New Zealand

The Stupidity of the Left’s “Finland” chant for Education

In terms of education no one on the left is offering anything this election – just more BANS – to go alongside truck bans, man bans, foreign investment bans, Nigella bans etc.

The Green/Labour/PPTA/NZEI block simply plan to ban National Standards, Charter Schools and the $359 million of government spending directed at improving leadership, teaching and learning in areas where schools are failing.

The only glimmer of a proposal they give is to say – we need to be like Finland. The funny thing is that those groups would go even more apoplectic if some of the things Finland does were put in place – plus – those working in Finland recognise that the conditions that make it work there do not work anywhere else.

“Compulsory schooling begins at the age of seven, with only a broadly-outlined national curriculum, and students wear their own clothes and call the teachers by their first names.”

Problem 1: Schooling begins at 7. In New Zealand the Left blame all school failure on poverty in the home. So they would want to leave children in that situation longer – so when those kids start school they are even further behind? When the children don’t own clothes of a quantity and quantity acceptable to going to school it just given them one more things to be socially distinct on – the Left would be happy with that?

Problem 2: That change would put a whole lot of NZEI employees out of work and out of the union. I can just see NZEI marching in favour of that.

Problem 3: One of the complaints with Charter Schools from the clueless Left has been that they may propose a curriculum apart from the national one. So they would suddenly be in favour of the much greater curriculum freedom offered to Finnish schools? Would they happy for schools to simply be leaving out portions benefiting the Left’s social agenda that are in our current curriculum?

“PISA results show that Finland was 12th best in the world for maths – outside of Asia, only Lichtenstein, Switzerland, Netherlands and Estonia fared better. Britain was 14 places below Finland.”

Problem 4: Some of the Finland results are not that flash. The Left also complain vehemently about testing and whinge about PISA (especially when it calls into doubt their “world class” mantra). So – they want Finnish systems based on a testing system that shows quality but at the same time bag the testing system and don’t want it here? It must be confusing having to try and think this way.

“And a study by the Smithsonian Institution showed that the difference between Finland’s weakest and strongest students was the smallest in the world.”

Read more »

Just because he’s a Kiwi doesn’t give him ‘victim’ status. He was a terrorist!

A Kiwi has been killed in a drone strike against an al Qaeda terrorist training camp.

Naturally the terrorist hugging opposition politicians are all aghast and their pals in the media think this is just dreadful.

Isaac Davison reports:

A Kiwi killed in a drone strike in Yemen had attended a terrorist training camp and may have been a foot soldier for al-Qaeda.

The man, whose name and age have not been released, died after an incident on November 18. It is understood his identity had only been confirmed recently.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed the New Zealand-born man was believed to have died in a counter-terrorism operation.

However, they refused to be drawn on the specifics of that operation.  Read more »

Cunliffe continues to lie over capital gains tax

David Cunliffe just can’t help himself, again telling mis-truths over capital gains tax.

A Labour led government would impose a capital gains tax of 15% on realised gains from investment property. He says the family home would be exempt, Labour leader David Cunliffe told TVNZ’s Q+A programme this morning.

“I’m comfortable with that because speculators are driving this market, and to make matters worse, according to the BNZ and Real Estate Institute about 12% of speculative house buyers, all house buyers last year in Auckland came from non-resident foreigners.  Non-resident foreigners who have access to cheap finance are driving up the price of homes in New Zealand, so young Kiwis can’t get into their own homes.” Mr Cunliffe said.

When questioned on why a capital gains tax isn’t working in Australia, Mr Cunliffe said, “The problem would be worse if they didn’t have it.”  Read more »

Doors closed in Australia, no matter let’s try NZ

People smugglers are giving up on trying to get people into Australia now, the government of Tony Abbott has succeeded in stopping the boats.

The people smugglers though are not to be deterred and are now targeting NZ.

Michael Bachelard at The Guardian reports:

People smugglers in Indonesia are mounting their first credible attempt to ship asylum seekers on the hazardous voyage to New Zealand and circumvent the Abbott government’s Operation Sovereign Borders.

Four men – two from Bangladesh and two from Afghanistan – were caught last month by the Indonesian immigration department in Jayapura, West Papua, on their way to get a boat to New Zealand.

Their capture appears to have stalled, for the time being, a plot to send up to 100 people, but sources in West Java say people smugglers in the town of Cisarua are still advertising for places on a New Zealand-bound boat.

The smugglers are showing asylum seekers a grainy picture, obtained by Fairfax Media, of the boat they say they have bought for the venture, which is larger and sturdier looking than the typical fishing vessel and has covered cabins and navigational antennae.  Read more »

Is money important in elections? New research suggests it is

In New Zealand, despite no evidence to support the contention that money has a massive influence in politics the Labour party passed the draconian and anti-democratic Electoral Finance Act.

The evidence in NZ is actually contrary to the opinion that money in politics can sway results. The Act party for instance spent a great deal more than any other party for a negligible return, same with Colin Craig. On the other hand the unions pour money into Labour’s coffers and get a good return on their investment.

In Fiji the news electoral laws forbid anyone or organisation other than natural persons from donating to political parties or candidates. This stops corporates and the unions donating.

Meanwhile the left wing continues to push for state funding of political parties, a system that rewards incumbency. They don;t want to have to bother with pesky things like members and sausage sizzles and cake stalls.

And of course there is Kim Dotcom who is making the mistake many wealthy business people make in entering politics, thinking that money can buy you votes.

In the United States however there is building evidence that big money, and by big I mean BIG, can and does make a difference in campaigning. Apparently 91% of the time the better resourced candidate wins.

There are few talking points more beloved by underdog political candidates (and their aides) than to declare that money doesn’t matter. (If it did, Steve Forbes would be the president!)

Well, they’re wrong — at least most of the time.

Take a look at the chart below, created last month by Jasper McChesney, a designer at United Republic, a nonpartisan nonprofit that tries to spread awareness about the influence of money in politics.   Read more »

Fiji travel bans lifted, what did they actually achieve?

soper-fiji

The government has finally lifted the Fiji travel bans:

New Zealand is lifting travel sanctions against Fiji, Foreign Minister Murray McCully has confirmed.

In a statement, McCully said the progress Fiji was making towards holding free and fair elections deserved recognition from the Pacific region and international community.

“There are now more than 500,000 people registered to vote in the September elections, electoral commissioners have been appointed and importantly Commodore Bainimarama has stepped down as the head of the Military.

“The visit by the Pacific Islands Forum Ministerial Contact Group in February was a success and the Commonwealth recently acknowledged the progress that Fiji is making.

“Last week the electoral decree was published, an Elections Supervisor appointed, and the 17th of September was announced as the election date.”

As a consequence New Zealand would end all remaining travel sanctions and would also remove all remaining restrictions on New Zealand Government departments working directly with their Fiji counterparts.

Which is all good, but one wonders what they actually achieved. These sanctions certainly never deterred the government of Fiji from progressing to a true democracy, with one person one vote, and a proper census, complete photo id voter registration and the removal of the electoral rort of the Great Council of Chiefs.   Read more »

Silly idiot, doesn’t he know Kiwis can’t fly?

Ouch. Sounds like someone wants his 2.5 million Youtube views reaaal baaaaad.

Two wingsuit divers, one a New Zealander, the other a French man, have died after crashing into an alpine pasture in Switzerland at the weekend.

Another man, whose nationality was unknown, was seriously injured.

The three men had just jumped from a helicopter over the Lutschental valley in the Bern canton, intending to land in the valley, Agence France-Presse reported.

They crashed into a pasture near Sengg. When rescue workers reached the spot, the 33-year-old New Zealander and the 34-year-old Frenchman were already dead.  Read more »

Haven’t they got plenty already?

NIWA is seeking amateur scientists….snigger.

Jamie Morton reports:

Fancy yourself as a climate scientist?

A new climate science experiment, launched online today, is allowing weather enthusiasts to be part of the picture by lending their computers’ processing power.

Volunteers are being sought for the Weather@home ANZ project, launched today by the National Institute for Water and Atmosphere in collaboration with researchers from the UK and Australia.

It will enable the public to contribute to scientists’ understanding of how climate change might be affecting weather in New Zealand and Australia – and a desktop computer and internet connection is all that’s needed.

NIWA climate scientist and New Zealand programme leader Dr Suzanne Rosier said the initial aim of the project was to improve understanding of how extreme weather conditions such as heatwaves and drought may be changing.  Read more »

Those goddamn Hobbit movies – keeping too many Kiwis employed & regional economies vibrant

The opposition parties objected tot he making of the Hobbit in NZ, the unions tried to stop after being hijacked by Aussie union bosses.

The movies however continue to deliver, keeping Kiwis employed and regional economies vibrant.

The lure of Middle-earth is helping sway increasing numbers of tourists to make the long journey to New Zealand.

Visitor arrivals in February were the highest ever for the month, Statistics New Zealand said on Friday, with the 301,200 visitors being about seven per cent more than February 2013.

Although arrivals from China and Hong Kong were down due to the earlier Chinese New Year, there were more from Australia, the United States and Germany.

The 2.77 million visitors who arrived in the year ended February was also up about seven per cent.  Read more »

The Hunters Club (new show pilot episode)