Tax teachers to tackle tail of failures?

September 19, 2017

Why don’t we tax teachers and use the money to tackle the tail of kids who fail at school?

That wouldn’t be fair, there are many reasons for children failing, you can’t hold all teachers responsible.

There are many reasons for the degradation of water quality, but you say it’s fair to tax all irrigators to clean it up. You could use the money for professional development for teachers who aren’t performing.

That’s ridiculous, you couldn’t take money from good teachers to upskill the bad. it’s not their responsibility, that’s up to principals or the ministry.

But Labour plans to take money from all irrigators and use some to bring poor performers up to standard even though regional councils already have the powers to make them comply.

And what about the teachers who are already doing everything they should, and spending their own money on further education. You can’t expect them to pay for those who don’t.

That’s exactly what Labour’s water tax would do. It would take money from irrigators who have spent and still are spending their own money to bring those who haven’t and aren’t up to scratch.

But what if the school doesn’t have a problem with pupils not achieving, what if it and it’s teachers are already doing everything they can for all their pupils?

The money could go to schools where there are problems.

But that’s not fair, you can’t tax teachers at one school and use the money to deal with problems at another.

That’s exactly the way the water tax would work. It would take money from the good in one place and use it to deal with problems in another.

But what if teacher standards aren’t the problem anyway? You can’t tax them for something over which they have no control.

That’s exactly how the water tax would work. It would take the money even if the problem with water quality was due to bird life, storm water or sewerage and nothing at all to do with irrigating or even farming.

And what exactly would the money be used for, how would it make a difference? You have to have a plan first then work out how to pay for it, not take the money and then find ways to spend it.

That’s exactly what’s been suggested for the water tax. Labour has said it would take the money, give some to Iwi, some to regional councils to clean up waterways, but with no plan for how they’d do that, and if any is left over it could be used for roads which are district council responsibilities. All of that’s very vague and nothing they’ve said explains how the money will make a difference to waterways.

Teachers always get the blame but you can’t make them pay because children are behind before they get to school, don’t have basic language, are hungry, have health problems . . .

Just like farmers get the blame for poor water quality when it isn’t them or their farming practices which are the problem.

It would simply be unfair to tax a whole group of professionals, with a vague intention to use the money to solve problems for which most aren’t responsible and over which they have little or no control and no concrete plan over how it could make a difference.







Will they, won’t they

July 14, 2017

Labour NZ First Green Quadrille

(With apologies to Lewis Carroll).


“Will we give our vote to Labour? said a Green MP, one day

“NZ First keeps polling well but won’t usually vote our way.

“See how eagerly the media and the pundits rate the chance

“That we we’ll forget our principles and with Winston join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we,

“Will we join the dance?”


“You can really have no notion how delightful it would be

“If the voters up and voted for us to run the whole country.

“But NZ First and Labour, our programme won’t advance

“So I’m really not convinced we’ll want to join their dance.

“We will thank the votes kindly, but we would not join the dance

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, would not join the dance.

“Would not, could not, would not, could not, could not join the dance.”


“What matters if  we pull the plug and Labour couldn’t rule?

“It would cost, but what the heck, we’d still be feeling cool.

“With every poll the pundits show we haven’t got a chance

“Of making it to cabinet and therefore don’t want to join the dance.

“Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, will we join the dance?

Will we, won’t we, will we, won’t we, won’t we join the dance?”

Clocks forward permanently

April 1, 2017

The scheduled return to standard New Zealand time tomorrow morning has been cancelled and clocks will stay one-hour ahead permanently.

A spokesman for the Department of Infernal Affairs, Ms Sunny Disposition said that putting clocks back signalled the start of winter to many people and since summer weather had been so disappointing, few if any were ready for it.

“Most people agree daylight saving is good and if some is good then ipso facto more must be better,” she said.

“We can’t change the weather, but we can keep the clocks forward and allow people more daylight. The sun comes out in the day and after the sorry excuse for summer over much of the country that’s what we need to cheer us all up – more day and less night.

“We’ll all get more vitamin D and save power with less need for electric lights.”

A reporter who pointed out that whether or not clocks stayed forward an hour, there would be less daylight as the sun moved north, was told that wasn’t in the Department’s brief.

“Clocks and time are our preserve, if you have a question about the sun you’d be better talking to Met Service or NIWA,” Miss Disposition said.

“I understand someone from one or other of them will be available to talk around mid day.”



Why men shouldn’t vote

September 19, 2016

It’s the 123rd anniversary of New Zealand women gaining the right to vote.

Apropos of this, Alice Duer Miller wrote in 1915:

Why we oppose votes for men:

1: Because man’s place is in the army.

2. Because no  really manly man  wants to settle any question otherwise than by fighting about it.

3. Because if men should adopt peaceable methods women will no longer look up to the,.

4. Because men will lose their charms if they step out of the natural sphere and interest themselves in other matters than feats of arms, uniforms and drums.

5. Because men are too emotional to vote. Their conduct in baseball games and political conventions shows this, while their innate tendency to appeal to force renders them particularly unfit for the task of government.

The spousing crisis

July 7, 2016

Behind the humour is the sorry truth of an unfortunate aspect of modern life:

The spousing crisis is leading to homelessness and child poverty.

Rental spouses are just too expensive.They are insecure and impermanent. You could get kicked out at any time and have to go looking for another. Some spouses have become P-contaminated and put children at risk. But there simply aren’t enough solid, life-time spouses available, so more and more people are being forced into the rental spouse market. . . 

Read the rest at Lindsay Mitchell.

New meaning for clean and green

April 1, 2016

Decriminalisation of marijuana is to be fast-tracked and growers of the crop will be licensed.

In a joint announcement by the Ministries of Health and Primary Industries, MoH spokesperson Dr Fairly High said that a growing body of evidence showed that the war on drugs wasn’t working and it was high time legislators took a health-centred approach to the problem.

“It’s potty to pot pot-users to the police and send them through the court system, their problems need to be addressed by the health system,” she said.

MPI spokesperson Dr Trooley Green said that licences for growing the drug would provide a welcome opportunity for diversification for farmers who were struggling to keep their heads above the financial waters in the wake of the dairy-downturn.

“New Zealand’s climate and soils are ideally suited to the plant and decriminalisation will allow law-abiding farmers to go where only gangs have gone before,” she said.

“Marketing will be a dream and give a whole new meaning to New Zealand’s claim to being clean and green.”

Dr Green said the licensing system would be simple and the Ministry was prepared to accept applications from would-be growers until noon today.




All govt depts, ministries to be dispersed to provinces

April 1, 2015

All government departments and ministries are to be dispersed to the provinces in a whole-of-government decentralisation programme.

“We got the message from Northland that people think the government doesn’t care about the provinces and by extension that means people think government departments and ministries don’t care,” State Services spokesperson Ms Verity Factotum said.

“That isn’t true but that’s the perception and perception is reality and therefore we are duty bound to disprove that perception, prove it wrong and re-programme provincial thinking so everyone there understands that we do in fact care,” she said.

“We can’t expect the mountains to come to Mohammad so all the various departmental and ministerial Mohammads are going to the mountains, all of which are of course in the provinces.”

Ms Factotum said the departments and ministries wouldn’t literally be shifting to the mountains as most of them were too high and too far from anywhere serving a decent latte.

“We can’t expect our staff to work at high altitude or make coffee sacrifices but they will all be moving to provincial towns.

“We’ve been working with Google Maps, AA guides and  iSite offices on the ground in the provinces to ensure we get the best fit between the offices and their location.

“We’ve discovered that Oamaru has an historic precinct, Steam Punk headquarters, the Forrester Gallery and an Opera House  which would provide good synergies for the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Heritage.

“Hokitika is the obvious place for the Department of Conservation because most of the West Coast is basically just bush and places we don’t want to mine and we think Customs could shift to Bluff because it’s got a port.

“Relocating the Ministry of Primary Industries is proving to be somewhat more problematic because we’ve found that every provincial town has some sort of claim to servicing its agricultural hinterland and we may have to set up a separate MPI in all of them.”

Ms Factotum said they were having a similar problem siting the Ministries of Education and health because every town had a school and medical centre or hospital but they’d settled on Dunedin for them because it had a university and a medical school too.

“There’s also a School of Physical Education there which will could make a helpful and healthful contribution to government plans to reduce obesity.

“Relocating the Ministry of Tourism is also raising difficulties as every single iSite has many and varied claims to tourist attractions and again we might divide it into mini Ministries with offices anywhere there’s something to do or see.

“The Ministry of Internal Affairs could move to Eketahuna or Taumarunui as both were inland which is the geographical equivalent of internal and Treasury will go to Gisborne because it’s the first place to see the sun and we think the staff will benefit from the vitamin D.

Ms Factotum said there were still decisions to be made on other departments and ministries and some issues to be worked through. But the government had impressed upon the SSC that the relocation was a matter of urgency and all transfers were expected to be signed off by midday today.



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