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They're Not Morons!

Entry 1494, on 2013-02-08 at 20:11:17 (Rating 4, Politics)

I think one of the biggest problems we face in modern society is people who are motivated by ideology rather than practicality. For those of you who have read this blog you will recognise this as a common theme here.

In this particular instance I was going to write a blog entry complaining about the abysmal performance of the current New Zealand government, accusing them of being morons or uncaring or maybe even evil. But they aren't that at all, actually they are just blinded by ideology.

The current government believes in a hands off approach and that everything will be OK as long as the market is left to take its course. This is absurd to anyone who looks at the current situation from an unbiased perspective of course, but not everyone is unbiased.

I guess you could make a case to say that no one is totally unbiased but there are varying levels of it and right-wing governments are always at the extremes.

So what is my major problem in this case? It's the governments total refusal to try to solve the major problems which are afflicting the country, especially unemployment. By any reasonable standard they have failed miserably here and it seems that every day another company fails leading to there being even fewer available jobs. Yet the government does nothing and Stephen Joyce just repeats his assurances that everything will be OK as long as we welcome foreign investment and allow our resources to be exploited.

At this stage I would normally call Joyce a moron but, as I said above, that would be unfair. Listening to him speak he is obviously quite intelligent so how can he be so wrong? It's simple really: he is blinded by his own ideology, specifically the ideology that the market never fails and that private investment is always best.

In the last quarter the unemployment rate was actually down from the previous one, which had been a 13 year high. But even that apparent victory was really just another failure and a particularly horrendous one too. The rate measures the portion of people seeking work compared with the number who have or want employment. So many people have just given up trying to find work that the number looked better even though there was a smaller number of people in the work force. Can there be a bigger failure?

So there was a "better" unemployment rate despite 23,000 fewer people having work because over 33,000 people just left the labour force. I agree that some of those were older people who had retired and younger people who went into training buy really, if the only reason people retire or train is because they can't get work then that isn't really a positive statistic.

So given their terrible performance on this you would think the government might re-think their strategy, wouldn't you? Well no, they won't because like all ideologs they have total confidence in their pitiful beliefs and refuse to abandon their laissez faire strategy no matter what the facts might be.

It's not just in the area of work that we see this either. Just about everything these clowns do in the area of education is a total debacle and the minister is clearly grossly incompetent. Yet the prime minister has full confidence in her and thinks she is a great communicator.

Yeah right, her major communications strategy seems to involve hiding from the public and refusing interviews with John Campbell. A brilliant strategy I guess. As the old saying goes: it's better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all possible doubt!

I don't know how much more damage these people can do before the voters finally see the light and realise they have no answers. Judging from past experience, quite a lot!

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Comment 1 (3413) by Anonymous on 2013-02-09 at 16:23:07:

It is alll very well to criticize, but can you suggest anything constructive to improve the current situation except to fire the current Government, which in my opinion would not help. All our opposition parliamentarians appear to be just like you, constantly complaining about every government strategy, but offering no practical alternative policies, or solutions to correct what you perceive to be our problems.

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Comment 2 (3414) by OJB on 2013-02-10 at 10:36:02:

As I indicated in the blog entry, it's really a matter of the overall philosophy. The Labour opposition is more prepared to actually intervene and try to improve things which go wrong instead of just relying on "the market". I realise this can go too far but I think it's also possible to go too far in the direction of not enough intervention and the current government is clearly doing that.

Also National should just do absolutely nothing in education - they shouldn't even have a minister! Every time they are in power they make a total shambles of it.

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Comment 3 (3415) by Anonymous on 2013-02-10 at 16:16:42:

Re Education - are you perhaps a teacher? It is the people employed in the Ministry who are to blame not the Minister. e.g. Novopay. The correct decision to replace the wage system was made at a Ministerial level. It appears to me that the Ministry Heads given the job to implement this decision, have obviously failed.

The Minister has relied on their recommendations, and these have obviously been flawed. The system is obviously not meeting requirements, although some of the problems may result in the individual schools not inputting correct data, and not reacting to the pre-pay reports provided to them three days before the pays are actioned. Once again the Ministry should have checked that these procedures were going to work before implementing the new software. I cannot see that replacing the Minister, who I feel is doing an excellent job would assist.

You say the Labour opposition is more prepared to actually intervene, but apart from them condemning the system, I have yet to see them come up with any action which will solve the problem. If it was over to me, I would scrap Novopay, go back to the old software, and start over again.

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Comment 4 (3416) by OJB on 2013-02-10 at 16:43:28:

I am not a teacher but I work at a university and my wife is a teacher so I do have an interest in the subject.

I wasn't necessarily blaming the minister for Novopay - that is clearly gross incompetence on the part of Talent2. But any blame which you might try to place on the ministry surely should reflect on the minister in charge, don't you think? Otherwise, where is the accountability?

Novopay is just the most prominent problem in education at the current time. I was more interested in charter schools, underfunding, wasting too much on private schools, national standards, etc. All silly ideological decisions against the advice of the actual experts.

You really think the minister is doing an excellent job? Are we talking about the same person? Can you tell me one good thing she has done? Almost everything this government does in education is against the advice of actual educators and other experts. They are driven by their ideology, as I said in the original blog post.

As a programmer I get the impression that you are right that Novopay should be scrapped. The company (Talent2) have no idea what they are doing, even though they do have payrolls which are sort of half OK elsewhere (including the Uni I work at).

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