Editorials 9 March 2010

March 9th, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald says should be linked to success:

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce had barely opened the portfolio passed to him at the end of January before he floated a significant change. He proposes to make student loans conditional on the student’s success. Living allowances available to students on age, income and residential criteria are not available to those who failed more than half their course the previous year. But loans are subject to no such test. From next year they could be.

And should be. The loan scheme attracts loud criticism from students’ associations because unlike grants and allowances, loans must be paid back. They call the debt a burden when it is, in fact, a considerable benefit from the taxpayer. The loans carry no interest during the borrower’s years of full-time study and repayments are not required until the recipient is earning an income.

And now the loans carry no interest, ever.

Since National promised at the last election to keep the loans interest-free, he needs to find another way to rein in their cost. Making them conditional on pass rates is an obvious and reasonable step. …

Higher education is expensive for the country and it would be reasonable to restrict it to school leavers who can pass an entrance test.

Mr Joyce should look beyond loan conditions and consider entry restrictions as he searches for the savings that all ministers are expected to produce from their portfolios for this year’s telling Budget.

I would also get rid of the stupid fees maxima policy.

The Dominion Post wants the slaughter stopped any way possible:

The messy dispute now taking place between opponents of whaling is about tactics, not aims. That is what the critics of New Zealand’s willingness to explore a diplomatic solution that allows for some limited commercial whaling are refusing to acknowledge.

Labour foreign affairs spokesman Chris Carter – whose own government had no success in nine years stopping the Japanese – lambasted the Government yesterday as “an active advocate for the resumption of commercial whaling” adding it “simply doesn’t care about marine mammal conservation”. That owes more to rhetoric than realism, and fails to acknowledge the need for practicality as well as principles.

I suspect some opponents of whaling would be horrified if it stopped, as they would then have one less thing to protest about.

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully has been suitably cautious over any arrangement. He is quite clear that the Government’s aim is to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean. He told Radio New Zealand those seeking a diplomatic solution had no mandate to do any deal, but were to see if they could come up with a solution “that the New Zealand Government and then the New Zealand people can consider”.

The Government is right to be cautious, but it is also right to allow Sir Geoffrey to explore all options.

In any negotiation, there has to be concessions from both sides. Otherwise there is nothing to negotiate.

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25 Responses to “Editorials 9 March 2010”

  1. MikeNZ (3,234 comments) says:

    Read a great letter in the Dompost today.
    A student highlighted their living costs (Student loan) $150 a week, with which they earn a degree and pay it back. but they eat well and cut their cloth to meet their needs
    vs a benefit $191 a week with no payback, in fact do nothing for it and people moan at the benefit they get.

    maybe it’s time for a student benefit?
    With caps on it like, can only claim once and must pass or have to payback all the monies.

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  2. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” In any negotiation, there has to be concessions from both sides.”

    The left will neverr concede anything. No matter what they pretend to give away, they come back later and again and again and again, until they gradually get it. Conceding to leftists is always a no-win situation. Never give them a millimetre.

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  3. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    [DPF]:I suspect some opponents of whaling would be horrified if it stopped, as they would then have one less thing to protest about.

    :-o

    This statement astonishes me. It just can’t be about the whales, it must be all about the inherent desire of bloody lefties and long-haired type people to cause trouble for no reason at all.

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  4. RRM (9,924 comments) says:

    Good comments about student loans. Engineering 101 was full of kids who went there for a year to see if the student lifestyle suited them, and basically pissed their loan money (actually your money and mine) up against the wall.

    Fortunately for serious students they comprise a significant voting bloc which (hopefully) will be a formidable prospect for anyone looking at reinstating the interest.

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  5. Graeme Edgeler (3,289 comments) says:

    The Herald says student loans should be linked to success…

    Yes. Let’s move from funding universities for the number of morons they can get to start first year (and fail), to the number they pass and give degrees to. Punishing universities for giving failing grades to students provides a pretty big incentive to pass students who should be failing. Oh well, it’s not like I wanted my degree to prove to the world I was worthy of a certain level of accolade, anyway.

    Engineering 101 was full of kids who went there for a year to see if the student lifestyle suited them, and basically pissed their loan money (actually your money and mine) up against the wall.

    And now they’ll make it to Engineering 201 because the University will be punished if these students don’t advance and get degrees.

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  6. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    I think the secret with whaling is to divide into whales we care about, and whales we don’t. With land-mammels, we generally don’t like people killing lions, tigers, elephants, many primates. But we have less care about sheep, goats, cows – beyond that they are killed humanely. Mammels like rats we care very little about. Dogs and cats we care about because they are cute, but those mores are not observed across the world – some countries see them as food.

    I would suggest that:
    – blue whales, sperm whales, some other large carnivorous whales, are like the other charismatic mega-fauna. They shouldn’t be hunted
    – orca and some other large predators are a bit like primates – we see them as being intelligent social beasts, they shouldn’t be hunted
    – dolphins and porpoises are like dogs and cats. They’re cute, and relatively intelligent. Some countries eat them, some don’t. We probably go the same way – there isn’t exactly a world-wide shortage of dolphins
    – pilot whales and the like are the sheep of the sea. Some people are vegetarians – good for them, don’t eat sheep. Other people are carnivores, and we let them eat sheep. So it should be with these more common and less intelligent whales. If we let the Japanese whale for these, then the problem goes away.

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  7. tvb (4,425 comments) says:

    People should not be borrowing money to fund failure at some course. There are too many people around who have student loan debt with nothing to show for it. That is bad.

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  8. Chthoniid (2,047 comments) says:

    Just because its relevant- if redundant given I’ve posted the link already in the GD-

    My sciblogs post on whaling
    http://sciblogs.co.nz/chthonic-wildlife-ramblings/2010/03/09/what-conservationists-really-want-on-the-whaling-front/

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  9. Jaime Raine (43 comments) says:

    TARANAKI DAILY NEWS, 16 JAN 2006, Edition 1, Page 8
    Hypocrisy, from lamb slaughterers
    By: FRANKS Stephen

    ——————–

    NEW Zealand Government complicity in green terrorism against Japanese whalers may cost us dearly.

    Japanese and other Asians have long memories. They could unmask our weakness whenever they like, by treating us and our values as we have treated them and theirs. They could have us begging for mercy.

    We are lathered in moral indignation about whaling. Yet, as a nation, we live off the proceeds of slaughtering up to 40 million cuddly young animals a year.

    Japanese think lambs are impossibly cute. But the smell of sheep cooking disgusts them and they can’t understand why we want to eat lambs.

    We put lambs through days of trauma. Harried into dusty pens, and beaten in to trucks, they are carted hundreds of kilometres with no water.

    In concrete yards for the doomed, they are “emptied” for hours without food, then slaughtered, terrified.

    That is after being born in paddocks bereft of natural weather cover, mutilated without anaesthetics a few days after birth, forcibly separated from their mothers and regularly hounded by dogs.

    We also cut off their woolly protection from cold and sun.

    None of this can be justified by “need”. We are already too fat and tonnes of our lamb “harvest” go to over-fed pets.

    Think of how the Japanese might compare all of that with whaling.

    With few exceptions, whales now die in minutes, not hours, after lives spent entirely free. The Japanese place high value on that meat.

    Our sanctimony toward Japan is indefensible. And because we have no real foreign affairs minister and no coherent foreign policy, it seems no one is counting the ultimate cost of the hypocrisy of the conservation minister.

    It will come back to bite us.

    The world was relieved when Japan renounced aggression 60 years ago. New Zealand should not be reminding the Japanese public why they might again want a capacity to make distant enemies tremble.

    Even if our silly insults are unlikely to have that effect, Japan has many more subtle levers. It could make us beg for spare parts for our cars and computers and all the other things we love but no longer know how to make.

    Japan might be too dignified to crush us openly for our insults, but there is a more certain cost. We can be sure that animal activists in Europe and other markets will use against us our own stupid rhetoric on the rights of whales.

    Imagine our outrage if a Hindu governing party decided to pander to India’s moral majority in regard to cows. A billion people could make fine examples of a few million insufferable hypocrites on an island at the bottom of the world.

    What if India chose to sponsor the captive cows in our dairy industry. They could demand that dairy products come only from cows allowed to retire till natural death in respected old age.

    They could ban refrigerated meat ships from their waters, and discreetly sponsor attacks on them in foreign harbours.

    They could protect militants who raise money and preach hatred of New Zealand in religious schools. What would we think of a government that invited and funded recruiters for arson attacks on our freezing works and coolstores?

    How about a government that lauded boycotts of restaurants that serve beef, simultaneously vilifying us in their media?

    We were upset when fur activists killed the market for possum skins, making it harder for us to pay for protecting our native forests. That misinformation was not sponsored by any government, yet we were powerless to counter it.

    I wonder if the Japanese have asked our prime minister to apply her own new law passed at the United Nations’ request. The Terrorism Suppression Act 2002 gives her extraordinary powers to designate terrorist organisations so their assets can then be seized and members arrested.

    Section 5 defines as “terrorism” acts “for the purpose of advancing an ideological, political, or religious cause… to unduly compel or to force a government or an international organisation to do or abstain from doing any act” if they are intended to cause “destruction of, or serious damage to, property of great value or importance, or major economic loss…” and that is likely to cause one or more of several specified consequences including “the death of, or other serious bodily injury to, one or more persons…”

    It expressly applies to acts outside New Zealand.

    As an MP, I opposed the breadth of that definition, in case foreign bullies put pressure on our Government to misuse it against legitimate freedom fighters. The Greens also voted against the bill.

    I’m hoping the Japanese try to invoke it. We need something to cause the childish folk running our foreign policy to reflect on the arguments they are giving to our potential trade enemies.

    New Zealanders appear to have discarded Christianity and adopted, for the first time, a state religion that worships marine mammals.

    It is very new. New Zealanders were passionate whalers till less than 50 years ago. We stopped whaling not for moral reasons but because it stopped paying.

    A few years later, our bizarre Marine Mammals Protection Act 1978 effectively made seals and whales sacred.

    Surely a nation built on exploiting lovable land animals could have chosen a less irrational state religion than seal and dolphin worship.

    * Stephen Franks is a Wellington lawyer and former Act MP.

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  10. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Jaime, that is a good article. I was thinking that some reporter in Taranaki must have some talent. Then I got to the bottom and realised it was Stephen Franks – and it all made sense. He has always been one of the few thinkers in our political system. It’s a pity he wasn’t really the right guy to lead ACT – he has the intellectual horsepower but I don’t think the leadership talent. Then again, based on recent events, it isn’t clear that Rodney does either….

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  11. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    Chthoniid: also very good commentary. I just don’t get why a small group of “conservationists” have managed to monopolise the debate into “you’re with us or you’re against us.” No debate on means, outcomes, no compromise.

    It is quite reminiscent of the global warming debate. You’re either a full believer, and want to wear a hair shirt, or a full denier with no concern for the planet. There is no room for middle ground, no room to agree with the outcome but question the means. It always leads to bad policy when issues get this religious.

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  12. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    DPF: And now the loans carry no interest, ever.

    Not quite true, you pay no interest as long as you remain in NZ (test is a bit different to the tax resident test as it tries more to go the other way funnily enough).

    Not that this is a bad thing, it essentially incentives people to remain and work in NZ, but your statement misleads on this point a bit.

    However all for tying passing to student loan, makes sense. Only concern I have is that Uni’s continue to fail people that should be failed.

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  13. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    . Redbaiter (9216) Says:

    The left will neverr concede anything. No matter what they pretend to give away, they come back later and again and again and again, until they gradually get it. Conceding to leftists is always a no-win situation. Never give them a millimetre.

    The conservative right will neverr (sic) concede anything. No matter what they pretend to give away, they come back later and again and again and again, until they gradually get it. Conceding to conservatives is always a no-win situation. Never give them a millimetre.

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  14. Exclamation Mark (85 comments) says:

    Yes Jeff: Civil Unions, the repeal of section 59, prostitution law reform, lowering of the drinking age, ditching the Privy Council – such massive wins for this shady group of puppet masters you call the (gasp) “Conservative Right”!!!!!!

    BTW @ PaulL 12:45 pm: Easily the most sane and sensible thing I have read on the topic of whaling to date.

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  15. david@tokyo (263 comments) says:

    Indeed David, recently it has been proposed that the IWC only hold meetings every second year, rather than annually. I met someone who knows and apparently when representatives of the anti-whaling protest NGOs heard this suggestion their jaws dropped. They were horrified at the thought of not having as many chances to complain (and fund-raise with their “save the whales” banners), and also at the thought of not having the chance to enjoy trips to the exotic locations where IWC meetings are frequently held.

    And, indeed negotiations and compromises do not mean that New Zealand eventually gets everything it asks for, if it keeps asking. Australians seem to have this delusion but then it is election year there.

    I’ve been taking a look at the IWC proposals. The whalers will be asked to accept catch quotas that are below what is regarded as being thoroughly sustainable. That is, the IWC has very conservative catch limit setting procedures developed since the adoption of the moratorium. A very rough idea is that an initial quota would start at 0.5% of the lower 95% confidence value of whale stock abundance estimate (it’s not that simple, but it gives a rough idea). So, the real whale numbers may be much higher, but you assume the worst (as you should when conserving natural resources), and then you also only take 0.5% initially.

    So it’s very very conservative.

    However, these latest IWC proposals suggest that quotas would be set even further below these already ultra-conservative quotas, basically for political reasons. Just to give the anti-whaling nations a reason to agree to have the IWC manage whaling again, as it was intended to.

    Personally I am in favour of sustainable use of natural resources and I think this deal is totally rotten. The IWC was not intended to take into consideration the views of anti-whalers.

    So if anti-whaling New Zealand is able to get the Japanese, Norwegians and Icelanders to agree to this then they would be mad not to.

    (The actual quota numbers aren’t proposed yet, and there seems to be discussions about parameters for setting the catch limit procedure too, but in any case they are talking about reductions in numbers from current levels for 10 years.)

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  16. Redbaiter (13,197 comments) says:

    ” Yes Jeff: Civil Unions, the repeal of section 59, prostitution law reform, lowering of the drinking age, ditching the Privy Council – such massive wins for this shady group of puppet masters you call the (gasp) “Conservative Right”!!!!!! ”

    Self delusion is a big part of being a leftist.

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  17. Tassman (234 comments) says:

    My browser is finding it hard to enter this den of sharks I’m not sure why. But I think some of those folks had a free education in their time.

    But to cut a long story short, it is the beginning of the end of University. Fewer courses follow by fewer students as some are already diverted to prison at secondary level, and until it becomes completely paye, only a few can afford a specialized education.

    Why the Min of Soc Dev going to do a course in the US as if NZ is not good enough?

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  18. Hugh Manatee (108 comments) says:

    “I suspect some opponents of whaling would be horrified if it stopped, as they would then have one less thing to protest about.”

    This is the kind of statement you’d hear from an ignorant yob in a pub after they’d downed a couple of jugs of Speights!

    Who thinks like that?

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  19. wikiriwhis business (4,016 comments) says:

    “Higher education is expensive for the country and it would be reasonable to restrict it to school leavers who can pass an entrance test.”

    So David does belief adults shouldn’t get a second chance at education.

    I don’t believe its the govts right to stick their nose in at all.

    I suppose if an adult can pay for their education, the govts hands are tied. I hope.

    Who knows. Does anyone know where anyone stands these days.

    “Wellington to London, IMF and WTO, where do we go from here?” says John Key.

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  20. wikiriwhis business (4,016 comments) says:

    Anyway, students have to pay for their education now and pay back the loans.

    Only because the politicians who got a free education forced the future students into hardships. And they still not satisfied, practically calling students bludgers.

    Its crap. Simple as that.

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  21. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    Japan has banged on about their ‘tradition’ in whaling. I’ve thought for awhile that if that’s the line they want to pursue, then whaling in the Antarctic is not ‘traditional’ as it is only possible with modern tools. Thus whaling within Japanese territorial waters I always thought was a way forward.

    The only worry I have with that is whether the migratory routes mean that most or all whales pass Japan. If they do and Japan scoops up everything that swims past, then that will be just as devastating for the Southern Ocean and whale watching here as wholesale slaughter in the Antarctic…

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  22. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    @PaulL @ 12:34

    Problem with ignoring species that we ‘don’t care about’ is that in nature everything is linked more closely than we realise.

    For example, people don’t really care about krill. Let krill die and the whales don’t have anything to eat. Let the sardines and herrings die and the tuna don’t have anything to eat.

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  23. PaulL (5,981 comments) says:

    @rouppe: by that logic, we should worry about eating sheep. Thing is, that only matters if we eat all the sheep. I’m pretty sure that the Japanese don’t want to, and also aren’t capable of, eating all the minke whales. Last I saw, they were talking about setting a quota of 0.5% of the lowest plausible estimate of minke whales per annum. I doubt minke whales have many natural predators, I’d argue that at 0.5% they’re probably only saving some of them from starving to death (assuming that minke whale numbers are currently limited by available food, not by predators).

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  24. rouppe (971 comments) says:

    PaulL

    I don’t think you got what I meant. Sheep (in NZ) don’t exist as a wild species and (in NZ) don’t have a natural predator. They are bred and farmed here purely for the purpose of human consumption and by that measure would fall into your category of “species we care about” because they are managed.

    However something like a small bait-fish isn’t a species that is managed and therefore (by your logic) would fall into a category we don’t care about. If some company worked out a way to turn bait fish into bio fuel or something, and suddenly hundreds of tons a day of the baitfish were scooped up, that will have a distinctly negative effect on the species that (by your logic) we do care about such as tuna, kingfish, marlin etc.

    Nowhere in my post (of 11:43) did I suggest that a whale kill of 0.5% of the 95th percentile was an unsustainable catch. In fact I didn’t refer to the whale kill at all. What I said was that you have to consider species other than those “you care about” when talking about fisheries management.

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  25. Jeff83 (745 comments) says:

    Yes Jeff: Civil Unions, the repeal of section 59, prostitution law reform, lowering of the drinking age, ditching the Privy Council – such massive wins for this shady group of puppet masters you call the (gasp) “Conservative Right”!!!!!!

    BTW @ PaulL 12:45 pm: Easily the most sane and sensible thing I have read on the topic of whaling to date.

    Yip definite wins for the conservative right who “gasp and horror” were not in power when they were brought in. Finally most of those (except privy council) were consense votes, so one could say the majority of parliament were at least then not conservative, as Gasp the conservatives fought touth and nail against them. Not conceding anything.

    Redbaiter (9237) Says:

    Self delusion is a big part of being a leftist.

    Self delusion is a big part of being a conservative.

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