Banks most effective ACT MP ever

December 5th, 2011 at 5:03 pm by David Farrar

Based on the National/ACT confidence and supply agreement, is a more effective Caucus than all the caucuses before him.

  • A Regulatory Standards Bill to be enacted into law within 12 months, based on Option 5 in this paper.
  • A spending limit law to be introduced within 24 months so that expenditure (excluding benefits, disasters, interest) can not increase by more than the annual rate of population growth and inflation. This is a huge win.
  • RMA reform so there is only one unitary plan per district
  • Trial charter schools in South Auckland so private and community groups (including Iwi) can establish schools that compete with existing schools, and receive funding on a per child basis

These are very significant policy wins for ACT. The spending limit and trialing of charter schools have the potential to have a major impact into the future – and for the better.

If these can be successfully implemented in the next three years, then I could see ACT gaining many of its former supporters back.

’s second term is looking to have a lot of really positive and significant reform.

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139 Responses to “Banks most effective ACT MP ever”

  1. James Stephenson (2,265 comments) says:

    The cup of tea pays off for Key. He has ACT to blame for all the unpopular policies he’s too chicken to implement under his own name.

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  2. Rhino (19 comments) says:

    Considering National (with DPF’s support) has been all about minimizing the number of ministries and departments by combining them all, how do you justify the creation of two new ministries for Mr Banks to play with.

    [DPF: There are no new ministries or depts. A portfolio is not a ministry]

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  3. Simon Arnold (102 comments) says:

    I do hope that the spending limit law is a bit more sophisticated than just using total annual population growth. Better to weight expenditure by some of the key demographic elements that drive public expenditure – particularly age.

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  4. Jimbob (641 comments) says:

    Agree David, but please change the name, every time ACT is mentioned, 99% of New Zealanders cringe. “The Liberal Party” would be a good choice and has a more solid feel about it.

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  5. tvb (4,553 comments) says:

    At least he did not try and have a debt limit which would only mean an immediate credit downgrade. Banks could be quite effective as a Minister as he has been there before. Though my main memories are him resisting any spending controls on escalating police spending and getting involved at the Aromoana shooting. The trial Charter schools in South Auckland looks quite good especially the choice of South Auckland. I would like Auckland Grammar to franchise itself at these schools as well as other high achieving schools in Auckland.

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

    That looks great and congratulations.

    The fly in the ointment is item four, re Unitary Plan. You cannot have a unitary plan for a District. Unless you accept that is what they have now so everything is OK.

    I have agitated for there to be only one operative plan and one proposed plan at a time in any given territory.

    Or, within a region there should be a “one plan” insofar as there is one set of rules. But land use decisions should be made by the districts free of interventions by Regional Councils.

    Some will seize on this as Act having agreed to a host of amalgamations – heaven forbid.

    So Act needs to get very clear what this means so that it does not fumble the ball when interviewed. But believe me this looks like a great victory for the Central Planners rather than a blow for property rights and local decision making.

    Owen

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  7. Nick R (522 comments) says:

    I’m curious about what a spending limit law can achieve. The current parliament can’t bind future parliaments – that would be undemocratic, and unconstitutional – and there would be no means of stopping Parliament from making appropriations that were in excess of any notional cap. Who, exactly, would stop it? And how?

    [DPF: It means a Govt that wants to increase spending in real per capita terms will need to repeal this law, and that will have a political price]

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  8. Nigel Ng (13 comments) says:

    This is a great deal for Act, (hopefully) help the party to rebuild on time for 2014 which in turn can help to ensure another term of National govt. This is a very good strategic move from Key.

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  9. Manolo (14,164 comments) says:

    National’s second term is looking to have a lot of really positive and significant reform.

    Please stop. It’s making me dizzy.
    Actions will speak louder than words.

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  10. G4G (5 comments) says:

    @ Nick R – I guess at least it will make the electorate more aware of future spending increases as the government of the day will presumably have to first amend the spending cap law before they can increase spending. This would at least act as something of a break on spending increases as the government would have to make the case (in the media etc) for why it was doing this.

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  11. Dick (80 comments) says:

    Nigel Ng (5) Says:
    December 5th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    This is a great deal for Act, (hopefully) help the party to rebuild on time for 2014 which in turn can help to ensure another term of National govt. This is a very good strategic move from Key.

    Key never agrees to give up anything unless he gains some benefit in return. DPF may spin this as being a success for ACT but in reality these sort of ‘administrative’ changes in government do not make women wet and therefore I do not see National losing any votes or ACT gaining any from this. Real change and publicity comes from the implementation of a flat tax – something Prebble was strong on. All Banks has done is take credit for things National were probably going to do anyway. ACT will continue to be a Jim Anderton equivalent lapdog.

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  12. Psycho Milt (2,423 comments) says:

    So, the National Party negotiated with the National Party, and the National Party was the winner on the day? Quelle surprise.

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  13. Nick R (522 comments) says:

    G4G – There is a precedent for a law like that – s 7 of the NZ Bill of Rights Act. That doesn’t stop Parliament from passing laws which breach the Bill of Rights. It just means that every time it does, the Attorney-General has to make a notice saying so. Which is usually ignored. In other words – it is symbolic at best and effectively useless at worst. I’ll take some persuading that a statutory spending cap is going to be any better.

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  14. Richard29 (377 comments) says:

    “This is a great deal for Act, help the party to rebuild on time for 2014 which in turn can help to ensure another term of National govt. ”
    Yup – Key has realised that he is never going to increase from 48% in 2014 so without friends in parliament (with more than one MP in their party) he’s toast.

    “The Liberal Party” would be a good choice and has a more solid feel about it.
    I can imagine ‘The Liberal Party’ could gather quite a few votes of support from across the spectrum and would be a good partner for National (Similar to the CDU and Free Democrat relationship in Germany’s MMP environment). The problem is trying to front ‘The Liberal Party’ with one of New Zealands most famous moral conservatives. A new party might be more effective, take the youthful socially progressive element of Act and forge a new party and let Banksie merge with the Conservatives where he’ll feel more at home.

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  15. peterwn (3,332 comments) says:

    James – John being ‘chicken’ is too strong a word. National had a high probability of governing alone, therefore had to be prepared to stand by its promises. There was no way that Labour would govern alone, so Labour did not suffer that sort of restraint. Minor parties can promise pretty well what they like with little accountability. If John Banks had proposed similar policies, he risked spooking part of his potential support. John Banks in the form of Brer Fox has effectively thrown John Key in the form of Brer Rabbit into the briar patch.

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  16. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    The best news, of course, is this:

    Number of Labour Ministers: None. Zero. Nada. Nil. Zip.
    Number of Gween Ministers: None. Zero. Nada. Nil. Zip.
    Number of W 1st Ministers: None. Zero. Nada. Nil. Zip.
    Number of Mana Ministers: None. Zero. Nada. Nil. Zip.

    8)

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  17. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Full credit to the National Party Tim! :)

    Winners on the day! :)

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  18. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    I just heard Banksie on with Larry Williams. I was very impressed.

    I hope Master Whittington has the decency to apologise or resign from ACT.

    I am sure the Libertarians would welcome him.

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  19. Dick (80 comments) says:

    Why should Whittington apologise or resign from ACT for speaking the truth about Banks’ conservative ass Chuck? It’s meat-headed old people like you in ACT who think sex before marriage is some sort of grave sin who are responsible for it being a 1% party that fails to attract young voters like the Greens do due to inconsistencies in ACT’s ideals. If you want to be economically liberal, you can’t be social conservative and want the government to interfere in people’s lives. You should resign Chuck and go join up with Winston Peters, I’m sure his anti-libertarian conservative views would be a perfect match for you.

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  20. iMP (2,455 comments) says:

    A classic example of being INSIDE the tent. John Banks has achieved more in 12 days than the Greens in 12 years.

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  21. Nick R (522 comments) says:

    @ DPF – if I’m right, and the model is s 7 of the Bill of Rights Act, then they won’t have to repeal the Act to exceed the spending cap. They can either comply with it by saying, “These appropriations exceed the limits in the spending cap because it is in the national interest” (or whatever other wriggle room is in the statute), or they can ignore it completely. Either way, no legal comeback whatsoever.

    If the only intended consequences are political, then I question why they need a law. A law which only has political consequences is probably (IMHO) a bad law. It’s the stuff of policy, not law, and it should be put into the Cabinet Office manual or some such, rather than shoved through Parliament. I have no problem with having a spending cap as a policy – effectively the Govt already has one through its policy of returing to surplus. I just don’t like it as a law.

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  22. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    You would have to suspect that people called Dick tend to be keen on sex before marriage! :)

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  23. Nicholas O'Kane (147 comments) says:

    The way I understand the spending cap is it is population growth rate times inflation, so 4% population growth with 3% inflation equals 12% spending cap, not 7%. Am I correrct?

    Also it excludes finance charges and unemployment benefit spending, so a sizeable portion of government spending is ecluded from this cap.

    I feel indexing tax thresholds to the rate of inflation could be more useful

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  24. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    Either way, no legal comeback whatsoever.

    Nick don’t you get that’s not the point. It’s entirely symbolic but it’s a powerful symbol for it requires a positive act to enable it and a positive act to either ignore or repeal it.

    It’s also equivocal in its simplicity (if they want to avoid it they can’t hide behind obfuscating it’s too vague or complex).

    It’s a very effective technique. I wouldn’t surprised if the Gweens twy it on the enviwonment when Key starts talking to them. (I’d like to say I’d be surprised if Key signed up to something like that in due course but I don’t sadly, think I will be.)

    it excludes finance charges and unemployment benefit spending

    Probably because right now they’re entirely unpredictable Nicholas.

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  25. Daigotsu (471 comments) says:

    “I’m curious about what a spending limit law can achieve. The current parliament can’t bind future parliaments – that would be undemocratic, and unconstitutional – and there would be no means of stopping Parliament from making appropriations that were in excess of any notional cap. Who, exactly, would stop it? And how?

    [DPF: It means a Govt that wants to increase spending in real per capita terms will need to repeal this law, and that will have a political price]”

    The political price may or may not be very great, it depends how popular the law is. It’s possible that it may be brushed away casually by a popular incumbent Left wing government (thinking long term here)

    The analogy to the Bill of Rights Act about the government being able to declare a Bill inconsistent is not accurate, the Bill of Rights act contains a specific provision allowing that – if not the BORA would have to be overturned in order for inconsistent legislation to be passed. The BORA template is often thought to work reasonably well and is frequently suggested as a model to be emulated but no other Act has ever included it in NZ (some have overseas)

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  26. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    “The Liberal Party” would be a good choice and has a more solid feel about it.

    And if it was called that then John Banks would have to leave.

    I think it must be either brilliant or terrible work by John Key. He sacrificed public support of the National Party by looking like an idiot and a schemer with that “cuppa” promoting Banks, just to get this one MP into parliament. I assume, as James S said, that he did it because he could make Banks responsible for the “mean” policies that Key was either too “chicken” (or too prudent and pragmatic) to introduce himself.

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  27. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    Based on the National/ACT confidence and supply agreement, John Banks is a more effective ACT Caucus than all the caucuses before him.

    And right there is the the proof of the pudding. We have a bunch of people whining about Banks and how illiberal he is, and how much better Rodney was, and how ACT should be the Liberal Party and blah blah blah blah…. meanwhile, Banks quietly manages to negotiate charter schools – the first proper policy concession to one of ACT’s core values, and one of the reasons ACT was formed.

    There is a reason that Banks did what Rodney couldn’t – Rodney is all talk, and Banks actually achieves stuff. We’ve just had three years of ACT pissing around with local government, making it easier to ban products in consumer affairs, agitating for less property rights for Maori, and banning gang patches in Wanganui, Banks comes in and gives us charter schools, and somehow the fullas in the cheap seats are still whining about how much more liberal Rodney Hide was, and can we go back to the good old days of him talking a good game, but pissing around in real life please?!

    Stephen Whittington can just piss off now.

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  28. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Well written BlairM.

    Banksy knows his shit, its that simple

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  29. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Funny how Banks is the most successful ACT MP ever – supposedly – yet is also the most electorally unsuccessful.

    I want to hear about the deficit and tax rates; the ACT membership (all 11 of them) have been quite fanatical lately about these two issues and we shall see how Banks votes on the Budget next year.

    Oh! what is that you say? a confidence and supply agreement means you can throw lifelong principles out the window in return for Sir Humphrey saying “yes Minister”? (cannot think who that reminds me of)

    I am expecting to hear from all the ACT loons saying how they will be resigning from the party if Banks votes for a deficit and there are no tax cuts. That is what they campaigned on (oh yes you buggers did!) and I expect them to follow through and not wimp out.

    Do you ACT people have integrity?
    Are you ACT people honest?

    so you will all be resigning later tonight then?

    I think the answers to my questions are “no, no and no”. What a surprise!

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  30. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Politics just isn’t like that JamesS. It is the art of the do-able. All parties rant and rave to get their supporters to vote for them and then under our MMP rules all bets are off and compromise is the name of the game.

    Shit happens. Get used to it.

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  31. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    JamesS

    Proving with your Morrinsville chick rant the other day you are the new Scott Chris.

    How is he the most electorally unsuccessful? he stood, he got elected. Admittedly my maths is poor but Banksy appears to going along at 100%

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  32. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    I assume, as James S said, that he did it because he could make Banks responsible for the “mean” policies that Key was either too “chicken” (or too prudent and pragmatic) to introduce himself.

    tristan it’s a regrettable fact isn’t it that even such timid agreements as the clause freezing spending, at a time like this in the global economy, is still seen by many many people in this small-minded ignorant leftist country as being “extreme.”

    People are so very ignorant many of them think the govt’s numbers don’t operate the same as their households and even when their households need to exercise prudence the govt doesn’t have to cause “they have heaps of money.”

    It’s totally mental isn’t it tristan, that consequently ignorant stupid people like this think what Banks is doing is needlessly denying the poor and downtrodden probably for his own personal enjoyment, when all he’s doing is what you and every other prudent person is doing with our own finances right now.

    If only the politicians who had constituents who actually thought like that would educate them in that simple logic which you and I already know, the country would be in a much better place. But no, they don’t. Instead those politicians seem even to encourage it for their own vested interest of whipping up hatred and envy.

    Isn’t that traitorous of them, at this time. Aren’t they all just absolute utter scum, tristan.

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

    The new position on the ETS is a huge improvement and has the door open now to dump the whole charade.
    It looks as though Nick is no longer Minister for Climate Change and that Tim Groser has his tickets to Durban

    There is a lot in there to win back the Rural vote and with three years to do it Act could well recover. After all, everyone had written off Winston First.

    Liberal is a hopeless name for an NZ party because of the confusion between the American Liberals (who are liberal with other people’s money) and the Classic LIberals with their roots in Adam Smith and Locke.

    If Don Brash could bring National back from the grave I am sure Act can recover too. And by the way you cannot build a new party overnight. And the Libz, Objectivists and Conservatives would tear any attempted new party of the right with infighting and heresy trials.
    Act is diverse enough to build a broad and tolerant church. The conservatives sold out to the No Asset Sales nonsense in a desperate attempt to win votes. That is a far more dangerous split that any difference of opinion about weed.

    They have already started.

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  34. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Correct me if I am wrong, but Banks has 1 seat in Parliament; at previous elections ACT won more seats than 1. My maths is spot on, but in case you are innumerate – 7 MPs (1996/99) 8 MPs (2002) 2 MPs (2005) 5 MPs (2005) – is greater than 1.

    If anyone is still confused 1 vis-a-vis 7 (or 8,2,5) I am sure you can find a kindergarten teacher to explain it to you.

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  35. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    I am incredibly relieved that John Key is not a negitiator in my business. What is he thinking? Two new ministries, for the sake of inflating the ego of New Zealand’s most rejected politician!!!!!

    But there is quite an irony here.

    The title “Minister of Regulatory Reform” presumes that there is a need to pull back on regulation. It assumes that that regulation, per se, hurts business – which is the simplistic claptrap that ACT-type people peddle without ever really delving down into the detail.

    The reality is that regulation protects the weak or less informed against the strong or dominant. The Food Regulations stop cafes from poisoning customers by cutting corners on hygiene. Building regulations stop – or ought to stop – builders from cutting corners and building sub-standard homes. Mining regulations stop – or ought to stop – disasters like Pike River from ever happening. Telecommunications and electricity regulations stop dominant phone and power companies closing out the market and pushing up consumer prices, as happened before we got smart enough to implement these.

    Which is why Banks may come to realise he is in a bind. Such regulations, commonly, protect small businesses with little market power, against the excesses of the big businesses with market dominance from whom they buy essential services.

    And as well as being Minister of Regulatory Reform (whatever that means), Banks is Minister of Small Business. Try reconciling that!

    Key is either naive, or has masterfully imprisoned Banks in between two opposing poles. The outcome might be fun to watch.

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  36. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Never mind the quantity of the ACT MP’s JamesS.

    Feel the width!! :)

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  37. parkold () says:

    DPF heard that little pest Labours twelvth man Soaper,trying to pull the rug out from under you and John Banks logic and endeavours.I think Soaper spent too many years on the Ninth floor with Clark and her coven.Every time i hear him on Newstalk Zb he seems to edit things and put in stumbling blocks where there is none.He sounds like he cant stand the lack of interest in him and like some of the other media,and most of them, as we saw in the election lead up To think he gets paid for such claptrap.Seems he is a good match for Garner,Gower, Campbell and grandpa Armstrong,they all seem so far up themselves they are rattling their tonsils.

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  38. Anthony (768 comments) says:

    People don’t understand what liberal means and most people think of themselves as liberals nowadays anyway so I don’t think Act should rebrand itself The Liberal Party. Maybe The Freedom Party or Action. Whatever the brand, the lefties will tell lies about the policy intent.

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  39. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    JamesS

    John Banks was only a candidate for ACT not the party leader, he did his job, he got elected, whereas Don didn’t do his job -vis a fucking vis

    Orewa1

    I think they were portfolios not ministries, a difference of about 5000 beauracrats

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  40. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    JamesS – you ignore the very important point that Banks was not (and still is not) the Leader of ACT. He was just a candidate who happened to win the seat he was standing in.

    The actual Leader – Don Brash – failed miserably. His failure was not Banks’ failure. And as has been pointed out, three strikes law aside, Banks has so far managed to do more with his one seat than ACT has managed in the previous fifteen years in parliament.

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  41. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Antony – the ACT people are both shallow and illiterate. They could not spell ‘freedom’ so wrote down ‘liberal’ instead; they did this during a break between dodging unpaid creditors and court bailiffs and telling NZ what business geniuses they are ha ha

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  42. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    JamesS,

    Shhh. Quiet. Calm Down. Stop trying so hard. Stop showing off. Grow up.

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  43. Lee C (2,720 comments) says:

    Yes it seems a lot of influence in one pair of hands for one man to rise to such meteoric heights so rapidly beggers belief… At least his name isn’t Andrew Little, I suppose.

    And at least Banksy’s rise wasn’t achieved by a tidy little ‘MMP-you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch yours’ behind the scenes political horse-trade.

    Meanwhile, Thank God all those criticising Winston P with Labour last time as ‘croniyism’ and MMP ‘Tail wagging the dog’ skullduggery stayed at home today.

    As you may have guessed I’m being fatuous of course.

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  44. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    The reality is that regulation protects the weak or less informed against the strong or dominant. The Food Regulations stop cafes from poisoning customers by cutting corners on hygiene. Building regulations stop – or ought to stop – builders from cutting corners and building sub-standard homes. Mining regulations stop – or ought to stop – disasters like Pike River from ever happening. Telecommunications and electricity regulations stop dominant phone and power companies closing out the market and pushing up consumer prices, as happened before we got smart enough to implement these.

    Which is why Banks may come to realise he is in a bind. Such regulations, commonly, protect small businesses with little market power, against the excesses of the big businesses with market dominance from whom they buy essential services.

    Bollocks!

    None of your precious regulations do any of those things. What does those things is an awareness from smart businesses that they do not want to get sued or lose their reputation, less they stop making money and lose their shirts.

    There is something to be said for fences at the top of the cliff that prevent businesses defrauding people, and we will always need those. But the reality is that regulations impose costs on businesses – the same costs across the board – and the businesses that can weather them are always the big ones, never the small ones. Regulations are a much bigger drain on smaller businesses than bigger ones, and actually create cartel situations. That’s the reality of how things work.

    It’s not regulations that make you run your business well – it’s a desire to make a profit. If a regulation is necessary, you should be following it voluntarily to increase that profit, and if it is not, it is simply a drag on your business. So let’s see how many we can get rid of.

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  45. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Lee C…..I’m being fatuous of course

    As Watson was often to say ” no shit Sherlock”

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  46. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    ‘As you may have guessed I’m being fatuous of course.’

    Carefully tosses wizened little brown cat in direction of flock of pigeons! :)

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  47. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    Actually BlairM it is not bollocks. Anybody with half a brain realises how regulations protect people from harm.

    Or let me put it this way – if there were no regulations would it gobsmack and astound you if a cafe poisoned customers? or a house fell down killing those inside? or the phone bill doubling?

    (probably it would astound you – but no one who did not live in the ACT fairyland)

    No doubt your view would be to just sue them, but many people happen to think that 49 people in hospital (where they have been privatised so before you even get treated you are handed a bill) with selmonela poisoning is not good enough; trite solutions like “so sue them” is pathetic – and thank god for John Key to put a stop to this anarchist crap in government.

    I love talking to ACT people every so often – to remind me why I always vote National!

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  48. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Well JamesS Wat did try and tell you but no………………

    I am presuming that you are about to get a new arsehole torn, the alleged half brained one will be replying shortly, stupid stupid lad

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  49. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    I am not stupid, nor am I afraid of some loud mouthed anarchist dickhead. (Nor am I wrong)

    The problem with the ACT people is they KNOW they are wrong but prefer denial and spouting unprovable (because it will never be government policy) rubbish to keep some sort of delusional moral highground.

    They know they are wrong; I know they are wrong. End of.

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  50. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Fuck I voted ACT once. I hope I never catch the dreadful Selmonela poisoning. :)

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  51. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Dick: Does your nick have the same colloquial meaning that it did when old farts like Chuck and me were at school? You know, like before the war and stuff?

    Whoever made the comment about the impracticality of using the name “Liberal Party” is spot on ; in fact ACT tried that as a tagline: “ACT -the liberal party.” All it did was cause confusion…even among jokers like me who have degrees in political science….

    I dont hold with all this “rebranding” shit… furthermore it’s been tried before in the political arena, and failed….didnt Anderton’s party start off as “New Labour”, then morph into something else, then “Jim Anderton’s Progressive Party” (the ultimate hubris) to finally end its days as plain old “Progressive” ??

    But if ACT were to rebrand, how about “Progressive Liberal Conservatives” ? Confuse the hell out of the analysts and the silly little lads from the Socialist Workers (who never did a days work in their young lives) who used to live to come along and heckle at Backbenches….and then run away just before the end in case the Big Bad Wolf came and scared them….

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  52. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    Or let me put it this way – if there were no regulations would it gobsmack and astound you if a cafe poisoned customers? or a house fell down killing those inside? or the phone bill doubling?

    It happens anyway, regulations or no regulations. Bad things happen. That’s called life.

    I would suggest to you that if a business put 49 people in hospital with salmonella poisoning, they would no longer be in business, and would possibly be charged with criminal negligence. That seems a fine enough deterrent for anyone being sloppy with hygiene.

    This is an interesting topic actually, because I worked for Food Hygiene consultants for two years. I know first-hand the costs imposed on businesses by those regulations and inspections, along with the compulsory courses required – for which we charged handsome fees. Of course any business selling food should be hygienic, and learn to be hygienic, but mainly because it is smart business practice. I saw nothing in my time there which suggested that government needed to be involved in telling people how to cook food.

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  53. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    You will not Johnboy – because John Key and National are in charge and prevent that sort of thing. Phew!

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  54. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Thank God health is in the safe hands of Tony Ryall.

    “No Selmonela in our time!!” :)

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  55. Nostalgia-NZ (5,318 comments) says:

    Well Banksie has achieved what JK has allowed him to achieve, a few fish-hooks as well. Need we well remember his almost premature ejaculation when he said so reverently and passionately ‘Mr Prime Minister.’ How particularly grovelling.
    I can hardly think anything other than that this is Banksie’s day – as he is shifted off to lie in bed for 3 years, totally irrelevant unless John needs him, perhaps to decorate or annoit as a powerful coalition partner representing 1.
    Hold on, maybe it was a crushing blow for Act afterall, dreams are free – but there seems to be a silence from Party HQ.

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  56. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    JamesS,

    Anybody with half a brain realises how regulations protect people from harm.

    And anyone with a whole brain realises that a lot of regulation simply protects incumbents from competition, to the detriment of consumers.

    That’s the point which ACT types grasp and which you obviously don’t.

    http://washingtonexaminer.com/op-eds/2009/09/timothy-p-carney-mattel-exempted-toy-safety-law-it-helped-write

    Big businesses love regulation. They’re geared-up for it and it makes it prohibitive for startups to enter the market and compete their profits down for the benefit of consumers.

    You might want to think about that before you congratulate yourself some more on how clever you are.

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  57. orewa1 (410 comments) says:

    “Or let me put it this way – if there were no regulations would it gobsmack and astound you if a cafe poisoned customers? or a house fell down killing those inside? or the phone bill doubling?”

    Don’t I remember the phone bill halving after we got proper regulation?

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  58. JamesS (352 comments) says:

    No Wat dabney – no I do not grasp the point.

    No regulations would mean innocent people got poisoned by restaurants and cafes; according to ACT logic “retauranteurs have the FREEDOM to poison customers to earn a quick profit”, customers “have the RIGHT to die at A and E because they have no money to pay the bill upfront in our newly privatised hospitals”

    The National party and John Key will not let this happen because they know it is wrong and stupid.

    You ACT people are all in denial as to why no one voted for you if what you say is such a good idea.

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  59. YesWeDid (1,056 comments) says:

    ‘A spending limit law to be introduced within 24 months so that expenditure (excluding benefits, disasters, interest) can not increase by more than the annual rate of population growth and inflation. This is a huge win.’

    A huge win? Really? First it is population growth MULTIPLIED by inflation so as pointed out above with 4% inflation and 3% population growth that is 12% allowable increase in government expenditure (per year) and if introduced in the next 24 months means National will only have to meet the requirements of the bill for the last of the next 3 budgets before we have another election.

    If Labour & the Greens win the next election they would toss this bill out (with the 3 strikes law) before anyone noticed.

    Yes indeed, a huge win.

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  60. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Yes Wat. Filling in the application and passing the dangerous goods course for a chemical we have handled safely for 35 years does seem a bit ridiculous. Still we have our bit of paper now.

    Suppose I should go for the forklift licence next.

    Silly old me I thought a pilots license would be good enough to drive a forklift with.

    Apparently not. Not sure if I’m under or over qualified! :)

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  61. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    No regulations would mean innocent people got poisoned by restaurants and cafes…

    But they’d only be stupid innocent people James so what’s the problem? If they can’t recognise a restaurant that doesn’t serve poison, they deserve to die, according to Darwin.

    It’s simple science I’m afraid. Getting all emotional about it doesn’t really help.

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  62. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    JamesS,

    Can you please point us to where ACT advocates no regulations, such that “innocent people got poisoned by restaurants and cafes”?

    No, you can’t. Because it’s something you invented from whole cloth.

    As I mentioned before, please grow up.

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  63. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    But only if they are poor or members of the Howard League for prison reform reid! :)

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  64. Put it away (2,872 comments) says:

    Thanks for simply making up non-existent ACT policies James, that amounts to an admission you can’t find fault with their actual policies. Therefore I assume you be signing up for ACT tonight? Or

    Do you not have integrity?
    Are you not honest?

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  65. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    But only if they are poor or members of the Howard League for prison reform reid!

    Yes I kind of wish I hadn’t edited those bits out Johnboy.

    PIA and wat, you mean ACT doesn’t really have a secret plan to poison the poor through lack of restaurant regulation?

    Fuck it.

    I’m resigning then. Where’s that Conservative Party’s manifesto?

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  66. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Johnboy: Aint that just the truth? What’s worse is that’s all the tickets and licences are: bits of paper so the Health and Safety Man can satisfy the company lawyers that “all practicable steps” have been taken to protect dickheads from themselves…and it’s not just here…I have a mate who works in the mines in WA…he says they have to do a week long induction (no matter where they have worked before) on all the safe operating practices to be observed…but when they get out in the field anyone who points out that what they have all signed up to back in Perth is not actually happening ends up on the next plane back as a “shit stirrer” ( of course the recorded reason is something else) …unless someone takes them aside and points out that back in Perth they learned “newspeak”, out in the mine it’s still English….

    God knows how any of us who worked on building sites or rigs or in mines in the 70’s or earlier ever got to be 50….

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  67. petronorway (5 comments) says:

    Looks like National want to take us down the road of fiscal austerity. That is working out really well for the UK and Europe!

    Once again government fiscal surpluses = private sector deficits. They will simply chase their tail as unemployment increases which shifts private sector costs onto the government balance sheet via the welfare channel. Oh and dont look for the external (trade) channel to provide any relief either as New Zealand runs persistent current account deficits.

    Looks like a labor/greens government in 2014….

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  68. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    Just go to reason.com and search for ‘occupational licensing’ to see what a fraud it is.

    A couple of my favourites:

    The most vocal of those seeking to maintain their protected status are interior designers…One designer claimed that allowing just anyone to practice interior design would contribute to 88,000 deaths annually because of poor fabric selection…Of course, no evidence was offered to support any of those assertions, which is hardly surprising since there isn’t any.

    http://reason.com/blog/2011/04/06/protecting-america-from-the-di

    The small band of Free Staters in New Hampshire has been trying both conventional and more novel strategies to curtail it government’s role…They’ve even filed each other’s nails on a public sidewalk, defying state requirements that manicurists be licensed, their cuticles defying the heavy hand of government.

    http://reason.com/blog/2009/07/27/the-free-state-project-in-the

    But JamesS insists we have these regulations, or people will die.

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  69. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    petro,

    Looks like National want to take us down the road of fiscal austerity. That is working out really well for the UK and Europe! Once again government fiscal surpluses = private sector deficits.

    You’re suggesting that UK and other European governments, who got into this disastrous situation by decades of spending too much, borrowing too much and promising too much, can get out of it not by cutting their profligacy but by continuing on the same track?

    Amazing.

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  70. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    True David. Still in view of recent happenings at Pike River and surprise, surprise, those paragons of safe mining, our well run, government owned, Solid Energy you do need some rules.

    The arse seemed to fall out of things when the paper shufflers took over from the practical people.

    Never worked out why anyone with a brain goes down a hole in the ground specially if he knows it’s dodgy.

    I like to see Gods good sky above me at all times. :)

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  71. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    A huge win? Really? First it is population growth MULTIPLIED by inflation so as pointed out above with 4% inflation and 3% population growth that is 12% allowable increase in government expenditure (per year) and if introduced in the next 24 months means National will only have to meet the requirements of the bill for the last of the next 3 budgets before we have another election.

    It’s a cap of sorts, which is better than no cap at all. Population growth also implies increased tax revenue, so it pays for itself in theory.

    If Labour & the Greens win the next election they would toss this bill out (with the 3 strikes law) before anyone noticed.

    Oh, well let’s just give up and go home then!

    No, the reality is that new governments do very little repealing of what past governments have done. The only thing the last Labour government changed of Nationals was removing competition for ACC and tweaking the employment laws a little. Even with the latter, they didn’t change it back the whole hog.

    I guarantee you a future Labour government would not toss either bill out, especially since we are probably not going to have one for at least six years.

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  72. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    Looks like National want to take us down the road of fiscal austerity. That is working out really well for the UK and Europe!

    Crikey petro don’t you know anything?

    Europe’s issues aren’t ours. Our issues are we have a gutless PM who doesn’t want to scare the horses for he thinks slow-ahead is the best approach and there are arguments for that.

    The issue is it’s not the only fucking argument but the media is too shallow, ignorant and foolish to recognise that so it shuts up about the whole thing and instead 24/7/365 they munt on never about the international consequences of the unfolding situation and the potential best strategies arising therefrom, but rather only about how the rich and the poor are the only thing which matters and however can we re-distribute the income better in a way which alleviates the desperate poverty and damn whatever the fuck is happening elsewhere.

    The fact is the only desperate poverty is in the paucity of their own minds in failing to understand were they to educate the public in elementary supply demand economics they would quickly get the picture after only a very few furrowed brows at all this new and different apparent madness after years of celeb pap.

    Fact is petro, Key has bought this on himself by not screeching on the tax cut breaks immediately he took the reigns. He could have turned “a decade of deficits” into an excuse to back out of most election promises which have [predicably] bedevilled him since and to change the public’s thinking around. He didn’t. He bad. He didn’t do it, mind you. Your beloved Hulun did this, to us.

    Don’t forget that petro. Her decade of deficits is the legacy of the failed policies of the noughties.

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  73. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Wat dabney: That’s a satirical site, surely??

    John Boscawen fought the good fight against the eye surgeons during the last parliament…in a nutshell, they protect their little band of brothers from overseas trained competition so that an operation which costs the Hollows foundation $50 to perform (using perfectly safe if basic techniques) costs $1500 or more here…apparently although you may be perfectly competent to perform cataract surgery in dozens of Asian countries – or for the Hollows foundation – you cant do it here unless the cabal admits you to their club…all done on the grounds of safety, and in the patients’ best interests of course….

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  74. petronorway (5 comments) says:

    UK is never limited in its ability to spend courtesy of its monetary sovereignty and has had much higher debt levels in the past i.e. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/04/british-debt-history/ . The conservative party is pushing a ideological policy which will rightly see them thrown out of office for a very long time…

    Europe is not sovereign in its own currency since adopting the Euro which is causing all the issues over there. You think debt causes defaults, tell the Japanese, they have the highest government debt per capita and the worlds lowest interest rates.

    Currency issuing nations are a lot difference to currency users..

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  75. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Jesus $1500 is fuck all. Its $15,000 for a tit job. For those of you who are slick at arithmetic that’s $7500 a tit.

    Bloody ridiculous.

    Almost as expensive as hiring a peer of the realm to get you off your parking ticket! :)

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  76. Kimble (3,955 comments) says:

    First it is population growth MULTIPLIED by inflation

    I read this to mean that the rate of growth in spending would be 1.03 * 1.04, or 1.0712, which is a 7.12 percent increase per annum.

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  77. Johnboy (17,015 comments) says:

    Where is Lord Birkenhead by the way? :)

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  78. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    UK is never limited in its ability to spend courtesy of its monetary sovereignty

    Well apparently Cameron doesn’t seem to know that, what with all those spending cuts and everything.

    The pound has currency but its not the reserve that the US is the only one really who has monetary sovereignty and that’s only by mutual consent which is being eroded as we speak.

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  79. Nostalgia-NZ (5,318 comments) says:

    I’m sure Banksie already knows the anything he has achieved with his ‘impressive’ agreement with the Nats, will be treated at the next election in the same way as the 3 strikes – Nats will claim it as their own, if it so suits them.
    Such, I could say, is the life that can become the once seductive mistress.

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  80. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    Blair, you make a lot of sense particularly on this thread but could you please tell us all who is the leader of ACT as Don Brash has resigned if it is not Banksie.

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  81. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    petro,

    UK is never limited in its ability to spend courtesy of its monetary sovereignty

    You mean they can simply print more money, which is to default in all but name. And you think that such a policy – effectively swindling creditors – is acceptable and proper? And do you think it is without consequence? Would you lend your own money to an organisation which paid you back in a vastly devalued currency?

    And yes, like the US, British debt has been much higher in the past as a % of GDP. But that was at a time when states had very large discretionary and very small mandatory spending. For example, when the country had been paying for a war, they could then dramatically slash spending back to what it had been before, leaving a large surplus for paying off the debt.
    In Krugman’s charts, for example, the peaks of UK borrowing are the spending incurred by the Napoleonic wars, the Great War and WWII.

    But that it not the case now. The UK and US budgets are overwhelmingly mandatory spending (social programs), with trivial discretionary spending. There is absolutely no scope for them to pay off large debt as in the past.

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  82. bhudson (4,741 comments) says:

    @YesWeDid,

    A huge win? Really? First it is population growth MULTIPLIED by inflation so as pointed out above with 4% inflation and 3% population growth that is 12% allowable increase in government expenditure (per year)..

    Actually, if it is population gowth multiplied by inflation, then it is (based on the numbers Nicholas O’Kane used) 4% (0.04) multiplied by 3% (0.03) is 0.0012 (or 0.12%) – Not the 12% claimed

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  83. BlairM (2,340 comments) says:

    Blair, you make a lot of sense particularly on this thread but could you please tell us all who is the leader of ACT as Don Brash has resigned if it is not Banksie.

    My understanding is that the Board have not appointed a new leader yet, so therefore John Boscawen, as Deputy, remains the acting ACT Leader. He was certainly part of the C&S negotiations.

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  84. gump (1,676 comments) says:

    JamesS – I have some questions for you.

    Does your campaign against government regulations extend to abolishing the need to stop at red traffic lights?

    Has the government infringed our rights by making us drive on the left-hand side of the road?

    Curious minds want to know…

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  85. YesWeDid (1,056 comments) says:

    ‘I read this to mean that the rate of growth in spending would be 1.03 * 1.04, or 1.0712, which is a 7.12 percent increase per annum.’

    Yes you might be right but it is not clear from the document, the wording is ‘Under this limit expenditure will grow no faster than the annual increase in the rate of population growth multiplied by the rate of inflation’.

    I would have thought the wording should say ‘rate of inflation and adjusted for the population growth rate’

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  86. wat dabney (3,840 comments) says:

    Picking the first chart that comes to hand from a google search:

    “Mandatory spending has increased five times faster that discretionary spending”

    http://www.ohiomm.com/blogs/da_kings_men/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/heritage-discretionaryspending.jpg

    Almost by definition, mandatory spending – all those political promises, cannot be cut.

    That is why and equivelant debt % now is vastly more serious than after WWII, for example.

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  87. ShaunHay (10 comments) says:

    Nicholas O’Kane – Incorrect
    YesWeDid – Incorrect
    Kimble – Correct
    bhudson – Incorrect

    The cap is calcluated as 1.03 x 1.04 – 1 = 7.12%

    However lets be honest, 4% population growth and 3% inflation are both at the high end.

    Adding inflation means expenditure stays the same in real terms, so in real teams things will only grow as fast as the population. Now if we get some real growth in productivity per person, this would mean government as a proportion of the economy would shrink… so now all we need to do is increase per-person productivity (in real terms).

    One question I have is on the term “expenditure”: Is this opex (including depreciation) or cash expenditure (incl. capex)?

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  88. swan (665 comments) says:

    So on the RMA reform. Does this mean that Regional councils can no longer have regional plans? Only district plans? How is that going to work? Eg on water regulation or regional land use? Will regional councils become defunct? This sounds like big big news the way DPF has described it.

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  89. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    That’s the trouble with JamesS and petro and all the other trolls. They’re trolls.

    They have successfully distracted us from our rightful task, which is discussing precisely how Banks could knife Smiley metaphorically of course and triumphantly assume the gracious mantle of Caesar.

    Through their dastardly connivance we – me, you, all of us – have become reduced to discussing peripheral side issues, thereby draining our bodily fluids as effectively as aliens do to cattle on the veld.

    This has to stop.

    Won’t someone think of the children?

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  90. Chuck Bird (4,891 comments) says:

    Thanks Blair, you may be right. I am not sure if anyone knows for sure.

    All is I know is the that the party will not last long if is tolerates high profile members like board member or one with high list ranking to behave like Chris Carter it will not last long.

    Master Whittington has had a lot to say. If does not matter if Banksie is the Leader of the party or Parliamentary Leader Whittington was happy to try and ride in on his coattails. I would like him to man up and comment on this blog.

    I have yet to see an ACT member who is prepared to use his or her name to defend his actions.

    It is said that Roger pushed for Whittington to get his high rating. I do not know if it is true I think he should explain.

    Has anyone seen someone who missed out like him almost immediately turn on an elected MP from his own party who days before he supported?

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  91. expat (4,050 comments) says:

    “most effective ACT MP ever” – nice faint praise DPF.

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  92. kunst5 (51 comments) says:

    I’m wonder, when National supporters find out that John Key’s megalomaniac, irresponsible ambitions for growth are costing us taxpayers billions. Money isn’t directed into R&D, diversity and sustainable manufacturing – real NZproduction, decent NZemployment for the wider NZpopulation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQqDS9wGsxQ
    But in stead we will see more cows, asset sales, drilling and mining. As the near past already demonstrate, this kind of economic operations are not only a clear sign of financial desperation, becoming far to confused for small, remote New Zealand, but also cause a high risk to lose life’s, health and our environment. A catastrophic event could be devastating for the entire nation.

    Considering the worsening worldwide situation and Key’s ambitions, we wait and see, smile and wave for now, but I think our PM doesn’t have the substance to survive another 3 years.

    I can already hear him saying: “I don’t accept that proposition, because the worldwide circumstances changed – HA !”

    As far as the Labour party – I can only hope Shearer will lead the party in a different direction.

    The nation does need a culture change – urgently, before it is too late and we are going to be bankrupted like so many other nations – living beyond their means.

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  93. swan (665 comments) says:

    kunst5, are you spam? I ask because your website is a commercial one, and because of your random comment.

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  94. Manolo (14,164 comments) says:

    As far as the Labour party – I can only hope Shearer will lead the party in a different direction.

    The Labour Party squandered nine years of economic boom and tried the failed policies of wealth redistribution, welfarism, and political correctness that did no good to New Zealand.

    What different direction are you taking about? Shearer is Clark’s disciple, unable to change course.

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  95. toad (3,674 comments) says:

    Sorry it has been so long before I commented on the “John Banks deal”.

    Have just had a very extended time in the toilet, vomiting about the consequences – especially ACC privatisation and corporate welfare provisions.

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  96. V (762 comments) says:

    @toad

    Not wasting water when you should be fertilising plants?

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  97. kunst5 (51 comments) says:

    Swan – like so many I’m concerned about New Zealand and like so many parliamentarians, who say 100 times economic growth – I say 100 times no – simple. We do need urgently revolutionary reforms.

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  98. Manolo (14,164 comments) says:

    ..especially ACC privatisation..

    About time! Bring it on.

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  99. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    Have just had a very extended time in the toilet, vomiting about the consequences – especially ACC privatisation and corporate welfare provisions.

    Excellent toad.

    Did you like the bit about the walnut paneling in the boardroom being paid for by law, out of union fees? I did. I thought that was really clever.

    Well done John.

    Gosh toad.

    He’s simply super, isn’t he?

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  100. dad4justice (6,594 comments) says:

    “Have just had a very extended time in the toilet”

    Did you forget to flush toady, as the place smells like a greenbrotherhood gathering!?

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  101. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Never mind Toad.

    If you guys would drop your silly social justice crap and concentrate on clean rivers and lakes then you could also be inside the tent getting some real policy gains.

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  102. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    David Garrett said:

    Johnboy: Aint that just the truth? What’s worse is that’s all the tickets and licences are: bits of paper so the Health and Safety Man can satisfy the company lawyers that “all practicable steps” have been taken to protect dickheads from themselves…and it’s not just here…I have a mate who works in the mines in WA…he says they have to do a week long induction (no matter where they have worked before) on all the safe operating practices to be observed…but when they get out in the field anyone who points out that what they have all signed up to back in Perth is not actually happening ends up on the next plane back as a “shit stirrer” ( of course the recorded reason is something else) …unless someone takes them aside and points out that back in Perth they learned “newspeak”, out in the mine it’s still English….

    God knows how any of us who worked on building sites or rigs or in mines in the 70′s or earlier ever got to be 50….

    Actually, David, it has nothing to do with safety or satisfying the company lawyers, but for the most part it is simply a manner of job creation for the union heavies and their lackey’s. Especially in ‘straya.

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  103. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    BB: they wnat about as much “social justice” as Joseph Stalin did…in fact I think Delahunty might be his reincarnation! With a faux maori accent….

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  104. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    David

    How the hell did you deal with a moron like Delahunty?

    Is she as bat shit crazy as she seems?

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  105. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    Has it really been eight months?

    Time does fly when you are pest free and having fun.

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  106. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Matty: Sadly you are probably right….I went off unions in a big way over a safety issue…cutting a long story short, as a union delegate 25 years ago I raised a serious safety issue and said I thought we should stop work till it was fixed…the “organizer” said that stopping work wasnt in the union’s interest at the time….cue my resignation as union delegate….

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  107. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    Walter Kunst,

    Can I suggest you go back to Switzerland, as none of us want the “revolutionary reforms” you’re advocating; being clean, green jobs and all that other wishy washy sustainable shit. If Switzerland doesn’t suit, then Spain has been having fantastic success with their sustainable “programs” – you can probably assist them further into the mire.

    Bernard Hickey’s leftist circle jerk is missing you…..

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  108. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    BB: Yep…Delahunty is batshit crazy….she gave me a big lecture once about using the word “luvvies” in a speech…told me how homophobic I was….I couldnt convince her it was a colloquialism for actors…of whatever sexuality…her moustache rivals mine after I have given it a trim!!

    Better stop…DPF will send me to the naughty corner for commenting on appearances….

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  109. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    Yeah, David G, I fucking despise the horrible cunts that are unionists. If they behaved in a way that actually progressed both parties interests, and looked for productivity gains with higher workforce training, as really should be the role of a union, then I would say they have a place. However that is not in any way their goal.

    I’ve got a bunch of guys working on a project in Oz at the moment and the money I’m currently charging them out at is obscene, and being totally driven by unions, due to their continual increased pay demands and the fact they drive Australia’s immigration policies.

    Ultimately i’m not complaining, as I’m doing very well out of it. However, it is very bad for the Australian economy on a macro level, when I have unskilled guys earning >AUD1200/day for less than 8 hours onshore! Send them offshore and rates are well in excess of AUD2000/day. It is sending inflation through the roof and the poor people are really struggling and in a lot worse position than in NZ – you’ll never hear about any of this from our left leaning media, as it doesn’t fit their whole sensationalist agenda of promoting the “wage gap”.

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  110. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Matty: got any positions for 50 year old former roughnecks?? AUD 2000 is a lot more than I am earning right now….

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  111. big bruv (14,217 comments) says:

    David

    Ever thought about a ‘tell all’ book about life as an MP?

    I reckon it might be a best seller.

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  112. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Matty: Unions had their place once… I have never forgotten a good old pommie union official in Taranaki in 1975…..we were working on the Maui gas line…McConnell Dowell had bought all these second hand 44 gallon drums on the condition that they were cleaned properly before re-use….McD saved money and didnt bother….guys were litterally passing out as chemical residues in the drums were tipped onto the ground and reacted together to form toxic fumes of God knows what….Johnie Coloquhoun shut the job down in a flash McD tried to sack both him and me as “stirrers”…didnt work…

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  113. reid (16,681 comments) says:

    If they behaved in a way that actually progressed both parties interests…

    But they can’t, for they fight for their “victims” mattyroo. That’s the whole leftist oxidation pond.

    They couldn’t possibly talk about any other interests for the only people who really really care about humanity in general and the human condition of you as the victim in particular, is them, personally.

    So no-one else matters at all. Except them.

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  114. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    BB: I dont think I was there long enough… and who would want to hear from a “disgraced ACT MP who used a dead baby to get a false passport…” ?

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  115. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    Agreed reid, in the eyes of a leftie, everyone who earns a wage, or is unemployed, whether they’re unemployable doesn’t come into it, is a victim of the rich prick employers and the “corporate elite”.

    It always blows my mind that the left/unions see the answer to everything as more regulation and control – yet they’re too thick to see that this is exactly what their arch-enemy, big business, wants. Big business thrives on regulation, as they’re the only ones large enough to compete in a heavily regulated society, the little guy is seriously screwed by the red tape and simply cannot afford to exist.

    If the left were truly champions of the “little guy” then they should be the ones advocating smaller government and regulation. The fact they don’t, shows them up for what they really are – filthy commies.

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  116. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    The idea of having private competition for ACC seems fine to me as long as there is still a public option which is run non-profit. I worked as an auditor for a Workers’ Compensation insurance company in the US and that company did everything it could to keep from paying out on legitimate claims. All that did was create a giant litigation industry with blood-sucking lawyers everywhere because suing was the only way to get a claim paid half the time. Not only that it eventually came out our company had been bribing insurance agents with money and trips and several members of the board went to jail over it. Since then I’ve never trusted private insurance companies. If they can provide the same service for less money that’s great but I want a public insurer to keep them honest.

    The bigger issue I have with the agreement is the charter schools idea. Charter schools simply don’t make sense in the NZ education system. They were born in the US to counter the problem of a centralised public system with zero competition between schools and iron-clad school zones. Our schools are already essentially charters because they are run by parent-controlled boadrs of trustees and allowed to have a special character and very different cultures and methods. They can choose between NCEA and another system, they can be single-sex, religious etc. Charters in the US were the way to get that, but we’ve already got it.

    Beyond that charters were created in the US because their system tests so terribly. NZ actually has one of the best education systems in the world as it is. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look for ways to improve it and to help those the system is failing. I’m just confused as to why we would adopt methods used by countries ranked far, far below us instead of those few ranked above us.

    Now it is true that some charters in the US have outstanding results compared to the local public schools (however this is not universal, about half of charters fail or do no better than the local public). The problem with saying, “Aha, charters are the answer!” is that it is a false comparison. Charters are allowed to choose their pupils. Parents have to be interested enough in their kids’ education to enrol them at a charter and the kid has to be motivated enough to agree to often tougher behaviour and acheivement standards. Charters in the US are also allowed to remove problem kids more easily and to more easily reject special needs students.

    So what you have are kids with motivation and involved parents who can be tossed out easily if they screw up. That’s stacking the deck in your favour in a serious way. You have essentially already chosen the kids most likely to succeed in any school system. Parental involvement is absolutely huge, it can make or break a child’s academic progress. The local public school meanwhile is much more likely to have kids whose parents don’t value education and when the kids slack off or misbehave they are not allowed to expell them so their test results naturally come out way lower, not because their teachers are worse or their funding less but because they have been dealt the toughest students to teach. A recent study in the US found parental involvement but the biggest factor in children’s educational outcomes, way beyond class size, school choice etc.

    So my argument would be, instead of charter schools what we need is a little more parental accountability and a lot more value for the importance of education.

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  117. mattyroo (1,030 comments) says:

    Sorry David, I’m not in the drilling game, I’ve still got all my fingers! More in the engineering and construction of the production side of things.

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  118. slijmbal (1,236 comments) says:

    Have to laugh at the mathematical illiteracy being shown – it is absolutely self evident that the figures of rate of increase are not the percentages but the actual rates e.g 1.03 is a rate- bring on National Standards….. retroactively

    The point about regulations is that not that regulations are a bad thing but it is about regulating what matters. No-one disputes that there are obvious matters that need to be regulated but that point was passed quite some time ago. The majority of new regulations regulate matters which are already illegal or regulate in a ludicrous manner that is at an extreme. As an ex small business owner (couple of mill turnover a year) I can categorically state that there was absolutely no way to keep up with the huge number of regulations and run a successful business. Just finding out what might apply and reading the b*****s was a major task in its own right. The only way to cope was to focus on the issues that matter and use common sense and hope one did not break some obscure rule targeted at the employment of disguised leprechauns over the summer solstice or some such.

    @righthandleft

    “NZ actually has one of the best education systems in the world as it is.”

    I employed out of this education system for the last 20+ years and promise you that is bollocks of the highest order

    I have done similar recruitment in several countries and this is the worst to date

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  119. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    DPF… get off the drugs dude…Banks did nothing, it was all ACT ‘s back-room boys…

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  120. DJP6-25 (1,389 comments) says:

    Fantastic! Time to buy more popcorn, and listen to the socialists squeal.

    cheers

    David Prosser

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

    If you think about it, it was just the Key faction of the National Party negotiate with the Brash faction of the National Party which will be taken over by John Banks, an effective ex National Party minister. It’s not rocket science. It was a well executed plan.
    Everybody said ACT would get more votes from disaffected Nats when Key moved to the Centre. Tired of waiting, they took it over putting Brash up as the figurehead, figuring he’d be an excellent campaigner. Now where it all failed was even more obvious – these fullas were too weak to roll John or stand up against him, and likewise were too weak to stay *with* ACT when the polls showed their plan failed. And what was left was the ACT Party left with Banksie in charge, who I reckon would move in a heartbeat back to the National Party if offered the opportunity to do so.

    It’s good politics. As soon as things go wrong, he can look at John Banks and blame him, take his toys off him making him look good. Overall however the coup failed and in 2014 the Nats will have no friends to get them over 50%.

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  122. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    I don’t care about anecdotal evidence on our education system, I’m trusting the cold hard facts. The PISA study regularly tests 15-year olds around the OECD in maths, literacy and science and NZ consistently scores among the top four or five nations in the study. The very top nation is Finland, but their system is greatly helped by having a very homogenous society with little poverty or immigration. In terms of amounts spent per pupil we definitely punch way above our weight.

    Now even if you do disagree and think NZ’s system isn’t that great, would you really hold up the USA as the shining beacon of public educational achievement? Every politician in the US bemoans their awful system and its failures. They’ve had charter schools for a good while now and their track record shows little signs of hope for the US as a whole. So why should we be adopting policies from them? Shouldn’t they be coming to us and asking how a country with less wealth, higher immigration and larger minority groups (as a proportion of the population) manages to get far higher test scores when we spend far less money?

    And if you still disagree, please explain how charter schools are going to improve our system when we’ve already had decentralised, parent-run, special character schools in competition with each other for over 20 years now.

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  123. Nostalgia-NZ (5,318 comments) says:

    I don’t disagree, everything we’ve copied from the Americans is now characterised by our poverty gap, high imprisonment rates, income disparities and so on. Where we do figure with more promise is in trusting one another and confidence, we should have confidence to follow the models of the real world leaders Finland, Sweden and the like. It’s time we stepped back from our fascination of all things American, the almost worship of false idols and dreams and once again become the self-sufficient voyagers and thinkers we once were.

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  124. wreck1080 (3,999 comments) says:

    @right&left:: Which cold hard facts suit?

    I’d completely disagree about Finland having little immigration ….At least the larger cities seem to have quite a few foreigners — unless finnish people wear burqas?

    And what about all the russians who’ve sneaked across the border ?

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  125. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    The fact here is that Finland’s population is 2.7% immigrant while New Zealand’s is close to 25% immigrant. But you didn’t actually quote any figures to back up your statement. If you doubt my figures find figures of your own to refute them, not bland generalised statements with no evidence behind them.

    As of 2006 NZ was 23% foreign-born.

    http://www.stats.govt.nz/Census/2006CensusHomePage/QuickStats/quickstats-about-a-subject/culture-and-identity/birthplace-and-people-born-overseas.aspx

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  126. Elaycee (4,425 comments) says:

    @right&left: Is it any coincidence that the ‘best’ schools in NZ are private and that they successfully operate on the very model that you rubbish? Of course not.

    Status quo for the education system is not an option – unless you think it’s OK that our kids are taught crap from an early age and that key subjects such as literacy, numeracy and math skills are set aside in favour of time spent basket weaving.

    The best thing that could happen for our education system is that the incoming Minister of Education tells the NZEI / PPTA / CTU to all get stuffed and to get on with the implementation of policies as set down by the elected government.

    And if they don’t like it, they can simply piss off and make way for someone who will.

    The same NZEI / PPTA / CTU needs to realise that they do not set policy / they do not determine the curriculum / they do not have the right to refrain from teaching basic skills to our kids.

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  127. Paul Rain (47 comments) says:

    Certainly charter schools aren’t the answer to every problem, in New Zealand, as in the US. US public schools are some of the best in the world- they ought to be with the amount of money that that country continues to chuck at them- but this is only true when you compare performance of say, Finnish public schools with public schools in primarily Finnish American communities. Likewise, Bronx Coalition Community High School probably does pretty well compared to Enkare Nairowua.

    That said, American charter schools do have a track record of working some good in the worst areas with the worst pupils. Obviously, there’s a lack of detail around what is actually going to be implemented here, but at worst we can expect a couple of slightly more effective public schools. Alternatively, the best pupils from these areas could get a proper chance to succeed away from the very worst of their classmates. Labour might even get some leaders who aren’t whitebread Wellington lawyers.

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  128. Paul Rain (47 comments) says:

    Finland is a special case- not only do they have the lowest immigration rates in Europe, many of their immigrants are Finnish-ethnic Russian nationals (‘remigrants’ or ‘returnees’). Some of these are the descendants of Finnish Orthodox communities that fled the Swedish government’s plantation of Lutherans in the 17th century, and some are descendants of Reds who fled after failing to overthrow the Finnish government in the Civil War. I’m sure there are a few burqas around in the cities, but then wearing clothing that shows you reject your host country’s culture does tend to make you disproportionately obvious to an outside observer. There certainly isn’t anything like the situation in Malmö and Stockholm.

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  129. Camryn (481 comments) says:

    All the way back to alternate names for a post-ACT party… how about “Our Free Land”? It sounds a bit like a Russian party name, but ties the idea of Freedom (i.e. individual responsibility, small government) to the national anthem. I once saw a website where someone else had thought of this name, but I’m not sure anything came of it.

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  130. Paulus (2,707 comments) says:

    Master Whittington should learn the noble art of “If you don’t like the rules of the Club, don’t join”

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  131. KevinH (1,253 comments) says:

    The neo liberal agenda has now been unleashed, Charter Schools and privatising ACC will be the first shots in privatising just about everything. Hospitals will be next, Welfare etc. It will be a classical liberals paradise.

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  132. David Garrett (7,698 comments) says:

    Mattyroo: I’ll go offshore and monitor flow rates and pressures for AUD2000 a day! Seriously! e-mail me at:

    d.garrett@xtra.co.nz

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  133. Manolo (14,164 comments) says:

    About time too, KevinH.

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  134. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    DFP which of these policies is not strongly advocated by a good proportion of the National Party supporters.

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  135. Mark (1,502 comments) says:

    Having supported National I am now getting an uneasy feeling that Key has been telling us what we wanted to hear but will simply do as he pleases and hide behind the minor parties to slip through his agenda.

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  136. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    Of course the best schools are private, that is exactly my point. Any school allowed to choose its own students and draw only from a group with motivated and educated parents is going to do far better than the average. Private schools also charge tuition, thus increasing the spending per pupil and allowing for smaller class sizes (though the govt oddly claims class sizes aren’t important). I’m not saying that public schools beat private ones. But if you were to completely privatise schools there would be no advantage because someone would have to take the large number of un-motivated, learning challenged students with parents who put no value in education. Private schools excel by excluding all those students, thus stacking the deck. I know from statistics but also from personal experience. I went to public school in primary but then a private boys high school. The teachers were no better at the high school but having all the trouble-makers who took up precious class time removed made a huge difference. And having a system where strict discipline could be enforced because parents would back up the school and there was a real danger of being expelled also helped.

    But all of this is beside the point. The issue here is that we are trying to fix a system that isn’t broken. People claim over and over that our system is awful and we teach kids nothing, but where are your fact and figures to back that up? How do you explain our extremely high international rankings on literacy, maths and science? The US system by the way is not among the best or even close. Now some US schools are the best but the problem is every state has its own completely separate education system. So there are actually 50 systems. Massachusetts has the best system and it does rank above even NZ on intl. charts. But 48 of the 50 states ranked below us, most far below. Have a look at the most recent PISA stats and then tell me we’re failing our youth and need radical change.

    http://stats.oecd.org/PISA2009Profiles/#app=85dc&d016-selectedIndex=0&73e3-selectedIndex=0&c05d-selectedIndex=0&c9d0-selectedIndex=0&5854-selectedIndex=0&a56e-selectedIndex=0&67df-selectedIndex=0&ae18-selectedIndex=0&224e-selectedIndex=0&b2cd-selectedIndex=0&5869-selectedIndex=0

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  137. tom hunter (5,134 comments) says:

    There’s actually and an entire thread devoted solely to the subject of charter schools – here on this very blog.

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  138. Rightandleft (691 comments) says:

    But there wasn’t when this debate started and there were comments on this thread which needed to be replied to here. I’ve also posted on the charter schools thread.

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  139. Paul Rain (47 comments) says:

    Rightandleft: Interesting, but you fail to properly disaggregate results. In the more thorough TIMSS survey, we are just below the States. European Americans score similarly to the best-scoring European countries, and Asian Americans to the best-scoring Asian countries (as they do in PISA). And yet, despite the fact that New Zealand has considerably more of these generally higher-scoring groups than the States, we do less well. Maybe it’s the schooling system- maybe it’s some unidentified cultural differences. Most probably, it’s both.

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