Campbell interviews Dunne

June 17th, 2008 at 12:16 pm by David Farrar

’s continues his series of interviews with party leaders. This one is with Peter Dunne.

Campbell: The evidence for the prosecution would be the story that you started reading Hansard when you were twelve –

Dunne : Fourteen.

Good God, I didn’t start until university!

Campbell: Do you think any of the Christian-based parties will cross the 5 % threshold this year?

Dunne : No. United Future is not in that camp, not any more.

Campbell: You’ve been through your prayer meeting phase ?

Dunne : Well, we were never really in it. I certainly wasn’t. But we had some people who imagined that United Future could become New Zealand’s version of the Taliban.

Harsh rhetoric, but similar to what Mark Blumsky said, based on his experiences there also.

Dunne: Yes, and my own view is, that in today’s circumstances for a whole variety of reasons, technology being amongst them, the procedure of a woman, her doctor and two certifying consultants is somewhat cumbersome. I think probably, you should be looking at the woman, her doctor and informed consent. I have a very strong view that – and I appreciate the moral issue involved here – but the moral issue is actually the individual’s morals. I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.

A pretty sensible view in my opinion.

Campbell: You’ve governed with Roger Douglas before. Would you like to again?

Dunne : No.

Campbell: Why not?

Dunne : Roger was dynamic to work with in the circumstances of the 1980s, which was big ideas, bold change et etc. The problem with Roger and the whole Act Party is that they’re trapped in a time warp, at the point when Roger was sacked. The world has moved on. The implicit mantra is that if we all went back to 1987 and picked up where we left off, things would be different. Its rubbish.

ACT people won’t like this, but Dunne does have a point here. There is sometimes a lack of reality about where NZ is at today, as compared to 20 years ago. The sense of crisis of the 1980s is not the same challenges we face today.

Campbell: If the Emissions Trading Scheme involves any extra costs whatsoever to taxpayers, would you oppose it?

Dunne : I want to know what those extra costs are, for a start.

Campbell: Understood. But from your statements, it sounds as if there is anything at all extra on household costs. you will oppose –

Dunne : If there’s anything extra that is not properly compensated then yes, we would oppose it.

Pretty clear.

Campbell: Is there one thing left that you want to achieve before you leave Parliament ?

Dunne : My personal biggest ambition in whatever time remains to me is the whole question of national identity, constitutional change and the path towards a republic. On the weekend I set out a timetable by which we could, if not get there, at last resolve the issues…. by 2017.

And that would be good. Labour’s shattering on the constitutional conventions over electoral law have pushed me 100% towards supporting a written constitution, to safeguard fundamental rights.

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72 Responses to “Campbell interviews Dunne”

  1. jafapete (766 comments) says:

    Yes, a moderately (what else?) revealing interview. As always, Dunne is thoughtful, sensible, reasonable and honest. Also, he seems to be well content with his role in NZ’s political system… ballast.

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  2. ben (2,385 comments) says:

    100% towards supporting a written constitution, to safeguard fundamental rights.

    I had the same opinion until it was pointed out to me that getting a constitution passed (75% majority required?) that actually achieved that in the current or foreseeable political environment would be impossible. I suspect what would pass is a version that included lofty goals watered down to meaninglessness by references to the environment and other special interests. A 1984-style crisis might be what’s needed.

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  3. getstaffed (9,188 comments) says:

    I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.

    Perhaps the only moral judgements that should made by the State are those that influence re-election prospects. Dunne can prove that assertion wrong by campaigning for the removal of the States moral judgement in respect of adult-child sex for starters.

    On the man himself, I’ve completely lost any respect for the Dunne after the EFB[A] cock-up. I mean, at least Winston is abjectly slimy, but wears that mantle with bluster and some pride. By comparison, Dunne is softly pathetic as he cloaks his self-preservation instincts in a subtle blend of mr-nice-guy and hapless stupidity.

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  4. Lee C (4,516 comments) says:

    what getstaffed and jafapete said.

    ps the slimy politican’s get-out mantra was also in there. Whenever I see the words ‘properly compensated’ in an answer I know I am reading the ‘let’s have a bob on it each way’ types of attitude that MMP has fostered. After all won’t he then claim it’s the politician’s job to judge on what ‘proper’ compensation is?
    It isn’t consensus politics, it’s self-interested politicians.

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  5. BlairM (2,266 comments) says:

    “The problem with Roger and the whole Act Party is that they’re trapped in a time warp, at the point when Roger was sacked. The world has moved on. The implicit mantra is that if we all went back to 1987 and picked up where we left off, things would be different. Its rubbish.”

    I didn’t realise “getting with the times” involved sitting on one’s arse in a safe seat for twenty years and achieving sweet FA. Did it ever occur to Peter Dunne that it might be New Zealand still stuck in 1987, with the rest of the world having moved on? Did it ever occur to him that we may well have to start again where we left off, just to catch up?

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  6. ben (2,385 comments) says:

    I think probably, you should be looking at the woman, her doctor and informed consent. I have a very strong view that – and I appreciate the moral issue involved here – but the moral issue is actually the individual’s morals. I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.

    Good lord, only just read that. Mr Dunne’s stock just went up 5 points in my book. Maybe 10. In fact I think I might send him an email.

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  7. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    “ACT people won’t like this, but Dunne does have a point here. There is sometimes a lack of reality about where NZ is at today, as compared to 20 years ago. The sense of crisis of the 1980s is not the same challenges we face today”

    Oh really?..wage rates much lower than Aussie, our brightest and best youth leaving the country in droves, the highest interest rates in the western world and you think we do not face “challenges”

    Face it DPF the incoming socialist National government will not change one single thing, in many ways you are just as guilty as those rabid Labour voters who support the party irrespective of policy and direction, yes I want rid of Clark but I do NOT want a piss weak socialist PM in John Key.

    The policies of Labour have failed and the policies of National are no different, NZ is facing third world status unless we radically change the way we do things, a new National government is not going to arrest the decline in our living standard.

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  8. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    This is all smart stuff by Dunne. The sad thing for him is that he’s bounced around so much, his sensible approach is damaged by his dilettante past. I entirely agree with him re ACT. They’re a party with a solution, only the problem’s changed.

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  9. francis (712 comments) says:

    Why do you suspect a Constitution would be any better written than the statutes? Or that there would be agreement about what constitutes a fundamental right?

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  10. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Remember the happy jingle, everyone.

    If you’re a capitalist, you see,
    You’re not a socialist like me.
    Diametrically opposed,
    All they share is I-S-T!

    I just wrote that right then. Just right off the top of my head. You know what that’s called? Fucking ingenuity.

    On second thoughts, they share an A-L too. Goddam it.

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  11. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    “ACT people won’t like this, but Dunne does have a point here. There is sometimes a lack of reality about where NZ is at today, as compared to 20 years ago. The sense of crisis of the 1980s is not the same challenges we face today.”

    You’d be hard pushed to say ACT’s 20 point pledge plan is 20 years out of date. It tackles many present day issues and looks forward. In fact, it is so eager to look forward it starts getting a little harsh in places, but subjective valuation is not the point. Centrist parties are status quo parties whose policies tend toward looking backward. That aside, I think it would be categorically impossible to be a Hide or a Douglas and not be aware what year it is or have your ideas stagnate for 20 years. Categorically impossible. If they were, those two would now be interned in a psychiatric hospital instead of creating some of the most advanced political ideas NZ has. As far as the “sense of crisis” goes, there can be no similar sense of crisis until an incoming government gets it’s briefing and discovers what has really been going on. No one outside of a few truely know. It may be worse, it may be less, time will tell.

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  12. Norman LaRocque (12 comments) says:

    David

    Can’t say I agree with either Peter Dunne’s point or your agreement with his point regarding being stuck in a time warp. There is a lot of evidence that good economic policies and institutions matter for a country’s development. This is as true now as it was back in 1987. Indeed, I think you can mount a strong case that good policies should matter even more now than they did back then – countries need to keep reforming simply to keep pace with the challenges thrown up by globalisation and by ongoing reforms in other countries – eg. development of the economies in China, India and East Asia, the break up of the old Soviet Union (with a number of those countries adopting strongly ‘market-based’ policies such as flat taxes), Australian reforms since the 1980s, etc.

    While it may be true that the ‘internal’ challenges are different (New Zealand is not staring at bankruptcy), the international challenges are surely greater. I don’t think any country, including New Zealand, can afford to stand still when it comes to improving its policies and institutions. You can argue about the speed of reforms (maybe that was your point?), but surely those who advocate more economic liberalisation are hardly in a time warp – they are in the international policy mainstream.

    Just a couple of statistics to illustrate this – according to the OECD, between 1993 and 2006, the degree of trade openness (ratio of trade-to-GDP) for OECD countries as a whole increased by 9 percentage points and the average economic freedom index score for the 100+ countries that have existed since 1980 went up from 5.5 to 6.6 between 1985 and 2005. Clearly other countries are not standing still when it comes to reform.

    Are you saying that reform only needs to happen when a country faces a big economic crisis (the sh*t hits the fan theory of policy reform)? Of course, there are examples of ‘big bang’ reform programmes precipitated by economic crises. However, it is surely the case that the bulk of policy reforms around the world have taken place as part of ongoing evaluations of existing policies, rather than circa New Zealand 1980s style reforms. Look at Australia for example.

    Funny too how many of those who have dredged up so many failed Muldoonist policies of the 1970s/early 1980s accuse those who support economic liberalisation of being in a time warp.

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  13. first time caller (384 comments) says:

    I don’t see any benefit from having him in Parliament. He adds nothing

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  14. jafapete (766 comments) says:

    BlairM: “Did it ever occur to Peter Dunne that it might be New Zealand still stuck in 1987, with the rest of the world having moved on? Did it ever occur to him that we may well have to start again where we left off, just to catch up?”

    Gosh Blair, have you let the Secretary of the Treasury know this? I heard him speak in Auckland just a couple of months ago and distinctly recall that he warned that we shouldn’t rest on our deregulated laurels, as the rest of the world would catch us up. And the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom and Fraser Institute’s Economic Freedom of the World 2007 Annual Report also show us very near the top. But perhaps they’re just knuckle-dragging dupes of the left, eh?

    Lee, Are you saying that politicians in the FFP good old days didn’t try to ‘have a bob on it each way’? Have I got news for you.

    And DPF, I guess that the Supreme Court decision last week restored your faith in written constitutions, the US Constitution having taken such a hammering over the past 8 years, eh?

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  15. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Jafa raises a good point as a written constitution would hopefully curtail the unruly and anti social behaviours of many Labour MP’s who have sullied our Nations reputation through the scandal ridden regime of Absolute Power freaks.

    Peter Dunne is yet another disgrace to the Saints Bedes Old Boys Association and has a possum living on and in his head.
    I do agree with him about the need to vote Republican.

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  16. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    IMHO we are perhaps on the brink of a much worse future than we were in 1984. Then we faced an internal problem bought about by the previous government and one that we were able to fix by passing laws and changing the local citizens attitudes.

    Now we face both an internal and external crisis Whilst we can make internal changes NZ cant alone change the global situation.

    Even more frustrating that we have a government hell bent on destroying our economic future thru madness such as the ETS and their other loop fruit policies

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  17. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Norman LaRocque said:

    There is a lot of evidence that good economic policies and institutions matter for a country’s development. This is as true now as it was back in 1987.

    That’s certainly true Norman, but I think the evidence is that the current policies aren’t necessarily bad nor that ACT’s policies, such as they are, are good.

    I think David’s comment was shorthand for “ACT’s policies may not suit the challenges of today” (I don’t think I’m misreading him) and I agree. Take, for example, ACTs support for the Swedish voucher system – Coddington said to me on Stephen Franks blog that she’s got no evidence for how the policy would improve learning outcomes! That’s frankly bizarre IMHO. Also, ACTs vouchers “policy” is little more than a brief (4 page) review of the Swedish system and ignores the very different starting points in Sweden compared with NZ (no independent or integrated schools for instance and nothing like ERO etc).

    I’m sure you’re very well versed on this particular topic and I don’t doubt you have evidence in support of vouchers, which we might discuss independently, but I’m far from convinced that ACT policy isn’t, as Dunne says, stuck in a time-warp.

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  18. david c (254 comments) says:

    GD the Government isn’t sitting around going “how can we fuck up the economy?”
    Whether or not you agree with their policies, they believe they are in the best interests of the country.
    I suspect that you’re being a silly little boy.

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  19. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    United Future – the personality cult without a personality.

    The interview is classic Peter Dunn isn’t it. Sounds oh so reasonable but actually the sum is meaningless.

    I remember the 1980’s: yes Roger was dynamic and exciting. Peter Dunn can never been accused of that….. even then.

    His record as revenue Minister has been equally unremarkable.

    And now his focus is on Republicanism – another issue that will not make New Zealand one iota richer. The childlike assertion that such constitutional arrangements give a national identity in the modern age anyway.

    At any rate cannot trust Mr Dunn on constitutional issues – look at the EFA – he hadn’t even properly read it. He had no understanding of the practical effects of legislation he supported. He totally failed to defend the free speech of non candidates and registered parties i.e. civil society.

    He then switched his vote when the pressure came on and he thought the issue might galvanise a campaign against him in Ohariu.

    The problem with the silly “ACT is harking back” analysis of course is that it isn’t true – it’s the New Zealand Parliament that is harking back. In the 1980s privatisation was a new idea. Now it’s mainstream right around the world of governments of both left and right….. except here where Labour and National now oppose it.

    Due probably to the prosperity over the last ten years the politicians harken back to the 1960’s where the state incrementally grows and government is ever more intrusive (except with smoking where Mr Dunn opposing the busy-body government), and every thing is comfortable.

    In the face of the slow decline in living standards as say compared to Australia Mr Dunn has nothing to contribute.

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  20. Nigel Kearney (747 comments) says:

    > Labour’s shattering on the constitutional conventions over electoral law have pushed
    > me 100% towards supporting a written constitution, to safeguard fundamental rights.

    It’s not that clear. A written constitution simply transfers powers from the legislature to the courts. The courts consist of judges appointed by the majority party. At least with the current system the attack on fundamental rights ends when Labour gets booted out. That wouldn’t necessarily be so if courts had the power to override Parliament and were stacked with far left judges.

    And don’t forget just four years ago Labour, with a bare majority, completely abolished our highest court and replaced it with a new one populated with judges they chose, in part because they didn’t like the decisions that were being made.

    As for ACT being out of touch, are there any ACT policies you disagree with? If so, which ones?

    [DPF: I will blog at some stage when I have the time on which of the 20 points I support. As for politicisng the judiciary I agree it is a concern and why I have been anti before now. However I think one can develop a mechanism to require a parliamentary super-majority for any appointments, so that we avoid the US Supreme Court stuff.]

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  21. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    The only reason to vote for a NZ republic would be to put an end to the millstone that is the treaty of Waitangi.

    I can see no other reason to do so.

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  22. radar (319 comments) says:

    Interviewing Peter Dunne is a waste of any journlist’s time. No one learns anything that is worth learning. He seems to have some strange opinions though. Such as:

    “I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.”

    The State does impose moral codes, such as “It’s illegal to murder people”, and “It’s illegal to rob people”. It is not a very long way from those moral impositions to the one he is referring to: abortion.

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  23. getstaffed (9,188 comments) says:

    bruv, becoming a republic would require us to have a legitimate constitution (unlike the one we have today…) and you can be sure that indigenous land rights in perpetuity would be a deal-breaker requirement for such a constitution.

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  24. Mr Dennis (348 comments) says:

    “But we had some people who imagined that United Future could become New Zealand’s version of the Taliban.”

    This is a very interesting quote from Mr Dunne. It is the Christian vote that has been keeping him in parliament in my opinion (obviously not all his supporters are Christians but without the Christian vote his other supporters possibly wouldn’t have ever got the party more than 1 seat). There were many Christians who voted for UF as a party which might at least get some Christian values into parliament where no actual Christian party had achieved before. He probably gained a lot of votes from Capills single-handed destruction of Christian Heritage.

    These Christian voters will have become increasingly disillusioned with him, especially when he supported the smacking legislation. Although some of you may agree with his sentiment, equating the Christian element of the party with the Taleban is a severe insult which is likely to lose him what Christian votes he had left. I never saw any of his MPs running round blowing people up – did you? These votes will most likely go to The Family Party, The Kiwi Party and National. He may have signed his own retirement with that statement.

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  25. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul W

    You really claim there isn’t any evidence that current policies in education aren’t bad or are not working?

    I don’t know what Country you live it.

    The significance of educational choice in Sweden is of course that it has an extensive welfare state. Like here, Gommint is the big idea in Sweden. But even in Sweden they have moved on in education. The idea of school choice, of empowering parents, of incentivising teachers and schools to meeting the INDIVIDUAL educational needs of children is now broadly politically supported there.

    One needs to be careful of considering education attainment in most Scandinavian countries – they are very homogenous societies – thus on average standardised provision of education will work better than say here.

    But what we can expect in Sweden that the more individually tailored education that is provided to greater numbers of Swedish school students will result in a rise of attainment.

    ACT is the only political party in New Zealand that is interested in incentivising the more individualised provision of education tailored to the particular gifts and needs of the Child.

    The rest of Parliament has given up i.e. gone back to the 1960’s standarised everything. Heavens they won’t even trust schools to manage the salaries now.

    And please don’t quote Ms Coddington – she evidences the benefits of a tertiary education.

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  26. llew (1,532 comments) says:

    It is the Christian vote that has been keeping him in parliament in my opinion

    It’s been winning his electorate. For some inexplcable reason (I’m told he works hard) they love him.

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  27. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris said:

    The significance of educational choice in Sweden is of course that it has an extensive welfare state. Like here, Gommint is the big idea in Sweden. But even in Sweden they have moved on in education. The idea of school choice, of empowering parents, of incentivising teachers and schools to meeting the INDIVIDUAL educational needs of children is now broadly politically supported there.

    Chris, I live in Australia (previously NZ) – that’s the country that didn’t do quite as well in the recent TIMMS (or was it PRISM) international education testing publication – NZ’s education system is good, by any measure, good. It’s also far more diverse and dynamic compared with Sweden e.g. independent schools, ERO, school principals as employers, Boards representing the community etc etc. You may well need vouchers to reform the Swedish system but when the NZ system is (a) performing well and (b) a hell of a lot more dynamic that Sweden’s then ACT policies start to look nothing more than ideological.

    I didn’t mean for this discussion to become particularly technical; I identified this ‘policy’ because it’s a perfect example of what Dunne said – old solutions, no longer suited to today’s challenges.

    Frankly, if you can say how your policies will improve kids’ learning, then why on earth do you support them?

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  28. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul w:

    Oh dear – what Sweden illustrates is that even a society wedded to the idea of Government they have opted for greater freedom to meet the INDIVIDUALISED needs of the child.

    What you want to avoid (for ideological reasons) is the principle than another Country wedded to the idea of government can teach us something.

    Yes Sweden might have had a more socialised education system than us but over time they will have a less socialised one size fits all system than us.

    In the meantime we stand still.

    Here overall independent school enrolment is down to approximately 5% of total school aged children. The trend is downwards. Why – because only a fraction of the money most of those parents contribute towards education for children through their taxes finds its way to the school that their child attends.

    School principals as employers wow these professionals are not even trusted to handle the money for their employees – the norm for employers. Again its now policy not to empower principals.

    As for the ERO – its standard practice were the state eliminates choice and competition to attempt to regulate quality. The problem is that one gets the information on a school that provides a good quality education and then one is prevented by PHYSICAL lines on a map from sending your child there.

    Allocating access to education based on maps is frankly backward.

    In the end Paul kids learning is enhanced where educators are incentivised to meet the individual needs of the child. Our current system doesn’t do this.

    Why are there no state schools closing at 5.30pm for example or open on Saturdays or operating in summer. Or musically inclined. Or artistically inclined. Or focused on kinetic learning. Or state schools for the gifted.

    Mmmm I wonder why the virtual state monopoly does respond to meet these needs.

    Society has changed so much yet the Victorians would recognise our class room instruction – they would wonder why Children can’t read though.

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  29. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    # Ryan Sproull (413) Add karma Subtract karma –4 Says:
    June 17th, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    “Remember the happy jingle, everyone.

    If you’re a capitalist, you see,
    You’re not a socialist like me.
    Diametrically opposed,
    All they share is I-S-T!

    I just wrote that right then. Just right off the top of my head. You know what that’s called? Fucking ingenuity.

    On second thoughts, they share an A-L too. Goddam it.”

    Now, I didn’t give you a negative karma point for that, Ryan. It was indeed INGENIOUS of you. But would you please give the Capitalists THEIR quality back? Human ingenuity belongs to them, not to Socialism……….

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  30. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    Blair M, big bruv, goodgod, Norman LaRoque, gd, etc, you guys are right on, I won’t repeat your arguments, Mr Farrar is wrong, ACT’s policies would do just as much good in dragging NZ out of a crisis TODAY, as Rogernomics did in the 1980′s.

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  31. bruceh (101 comments) says:

    Dunne serves up a pollies cheapshot with ‘ACT’s policies stuck in a time warp’

    Funny isn’t it that he has supported as a minister a govt that has loyally represented the last gasp of the 70′s brigade lefties, all dressed up to look like new millennia state progressives. And look what we’ve got for it as a country.

    And they have no excuse for their miserable failure – best external trading environment in a generation, political management capability by the Clark load, and a flexible, open economy thanks to good ol’ backwards looking think-only-of-the-medium-term-not-the-short-term Roger.

    Thanks to National’s natural centre of gravity and their chosen election strategy, this last-of-the-70′s brigade and their forlorn, naive faith in the efficacy of big state managerialism will also have the contentment that their legacy of mediocrity and big gummint will be only fiddled with around the edges.

    Unless…

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  32. PhilBest (5,112 comments) says:

    # ben (225) Add karma Subtract karma +0 Says:
    June 17th, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    (DUNNE) “I think probably, you should be looking at the woman, her doctor and informed consent. I have a very strong view that – and I appreciate the moral issue involved here – but the moral issue is actually the individual’s morals. I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.”

    ben: “Good lord, only just read that. Mr Dunne’s stock just went up 5 points in my book. Maybe 10. In fact I think I might send him an email.”

    Ben, ask him where he stands on TAXPAYERS MONEY being spent on induviduals “moral choices”………..

    Mr Dunne has no stock left at all in my book.

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  33. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris said:

    In the end Paul kids learning is enhanced where educators are incentivised to meet the individual needs of the child. Our current system doesn’t do this.

    Any evidence that vouchers will create the optimal “incentives” Chris? Your support for the policy is admirable, but it’s largely rhetorical and light on evidence. The NZ education system is current performing ahead of international trends but you want reform so that you can send kids to school on Saturdays? Until someone from ACT can answer the fundamental questions, like how will the reforms continue or accelerate the learning of kids, you’re simply not credible.

    And also, tell me how vouchers in schools will avoid the problems associated with voucher systems such as was implemented in tertiary education in the mid- to late-90s? Remember that, the Nat’s have been banging on about it – duplication of trendy courses with little or low labour market benefit e.g. twilight golf or the CPIT DVD-based learning that had thousands of enrolments and no completions? I used to work in industry training in NZ and had people like Karen Walker tell me that over half of the “graduates” lacked the basic skills essential for work and were therefore unemployable. How precisely will ACTs vouchers system ensure kids learn the basics essential for progression and work? I like the idea of special character schools and other arrangements that cater to kids with unique talents and/or needs but that’s possible without ill-considered reforms you’re advocating.

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  34. Hagues (711 comments) says:

    “I think probably, you should be looking at the woman, her doctor and informed consent. I have a very strong view that – and I appreciate the moral issue involved here – but the moral issue is actually the individual’s morals. I don’t think it’s a matter of the state imposing a moral code. I mean, there is a moral dimension as to whether you should have an abortion and that issue is still there – but that’s not a call that the state should be seeking to make on behalf of the people involved.”

    It’s all well and good spouting that now, but where was that logic displayed during the Anti-Smacking vote. State imposed morals that Dunne voting in favour for, telling is that we can’t smack pur children, but hey its up to us if we want to abort them before they are born.

    Been around Labour too long, time to be shown the door.

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  35. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Oh and by the way Chris, individualised learning (or personalised learning or learner centred learning or whatever else you want to call it) is well advanced in NZ and entirely and easily implemented within the existing arrangements (the “state-monopoly” you rather absurdly call it).

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  36. Zarchoff (100 comments) says:

    Well I actually live in the Ohariu electorate(Dunnesville) but I won’t be voting for Peter. He says a lot, he sounds very sensible, he opens fetes and school galas and kisses that occasional unlucky baby BUT in the end he acheives precisely NOTHING !!! Example: Transmission Gully – where is it Peter??? Also, Wellington City council have stopped a planned expansion for Johnsonville mall to protect the retailers in the CBD (real Mugagbe tactics) and what has Peter Dunne said? You guessed it – NOTHING! But then the good folks of Ohariu (bless ‘em) would probably elect a dead sheep dressed in a Peter Dunne mask so what can you do? The only bright spot is he will have to retire eventually……

    As for ACT policies, if ideas from 1987 make us $500 a week better off then “Let’s do the time warp again…”

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  37. goodgod (1,363 comments) says:

    “…the Government isn’t sitting around going “how can we fuck up the economy?”
    Whether or not you agree with their policies, they believe they are in the best interests of the country…”

    I’d be really interested in knowing what question they actually are asking themselves if the answers are anything like their policies and tendency for adhoc populist legislation.

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  38. freedom101 (439 comments) says:

    Don’t be so tough on Mr Common Sense. He saved us from Y2K. Don’t you remember? Also, he has done a fantastic job as Minister of Revenue. Under his watch, while inflation has been 30%, government revenue is up 80%. I don’t think Cullen could have appointed a more highly skilled poodle.

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  39. philu (13,393 comments) says:

    don’t forget that he has singlehandedly blocked any sensible/humane cannabis law reform..

    ..the voters of ohariu belmont must be as thick as pigshit to continually vote the pompadoured fool back in..

    (is it dueling banjos territory..?..)

    ..to be suckered in by his ever-changing political personae..

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  40. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul W

    Well as a current or former educator you are pretty pedestrian I guess we should be grateful you are out of the education business.

    You indict yourself with your own posts – you state that graduates in a particular industry training scheme lack basis skills.

    This is then proffered as evidence that there is nothing wrong with the current system.

    Of course all of those graduates have passed through a virtual state monopoly of primary schools.

    You still refuse to address the FACT that there isn’t the variety of different types of schools meeting the particular needs and gifts of the children.

    The State is even so slack that it hasn’t adjusted school times from those needed in an agricultural society where kids are required for the afternoon milking.

    That’s why your schools close at around 3pm.

    It’s never occurred to State education to have a variety of opening and closing times to meet the needs of the Children and their families. No. The children and their families must adapt.

    Paul keeps asserting that State education can be flexible and responsive. YET it hasn’t it hasn’t to date. There are no State special character schools. The few we have are independent schools who struggle and which don’t receive the value that the parents are contributing for education through their taxes.

    If you economically empower the children through their parents you will start getting more dynamic flexible and responsive education. It won’t be perfection but it will be better than a “one size fits all” approach we have now – which is old fashioned thinking even in Sweden.

    It’s pretty simply really.

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  41. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    PhilU

    “don’t forget that he has singlehandedly blocked any sensible/humane cannabis law reform”

    That alone is a good enough reason to keep him in the house, the only “sensible” law surrounding cannabis is the one we have right now.
    What we now need is for our judiciary to punish dope heads to the full extent of the law.

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  42. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris said (some silly things I’m ignoring):

    You indict yourself with your own posts – you state that graduates in a particular industry training scheme lack basis skills.

    This is then proffered as evidence that there is nothing wrong with the current system.

    Aside from the spelling error (which indicts you, nah, it’s no biggy), the problem is you’ve entirely missed the point – the industry training system works brilliantly; the voucher funding for polytechnics (and universities) resulted in training poorly aligned to industry need. I made this point to show you the pitfalls of voucher schemes. Vouchers have gone in preference for funding aligned to forecast labour needs – more sensible.

    My question is how will the ACT system avoid these risks?

    It’s odd that you’ve resorted to being insulting – did you think I’d react and forget that so far you’ve still not addressed the fundamental point: how precisely will vouchers improve our kids learning outcomes?

    NZ schools are performing well by any and all measure. I think you need to (a) find evidence of the failings of the NZ system (b) find evidence that vouchers will at least maintain or ideally enhance the current performance and (c) find better reasons for why schools are inflexible (so far it’s not open on Saturdays). By the way, the reason most classes end mid-afternoon is ’cause kids are tired and want to have some time to ummm …. be kids…. not such a bad thing I think.

    By the way, I don’t have an inherent objection to different funding models or vouchers per se, I’m just unconvinced by all the zealous and overstated rhetoric. I’m positive NZ schools could do better. I’m pretty convinced that they might need to be more responsive to kids and to different learning styles. I’m even convinced that some of our teachers aren’t as good as they could be but I’m anything but convinced the system is failing and in need of fundamental, experimental and largely underdeveloped reforms such as you propose. There’s lots of real innovation in the NZ system, innovation the envy of other nations, it’s a pity there’s so many knockers around; constructive criticism and engagement are one thing, slagging the system is another (by the way, it’s hardly likely to make people change their minds).

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  43. peterquixote (231 comments) says:

    Dunne is correct about ACT. ACT is as meaningless as his own party. However Dunne and Hide and Peters, as individuals are a valuable contribution.
    The idea of a NZ Republic is farcical. We will soon be bankrupt.
    My prediction 2012.

    Whereas tens of thousands of progressive working people enter Australia every year to pay taxes, thousands of New Zealand tax payers leave.
    Leaving old people and welfare beneficiaries, and state funded criminals.
    We are second only to USA for our jail population..
    Lets negotiate with Australia now, the lucky Country,
    they are dumber than us and they just might accept the proposition that we become a AUS state.

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  44. Rex Widerstrom (5,124 comments) says:

    My dear old mum always told me, “If you can’t find a single nice thing to say about a person; if you really feel they don’t have a single redeeming feature bout which you can at least find something positive to say, then it’s best to say nothing at all”.

    So I won’t.

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  45. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    “The idea of a NZ Republic is farcical. ”

    You under estimate the kiwi fighting spirit Mr Quixotee.

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  46. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    So do you D4J if you think we are going to roll over and let you bastards take us down the republic path.

    President Clark?…NO FUCKING WAY!

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  47. dad4justice (7,406 comments) says:

    Clark will be well gone from the political landscape when New Zealand is made a Republic.

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  48. big bruv (12,327 comments) says:

    IF…D4J..not when

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  49. thehawkreturns (162 comments) says:

    A written constitution guarantees far less than Common Law and history.
    If you don’t believe me visit Guantanamo Bay.

    The only benefit is spending even more billions on constitutional lawyers.

    When Republicans rant on why do they not dare to describe and define the system of Government they
    seek to achieve?

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  50. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul w:

    Gosh you are very slow on the uptake.

    We have never had “voucher” tertiary education funding in New Zealand.

    That is a blatant lie.

    But you will not retract it will you …… you will just change your line of argument.

    The more you type the more prove to have a poor understanding of the basic concepts.

    What we have is a system where the Government directly subsidises that tertiary institutions to the tune of 75% of the cost of the course and the student picks up the rest.

    And the fact is if most students were contributing more than 25% of the costs of their courses directly then they wouldn’t waste the money like the institutions sometimes do on junk courses. And of course much of that 75% subsidisation is an indirect transfer of wealth via the institutions to the middle class anyway.

    Strangely people tend not to like wastefulness when it comes out of their pocket directly.

    Whatever system one calls our tertiary funding system it is not nor has it ever been in recent times a “voucher” scheme.

    Now will you retract?

    And why the fetish about tertiary education – the true failures of the near total state monopoly on compulsory education never get to tertiary education anyway.

    Regarding compulsory education – your ignorance about the world wide experimentation in empowering students via putting more of the economic power in the hands of parents is astounding.

    Arguments are raging right now over the District of Columbia school system which has been experimenting by providing over 2000 students with vouchers. The DC school system is the worst in the US it’s also the most expensive in the US and totally dominated by public schools. The students receiving the vouchers are doing much better; their parents are empowered. The public teacher unions hate it as do some of the more leftwing Democrats like Delegate Norton.

    My point is these arguments are mainstream almost everywhere else – it’s the parties other than ACT domestically that are behind the times. Hell school principals and their boards here are not even trusted with managing the salary money – a ten year debate won by teacher unions.

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  51. grumpyoldhori (2,410 comments) says:

    Grrr, a bloody republic, some of you buggers want a president
    picked by politicians, bugger that.
    Think the politicians would be happy about we the peasants having a direct vote for a president, dream on.

    The life states after a bonk mob, want to copy Ireland, abortion is
    banned there but they do not stop women from going to England
    to get it done.
    Would any of you have the moral and physical courage to check all women before they fly off to Australia ?

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  52. OECD rank 22 kiwi (2,786 comments) says:

    ACT is the only party with the ability to save New Zealand. No one else is coming up with the big ideas to change New Zealand for the better. Change is the important word. Change is coming whether you like it or not. Change is always happening.

    New Zealand’s standard of living can change for the better or change for the worse. At the moment it is changing for the worse. Every day that no direct action is taken to change this situation New Zealand’s standard of living continues to decline. That is the problem with Labour. They did nothing for nine years to really make a difference and reverse the downward trend of the standard of living. Just looks at the migration stats that are out on Friday to see the result of that. More people off to Australia (Hardly the most dynamic country in the world, just vastly superior to New Zealand, for shame). A vote for Labour or National is a vote to keep New Zealand lame. Only ACT gives the country a shot at greatness.

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  53. clintheine (1,560 comments) says:

    The biggest problem of all this is that you all are taking what Peter Dunne said about ACT seriously. Dunne is nobody. I would rather listen to advice about ACT from Kim Jong Il.

    All sensible readers know exactly what ACT is proposing. The fact that ACT have resorted to the pledgecard (which I challenge any right voter to argue against) is because National are not inspiring the right whatsoever. Even if National win, we don’t see any major progress away from the status quo, which is the reason why Labour is so far off the pace now.

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  54. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    The only reason Dunne is given media oxygen today is because he appeared on a TV interview nearly 10 years ago and “the worm” spiralled upwards when he lucked into saying he stood for a jaw-dropping tautology “sensible, common sense”.

    He’s lived the political equivalent of a Perils of Pauline cartoon featuring endless minor permutations of the same tired script ever since.

    Why can’t National or Act put a serious heavyweight into Dunne’s constituency and smoke his plush arse into oblivion?

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  55. Matthew (167 comments) says:

    Let’s get it out there now: Peter Dunne is a LIAR:

    “Campbell: You’ve been through your prayer meeting phase ?
    Dunne : Well, we were never really in it. I certainly wasn’t.”

    I was present myself at several church organised prayer meetings in Parliament. These are not official State “prayer breakfasts”, rather the local churches in Wellington getting together for an evening of prayer in Parliament. Well, lo and behold one Mr. Peter Dunne not only came along to one aforesaid prayer meeting, he even made a speech. Let’s just compare the facts with his statement: “I certainly wasn’t [in the praye rmeeting phase].”

    Well said Mr Dennis.

    LIAR LIAR LIAR…LIAR LIAR LIAR.

    This man cannot be trusted and the voters at Ohariu should boot out liars at the upcoming election.

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  56. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris hysterically declares:

    We have never had “voucher” tertiary education funding in New Zealand.

    That is a blatant lie.

    But you will not retract it will you …… you will just change your line of argument.

    Umm, Chris, the Universal Tertiary Tuition Allowance (UTTA) conforms to just about any definition of voucher you care to produce. Simply, funding followed students to any program that was quality assured – from memory there may not have even been a requirement about the level of qualification or course length. It was a scheme bought in by National, Creech, why not lets see how he describes the scheme:

    By the year 2000 every student who chooses to embark on approved tertiary courses will get the benefit of the new taxpayer funded Universal Tertiary Tuition Allowance. For any particular course, the same level of subsidy will go towards student tuition costs, regardless of where they study.

    “The Government expects that overall tuition fees will not rise, and in some cases they should fall.”

    The Universal Tertiary Tuition Allowance will be fully in place by the year 2000, replacing the current system where only a fixed number of student places in public institutions get taxpayer funding, and the institutions themselves have to find the money to pay for any extra students.

    There’s more here (http://executive.govt.nz/96-99/budget98/news/educat2.htm) Chris, I think you’ll find it doesn’t help your argument too much.

    No need to apologise Chris but perhaps you might want to adopt a less hysterical position on matters that you appear not to understand.

    Chris goes on to huff and puff:

    What we have is a system where the Government directly subsidises that tertiary institutions to the tune of 75% of the cost of the course and the student picks up the rest.

    And the fact is if most students were contributing more than 25% of the costs of their courses directly then they wouldn’t waste the money like the institutions sometimes do on junk courses. And of course much of that 75% subsidisation is an indirect transfer of wealth via the institutions to the middle class anyway.

    The 75 per cent figure’s not been accurate since I was last involved in the management of universities (1999) but that’s not too far from how it initially worked – it largely broke down under UTTA however – but even so, it’s not inconsistent with a voucher, just a voucher for less that the full costs of study; does ACT intend to provide all students with a voucher for the full costs of their tuition; hell’s bells, how will you keep a lid on costs?

    Chris goes on…

    And why the fetish about tertiary education – the true failures of the near total state monopoly on compulsory education never get to tertiary education anyway.

    Given (a) ACTs limited ‘policy’ (a brief non-refereed review of the Swedish system with no analysis of how it’d work here) and (b) Coddington’s comment to me that she’s got no idea how it would improve learning outcomes, (c) I thought I’d point to the failings of the last voucher scheme that operated in education; the UTTA scheme. No fetish, just simple analysis.

    Chris then says:

    Regarding compulsory education – your ignorance about the world wide experimentation in empowering students via putting more of the economic power in the hands of parents is astounding.

    Arguments are raging right now over the District of Columbia school system which has been experimenting by providing over 2000 students with vouchers. The DC school system is the worst in the US it’s also the most expensive in the US and totally dominated by public schools. The students receiving the vouchers are doing much better; their parents are empowered. The public teacher unions hate it as do some of the more leftwing Democrats like Delegate Norton.

    Well fair enough Chris, radical reform may be required in that situation;a bloated, ineffective system producing the worst results in the US. However, at the risk of being repetitive, this simply isn’t the situation in NZ. As I’ve said up thread, the NZ school system is performing well and improving by all absolute and relative measures.

    The solution has to fit the problem Chris, and this is my recurring criticism with ACTs ‘policy’, it’s ideological and simply does not relate to the NZ school system – perhaps that’s why you and Coddington always talk about overseas examples and not NZ ones?

    And then finally Chris says:

    My point is these arguments are mainstream almost everywhere else – it’s the parties other than ACT domestically that are behind the times. Hell school principals and their boards here are not even trusted with managing the salary money – a ten year debate won by teacher unions.

    Two quick things. First, NZ is ahead of the reform agenda in education compared internationally so the “mainstream” is not relevant since, for example, schools in Australia have far less autonomy that those in NZ – would you quote Australian literature? You shouldn’t, it’s not relevant. Secondly, bulk-funding; well, frankly I’m ambivalent about this. I’ve heard all the arguments for and against and I have to say I’m unconvinced either way. However, if the remaining objection ACT have to current policy is bulk-funding, simply say so and stop pretending there’s some crisis for which radical reform is needed – it simply isn’t true!

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  57. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul W

    You must be in public education – you simply keep digging even when you are patently wrong.

    Has the total monetary value of the tertiary education supplied to the student been given directly to THAT student? Has the total value the taxpayer contribution to tertiary education been averaged out and turned into an INDIVIDUAL entitlement which is then delivered directly to the students and not the institution first – shock horror does the student get the VOUCHER or SCHOLARSHIP in his or her hot little hand?

    What is described would be a voucher scheme – what you describe is not because the vast bulk of tertiary funding goes directly from the Government to the institution and not via the student.

    Voucher schemes are NOT “the funding following the student” it is the funding being GIVEN TO the student. It results in a fundamentally different set of incentives than a system where institutions rustle up bums on seats and then get paid by the Government for each body.

    You just gotta be some sort of teacher.

    So I guess you won’t withdraw or admit an error you’ll just wriggle on the hook.

    “Two quick things. First, NZ is ahead of the reform agenda in education compared internationally so the “mainstream” is not relevant since, for example, schools in Australia have far less autonomy that those in NZ – would you quote Australian literature?”

    Well this cannot be true a far higher percentage of Australian school children are educated in private schools i.e. entirely self managing. There is a debate raging in the Federal Parliament regarding the level of deductibility of the costs of private education.

    There is no discussion here about how we foster our declining independent school sector – except from ACT.

    Again you are wrong.

    As for the need for radical reform – ask the kids, parents and teachers most aren’t happy – and the wholesale level of educational failure in large parts of South Auckland is an damning indictment on the public education monopoly there. Or are all poor kids thick Paul?

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  58. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris,

    I’ve tried to be polite Chris, but your tendency to insult suggests you’re not capable of continuing civil discussion; it’s boring and adds nothing to your (ill-informed) argument.

    UTTA is a form of vouchers by any reasonable measure, a fact more sensible people would acknowledge but this clearly doesn’t include you. One of the few NZ studies of vouchers defined them thus:

    The term “vouchers” refers to various different forms of funding education. These range from individual scholarships for private school attendance, and/or systems of open enrolment, school self-management and per-capita funding formulae in public schools only, to systems which use public money to fund public and private schools alike. Voucher approaches to education are concerned mainly with funding and structure as the means to improve education, rather than with the content of education.

    Clearly this includes UTTA. Again, no need to apologise for your ignorance but again you might wish stop being such a twat.

    Re your “proposal” (is this an elaboration of ACTs “policy”?), the transaction costs and inefficiency the scheme you propose are huge, wasteful and bound to condemn it to failure (if it were ever to succeed regardless). I’m aware of individual learning accounts in other jurisdictions, and you might be interested to note the that Australia 2020 summit final report also included the beginings of this idea, but posting out a voucher to kids or their parents is just plain stupid – is this really ACTs policy, bloody hell, I guess that’s what you get when you don’t have funding for real analysis. Is it what they do in Sweden or what they propose in DC – I very much doubt it. If it helps, I think you’re getting confused between funding policy and the mechanism by which it is implemented. The accountability and responsiveness you seek is achievable by other means but you need to think more about the unintended consequences (remember twilight golf).

    Chris says:

    Well this cannot be true a far higher percentage of Australian school children are educated in private schools i.e. entirely self managing. There is a debate ranging in the Federal Parliament regarding the level of deductibility of the costs of private education.

    Yes that’s correct, but then public schools in Australia have nothing like the autonomy NZ schools do – again, you’re comparing apples with oranges and I’ll come to why in a minute. I’m reasonably close to this ‘debate’ Chris and I don’t think it’ll be resolved in the way you might hope.

    Chris says:

    As for the need for radical reform – ask the kids, parents and teachers most aren’t happy…

    So you’ve done this have you Chris? Here you are valiantly defending ACTs half-baked policy for radical reform based on Swedish and DC experience, why not just share the insights you have about the NZ school system’s failure then we’ll all understand how you’ve arrived at this solution?

    I know that there’s room for significant improvement in the NZ system – there is in all systems frankly – but you’ve still not shown me how posting out a personal cheque to kids will (a) improve their learning outcomes (Coddington has no idea either if that’s any consolation) or (b) avoid all the problems encountered by UTTA. The fact that you persistently refer to overseas examples is very revealing.

    Chris then says (reaching, reaching, reaching…)

    …- and the wholesale level of educational failure in large parts of South Auckland is an damning indictment on the public education monopoly there. Or are all poor kids thick Paul?

    No Chris, poorer kids aren’t thick and I grew up in Mangere thanks very much… but you’re mistaken if you think the lower levels of performance of low SES kids is all down to educational failure (more ‘jump-to-conclusions’ based ‘first-order-thinking’), it’s as much to do with the educational attainment of their parents, the kids housing, their health and whether they’re hungry at school frankly… schools can’t be expected to fix all these problems… again, do some reading before you type. Check out the Best Evidence Synthesis project (http://www.educationcounts.govt.nz/publications/series/2515).

    Finally Chris, I wonder if you’re interested in real analysis, I think you prefer to shout and/or use big crayons in the hope no one asks questions… but why not check out this research (http://www.nzcer.org.nz/pdfs/5835.pdf) on vouchers before you try to reply.

    And by the way Chris, my position and experience aren’t particularly relevant to this “issues” debate, my knowledge is however – how about we discuss the merits of the issues based on our knowledge, not our claim to expertise (not that I’ve got any misgivings about mine by the way).

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  59. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul w:

    You simply play with semantics. Read the quote more carefully – its not addressing tertiary funding and its rolling together a crab bag of ideas.

    You quote from a document that includes a whole lot of ideas that might or might not be associated with DIRECTLY funding students.

    Actually most voucher schemes are not concerned with the ownership, management of the institution. If some wrongly believe this – it’s not my problem that you (and they) don’t understand the term.

    But as the term is correctly understood it does not include schemes where the institutions are directly funded on a per student basis. One isn’t a purchaser if one doesn’t have control of the money.

    You keep wrongly asserting that tertiary funding in New Zealand was on a voucher basis and then use an quote unrelated to the tertiary sector (unsourced) as evidence. Who has written the quote? In all likelihood a leftwing education academic. I doubt one supporter of empowering students as purchaser would agree with the characterisation in the quote.

    Please provide me the source of the quote and I will ring them and ask them whether they are asserting that tertiary funding in New Zealand was done on a voucher basis?

    The facts are that University students have never directly controlled the full amount of the funds for their courses? That is a FACT.

    As for the NZCER it’s simply an organ for the status quo in the education system – look it who elects it, and its board and its electoral college – there will not be much innovation from it – we know this because it’s the first time I have ever heard of it.

    There are a number of such Government sector dominated “independent bodies” – all advocating the ongoing domination of the State in their particular area of interest.

    Can you point to one document they have produced supporting freeing up the education sector from government control.

    What you cannot accept is that freeing up education and empowering students by making their parents “purchasers” than “beneficiaries” would transform education here.

    I repeat where are the State special character schools???????????????????????????????????????????????????????

    Where are the State schools operating until parents finish work???????????????????????????????

    Where are the State schools operating summer schools for kids that are failing???????????????????????????????????????????????????

    And as I say you just GOTTA be in the education sector.

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  60. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Good god Chris. The first quote was from Creech (http://executive.govt.nz/96-99/budget98/news/educat2.htm), you might recall he was the Minister, and the second from the only published NZ report on vouchers (NZCER is left wing sure, but have you read the report and can you show me how it’s biased precisely – it’s refereed unlike the basis for ACTs policy I might add).

    It’s not a grab bag; it’s a definition intended to capture the diverse range of voucher/entitlement approaches currently in operation in the named countries (including Sweden) examined in the study – how else do you think the study should have been conducted?

    We’re going nowhere with this because you’re argument is based on blind faith and, so far, no actual evidence (hence the reliance on examples from Sweden and DC) and any/all evidence I adduce (Ministerial statements, refereed reports, longitudinal studies) you simply dismiss because of :”bias”. It’s clear you’re making this up as you go – but please, anytime you’re able, provide evidence for need for/ benefits of the ACT policy other than the non-refereed third-party summary of the Swedish system (Deborah Coddington couldn’t but offered to send me her book, nice).

    And once you’ve done this, I’d love to see the evidence for the overwhelming crisis/call from schools to which you alluded earlier but have yet produce.

    Assuming you can’t, let examine your “policy-on-the-hoof” (who’s running your policy process anyway, Coddington, you – the Independent Schools lobby?)

    So ACTs policy is to provide funding direct to kids or their parents to fund school education, is that right? Lets kick off with a few questions:

    1. Is it all kids/parents? What level of funding will be provided (will it be some nominal average, will it be differentiated by region or SES or some other means)? Will schools be able to charge top up fees; if so, what level? Will top up fees be regulated in any way?

    2. Will the funding be provided contingent upon the student enroling in an accredited school? Will the school have to offer the national curriculum or can the offer the Cambridge baccalaureate or whatever other fadish qualification is popular amongst the chattering classes? Will teachers have to be licenced in any way?

    3. Can the student withdraw funding at any point in time and for any reason? Will there be any funding direct to schools or will all funding be received only via student vouchers (capital funding for instance)?

    4. How will you measure the success of the policy? Will the performance of schools be measured independently (by ERO for instance) and, if so, against what benchmarks. Will ACTs policy continue with TIMMS and PRISMS and if so, how?

    Look frankly Chris, I think you’re the worst kind of true-believer who’s essentially incapable of considering evidence which contradicts your beliefs hence you dismiss people with evidence and knowledge as somehow captured (i.e. your repeated comment that I “must work in education”). That’s your right, but lets not pretend you’ve got a sophisticated understanding of education or policy for that matter; you’re a shill for ACT and you’re making stuff up as you go along… your PR guy did much the same thing a few weeks back on this very issue.

    Tell me, why doesn’t your team invest in genuine policy work (you could start but talking with Norman LaRocque – I don’t agree with everything Norman says but he’s eminently sensible and well informed)?

    As I’ve said repeatedly, I don’t inherently oppose vouchers or other demand-driven funding. However, I’m far from convinced they’re some panacea and even less convinced there’s a crisis. Your failure to adduce any evidence of the need for vouchers or how they’ll work (or how they’ll avoid the traps that the UTTA scheme didn’t) convinces me that ACTs policy is stuck in a timewarp precisely as Dunne said.

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  61. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul w:

    You are a con artist mate: the Creech speech does not outline a voucher scheme at all.

    As for the NZCER piece its 10yrs old and not that good. Its very leftwing document – poor kids are failing now in a totally state dominated compulsory education system.

    And actually the NZCER piece isn’t a study of voucher schemes here; it’s a literature survey – not surprisingly most literature (by leftwing education academics) is against empowering parents as consumers – nothing new in that.

    None of the recent innovations in Sweden or in DC or anywhere else in the US is canvassed.

    The DC trial is interesting because the schools are the most expensive public schools in the US, are largely failing and the kids receiving the vouchers are poor but doing academically better now.

    I love the fact that you criticise pointing to overseas experimentation and innovation.

    The reason for that oh dim one is that there isn’t any here.

    It isn’t they every nation and every education system needs to be the same world wide before lesions can be learnt. But the similarities between them (largely government run, controlled and funded provision) are greater than you want to concede.

    I am not surprised that it is beyond you to comprehend how making students through their parents purchasers will alter the fundamental relationship.

    The education system far more than health is virtually completely socialised. This is pretty much the same throughout the Western world. Some Doctors understand patients as consumers and purchasers because they run private practices. Few educationalists do unless they are in the independent (state dependent) school sector. Only one independent school in New Zealand takes no state funding.

    And yes as a matter of fact in DC they issue the voucher for US7.5k which of course is slightly higher than the value of the per secondary school student cost here of NZ8k.

    You also concede that more Australians are educated in independent schools (the fees for which are partially deductible) ergo they must be educated in self managed schools.

    And yes Sweden dominated by social democratic public policy thinking has opted for empowering parents.

    Here you claim Peter Dunn offer the most sensible approach to policy including that in education I presume.

    So if the kids of South Auckland are not thick why the failure. Education budget up dramatically poor decile schools funded higher per capital….. why the failure.

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  62. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Mmm this lady has a political agenda: vouchers = boogey man the rich eating the poor. She is essentially radically expanding the definition of the term to be a catch all.

    She has a BA (Hons) and a PhD (Social anthropology).

    Here is a quote:

    Is the land of the flightless bird the home of the voucherless voucher?

    By Cathy Wylie

    This article analyses school funding trends in New Zealand since the 1989 decentralisation of education administration to school level. It looks at the extent to which school funding became based on formulae linked to student numbers and characteristics. It concludes that by 1998, New Zealand could be seen as having a quasi-voucher system.

    The full journal article is published in:
    New Zealand Journal of Educational Studies, 34 (1), 1998. p. 99-109″

    This is just tosh.

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  63. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris said:

    You are a con artist mate: the Creech speech does not outline a voucher scheme at all.

    As for the NZCER piece its 10yrs old and not that good. Its very leftwing document – poor kids are failing now in a totally state dominated compulsory education system.

    The Creech release does propose a voucher system and the NZCER research, old though it may be, clearly defines vouchers systems in such a way to include UTTA. I suspect you’re actually smart enough to understand this but you’ve backed yourself into a position where you’ll look foolish to admit it now… this is like a Monty Python sketch; no so much an argument, just endless innane contradiction.

    Let me help you out of the corner, let’s change the focus and you can have another opportunity to answer the questions above. It shouldn’t take too long since you and Ansell seem more than prepared to simply make stuff up? I’d be happy with just answers to the first cluster of questions. Come on now Chris, aren’t you paid to do this stuff?

    So if the kids of South Auckland are not thick why the failure. Education budget up dramatically poor decile schools funded higher per capital….. why the failure.

    Did you look at the MoE study I linked to… it’s not too difficult to read, the summary’s about two screens long. Besides which, you still ignore the positive results in TIMMS/PISA (you really don’t do evidence do you, just rhetoric and hopelessly bold statements – it’s like some sort of faith-based approach to policy innit?)

    The problem with this debate, I suspect, is that you’re still fighting old battles – it’s like John Graham vs Charmaine Poutney all over again… only, we’ve all moved on mate, times have changed, it’s not 1987 and it appears you’ve not caught up.

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  64. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    http://www.educationforum.org.nz/#

    Check out Norman LaRocque presentation on school choice.

    His view from the presentation is that the government payments to independent schools is the only voucher like system here. Contrast with with Wylie above.

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  65. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    You’ve just been hit outta the ball park Paul

    Quoting from Ms Wylie directly

    page 1 note 1

    “This literature review focuses on school level data, and not early childhood education or tertiary provision,
    though the principles and the general trends found in this review are also applicable to all
    levels of education. In early childhood education and tertiary education, vouchers are more likely to
    take the form of a defined dollar or time amount available to individuals to use for accredited educational
    courses”

    I would agree with her regarding her statements on vouchers in tertiary education – but that isn’t the system that Creech was proposing.

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  66. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    I suggest you check out Norman LaRocque’s presentation on school choice at the educationforum.org.nz.

    He identifies state funding of independent schools as the only voucher like scheme operating in New Zealand. Compare and contrast with Ms Wylie above.

    You quite right the world is moving on more DJ Graham than Poutney – look at the slides mate.

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  67. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Are you for real? How on earth does this help your argument? Wylie says vouchers take many forms, yeah, including funding provided direct to an institution on the basis of a decision by a student, yeah, but this is different from what you’re proposing, sure and

    Oh I get it, the failings of vouchers in higher education aren’t relevant to your policy, cause you’ll do it somehow differently and that means any and all misgivings about ACTs support for a some brief overview of a system developed in Sweden, a system that bears no relevance to ours (or the DC system, which unlike ours, was not performing), is well placed ’cause there’s a crisis (nevermind the lack of evidence for this and the plethora of evidence to the contrary) for which Roger’s 1987 ideas are just the ticket?

    Is that it? Is that all of it? Good luck with that hey… but just in case, I still think you might want to maybe have another workshop on the policy before you start printing up the flyers (and really, give Norman a call, he’s smart).

    Ok. So, back to my earlier point, are you going to send kids vouchers for them redeem however they see fit? Perhaps you might like to just explain the fundamentals of the system you’re proposing along the lines of the four clusters of questions I proposed above… if this is too much to ask, just flesh out the basics and explain how it’ll improve the already improving performance of schools.

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  68. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Hey Chris, knowing your dislike for academic work and your apparent desire for a knock-out how about you read this article in the Economist… only problem mate, is that it doesn’t look like the Swede’s post cheques either … they also simply provide the funding to the school based on where the student enrols (just like UTTA… but you said that’s not a voucher, shite, you’ll have to rename your policy hey?)… it says:

    They explain the “voucher system” from which they make their money. For each pupil the school teaches, it receives from the local government what it would have spent educating the pupil in one of its own schools; in return, independent schools cannot charge anything extra, and must accept all students who apply. Provided schools follow Sweden’s national curriculum, they have wide latitude in their methods and pacing.

    Full article is here http://www.economist.com/daily/news/displaystory.cfm?story_id=11477890&f

    So tell me, is this what ACT proposes? No top-up fees? Must teach national curriculum…

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  69. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    Paul w:

    You just provided me with a home run

    The literature review you cited didn’t consider tertiary education and the author of the review correctly summarises a voucher system in the tertiary sector as “more likely to
    take the form of a defined dollar or time amount available to individuals to use for accredited educational courses.” She is correct.

    But that isn’t what Creech was proposing at all which was a direct subsidisation of the institution at a proportion of the total cost of the course, That isn’t anything like a voucher scheme as those who propose such schemes would support.

    The reason for this is because its post compulsory and there isn’t any reason why the student as consumer cannot be directly empower with money that is to be spent. For many low grade full year tertiary courses here the institution receives the government subsidy for that course on a particular date, after that is financially unaffected whether the student completes the course or not.

    As I said you have been hit outta the ball park matey.

    You must be some sort of teacher – you cannot admit a mistake.

    Actually some south Auckland schools are just like DC schools.

    And from the Economist piece on Sweden:

    “I loved Sweden’s profusion of different sorts of schools—surely different methods work for different children. I loved the way competition was forcing schools to think more pointedly about quality—Kunskapsskolan’s head teachers know that when a student is unhappy with what they offer, they risk 70,000 kronor walking out the door. And most of all I loved that Swedish parents are in control of state education—municipalities can’t close small rural schools against the wishes of local parents in the name of efficiency, for example, because parents would simply threaten to open their own schools”

    He then observes that Finish schools are academically better (old model) because the best graduates go into teaching because of its prestige but that their free to the student universities are terribly so-so. As I have noted the homogenous nature of Scandinavian societies also play a role

    The key thing about the Swedish model is that the entire funding can be taken out of the state system into an independent school. Here the emphasis is on the control and management of the schools. Indeed some of these schools are very small and have been set up by the parents themselves. What makes it voucher in the Swedish context is the ability to take the funding into the private sector. Again something we don’t even have here.

    Do you agree as a Peter Dunn booster that Independent secondary schools here should receive the full NZS8k instead of just a fraction of that i.e. just like in Sweden?

    Personally I would say yes to top-up fees (with special needs/problem child income tested subsidies available to cover any additional fees) and yes to teaching national curriculum and yes to the ERO but other than that – it’s whatever you want – but I am not responsible for ACT policy. I would want the education money in a dedicated bank account for educational purposes and have state schools similarly chase for the money. We need much more freedom, much more focus on individual student needs/gifts and here that means empowering them individually and directly – its the way of the world in almost every sphere of life and in education worldwide common thinking – except here.

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  70. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Chris, I’ve got to say I no longer know what on earth you are on about? I’ve seldom found a conversation, even here at kiwiblog, more confused or disjointed.

    By the way, this…

    But that isn’t what Creech was proposing at all which was a direct subsidisation of the institution at a proportion of the total cost of the course, That isn’t anything like a voucher scheme as those who propose such schemes would support.

    is just silly!

    Of course UTTA was a voucher scheme; it did almost exactly what you say you want to do for schools – funding follows the students (except they don’t have a cheque sent to them) as clearly stated here:

    Subsidies will be delivered on actual, rather than forecast, enrolments. The practice of tertiary providers ‘bidding’ for a specified number of subsidised student places will no longer be required. Tertiary providers will receive subsidies based on enrolment numbers provided to the Ministry of Education during the academic year. The Universal Tertiary Tuition Allowance will subsidise all students for the duration of their tertiary study. There will be no limit to the number of student places that the Government will subsidise.

    (source: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/index.cfm?layout=document&documentid=4715&data=l#P332_40171).

    Moreover this…

    the institution receives the government subsidy for that course on a particular date, after that is financially unaffected whether the student completes the course or not.

    … is simply wrong! It was how things did work and might be how things work now, but Creech’s scheme didn’t. There were ten payments per annum (I think) based on the EFTS count and then a wash-up payment meaning funding was adjusted based on enrolments… ergo a voucher system. The value of the UTTA was effectively only settled at the end of the year and the institution was funded based on how many students it attracted, not how many it planned to etc, and hence CPIT silly-buggers or the PTE in Taranaki that made computers part of the course materials or twilight golf etc.

    Also, the Economists description of the Swedish system, as you quote, is not what you were proposing earlier – you said funding to the individual, but the Swedes fund the institution based on enrolments (precisely as did UTTA)… therefore the points I made about UTTA are directly relevant.

    As I said earlier and repeatedly, I’m not averse to vouchers or other demand driven funding per se, it’s just got to be fit for purpose. Since NZ schools are performing well and recent relevant experience with other voucher systems has been less than ideal, I’m entirely unconvinced by ACTs love affair with vouchers but I no longer expect anything approaching coherence or consistency from this discussion…

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  71. Chris Diack (723 comments) says:

    You are completely wrong regarding any funding arrangements in tertiary education being anything near a voucher scheme.

    A direct government subsidy to the institution in a tertiary context does not a voucher make.

    Tertiary students are adults making adult choices over non compulsory education. As such to be a voucher scheme the ENTIRE state contribution would be either in their hands or a dedicated education/scholarship account, or transferred in their name to the institution on THEIR say so. This has never been the case here. The only thing that has come close are student loans which are tagged for particular components of the course costs – these are released in that students name to the particular institution for meeting particular component costs.

    Other than the tagged student loan, the entitlement here has never attached to the individual student. That is the element that makes a scheme a voucher scheme.

    No one not even the researcher you cite agrees that we have ever had a voucher model of tertiary funding. Please cite me something in writing that suggests this by someone other than you.

    The problem is that you are not subtle enough to understand the basic concepts. The author of lit review was correct – but what you suggest the Creech was offering as a voucher scheme which isn’t one. In all likelihood Wyatt Creech wouldn’t agree with you either; he nor Bolger are voucher sorts.

    The funding following the student in a tertiary context isn’t a voucher scheme: heavens by that definition the Finns probably have a voucher scheme for their unremarkable feeless University sector.

    And I am not sure a voucher scheme is desirable in tertiary education anyway – University students should be outright purchasers in most cases unless they are very poor but bright in which case provide them will full tuition vouchers/scholarships. The primary reward for post compulsory goes to the student. Full fees in return for much lower taxes throughout their lives – more might stay here.

    As for Sweden you refuse to address the question: do you support independent schools here being treated in the same manner as independent schools in that backward nation of Sweden?

    As for your claim that state education here is ok – go visit a prison – all been to state primary schools – half can’t read. For the children who are in need education the most – for many of them the current system fails them utterly. It isn’t funding – their schools get more money per pupil. It isn’t poverty per se – poor kids in the past could read. It’s because no one is economically disadvantaged in the current system by a child failing – except the child.

    As with most educationalists you want to argue on the fringes not about the principle: should the basic economic and power relationship be tilted in favour of the children by directly empowering the parents as consumers rather than beneficiaries of a subsidy paid directly to the school?

    I agree with you it’s great that in Sweden the FULL value is paid to the school of the parents choice it would help our independent schools just not our states schools. That’s why we need the money going directly into the control of the parents here; so we start getting the fee paying service culture across all schools irrespective of who owns or runs the school. Parents and school students also start to appreciate the true value that is being contributed towards their education; a value they exercise. This will also have a beneficial change on the attitude of some families as they now can comprehend the value of education and learn to exercise the economic power as a purchaser of educational services.

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  72. Paul W (266 comments) says:

    Look Chris, I’m not going to waste more time on this; has become a ridiculous discussion about the failing of UTTA and whether it’s voucher whereas it ought to be about the details of ACTs policy for vouchers for schools. I’ll happily re-engage if you answer any one of the the questions I asked up thread – repeated here for convenience.

    1. Is it all kids/parents? What level of funding will be provided (will it be some nominal average, will it be differentiated by region or SES or some other means)? Will schools be able to charge top up fees; if so, what level? Will top up fees be regulated in any way?

    2. Will the funding be provided contingent upon the student enroling in an accredited school? Will the school have to offer the national curriculum or can the offer the Cambridge baccalaureate or whatever other fadish qualification is popular amongst the chattering classes? Will teachers have to be licenced in any way?

    3. Can the student withdraw funding at any point in time and for any reason? Will there be any funding direct to schools or will all funding be received only via student vouchers (capital funding for instance)?

    4. How will you measure the success of the policy? Will the performance of schools be measured independently (by ERO for instance) and, if so, against what benchmarks. Will ACTs policy continue with TIMMS and PRISMS and if so, how?

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