Curran on productivity

October 9th, 2009 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

A mixture of good and bad in Clare Curran’s blog on :

We have a productivity taskforce set up by the National Government and led by the ignominious Don Brash. It’s likely to come up with an argument for economic growth which is about selling our state assets and keeping wages down, or cutting jobs to create more profits. Because that’s what the conservative side of politics believes productivity to be. Gordon Campbell’s piece on this a couple of months ago is worth reading.

Labour, on the other hand, is an enabler. We want economic growth. We don’t want it at the cost of creating greater gaps in our society between those on no income and those who do have one.

This is just puerile. National bad. Labour good.  She declares that the conservative side believe productivity is about cutting wages and jobs. Slogans are not substitute for analysis.  Fortunately we get this later on:

1. Open government. In particular open software.

The NZ Government currently spends around $2 billion a year on IT, in software, hardware and all the services that go with it.  We have lots of government websites, but we don’t have an open source policy and we don’t practice open government. We have attempted to harmonise govt IT and networking through the previous Labour Govt’s digital strategy. Much of that appears to have been ditched. There’s an awful lot more work to do in this area.

The US government, under Obama, has made a commitment to cut its total IT spend of $76 billion by between 50% and 80% by driving its systems into open source and cloud computing.

Could we save $1 billion?

I think there is considerable potential in this area, and delighted to see Labour take an interest in it.

2. Working from home. Telework

Ten year’s ago, a study funded by the Auckland Regional Council found that spending $3 million on an awareness raising programme about the benefits of telework targeting employers, could take 10% of Auckland’s traffic off the roads. There’s research overseas demonstrating that you can save up to 15% in workplace productivity and lower overheads through flexible arrangements with your employees working from home. And then there’s the greenhouse gas savings, and the boost to local communities. Let alone the social capital through having more parents at home, more often.

Yep – very much the way of the future. I will point out this is one of the reasons why National pledged $1.5 billion for to the home in 2008, as compared to Labour’s $340 million.  I think the rollout will see a very significant increase in people working at least some of the time from home, and some smaller firms doing away with offices all together. In fact some have already started.

3. Saving time. Improving our basic computer skills

Consider this. The UK National Health Service employs 1.2 million people. I’m told they recently put 100,000 staff through a programme to upgrade their basic computer skills, called the International Computer Driver’s Licence (ICDL). This is a reputable programme, developed through the European Union.

An analysis of its effectiveness showed they’d saved 38 mins/day for each employee. Or four weeks per person per year. Crikey! And that was because each staff member knew how to work better with the software they used every day at work and how to solve their own problems.

Not a bad idea also.  We agree on the details, if not on the rhetoric!

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44 Responses to “Curran on productivity”

  1. getstaffed (8,040 comments) says:

    Labour, on the other hand, is an enabler. We want economic growth. We don’t want it at the cost of creating greater gaps in our society between those on no income and those who do have one.

    So the benefit of the economic growth is to be taken from those that generate it, and given to those who don’t work.

    There is an overdose of economic illiteracy in there.

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  2. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Remind me what this twit Curran has done to add to NZ’s productivity. Has she ever had a job outside of the public sector or parliament? Did she work part time as a waitress when she was at Uni or something?

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  3. Blue Coast (165 comments) says:

    Typical. Just wants to rort my pocket for more government expenditure. How the hell does she justify the saving of $1b in IT.
    Just a wide guess in my view.

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  4. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    I take it this is the same M/s Curran who was involved with the Madelaine Setchell scandal with Minister Duck and the bully teacher?
    H2 was involved too with interfering in the environment ministry as well?

    Remember that computer firm running training all over the country that went bang. run by a Maori woman and was doing good stuff for getting people into the workforce with lots of online connection as well as going into their campusses.
    they offered the Computer Driving Liscence and it’s standard in many school in EU too.

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  5. MarkS (39 comments) says:

    Saving between 50% to 80% of IT spend by using open source and cloud computing is a pipe dream, IMO. More ideology that fact. Better to deal with project failure if you want to make those kind of savings.

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  6. Johnboy (17,051 comments) says:

    “An analysis of its effectiveness showed they’d saved 38 mins/day for each employee. Or four weeks per person per year. Crikey! And that was because each staff member knew how to work better with the software they used every day at work and how to solve their own problems.”

    You could save a damn sight more than that if you stopped the sods blogging during the bosses time. Still if we did that here it would mean we would miss out on the pearls of wisdom from all our lefty friends that make the (working)day pass so quickly. :)

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  7. Elijah Lineberry (306 comments) says:

    I agree with David Farrar that Mrs Curran is engaging in the ‘Labour Good/National Bad’ game; but the way to counter this argument would be to…ummmmm….increase productivity.

    A way to do this would be to encourage exporting – perhaps adopt my idea of making profits from exporting tax free, which would have the splendid benefit of every businessman this side of the black stump selling his rental properties and engaging in ‘productive’ activities like making things and flogging them off in Sydney, London and Shanghai.

    As sure as night follows day Don Brash is going to come up with something involving tax cuts or incentives; Don Brash will be correct in this; and John Key will ignore him because some socialist blogger may moan about it; the problem never gets solved.

    http://www.nightcitytrader.blogspot.com

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  8. Philonz (88 comments) says:

    The move towards open source is a good one and has the potential to save millions of dollars. However it must be accompanied with extensive staff training as unfortunately the standard applications for most offices are microsoft and staff would have to become comfortable with unfamilliar applications.

    Teleworking is another matter. In my experience it can lead to communication issues and a lack of workplace collegiality which can have harmfull effects on an organisation. If it’s not managed well staff can often find working from home as lonely as working in a cubicle. People also find it harder to know where to draw the line between work and life when teleworking and often end up working around the clock.

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  9. Brian Smaller (3,966 comments) says:

    Teleworking is another matter. In my experience it can lead to communication issues and a lack of workplace collegiality which can have harmfull effects on an organisation. If it’s not managed well staff can often find working from home as lonely as working in a cubicle. People also find it harder to know where to draw the line between work and life when teleworking and often end up working around the clock.

    I work from home a lot now – 2-3 days a week and have done for years. My experience is that if you have young kids, you cannot do it. My kids are older (11 and 13) and they know that even in their hols I am working and not to come to me for intervention in disputes, food preparation or general entertainment.

    I find going into the office 2-3 times a week a good balance.

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  10. PaulL (5,449 comments) says:

    I’ll ignore the random partisan comments from Claire, they’re clearly incorrect, but I’m sure everyone can see that.

    On the detail.

    IT spend savings through using cloud computing and open source. The savings do exist, but the ability to access them is driven through a raft of government policies. For example, cloud computing is supposed to mean that you don’t know where on the internet your data is. But NZ has quite strict privacy laws that prevent a government agency from allowing data to leave the country. Even though organisations like Google have been through very stringent audits and most people agree what they’re doing is pretty bulletproof (and at least as robust as what the NZ govt does for normal type data).

    Open source is driven by bureaucratic butt covering. If you bought a commercial piece of software, bought a support contract, and something goes wrong then someone else has to come help you out. And you can blame them if it doesn’t get fixed. Sure, it’s expensive and you rarely use that support, but it covers your arse. If you instead go out on a limb for open source, once in a blue moon something will go wrong, and it will be nobody’s fault but your own. Not such a comfortable place for a government employee – nobody ever got fired for buying commercial software, but people could get fired for buying open source.

    Even if all that changed, I doubt there’s $1 billion in it.

    Telework is great for some people. A bit of a disaster for others. You do need to meet the client, meet your work colleagues, get out of the house once in a while. There’s a lot of evidence of the increased productivity you get from co-locating people as well as research on savings from teleworking. Horses for courses really. I personally would have some problems managing a project team that was working collaboratively if I can’t see them and talk to them face to face. Especially when some of them are from non-western cultures, it makes communication much harder.

    Basic computer skills. The best investment I ever made was learning to touch type. Probably the only useful thing I learned at university – since my high school chose not to offer typing as a class. Watching some of my colleagues hunt and peck out a document makes me wonder at their productivity – I can produce a document in roughly one third the time they can. For any job with a decent proportion of computer time, typing is a must-have skill.

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  11. Philonz (88 comments) says:

    Absolutely Brian. we’ve tried having staff work from home fulltime and it’s been a disaster. Finding the right balance is the key but also harder than most people expect. When you get it right (it sounds like you have) then it works like a charm. We try to have days each week when everyone is in the office for meetings, collaberative working, drinkies ….

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  12. gravedodger (1,575 comments) says:

    Labour party spokesperson – productivity, what is an oxymoron again

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  13. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    we don’t have an open source policy

    True. And we should have one. Who from National will take this up? Clare has done a good job to establish herself as the de facto Labour spokesperson on this issue.

    @MarkS: I tend to agree, though the issue is broader than that. It’s not just about the headline savings. There are some major efficiencies and (dare I say it) “social goods” that are possible here.

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  14. ben (2,279 comments) says:

    Apart from the truly awful opening two paragraph’s, Clare’s basic point seems to be: if only we could get the government to spend more money things would be better. No, Clare, that idea didn’t work. And it has been tried to death, present government included.

    Why does Clare cite a telecommuting estimate from 1999. The estimate is obviously wrong – 10% traffic reduction from $3 million awareness? Just how stupid does Clare think people are? What, a few billboards and a radio ad or two will make people realise they’ve been missing a massive opportunity to save $x0,000 each per year?

    Here we are 10 years later with the benefit of broadband and that estimate is still wrong. So why cite it, Clare?

    The minute telecommuting starts to make sense, it will be done. People don’t need subsidies and incentives and awareness campaigns to understand the value of avoiding a commute.

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  15. dimmocrazy (286 comments) says:

    Curran is just an airhead, who picks up some interesting tidbit, looks it up on Wikipedia en then starts blabbering about it if she invented it herself. Whenever you engage her on a topic it turns out she doesn’t have a clue what she’s talking about.
    Typical PR rascal stuff, sounds good, may look shiny (not Curran), but there’s nothing in it.

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  16. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    dimmocrazy
    if thats true how sad for our parliament if she is the calibre of Labour now.
    we need the freshest original thinking and action go with it to compete as a nation.
    I hope you are wrong.

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  17. Jack5 (5,278 comments) says:

    Re MikeNZ’s post at 2.28:

    You are right and here is the link: http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/21284

    Curran’s description of Don Brash as being ignominious, which means guilty of public disgrace or dishonour, is vicious slander.

    Curran should look at the beam in the eye of her own Labour Party rather than the mote that was Brash’s human slip. Curran should reflect on the former Labour president’s actions, on Leftist activists trawling through rubbish and Labour officials’ trips to Australia seeking political muck. She should reflect on Mallard’s bullying and hypocritical behaviour in Parliament towards Brash in the lead-up to Brash’s resignation. She should swear that Labour had no part in the theft of Brash’s emails. She should explain her former leader Clark’s infamous art deception. She should express shame at young Labour fanatics secretly recording MPs conversations after infiltrating a National gathering and purporting to be National supporters. And above all Curran should blush deeply at the actions of former Labour MP Field.

    As for the teleworking Curran advocates, there are a myriad day and night classes, self-help books in shops and libraries, and computer user groups for those who will get off their arses. I can understand Curran ignoring these paths: those who help themselves typically shun Labour.

    As for Curran’s call for Open Source software: is Labour using OpenOffice and a free email agent rather than MS Word and Outlook, and eschewing commercial packages such as Photoshop? Given the touched up pictures of H1 that used to appear I doubt Labour eschews Photoshop for a lesser Open Source package. You can’t make a silk curse with sow’s ear software.

    The problem with putting the Government on open source is that you would then need to introduce twin operating system training to secondary and tertiary education so that graduates could move as easily into the civil services as they can into the Microsoft-based business world.

    Not that would bother Curran. Another 1000 teachers for this? Great: another 990 Labour supporters in white-collar work.

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  18. adamsmith1922 (724 comments) says:

    Open software is not free, nor does it necessarily have the functionality that commercial software has. US government may well have indulged in some rhetoric, but I sincerely doubt if they will achieve it. I cannot imagine the US Govt allowing their data into the cloud. In addition I find the level of savings cited highly suspect. Frankly I do not believe that we could see a $1 billion saving by a move to the cloud and open source. I question whether Curran actually knows what she is talking about.

    The migration and training costs of such a move would be very high, let alone the security issues. I think Curran may in fact misunderstand what cloud computing is all about, rather like Jim ora on Radio NZ a few weeks ago. It is not just using OPen Source and Google Mail. Note as well the major hack recently on some open email.

    There ‘may’ and it is a big ‘ may’ be savings and some productivity gains from Telework, there is no intrinsic gain in productivity from a move to the cloud or Open Source as such, especially given the migration and training costs. In fact in NZ terms we might well see significant job losses from such a move, in help desk and support staff. Though Curran might choose to count that as a gain.

    Productivity comes ultimately from smarter working and improved processes to accomplish more. That requires investment in developing intellectual capital and then marketing and montetsing the benefits.

    Therefore, I think Curran and I am afraid DPF are taking a rather simplistic view of the world.

    Oh and the support issue is a major one, commercial enterprises and indeed government departments cannot afford major system outages. Gmail for example has been down several times recently.

    NZ Post is moving to Open Source and Gmail, but it is not I understand using ‘free’ software but a paid for version.

    In this regard, it as well to be aware that in many instances organisations may well be moving from one giant supposedly ‘monopoly’ supplier to another ‘giant’ and increasingly dominant supplier. Remember that despite what Chris Anderson may posit, when he promotes ‘Free’ he does not mean without cost.

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  19. Chris C (126 comments) says:

    adamsmith1922 (556)
    October 9th, 2009 at 3:44 pm

    Open software is not free, nor does it necessarily have the functionality that commercial software has.

    It is not just using OPen Source and Google Mail. Note as well the major hack recently on some open email.

    Oh and the support issue is a major one, commercial enterprises and indeed government departments cannot afford major system outages. Gmail for example has been down several times recently.

    NZ Post is moving to Open Source and Gmail, but it is not I understand using ‘free’ software but a paid for version.

    You’re making the same mistake as Curran – open source is not the same as free. Many open source products – RedHat, SuSe – are commercial and have commercial support networks and mission critical applications. Police forces and councils already use SuSe and RedHat. Open source means that the source code is freely available for people to see and modify, unlike Windows, not that the end product is free – although it’s more likely to be offered for free.

    In addition, the Gmail downtime equates to free use downtime. Enterprise customers experience mission critical downtime targets – 99.9%. You might find that government departments often set their targets a long way below this. I just need to add that the free email hack wasn’t a hack resulting from a poor quality product – it was a phishing hack. It was a result of the carelessness of users, not fundamental flaws in security.

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  20. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    >Open government. In particular open software.

    There is really very little to connect these two things. You can make a theoretical argument that information isn’t freely available if it is stored in a proprietary format, but that is a matter of standards rather than source. But do people really worry about being unable to access government information if it is in Word or Jpeg formats? I doubt it.

    Presumably government agencies already have policies that require them to implement the most effective and cost efficient IT solutions available. If so, then why do we need a policy to cover open source specifically? Is there a project manager out there who, when faced with a no source solution and a better and cheaper open source solution, would refuse to implement the open source solution on the basis that the source code was supplied? You’d hope not.

    People confuse “open source” with “free”. Open source still needs to be supported. Governments can’t rely on volunteers to support their applications for free as a hobby. And so governments will still need to pay for support.

    The advocacy of cloud computing is strange. Essentially she is talking about outsourcing government IT to large (mostly) multinationals who will provide IT services to agencies on a software-as-a-service basis. Which might make a lot of sense, but it is strange to see Labour wanting to gut government agencies and lay of thousands of people.

    Lastly…

    >We have attempted to harmonise govt IT and networking through the previous Labour Govt’s digital strategy.

    They arsed around on the margins of government IT without any apparent strategy that I could see. What was done was either implemented badly or, for various reasons, offered to agencies but not used.

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  21. Repton (769 comments) says:

    @Blue Coast:

    Typical. Just wants to rort my pocket for more government expenditure. How the hell does she justify the saving of $1b in IT.

    76 billion in the US is roughly 1 billion here (on a per-capita basis). Perhaps that’s where the number comes from.

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  22. Repton (769 comments) says:

    “Cloud computing” is aimed at small business, who would like to avoid having their own IT staff as much as possible. I doublt the government would get much out of it –- imagine the strain on our internet links if every time a government employee emails a spreadsheet or presentation to a colleague, it has to travel via servers in the States..

    Regarding open-source, I’d prefer to see an emphasis on open standards. The cost of the operating system is almost negligable compared with the cost of maintaining it — which means you’ll spend the least if you go where your expertise is. That probably still means Microsoft on the desktop. But I’d like it if private companies could work with the government without needing to own Microsoft Office. We’ve made good progress on the web — you don’t need Internet Explorer these days — but MS Word still has a stranglehold over much internal documentation.

    We should require open standards for document formats, including requiring at least two competing implementations. That way people will have the freedom to choose an office suite (competition is good, right?) and we increase the chance that we’ll still be able to read those files in twenty years’ time.

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  23. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    @davidp:

    Presumably government agencies already have policies that require them to implement the most effective and cost efficient IT solutions available. If so, then why do we need a policy to cover open source specifically?

    Because:

    1. There are short-term, mid-term and long-term efficiencies. A policy on open source would (better) define how efficiency and effectiveness are to be measured, assessed and weighted. There are bits-and-pieces of such a policy floating around already I’m sure.

    2. There are also IT-strategic and “non-economic” issues which should be considered.

    Agree re Labour’s efforts on digital strategy.

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  24. backster (2,196 comments) says:

    MikeNZ…….I was going to make the point you made far more eloquently about the ignominious CURRAN slag. What-ever proposals Don Brash makes are likely to be practical, logical and in the best interests of the country.

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  25. adamsmith1922 (724 comments) says:

    Chris C ,

    I made the point that open source is not free and I am well aware that there are commercial support arrangements available.

    My substantive point was that merely switching from Office to say a Linux based variant will not of itself do anything for productivity.

    For real productivity improvements processes and approaches need to be changed.

    The other point is that Curran is, like Obama, spouting rhetoric in the knowledge that no one will be measuring the outcomes.

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  26. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    I’ve been reading some of Curran’s other writing on IT. It is pretty superficial.

    I think there is a problem with IT politics in that Linux has plenty of activist hobbyist supporters who feel the need to evangelise energetically when ever they get the opportunity. I suspect that politicians like Curran get waylaid by these people at conferences and meetings and she reads the material they give her and she ends up thinking that they represent the mainstream of IT strategy and management. In reality, open source is no big deal… Most large organisations will use it for at least some applications (my own employer develops, sells, and supports it), but it is a fairly minor consideration in the development of an enterprise IT strategy.

    IT professionals likely aren’t going to take the time to educate Curran in IT strategy. So on one hand you have a group of enthusiastic Linux activists, and on the other you have the multinational vendors trying to lobby in favour of their own services and products. It must be easy for her to listen to the enthusiasts, even if most of them just dick around at home while the professionals and vendors actually implement the complex solutions that government and business rely on.

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  27. davidp (3,585 comments) says:

    queenstfarmer>A policy on open source would (better) define how efficiency and effectiveness are to be measured, assessed and weighted.

    That doesn’t need an open source policy, but a sourcing strategy or policy. Not “sourcing” in terms of computer codes, but in terms of procuring IT services in a coherent fashion. My experience with NZ government is that many agencies don’t have a coherent sourcing strategy. Sourcing decisions are left to project and other low level managers and implemented on an ad hoc basis. One common mistake I see is that a project manager will procure products and services from multiple vendors in a way that transfers the integration risk to the agency. Why? Probably because project managers enjoy managing projects, rather than outsourcing projects to a single vendor who is responsible for deliverables and performance. But it really isn’t a good idea.

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  28. Owen McShane (1,182 comments) says:

    For goodness sake, before making knee jerk reactions against telecommuting learn something about it.
    To be officially a telecommuter you must go to the office at least one day a week. Otherwise you are simply working from home.
    Telecommuting touches a surprisingly wide range of issues. It may be the most cost-effective way to reduce rush-hour traffic and it also helps improve air quality, highway safety, and health care. Telecommuting expands opportunities for women who want to raise children while remaining in employment, and for the handicapped, and conserves energy, and — when used as a substitute for offshore outsourcing, can help allay globalization fears.

    Unions campaign for extra annual leave while employers complain of the extra costs. Typical telecommuters in America are gaining about 15 eight-hour work-days a year in actual extra time. These extra days come at no cost to the employer.

    These savings are based on the measurable savings in commuting times. But telecommuters find other ways to save time – they shop at off-peak times and so enjoy easier parking and less time in check-out lines. They go to the gym when it suits rather than on their way to and from work when everyone else does.

    They also save real money. The typical telecommuter in Southern California saves as much as US$1,200 a year in petrol money alone. They also save on expensive wardrobes, restaurant meals, hairdressing, makeup, child-care, and house care.

    Telecommuting touches a surprisingly wide range of issues. It may be the most cost-effective way to reduce rush-hour traffic and it also helps improve air quality, highway safety, and health care. Telecommuting expands opportunities for the handicapped, conserves energy, and—when used as a substitute for offshore outsourcing— it can help allay globalization fears.

    Read my friend Ted Balaker’s splendid ground-breaking research: The Quiet Success: Telecommuting’s Impact on Transportation and Beyond
    Summary: Telecommuting is growing faster than transit ridership. However, unfriendly zoning ordinances and other existing laws often discourage it.
    And America is already into phase two where many telecommuters actually go to “remote office centres” which are well wired local small office centres which allow people to drive say one or two blocks to “the office” from which they telecommute to their many different offices around the region. So this combines the potential for office romance with the benefit of telecommute.

    US managers recognise that someone who telecommutes for a couple of years has a good CV for foreign placements. They have proven they can work without supervision! American professional women have been the big drivers of telecommuting in the US for obvious reasons. Sadly rather dumb and prejudiced New Zealand males have been the major drivers in keeping us lagging behind in the telecommuting revolution.
    And we see some classic examples in this blog today.

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  29. jabba (280 comments) says:

    my opinion of Clare was pretty low during the Benson-Pope saga then it picked up during her 1st attempts on Redalert but I’m afraid I now think she should “keep quiet and be thought a fool than open her mouh and remove all doubt”.

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  30. Rex Widerstrom (5,013 comments) says:

    I’ve teleworked for the past 11 years. You need to have the right mindset* but if you do, it offers immense personal advantages. It can also offer employers significant savings in overheads as well as having major environmental benefits at no cost. Amd eventually it’ll save government infrastructure costs.

    So good to see Labour espousing support for this and similar ideas (albeit there’s nothing new here). I do agree with those who think she’s over-estimating the savings from open source. I’ve been involved in several open source projects, mostly in CRM systems. The cost of the software is a small portion of the overall project cost in terms of installation, customisation, training and so on. I’ve found the major advantages to be the ability of third party developers to write improvements and the ability (and willingness) of the community to find and patch holes. It sure beats waiting (unknowingly) with your pants round your ankles (metaphorically speaking) until Microsoft tell you on “patch Tuesday” that you’ve been playing host to a major vulnerability — one for which they charged you thousands.

    i.e. you are, like me, an ill-tempered cantankerous bastard with a mild case of Tourettes.

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  31. GrahamLauder (1 comment) says:

    @ DavidP: I’d hardly call Novell, IBM, Sun, RedHat, Canonical et al “Hobby Enthusiasts”. All are “Open Source” companies. On the local scene, CatlystIT employs something in the order of 150 developers, OSS are doing great things in the Education space with Open Source. I would agree the Curran is probably not the best spokesperson for Open Source, but like Dave, I’ll give her ups for, if not starting, at least keeping the conversation going. Open Source, generally has lower ingoing costs including training. The SSC is not anti open source, quite the opposite. The barriers are still ingrained attitudes in the individual IT departments, fear of change, lack of capability and inadequate enduser training in tertiary institutions. But that last one is a whole ‘nuther discussion.

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  32. Clint Heine (1,495 comments) says:

    Believe me, you do NOT want Clare being part of any incoming Labour Government. She is nasty and vindictive who’s tribalism is only exceeded by her bitterness against the right. Thats why Labour picked her over that horrible Panty Slut Boy in Dunedin South, both equally quite horrible and angry people.

    Ignore her.

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  33. ross (1,414 comments) says:

    > the conservative side believe productivity is about cutting wages and jobs. Slogans are not substitute for analysis.

    How many jobs in the public sector have been axed since National came to power? Maybe you’d like to analyse that.

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  34. ross (1,414 comments) says:

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/unemployment/news/article.cfm?c_id=353&objectid=10602387

    This article says that the number of unemployed has risen from 30,000 to 50,000 in the first six months of this year. That’s an increase of more than 65%. Some of these unemployed are no doubt from the public sector. I’d love to know how economic growth is expected to rise when the most important resource any country has is being significantly under-utilised?

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  35. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    “Labour don’t want it at the cost of creating greater gaps in our society between those on no income and those who do have one.”

    A mountain of platitudes from someone like Curran, who has made an insignificant contribution to society. Socialist career politicians, their minions (Curran), and hangers on should be banned from commenting on economic matters.

    The silly woman deserves a stern spanking by Goff (or should be Benson-Pope)?

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  36. William J (44 comments) says:

    Are you kidding me? This is the same Clare Curran that spent taxpayers money being flown back and forth between her home in Dunedin and Wellington over a period of 3 months so that she could politically infiltrate the Ministry for the Environment’s climate change strategy! Now she talks about how people should work from home to save money! Why didn’t she do this? Especially in the name of climate change? This woman is unbelievable. She is relying on all of us forgetting how she played a major hand in politicising the supposedly neutral public service and also lied about it saying she had no ties to the Labour Party – and only months later suddenly popped up as a Labour MP in Government! If she was concerned about the taxpayers dollar she should quit politics and spend her time looking up the words ‘credibility’ and ‘hypocrite’ in the dictionary.

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  37. Owen McShane (1,182 comments) says:

    More from my friends:

    Media Release – Improving Life from Telecommuting. http://www.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=2967
    “Spurred by advances in information technology, especially the spread of broadband services, telecommuting is already the fastest growing mode of getting from home to work. Facilitated by continued expansion in broadband, telecommuting is poised to become more popular than transit and non-household car pools as a means of accessing work.” Media release for latest Policy Series Study by Senior Fellow Wendell Cox. (32 pages)

    Improving Quality of Life Through Telecommuting. http://www.fcpp.org/main/publication_detail.php?PubID=2966
    Senior Fellow Wendell Cox, an international transportation expert, finds that in Canada, Saskatoon has more telecommuters than any other metropolitan area as a percentage of its working-age population, at 1.5%. Next in line are Vancouver and Edmonton tied at 1.1%. A new policy paper (32 pages).

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  38. Paulus (2,707 comments) says:

    Curren is the new future of labour – GREAT.
    She is hailed by Labour as the great policy maker and public relationship guru.

    Look at her political history in Australia before returning to New Zealand to see from whence she comes. Consider her behind the scenes in the Benson-Pope saga with the knowledge that she would get the nomination, well before the MSM came on board on B-P.

    Also re read her paper to the Southland/Otago labour party in May 2006 called – “Language Matters” to see her vitriolic concepts for Labour against the world.

    Long may she flourish for Labour.

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  39. slightlyright (94 comments) says:

    They really should come up with some new ideas in terms of rhetoric same BS about “gaps between which and poor” what are really saying was that they would rather the poor were poorer so long as the rich were less rich, you do not create growth and prosperity to fund social services through that type of policy!

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  40. jabba (280 comments) says:

    I’m also (as with paulus) starting to think that it will be great if Clare is the next new thing for Labour .. they really are thin on the ground talent wise and if the txting network crashed for a few days they will be stuffed unless Clark actually phones slap in on the bill Phil to tell him what to do next.

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  41. doncr (2 comments) says:

    “Open source still costs money. Migration to open source software still costs money – rollout, staff training, etc. She’s mistaking the “free” in “free software” for “free lunch”. Previous attempts to migrate to open source haven’t really been that smooth in the long run.”

    The first link:
    “IBM, SuSe Linux AG Win Major Linux Contract With German Government”
    By Paula Rooney
    5:43 PM EDT Mon. Jun. 03, 2002
    From the June 03, 2002 issue of CRN

    The second link:
    SuSE takeover ‘pushed customers to Debian’
    Ingrid Marson ZDNet.co.uk
    Published: 14 Mar 2005 16:30 GMT

    “Köthe claimed that some German government agencies decided to switch to Debian and use local support companies as SuSE was no longer a German company.”

    Yeah – damn zat open source.

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