Weighing benefits against costs is the way most people make decisions — and the way most businesses make decisions, if they want to stay in business. Only in government is any benefit, however small, considered to be worth any cost, however large.
— Thomas Sowell (@ThomasSowell) May 13, 2021
Last week we learned thousands of school lunches are left uneaten.
Thousands of taxpayer-funded school lunches are being left uneaten by students each week.
And the Government is not counting the leftovers from one of its flagship policies. . .
Yesterday we learned that the government is owed nearly $7 million in unpaid MIQ fees:
The Government is reducing the amount of time MIQ guests have to pay their bills after figures showed they are owed almost $7 million in overdue fees for MIQ stays.
Figures obtained by 1 NEWS showed the Government was owed $6,907,434 in overdue invoices from MIQ guests, with $3,792,298 owed by guests who stayed at facilities last year.
A total of 13,155 invoices worth $59,519,661 have been issued for stays since August, with guests having paid a total of $36,783,765. . .
National’s Covid-19 response spokesperson Chris Bishop said “hotels don’t run honesty systems and the Government shouldn‘t run one either”.
He said the Government should be chasing people who owe money much harder.
In the last three months, $1,196,695 of the $17,025,158 worth of invoices issued was classified as overdue. . .
Both examples show what Heather du Plessis Allan says is a lax approach to our money:
They’re so desperate to convince us that they are good with money, that’s why they froze the pay of all nurses and teachers and police and so on.
But that is not going to convince us of anything, when we constantly see examples of completely careless spending.
And we’ve seen a lot of it in the last nearly four years.
$3 billion thrown carelessly at the provincial growth fund to buy Winston’s affection, with a negligible number of jobs created.
Is it $14 billion into the wage subsidy scheme, which is a good scheme, but no real chasing and auditing to make sure people who shouldn’t’ have taken the money didn’t. Even the Auditor General called them out for that sloppiness this week.
And $100 million for marae upgrades that were supposed to create 3000 jobs but only created 158.
This is the attitude I really object to.
And I’m sorry, but as long as Labour ministers like Chris Hipkins just don’t care whether our money is wasted in uneaten school lunches, as long as that happens, Labour will be perceived to be the party that just throws cash away.
Pay freeze the nurses all you like, that perception will stick, because it’s warranted.
Every dollar the government spends is a dollar that has been taken from other people – taxpayers.
Every dollar wasted is a dollar that isn’t available for urgent priorities including health and education.
Every dollar mis-spent or not recouped reinforces the view that the government has no regard for other people’s money.
Anyone else sick of what should be normal being called privilege?
A student at a Whangārei primary school had to stand up in front of their classroom and say what they had done to acknowledge their white privilege. . .
When did it become okay for teachers to be so political?
And when did what ought to be normal become privilege?
That’s normal as in being a child with parents who love each other and their children; living in a family where parents set boundaries and impose consequences when they’re breached; having a warm, clean home where there’s enough food.
That isn’t privilege. It’s what should be normal for all children and has nothing to do with ethnicity.
Calling it privilege, with or without the qualifier white, is a political construct.
It takes no account of effort and will.
It carries the message that where you are and what you have is all due to circumstances beyond control..
It is behaviour that would be punished if a child subjected another to it in the playground and it has no place in a classroom.
To make a child stand in front of a class and speak like that is bullying that should not be tolerated at school, let alone from a teacher who is in a position of power to a pupil who is not.
For a while there we were first, or nearly first in the world for our response to Covid-19.
That relatively relatively few people contracted the disease, relatively few died from it is cause for congratulations.
We were also going to be first in the queue for vaccines but the slow roll-out is putting us well down the success-list and there is a human and economic cost to that.
Dr Gorman said without widespread vaccination we remain “isolated”.
“Yes there is an argument that vaccination has most application in countries with rampant disease, but there’s an equally strong argument we’re like a shag on a rock, and we’ll be a shag on a rock until we’re vaccinated, and our economy suffers. The next GFC, the next earthquake in Christchurch, we can’t buffer it.”
From success to shags because once more the government has shown it’s much better at announcing than delivering.
Anyone else getting sick of people playing the racism card?
The two Maori Party MPs have been trying it in parliament, accusing Opposition MPs who question policy which affects Maori of being racist.
It came to a head yesterday after National leader Judith Collins raised questions over co-governance proposals:
As Collins questioned Ardern about “separate sovereignty” in Parliament, Waititi interrupted her and asked the Speaker to step in. Collins could be heard scoffing as she was forced to sit down.
“Mr Speaker, I seek your guidance and advice,” Waititi said. “Over the past two weeks there has been racist propaganda and rhetoric towards tangata whenua. That not only is insulting to tangata whenua, but diminishes the mana of this House.”
House Speaker Trevor Mallard dismissed Waititi’s disruption, ruling that the conversation was “not at the point” where it was controversial enough to need to be stopped.
Waititi continued to interrupt Collins and was kicked out of the House. He responded by performing a rousing haka, before departing the Chamber.
Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson also described Collins’ remarks as racist, and congratulated Waititi and Māori Party co-leader Debbie Ngarewa-Packer for calling her out.
Davidson said Collins’ “ongoing racist comments” needed to be addressed.
“This House absolutely deserves better than a narrative that harms tangata whenua communities and damages a pathway for true Tiriti justice.” . .
What this House and this country deserve is the ability to raise questions about policy that affects us all, and appears to favour only some of us, without the racism card being played.
Such accusations of racism aren’t confined to parliament. They’re too often made in response to genuine and reasonable questions about, and criticism of, any policies about, or which affect, Maori people.
If making accusations of racisms against questioners and critics of policies is the only reaction those disagreeing with the questions and criticisms have, they’re showing they don’t actually have any reasonable grounds for argument.
Remember being told we’d be at the front of the vaccine queue? Now we’re told that’s not what the government meant:
The Prime Minister’s comments today in Question Time that Chris Hipkins’ promise that New Zealand would be at the “front of the queue” for Covid-19 vaccines actually meant that we would be at the front of the queue in terms of signing contracts are baffling, says National’s Covid-19 Response spokesperson Chris Bishop.
“Her assertion that ‘distribution is secondary’ demonstrates how woeful the Government’s vaccination programme is. Signing a contract does not protect Kiwis from Covid-19.”
Distribution is secondary?
Tell that to the people who can’t reunite with their families. Tell that to people whose businesses are compromised because they can’t travel or who live in fear of another lockdown. Tell that to people who fear for their health or that of their family and friends.
“When Chris Hipkins told New Zealanders that we were ‘at the front of the queue’ for Covid-19 vaccines, we rightly thought that meant New Zealand would quickly roll-out the Covid-19 vaccines.
“Yet again the Prime Minister is moving the goalposts. Faced with a very slow roll-out where New Zealand is the 120th slowest in the world and the second slowest in the OECD, the Prime Minister’s new line is that ‘front of the queue’ just means speed of signing contracts.
Front of the queue for signing contracts? Why would that be cause for celebration? Does she really expect us to believe that?
“Why would the Government celebrate being first in line to sign a contract to ensure slow delivery, and consequential slow roll-out of vaccines? It beggars belief.
“The vaccine roll-out is a mess.”
We’ve received pamphlets in the mail, we’ve seen advertisements in the paper and we keep hearing them on the radio reassuring that the vaccine is safe and that we’ll get it.
What we’re not getting is when we’ll get it nor are we getting confidence in the roll-out. Playing word games trying to get us to believe that front of the queue doesn’t mean now what it meant a few months ago isn’t helping.
Mike Hosking asks, when will we start demanding better from the response?
. . . Vaccinated travellers all over the world are now starting to get on planes and fly and we as of now are missing out. . .
Our issue, according to our esteemed leader who told us a few weeks ago when we asked when the borders would be opening to vaccinated travellers, said that was an open question, which is code for she hasn’t thought about it. . .
Any mountaineer knows getting to the top of the mountain is only half way.
Other countries who were well behind us in stopping the spread of the disease are already well down the mountain while we still don’t know the plan for the descent.
At some point a level of normality will have returned and places like Britain and the states are seeing their vaccination programmes as being comprehensive enough to be able to do that
Is it really possible the fear instilled in us by a government bereft of a plan beyond a closed border is really going to let the world get back to life and keep us locked up? . .
As each day passes it becomes clearer where this story is heading. Vaccines work, the quicker you complete your programme, the more normal you can become, the world is clearly more than happy to drop restrictions lower borders and get life on a new track.
We sit here unvaccinated, borders closed, and no decision around what is next how and when.
It seems odd and increasingly criminal we can be recognised for a solid Covid response but because of our own fear and lack of planning cut ourselves out of the joining the rest of the world.
When do we start demanding better?
There’s no doubt the government was good at stopping Covid-19 causing the devastation it did in many other countries.
But repeated mistakes and repeated breaches at the border show that at least some of the success was due more to luck than management.
It will take a lot more good management than luck to make a success of the roll-out and trusting us with the truth, rather than trying to make us believe what was meant wasn’t what was said would be a good start.
The PM and Finance Minister are both trying to say the public wage freeze announced last week is not a freeze:
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her Deputy, Grant Robertson, were both forced on the defensive this morning over their public sector wage freeze decision.
They both rejected that the moves to restrain public sector wages was a “freeze”, as there is still some room for movement in pay scales.
Speaking to reporters at the post-Cabinet press conference, Ardern said she had no plans to reverse the Government’s decision.
But she has admitted that she thinks the Government should have put more emphasis on the fact that public servants earning more than $60,000 a year can still move up through their pay bands. . .
Moving up through a pay band is not generally regarded as being the same as a pay rise and if people aren’t getting a pay rise it’s generally regarded as a pay freeze.
That the government realises the need to restrain its spending and is doing something about it ought to be a good thing but in targetting people nurses, police and teachers, most of whom are underpaid for the work they do and responsibilities they have, they’ve hit the wrong target.
It would have been far better to follow the example of John Key and BIll English during the GFC when total public service spending was frozen, excepting health and education and with the direction there was to be no reduction in front-line services.
That left the people paid to manage their departments and ministries to do so by cutting fat and showed the workers, and public that frontline staff were valued.
Instead the government has demonstrated its propensity for control freakery once again, upsetting public servants, unions and gaining no points from the public who generally don’t think the frontline staff in education, health and policing are overpaid.
The government was probably trying to show it can manage its finances well. It hasn’t done that and has also demonstrated political mismanagement in the process.