Sowell says


Ooh look over there!


The government would like our attention to shift from its very bad week to an announcement of an announcement about the fast-tracking of a second harbour crossing in Auckland.

If we judge them by the lack of progress on so many of their announcements of other grand plans we can be confident that whichever option is chosen will be on a slow track.

Meanwhile, in spite of their efforts to distract us, those who care about high standards have not been mollified by the explanation without apology from Marama Davidson.

While the attempted diversion by bridge or tunnel was going on, questions around Stuart Nash’s misdeeds got even more serious:

Labour MP Stuart Nash appears to have improperly withheld the June 2020 email that forced prime minister Chris Hipkins to sack him as a minister for “inexcusable” behaviour, lending support to accusations by National Party leader Christopher Luxon of a “cover-up” and highlighting systemic issues with the Official Information Act. . . 

On June 8, 2021, Newsroom made a request to Nash’s office under the Official Information Act for “All written correspondence and details of the nature and substance of any other communication since the start of 2020” between Nash and 19 of his political donors. Included on the list of donors was Troy Bowker. Given that the June 2020 email to Bowker concerned discussions Nash was having in his capacity as a minister, it appears that the June 2020 email fell within the scope of Newsroom’s request.

In August 2021, however, Nash’s office responded, “I hold nothing that is within the scope of your request as the Act relates only to information provided to me as minister. I must therefore refuse your request under section 18(e) of the Official Information Act as the information does not exist or cannot be found.”

Failing to disclose documents within the scope of a valid request without justification is a breach of the Official Information Act. Nash has been approached for comment.

Both Nash’s office and the office of then-Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern were aware of the existence of the June 2020 email at the time Nash’s office responded to Newsroom’s OIA request. On Tuesday afternoon, Hipkins told reporters that Nash’s office had notified staff in Ardern’s office that the June 2020 email existed and that they were excluding it from their response to a 2021 OIA request. Whether that was Newsroom’s request is not clear, but the timing indicates that it was.

On Thursday afternoon, the Prime Minister’s Office released a statement attributing the withholding of information to staff oversight. 

“Two staff members in the Prime Minister’s Office, deputy Chief of Staff Holly Donald and a senior advisor were aware of the original OIA. Only the senior advisor was aware of a subsequent complaint to the Ombudsman. 

“It was not escalated to the former Prime Minister or the former Chief of Staff at any point.”

Both staff had reportedly apologised for their error of judgment in “not recognising the significance of the email and escalating it at the time”. . . .

If senior staff did not understand that the PM and Chief of Staff needed to know about this it’s a very poor reflection on them and their judgement. It also raises a question of how many other times this happened because of their ignorance.

An alternative to that is that the staff did understand who needed to know and deliberately didn’t move it upstairs to protect the minister and the government.

Neither of those are good and there is another alternative: that The PM and CoS did know and the staff are being sacrificed.

Any of the three add evidence to the assertion that the government’s claims of openness and transparency are words without matching action.

They all show a disdain for democracy, as does what the New Zealand Initiative describes as a farce of a parliamentary process:

The New Zealand Initiative has damned the consultation process for the Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Bill. It urges that the Bill be amended to force rigorous [MB1] post-enactment scrutiny, with the legislation repealed by 30 September if that scrutiny does not take place.

The Government and Administration Committee sent an email at 9:00 pm on Tuesday 28 March, calling for submissions by 5:00 pm the following day, Wednesday 29 March. This move has left submitters with less than 24 hours to respond, a timeframe that Executive Director Dr Oliver Hartwich has described as “outrageous.”

Hartwich further emphasised that the bill is not a “harmless run-of-the-mill bill” but a powerful tool that could effectively suspend primary legislation and grant broad powers to the Minister over an extended period. He expressed disappointment in the lack of democratic etiquette demonstrated by the government, particularly in light of the entrenchment fiasco last year.

The Initiative’s Chief Economist, Dr Eric Crampton, echoed Hartwich’s sentiments, stating that the legislation had received no prior scrutiny and that the current process provided no opportunity for appropriate deliberation. Crampton criticised the select committee process as an insult to those invited to submit and to parliamentary democracy.

In its 2018 report, “Recipe for Disaster: Building Policy on Shaky Ground”, the Initiative recommended that off-the-shelf legislation be prepared well before any disaster, with appropriate scrutiny and consideration.

The government cannot undo its failure to adequately prepare for emergency situations. But it can require immediate post-implementation review of the legislation, with a more rigorous and appropriate Select Committee process to amend it. In its one-page submission, this is what the Initiative recommends.

The Initiative views this episode as a shameful moment in New Zealand’s parliamentary democracy.

The Taxpayer’s Union says this ministerial power grab must be stopped:

The New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union condemns the Government’s decision to allow only one day for written submissions on the Severe Weather Emergency Recovery Legislation Bill.

The proposed legislation would allow a minister to exempt, modify, or extend provisions of almost any piece of legislation without any form of democratic scrutiny.

Taxpayers’ Union Campaigns Manager, Callum Purves says:

“This bill would give ministers extensive powers, some lasting until 2028, that would allow them to take action in a range of areas with no democratic parliamentary scrutiny.

“Not only is this ministerial power grab an extremely disproportionate response to the situation, but the government is trying to rush the legislation through with submitters only having a single day to make their views known.

“This truncated process, and the attitude towards democracy shown by some of our lawmakers, is dangerous. Lawmaking at this pace inevitably means mistakes will be made with potentially serious consequences.

“We have already seen emergency powers being abused by ministers wasting billions of taxpayer dollars with the COVID-19 slush fund, this time they are reaching for even more power.

“This legislation would set a dangerous precedent for future governments to seize the opportunity of an emergency to make a ministerial power grab.

“This bill and its token consultation make a mockery of the parliamentary process.”

The government hasn’t learned from the mistake it made last year in its attempt to undermine democracy by entrenching provisions of its Three Five Waters legislation.

Democracy and the part proper parliamentary process plays in it are a necessary part of good governance and essential for the maintenance of trust in the government.

It’s very convenient for the government that this has gone almost unnoticed while attention is focused on its other messes.

It’s attempt to further divert attention from the messes with its announcement of an announcement of a bridge or tunnel that will go nowhere fast adds confirms its lie of openness and transparency and shows yet more disdain for democracy.

Thatcher thinks


Biased labelling


Have you noticed the media’s propensity to label people and groups in a way that shows negative bias?

People speaking up for women’s right to their own spaces and fairness in sport aren’t feminists or women’s rights activists, they’re anti-trans or transphobic.

The Taxpayers’ Union is often prefaced with the label right wing which is not only showing bias, it’s wrong. Advocating for prudent use of public funds and highlighting extravagant spending is not partisan and is in the interests of all of us, wherever we sit on the political spectrum.

The Maxim Institute is often labelled, correctly but unnecessarily, conservative.

There are other examples of pejorative or just unnecessary labelling for people and groups such as wealthy, on the right but I don’t think I’ve ever come across labels prefacing those at the other end of the spectrum.

For example, do you ever come across Greenpeace, or any other individual or group with similar political views, labelled far left or left wing?

Where groups and individuals fit on the political spectrum is often a matter of opinion and whether that opinion is correct or not, it is rarely appropriate to use labels denoting that in news reports and it is definitely wrong to use labels only to show bias towards those on the right and leave those on the left unlabelled.

Thatcher thinks


One Minister down


Stuart Nash has been sacked for a fourth strike:

Stuart Nash has been sacked as a minister, after Stuff revealed he had emailed business figures, including donors, detailing private Cabinet discussions.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins confirmed the people Nash emailed were donors to his campaign, which he said was a serious breach of trust and expectations for ministers.

”His conduct is inexcusable,” Hipkins said. ”He is no longer a Cabinet minister and won’t be coming back.”

Nash, the minister for economic development, forestry and fisheries, was already on his “final warning” for breaches to the Cabinet Manual. 

He’s also been sent a very clear message to not stand again:

Hipkins said he had asked Nash, who is MP for Napier, to also consider his position as an MP generally.

“He is MP for Napier as of right now… Stuart will be reflecting on his position over the next little while,” Hipkins said.

That’s one Minister down and Marama Davidson will be thanking him for taking the spotlight off her.

That does not however, stop criticism of her racist and sexist diatribe on Saturday for which she refuses to apologise:

Marama Davidson is refusing to apologise publicly for saying it’s “white cis men who cause violence in the world”.

Appearing before journalists and in Parliament on Tuesday, the Greens co-leader and Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence repeatedly said she felt it appropriate to clarify her comments, but she didn’t apologise.

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins has said she apologised to him privately, but National’s Christopher Luxon wants a public apology “to the people that she caused offence to”. 

Davidson on Saturday was approached by an individual from the far-right conspiracy theorist website Counterspin for her opinion on behaviour at the Posie Parker protest. 

“Trans people are tired of being oppressed and discriminated,” Davidson said. “I am a prevention violence minister [sic]. I know who causes violence in the world, it is white cis men. That is white cis men who cause violence in the world.” . . 

She uses the excuse of being in shock after being hit by a motorcycle for her vitriol but there is nothing in her appearance in the video to back that up.

Just as being drunk might explain but not excuse bad behaviour, being in shock doesn’t excuse her words and behaviour which are a very clear example of conduct unbecoming for a Minister and for which she owes the many good men she erroneously labelled as perpetrators of violence a sincere apology.

Apropos the subject of unbecoming, it is fair to ask what standards of behaviour Chris Hipkins is willing to tolerate in his Ministers, whether or not they are in Cabinet.

Sowell says


Vote them out # 5


After four years of the fees-free policy, the inevitable has happened: students from wealthier backgrounds have been shown to benefit most:

The proportion of students from wealthier backgrounds taking up the Government’s fees-free tertiary education policy continues to grow, despite its aim to help those facing economic hardship.

Labour’s flagship policy to pay for the first year of tertiary education was introduced in 2018. It was to be expanded to cover the first three years, but this was suspended in 2020, largely due to the impact of Covid-19 and the need to reprioritise spending.

Its original intentions were to help people overcome economic barriers to higher education, while also growing the numbers of those enrolled.

The Government has defended the scheme but the National Party has labelled it “poorly thought through”, given it was failing to improve accessibility or equity for young people from lower-income households. . . 

This is another example of the government failing to target help to those most in need and another reason to vote them out.

Tolerating too little & too much


What’s happened to tolerance for other people’s views?

The angry, sometimes violent, opposition to Speak Up For Women on Saturday showed none of the tolerance many of those protesting seek from others.

There is far too much intolerance of different views and far too little willingness to engage in the calm and reasoned discussion and debate which can lead to better understanding of different opinions and sometimes even common ground.

While too many are tolerating too little, the government is tolerating too much.

Stuart Nash’s final warning after two strikes was converted to a final, final warning after a third strike was made public.

And Chris Hipkins showed far too much tolerance for Marama Davidson’s racist and intolerant diatribe on Saturday:

Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson’s ‘white cis men’ comments at a rally on the weekend were not ‘appropriate’ but context was important.

On Saturday, Davidson, who is also Minister for the Prevention of Family and Sexual Violence, was hit by a motorcyclist at a trans rights rally in Auckland. The rally was a counter-protest to a speaking event by British anti-trans activist Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull – also known as “Posie Parker”.

Shortly after the motorcycle incident, Davidson was confronted on camera and asked about Keen-Minshull being “violently assaulted”, after having tomato juice poured over her.

In her response, Davidson said: “I know what causes violence in this world and it’s white cis men. . . 

On Davidson’s comments, Hipkins said it was important to consider the context – she had been hit by a motorcycle and was being “harassed” by protesters.

Hipkins said it wasn’t the words he would use, however. . .

These aren’t the words a Minister should use either, especially when it shows racism, and ignorance of statistics in her own portfolio.

He accepted the clarification Davidson had issued. . .

In accepting her ‘clarification’ he’s also tolerating very poor ministerial behaviour and tolerating, as did the previous Prime Minister, too little performance by the Minister.

Barry Soper who says if Marama Davidson is anyone’s acceptable standard as a Minister. it’s questionable.


Sowell says


Sign the letter


On Saturday, protestors went too far in trying to silence women speaking up for women.

Instead of listening, debating and countering arguments with reason the many drowned out the few, then broke through the barriers and some became violent.

The people who seek tolerance for themselves showed none for the women seeking to maintain their rights to safe spaces and fair competition.

It was a shameful display of mob rule and unreason made worse by police inaction.

The Free Speech Union has written a letter to the Minister of Police:

Dear Minister,

At the ‘Let Women Speak’ rally on Saturday in Auckland’s Albert Park, Police claimed regarding women’s right activist, Posie Parker, that “she is in a public space. If she feels unsafe she needs to leave.” Regardless of our views on Parker’s claim, this is an abject failure of the Police to do their job; defending the basic liberties of those in New Zealand, including free speech.

The counter-protest on Saturday used the ‘Thug’s Veto’ to silence opponents, not through debate or reason, but through manifest intimidation.

Without the right to peacefully gather and express beliefs and opinions, controversial or condemnable though some may consider them to be, free speech is no longer protected in New Zealand. Free speech guarantees the right to both express perspectives and views, and also to hear others perspectives and views.

The Police have failed in their duty to protect these foundational rights.

If you take free speech off the table, as it seems Police allowed to happen on Saturday, the contested opinions and beliefs don’t simply go away. However, the ability to express them peacefully is undone. This leaves only far more extreme forms of expression on the table. We are concerned for the tenor of public debate, and the potential for this to produce violence.

We believe in tolerance. Without free speech, eventually we will all lose.

We call on you, and the Police Commissioner, to acknowledge the lack of action to defend the basic speech rights of those who turned up to the ‘Let Women Speak’ rally, and reassert that those who express unpopular or controversial views in public are entirely in their right, and deserve to be protected from threats, intimidation, and violence.


If you are willing to join the thousands who have signed, please click on the link above to do so.

Speaking up for women silenced


This is not the way to win friends or persuade people to your views. It is a shameful display of violence:

. . . As soon as she arrived, an activist who was also in there under false pretences, threw what looked like tomato sauce or soup all over KJK and the women who stood next to her. It seemed almost as though this was a signal of sorts, because suddenly there were no more barriers, no more fences – we were utterly surrounded. I couldn’t see a single Marshall in the crowd and feared for their safety as the sea of screaming, chanting and feral protesters swarmed the rotunda.

For awhile, they stayed off the rotunda and we made an effort to get a couple of elderly & disabled women up onto the rotunda with us. My thinking at that stage was that the police would arrive any moment and create a safety barrier around us, so if we could just hold on and keep the most vulnerable women out of the mob then we would be ok.

However, as time went on, it became apparent that the police were not there and were not going to turn up. I think the protesters sensed that as well, because they started to get more and more feral and entered onto the rotunda. Eventually KJK and her security team made a break for it and I hoped this would settle the crowd down and that they would back off – it made no difference whatsoever.

The protesters on the rotunda were overwhelmingly men. Not men in dresses as you might expect at such an event (although there were some) – just ordinary looking men. They shoved women, they screamed in our faces, they leered at us, and they tried to forcibly topple over a section of steel gate onto the women sheltering from them on the other side of it. . . 

I texted my husband who wanted to come and get me – but how? There is no way at that stage he would have been able to get to me and besides, there was no way he’d get there in time. I asked him to call 111. It took him 8 minutes to get through to them and the police told him there were police already there and more on the way. This was patently false. There were no police as far as the eye could see, there were none on the way and I saw none when I finally did manage to get out. And the protesters knew it – you could tell. They knew they could act with impunity. You could tell they knew that had the blessing of the media, the Government and now seemingly, the Police. At one point someone pointed their flag at one of the ladies up there with us. She grabbed it and it broke. He then used the shard to try jab her in the stomach. I had to dodge out of the way to avoid getting accidentally stabbed with it. I’ve never been so scared.

At this point, a tall man there asked if I was ok. Please bear in mind that when I say ‘asked’ I mean he ‘yelled’ because the noise was phenomenal, and you had to lip-read as someone yelled a question at you to maybe understand what they said. He had a camera so I asked if he was news and he nodded yes. I said no, I wasn’t ok, that I was 11 weeks pregnant and terrified. Despite my best effots at bravery I started to falter at the point at which he asked if I was ok and got teary. Good reporter that he is I suppose, he took that opportunity to ask me some questions and get my name. He then – and I am so grateful for this – asked if I wanted help to get out. I did and so he grabbed my hand and led me out. Behind on the rotunda I left behind the elderly lady with the walking frame and at least two other Marshalls who had been up on the rotunda and I’m not sure who else. KJK had been escorted out by her security some time ago and I had no idea if she was safe or if she had made it out or if the Police had helped her at all. I was shaking, felt sick and just stood back watching the rotunda and cried. I desperately looked for some other Marshalls to see if they were ok, and eventually found some of the women I arrived with.

All I wanted to do today was speak & try raise some awareness for how some of these contentious issues are affecting women and children. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, or scream at anyone or even really engage in protest activity. I just wanted a platform to say my piece.

I knew the Labour Party, the Greens and the Mainstream Media had whipped this up into some kind of fascist, Nazi, anti-trans hysteria. But I still always had faith and belief that our police force would do their duty and provide a barrier between us and the counter-protesters. I still believed that even if some really wacky people turned up, the police would keep us safe.

I underestimated the hysteria that had been whipped up. I underestimated the police. I never seriously thought I would be in real actual danger attending a speaking event in New Zealand. I think Heather Du Plessis Allen asked earlier in the week – why was KJK invited here? Wasn’t it just inviting drama? Well let me answer that. KJK was invited here because she is me. She is a mother, and a woman who is fed up with the erosion of female-only spaces, fed up with being called a ‘menstruator’ or ‘pregnant person’ and fed up with watching young gender non-confirming or homosexual children being sterilised and mutilated. KJK was going to give ME a voice, a platform. KJK was invited here because I wanted to listen to her, and last time I checked, I’m allowed to do that.

We are not ‘anti-trans’ – I don’t particularly give a shit about whether people are trans or not to be honest. Dress how you want, sleep with who you want and live your life. But don’t play on female sports teams, don’t record male rapists as women in the crime stats, don’t use our changing rooms and don’t be jailed with us. More importantly, don’t teach my child that boys can have a period, don’t teach my tom-boy daughter that she really must be a boy if she likes Rugby & hates her period, don’t tell young lesbians they have a ‘genital fetish’ if they refuse to have sex with a man with a penis and don’t socially transition my children at school behind my back. Is that really so fucking unreasonable? Did that really warrant the violence and mob today? Do those views really justify men shoving women and having the media paint me as a Nazi?

This is an election year. I was put in danger today because of the Labour Party, the Greens party and the mainstream media whipping up a frenzied mob of hatred against KJK and therefore by extension, me. I was in danger today because our police force – for whatever reason – decided not to do their job and provide a barricade between peaceful women trying to speak and a baying mob. I was ultimately put in danger though, because no one in this country will stand up to bullies and defend women’s rights. Instead, you sit silently by and tacitly give your consent to this. And I have no idea why. These people will never vote for you, no matter how many ‘big gay outs’ you attend. You say you believe KJK had the right to speak, but you all say you disagree with her views. Which ones exactly? Which view mentioned above precisely, do you disagree with? This isn’t rhetorical – at this point I have a right to know what our MPs think on this matter.

And this first hand account from Ani O’Brien:

. . . We expected noise from the protestors, and they certainly delivered, but I did not expect the violence I witnessed.

No sooner had Kellie-Jay Keen Minshull arrived at the Rotunda, a protestor (who had managed to get past the barrier) ran at her and threw a red substance all over her and a security guard. As she attempted to clean up, the protestors pushed over, crushed, and dismantled the barriers and swarmed around her.

At this point, I was caught in the angry crowd. I had whistles blown in my face, abuse screamed at me, and I was fearful for my own safety. This was nothing compared to what Kellie-Jay endured. She was trapped and surrounded by a mob screaming abuse and trying to get past her security guards.

There were no police in sight. Despite widely publicised threats of violence, the police were nowhere near the protest frontlines to prevent the event from devolving into chaos as it did. 

I had to call the police from the middle of the screaming crowd! And even then, they weren’t particularly concerned that a woman was trapped in the midst of a mob determined to get to her.

I have never been more concerned about our country. Free speech is completely dead when the angriest and loudest activists are allowed to decide who gets to speak and listen. 

Where does this end? Will the activist groups provide us with a list of approved topics and speakers?

If we don’t get this sorted and can’t rely on the police, someone could very well end up dead. This is serious and we cannot sit back and watch violence become the norm.

One of the stewards gives her report:


What has happened to our values when people who deny science and biology, who won’t listen to reason, and who demand inclusion and tolerance but show none of it are portrayed in the media as the virtuous ones and those who want to speak up for women and their rights are silenced?

What has happened when the ones who spent all week crying to the media that they feared for their safety instigated the violence but are still regarded as the victims?

What has happened when those seeking to peacefully give their views, to exercise their right to free speech, are silenced by a mob and the police stand back?

Speak Up For Women, the group organising the rally to do as their name suggest, speak up for women, issued this statement:

Today in Albert Park as women were punched, kicked, spat at, trampled, and overrun by a violent mob, New Zealanders have seen the true colours of some of those who, ordinarily, cloak themselves in claims of diversity, tolerance, and inclusion.

In the same week that World Athletics has stated what all reasonable New Zealanders know to be true – that fairness, safety and opportunities for women in sport require the exclusion of males, no matter how they choose to identify – New Zealand activists have shown that they believe women should not be able to have anything for themselves. Not even a small band rotunda in an Auckland park.

So let us clearly say the things that Kellie-Jay Keen-Minshull was not able to say today. Lesbians cannot have penises. Men have no place in women’s single sex facilities, services, or sports, regardless of what they proclaim their inner gender identity to be. Puberty blockers, created to castrate male sex offenders and treat prostate cancer, are experimental and harm vulnerable children. And people cannot change biological sex no matter how much they may want to or how many documents they may possess saying otherwise.

Saying that does not deny the existence of people who identify as gender diverse, or instigate harm or violence against them, or make them unsafe, it simply states the truth. Biological sex is real and it matters.

Storming barricades and assaulting women is not “free speech”. It is violent sexism and misogyny. Drowning out the speech of people you don’t like is the cowardly approach of people unwilling to debate contesting views. A 5’1” woman needing four security guards to form a human shield around her to protect her from a screaming, spitting mob is not a New Zealand we know. But it is a true representation of a movement that has become increasingly determined to shut down and destroy anyone with views about sex and gender that they don’t like.

We see those of you in the media who are already trying to downplay the results of the frenzy you were busy whipping up all week. There was not a “scuffle” between supporters and Mrs Keen-Minshull did not leave because she got some paint thrown at her. A small group of courageous women were stampeded by an activist mob and a number were assaulted and physically harmed. Fortunately, in the age of technology New Zealanders can see for themselves what happened.

In the country that was the first in the world to give women the vote, tomorrow’s Let Women Speak gathering in Wellington has been cancelled. Mrs Keen-Minshull’s security team have advised her that they cannot keep her safe from mob violence and the police have declined to do so.

Activists spent the week being courted by a complicit media platforming their claims of being scared, fearing for their safety, deliberately lying to propagate their claims of New Zealand being full of “queer hatred”, and claiming that words they don’t like are harmful and make them feel unsafe. In reality it is clear who really was unsafe today. It is clear who was actually harmed. And it was not the activists taking gloating selfies from a band rotunda.

Speak Up for Women thanks Mrs Keen-Minshull for having the courage to come to New Zealand and showing up in Albert Park today, despite receiving multiple death threats and threats of violence in the last week’

In the coming weeks Speak Up for Women will be gathering witness statements and laying a formal complaint with the Independent Police Conduct Authority about the lack of police action to prevent violence in what was clearly an increasingly volatile situation.

We call on all political leaders to roundly condemn the violence that transgender activists perpetuated this morning.

We speak directly to the Greens, who actively courted and promoted the violence that occurred today, including just this morning posting on social media that they were ready to “fight the Nazis”. And by Nazis they meant the 70 year-old woman who was punched in the head by the mob they instigated. The Green Party was founded by people who fought for free speech, including speech they found abhorrent, you should be ashamed of what you have turned the party into.

What would the Green Party founders think of this vitriol from their co-leader?

This woman is a Minister and her racist vitriol ignores the facts:

Green and Labour MPs, helped by a biased media let themselves, the people they represent and the country down by not standing up for women and supporting those who won’t let them speak up.

Thatcher thinks


Getting back to world class


New Zealand used to have a world class education system. National has a plan to get it back:

A National Government will ensure every child gets a world-class education so when they leave school, they can lead the life they want, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

“Education has the power to change lives. It allows children to gain the skills and knowledge they need for further education and to go on and lead successful lives.

“Since coming to politics, the systemic failure in New Zealand’s education system is what has shocked me more than anything else.

“Two-thirds of secondary school students failed to meet the minimum standard in reading, writing and maths, while 98 per cent of Decile One Year 10 students failed a basic writing test.

“This is utterly unacceptable. That’s why today I am announcing National’s plan for ‘Teaching the Basics Brilliantly’, which will ensure every child has the skills they need in reading, writing, maths and science to set them up for further success.

National will:

    1. Require all primary and intermediate schools to teach an hour of reading, an hour of writing and an hour of maths, on average, every day.
    2. Re-write the curriculum so it says what must be taught each year in reading, writing, maths and science to every year group in primary and intermediate schools.
    3. Require standardised, robust assessment of student progress in reading, writing and maths at least twice a year every year from Year 3 to Year 8, with clear reporting to parents.
    4. Ensure that teachers and teacher trainees spend more time learning how to teach the basics. We’ll also provide them with more classroom tools and lesson plans to help them teach reading, writing, maths and science.

“National will set a target of 80 per cent of Year 8 students being at or above the expected curriculum level for their age in reading, writing, maths and science by 2030.  

“Further, we’ll aim to return New Zealand students to the top 10 in the world in maths, reading and science, measured by the OECD’s PISA rankings, by 2033.

“Labour has spent $5 billion more on education and hired 1400 more public servants, yet our children are going backwards. After nearly six years of a Labour government, there’s been no improvement in Year 8’s results. Only 45 per cent of Year 8 kids are at the level they should be in maths and only 35 per cent are at curriculum level in writing.

“This just cannot continue. We won’t lift education achievement in New Zealand by continuing to do the same things that are taking us backwards. National wants every child to have the chance to lead the life they want, and education is a key part of that.

“Today’s announcement is just the first part of National’s wider education policy, and we will have more to say in the lead up to the election.”

You can read the policy here.

The teacher’s union and the Minister of Education don’t like the idea of teaching the basics brilliantly.

Parents, employers and anyone who cares about children being equipped for life will support it.

The current failure rates are not just failing the children who aren’t getting a world class education, its failing the future of the country which needs a well-educated population to stay in the first world.


Sowell says


Setting up for success


Labour is failing the future with declining educational standards. National has a plan to change that for the better:

A National Government will rewrite the New Zealand Curriculum to ensure every child has the basic skills they need in reading, writing, maths and science to set them up for further education and for life, National Leader Christopher Luxon says.

Mr Luxon will announce Teaching the Basics Brilliantly, the first part of National’s education policy in the Hutt Valley on Thursday.

“Education is critical for unlocking a better future for all New Zealanders and equipping the next generation with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed,” Mr Luxon says.

“A world-class education system is essential for driving social mobility, helping break cycles of poverty, and giving every child the chance to live the life they want.

“We cannot have world-class incomes and living standards without a world-class education system.

“But the current state of education in New Zealand is alarming. Achievement has been in decline for the last 30 years and a recent NCEA pilot exposed just how far achievement has fallen, with a staggering two-thirds of students unable to meet the minimum standard in reading, writing and maths.

“National will not allow this to continue. National will make sure every child leaving primary and intermediate school can master the basics so they can succeed at high school and lead fulfilling lives.

“Today I am announcing National will rewrite the New Zealand Curriculum to detail the non-negotiable knowledge and skills that primary and intermediate schools must cover each year in reading, writing, maths, and science.

“At the moment, one curriculum level can span several school years which makes it difficult to identify and help children who are falling behind.

“Evidence shows children’s abilities are often underestimated and therefore the looseness in the New Zealand Curriculum means some Kiwi kids are learning the building blocks of reading, writing and maths later than they should.

“The curriculum also adds a significant workload for teachers who are constantly having to work out what to teach and when.

“We need a lot more than Labour’s curriculum refresh. We must be more ambitious for our children.

“If New Zealand wants to turn around declining achievement and ensure every child makes consistent progress, we need a curriculum that provides clear and detailed guidance to teachers and parents on what students should be learning each school year.

“National will deliver that and give every child the opportunity to succeed.”

Declining standards in education have a variety of causes.

A curriculum change that provides a good grounding in the basics and builds on that foundation will address many of them.

Sowell says


Health system is in crisis


It is more than 30 years since I first had a lot to do with the health system as the mother of sons with profound disabilities.

The pressures on staff and resources then were a small taste of what’s happening now with the whole system in crisis as Sir Ray Avery wrote on Linked In:

Chris Hipkins There is a Crisis in New Zealand’s Hospital System
Chris Hipkins, there is crisis in New Zealand’s Hospital system and the health and wellbeing of all New Zealanders is at risk and you have to act NOW and declare a state or emergency.
Numerous frontline healthcare workers and associated hospital support staff have publicly stated that they can no longer provide the level of care needed to administer safe and timely clinical treatment for their patients.
In this Newstalk Interview a top surgeon and a paramedic state that our health system is “imploding” and are calling for rapid action and are condemning the Government for “The crap that comes out of mouths of politicians “with regard to their failure to acknowledge that our hospitals are in crisis.


Professor Frank Frizelle says that surgeons are being asked to make life and death decisions because the Hospital HR resources are approaching only 50% of that needed to provide safe and timely medical treatment of patients.

A frontline paramedic say’s that because there are no hospital beds available that ambulances have to wait outside A&E for between two and 5 hours and that one patient was left in a corridor and died and no one noticed for more than two hours.

Prof Frizelle is critical of Health NZ who he says have not put in place adequate planning and resources to prevent the potential complete collapse of our hospital system.

And he is right.

The latest published board minutes for Health NZ are silent on any plan to try to resolve the current crisis in our hospital system.

Chris Hipkins preventable deaths are occurring on your watch and more than 30,000 patients are waiting more than five months for knee replacement, hip replacement, hernia surgery, colonoscopy, and laparoscopic cholecystectomy surgeries.

Some people on the waiting list may die before they get treated and preventable cancer deaths will occur because of the lack of oncologists and MRI, CT technicians and laboratory technicians.

Chris Hipkins, I urge you to declare a state of emergency which would put in place strategies to provide immediate critical support for our hospital and frontline medical staff and prevent a complete collapse of our hospital system.

And my fellow New Zealanders on behalf of all our frontline medical staff who are working with little resources but still trying to provide the best care they can for their patients in what has become an A&E warzone, show them your support.

Like this post ,and share this post, because unlike the visible devastation of the recent flooding the collapse of our healthcare system is like a malignant cancer often not detectable until it’s too late.

If we make enough noise just maybe Chris Hipkins will act.

Sir Ray

It is not fair to blame all the problems on the current government. Some have been gestating for a long time and some have been aggravated by the Covid 19 pandemic.

But the government is responsible for the folly of expensively restructuring the system during a pandemic.

It’s responsible for wasting money on what it considers nice-to-haves while neglecting necessities, one of which is health.

It is also responsible for poor decisions that will have a long-lasting impact including the refusal to fund more places in the country’s two medical schools.

It’s not just more doctors we need, the health workforce is understaffed across the board.

The government keeps saying we need to do our bit to combat climate change about which our efforts will have little if any impact.

It is far more important that we do something about a world-wide shortage of medical professionals by training more of our own rather than relying on immigrants, especially when we’re competing with other countries which offer them better pay and conditions.

Sir Ray is not exaggerating, the health system is at breaking-point with impacts on wellbeing in every sector from ante and post-natal services to end-of-life care.

Rebuilding the health workforce and better funding of frontline health services must be an urgent priority.

Sowell says


Nats launch tax calculator


Want to know how much less tax you’ll pay with a National government and how much more you’ll pay if Labour gets back in power?

New Zealanders can now see exactly how much better off they would be under a National Government and how much they are putting at risk with a Labour one, National’s Finance spokesperson Nicola Willis says.

“Our new tax calculator shows how much more income Kiwis would get from National’s commitment to inflation adjust tax brackets, introduce our FamilyBoost childcare tax rebate, and scrap the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax.

“New Zealanders will also be able to see how much more they will pay if Labour is elected this year by calculating how much they would pay for a proposed Jobs Tax and App Tax.

“National knows Kiwis are paying too much tax – and our tax calculator shows just how much extra money they would have in their back pockets if National is elected this year.

“The cost of living crisis has made it too hard for New Zealand workers to get ahead. Instead of giving Kiwis much deserved relief, the Labour Government has continued to introduce taxes to feed an addiction to spending.

“Under Labour, tax revenue has jumped an eye-watering $43 billion in just five years, helped along by a clutch of new taxes. That is equivalent to an extra $17,500 per household.

“Labour’s Jobs Tax is far from cancelled, with officials still working on the scheme. The Government is about to introduce a new App Tax and is flirting with the idea of a Light Rail Tax, a Wealth Tax, and even a Flood Tax. You simply cannot trust Labour on tax.

“The tax reduction National has announced so far is the minimum we will deliver New Zealanders if we are elected this year. If the economic and fiscal conditions allow, we will go further.”

If there’s a National government economic and fiscal conditions will allow further savings for taxpayers.

If there’s a continuation of this Labour government economic and fiscal conditions will get worse and we’ll all not only be paying more tax but getting less benefit from what we pay.

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