Renewal is here… ackshully

With the recent resignation of Her Ladyship Hekia Parata, questions are being asked about the National Party’s ability to represent all the people of Aotearoa. MyThinks travelled to a gated community in the decile 47 suburb of Remuera to find out.

    MyThinks: Thanks for joining us Prime Minister. 

    John: Yeahnah thanks for having me.

    MyThinks: I’m at your house, but never mind. Prime Minister… with the resignation of Minister Parata from your cabinet, are you at all concerned that you are no longer representative of everyone in New Zealand? 

    John: Whaddaya mean?

    MyThinks: Well even at the moment with your current cabinet, there really are only a handful of members who aren’t old white dudes.

    John: Yeahnah… no I mean just nah. Nah. 

    MyThinks: Nah you do mean yeah.

    John: Yeahnah I do mean nah. We’re not just old white dudes. We’ve got heaps of chi… womans and some others.

    (Let the record show that the Prime Minister made finger quotes in the air when saying others)

    MyThinks: I think you’ll find it’s mostly old white dudes.MyThinks did some research and the average age of cabinet is 52, the average shade is pinky cream, and 60% of cabinet are men. Old. White. Dudes.

    John: We have a very diverse team… so… Ackshully you’re wrong.

    MyThinks: Ackshully… I’m not. There’s you, Bill English, Steven Joyce, Nick Smith, Murray McCully… all white… all dudes… all old…

    John: What abo…

    MyThinks: …Gerry Brownlee, Todd McClay, Chris Finlayson, Judith Collins, Simon Bridges…

    John: Wait a minute… He’s young…

    MyThinks: …Jonathan Coleman…

    John: He’s a doctor…

    MyThinks: …Michael Woodhouse and Todd McClay.

    John: Yeahnah… but what about old Westie and thingy-ma-bob who used to do corrections before Mr. Collins? And that one that was Education Minister before Hekia. They’re all… um… not like me.

    MyThinks: Yes… you’re right, but my point is… with all those rich old guys stearing the ship, how can you possibly know what’s going on for the homeless in Auckland or the people working two jobs and still having to use foodbanks?

    John: Look… I saw the news last night. I know there are some Bad Hombres out on struggle street but I’m not going stand here and promise things I can’t give them.

    MyThinks: Like tax cuts?

    John: Yeahnah they won’t be getting those.

    MyThinks: What will they be getting?

    John: Look… I can’t stand here and talk to you all day… espeshully when the questions get really hard. I’m a very rich and important man with lots to do. Now if you’ll excuse me I’m having my driveway wallpapered. Goodbye.

    MyThinks showed themselves out.


    OECD and PISA – some twitter thoughts

    Last night this tweet appeared in my feed…


    So, of course, I replied…

    And I replied to that one as well…


    …because we all know what’s going to happen. Either we will go up or go down depending on who else goes up or down and where we are on the table. Certain countries will remain at the top because of top-loading their students for the testing season (except Finland, who will remain high despite their total rejection of the reformy types leading the educational charge across Western civilisation).

    Then, when I awoke this morning, I started thinking about the time they released the last PISA results three years ago. Other thinks popped into my head…


    Yes… Plausible Values… those values that replace missing values in a plausible way… that’s right… completely made up values that go in places where values should be but aren’t (for whatever reason).


    Turns out, it’s a legit statistical thing (click pic for link).


    I decided it was time to point out we were in the 21st century (click tweet pic for the full report from The Economist).


    I thought I’d better back myself up, so I tweeted…


    Then, bordering on trolling, I finished with:


    As an educational thinker / ranter from way back, I will be very interested in how the National Party spin the New Zealand results in PISA when they are released (in 2012, the report was released in December, so it shouldn’t be too far away).

    Remember… I called it first. If we drop in any way, the National Party will call this “just one result” or say things like “we have plenty of things in place blah blah etc.” But if we rise by the slightest amount, listen to them crow like a drunk All Black fan. There will be much back patting and high-fiving in the Beehive and I’m certain Hekia will trumpet her success from the ninth floor with a grand fanfare.

    My final thinks: I doubt very much we will rise. The United Kingdom, the US and Sweden, all proponents of the global reform movement currently sit 23rd, 24th and 36th in reading respectively. In 2000 they were 8th, 16th and 10th. They will argue that “more needs to be done” – that is, the reforms haven’t worked so let’s continue with the same reforms and do them some more!

    Only a genius tries to get rid of a headache by smashing their face with a cricket bat.

    Time will tell.

    Parata: I resign

    It is with great sadness and extreme sadness that I announce my resignation from the position of Education Minister of Aotearoa New Zealand.

    The role of champion of our young learners is a challenging poison chalice of death for any National Party minister, let alone one with my skill and talents.

    I have undertaken this role with commitment and delivering all manner of deliverables to those receiving my deliverables.

    I have been committed to consultation. I have consulted with many different stakeholders. It’s important that stakeholders know what policy platforms are going to be implemented against them.

    By some time next year I will have committed nearly 10 years of my life to politics. It’s something that I’ve wanted to do and I’ve done with 1237% energy and passion, but there will be other opportunities in the “great blue horizon” beyond the beehive.

    I am certain if the National Party are in power after the next election I will be offered plenty of them.

    Collins: The poor poor

    Hello. Judith Collins speaking. As you know I speak from the heart and I’m not afraid to say what I think people want to hear in order to become leader of the National Party.

    This week I have been in the news over comments I made at the annual Police Association conference. I was taken completely out of context and I just wanted to set the record straight.

    I was up there, looking stunning in a blue ensemble by Les Agriculteurs, and someone asked me a question about decreasing rates of child poverty and inequality. I was quoted as saying poverty was down to bad parenting and this is simply not true.

    “Guns don’t kill people – I do”

    What I said was that the poor were poor and they were poor because they made bad decisions. Take me for example. I didn’t want to be poor so I became a lawyer and then a politician and, thanks to kickbacks, very favourable speculative real estate conditions and marrying an exceedingly rich chap, I have landed on my feet.

    The poor are completely free to this too.

    If you are poor why not become a lawyer or a farmer or a doctor or something, rather than drive that rubbish truck or mooch on the dole? Then perhaps you could be an example to your children and they won’t turn into gang members or P dealers or whatever the criminal poor do these days.

    I’m a lovely person. It’s a shame that people think I believe poor people are bad parents.

    The poor are not bad parents. They are just bad people.

    Thank you.

    Kind regards,

    Judith Collins, Leader-in-waiting, National Party.

    The Little Princess

    Once upon a time there was a little princess called Hekia. She lived in a giant castle built out of hard bricks.

    Little Princess Hekia had a dream. She wanted everything to be her way. It was so very important to her that everything went exactly as she wanted it. Be it staying up past her bedtime, a present she got for Christmas, or a government policy with far-reaching implications for many years to come. It all had to be as Little Princess Hekia wanted it.

    Then one day darkness came to the forest. Princess Hekia was sitting in her castle tower brushing her long, flowing hair with a brush made from the dreams of homeless children when she heard a distant laugh. She ran to the window and looked, but she couldn’t see anything. Once again, she heard the laugh. This time it was louder. Hekia wondered what it might be.

    Running down the stairs of her tall tower, Hekia called out to her father.

    “Father!! Father!!” she cried out in the hopes that King John was listening.

    King John was listening, but not to her. He was listening to his court jester Freaky Joycie who was entertaining him with a story about a drunk muldoon. Princess Hekia rushed into the room and called to King John again.

    “Father, father! Someone is laughing at me,” she informed him, “I can hear them in the forest. They are laughing. And it’s at me! Me!!”

    King John looked at his daughter. For years he had been troubled with her thin skin. If it hadn’t been such an ancient and fictitious time, King John believed he would need a micrometer to measure the thickness of her skin. Would he deal with this now? Or, like any good father, would he just brush off his daughter’s concerns with some gentle platitudes. He was enjoying Freaky Joycie’s current nonsense and he wanted to see how it turned out.

    “Darling,” he said to his concerned daughter, “you’ve got nothing to worry about. Nobody is laughing at you. At the end of the day if anybody does laugh at you, it’s because you are funny. Just look at Joycie. He’s so freaky looking. That’s why people laugh at him. You are a lovely and beautiful girl and I love you with all my heart but go away please. I’ve got better things to do.”

    Princess Hekia left the throne room. She was on her own. If she wanted to find where the laughter was coming from, she would have to do it herself. At that moment determination grew inside her like a giant mutant slug. She stormed up to her room, took off her pretty dress, put on her gardening tunic, and headed out into the forest to find the source of the laughter.

    Two days later Hekia lay exhausted at the edge of the forest. She had made it out across the drawbridge successfully but then ran into trouble in the grassy stretch between the castle and the forest. As it turned out, being cloistered for years in a high tower away from any external influences had not set her up very well to deal with the outside world.

    Princess Hekia took a deep breath. Rather than heading into the dark and dangerous forest alone, she would return to the castle. She would demand King John surround her with a phalanx of special advisors, at huge cost to the crown, who would tell her exactly what to do, how to act, and what to say during confusing and dangerous situations such as the disaster she had just failed to deal with.

    As Princess Hekia returned to the castle a smile spread across her face as she realised how relaxing the rest of her life would be because she had decided she would never have to think again.

    The End