Something Interesting Happened

Being the political junkie that I am, I do follow the odd person / organisation on twitter who will generally disagree with my way of thinking. Occasionally I take it upon myself to engage with those organisations. Yesterday I partook in one such engagement after the ACT Party (one of the aforementioned organisations) tweeted the following:

So I tweeted back:

They were quick to counter:

Equality of opportunity is fine – as long as you can afford it. So I pointed out:

They bit back:

I’m not particularly sure where we were going to end up with this so I left it. I thought that might be the end of it, yet later on in the evening I was enjoying my new smartphone when it chirped eagerly at me.

Now I wasn’t certain so I went back to check and sure enough the announcement from Labour put a housing investment limit on all foreigners, not just Asians, so I tweeted back to Señor Banks:

Unsurprisingly I heard nothing back for the rest of the evening.

Mr B


Liar Liar Pants on Fire

Just before I get into a bit of afternoon work ahead of the new term, I thought I’d draw your attention to a little gem from our fabulously wealthy and truth-bending prime minister John Key.

Earlier this week TV3 released their latest opinion poll. As they do with many of their polls they tacked on a couple of “single issue” questions to gauge the nation’s interest / view.

This time their question asked whether they believed John Key or Kim Dotcom. This was in reaction to recent comments Dotcom made at the select committee looking into the changes allowing the GCSB to spy on all New Zealanders. At the hearing Dotcom suggested Key knew of him long before Key claims he did. Key continues to deny, deny, deny.

The survey found that around half (52%) of New Zealanders believe the German tech millionaire and just a third (34%) believed the prime minister.

Here’s the kicker. When Key was interviewed about this he said:

Any number of surveys taken during the year will show you that the public are quite sceptical about what politicians actually say, and I suspect there’s a bit of that built into those poll numbers.

No worries about noone believing him. No concern at the low regard people hold politicians in and what this means for our democracy.

If politicians know the public don’t believe a word they say then they will say just about anything – as this current National Party is showing us. It’s all lies and subterfuge.

It’s not the quarter of kiwi kids in poverty that are impacting on their educational outcomes. It’s the teachers. Just the teachers. Nothing else. Oh… and maybe we should give heaps of money to unproven charity/businesses who’ve never run schools in this country before to run some schools. That will definitely work.

Because it has in all the other countries where it’s been tried.

The great problem with all this is that nearly half of New Zealanders (49.5%) are still keen to vote Key and his government.

I just don’t understand it. Either we really love untrustworthy people we don’t believe OR we have less trust and faith in the other guy to take over.

No wonder a quarter of us can’t be bothered turning out to vote when this is the choice we’ve got.

Enjoy your first day of Term 3 teachies!

Mr B


Public Sides with Dotcom (video) – 3 News, 25 July, 2013.

Public Sides with Dotcom (text) – 3 News, 25 July, 2013.

Poll Shows Drop for Labour Again – 3 News, 21 July, 2013.

PISA a Load of Bovine Excretia?

Here’s a link to a story from the Independent newspaper in the UK. There is talk of the PISA ranking tables put out every three years by the OECD. Michael Gove the wondrously gifted Education Secretary in the United Kingdom who believes education is all about the rote learning of facts bases his whole reason for being on the PISA rankings of his beloved England. Mathematicians have studied the methodology and… whoops!

Ultimately the article features arguments I’ve been wondering about but I’ve never really expressed. I’ll let Dr Hugh Morrison from Queens University in Belfast kick things off.

…the model used to calculate the triennial rankings is “utterly wrong” because it contains a “profound” conceptual error that confuses objective and subjective probability. “Pisa will never work”, he added.

Utterly wrong! Profound conceptual errors! And in the very next paragraph…

Professor Svend Kreiner, a statistician from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark, also said the Pisa model is fundamentally flawed. In a paper published this summer, he challenges Pisa’s reliability and shows how results fluctuate significantly according to which test questions are used. He also reveals how, in the 2006 reading rankings, Canada could have been positioned anywhere between second and 25th, Japan between eighth and 40th and the UK between 14th and 30th.

It looks like New Zealand could lie anywhere between first and 30th as well – we have been quite close to Canada in these studies.

It’s all summed up with this rather nice bit from Prof. Kreiner.

“It is meaningless to try to compare reading in Chinese with reading in Danish.”

Or reading in English for that matter.

If you want some idea of how Michael Gove operates, I’ll finish with a quote from the end of the article.

Michael Gove has often been accused of citing flawed or non-existent research. A Freedom of Information request revealed that PR surveys by Premier Inn and UKTV Gold were the source of his evidence when he said British teenagers were ignorant about key historical events.

Yes. Let’s cite studies done by a hotel chain and a TV company to guide our educational policy. What a miscreant.

Mr. B


Academics deride league tables that guide Michael Gove’s academic reforms – the Independent: Fri July 19, 2013

PACT Dumped?

I’ve been trying to think of something to day on the recent news that the PaCT tool is no longer going to be mandatory in 2015. This news popped up late last evening on the NZ Herald website.

I’ll let our beloved and respected Minister of Education Hekia Parata do the talking.

“It had been my expectation that the tool would be widely available in 2015 and when I realised principals were concerned that this meant it would be an imposition and it would get in the way of them working with the tool, then I wanted to remove that concern.”

This comment comes after the recent announcement from several groups, including the Principals’ Federation, they would boycott PaCT after being told in May that it would be mandatory.

Parata is indicating in her weasel words above that “widely available” is what they were aiming for. Again this is semantic bullshit from the minister. You don’t get several well-respected organisations – including principals – saying they are going to boycott a new tool if they don’t think they are going to have to use it. Plus, as the flyer I have linked to tells us:

We now have confirmation in writing that use of the PaCT will be mandatory from 2015.

Just so we are clear Ms. Parata…

Screen shot 2013-07-19 at 1.58.32 PM

I hope that clears up any confusion on your meaning of mandatory.

Mr B.


NZPF Flyer 17 June – New Zealand Principals’ Federation.

Education Ministry backs down on computer tool: Federation – NZ Herald, 18 July, 2013

Just to Prove my Point

My mind has been wandering recently. Wandering in the direction of honesty and integrity. It’s been drawn there by the National government. They of little truth and even littler trustworthiness.

We are no longer inspired by our leaders. Droves of registered voters are so turned off that over a quarter of them are not even bothering to turn out to the polls. That’s a general election. I’d hate to think what the figures are going to be for the upcoming local body elections later this year.

Anyone remotely enthused by your local body candidates? Parking issues anyone?

It’s bad enough that New Zealanders don’t believe what their politicians are saying. We kiwis are also coming to the realisation that the power elite, currently led by John Key and National, are not working in the best interests of anyone other than themselves. Anything goes.

Should we protect kiwi workers or change employment law because Warner Brothers threatened us? Change the law.

Should we protect the social fabric of Auckland or change the law to allow hundreds more pokies because we think a convention centre is a good idea (something about jobs…). Change the law.

Thanks to the John Key government and their constant attacks on workers, beneficiaries and other, what John Banks once called “kiwi battlers from struggle street” in between adverts for deer velvet on Radio Pacific, we now believe our politicians to be more corrupt and more dishonest than they were when Key came to power (this is all laid out in my last two blogs here and here).

Our leaders are their to serve their own self interests and the interests of the business elite (and not small businesses either – just the ones with loads of money).

Key and National are so popular (because of such a weak opposition) they now don’t even try to hide their cronyism and their lying.

Just to prove my point:

Energy and Resources Minister Simon Bridges is poking fun at a massive Greenpeace billboard which accuses him of misleading the public, saying he is “chuffed” about it.

So now a National Party minister is reported as “chuffed” at a massive Greenpeace billboard accusing him of lying (misleading the house – we all know what they mean).

That’s how much they care about you – ‘nout’ as my friend from Preston used to say.

Only National and Mini-me Bridges would delight at being called liars.

I’m sure they also delight in the fact that #pantsonfire is now trending on twitter – although I imagine half of the caucus wouldn’t understand what that sentence means.

That’s who 40% of New Zealanders want running the country (according to various polls).

That’s who is deciding the future policy direction of young New Zealanders heading through our primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors.

That’s what we’ve got.

Three letters: W T and F.

Mr B.


Minister Chuffed with Pants on Fire Billboard – TVNZ