Neither heart nor head

Jayden
The little boy behind the moustache is my great-grandson Jayden. His mother, her husband, and Jayden are likely to move to Australia in the not too distant future. They will be better off economically while I, like thousands of other Kiwi granparents, will be devastated.

We’ve all heard the old aphorism:

If you’re not a liberal when you’re 20, you have no heart. If you’re not a conservative when you’re 40, you have no head.

For the 21st Century it needs extending:

“If you’re either of the above when you’re 60 you haven’t been paying attention.”

Our political and economic system is morally and intellectually bankrupt. In the United States, Mr “Yes we can” Obama has been snookered by the system and hasn’t had the political courage to fight back. Here in New Zealand, John Key’s government seems to be able to retain popular support while doing absolutely nothing to get the country out of the morass it’s been in for decades.

I confess. I voted for Mr Key’s party. Not because I agreed with his pre-election policies. I voted for him because he was the least unpalatable alternative and I had the forlorn and perverse hope that his government—just like every other would-be government in living memory—would go back on their election pledges. I thought that perhaps he had a cunning plan. There was a glimmer of hope that he would do what needed to be done. Continue reading

Education may be expensive…

…but it’s a whole lot cheaper than ignorance

Back to the blackboard

We’ve been bickering over NCEA for years, now it’s the turn of National Standards. We’re accustomed to politicians being short-sighted and opportunistic but wouldn’t it be nice if we could rely on teachers to be more in touch with the real world?

The whole gang of them—teachers, politicians, civil servants and parents—need to go back to the drawing board. Stop tweaking the damn system, stop worrying about themselves and start teaching our kids reading, writing and mathematics. OK, you need a few other things as well but without those three basic skills you’re wasting everyone’s time and the country’s future.

The present system is not working. Fifty years ago I received a better deal from the education system than today’s children do. It wasn’t great, but it accomplished more successfully the basic aims of primary and secondary education.

Continue reading

Fuelling frustration foiled

 

Doesn’t it drive you nuts? You pull up beside the fuel pump only to find that your fuel cap is on the wrong side of the car and the hose won’t reach. You have to do a 3 point turn in the middle of the forecourt or go to the back of the queue.

It’s especially frustrating when you swap vehicles often. Or if, like me, you have a memory like a sieve.

If we could just persuade the car industry that it would be a fine idea to put them all on the same side the problem would go away, but when they can’t even agree on which side to put the indicator switch (never mind the bloody steering wheel) don’t hold your breath.

Fuel gauge with a gas arrow

Not to worry, help is at hand

This idea is right up there with E=mc² and the invention of the wheel. On most modern vehicles there’s a handy little “gas arrow” on the little picture of the pump on the fuel gauge. It points to the filler cap. See it? ➩

Haven’t got one on yours?

Never fear. If your car maker didn’t get the message they’ve probably put the hose on the icon on the same side as the fuel cap.

Or the pump icon itself is on the appropriate port or starboard side of the gauge.

Isn’t technology marvellous?

Social engineering in tatters

Manipulation
Social engineering starts early. Helen Clark used it to leverage her way to the top. It's helping to send the rest of us to the bottom.

New Zealand’s abysmal productivity results in low incomes and high debt. This is made up to the taxpayer by the social engineering policy of Working For Families. It goes like this:

  • the unreconstructed socialists take too much money from the long-suffering workers as taxation;
  • then they use a big chunk of that money to hire a battalion of bureaucrats;
  • these overpaid pen-pushers then give loads of the productive folks’ money to ever-growing numbers of beneficiaries – both the deserving and the bludgers;
  • what’s left over is called Working for Families and it goes back to the over-taxed and under-paid workers they took it from in the first place;
  • the stupid long-suffering workers’ cups runneth over and they’re boundlessly grateful to the duplicitous politicians for giving them back some of their own hard-earned wages.

They’re turning hard working middle-income people into state beneficiaries. These people are supposed to be grateful? You can be earning $100,000 a year and be a welfare dependant.

How smart is that?

Prime Minister John Key called this Communism by Stealth. Now he’s endorsing it.

The previous government did some good. Kiwisaver and the Cullen fund were, in my opinion, a very good thing. There’s plenty of evidence for that. Look at Australia. Vast quantities of their own money for investment, lower interest rates, lower debt, lower taxation, better productivity. the received wisdom is that, because we’re borrowing to pay for Kiwisaver, it’s a stupid policy. I would argue that it’s a vital way of getting Kiwis to save and it’s a price worth paying.

If we hadn’t been persuaded by Muldoon’s duplicitous marching cossacks, Norm Kirk’s compulsory super scheme would have us sitting on a mountain of Kiwi dollars comparable with the Aussies cache.

The good that was done by Clark and her social engineers has been far outweighed by profligate spending by both Labour and National and by a failure to address lack of growth. That over-spending, combined with a failure to take the economic medicine we desperately need, and the on-going recession have combined forces to make Kiwisaver just another drain on our grandchildren’s earnings.

Except that our grandchildren will all be living in Australia. So who will pay the piper?

Watch this space.