It is with great joy and an eye to my future job as National Party leader that I, Baroness Judith Collins, announce confidently and loudly that the New Zealand police will start investigating every single burglary committed in the country.
I am happy to announce that police numbers will rise to deal with the increased workload.
People have reported their concern that this increase in police numbers will lead to the money being stripped out of other areas of the police budget. I can categorically state here and now that this is definitely not happening.
No. We will be stripping the education and health budgets and selling state houses by the hundreds to fun my succession plan.
What does this mean for the average kiwi New Zealander?
With so many hundreds and hundreds of police investigating the many thousands of burglaries committed every year it is with great joy and hope that I predict your iPad and the car stereo that went missing two years ago will turn up safe and well in no time at all.
No more scouring TradeMe for months after a burglary to try to find your laptop. Just call the police and I reckon they’ll turn up, dust a bit of that icing sugar stuff on the broken window and your laptop will turn up quicker than you can say, “party vote National, electorate vote Collins.”
This is, indeed, a great day for the police, a great day for victims of crime and a great day for the Crusher.
Various things are afoot with education in New Zealand.
We all remember those days when we had a “progressive” New Labourish government led by Auntie Helen. How we miss those days. Days when all National and their far-right hoodlum chums could attack that government over were an alleged flatulence tax and energy-saving lightbulbs. God-forbid if Auntie Helen had presided over a policy which led to working New Zealanders having to put messages up in supermarkets asking to rent parts of driveways to park their cars – cars they live in because they don’t have a home.
Recently Hekia Parata has announced a few things:
Global Funding – a chance for school administrators to “choose” how they spend their money rather than having to spend certain amounts on teaching staff.
Communities of Online Learning – placing part of the education system in the hands of operators who deliver their service over the interwebs giving parents and students more “choice” over how they consume their educational services.
Take the “Global Funding” plan. You know the government is on to a loser right from the start because they are trying EXACTLY the same thing they did in the 1990s with the bulk funding of teacher salaries. All they’ve done is put the policy through a giant semantics machine (possibly paid for out of the goodness of our taxpayer hearts) and come up with a completely different policy that is exactly the same. We know it is far-right bullshit because they’ve used the phrase “choice” whenever they are talking about what the policy will deliver for schools (The semantics machine has also been used for charter schools – now partnership schools because of the negative experiences overseas jurisdictions have had with them – and the current Auckland housing “challenge,” dubbed so because calling it a crisis would mean they might have to actually do something about it).
This word “choice” is also popping up for the online learning policy. This policy gives parents and students choice about how and where they learn. No longer do they have to attend their local school! Sit in the comfort of your own filth and study for NCEA or your Year 8 National Standard! It’s a pretty choice choice!
They haven’t used the word “choice” in reference to the special needs funding changes. Hekia and her ministry have, however, been talking about the phrase “special needs education” and how terrible it sounds. To whom, I’m not sure, but this is what Ms. Parata has been quoted as saying:
“This terminology accentuates differences and can act as a powerful barrier to development of a fully inclusive education system. The terms, inclusive education and learning support, better describe the broad system of educational support available for all children and young people and we want to transition to these terms,”
Choice is never a good word when it is used by a Tory government. More often than not the choice being offered is the choice of the government to fund the sector less. The reality is the only people who have any choice over their education are the people with money. They rest of us just get what we are given. And if Hekia has her way that will be inclusive learning support delivered through a tablet in the lounge of your house.
We live in exciting times. Change is exponential. Children starting school today will be doing jobs that are yet to exist. Robots will do everything else. By the time I retire, Hekia and the National government of 2008 will be a pony-tail pulling footnote in history.
All that can be put to one side when we consider this: they single greatest thing that can improve outcomes for children in the classroom is high quality teaching. A well-trained, highly skilled workforce of educators working together using the latest research and pedagogies to create the citizens of tomorrow. Perhaps that’s pie in the sky stuff, but it’s my pie in the sky stuff. It’s what I believe education is about. Teachers and students moving through a school year together on a journey.
You are not going to get that sitting on your tablet playing Crossy Road when you’re meant to be studying calculus.
Tory governments are notorious for basing their policy decisions around cost (remember austerity and how it has ultimately led to Brexit??). Education is a cost, not an investment. A cost that must be minimised. How can we minimise that cost? Why not marginalise teachers? Cut the wage bill by giving schools the “choice” to hire the least skilled teachers they can. Marginalise them even more by getting rid of them altogether and delivering the curriculum on an app. Make their job impossible by demanding a fully inclusive service for students with different needs while at the same time removing any funding that goes with those children, thereby reducing the schools chances of hiring learning support staff to assist the teacher educate the student.
Now we come back to the word “choice.” We do have a choice – a choice between a high quality public education service that is free to everyone and helps to reduce inequalities outside the sector by giving every single New Zealand child a chance in life. Or… we can take what National wants to give us, which is the exact opposite – schools driven by cost and profit for the benefit of the few. Our choice will be at the ballot box towards the end of next year.
Today the government added to its list of funding announcements for education. Following hard on the heels of the announcement to give principals and board more choice when choosing which teachers to hire and how much to pay them, the government today announced further announcements.
Special education funding is in for a shake up. The government has said there will be extra funding given to those “differently abled” learners who are attending early childhood education. Although this will mean a cut to funding for older children with learning needs, the government has said this won’t lead to cuts in funding anywhere, except where “financial adjustments” are required to “meet the needs of learners” who are getting “the extra cash.”
Another announcement that came to light today was a plan by Hekia Parata to offer a range of online educational services to kiwi learners right across the country. The plan, which has workedso very wellin the United States, would see learners log in to an online course run by something the minister called an “edu-bot” supplied by billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates.
Ms. Parata said the online course would be “cutting edge” and offer learners a unique chance to learn from the comfort of their bedrooms whilst wearing their undies – a prospect she said would entice many kiwi teens to choose this option.
“One teacher would be able to deliver thousands of hours of learning outcomes for thousands of students,” said the feisty Education Minister, “and that would mean we would require fewer teachers to deliver the learning needs of our learning learners.”
When asked whether Ms. Parata had any idea at all about the educational needs of any New Zealand learners she confidently replied, “Like the majority of my cabinet colleagues, I was at school at one point in my life and this gives me every confidence in my own abilities to know everything there is to know about education policy and the very latest in research-based pedagogy.”
Today the government announced a major shake up of the laws covering the New Zealand spy agencies. The changes were outlined at the post-Cabinet press conference yesterday by Prime Minister John Key and the minister in charge of the agencies Chris Finlayson. The changes would allow the GCSB to spy on New Zealanders.
“These changes are in the interests of national security,” Key told the unquestioning journalists, “There are so many threats out there from terrorism, ISIS, terrorists, scary people, people who wear masks and terrorists. It’s important we make these changes so we can deal with these people as the need arises.”
When questioned on why the changes were being brought in now the prime minister was adamant.
“At the moment it is illegal for the GCSB to spy on New Zealand citizens. What if there are kiwis out there who are threats to national security? How can we find out who they are if these agencies aren’t able to listen and trawl and phish for stuff?”
Someone asked the Prime Minister for an example of what he would consider a home-grown national security threat.
“Let’s say the government announce a policy. Let’s say that policy is to bring back funding choices for schools that will allow them to choose whether they spend their money on teachers or other stuff. Let’s say the teachers don’t like this policy. How are the government meant to find out what they’re up to if we can’t spy on them? Teachers are notorious for their militancy and threatening the very fabric of our society – especially when National is in power. They are the very kind of national security threat we are talking about.”
When Key was asked to give other examples he suggested the GCBS could “look through the election results” to match up who people didn’t vote for National and cross reference them with union membership, protesting and Māori sovereignty campaigners. He also said the government could set up an 0800 number that concerned citizens could ring to inform authorities of any suspicious activities because, “it worked so well in East Germany during the 70s and 80s.”
The right-wing think tank The Kiwiblog Initiative has called on the government to radically overhaul the way it trains its doctors.
Hard on the heels of the success of the teacher training scheme Teach First, which puts university graduates through a four-day online course before placing them in a South Auckland school, The Kiwiblog Initiative is calling on the government to set up a new training program for kiwi doctors.
Called Doct First, the programme would take high performing graduates out of the private sector and put them through a three-week intensive, after which they would be given a white coat, a stethoscope and a bag full of shiny new cutty things and be sent off to the provinces to hack away at the bunions of NZ First voters.
“We have been waiting too long for this kind of innovation,” says Kiwiblog Initiative chief thinker Carrick Farrer, “New Zealand is falling short in a range of OECD health statistics. Doct First would give this government an opportunity to change those statistics.”
When it was pointed out that perhaps having a heart surgeon train on the job might not the best idea for improving those statistics, Carrick said people were looking for “change” and “choice” in their health service and this change was “pretty choice.”
When asked about this proposal the Medical Council referred us to this Gif: