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Vote National, get ACT

Written By: - Date published: 9:34 am, May 27th, 2008 - 78 comments
Categories: act - Tags: , ,

A source present at the University of Victoria debating society event last night tells us that Heather Roy referred to herself frequently (but we’re told lightheartedly) as the Minister of Education in a National/ACT government before handing out these scholarships vouchers… you’ll notice it’s even signed by Roger Douglas <shiver>.

78 comments on “Vote National, get ACT ”

  1. Tamaki Resident 1

    Could someone from “the right” please explain how these would work. Currently zoning provides a relatively crude, but effective, form of rationing. If we had vouchers how would the schools decide who gets in? (I’m assuming zoning would be done away with)

    At the moment I’m in a great primary school zone (so I like zoning 🙂 ), but a poor secondary zone. With vouchers would that mean that I might not get to send my kids to the closest primary school? For secondary school, how do I compete for the places with all the other parents who live a whole lot closer to the better school?

  2. djp 2

    I wish…. 🙂

    National are a bunch of pansies

  3. Vanilla Eis 3

    Tamaki: Having heard Heather go on about the subject, it’s a ‘first in, first served’ basis, with schools having the ability to deny students for any reason.

    When asked about problem students (Either special needs, or those with behavioural problems) , her solution was to give them a bigger ‘scholarship’ to entice schools to take them on.

  4. ghostwhowalks 4

    On the back of the ‘scholarship’ voucher is a loan application. After thats the next step if students can be $40,000 in debt after 3-4 years of tertiary study why not get another $30,000 for the primary to secondary years.
    Because we can be sure of one thing it will cost parents a lot more than the $100,000 on the voucher.

    But Key of course with his kids at the private Kings school would be very very happy with this

  5. Vote National, get ACT?
    I wish…
    Sadly, its more vote National, get a murky Labour decaffinated.
    But who knows, National might actually release some policy and then they can become a full bodied Rich Roast.
    I too would like to know how these vouchers would work in practice, and the present system does have problems.I suppose if public opinon favours them Labour will end up stealing the policy and use govspeak to call them: ‘education allocation units’ or Individual educational funding allocation provisions’. They may have to hire a whole new group of civil servants and consultants just to name them!

  6. higherstandard 6

    Tamaki resident

    I am from the ‘right’ as you call it – however I cannot tell you how these would work in fact I cannot see how they would work although as Burt posts below perhaps there would be very little difference to the status quo ?

  7. burt 7

    Tamaki Resident

    Firstly lets look at zoning. I’m in a similar situation to you because we moved the family to a rental property (while renting our own place out to others) to get the kids into a good primary school zone. We will move again in about 18 months because we own a property in a good high school zone. So don’t despair about zoning, it might be in place to stop people having a choice in the schools their children are sent to, but it’s relatively ineffective at that if you are prepared to make a few sacrifices in the best interest of your children’s education. This also gives you a chance to claim some household maintenance as a tax deduction to off set the cost of moving.

    The vouchers… Without knowing if zoning would be done away with or not it’s hard to visualise how it would work. But the essence of the idea is that every child has an entitlement to “free” education. If that entitlement is consumed at a state school then the voucher covers that cost (probably plus the usual voluntary donations we already have today). However if you choose a private school then the voucher can be “topped-up” with your own money for the difference.

    The key issue here is that the tax you pay for education is not wasted money if you choose a ‘non state school option”. IE: You are not paying for something you are not using, you are not paying the full cost of private while providing state school capacity for somebody else’s children.

    As far as schools go, the only difference for your local state school could be zip. The local kids turn up with a voucher and they are enrolled as per today.

  8. Vanilla Eis 8

    Burt: Heather made it quite clear in her speech that zoning would be done away with.

  9. Tamaki Resident 9

    So if I understand you correctly Burt, it’s a subsidy for those sending their children to private schools? 😉

  10. burt 10


    But Key of course with his kids at the private Kings school would be very very happy with this

    I think Trevor Mallard would have been happy with this as well when he was sending his kids to out of zone schools. It’s really funny how on one hand he was all for zoning but didn’t use the local schools himself.

    Balance ghostie… don’t open the can of worms about peoples own school choices unless you really want to be covered in them yourself. At least Key paid his tax for the state system, paid the full cost for the private system and played by all the rules… sending your kids to an out of zone school is a disgrace for a person in the position Mallard was in at the time.

  11. burt 11

    Tamaki Resident

    I don’t think it can be called a subsidy. As a tax payer you are paying for your children’s education. You have invested money with the govt so they provide schools, teachers etc. If you choose to not use that capacity you have paid for then you get to take your investment with you to another provider. I can’t actually imagine a fairer system. Under the current system if you choose private you are subsidising other peoples children and paying the full cost for your own children. This is simply wrong.

    Apply this concept to health, I made a comment about it last night here: http://www.thestandard.org.nz/?p=1980#comment-50173

  12. ‘first in, first served’ basis, with schools having the ability to deny students for any reason.


    “However if you choose a private school then the voucher can be “topped-up’ with your own money for the difference.”

    Ahh I was wondering how they planned to keep the riff raf out.

    “I think Trevor Mallard would have been happy with this as well when he was sending his kids to out of zone schools.”

    I dont get what the big issue is with sending his kids to an out of zone school? they put there names in the ballot like every other student?

  13. burt 13

    Another factor about removing school zones will be the distortion on real estate prices will be removed. Some people will like this and others will not.

    However we can’t ignore the current situation where a house in a popular high school zone can have a $100K premium over a house a few streets away “out of zone”.

    Another unintended consequence of introducing zoning to make life easier for school administrators.

  14. burt 14


    They put their names in the ballot like every other student…ha ha.

    How many kids entered Wellington College off the ballot last year ? How many this year? Buy a lotto ticket if you get in from out of zone, or thank your personal status… which ever works for you mate.

  15. Stephen 15

    Would this system also enable schools to be free to charge what they want? “It’s a market” and all that…That would certainly worry me…

  16. Vanilla Eis 16

    Stephen: Schools would be able to charge what they wanted, and if parents thought it was worth it they would pay. The Invisible Hand would create an equilibrium and all that.

  17. burt
    May 27, 2008 at 10:32 am

    They put their names in the ballot like every other student ha ha.

    How many kids entered Wellington College off the ballot last year ? How many this year? Buy a lotto ticket if you get in from out of zone, or thank your personal status which ever works for you mate.

    Its an official set up, all the schools get together in 1 place and draw them out under police supervision, If you are going to say its something to do with his personal status thats a pretty big accusation to make. (maybe you shoudl give ian wishhart a call?)

    I know of at least half a dozen people who go or went there from out of zone

  18. uroskin 18

    Since I don’t have kids, can I have my $100,000 back?

  19. r0b 19

    Another unintended consequence of introducing zoning to make life easier for school administrators.

    That’s a particularly foolish claim Burt, and you’ve backed down from it once before already on this thread, so why repeat it?

    Key hopping on Hobsonville

  20. Vanilla Eis 20

    Uroskin: Lord knows. Probably not. Got to be a breeder to get anywhere in this country!

    Captcha: Disclosed point.

  21. burt 21


    The Listener covers the issue of zoning quite well here:

    School wars

    And, according to Wellington College principal Roger Moses, the ballot has only served to make it harder for the very target groups that the system was intended to help.

    “At Auckland Grammar, for instance, there were a significant number of Maori and Pacific Island students, but now it’s gone right down [the number has dropped to 1.5% Maori and 2% Pacific Island from a high of 8% each, according to head John Morris]. That’s a sad thing. One student who had worked really hard to get into [Wellington College] and missed out on the ballot said all it had taught him was that life is just a lottery.

    Is this working for students or working for administrators ? Administrators that seem to think it’s not a great scheme for their own kids…

  22. burt 22


    In that thread I see me taking the piss out of you and you conceding almost all of my points were valid… Sure zoning isn’t “only” for administrators… I did take back that flippant comment.

    So what is your point other than your inevitable “status quo” is perfect comment which I’m sure you will make soon?

  23. Stephen 23

    Vanilla Eis, then surely the ‘good’ schools would only be available to those who could afford them, government voucher or not?

  24. For a start Wellington college is style over substance and Roger Moses is a pretnetious prat. Oh how that school wishes it was a private school, and yes it sure trys to pretend it is (detention if you dont stand up when an adult walks into the room any one?).

    He might rasie the issue of the numbers of Maori and Pacific Island students up at Auckland Grammar, I’d say hes far more concerned about the number of immigrant and refugees just up the road in Newtown, though by the looks of the zoning map they have done a pretty good job of keeping most of Newtown out of zone.

    Theres still going to be the same number of people trying to get into the same number of spaces, someones going to have to miss out. I think vouchers have some merit, but im still not convienced.

  25. r0b 25

    In that thread I see me taking the piss out of you and you conceding almost all of my points were valid

    I’m sure you do Burt.

    So what is your point other than your inevitable “status quo’ is perfect comment which I’m sure you will make soon?

    My point Burt is that one shouldn’t make trivial and foolish claims if one wants to be taken seriously in debate.

  26. rjs131 26

    Well i am pretty confident that Wellington College has a better academic/cultural/sporting record than Wellington high school about 2 km away. Doesnt wellington high have the worst record in wellington for Truancy? I wonder why people rather woudl send their kids to wellington college than wellington high?

  27. Tamaki Resident 27

    If zoning is abolished then there are two options for schools:
    1 – First in, first served (when do you register your kids – conception, birth, 5 yrs old…?!)
    2 – Take the kids that live closest to the school (oops, now we’ve got defacto zoning)

    There has to be some logical way of rationing for the popular schools, and proximity (imho) is the most logical – so while the real estate price differential may not have a clear differentiating line, it will still be there.

  28. erikter 28

    “..Wellington college is style over substance and Roger Moses is a pretnetious (sic) prat.”

    What a disgraceful comment.

    Take a look at past years’ statistics and you will find Wellington College at the top of the list in academic achievements.

    Roger Moses has been instrumental in achieving these objectives. As a parent, he has my full support.

    You may not like the person, but he’s an excellent professional well respected around the region. Politically correct, he is not!

  29. Interesting, ive never really looked very closely at zoning (I was in zone for an exceptionally good (non-pretentious) school back in my day.

    Wow so the entire Wellington College Zone is also covered by Wellington High School.

    Looking at the zones, I assume Burt probably lives in Khandallah, Pity Wellingtion college coudlnt have thier zone streached any more, maybe a little bubble sticking out to get Khandallah aswell? I wonder whos more pissed off that this coudnt happen, Wellington College or Burt.

    Under an education voucher system Burt, how would you ensure the problem identified over in the affordable housing thread, that parents of Maori students were being turned away at a greater rate than white parents?

  30. I hear he particularly dislikes out of zone students too, has all the 3rd form out of zone students called to a special meeting at the start of the year and told they are there as a privilege not a right or something along those lines?

    Or does he have the deputy principal do that (the vertically challenged\angry one from (rapidly fading) memory?)

  31. Policy Parrot 31

    Education vouchers are simply a tax break for the rich. Its as simple as that. Far from increasing choice, they in fact decrease choice for low-middle income parents who are forced to educate their children at the schools who have the lowest “premium” on top of their vouchers. Choose the schools that have the least extra-curricular activities. Complemented with bulk-funding, it is one step removed from full privitisation of education.

    Many parents are already struggling with the burden of a public education for their children, and the National (Act) Party propose to increase this burden by implementing policies that don’t improve educational outcomes for any, but financial outcomes for a chosen few.

    The current funding model for private education works well, with perhaps an annually adjusted funding cap for private schools to keep the toadies happy. Opting for education vouchers implies that your political beliefs view a public education with scorn and contempt, and I find that personally offensive.

  32. Felix 32

    Since I don’t have kids, can I have my $100,000 back?

    Yeah and I don’t have 3 kids, can I have my $300,000 back?

  33. All of which points to the fallicy of the education voucher system.

    Education is a social good and ought to be funded socially and provided in a way that gives everyone, regardless of their parents’ wealth, an equal quality of education.

    The voucher idea is just a way for rich people to stop funding public schools and have even more money for private schools – creating a greater public vs private quality divide in education.

  34. erikter 34

    PP said: “Many parents are already struggling with the burden of a public education for their children,”

    Hadn’t we had a wonderful Labour government for the last nine (9) years? How could parents struggle in worker’s paradise?

    Stop parroting lines and do better my left-winged commenter.

  35. Yeah and I don’t have 3 kids, can I have my $300,000 back?


  36. Vanilla Eis 36

    Stephen: That was my impression too.

    A market is only truly competitive if there is no differentiation between products. This is definitely not the case with schools. I also fear that a lot more students will fall between the cracks due to poor records. What school would accept a student that has been expelled from two others? How much is that student’s education worth to the government? I can already hear the righties screaming unfairness when such a child’s ‘scholarship’ is worth more than their own.

    SP summed up why we need a proper funding system quite nicely just above this post.

    Felix: Maybe there will be tax breaks for the childless? As long as it’s to the tune of 100k/lifetime it should work out nicely. Of course, this means you have to ensure that families are taxed 100k per child and we all know they’re able to burden that cost.

    Captcha: Aprons hamp-

  37. Mike Collins 37

    Well guys I suggest you take a look at that socialist haven Sweden where this is how the education system is run. And has been since the early 90’s. It is very successful and has suuport of all parties except the communist party – you detractors are in fine company there, but I’m sure that won’t bother you at all 😉

    Someone asked what happens with students who are from poorer backgrounds and have special needs. The Swedish experience is that there are now more specialist schools that cater for those with differing needs. There are independent schools setting up in Swedish cities in largely immigrant neighbourhoods. These schools are giving a great opportunity for success to their students. And let’s face it – every kid is different and has differing educational needs. A one size fits all approach doesn’t necessarily work.

    I have no problem with the profit motive being an incentive to drive educational outcomes. I understand people here might, but all I ask is that people don’t let ideology get in the way of introducing a proven system that will help our kids.

  38. rjs131 38

    Education is a social good and ought to be funded socially and provided in a way that gives everyone, regardless of their parents’ wealth, an equal quality of education.

    So Steve are you saying that poorer students shouldnt have the benefit of a private school education, because you have contradicted yourself in your statement in defendnig education as a social good. Why should parents in Otahuhu be deprived of the choice of their children attending local school kings college. Why shoudl parents in Seatoun be deprived of the choice of sending their children to local school scots college

  39. Tamaki Resident 39

    Mike Collins – The Swedish system would help explain why tax revenue as a % of GDP is 50% in that country. (Source: Economist 24 May 2008)

  40. burt 40

    Tamiki Resident

    There has to be some logical way of rationing for the popular schools

    Well that’s an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff approach. A better solution is to identify why some schools are popular and some are not, then fix the unpopular ones. The zoning system makes no attempt at this, it simply reduces parental choice so that parents have no choice but to send their kids to unpopular schools or move to a different zone. Moving to a different zone is not an affordable option for everybody so they are forced to play school roulette.

  41. Mike Collins 41

    It may well be Tamaki Resident, however your point doesn’t correlate to the argument at hand – or at least you haven’t demonstrated that it does. Not really sure what you are trying to suggest here.

  42. Mike Collins 42

    Important point Burt. One of the interesting developments from the Swedish experience is the “franchising” (for want of a better term) of successful school systems. Independent schools are modelling themselves on successful models and taking over/moving into areas where the community has been let down.

    In one rural place the local state school was going to be shut down because it wasn’t viable when using the state’s funding criteria. The local parents banded together to ensure the local school stayed open. It was only because of the scholarship system that this was possible.

  43. burt 43

    Steve P.

    The voucher idea is just a way for rich people to stop funding public schools and have even more money for private schools – creating a greater public vs private quality divide in education.

    A greater public vs private divide…. so hey lets not improve the public schools, lets zone them so people have no choice but to attend them then we can pretend that they are great.

    What a completely stupid thing to say – “just a way for rich people…”. You have completely missed the point. If a family didn’t need to pay the full cost of private education while at the same time paying tax to fund public education then more people would have that choice. Sure there might end up being a more even ballance of state vs private school rolls, and more people would get access to the better quality education. And you think this is bad….

    Face the reality, rich people already pay the full price of private education and health care and are already paying way more than their share to provide capacity in the state systems they do not use. A voucher system puts some equity back into the system for all to benefit from. Including the kids who parents can’t afford private education who will end up in classes of 22 kids rather than classes of 32 kids once some people have made other choices in their children’s education.

  44. mondograss 44

    Working from the same Spectator article that you’re obviously quoting Mike: “The classrooms have tables and chairs, but not much else. Playgrounds are converted car parks”

    I also see that Swedish schools are allowed to turn a profit.

    Removing zoning simply hands control of the roll entirely back to the school that is now free to create its own enrolment policy based around sports achievements or demographics, and most would because that’s what they did during the 90’s.

    Adding a voucher system gives no guarantees that a kid will be able to attend a school anywhere near them, thus forcing the family to move anyway, or commute across the city. If you think the traffic is bad when school is in now….

    Then of course there are the rejects, the kids that frankly no-one wants. Schools will have carte blanche to reject them, leading to the sort of dumping ground schools that we already see in the States. This sort of policy does a disservice to all involved in the education sector, it’s the sort of neo-con rort that gets dreamed up by those who dream of state-funded profit margins.

  45. burt 45

    Mike Collins

    Sweden is a good example, I’ve been watching them with interest. The pragmatic and ‘student focus’ approach with regard to education funding is delivering excellent results.

    It’s just a pity that the ideology of “monopoly state providers good – parental choice bad” are so ingrained in our govt.

    One of the things that tips me out over all of this is that the left’s view that “people who have paid tax for their kids education will have the ability to have some say in where it’s spend” is cast as a bad thing. This is just nuts, to say it’s only going to benefit the rich ignores the reality that the rich already have choices, lots of choices. It’s the workers and battlers that are being railroaded here and a voucher system would give these people a lot more choice. If only the left didn’t cut off their noses to spite their faces this debate would stay on logical terms rather than sink to emotions and the policies of envy.

  46. Tamaki Resident 46

    Mike, my point is simply that to get a good education system you have to pay for it, and if it’s vouchers then it comes out of tax revenue.

    We are only going to get better educational resources if we are prepared to put more Govt revenue into education. If we want better infrastructure, health services etc. at the same time, then don’t expect big tax cuts.

  47. burt 47


    The “kids nobody wants” is a debate that has two very distinct sides. Assuming that “kids nobody wants” are trouble kids with bad attitudes as well as unfortunate kids that have difficulties which are beyond anybody’s control.

    One side is: Why should my kids, who I have worked hard to teach the value of education to, be distracted by kids in a class who are only there because it’s a legal requirement they attend school. Why should valuable teacher time be wasted dealing with these people causing trouble and holding back entire classrooms of kids who could be achieving more.

    Another side: Isolating these people will do nothing to rehabilitate them, we could end up casting them onto the education scrap heap.

    However we need to think about it a bit, if I could start a school for ‘troubled teenagers’ and get funding for every student that joins my school then I would have a great incentive to make my school produce good outcomes for these people. The reality of the status quo is the current state schools not having enough resources to help either the struggler’s or the very bright kids that should be being extended.

    There is no easy answer and unless we think the status quo is perfect, it’s a good thing to debate.

  48. mondograss 48

    Oh, and NZ ranks higher than Sweden in reading, and substantially higher in math, science and problem solving.

  49. burt 49


    Not in all socioeconomic or racial demographics. How’s that achievement rate for Maori students looking compared to Sweden?

    Perhaps the rich pricks using the “superior” private schools are holding our stats up. Or is it easier to look at a completely homogenised view because the acute failings in certain areas are simply an embarrassment we would rather not talk about.

    [if you’re comparing a deprived group in NZ you would have to look at more deprived groups in Sweden, the Somali immigrants for example, not the whole country. SP]

  50. mondograss 50

    State schools should be resourced better to give better outcomes to troubled students, no argument there. But I suggest your market based incentive is misguided, your only real incentive is to make a profit, because otherwise why would you bother?

    The profit motive is therefore in conflict with the outcome of producing better students, because lets face it, you’ll almost certainly never get enough money from the state, nor from parents (who are often going to be completely disengaged) and troubled students are going to need the most innovative and resource intensive type of education. Corners will get cut, test results fudged etc. The U.S already has this problem with performance-based funding models.

    Should your kid be disrupted by a difficult classmate? No of course not, but giving the school the right to expel at the drop of a hat (because they can and they will) and no back-stop to pick up the kid because no-one will want to (or the options wont be accessible to a family on limited means on the other side of the city from your school for troubled teens), does your child a disservice when they get mugged 5 years later by the same classmate.

  51. burt 51

    Steve P.

    yes exactly, and the proportion of each group in that society. I’m happy to explore it rather than claim our system is better than theirs based on an overall statistic taking no account of “deprived” groups.

    We also shouldn’t forget that the voucher system in Sweden is relatively new, so we would need to compare their stats before the introduction of parental choice and after.

    BTW: Where you say “deprived” I think it’s better to say “groups that the system is failing”. These failure are particularly repugnant in NZ as we are talking about Maori people, native NZ people, not immigrants who have settled here and are receiving better facilities than the place they ran from.

  52. burt 52


    The profit motive is therefore in conflict with the outcome of producing better students

    What rubbish – Teachers (on a personal level) work for profit, it’s called a salary. Are you saying that if a teacher makes a good living from teaching they won’t do a good job teaching?

    IF I ran a school where the better the outcome for the students the more profit I made then we have a win win. Status quo places no incentive (other than personal pride of the principal and teachers) for the school to do well.

  53. burt 53


    No of course not, but giving the school the right to expel at the drop of a hat (because they can and they will) and no back-stop to pick up the kid because no-one will want to (or the options wont be accessible to a family on limited means on the other side of the city from your school for troubled teens), does your child a disservice when they get mugged 5 years later by the same classmate.

    Wellington High picks up a lot of kids in this situation under the current model in Wellington. Kids kicked out of other schools can go there because a) It’s not zoned and b) It hasn’t got a full roll.

    So I think you are not connecting the status quo reality with the things you are worried about.

  54. Tamaki Resident 54

    “I could start a school for ‘troubled teenagers’ …”

    I’ve got a good name for that policy – “Closing the Gaps” !!

  55. burt 55

    Tamiki Resident

    So you don’t like considering how we could improve things?

    I guess you are not the owner of a teenager (possibly Maori) who’s failed badly at school. I guess you are not somebody who thinks it’s wrong that some people have shit loads of choices while you had no choice but to send your kids to the decile 1 local school.

    No, you are just somebody who likes to sling shit at National because they are bad and Labour and the status quo are good.

  56. mondograss 56

    The point (which seems to have skimmed lightly over your head) is that the school has no other incentive to do well at the moment than desire to do well by the students, whereas under your model, the (primary) incentive is one of profit. Particularly so since you need to generate a return on investment.

    Since there is no profit motive currently in a school, the incentive to fudge things is negligible (and yet it still happens from time to time). So for a school that needs to perform well to make money, the incentive to fudge the results becomes much stronger.

    As for the comparison of results, I was just using the basic PISA rankings because that’s all I could find with a quick google search.

  57. Rocket Boy 57

    People let’s remember that what parents are doing in sending their children to a ‘better’ school is not giving their children a better education (after all, all teachers go to the same training colleges) but giving your children a ‘better’ peer group.

  58. burt 58


    I disagree, under a voucher system the biggest incentive for a school would be to have a full roll. Not an overflowing roll or half empty classrooms. A full roll would (as you point out) deliver the most revenue for the investment in buildings teachers etc.

    Currently schools have almost no incentive to do well, popular schools turn kids away, unpopular schools get kids turning up anyway because the parents don’t have a choice.

    I could run the worst coffee shop in NZ but if people had no choice but to buy coffee from it it would still keep me employed… I’m not trying to equate education with coffee, rather mandated monopoly vs choice.

    We also shouldn’t forget that if all kids currently going to private schools tuned up at their local state school (the one they are zoned for) then there would be chaos. Yet these parents have paid for a place at these schools, legally the school cannot turn them away. The state system relies on people paying who have no intention of using the school and it still needs to artificially ration places at good schools – this is how serious the problem is.

  59. mondograss 59

    Actually, having been a teacher I am quite well connected to the situation and I can assure you the one in Wellington is not even remotely related to the situation in Auckland where schools got ultra competitive and massive snob factor from the ability to turn away kids they didn’t want.

    Anyone else having trouble with Captcha? I have to keep refreshing mine for minutes at a time.

  60. Mike Collins 60

    “Corners will get cut, test results fudged etc. The U.S already has this problem with performance-based funding models.”

    I think you are misguided here. I guess if you have a fundamental distrust of the profit motive being an incentive for good, then you’ll always see things in a warped way. The advantage of a voucher system is that it puts the power into the hands on the consumers (well the parents on their behalf). If the provider is not providing to a suitable level then off goes the consumer somewhere else.

    “giving the school the right to expel at the drop of a hat (because they can and they will)”

    Well the incentive of receiving an extra $11k directly relating to having that student there might change that way of thinking. In fact I can see extra effort being put in to modify behaviour and produce educational outcomes to retain that funding stream. So once again profit motive, but heh if it produces results….

    I have also heard the argument that profit margins are effectively lost to educational outcomes (ie money taken in profit is not available for educational programmes, teachers etc). Well just to head that off, one needs to factor in the increased educational outcomes that are driven by the profit motive. This is not a zero sum game.

  61. Lampie 61

    The problem with zoning is the out of zones. Good example is Auckland Grammar and Mt Roskill Grammar. Parents run out of money sending there kids to AGS during the course of the year so they end up at MRGS because of zoning and of course the school has already had it’s allocation of funding due to it’s roll at the start so puts a strain on resources. That is an issue to address.

  62. Tamaki Resident 62

    Burt, I thought I was criticising ACT policy, not National’s. Allan Peachey does seems to favour vouchers though, so perhaps it really is National policy, but no-one wants to announce it. Know me before you judge me.

    I think it would be great to have more choices, but I simply cannot see how a voucher system, especially with no zoning, will work in practice.

  63. burt 63

    Rocket Boy

    There is a connection between the peer group and the educational outcomes. Some groups have a higher “education ethic” and if you stack a class full of kids who’s parents have taught them the value of education then the outcome will be better (overall) than if the class is stacked with kids who’s parents have told them they can leave as soon as they are 16.

    I’m not arguing you are wrong as such, rather it’s all part of the same equation, choice of where you send your child.

    The argument that removing zoning will create ‘second rate’ schools and ‘popular schools’ might end up being correct, but currently this situation is merely extended to real estate. ‘Second rate’ suburbs become traps for parents who can’t afford to live in ‘better’ suburbs and as a consequence they get second rate schools.

    Dice it how you like, the current system is far from perfect.

  64. Lampie 64

    Depends on what you define as second rate school. Mt Roskill is a decile 4 but has one of the highest success rates in scholarships and so forth i.e. it over-achieves due to it’s high level quality of education and don’t get me started on private vs public as at the end of the day, a student’s attitude towards education is the key. You can fail at either and since my wife teaches in both, you can achieve in both as there is no real difference in quality, only resources.

  65. How much extra tax would we be looking at to fund the additional subsidy to private schools?

  66. ghostwhowalks 66

    Still amazed that people think they have paid for state schooling but deserve something back when they send their kids private.
    hello!. What about all the people who dont have kids or say have one when the neighbours have five.
    Taxes are not based on what you ‘use’ or the number of children and if you dont use the schools hospitals roads etc there is no voucher to go elsewhere

    Burt how can parents ‘run out of money’ sending their kids to AGS. Its a state school and costs the same as MRGS- but the school fees at the start of the year are probably a lot higher, but they bill you at the start of the year

  67. mondograss 67

    ‘Second rate’ suburbs become traps for parents who can’t afford to live in ‘better’ suburbs and as a consequence they get second rate schools.

    Which is why we have a decile system.

  68. Tamaki Resident 68

    There are some patronising comments from Stephen Franks on his blog about the debate last night, including this parting shot:
    “Judging from last night, the left, and especially the teaching establishment, is too poorly educated even to frame the questions, let alone pursue the arguments.”

    Why is this man standing for National when he is clearly ACT to the core?

  69. ak 69

    Lampie: at the end of the day, a student’s attitude towards education is the key.

    Precisely Lampie, and in my (not inconsiderable) experience (and, I believe confirmed by various studies), it is the quality of the individual teacher and the home attitude that determines outcomes. Juggle with the ownership and access all you like, those two factors will still be the deciding ones. I’ve seen enough ratbags and Tim-nice-but-dims from private schools, and enough sterling individuals from decile ones to confirm this absolutely.

    (Of far more importance is the ongoing burtHS intrigue. HS posts simultaneously with burt (not the first time this has occurred) at 10.12am and includes the phrase “as Burt posts below” wherefrom burt proceeds to rattle off veritable screeds (in uncharacteristically lucid form). Mmmmm….how does this work Lynn?)

  70. uroskin 70

    Perhaps if called every high school in the Auckland region “Auckland Grammar School” we could do away with zoning. Pupils go to their nearest branch and all Auckland teachers rotate around the branches. Then all schools are the same, no more zoning or deciling needed. Can I have my 100 grand now?

  71. nommopilot 71

    the other trouble with vouchers I haven’t seen brought up is that it costs money and takes time for kids to go to school. one upside to zoning is that it doesn’t require kids to spend an hour getting to school and an hour getting home.

    but then, we should train them young to expect to spend two hours a day contributing to the GDP by burning petrol in near-motionless traffic.

  72. I say we put them all in one giant school and only have one teacher with a giant PA system. Now I want my $100,000.

  73. Lampie 73

    Burt how can parents ‘run out of money’ sending their kids to AGS. Its a state school and costs the same as MRGS- but the school fees at the start of the year are probably a lot higher, but they bill you at the start of the year

    Ghost – families who are out-of-zone pay to get in and a lot too but some can’t afford to keep paying for it. The local (in zone) school has to take (by law)

    Auckland does have a reputation, old boy.

  74. Lampie 74

    *pays Robinsod $100k*

    and ghost, yeah I didn’t think you pay for a state school either until my wife told me.

    Guess that is why the pacific and Maori population is declining there

    There is also the sports poaching as well, Mt Albert Grammar was the target of that. Graham Henry did it at Kelston

  75. Dan 75

    Months ago I predicted vouchers or some permutation would be Natiional’s contribution to education. It is a nonsense. They did not learn with bulk-funding; they are not learning with vouchers. They talk of parental choice but you will never get it. The logic that all parents can vote for the best school and send their kids there is totally impossible to achieve. In a town of two schools, it would be one crammed school and one empty school.
    Vouchers are pushed by parents of kids who opt to send their kids to private schools. Their choice! The only way to get all kids to great schools is to make all schools great schools. Fund all schools well; celebrate teaching as a profession; celebrate learning.
    Zoning is here to stay. Vouchers are a definite reason not to vote for National.

  76. Lew 76

    Mike Collins: “I have also heard the argument that profit margins are effectively lost to educational outcomes (ie money taken in profit is not available for educational programmes, teachers etc). Well just to head that off, one needs to factor in the increased educational outcomes that are driven by the profit motive. This is not a zero sum game.”

    Factor it in for us, then.

    This is the thing I’ve never been able to understand about the `privatise’ imperative. There’s no fundamental reason why, all else being equal, a government-owned body can’t run an organisation as well and as efficiently as a private one, and in fact the benefit of all profits being returned to the public coffers makes such a circumstance desirable, rather than deplorable.

    The major justifications I hear against SOEs are along the `involuntary shareholder’ line of extremism.


  77. burt 77


    Burt how can parents ‘run out of money’ sending their kids to AGS.

    Once they are in they are fine, not a problem – rent in zone a year before you need to have a kid knocking on the school gate and Bob’s the guy ya auntie sleeps with.

    If you want to get into the zone it could be another story. Perhaps the rental increases in the zone prohibit them from moving into zone, (particularly a year before they need to use the school as this may involve significant costs transporting kids back and forward to old schools etc), perhaps the real estate prices prohibit them from entering the zone, perhaps the zone has been changed and they can’t sell their recently devalued house to move. How would I know how they run out of money, use your imagination.

    However the ‘location premium’ the school zone has created explains the dramatic reduction in Maori and pacific islanders attending the school. This is a very unfortunate consequence of a simplistic approach to manage demand, an unacceptable consequence in my opinion.

    Unintended consequences give us a private education quality of school by financially excluding groups from it’s catchment area, delivered on the labours of all. The same is true of Wellington College, Wellington’s second private school..

    The demographic of Wellington College will also morph and zones will be restricted further as the inner city population of families increases. No good will come of using property boundaries for entitlement into certain schools, just as no good would come of using property boundaries to dictate what brand of car you must drive.

  78. Lampie 78

    You are addressing the wrong person Burt, it was ghost who asked about running out of money. some students live in west, central, east Auckland and still can get into AGS as long as they pay. Not a huge problem in NZ but happens

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