Showing posts from July, 2015

Government Tilts the Playing Fields

The most shocking example of Government bias can be seen when comparing the treatment of the Problem Gambling Foundation and Relationships Aotearoa with how it bails out failing private schools and Charter Schools. Wanganui Collegiate is an elite Private School of around 400 students with a staffing ratio that is almost twice that of a public school. In 2012 it appealed to the Government to become an integrated school because it was experiencing financial difficulty from necessary building work. The Ministry and the Education Minister advised the Government not to bail out the school because there were already 1,400 empty places in secondary schools in the region, the integration would hurt local schools and the money would not be serving priority learners. The Government went against that advice and integrated the school, providing it with $3.1 million year of extra funding (over $7,000 a year per student). It then transpired that not only did Wanganui Collegiate own $3 millio

Ministry of Primary Industries New Environmental Regulator

I attended a consultation meeting today for the new National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry ( NES-PF) document. It was a very concerning experience, not only for the precedent that is being set that a single industry can determine environment standards, but also for the fact that GE-GMO trees are going to become permissible without any public mandate or wider economic assessment. A Green friend attended a similar meeting in Northland and he commented that it felt like the Ministry 'for making money' is being allowed to decide what is good for the environment. Staff from the MPI presented a logical case for greater consistency when larger forests encompassed more than one region and therefore would need to include different environmental and bureaucratic expectations in their planning and operations. These new standards would apply to the forestry industry's wider activities and would mostly override the district plans and the regional council rules (th

National's Ideology a Cancer to Public Services

The National Government has a philosophy of reducing government and increasing privatisation. It has attempted to cut 30,000 jobs from the state sector, introduced Charter Schools, private prisons, PPPs and has sold off state assets. None have been supported by evidence, research or consultation, it is pure ideology and a cancer to our public services. The Government's determination to deliver an improved public service by setting targets, shifting contracts to NGOs and the private sector does not bear close scrutiny. Shifting what were Government services to private providers and NGOs has proved problematic when the budget to provide the services is reduced to a level well below the previous costs to manage them. The Government's belief that others can provide quality public services more cheaply has had setbacks when  Relationships Aotearoa  had to close its doors due to serious funding shortfalls despite a long history of good performance. After removing $25 millio