Labour’s priorities

November 9th, 2009 at 12:56 am by David Farrar

We have a $10 billion deficit, and still wants to spend even more. And details the priorities:

I visited a Day Skipper course for people who were interested in boating. Now this does fit the definition of a hobby course, but it’s actually providing a valuable public service. Which would you rather see the taxpayer subsidising, a cheap course or more search and rescue operations when amateur boaties get themselves into trouble?

My visits to a floral arranging course, a stained glass window course and a Spanish course all reinforced the tremendous social value night classes bring to the wider community.

I’m speechless. Floral arranging. Stained glass windows. Spanish. How to be a day skipper. This is what Labour wants to borrow and tax more money from workers for.

Chris did also mention a painter doing an excel course. While that is laudable, there is a sensible business imperative for people in business to take such courses regardless of taxpayer subsidies.

I continue to be staggered at the judgement of Labour MPs who highlight stained glass window courses and floral arranging courses as part of their campaign. I almost wish there was an election in a few weeks, just so one could have creative fun doing TV ads showing what Labour’s priorities are. Hell given time over summer, maybe we can shoot our own ads.

Hat Tip: Gooner at No Minister

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41 Responses to “Labour’s priorities”

  1. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Bizarre. They’re drifting around in a strange hazy dream that doesn’t intersect at all with reality as seen by their voters. Sleepwalking to defeat, again.

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  2. homepaddock (429 comments) says:

    I taught Spanish night classes which means I’ll loose a (part time) job unless people are willing to pay more but I still think the government is doing the right thing.

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  3. Flashman (184 comments) says:

    You have to appreciate that there’s an entire cottage industry “workforce” engaged in delivering, administering these free Mickey Mouse “courses”. But naturally, the course deliverers and administrators do not choose to “put a bit back into the community” by offering their skills for free. These boys and girls are hurting and really need the money!

    However the problem is not the content of these courses, but the fact that they are offered free of charge across the board. Surely there can be no objection to a user-pays approach? This would not only reduce the financial outlay, but also help to lock in the learning commitment of those taking the course.

    Now who’s up for round of Twilight Golf followed by Radio Sing-a-Long as we tackle the next session of our Cool-IT computer training homework?

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  4. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    This is part of the dream-delusion of the Marxist paradise.

    Slavery is alive and well in New Zealand!

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  5. Inventory2 (9,786 comments) says:

    Given that he has worked in Parliament, and presumably knows the ropes, Hipkins shows a lack of judgment by banging on about this issue IMHO. This is a non-issue.

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  6. ross (1,454 comments) says:

    I’m not sure what the issue is. If there is demand for these courses, and presumably there is, then the courses should go ahead. Provided, of course, that those participating pay for the courses. That’s no different from Bill Enlgish paying for his own accommodation and Rodney Hide paying for his girlfriend’s travel. Given the confusion that has emerged over MPs paying their own way, I can understand why some might be confused as to who should pay to do these courses.

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  7. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    Considering the amount of time donated to Search and Rescue by volunteers I think your ridicule of the Day Sailor Courses is misplaced. I guess you are also against preventive health measures paid for by the general taxpayer. It is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff mentality as opposed to putting a fence at the top. People who go on the day sailor course are being put on an expensive course when you appreciate the cost of life jackets, flares, communication equipment etc they are encouraged to equip their boat with, so the government’s contribution to training is a small one and completely justified.

    [DPF Oh what nonsense. If people can afford spend five and six figure sums on boats, they can afford to pay to learn how to use them safely. You may not have noticed but we are borrowing $250 million a week. I'd rather that money goes towards educating five year olds, not day sailors. Next you'll argue that the state should subsidise learn to drive classes for everyone as a preventative health measure. And hey why not free skiing lessons for everyone to reduce skiing accidents!]

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  8. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    While we consider the health aspect of this it should be appreciate that an occupied mind is a healthy one and while the courses mentioned may have no interest you both you and myself, boating excluded, they encourage people to be active and that saves long term costs of caring for them when they suffer from mental problems. Mind you if you let older people vegetate that saves the government money when they die earlier and super and home care is not needed.

    One of the things that the left tends to do is look at the need before the ability to pay … cutting the cake before it is baked …. which is good or bad depending on where you come from.

    [DPF: Your arguments are getting weaker. With your logic, the taxpayer should fund everything for everyone. Let’s give everyone Sky TV to keep them from going senile. I mean seriously. Here's what should happen. People pay for the courses they want to go on. The vast majority of people can afford to pay themselves. We have the most generous superannuation scheme in the entire world so I feel no need at all for taxes to be spent on hobby courses for retired people. You keep dredging up nonsense to justify these courses – can you find a single actual peer reviewed cost benefit study justifying this (former) waste of taxpayer money?]

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  9. Pongo (356 comments) says:

    If you can afford a boat and the cost of keeping it you can pay for your own damned course. What planet is this Hipkins on.

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  10. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    You maybe correct Pongo however think of the cost to the government when an untrained boatie gets into trouble and SAR is needed to look for them and rescue them. Frequently we hear of a boatie going out to check their fishing nets without a lifejacket, and similar situations, loosing their life becuase they didn’t spend even $30 on a life jacket from the Warehouse,

    As a boatie of long standing I am very aware that a boat is a hole in the water to pour money into and secondary things like safety courses don’t have the urgency to find money for. So in the long run it makes sense for the collective wisdom of the taxpayer to fund such courses. But we have dumb short sighted taxpayers is illustrated by responses here. Sadly the cake is not cooked at the moment so such courses need to be suspended but it is regretable.

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  11. Grant Michael McKenna (1,151 comments) says:

    With respect, I think improving boating safety is a good idea- should boaties have to get a licence? Do they get one already? My fishing experiences have been with others in charge, and I am ignorant of the procedures.

    If boaties are made to do basic safety courses it would have a positive effect in reducing costs, so I’m for it, but several of the boaties which I met in Auckland were of the philu category, and perhaps we shouldn’t interfere with natural selection.

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  12. Inventory2 (9,786 comments) says:

    My sentiments exactly Pongo – and if you DO own a boat, and DON’T do the necessary safety training, you’re a feckin’ idiot. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it!

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  13. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    Some people say their political philosophy is “I care more about people than money” – I don’t.

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  14. Pete George (21,789 comments) says:

    Goff on Hide’s apology on RNZ this morning – “too little too late”.

    This might sound ok to his hardcore supporters but it comes across as political tut-tutting to me. I’d much rather hear him say something like “this is a good first step towards putting right an error of judgement, it’s something politicians should be encouraged to do”.

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  15. scanner (340 comments) says:

    Yes to the boat safety course, much needed, think how many courses that would benefit the country could be run if you ditched all these hare brained touchy feely crap courses.
    Whats next – How to repair your virginity courses.
    Hipkins go to the back of the class and put on your big pointy hat with D on it.

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  16. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    This discussion points to a difference between left and right in our current ecconomic downturn of the capitalistic system. When things turn bad the right say cut down of spending while the left appreciate, despite their usual retoric of anti-capitalism, the need to stimulate the ecconomy becuase a healthy ecconomy can fund the things they think people need. Its ironic I guess.

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  17. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    I take a contrary position

    for $40m right across the country I suspect these courses build social capital out of all proportion to the cost, both Parliament and the different ministries waste more than that amount weekly.

    I note all the comment here but have yet to see evidence as to the makeup and demographics of the courses to comment on their true worth or not.
    Methinks this was a “oHH look at me being all strong” by National and Tolley, that could be done quickly and be trumpeted.

    Let’s be clear here Mr Brave (key) and his acolytes could have biffed Cullen and Clark for the Prefu, they could have opened up parliamentary services to OIA and handed over the salary setting to an independent board. That would give a better impression that they were serious about our money.
    They are not, they are serious about power.

    No, This was political gameplaying and an exercise in flag waving and I suspect it does more damage to the social fabric than builds it.

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  18. jcuknz (648 comments) says:

    Grant Michael McKenna — When I took my courses to Ocean Yachtmaster level some decades ago you didn’t need a licence to be a boatie and thankfully that situation continues today, preserve us from beaurocracy …. but the fly in the ointment you could say is that ‘they’ clobber you if you go against the rules that do exist. I prefer to sail alone becuase I am aware of my responsibilities as skipper and I know how a series of little things can build into a major problem.

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  19. davidp (3,319 comments) says:

    I’ve always wanted to learn how to fly helicopters. Would Labour pay for my lessons? They wouldn’t have to be completely free… I’d be quite happy to kick in $5 or $10 an hour if the government paid the rest. It’d improve my mental health, would keep me engaged with the community, and would reduce the chance that the government would have to investigate a helicopter crash with all the associated expenses and so might save money in the long term. Could we get a policy answer about this from Hipkins, because if the answer is “yes” then Labour will have my vote in 2011. Well… they might. I’ll think hard about it.

    Oh… and I don’t want to learn to fly one of those little Robinson R22s. It’ll need to be an Agusta or something else with plenty of power.

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  20. wreck1080 (3,516 comments) says:

    @mikenz: then pay for it yourself.

    Don’t expect others to fork out for you to learn floral arrangement skills.

    If 40 million is such small bikkies, can i have it?

    So , you believe that if you perceive money is wasted on on thing, then that justifies wasting money on another. Using your logic, the health system also wastes 10 billion a year, so why don’t we give everyone in the country a brand new apple imac?

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  21. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    If you can afford a boat and the cost of keeping it you can pay for your own damned course. What planet is this Hipkins on.

    Presumably the planet Marx 3, where everything is paid for by someone else.

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  22. GPT1 (2,042 comments) says:

    They just haven’t grasped the fact that this is a non-issue outside providers and bludgers. In fact it is something that National could be more aggressive on. Middle NZ do not want their taxes being spent on things that are “nice”.

    And boating – um, if you can afford a boat surely you can afford the course? I am sure there are exceptions but day skipper courses would have to be a fair way down the list. Hell, funding physio would have to be well ahead of that (not to mention floral arranging. WTF are they on?)

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  23. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Wreck
    That is if you think it is wasted, obviously I don’t for many of the courses, though I would question flower arranging.
    As for the Imac story now you’re being stupid.

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  24. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    And these clowns just had a big bus ride round the country getting back in touch with their voters. Gotta wonder which part of town they went through…

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  25. trout (865 comments) says:

    The issue is OPM. Whenever a group of ‘well meaning’ people (be it a committee, or Council, or political party) get together they feel compelled to do ‘worthy (rather than worthwhile) things, inevitably with Other People’s Money. The Left have this compulsion to socially engineer society with OPM; handouts for feel good projects are a manifestation of this. The electorate has dumped on this practice.

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  26. Fletch (5,712 comments) says:

    Got a good reason
    For taking the easy way out

    He was a day skipper
    A one way ticket yeah

    (apologies to the Beatles).

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  27. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    So Hipkins wants to be Cap’n Pugwash. Which of collegues will be Seaman Stains?

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  28. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    I can see the argument for the boatie course, being that the trained boatie may be able to save the taxpayer money in the long run by doing the Search and Rescue’s job in an emergency plus (maybe) negating the need for S&R themselves.

    Given also that my last boat cost me $3,500 (Note DPF, far from six figures), I can state from first hand knowledge that not every boatie has the spare cash for a boatie safety course.

    I can also see the need to cut costs and hope the next step is the announcement that all S&R will be paid for by the client.

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  29. ben (2,385 comments) says:

    Which would you rather see the taxpayer subsidising, a cheap course or more search and rescue operations when amateur boaties get themselves into trouble?

    My visits to a floral arranging course, a stained glass window course and a Spanish course all reinforced the tremendous social value night classes bring to the wider community.

    These are all wonderful things to be sure. As are other hobbies like rugby, skiing, and badminton. But you destroy value when you take taxpayers’ money and use it to make these course look like they cost less than they really do. It makes no sense to have people learning these things when they do not value the product as much as the cost to society of delivering those courses. The time and effort of providing those courses is a cost. Using coercively-raised funding to make them look cheap is not the path to riches.

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  30. Captain Neurotic (206 comments) says:

    I’m sorry, but JUCKNZ can you please elaborate how exactly Labour would be stimulating the economy by funding these interest courses??

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  31. trout (865 comments) says:

    Unfortunately like a lot of welfarism (and I include courses for boaties) the freebies are snapped up by the middle class who can afford to pay and the target market do not even participate. Most, if not all, the boating tragedies involve people who would not bother with classes. If they are not wearing or carrying life jackets with all the publicity that promotes that particular safety device then what difference is providing classes going to make?

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  32. Stuart Mackey (337 comments) says:

    Inventory2 (3642) Vote: 8 0 Says:
    November 9th, 2009 at 8:11 am
    My sentiments exactly Pongo – and if you DO own a boat, and DON’T do the necessary safety training, you’re a feckin’ idiot. But I shouldn’t have to pay for it!”
    ************************

    Actually you do, every time some dickhead gets into trouble at sea because he doesn’t know what he is doing, you pay for the P3 to go and find the fool in question. When it comes to boating I think a better question is should a licence, self funded IMO, be compulsory so said tax payer funded P3 flights not be necessary in the first place.

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  33. RRM (8,987 comments) says:

    I agree on the gist of this – these courses should be user pays. Labour are clueless at the moment.

    BUT:

    DPF: “I’m speechless.”
    Clearly you’re not, given the rest of the post. Histrionics much?

    DPF: “This is what Labour wants to borrow and tax more money from workers for.”
    Borrow more AND tax more? Wouldn’t it be one or the other?

    Said the political cheerleader skeleton: eat sound bites…

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  34. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller 10:13 am,

    So Hipkins wants to be Cap’n Pugwash. Which of collegues will be Seaman Stains?

    You remind me, Brian, of a mate of mine who I go out sailing with from time to time. His name is Roger, and he got the unfortunate nick-name of ‘Roger the Cabinboy’. Funnily enough, he didn’t see the funny side.

    While I agree with the sentiments of many here – that floral arrangement type courses are a waste of tax payers’ money – I do see the value in such couses as the Day Skipper course. Perhaps this reflects on my Surf Life Saving background, and involvement with sailing, but such courses do, I believe, have a net positive return when weighed up against SAR and related costs when unskilled boaties get in trouble. And not to mention the reduction in lost lives when boaties have attended such courses.

    We have to be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater in our attempts to reduce funding to previously/currently free courses. It’s important to look at the merits of each.

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  35. Brian Smaller (3,915 comments) says:

    Kris K – You forgot Master Bates.

    If you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, then perhaps there is a call for a Waste Water Disposal and Your Infant course.

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  36. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Brian Smaller 2:40 pm,

    Kris K – You forgot Master Bates.

    If you are throwing the baby out with the bathwater, then perhaps there is a call for a Waste Water Disposal and Your Infant course.

    You’ll remember the ‘Onedin Line’; an english TV show back in the 70s – it had a Master Bates too. Always made me chuckle as a teenager at the time.

    And regarding your new course proposal – not sure how much support Key and co will give it – you may have to wait for Labour to regain the helm (thought I’d keep to the nautical theme).

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  37. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    Kris, I don’t recall a Master Bates on the Onedin Line. Of course Jane Seymour was real – perhaps that’s where the confusion slipped in. So to speak.

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  38. Kris K (3,570 comments) says:

    Malcolm 3:31 pm,

    My bloody memory’s going – off to the old folkes home.
    It was Captain Baines, not Master Bates. I’m getting my TV shows mixed up.

    And that Jane Seymour was and still is one good lookin’ broad.

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  39. malcolm (2,000 comments) says:

    We’ll let you off :-)

    Jane Seymour would do that to you.

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  40. ISeeRed (244 comments) says:

    THERE’S NO MORE MONEY, LABOUR. YOU SPENT IT ALL.

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  41. mattyroo (880 comments) says:

    Yes, I agree there may be value in a boat skipper course, vis a vis search and rescue costs. Having done one of these myself, (fully paid for by myself, I might add) I would almost agree with them being mandatory.

    However, the people who typically get into trouble out boating are not the people who would even consider doing a day skipper course. These are the down and outs with a poorly maintained boat, don’t own lifejackets or flares and usually can’t swim.

    These people don’t carry the necesseties for safe boating, simply because they don’t care and they know that the gummint (SAR) will be along to rescue them should they get into trouble. I would be interested in knowing the actual ratio of people whom drown from not wearing life jackets that are actually paid-up members of the coast guard. I bet it is negligble.

    So, the only people actually likely to do a day skipper course are people that can well afford to pay the full amount for it. The others, probably cannot even spell skipper.

    I’ve seen them out there, and they’re an accident waiting to happen, no amount of subsidising or incetivising is going to get them to do anything different than they do now.

    I say, let Darwin carry on his work.

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