Editorials 23 February 2010

February 23rd, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald says RNZ savings are not worth it:

’s budget last year was just $38.2 million, of which $34.2 million was public money. That points to the swingeing nature of the Government’s programme. While it is reasonable that all state-funded bodies should tighten their belts, it seems excessive to be waving a big stick at organisations where the potential savings are trifling.

The same penchant was, however, evident in last year’s Budget. Most controversially, cuts were made to adult night school programmes.

Again, the savings seemed hardly worth the trouble. Community education takes just 0.6 per cent of the tertiary education allocation, and the canned programmes provided value for money, if only because they gave hands-on instruction at schools that would, otherwise, not have been in use.

The Herald may be right that politically it might not be smart to take a lot of political heat, for relatively small fiscal savings. However I think it is more complex than that. If the Govt goes soft on one or two state agencies, then it is harder to keep fiscal discipline with the rest of them. State sector CEOs will find ways to live within means if they think everyone is doing so. But if you start giving into media campaigns for more funding, it incentivises other agencies to do the same. And then you end up having to borrow even more than $240 million a week.

The Press talks protecting :

In response to the weekend violence the Government is considering introducing extra penalties for offenders who assault police officers, as is the case in Western Australia. Such a move might not deter drugged or drunken offenders from attacking officers, however.

Yet, it is still worth considering, as it would reinforce the special position the police have in our society to uphold the rule of law. It would also acknowledge the real, every-day risks faced by officers as they perform their duties.

If the Government did move to strengthen penalties it would have to be determined whether the new law would apply to off-duty officers who intervened in an incident. But because the public expects off-duty officers to respond to crimes they come across, and they would not be wearing anti-stab vests, they too should have the protection of such a law.

I favour increased penalties for assaults on Police. The Police get assaulted, basically on our behalf. They deal with the criminals and risk their lives often doing so.

The Dom Post flicks at Wellington wardens:

Of all the low-down, mean, sneaky tricks … While football fans were cheering the Wellington Phoenix to a nail-biting victory at Westpac Stadium on Sunday evening, parking wardens were ticketing the vehicles of 61 fans who had exceeded the maximum parking time outside the ground – because the match went into extra time, then a penalty shootout.

To its credit, has waived the tickets, which threatened to turn the Phoenix’s triumph into a public relations disaster. But coming on top of other recent instances of over-zealous ticketing, the incident suggests something is amiss with parking operations. Proposals to install Big Brother-style parking surveillance cameras in Courtenay Place add weight to the theory.

The purpose of parking restrictions should be to ensure that as many people as possible can park in city and suburban streets, do their business and be on their way. It should not be to fatten the coffers of Tenix, the private company which manages Wellington parking, Parkwise, the Armourguard subsidiary to which Tenix contracts ticketing, or the council itself.

Hear hear. The incentives are all about revenue maximization, not giving parkers a fair go.

And the ODT looks at woes in Canterbury:

Seldom has a local authority received such a slating as that just given to Canterbury’s regional council, Environment Canterbury (ECan), by a Government review panel.

The panel says the gap between what ECan does and what it should do is enormous and unprecedented. …

Yet some argue no change is needed.

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8 Responses to “Editorials 23 February 2010”

  1. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Extra time is always a possibility with a soccer game. Why didn’t the people parking think that through rather than just assume that they were entitled to stay parked as long as they want because they are special.

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  2. MT_Tinman (3,202 comments) says:

    The government “is considering introducing extra penalties for offenders who assault police officers”.

    Both the government and The Press are wrong on this.

    Penalties already in existence are sufficient – if unused by a completely out of touch judiciary but that is another argument.

    What government should be looking at is not longer sentences but harsher conditions under which the scum serve the sentences they are given.

    Bugger rehabilitation, make being sent to prison a punishment.

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  3. Will de Cleene (485 comments) says:

    I favour increased penalties for assaults on Police. The Police get assaulted, basically on our behalf. They deal with the criminals and risk their lives often doing so.

    Do you also support increased penalties for police who abuse their positions and commit criminal offences?

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  4. bchapman (649 comments) says:

    “If the government goes soft on…”- Are Treasury, MAF or PM’s department receiving a 10% cut this year?

    Budgets should be based on who provides benefits to the public, not how can we show how tough we are. On that score TVNZ really should be sold.

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  5. Repton (769 comments) says:

    Extra time is always a possibility with a soccer game. Why didn’t the people parking think that through rather than just assume that they were entitled to stay parked as long as they want because they are special.

    Soccer game: 45 minute half + 15 minute half-time + 45 minute half. That doesn’t leave a lot of change out of 2 hours as it is. You’d have to arrive just before the whistle, and hope you’re near the front of the queue when it’s time to leave..

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  6. burt (8,275 comments) says:

    Repton

    That’s my point. Don’t get me wrong I hate parking tickets but because of that I make sure I’ve got a valid pre-pay and if I get a ticket – well it’s my fault. Parking wardens are just doing their job.

    Oh, I hate parking tickets and the job the ever vigilant wardens perform but I’m never rude to the wardens as they are just doing their job.

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  7. V (720 comments) says:

    Here is an idea, violently assault a police officer, you get shot. Natural selection can do the rest.

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

    Just a note on DPF’s comment on the RNZ fuss. He said:

    If the Govt goes soft on one or two state agencies, then it is harder to keep fiscal discipline with the rest of them.

    Have I missed an accusation of fiscal indiscipline against RNZ?

    I understood this current contretemps is just a matter of seeking to save cash by reducing funding everywhere, rather than objecting to how RNZ is spending its current allotment. I fully understand and support any govt wanting to apply the blowtorch to some agencies – trouble is, the ones that come to mind are all small beer.

    And the biggest single objection I have to the current cost cutting imperative is that RNZ has never been flush with cash anyway. And the most risible statement on the issue comes from Michael Laws with his published view that commercial stations (including his own, of course) can deliver the same quality of broadcasting. Actually, maybe they can, but they don’t.

    Anyway, my point is let’s keep the focus on what this is, a cost cutting exercise to save money, not attacking fiscal indiscipline. Of course, if the biggest audience for RNZ is, as many say, the elite (of which I am not one, sadly) then the government is shooting itself in its foot.

    Mind you, its going through a bit of a phase of that. Let’s hope it doesn’t last long! The country needs a coherent government!

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