Why New Zealand’s educational standards are crashing

Written By: - Date published: 4:29 pm, December 4th, 2013 - 55 comments
Categories: education, Hekia parata, same old national, uncategorized - Tags:

The PISA results are now out.  From 2009 to 2012 New Zealand’s educational standards have apparently crashed.  Our results have gone from seventh in reading and science to 13th and 18th respectively, and from 12th to 23rd in maths amongst the 65 countries engaged in the study.

Hekia Parata has said that the cause is not the introduction of National Standards but because of a major shift in the curriculum in the last three years and under-investment in teachers’ skills.  She may be right but she does not acknowledge that funding for teacher professional development was cut in 2009 and the money was transferred to the National Standards Programme.  There may be a direct link between the drop in standards and the roll out of National Standards.

The 2008 briefing for the Education Minister gave a snapshot of the education system that National was inheriting under Labour.  Three points stand out from the briefing:

  1. The average performance of New Zealand 15-year-olds in mathematics, science and reading literacy placed New Zealand at that time among the top performing countries of the OECD.
  2. The Government was urged to continue with professional development programs for teachers.  The Numeracy Development Project, established in 2000, had resulted in significant improvements. 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 while the percentage classified as at risk decreased from 30 percent to 13 percent.
  3. The Literacy Strategy, also established in 2000, also saw significant improvements.  A 2008 evaluation showed 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 and that schools accelerated the rate of progress for the majority of the at-risk students by four times the expected rate.  The Minister was also urged to continue with this programme.

So what happened?  In Budget 2009 then Minister Ann Tolley gave private schools $35 million extra funding, announced the roll out of National Standards and at the same time cut funding for the literacy and numeracy projects despite their effectiveness. If she wanted to do something for literacy and numeracy she would have not done this.  She was obviously looking to appease National Supporters and introduce testing for PR purposes at the cost of two quality programs.  It is not difficult to see a link between declining professional standards and the subsequent decline in PISA results.

Of course this is probably only half the reason for the decline.  The ongoing attacks by the Government on the teachers unions and fiascos such as the Novopay have sapped morale and reduced the effectiveness of teachers.  And the growth of inequality and poverty is no doubt one of the major contributors.  Young people will not perform to their best if they are hungry or stressed or living in overcrowded conditions or their family is suffering financially.  Attacks on working conditions and on beneficiaries will inevitably have an adverse effect on their children.  I am sure that it is no coincidence that worsening results have occurred at the same time as increasing disparity in our society has occurred.

There could be implications for the Government’s Charter School policy.  As noted by Gordon Campbell the Pisa report comes out strongly against Charter Schools.  He quotes Andreas Schleicher, the OECD’s deputy education director as saying the following:

My organisation [the OECD] is very strong on choice, enabling citizens to make choices, and you would expect that systems with greater choice would come out better. You expect competition to raise performance of the high performers and with low performers put them out of the market. But in fact you don’t see that correlation… Competition alone is not a predictor for better outcomes… The UK is a good example – it has a highly competitive school system but it is still only an average performer.”

And further,

Our data doesn’t show much of a performance difference between public and charter and private schools once you account for social background.”

What this occurrence has done is shoot down in flames any pretence that National may claim that it cares about improving education standards.  It is willing to attack teachers unions, is totally indifferent to the effects of poverty on the lives of young people, and is willing to engage in mass state funded PR at the expense of a rounded previously high quality education system.

When it comes to education National does not have a clue.  It needs to be removed from office before it does further damage.

55 comments on “Why New Zealand’s educational standards are crashing”

  1. Philj 1

    Xox
    Hekia’s response, “Trust us, and give us time for it to work”
    All fools us, for this unfortunate experiment of a government.

    • mickysavage 1.1

      In Parliament this afternoon the Nats have started to run the line that it was all Labour’s and the Teacher Unions’ faults. They are so predictable …

      • BrucetheMoose 1.1.1

        This is Key’s government of we are right and everybody else is wrong, and when it goes all wrong, it’s somebody else’s fault. Re writing politics and accountability according Johnny. Who the hell votes for this imposter?

      • Dumrse 1.1.2

        I guess you’re not denying it shows some agreement to the progress being made. And, don’t forget the choice we will all have.

      • Draco T Bastard 1.1.3

        +1

        The party of personal responsibility never takes responsibility for their own actions.

  2. Rogue Trooper 2

    My pick; NZ will not be able to claw back from these slips (short of drilling, mining and fracking Bonanzas Hoss). This is the century of Hop-Sing! 🙂
    -“Dance to your Daddy my little laddie
    Dance to your Daddy, my little man
    When thou art a young boy, you must sing and play
    Go along the shore and cast your shells away
    Build yourself a castle, watch the tide roll in.”

  3. tc 3

    Keep the message simple and get all Mp’s any opportunity to repeat it : national is failing our kids and doing so in the face of evidence that told them this would happen.

    All this and those taxpayer funded charter schools yet to kick in.

  4. Chooky 4

    +100…good post!

    • Chooky 4.1

      USA..neo-liberal agenda on education …influencing /steering NACT /Treasury policy makers

      ….. to privatize/corporatise education and undermine state education ….with testing, charter schools and excessive choice .

      The results : see Professor Diane Ravitch, ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education’

      http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/58511.Diane_Ravitch

    • Chooky 4.2

      Mucking around with NZ education hasn’t happened by accident under NACT.

      There is a hidden USA..neo-liberal agenda on NZ education …influencing /steering NACT /Treasury policy makers…

      ….. to privatize/corporatise education and undermine state education ….with testing, charter schools and excessive choice .

      The results : see Professor Diane Ravitch, ‘The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education’

      http://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/58511.Diane_Ravitch

  5. Tracey 5

    Yup failure of charter schools to be the promised panacea are inevitable.

    Beware the various “research” available on charter schools versus public schools

    http://shankerblog.org/?p=5867

    also see

    employees review Charter Schools USA

    http://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Charter-Schools-USA-Reviews-E234934.htm

    Also

    “Fed up with persistently poor student results in Ohio’s eight largest urban school districts, Republican state legislators enacted a law in 1997 allowing charter schools to locate exclusively within the boundaries of the “Big 8” systems.

    Sixteen years later, charters statewide performed almost exactly the same on most measures of student achievement as the urban schools they were meant to reform, results released under a revamped Ohio report-card system show. And when it comes to graduating seniors after four years of high school, the Big 8 performed better.

    Akin to a deregulation movement, charters operate under different rules: Operators are allowed to turn a profit from a portion of the tax money they’re given and don’t have to follow state laws that dictate everything from the distribution of textbooks to minimum teacher salaries to school-board elections. In return for that freedom, their supporters expected them to deliver strong academic results.

    But what started as an experiment in fixing urban education through free-market innovation is now a large part of the problem. Almost 84,000 Ohio students — 87 percent of the state’s charter-school students — attend a charter ranking D or F in meeting state performance standards.”
    http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/09/01/charter-schools-failed-promise.html

  6. Tracey 6

    Mickey

    have our results slipped or have others moved ahead of us? If the second, then our standards, that is, results, could be the same as last report.

    • mickysavage 6.1

      Hi Tracy

      I understand that our results are declining. There is a graph at the link below that suggests that our overall performance is getting worse, the results for our top end students still above average but getting worse and the results for our low end average but getting worse. Not very pretty …

      http://www.compareyourcountry.org/pisa?cr=F024&lg=en

  7. Phaedrus 7

    Their education cupboard is now empty. Didn’t have much to start with, mind you! Expect a rev up in implementation of existing programmes. PPP schools in Christchurch for a start.

  8. Disraeli Gladstone 8

    I would like to state early on that we put too much damn stock in the PISA rankings. Teaching, just like learning, isn’t something that you can just set up a league table for (or otherwise we’d all just support National Standards?).

    The fact of the matter is that they’re a good indicator when used with other measurements and studies. On their own, we put too much stock in reports and numbers that can be faulty. Also important to note that while the UK is average on test results, on enjoyment at school, they’re at the top and the Asian Elites are toward the bottom.

    Neither position is ideal.

    Somewhere in the middle is nice.

  9. Rogue Trooper 9

    nice? The particular combination (perfect storm) of historical influences that NZ is increasingly facing the outcomes of -the inevitable outcomes of inequality produced by our particular form of Welfare State, for example, disproportionately benefiting the ‘boomer generation’ , numerically speaking; trading in the NZ dollar (paper economy), interest paid to Australian-owned banks; deregulation; the centrality of neo-classical liberal economics (Chicago School) ; post-colonial hangovers; residential property speculation bias; climate change; dairy intensification; movement into greater fossil fuel extraction; INEQUALITY; just add it up!

    • Colonial Viper 9.1

      Bernard Hickey noted yesterday that NZ’s “terms of trade” was at a 40 year high (this is good), in other words the value of imported goods that we can access with our exports. But even so our current account deficit was well in the red at 5% of GDP. The implication being that when those terms of trade decline, that current account deficit will worsen considerably. And foreign money will end up owning more of NZ, worsening the situation further.

  10. ghostrider888 10

    In your head would preferable to needing to show the workings! Gottit? Fucking entitled Tory pestilence.

  11. Craig Glen Eden 11

    The unions told National that National Standards would not lift student performance and it hasn’t.
    How you are going to improve teacher performance by cutting the money invested in teacher professional development heaven wouldn’t even know, but apparently the National Party knows best.
    Then you cut funding to State schools and increase funding to Private Schools.
    Then you cut funding for therapist to special needs kids in public schools because the National Party knows best
    Then you set up Schools that are not subject to the same scrutiny/standards that is expected of public Schools despite no evidence that they will improve student achievement why? Because the National Party knows best.

    The animals have control of the zoo and the shit is mounting up!

    • amirite 11.1

      +100

    • Anne 11.2

      On the button Craig Glen Eden! You don’t need a PHD or be a trained teacher to see why it’s all going belly up! You don’t need any Inquiry either because the reasons are under our noses for all to see.

      Huge cuts to Education spending
      Cuts to curriculum.
      Blocking off the avenues for adults to acquire qualifications or retrain.
      Cuts to supply of state houses.
      Cuts to employment opportunities.

      then:

      Demonisng those who, through no fault of their own, are forced through the cracks by the above cuts.

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        Steps to increase teacher morale and leadership skills needed

        Plus I don’t hear good things about M. Ed in Welly

      • Draco T Bastard 11.2.2

        You don’t need a PHD or be a trained teacher to see why it’s all going belly up!

        No you don’t but you do need to be able to accept facts that are contrary to your ideology. National is incapable of this.

    • Fran 11.3

      Thank you

  12. Will@Welly 12

    What pisses me off is this will take a generation to turn around. Merv Wellington oversaw a similar destruction when he was Minister, why can’t Ministers just leave well alone. Children’s education is just too important to muck around with. Sorry, teachers are trained to teach, those of you who think you know better, why don’t you sign up, and see if you can do better.

    • Rogue Trooper 12.1

      not being a politician, no admissible criticism of teachers from me, or primary health workers; Jesus Wept, as he watched upon the gentrification of Godzone. Where’s that ‘money-changers’ pic Viper, I too fail to bookmark occasionally. Sh!ts gonna’ hit the fan now, many parents politics are motivated by their children’s perceived needs.

  13. Macro 13

    Actually these results are a total reflection on our increasingly inequality as a society, not only have our overall performance in the critical areas declined, but there has also been a significant decline in the performance of lower socio-economic groups and a fall in the number of high achievers. The commentators don’t seem to get this point yet (eg K Ryan on Radio NZ this morning flabber gastered that inequality could have had such an effect in just 3 years), but they simply fail to see, that the only ones doing well under the current administration are the uber rich. Those in the middle are going backwards financially with respect to the upper brackets as are those at the bottom, just not as quickly.

    So what it appears now is we have a new society with a distinct class structure.

    Those who have

    Those in the middle who think they have but are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet.

    Those who have not and have no prospect of ever doing anything about it.

    These PISA results are simply a reflection of our society as it is now. The sooner NZ wakes up to this new reality the better.

  14. irascible 14

    Some interesting findings from the PISA results.
    Sweden has suffered an education decline since the introduction od Charter Schools.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/03/swedish-results-fall-free-schools-pisa-oecd

    The UK results have slipped back since the advent of the Cameron-Clegg Tory government and the introduction of TEst, Test, Test and Charter Schools.
    http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/dec/03/uk-students-education-oecd-pisa-report

    Researchers raise questions about conclusions being drawn from PISA because of its methodology.
    http://www.theguardian.com/news/2013/dec/03/pisa-methodology-education-oecd-student-performance

    One does start to wonder if there is a correlation between neo-liberal “reforms” of education as implemented by conservative governments in Europe and in NZ. It would appear so.

  15. Rodel 15

    I meet and talk with a lot of immigrants.

    One of the main reasons they want to settle in New Zealand is the superiority of our education for their children. This include Japanese, Korean and Chinese parents, and a few Americans plus others .

    They all think our broad based education is far better than their narrow test and teach systems.
    I suspect the so called assessments by renowned OECD assessors is invalid and has little reliability or authenticity.

    Many of the immigrant parents say..’children in our country can read, write, do math but are not taught to think.’

    • Draco T Bastard 15.1

      Many of the immigrant parents say..’children in our country can read, write, do math but are not taught to think.’

      And if we keep going the way National are taking us our children won’t be taught to think either. I sometimes wonder if this is what National wants because who don’t think also don’t question.

    • grumpy 16.1

      Yep read that. So those same academics who were happy to use our PISA rankings to claim there was no need for National Standards, now want to discredit those same rankings when the results do not go their way.
      I agree that results in the PISA exam tells us little about the value of subject content, it’s usefulness in life and give nothing more than an indication but the sheer hypocrisy from the teachers unions and education academics is breathtaking.

  16. Steve Wrathall 17

    Why? NCEA. Which your lot brought in. Students can now cherry-pick the easiest credits. Why work hard?

    • Draco T Bastard 17.1

      Actually, it was National that brought in NCEA, the Labour led government started fixing it and now National are fucking it up again.

      • millsy 17.1.1

        Back in 1997 I was doing NCEA. Only back then we just called it ‘Unit Standards’. It was National that brought in the whole concept of unit standards and mastery learning, etc and it fucked up education in this country. Any old cowboy could offer up a certificate and create unit standards for making beds, playing golf and ringing people up.

        If you want to blame anything for the state of our education system, and the ‘long tail’ in this country, you blame the Tomorrow’s Schools model, which privatised school support and made schools compete with each other, to the point where they would rather attract international students and hope the underachivers get themselves expelled.

        • Rogue Trooper 17.1.1.1

          many accurate points millsy; thankful I was gone before NCEA, although, if they’d offered Units in rock music appreciation, majoring in Tom Petty, Joy Divison and The Clash, I’d be a different man today! (School was shit for lower decile equivalents when I was there).

          • Rodel 17.1.1.1.1

            Reluctantly agree that Lange’s ‘Tomorrow’s schools was a stupid idea promulgated by some twit whose name I can’t remember..Picot was it? ( I believe he was a manager of a light bulb factory) who had read an obscure Canadian manual about semi privatizing education and got paid a lot of money to regurgitate the idea which was swallowed by Lange & co.and Roger Douglas / Prebble clapped their gleeful hands.

  17. tricledrown 18

    Education achievement constantly went up under labour down under national 1990to 1999 standards fell here we Go again cutting investment in education and demoralizing teachets again same result.
    National are slow learners!

  18. infused 19

    Can’t use league tables in schools, but we use them to compare us to the rest of the world. Only when it suits eh.

    • Colonial Viper 19.1

      The country league tables also say zip about what NZ needs to do to improve, say zip about why we have fallen, and say zip about why other countries improved.

      In other words, just as useful as National Standards.

      • grumpy 19.1.1

        Pretty well correct but without standards how will we know if outcomes have fallen. A bit like the canary in the mine, they tell you something is happening but it’s up to you to look at the indication and figure out what to do about it.

  19. From 2009 to 2012 New Zealand’s educational standards have apparently crashed. Our results have gone from seventh in reading and science to 13th and 18th respectively, and from 12th to 23rd in maths amongst the 65 countries engaged in the study.

    “Apparently” is the best word for it. It takes kids 12 years to pass through the education system, so if a study is showing a dramatic change in quality over a three-year period in the absence of a war or something similarly disruptive, you really have to ask a few questions about the reliability of the study. This might be a tempting propaganda stick to beat the government with, but it’s not a very convincing one.

  20. Philj 21

    Xox
    Sad to say but this is depressing. The Nats misgovernment, or non government, fails our kids at school. Dumb parents vote National back in. It’s a vicious self fulfilling cycle. It’s us folks, we’re too stupid to realise it. Sad, but kind of funny. And we are top of the non corruption countries. There is the proof of our gullibility and dumocracy right there folks. Hahaha. Take all you can JK, make hay. You can fool most of the people most of the time.

  21. Rogue Trooper 22

    somebody has the wrong end of the stick!

  22. captain hook 23

    this is what happens when yew get people who cant reed and who dont believe in the moon landing in charge.
    The National government are basically a party of carpebaggers and lowbrows who think they know everything just because they have had their false teeth polished.

  23. grumpy 24

    Same argument in Australia who have just dumped a Labor Government
    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/opinion/test-scores-show-were-being-outclassed/story-fni0ffxg-1226775380344

    This argument will go nowhere unless people start looking at the global perspective and why the Western education systems are failing to keep up, not the political leanings of individual countries, however appealing that might be to local political interests.

  24. tc 25

    All part of their plan, as the late George Carlin put it
    US Dream

  25. Delia 26

    The sight of Anne Tolley blaming the teacher’s unions for these stats beggers belief. The contempt she sneered at teachers. No wonder teachers are feeling undervalued.

  26. JanM 27

    I am intrigued by all the comments from people who still think that the decline of our education system under a National Governmens arises out of ignorance rather than intent. Really?

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    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    6 days ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    7 days ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    7 days ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    7 days ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    7 days ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    7 days ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    7 days ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    1 week ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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