Friday, 2 August 2019

2 August 2019


This week I watched six hours of the Committee of the whole House stage of the End of Life Choice Bill. It was fascinating if not drawn out by deliberate tactics to slow the process of the Bill. That this was only part 1 of 5, the next part set down for August 21, means we are in for a long haul.

“And it's that part, that slow grinding part, the endless patience required, the changes, the amendments, and the negotiations on Seymour's part you have to admire. What an arduous, laborious, patience-sapping exercise this must have been.

“But he is closer now than anyone appears to have ever been and if he gets it across the line he has a place in the political history books - and not all of them can say that.

“David Seymour will have done something genuinely substantive, and that's why you go to Wellington and that why he deserves our admiration.” – Mike Hosking


In this week’s podcast, Ruwan and I sat down with Alwyn Poole of Villa Education Trust to hear his experience with the charter school model and transition to special character schools, including what the changes have meant for teachers and administrators. Alwyn says that Chris Hipkins has not come up with one innovative idea to improve the long tail of underachievement particularly in Decile 1-3 schools.

Can we trust National to reintroduce the Partnership model, now they have decided they’re such a good idea?

ACT will certainly be leaning very heavily on National not just to do so, but to implement our Education Policy which would allow for any school to apply to become a Partnership School, and for Student Education Accounts for every child.

Whereas Chris Hipkins wants to bring all education under state control, ACT would do the opposite. Choice and competition in education is what will lift the long tail of underachievement by giving every child access to high-quality education that best meets their individual needs. A state monopoly on education is a scary prospect, where parents have no choice in what is dished up to their children because it is controlled by the government of the day. Individual learning styles, preferences, family values and cultural needs will be homogenised into a “we know what’s best for you” production line turning out school leavers who will not be equipped to compete in a rapidly changing world.

Chris Hipkins is hell-bent, philosophically and ideologically, through sheer spite, on reversing any education policy that was ACT’s or working well under the previous government. Scrapping Partnership Schools, removing Aspire scholarships, moving school governance to centralised ‘Hubs’, and now centralising polytechs – there has never been any robust problem definition for any of these moves, and all ‘solutions’ are lowest common denominator ones. Let’s make everyone equal by pulling the top performers down to the bottom. What a legacy, what a contrast to our own parliamentarian.


In this article by Deloitte NZ CEO Thomas Pippos, we see graphic evidence of the Tax Working Group’s own findings, which to me confirm that New Zealand’s progressive tax system is not only unfair, it creates perverse incentives for earners at opposite ends of the graph – income minimisation at one end and tax avoidance at the other.


Finally an amusing read from the US. Touche.


Beth Houlbrooke

Deputy Leader / Vice President