Great quotes from John Hayes

December 17th, 2009 at 3:13 pm by David Farrar

Karl du Fresne blogs a quote from about the teacher unions trying to boycott the proposed :

“I spent 30 years working for a range of Governments. Sometimes I agreed with the policies the Government wanted, sometimes I did not. My views were irrelevant. My job as a public servant was to implement the Governments policies irrespective of my personal views. That is how democracy works in New Zealand. If a state employee does not want to implement a particular policy, like National Standards, that’s fine, they should resign and find employment in an environment that suits them better. It is not however acceptable for them to remain on the Government’s payroll and work against the Government’s policies.”

Hear hear.

22 Responses to “Great quotes from John Hayes”

  1. lastmanstanding (1,734 comments) says:

    Great sentiments tell that to the Socialists and Commies who have sought to undermine every Nat lead government over the past 35 years starting at the 1975 election.

    Or tell the femin nazis that have sought to influence and control policy in welfare education and health and who now infest the civil service with their anti family anti male ideas

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  2. fatman43us (164 comments) says:

    They’ve sought (successfully) to undermine every Government and the people for the past 35 years.

    This time, we need to stop them. Remove the right to have a collective agreement in this industry, use legislation to remove Principals, Deputies and Assistants from union coverage. Force the acceptance in schools of a management position for the three top positions.

    BUT most of all, put the funding for the staff fully in the hands of the parents by introducing a voucher system, and encouraging contestability for the available funding. All these are old ideas, it’s just that they cause the NZEIO and their Brethren to shrivel from the edges, and Mallard to wince and become shrill.

    We reaslly can make a difference you know!

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  3. Pete George (24,828 comments) says:

    Hayes says (rightly) that government employees have to follow the policy of the government of the day.

    Fortunately lastmanstanding and fatman43us are not the government of the day.

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  4. Psycho Milt (3,375 comments) says:

    So Hayes and du Fresne both confused teachers and principals with the public servants at the Ministry of Education? Du Fresne, sure, he’s just some dumb-ass – but Hayes ought to know better.

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  5. Blocker (12 comments) says:

    Public servants, like any employee, still have a right to an opinion and the right to voice that opinion. Teachers (and doctors) also have much more responsibility towards those in their care, than to their employer, and cannot be considered or labelled as public servants in the way Hayes does. If they feel anything will be harmful to those in their care it is their duty, after consultation and reflection, to take action.

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  6. David Farrar (1,771 comments) says:

    If a teacher considers what they are being asked to do is harmful, then as Hayes states they should resign their job and seek employment elsewhere. If the state is paying their salary, then they should implement Government policy. They can protest the policy as individuals, but during work hours, while being paid by the state, they must implement the policy. Otherwise the teachers and the unions control the education system, and not the parents and voters of NZ.

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  7. RRM (12,583 comments) says:

    Teachers are not exactly the same as civil servants IMHO.

    Civil servants are the administration of the work the Government directs. Hayes is correct they should find other work if they find the current Government directions distasteful because of their personal ideologies.

    Teaching is a profession, and if teachers in their professional opinion think government policy is going to be harmful then damn right they should say so, and they should say why.

    You would expect Engineers to make some noise if they believed Govt policy was going to lead to unsafe buildings being constructed. Not just down tools and walk away to let someone else design the buildings that fall down. You would expect Doctors to make some noise if they believed Govt policy was going to harm patients – not just walk away and let someone else administer the unsafe drugs. Who else but the experts is competent to offer an opinion on complex technical matters like these?

    In this case the teacher’s union stance seems more about patch protection for union members, than about the quality of the work (teaching) and safeguarding the public (kids). But I don’t accept that as a general rule Teachers should silently kowtow to Ministry of Education decrees, if they disagree with them.

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  8. lastmanstanding (1,734 comments) says:

    Sigh I and many others have in the past resigned when either the policies ethics or morals of our employer were in conflict with ours.

    Its called the right thing to do. the Nuremburg( apologies for spelling) defence is not acceptable.

    Especially in the private sector I get sick of company directors CEO and other senior exec who dont have the balls to resign on a matter of principle and blow the whistle.

    This is why our governance and especially corporate governance is in such a shambles and why the finance companies collapsed.

    This is why our stock market cant get new listings and is losing the ones it has.

    It all about doing the right thing. Getting back to the point Yes of course civil servants can have an opinion and voice it.

    What they CANT but do do is either deliberately not implement policy to the best of their ability or try and undermine that policy Think Sir Humphrey

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  9. peterwn (4,289 comments) says:

    In ODT there is a picture of a school principal with an unopened package of Standards materials. The Board by resolution has directed the principal not to open it. The principal is probably quite happy to acquiese to the Board’s directive. The point is however that the Board is in a governance role and cannot direct what correspondence a principal shoud or should not open. A Board could probably save money in the short term by directing principals not to open bills.

    RPM – your comment about Engineers. It has already happened. There is a heap of politicians, bean counters, marketing types, etc who they know more about getting electricity to the people than engineers – look at the consequences. And IMO Gerry Brownlee is about6 to pour a further can of high octane fuel over it.

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  10. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    What happened with ENRON?
    I gather very competent attorneys and Accountants either broke their own rules and laws for years as did very competent business leaders.
    Did anyone whistle blow before hundreds of thousands lost their pensions?

    Is this a similar situation?
    There are two sides to a story?

    We’ve heard them.
    On the one hand parents have got so fed up with the socialist no one must fail or have their self esteem hurt attitude/belief from the teachers and principals as 20% of our kids leave school illiterate and totally unprepared to compete in the working world.
    With I might add the very real loss of self esteem that brings!

    So those parents voted out of parliament the 9yr incumbents and voted in a group who have instigated a system of national standards for different age groups.
    So that parents can know where their kids are in their cohort and National age in their different subjects.

    On the other hand.
    A bunch of people who claim to be professional but have failed 20% of their charges and their parents, are threatening to boycott and sabotage their employer (Kiwi parents) the Govt of the day.

    I think they have a legitimate voice (as does everyone) but then they must resign if they cannot carry out their duties.
    Similarly if they are acting against this govt because of their political preferences they should be sacked forthwith.
    This especially includes those people in the MOE who have been part of the union which fully supported the previous incumbents and acted for them in previous elections.

    Lastly but no least, fund according to the bum on seat model, if a child leaves the school so does the funding.
    Give parents control as it is their money anyway. that means they will have control over unions, principals, teachers and govt.
    Which is how it should have been in the first place.

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  11. reid (21,437 comments) says:

    This is all v interesting to me for it strikes at the very heart of the PC Psychobabble Brigade’s core philosophies and one of their core constituencies. We will see that very large and influential group of passionate lefties use every trick in their play-book. Their tactics will be very illuminating to we politicos.

    I think it’s great. Finally after decades of silent acceptance, they’re being challenged on their home turf. I just wish we’d got rid of this problem during Bolger’s govt, before it gained solid roots.

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  12. Psycho Milt (3,375 comments) says:

    The fact that you personally feel that everyone working in the public sector should be considered a civil servant and governed by their code of conduct doesn’t make it so. They aren’t, and they’re not.

    [DPF: I am not saying they are civil servants and governed by a code of conduct. I am saying they are employees who have a professional obligation to obey the lawful directions of their employer. They are not little Gods. Just employees.]

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  13. MikeNZ (3,233 comments) says:

    No they are employees of the parents.
    We give permission for them to have access to our children.
    we are in short the principals of our childrens lives.

    so if they don’t want to honour our govt we elected to deal with this problem.
    they should resign.
    oh and never work in public paid employment again for starters.
    yeah that’s it.

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  14. roadlesstravelled (2 comments) says:

    Employees are required by law to follow the reasonable directions of their employers. The government of the day is directing school boards, school principals and school teachers to follow government policy. The policy itself was promoted during the election, and is part of the governments public mandate.

    Boards, principals and teachers (and other school employee) are entitled to disagree with government policy, but actively refusing to carry it out? That’s a breach of their employment contract. Publically undermining it? An employer in any other sector or industry, would be terminating their contracts for breach of employment contract and failure to maintain the good faith nature of the employment relationship.

    (Disclosure: John Hayes is my dad. He refused to talk politics with me as a child, or commit himself to a place on the political spectrum given his strong belief in the requirement for a politically neutral public service. I joined the National Party before he did and well before I was aware of his political views. I joined because I believe in the “Give a hand up, not a hand out” credo.)

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  15. Psycho Milt (3,375 comments) says:

    I believe that term “professional obligation” is very much in teachers’ and principals’ minds in their approach to this. Won’t be the first time professional employees have a dispute with their employer over best practice and won’t be the last. Right-wingers may not like the fact that employees have a right to dispute their employers’ plans for them, but the fact is they do.

    [DPF: You don’t get it. Dispute yes. Boycott and refuse absolutely no. If you don’t know the difference then I suggest you try it in your own workplace. You’ll be looking for a job within a week]

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  16. Luc Hansen (4,573 comments) says:

    [DPF: You don’t get it. Dispute yes. Boycott and refuse absolutely no. If you don’t know the difference then I suggest you try it in your own workplace. You’ll be looking for a job within a week]

    There is a huge disconnect with reality in that statement.

    In private enterprise I have disputed, boycotted and refused owner/managerial instructions and suffered no consequences other than respect later for the fact that I was right.

    I simply asserted the primacy of my skills and experience over theirs as regards my area of expertise.

    They then have the choice of accepting that, or losing my proven talents. I have never been sacked. It is a different story, though, if my manager is complying with a directive from his boss. Then we work together to ensure continuing productivity while appearing to fulfill the directive.

    And if it ever does feel that it is their way or the highway, I can take my skills to another (preferably directly competing) company at a time of my choosing (not right now, though – it’s pretty tight out there!).

    And, of course, there is always the quiet sabotage – I do exactly as they ask, but don’t go the extra mile, and they end up begging me to revert to my usual preferred methods. But if I am presented with an obviously good idea, I say thank you and I go with it.

    In the case of teachers, however, things are a little different. The employer is for all practical purposes a state monopoly. There is not really anywhere else to go, and when you measure the overall achievement of our education sector, the teachers have a pretty good case for standing up to the boss.

    There is always room for improvement, but when the boss is going off the rails, it’s time to put your foot down.

    I understand that DPF is a busy, social person, but I would say to him that when this whole row blew up I did heaps of reading and research, with an inclination to support the policy, and concluded that I agreed with the experts: the proposed National Standards would do much more harm than good.

    And what’s worse, it provides a cover for the teachers who really do need a kick up the bum.

    Finally, the appeal to parents and election mandate don’t really work here. As regards parents, I am one and I oppose National Standards. Furthermore, have we actually had a referendum of parents on this?

    And how you claim an election mandate for a little noticed policy buried in the fine print is a little beyond me. How many National voters thought they were giving a mandate to the party to take the Maori party into coalition with it AND agree to flying a Maori flag!?

    Disclosure of interest: a daughter due to start primary school in 45 mths time. Given the ERO revelation that Years 1 and 2 are taught mainly by beginner teachers, I will be talking this over with the Principal of the school we choose.

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  17. KiwiGreg (3,589 comments) says:

    Teachers are not professionals. Professionals don’t belong to unions.

    And Luc – you wouldn’t last 2 months working for me, no matter how good you seem to think you are.

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  18. Psycho Milt (3,375 comments) says:

    Teachers are not professionals. Professionals don’t belong to unions.

    “Birds are not animals. Animals don’t have feathers.” Pretty stupid, huh? It’s an example of the “biased sample” fallacy: eg, I have a dog, a cat, a rabbit and several mice; they are animals; none of them have feathers. Therefore, animals do not have feathers.

    Dispute yes. Boycott and refuse absolutely no.

    Are there industrial disputes that don’t have a potential threat of refusal to carry out orders behind them?

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  19. Danyl Mclauchlan (986 comments) says:

    Teachers are not professionals. Professionals don’t belong to unions.

    Let me introduce you to the Doctors union

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  20. Maggie (674 comments) says:

    Teachers are experienced professionals and deserve to be listened to. The fact that they express their opposition through their unions, their only voice, gives right wingers, who are rabid about organised labour, the opportunity to froth at the mouth.

    Tolley isn’t a teacher and has no idea what damage she can cause. People like Farrar should take a look at what the teachers are saying and do some research instead of simply reacting with their usual predictable ideological positions.

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  21. ross (1,435 comments) says:


    As you well know, a recent survey of parents found there are more parents that have issues with the new policy than those who support it. Your suggestion that parents want this policy isn’t borne out by this survey. Furthermore, several educational academics have written to John Key and raises concerns about the policy. This begs the question: is such a policy necessary and why has the government ignored the other side of the debate? To an outsider, it appears the government has taken an ideological position which it refuses to budge from.

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  22. ross (1,435 comments) says:

    There is another issue. Whistleblowing legislation allows public servants to raise issues without the fear that they’ll be sacked. It is unethical, not to mention irresponsible, for teachers to do something that is not in the best interests of their students. Your response, David, is that teachers should just leave the profession. So instead of legitimately raising concerns with their union and with the Minister, teachers should just leave. That’s an odd response.

    The new Standards are simply a measuring tool. There is no evidence – and Anne Tolley hasn’t provided any – that they will improve academic achievement. So when some kids continue to under-achieve under the new system, I wonder what the Minister’s response will be. I suspect it will be a case of ‘Let’s blame the teachers’.

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