Thursday, April 5, 2012

Rough Guess Governance Exposed.


The teaching profession (pre National Standards) improves practice and developes curriculum based on research and evidence. Scientists use research and peer review to develop new knowledge and technologists use research and modeling before developing the final prototype. Lawyers use Acts, Regulations, Statutes and case law to progress their cases and Doctors use years of training, on going professional development and professional texts and journals to guide diagnoses. The National Government, having the responsibility for governing the economic, social and environmental health of our nation, routinely ignores research, science and professional advice and admits to "rough guess" decisions. Examples abound:

1) The value of our state assets before committing them for sale - rough guess.
2) The justification for spending $12 billion on Roads of National Significance - a guess and huge assumptions.
3) The justification for gutting our foreign service - No research or consultation, a McCully guess.
4) The introduction of National Standards - Little research, most professional advice ignored, an ideological stab in the dark.

New Green MP, Julie Anne Genter exposed the shocking reality of National's decision making with some sharp questioning today. The following exchange makes enlightening reading (full transcript and video linked above) :

Julie Anne Genter: Why does the Government claim that the roads of so-called national significance have been selected because of their economic importance, when the projects were announced in early 2009, well before the business cases had been undertaken?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I think the point is that a Government comes in with a programme and does what it thinks is necessary to create the environment for economic growth. There is not a successful economy in the world that has achieved results by stopping roading progress.
Julie Anne Genter: What evidence supports the claim that the roads of national significance will increase economic productivity, given that they have not been updated to reflect the reality of higher oil prices and stagnant traffic volumes?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: I think the roads of national significance are going to have a massive effect on economic growth in New Zealand. And I think it is very hard to argue against history, where you would find not one country in the world that has abandoned roading projects and achieved economic success.
Julie Anne Genter: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. My question quite clear. It said “What evidence supports the claim … ?”. It did not ask for an opinion. The Minister did give his opinion—he thinks these projects will be good for the economy—but I asked—
Mr SPEAKER: Order! Because I could not hear the member’s question very well because of the noise—mainly on my left, I must confess, on this occasion—I invite the member to repeat her question.
Julie Anne Genter: What evidence supports the claim that the roads of national significance will increase economic productivity, given that they have not been updated to reflect the reality of higher oil prices and stagnant traffic volumes?
Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: Those last two criteria are very cyclical, so there is no reason to believe that in the long term, they would make a difference to the business case.
The real joke was at the end of the exchange when the ex woodwork teacher accused Julie Anne of not being an expert in the field of transportation. 



4 comments:

KjT said...

Shouldn't it be failed woodwork Teacher.
Many woodwork Teachers are ex tradespeople who are well informed and competent. Comparisons to Brownlee are odious.

KjT said...

Shouldn't it be failed woodwork Teacher.
Many woodwork Teachers are ex tradespeople who are well informed and competent. Comparisons to Brownlee are odious.

bsprout said...

I couldn't possibly pass judgement on Brownlee's teaching skills, KjT, and as a teacher myself it would be unethical to do so without justification, however a transport expert he is not!

bsprout said...

...I do totally agree with your comments regarding how well informed he is and his general competence as a Minister as these things are publicly visible.