful and vital policies stirred together which form a grey inert mass. Like the so-called brains of the leaders of our political land, well-paid and immovable like chewing-gum.

    And the elite spend their time swanning around feeling important and driving their pretty engines on their pretty properties, and show us what the pretty people who pretty well don’t give a hoot for any of the lower orders, aspire to. Redundancy!

  3. Michael 3

    It’s a pity then that Labour doesn’t have any credible policies to persuade a sceptical electorate that it would be any different to the Nats if it became government. As a result, most people will conclude it’s better to stick with the devil they know than the untrustworthy one they remember all too well.

    • greywarshark 3.1

      But Michael, how can Labour be more untrustworthy than National? If looking for the most untrustworthy a voter should vote National, but that would be illogical wouldn’t it?

    • tc 3.2

      A memory and logic failure all in one post.

      Where were we on the global educational rankings when labour left in 08 versus now ?

      You can trust national will continue that trend so your choice of devil shows the direction you want education to take i.e. The blighted future

    • Bearded Git 3.3


      ummm Labour hasn’t released most of its policies yet as is normal before an election.

      Shouldn’t you wait until you see the policies before you judge them….but wait sorry I forgot you are a Tory and have already made up your mind.

      You are exhibiting troll behaviour.

  4. Leftie 4

    National and their co partners are a massive fail, full stop. Change the government.

    • Red 4.1

      unfortunately for you I doubt that is going to happen, i hope you are preparing yourself for that jolt of reality

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