It’s official: National have an education policy

Greetings and hello to you all,

You may have noticed in recent years that, a) the MyThinks team has been somewhat absent from the blogosphere for two or so years, and b) people don’t read blogs any more.

Well… imagine my surprise this week when the National Party, in their infinite wisdom, decided to release an education policy. As you can imagine, this got us so riled up here in the office that we dusted off our Windows XP laptop, waiting 17 hours for all the updates to be installed, waited another hour for it to become unfrozen, turned it off and on again, then started writing.

As tempting as it was to ask ChatGPT to come up with some scintillating arguments as to why the National Party were not only barking up the wrong tree, but they had turned into a cat and were clawing the eyes out of ever single teacher across the country, we decided to write our own letter. A letter of protest on behalf of our great benefactor and overall supreme leader Mr Michael Boon. Here is what our AI (actual intelligence) came up with:

Dear Christopher Luxon and Erica Stanford, 

I know this is a very long email, but please read it. It’s important. 

I listened to your education policy announcement this week with both disappointment and a sense of dread. It concerns me, yet again, that people with very little educational experience other than when they were at school, are again drawing from the same arguments that failed when National Standards were introduced. As a teacher well into my second decade working in the sector, I feel I have some burning questions I feel I need answered. 

(NOTE: I have cc’d other interested parties to see if they have answers to some of my questions)

Firstly, the huge question I have is about time. If we teachers are to spend an hour per day on reading, writing, maths, and science, that calculates to four hours per day. The average school day starts at 9am and finishes at 3pm. This is 6 hours. Break times differ from school to school, but roughly speaking, there is a shorter break of around thirty minutes and a longer break of around forty-five minutes to an hour. Students are in class for between four and a half to maybe just under 5 hours a day. When you remove the four hours for the basics, that leaves around 5 hours a week for all the technologies – including digital, Physical Education and Health, The Arts (dance, music, drama, and visual arts), learning languages, and the Social Sciences (which includes NZ History). The only solutions I see to this is either we extend the school day, or we have to drop the teaching of some of these, I want to say, non-basic subjects. 

Secondly, as a teacher, what sort of immediate in-class support am I going to get for the 20% or so of students who will instantly resist having to work for four hours per day on subjects they aren’t hugely successful at? As I see it, this policy will lead to more students becoming disengaged with their learning, leading to more truancy and a further fall in our ‘international ratings’ – despite international ratings being the least important thing in a young person’s life. 

There are so many other ‘non-basic’ issues going on at your average school these days, it’s almost too hard to count. We are constantly dealing with students who have learned helplessness, stress and anxiety, post-covid health issues, disrupted family lives (I’m sure whānau in Hawke’s Bay, Tairawhiti, Auckland, and Northland will have things to say about disruption). As with anything, it seems funded by the government, it is very rare to have support in anything other than very extreme cases. Are we going to get extra support to help deal with the inevitable resistance from a cross-section of our students? Or are we going to be left to our own devices?

As well as all this, if you are going to prescribe what we teach and when we teach it, how does this link to all our local curriculum? How will the government tell us what to teach? How will this be monitored? Will the Education Review Office have this added to their remit? Will schools be considered ‘failing’ if they are given a poor review? And how will this impact on teachers and school leaders if their school, despite all their hours and hours of hard work per week, is deemed to be failing by the Wellington bureaucrats? Just ask some of the educators in the UK how the system has ended up over there

Education is mostly about whanaungatanga – relationships. We work so incredibly hard throughout every school year to create strong, and sometimes hard-won, relationships with our students and their whānau. Very occasionally, anything above breaking through some of these outer walls our rangitahi have built up is a success for me. 

I know the National Party will say that their language has changed since the Hekia Parata years, yet their current education spokesperson Erica Stanford said we basically put our finger into the wind to decide what we teach. With that one comment, she has impugned the massive amount of work all teachers do each week to create engaging lessons for our students. That’s a pretty harsh position to start from. 

With this policy, you are going to impose something on an entire industry. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t let the current government try an impose something on an entire industry like, I don’t know, an integrated water policy perhaps?

Before you further develop your education policies, please talk to teachers. Please spend time with teachers. I challenge you, Chris or Erica, to come and actually spend a day with me at school – or any teacher in any school. If you spend a day with one of us to get a clear idea of the reality we are grappling with regularly, I guarantee you would change your thinking. (Slight aside: The single best thing you could do for the education industry is mandating a class size of fifteen, but that would cost billions, so I’m not holding my breath). 

Please feel free to email me a non-generic, personal reply with your thoughts. 

Kind regards, 

Mike Boon,


Thank you for reading to the end of this post. MyThinks promises to have something more satirical in the upcoming days.

Until then – fare thee well mine friend.



A plan so cunning you could pin a tail on it and call it a weasel

This week the Labour government, in its infinite wisdom, decided we’d all had enough of them spending billions of dollars helping out large multi-nationals pay their wage bill during Covid, they decided on a completely new course of action.

This week Labour announced an austerity plan. And what a plan it was. Who better to target with austerity, not said multi-nationals who famously enjoy paying dividends to their tax-haven based headquarters, but the very people who have been keeping New Zealand pretty much free of the pandemic.

Sure there was the odd slip up here and there as the virus got out, but we need to remember, this is a microbe. We can’t see it. It’s very hard to put bouncers at the door of a managed isolation facility to stop something invisible. Just try telling that to the National Party caucus room. A WhatsApp ‘leakers’ group is very hard to stop, and technically invisible.

So Labour has told all the cleaners, nurses, doctors, managed isolation officers, defense force workers and any other public sector workers earning over the magical unicorn figure of $60,000 they will be getting nout over the next three years.

What genius in the Beehive decided this was a great idea? Winston isn’t even there to blame any more.

We at MyThinks have had a bit of a guess here in the office as to what might be going on. We’ve come up with a number of possibilites…

U-Turns are frowned upon in politics. Unless you are a Tory, in which case they are celebrated as ‘listening to the people’ or ‘decisiveness’ even though they are clearly the opposite.
  1. All these workers generally vote leftwards anyway so the government can take advantage of the general “I’m not voting for those Tory bastards” feeling that peppers the public service.
  2. Some advisor left over from the Key / English regime has put a spanner into the spokes to send Grant Robertson and Chris Hipkins over the handle bars of their Raleigh 20.
  3. Someone in Treasury thought it might be a good idea to start the next round of wage negotiations at ZERO so they can say, “Look at the compromises we made!” when they offer everyone 1.2%.
  4. This is actually a dream state and I’m currently in my bed early on a Monday morning waiting for my alarm to go off dreading the week ahead.
  5. It’s an hilarious joke.
  6. During budget evening Grant Robertson rips off his latex mask to reveal he is none other than… failed National MP Aaron ‘don’t you know who I am?” Gilmore who has been running an incredibly long game for the Tories as pennance for his monstrous introduction to the Aotearoa Body Politick. We find out this was actually a Tory policy implemented by a Tory.

The big money here in the office is on a combination of 1, 3, and 5.

We have a suggestion: why not tax some people more? There are a load of people in New Zealand who pretend they aren’t from New Zealand – you know, like the Dyson guy (can’t remember his name) now lives in Singapore because the UK tax him too much.

Why not hammer them for a bit? Just a thought. People who can afford to pay more tax might actually look dodgy (er!) if they try and argue they shouldn’t pay more. I mean, we all saw what happened when that group of celebs sang Imagine to show us how they had complete empathy for our plight during the first lockdown as we sat in our rented houses and they recorded in their massive condos.

Let us not forget, the most ironically named organisation in the history of New Zealand – the Taxpayers’ Union – has come out in favour of this policy. So it must be a great pile of steaming fertiliser.

Judith Collins goes whistle shopping

Having taken an enforced break for a number of weeks with ideas drying up faster than a Canterbury river, MyThinks has had a sudden burst of prefrontal brain activity and brings you a random number of thinks related to recent political happenings. Enjoy.

National Leader Judith Collins is walking through a weekend market. She has been brought here by some of her party minders as they try to soften her image from the hard-nosed, car-crushing, Thatchery evil-doer to a light blue puppy. Some might say this to be a near impossible task, but a task the minders are undertaking none-the-less.

Collins strolls around the market awkwardly greeting people. This isn’t the usual National Party stronghold of rural New Zealand. This is an inner city market. People are eyeing her suspiciously. Some are even lightly heckling the beleaguered leader. Cries of, “Mrs Useless,” and “Captain Underdone” ring out across the markets. Collins does her best to ignore the comments but a slight glistening near the corner of her eye belies her usual granite appearance. She looks to the left and her moisten eye is drawn to a nearby stall decorated with light blue balloons. She wanders over.

“Hello Mrs Collins,” the stall owner begins, “and welcome to my stall.”

“What are you selling, kind sir,” asks the Leader of the Opposition.

“Anything and everything,” comes the reply, “Walk around and feast your eyes upon my wares.”

Collins moves around the tables under a white gazebo structure. She casts her eye over a myriad of strange and unusual items. Nothing really captures her attention until she comes to a silver cabinet. As she tries to open it the stall owner is quickly by her side with an ivory coloured key.

“Please let me get that for you,” he says before quickly unlocking and opening the cabinet.

“Thank you very much,” replies Collins as she looks over the contents of the cabinet with eager eyes.

“I see you are a connoisseur of this kind of noise maker,” says the stall owner mysteriously.

“Yes, indeed,” replies Collins, “I’m extremely interested. Can you talk me through your collection.”

Placing white gloves on his hands, the stall owner carefully lifts out a tray and places it on the table next to the cabinet. Even though the morning is awash with drizzle, the tray sparkles, as do Collins eyes.

“What about that one,” she asks excitedly.

“Well,” says the stall owner picking it up off the tray, “this whistle belonged to Don Brash. He liked to use it from time to time to try and get the media to take notice of an old white man and his antiquated world view.”

“Of course,” notes Collins, “Brash was never Prime Minister.”

“Well played m’lady,” replies the stall owner placing the whistle back on the tray. He holds up another one. “What about this one. It used to belong to Michael Laws.”

“Yes, well, I’m not sure I have any use for the whistle of a former mayor who couldn’t even keep the traditional spelling of Wonganewee on his council building.”

“Indeed. I got this one off Mike Hosking last week.”

“Mike’s Minute… no thank you… I want a man who can last longer than a minute, thank you very much.”

“Touché,” says the stall owner. He returns the maserati coloured whistle to the tray.

“I don’t see anything from Sean Plunket here,” notices Mrs Collins.

“Oh god no,” retorts the stall owner, “I’m not a $2 Shop!”

“Ha!” laughs Collins.

The stall owner hovers his hand over the tray a few moments longer before he has a sudden realisation. He runs to a car parked behind the gazebo and rifles through the boot. Collins follows, intrigued. Eventually he finds a small blue bag which he unzips and opens. Inside is a lone silver whistle.

“This,” he begins, “used to belong to the late Sir Robert Muldoon…”


“…and, as you know, he used this whistle all the time. Against almost every sector of New Zealand society, but especially Tom Scott and most of South Auckland.”

“It’s perfect,” whispers Collins, “how much?”

“Oh… for you, madam, this whistle will cost nothing…”

“Nothing?” asks Collins.

“Nothing…” replies the stall owner, “…but your soul.”

“My soul,” questions Collins.

“Your soul…” says the stall owner, “…all you need to do is gift me your soul and you can have Sir Robert Muldoon’s personal dog whistle for absolutely no charge whatsoever.”

“I have no problems paying for this whistle with my soul,” replies Collins with a wry smile, and the stall owner passes her the whistle, which she places carefully in the pocket of her trouser suit.

Collins says her thank yous to the stall owner and slowly walks away gleefully patting her pocket. Little did that poor stall owner realise, but she, Judith Collins, leader of the National Party, has no soul.

She turned around for one last look and long-distance gloat at the gullible stall owner to find the gazebo, the car, and most importantly the stall owner had completely disappeared…

In celebration of: Mr David Seymour

Today is the goodest of Fridays. What better way to celebrate a day off work when everything is closed to honour one of the greatest minds ever to nestle his parliamentary buttocks one of those gigantic green seats in the debating chamber.

Ladies and gentlement I give you… Mr David Seymour.

ACT leader and perenial tween David Seymour first came to national prominance as an understudy to well known racist John Banks. He made instant waves with this video:

Excellent. These were great days in the emergence of a young, worm-like Seymour from the festering cocoon of an aging National Party.

As the years went on, and with the Epsom electorate continuing to elect him ahead of famed historian Dr Paul “Goldie” Goldsmith, Seymour went from strength to strength. From announcing the National Party’s charter school policy on his first morning in parliament to championing doyens of modern society such as the tobacco industry and petrolium exploration consultants.

Yesterday, however, it was quickly realised we had reached Peak Seymour when the young tweenager released the following tweet:

Seymour makes a fantastic point. What about all the job losses that have occured from all the people who haven’t been hired by anyone yet? If the minimum wage keeps rising, as is likely under the current regime, many thousands of jobs that are yet to exist will be lost. It’s a real shame employers are forced to pay workers anything at all.

Where does Seymour go from here though? What is next for this plucky little 14 year old? Will he continue to champion the wonderful world of carbon-based ground exploration? Will he continue to fight for the right of law-abiding gun owners to assassinate innocent baby animals with a range semi-automatic weaponry? Will he ever graduate high school and go to university?

So many questions for one so young.

We at MyThinks wish you well this Mr Seymour. Happy long weekend young chap. Enjoy.

But what about the poor, poor property investors????

Good morning and/or afternoon. 

We here at My Thinks pride ourselves on our regular contributions to the prevailing zeitgeist. Today’s post is no exception. We will be taking a deep dive into the recent changes to investment property rules that have seen all property investors become instantly destitute. Our deep dive will consist of over 410 words, so, in retrospect, the previous sentence appears to be somewhat of a misnomer. Let’s call this a dipping of the big toe into the pond scum of analysis.

With the extension of the brightline test to ten years and the removal of the ability of investors to claim interest payments in their tax things are not looking good. I’ve been listening to the commentary from the various investor organisations and opposition politicians and I am very surprised that we even still have a housing market. 

I mean, how on earth is a property investor meant to make money when all they have to fall back in is double digit inflation over the ten year period they have to hang onto a house before flipping it?

I agree with Judith Collins. No-one in their right mind would invest in property now because the income they earn from a capital gain is now being fully taxed. I would be very surprised if Amy Adams doesn’t instantly sell her three houses – if the trust that owns them for tax purposes allows it. Maybe she will be joined by Andrew Bailey dumping his three houses (admittedly he only owns a share of the Coromandel property), or Gerry Brownlee getting rid of his five properties. Either way, if I owned so much property, as does the National Party, I would be really worried about paying so much tax. Luckily trusts come into play. 

Mind you, Labour really have shot themselves in the foot here. If I was an MP with loads of property, the last thing I’d be doing is changing the law so I had to pay more tax. Unless they want to pay more tax because it’s the right thing to do? It doesn’t really make much sense. 

Either way, if you personally own more houses than the entire 18-30 year old age group of New Zealand, then hopefully you can make money out of all your other investments. Or your superannuation fund. Or your commercial property investments. Or your many business interests. 

It really is a sad, sad day for property investors.