The state apparently has me under covert investigation.
It all started a couple of weeks ago when I was followed home by some guy in a long coat and dark glasses. It was 27 degrees and cloudy.
My friends have also been summonsed by an insolvency officer. They were served and forced, against their will, to give testimony. This goes completely against our democratic right of freedom of speech and freedom of association – except for gangs and other groups that ACT don’t like.
On Thursday I emailed the PI firm. Nothing. Except that I was followed again – this time through a mall when I was out shopping with my family. I was pretty sure the guy following me was dressed in full cammo gear, or he might have been that other guy who was looking at me funny while I was in line at the KFC. I mean, what’s this all about?
I put a call in to Steven Joyce’s office. When I was leaving a message (he wouldn’t take my call) I heard clicks on the line. They’re listen to me as well.
I complained to the Privacy Commissioner and I hear nothing back. Why would the Privacy Commissioner not answer to my complaint? People following me is clearly an invasion of my privacy. I am certain this is a vendetta.
Then I went into the MBIE offices in Christchurch. I sat in the foyer for two hours. They asked me to move along. I’m just sitting there waiting for someone who never shows up and they ask me to move on. The “man” is onto me.
I can’t walk outside, talk on my phone or drive my car without being followed or listened to. Why? Why am I under investigation? They won’t tell me, yet here we are. Talking about an investigation that isn’t, people following me who aren’t, and things I’m seeing that I’m not.
Hello. My name is Rodney Hide and this is my column.
During my column I generally make outlandish statements. Sometimes they are thinly disguised racism; sometimes they are telling the Greens they are a bunch of fruitcakes. Whichever way you look at it, if my opinions are great enough to be published in a weekly newspaper, then they must be important.
Here is another one of them.
We all do it. He does it. You do it. I do it. Gosh, even our former Prime Minister Helen “Of Troy” Clark did it.
What am I talking about? Speeding. According to the latest figures I was emailed by the PR company paying for this opinion, around 106% of all drivers speed at some point in their driving career. The other 17% are lying.
We all know that speeding is just part of arsenal available to excellent drivers such as myself. I mean, I have a fairly late-model European import, hand-crafted in Germany by illegal migrant workers. It has been built for the Autobahn. When I travel down the Auckland motorway at exactly 100kph the GPS sighs at me and says, “stellen sie ihren fuß auf das gaspedal sie kätzchen,” and quite rightly too. The car is built to travel at over 180kph and to just travel at 100 is an insult.
You do the maths. If you are travelling behind a truck and trailer going at 90kph you need over three kilometres of open road just to pass it. That’s why you get so many excited drivers trying to run each other off the road as they attempt to make it to Queenstown to get the best camp-site or park near the gondola.
Even though I have a very expensive car and loads of money, I like driving at the speed limit. If I have to pass I make sure of it though and I’ll get up to about 25okph to burn off those slow coaches. Then I slow down to the speed limit again to continue my journey safely until I come up against another useless driver who I’ll pass at the maximum.
Now. If I got caught speeding I could lose my licence or my flash car. Luckily, thanks to my years in parliament, I know a lot of people currently high up in the New Zealand police force and if I finish this sentence I could lose a lot more than my licence or my sweet German ride.
The only thing I will say about the police and their zero tolerance policy on speed is this: it is a complete waste of time and resources. The speed limit is just a suggestion and because it’s a law that I don’t agree with then I’m going to criticise it profusely because I don’t believe that I should be penalised for breaking a law that is obviously so ridiculous.
Unlike those cheating the benefit system out of tax dollars, speeding is a victimless crime (unless you crash into someone and hurt them). I shouldn’t have to abide by a law that I don’t agree with.
Murder is also a victimless crime. There are many, many people out there who I don’t think should be walking the street but God help me if I go out there or I hire someone else to go out there to take them out. Apparently you just can’t do that. It’s against the “law.”
Well… it’s a stupid law. Drafted by stupid people. Stupid people who work in stupid Wellington for stupid money.
Until the government realise that I’m rich and the law doesn’t apply to me and my friends then the better off we will all be.
People have been speaking out against the Education Reform Bill – the bill that will give us
charter partnership schools. The very same charter schools that we as electors were never told about before the last election.
So what do we know?
- John Banks, in his sublime roles as Associate Minister of Education and leader of the minority far-right lobby group ACT, announced charter schools as part of his party’s coalition deal with National.
- National, who are well-known for wanting to do lots of stuff but are too scared to tell the electors what they really want to do (unless they are confident in their 50% poll rating – they’d never do it with 40% rating), sign up to this deal.
- The deal paves the way for privately run schools paid for by all New Zealand taxpayers. That is: these charter schools, like privately run prisons, will be totally funded from tax money but be totally run by non-government organisations.
There are a few things I don’t understand. To put it another way, there are contradictions with the idea of charter schools or privately run prisons.
Firstly, if these education policies are so awesome, so amazingly brilliant for New Zealand children and parents, why were they not mentioned in any major way until AFTER we had all voted? Mainly because the NACTional government was already weak on education following the introduction of National Standards and any other major reforms would have elicited a “Too soon, too quickly” response from voters. Parents (voters) are not stupid. They know upheaval in schools is going to impact on their kid’s schooling. Politicians are even more savvy. They know they have to massage and tweak things, but the neoliberal reforms of the 80s and 90s have given New Zealanders little appetite for massive and rapid change, and to make any pre-election announcement that would signal drastic change in education would be electorally dangerous.
Look what happened with class sizes.
Secondly, ACT was set up as a political party to campaign against what they dubbed as government waste. They see increasing levels of personal taxation and the associated government spending increases as dampening to economic growth. In short, more money spent by the government means less money floating around in the economy being used by business for innovation, employment and so on.
Here’s something from their own website:
They open their plans for a government spending cap with this statement: Government spending is out of control. Why on earth would they want to start using government money to start funding a whole new different part of the education system? Wouldn’t that suck money out of the productive sector? It is probable, as ACT types will tell you, that I’m taking this out of context. Possibly this is fair enough because they go on to say: Governments can justifiably take money… for infrastructure, education and healthcare. And that is the qualification.
For me it comes down to this: if you campaign on cutting government spending then you should practice what you preach. Campaign on cutting ALL government spending, not just some. Say what you really mean. Cut all personal tax, let people spend money where they decide it’s appropriate for their lives and their families, and be done with it. Don’t qualify your policies. Go hard-core, man, or go home.
Although, we must remember that these are politicians we are talking about. ACT’s last leader Rodney Hide, known as the Perk-Busting MP, ended up leaving parliament because he loved using the perks he was fighting against.
Politics is filled with this type of hypocrisy.
Thirdly, as I tweeted about earlier this morning, these edu-reformers are unwilling to put their money where there mouth is and send their own kids to these charter schools.
— boonman (@boonman) March 9, 2013
They would rather send their kids to a fully private school. Or buy a house in a suburb of what is deemed to be a “good school” (the Auckland Grammar zone, for example). I, and I’m sure the voters, teachers, and rest of the sector would be far more accepting of the policy of
charter partnership schools if John Banks sent his kids to one. But no. They are being set up in low-income suburbs of Auckland and Christchurch.
Charter schools are not about giving parents “more choice.” International experience from the academies in the UK, charter schools in the US and free schools in Sweden show us it’s about giving private companies, owned by the wealthy elite, access to the billions that are spent on public education.
My last link goes to a Radio New Zealand story which shows just how much democracy is just an annoyance to the politicians promoting the education reform policies in New Zealand. Before the legislation has been passed John Banks, Associate Education Minister, failed mayor and talkback show host, has started the process. Charter schools will get more public money and the government reserves the right to change any of the rules relating to charter schools at any time.
Good. At least we know where the government stand on charter schools. Keep their real plans secret for as long as possible.
Because it knows exactly how little voters actually want this.
PRESS RELEASE: Rodney Hide, Former MP, Ocean Swimmer, Star Dancer.
Former ACT leader and current New Zealand Herald commentator Rodney Hide has announced his ambition to become a school teacher. The shocking news was delivered at a no-holds-barred ‘smackdown’ breakout at the recent ACT Party rejuvenation conference. The conference, held at the sculpture garden of reclusive billionaire philanthropist and aviator Alan Gibbs, was said to be ground-breaking by several people in attendance – including TV3 political editor Patrick Gower, who was not in attendance.
Hide announced after the session, “I already have three degrees, have taught science and economics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, have worked in a successful merchant bank and have some knowledge of government and its operation.”
Media attending the impromptu press conference all reported being slightly impressed with Hide’s pronouncements – not only his post-graduate work, but also the fact he had over two degrees, many of which were studied for during the tough economic climate of the early to mid-seventies when tertiary education was free-ish.
Patrick Gower reported on something else that was happening in another part of the country. Something scandalous. About puppies.
Hide continued; “In some capacity I would have something to teach students.”
Media agreed. Hide’s ability to teach would probably only be bettered by his abilities as a perk-busting MP so outraged by the waste of parliament that, while representing his Epsom constituents, made it his crusade to sample every single perk Parliamentary Services offered to, “make sure they were all as rotten as I thought they might probably be.”
Teachers around the country, many of whom sleep through much of the school week, welcomed Hide’s declaration.
“He will benefit the education system immensely,” said one un-named woodwork teacher from Christchurch, who was smoking a ‘fragrant Indonesian herbal cigarette’ while being questioned.
Another teacher, who complained about Novopay and John Key while not answering the question, said she wouldn’t answer the question until John Key wasn’t the Prime Minister and Novopay had been dumped.
Patrick Gower said something about David Cunliffe before sneezing and losing his lapel-mic down his chin-bum.
If you haven’t read the Herald on Sunday in the last few weeks then you’re not missing much. It’s the size of a tabloid and, although it tries not to look like it, appears to be New Zealand’s answer to the now defunked Murdoch rag News of the World.
But that’s just my opinion.
In the last two weeks the wonder that is Rodney Hide (claim to fame? Dancing with the “Stars”) has had a double crack at the teaching profession.
Last week it was the unions. I already referred to this column during my rant last week, but it is worthy of mentioning again. His main point? The teaching unions are holding the country / government / corporates who want a share of the education cake to ransom with their constant demands and/or whining about being a “professional body” and “putting the children first.”
He’s got a point. What do we know? In all my years of teaching not once have I taken on board any learning from professional development, colleagues, conferences, mistakes and the children I teach. I agree with Rodders. I’m not so much a sponge, more a block of wood floating in a waterless ocean.
Some people just don’t like unions and workers. They tend to get in the way of profit margins and earnings potential. If only we’d all become robots. Or better! Underpaid robots.
Anyway, that brings me to this week. Hide’s neoliberal gibberish is taking aim at the Teachers’ Council. He, and his paymasters the Herald on Sunday (don’t think he’s mouthing off for free my friends!), have been getting stuck in to the body responsible for registering teachers and overseeing teacher disciplinary hearings.
The first paragraph is a doozy:
In New Zealand, all teachers must be registered. If you are not registered, you can’t teach. Overseeing the registration is an outfit called the New Zealand Teachers Council.
The bold is my emphasis, but this got me thinking. Is he saying that because he believes that people who aren’t registered can’t teach OR is he saying this just as a statement of fact?
As we all know ACT – the Association for the Culling of Teachers – has had its eyes on the edu-billions for a while now. ACT is the political party, but all neoliberals, including John Key, Steven Joyce and the other Nats and Alan Gibbs and his Business Roundtable rich-lister mates have really been lining teachers up for a while.
Key himself said on The Nation last year something along this line: There are lots of fantastic teachers out there but there is a certain element of intransigence within the profession that is preventing progress. I am paraphrasing from memory but it was something fairly similar, and as my dad says, “everything before the ‘but’ is bullshit.” If you don’t believe me think about it the next time someone starts a sentence with, “I’m no racist but…” You know what’s coming after that. A brief summary of their core belief.
Are ACT using Rodders to attack teachers so the parliamentary party can offer ‘solutions’ to the ‘problem?’ In short, yes. If we listened to what he said last week at the ACT conference about hating the poor we should expect more of the real ACT spurting from his mouth over coming months.
Later in the article he talks about the teachers who were fully registered by the Teachers’ Council who’ve since gone on to commit, as he says, vile crimes. He goes on to say:
The Teachers Council’s failure is made worse by its closed disciplinary system, with all details subject to blanket suppression. It has every appearance of a protection racket. Any disciplinary action it takes is hidden well away from public gaze.
As we all know, since 9/11, the far right have got more and more annoyed with the one true ideal of modern western judicial systems – innocent until proven guilty. Bad people don’t deserve due process. Bad people are wrong and should be punished. M-kay.
I have two words for you Rodders: Peter Ellis.
This teacher was falsely accused of abuse, convicted and imprisoned because people thought the jerseys he wore looked a bit funny and he spoke with a slight lisp, oh and why would a man want to work in early childhood education unless he had an ulterior motive?
Well, his career tanked. Unlike Rodders who went from strength to strength in his career after dancing his way through TVNZ.
The Teachers’ Council hold their hearings in private because it’s a private employment matter between a regulatory body and employee and an employer. Plus, since the 1980s any hint of an allegation against a male teacher is interpreted by the media / Family First as actual fact.
As a male teacher this is what is constantly at the front of my mind, especially in unfamiliar settings like school trips to museums where I’m not surrounded by the school community. People tend to watch just to make sure you’re not doing anything wrong.
Impropriety can be a dangerous thing. However, gossip and rumour masquerading as fact can be far more dangerous.
Mind you, we should all trust Rodders and his point of view. After all, he did crusade against government waste for years and then got caught fiddling the expense account, so had to
Towards the end he says this:
I already have three degrees, have taught science and economics at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, have worked in a successful merchant bank and have some knowledge of government and its operation. In some capacity I would have something to teach students.
What are you going to teach them? How to take a political party from 7% of the vote to 1%? Good luck. Plus, how much did you pay for your 3 degrees? My loan is still $20,000-ish.
Dear Rodders: Go back to merchant banking – it’s probably cockney rhyming slang anyway. Innit guvner?