Numbers or Results?

May 29th, 2013 at 3:00 pm by David Farrar

As readers may have seen, spat on the floor in response to National’s food in schools announcement. His criticism was that not enough money is being spent on it.

This is something you often see from the left. They measure how much you care by how much taxpayers money you are willing to spend on something.

Hone’s bill was proposing food in schools in decile 1 and 2 schools only. The Govt has actually announced it for deciles 3 and 4 also – yet Hone spits on the floor at it, merely because taxpayers are not spending enough money on it.

The same fixation with numbers we see with Danyl at the Dim-Post. He declares the reason MPI made an error with China export certificates is because they have fewer staff.

We went through all this back in the 1990s. Turns out a lot of those back-office public servants – who National loves to sack by the thousand on the grounds that they don’t actually do anything, approximately one hundred and fifty of whom were let go during the MPI merger – do genuinely do some things, like check export certificates.

Danyl is convinced that the quality of the public service is determined by its size. If you care about the public service, you hire more staff. This is a core faith on the left.

I’d be interested in a shred of proof that the mistake made by MPI was anything to do with fewer staff. A belief that more staff means no errors, is like believing in God – can’t prove or disprove.

Regular surveys by the State Services Commission have shown that satisfaction with public services is increasing – despite fewer staff.

And no one has ever said that staff made redundant don’t actually do anything. That’s an insult to them. You don’t make staff redundant because they do nothing. You sack them, if they do nothing. Staff get made redundant because employers have to live within their means, and can sometimes operate in different ways with fewer staff. Sometimes fewer staff will mean a reduction in quality, but not always. Judging quality on number of staff is bonkers.

I worked for an NGO that made around half the staff redundant. We thought it would be a disaster, and fought against it. in fact we discovered that some staff roles actually ended up creating un-necessary work for other staff, and in some ways things worked better with fewer staff.

The belief that you show how much you care by spending more money or hiring more staff, is fatally flawed. What is important is outcomes, not inputs.

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24 Responses to “Numbers or Results?”

  1. Matthew Hooton (114 comments) says:

    Fantastic post.
    Labour and Hone would prefer a $20m food in schools programme that failed over a $10m programme that worked, because the former would provide more “work” for Wellington bureaucrats and members of the Harawira whanau than the latter.

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  2. kowtow (6,690 comments) says:

    You have to hand it to Hone and Comrade John of TV3.
    They’ve forced a supposedly conservative govt to further abandon it’s principles.Pushed it further to the left.

    A partial victory.

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  3. Redbaiter (6,478 comments) says:

    “Danyl is convinced that the quality of the public service is determined by its size.”

    Not really. I’d say he just wants more left wing voters, and the way to achieve this is to put more people on the public payroll.

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  4. Pete George (21,804 comments) says:

    Another flaw in Harawira’s approach – he proposes to feed kids whether they need feeding or not, and whether they want feeding or not.

    And he was on Firstline this morning saying that schools should feed kids whether they want to or not.

    And he wants to feed kids whether their parents want him interfering in their responsibilities or not.

    Paula Benett said that after a breakfast programme has settled in there’s only about 10% uptake.

    10% of decile 1-2 kids is 11,000 kids.
    10% of decile 1-4 kids is 25,000 kids.

    But Harawira thinks it’s better to force feed the other 90% as well, and spits on anyone who thinks he’s bonkers.

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  5. Judith (5,660 comments) says:

    Hone is dramatic. Or as some would say, a bit of a drama queen. He does these things to gain attention, which as we know, even bad attention is better than no attention at all – especially if you want your name out there, for people to see that you are ‘doing something’. Its a great way to get the radical vote.

    Of course, Hone spits and immediately gets attention and media advertising – as evidenced by this particular thread.

    Hone’s got you all wrapped around his little finger – you jump every time! Well done! ;-)

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  6. YesWeDid (1,002 comments) says:

    Decreasing the number of MPI staff certainly hasn’t improved their performance when the minister says:

    “I’m very disappointed in my officials, issuing export certification is really their core business and I’m disappointed in how this issue has come to bear,” he (Nathan Gay) said.

    Maybe they got rid of the good people and are only left with the rubbish.

    And Hone is not ‘the Left’ he is ‘the hard left’.

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  7. Ross12 (927 comments) says:

    Funny how Honi can get away with spitting ( in Parliament Buildings , I think) and the MSM don’t say anything. Anyone else would have been mauled in the press.

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  8. Redbaiter (6,478 comments) says:

    “They’ve forced a supposedly conservative govt to further abandon it’s principles.”

    Yes, notice how Hooton is completely unconcerned by this aspect of the issue, and sees the move to the left merely as a strategic victory.

    Like a coven of public servants fighting over which sub-department of which under-department will be allocated the newly purchased coffee machine.

    We are governed by a coalition of left wing weasles and all we get to choose each election is who are the leaders of said coalition.

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  9. PTM (41 comments) says:

    A bit like pissing in a hotel corridor and just as acceptable.

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  10. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Parkinson’s law remains relevant. And funny.

    http://www.economist.com/node/14116121

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  11. Yoza (1,348 comments) says:

    “As readers may have seen, Hone Harawira spat on the floor in response to National’s food in schools announcement. His criticism was that not enough money is being spent on it.

    This is something you often see from the left. They measure how much you care by how much taxpayers money you are willing to spend on something.”

    When the comparison is made between the vast sums the Government spends propping up elite private schools and what it proposes to spend on feeding hungry kids in lower decile public schools, Hone’s spitting was more than appropriate. The sneering arrogance of this current National government, and its core support, is the greatest asset the Labour/Green/Mana opposition have available.

    Why don’t the wealthy practice what they preach and demand the government stop funding private schools.

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  12. PaulL (5,774 comments) says:

    Yola: why should someone who wants to contribute to their children’s education (more than the govt provided standard) not be able to keep a portion of the govt funding? That allows people in the middle class to access private education.

    Of course, the key is to allow the poor to also access private education. It’s called charter schools.

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  13. Viking2 (10,709 comments) says:

    Of course, the key is to allow the poor to also access private education. It’s called charter schools.

    Ah no. its called education vouchers.

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  14. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    You spit on the floor in Parliament to make a point in 2013
    The only point you make is that the spitter is scum. Low scum. Maori scum.
    Lacking the ability to communicate.

    His Mum used to squeese the balls of her patients when they angered her.
    (and was convicted of it.)
    That was how that scum bitch used to communicate.
    Is this the maori way ?

    ‘Kin,oath it is.

    No progress since 1840

    Many decent maori will be cringing .
    .

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  15. itstricky (1,139 comments) says:

    What is important is outcomes.

    And what was the outcome here?

    MPI f*d up. The only real story here is whether that was caused by mergers or redundancies. Otherwise this is a rubbish post. All you have done is hit each other over the face with wet limp philosophical wrists.

    Danyl’s suggestion is not, of course, that those made redundant ‘did nothing’. That must be obvious to someone who… Well… Actually.. Anyone. It’s like you are trying to double negative him because there is something implied but not spelt out in intimate detail. Pathetic.

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  16. bereal (3,137 comments) says:

    Maori need leadership from a POS like this like they need a hole in the head.

    How sad, how so very, very sad.

    i bet that this piece of scum knows that maori will never rise to their potential unless they are treated as equals in society
    but then there would be no place for cunning self serving vermin leeches such as himself.

    How disgusting.

    Still, i back the Maori people to wake up one day and find decent leaders.

    They are better than this.

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  17. Steve (North Shore) (4,318 comments) says:

    Hone Harawira, typical stone age savage – once were warriors my fucking arse.
    Always try hard warriors at whities expense – Moari extortion

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  18. Johnboy (13,386 comments) says:

    I used to be scared of tough looking Murris then little short-arsed Trev dropped Big Tau in the precincts of parliament.

    Say what you like about Trev…… he empowered me! :)

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  19. publicwatchdog (1,817 comments) says:

    How can you measure outcomes, when the Public Records Act 2005 is not being followed in a proper way at central and local level government, and the public don’t know EXACTLY where our public monies are being spent?

    How can ‘line by line’ accounting be done, if there effectively aren’t any lines, because the books (if any exist) aren’t ‘open’ for public scrutiny?

    Penny Bright

    ‘Anti-corruption/anti-privatisation’ campaigner

    2013 Auckland Mayoral candidate

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  20. Ashley Schaeffer (336 comments) says:

    Security should remove anyone who spits from Parliament grounds and Harawira should be forced to apologise for his feral behaviour in the House.

    [EDIT]Did Harawira actually spit on the floor or did he make a mock spitting gesture as some media outlets have claimed? One is disgusting while the other is just being a little melodramatic.

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  21. willtruth (245 comments) says:

    “What is important is outcomes, not inputs”

    True. But when the outcomes go from excellent to drastically bad immediately after the inputs have been reduced then I don’t think it is unreasonable for Danyl to wonder if these two events are connected, even if he doesn’t have proof. Yes, it could just be a co-incidence. Correlation is not always causation, but sometimes it is.

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  22. fred1234 (2 comments) says:

    If Hone wants more money spent on Food in Schools, why doesn’t he get some of the rich Iwi tribes to put some money in to pay to feed Maori kids?

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  23. doggone7 (487 comments) says:

    “I worked for an NGO that made around half the staff redundant. We thought it would be a disaster, and fought against it. in fact we discovered that some staff roles actually ended up creating un-necessary work for other staff, and in some ways things worked better with fewer staff.”

    That’s why some want Judith Collins to be the PM after John Key. She can get rid of all the staff, all departments and do it herself!

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  24. scrubone (2,971 comments) says:

    When the comparison is made between the vast sums the Government spends propping up elite private schools and what it proposes to spend on feeding hungry kids in lower decile public schools,

    It’s always grimly amusing to see people talk about “elite” private schools, while supporting policy that has the effect of forcing those on lower incomes out of them.

    This policy is about duplicating additional spending. Parents are already given money to make sure their kids are fed, and they are instead neglecting them and blaming the government. On the other hand, parents who send their kids to private school are actually spending over and above the government’s support for education, which is good behaviour and should be rewarded.

    I’m not actually proposing that the government cancel this money and give it to private schools of course. But I do think that your view of morality is very one-sided.

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