Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success

If Education Minister Chris Hipkins is overcome by an urge to join his cabinet colleagues in overseas travel but doesn’t have a good reason, we suggest he visits a state school in one of London’s poorest boroughs.

Forty-one of this school’s students have been offered a place at Oxford and Cambridge this year.

This rivals the admission rates of some of the top-performing private schools across the UK, according to the BBC

Brampton Manor is a state school in Newham in east London.

Nearly all of the students who received Oxbridge offers are from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds; two-thirds will be the first in their families to attend university.

Half of them are on free school meals.  Continue reading “Why Hipkins should study the formula for a London state school’s remarkable academic success”

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The summer holidays are over – but where in the world will we find the Minister?

The summer holidays are over, the flow of press statements from the Beehive is increasing and – we may assume – our Ministers will be busy at their desks or with engagements here and there around the country.  Or maybe they are or will be engaged in very important business overseas.

The Point of Order monitor of Beehive press statements has been idle since Christmas but burst back into life yesterday to register four sets of travel plans.

These included confirmation of the European travel plans of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to promote trade “and wellbeing” (good luck with that) which we portended late in January.

This mission includes a meeting with Britain’s Theresa May.  Events in recent days suggest there must have been huge doubt over whether this meeting would be with May or someone else.

With more certainty, the PM looks forward to again meeting Prince William.

Here’s what the monitor showed …. Continue reading “The summer holidays are over – but where in the world will we find the Minister?”

Try not to laugh when you see who sits on the UN body that will evaluate NZ’s human rights performance

The challenge for Justice Minister Andrew Little, when he faces the UN Human Rights Council, will be keeping a straight face.

This outfit has an august-sounding name.  Its membership is a joke.

During his flight to Switzerland to meet the council, Little might care to muse on the Saudi teenager who has been granted asylum in Canada where she arrived amid a diplomatic row between Ottawa and Riyadh over Canadian criticism of Saudi Arabia’s rights record, particularly a recent crackdown on women’s rights activists.

The teenager’s arrival coincided, too, with a deepening of global concern about the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, an outrage that has drawn attention to the global reach of Saudi Arabia’s leaders.

Little might muse, too, on the antics of President Rodrigo Duterte, whose war on drugs has taken the lives of thousands in the Philippines and who last year announced plans to create a “death squad” targeting suspected Communist rebels. Continue reading “Try not to laugh when you see who sits on the UN body that will evaluate NZ’s human rights performance”

Pap from PAPA about police, tearaway teenagers and public safety

The police are under pressure – not for the first time – to allow teenage miscreants to steal cars and drive through red lights at 130kph.

People Against Prisons Aotearoa today issued a statement which describes itself as a community group “opposed to police violence”.

It is calling for police pursuits to be banned after three teenagers were killed in a crash in Christchurch.

The car, which had hit road spikes laid out by police, crashed into a tree and caught fire with the teenagers trapped inside.

“Every death in a police pursuit is a preventable death,” says PAPA spokesperson Emilie Rākete. 

It’s hard to disagree.  But she contends the fault lies not with people who have broken the law and are threatening the lives of innocent citizens but with police whose duty is to maintain law and order and protect the public: Continue reading “Pap from PAPA about police, tearaway teenagers and public safety”

Don’t chide Mahuta for ignoring ratepayers – she may be too busy consulting with people who claim treaty rights

We regularly ask – here at Point of Order – where in the world a Minister might be.

In the case of Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta, it seems there’s one place she won’t be.

She won’t be meeting with groups of  ratepayers to find out what’s bugging them.

We learn this from the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union which yesterday revealed that our Minister of Local Government has not met with a ratepayer association since her appointment in 2017. Not even one.

According to the media statement:

Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says, “Given the challenge every ratepayer in the country is feeling about costs being out of control at most town halls, many will be shocked to learn the Minister hasn’t bothered to speak to a single resident or ratepayer groups. Not even one.”

“Just who is she serving?  The fat cat Mayors and well paid bureaucrats, or those who fund the whole thing? The Minister’s diary suggest the former.”

“We were first tipped off on this as the Minister’s office would not even respond to correspondence sent from our sister group, the Auckland Ratepayers’ Alliance.  The Alliance is New Zealand’s largest ratepayer group – some 20,000 subscribed members.  It speaks volumes that this Minister can’t be bothered to meet.  She can’t possibly speak for ratepayers, in fact it seems she couldn’t care less.”

Couldn’t care less?

A bit strong. Continue reading “Don’t chide Mahuta for ignoring ratepayers – she may be too busy consulting with people who claim treaty rights”

Winning Labour-Green support for defence spending will be a Herculean challenge for NZ First

Defence Minister Ron Mark’s case for buying five Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules (each with a list price of $US100m) to replace the RNZAF’s elderly 1965 models might face a difficult flight path through Cabinet.   Demands for spending elsewhere are mounting.

Teachers and doctors plan industrial action to secure higher pay and are looking to their political allies in Labour and the Greens to spring to their assistance and force deferment of defence spending.

Winning Cabinet  approval will  require  all  the considerable political skills which Mark –  and Deputy PM Winston Peters – can muster.   Continue reading “Winning Labour-Green support for defence spending will be a Herculean challenge for NZ First”

The tourism portfolio: if the minister isn’t doing his job, the remedy – surely – is to sack him

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis was reported by Radio NZ as saying he will not challenge the Prime Minister’s decision not to appoint an associate minister.

Whether he said this because he is confident he can do the job without assistance or because he did not want to be publicly disagreeing with his boss is something we might muse on.

According to Radio NZ, Tourism Industry Aotearoa recently approached Jacinda Ardern saying the country’s largest export earner needs greater representation at the Cabinet table, but she turned down the request.

Tourism Minister Kelvin Davis said he supported the prime minister.

“We’re well aware of the interest from the tourism industry around having an associate minister but, you know, that’s a decision that the Prime Minister will make.

“We’ll wait and see what decisions she makes if and when there is a reshuffle.”

Tourism is the country’s largest export earner and was recently valued at $39.1 billion.
Continue reading “The tourism portfolio: if the minister isn’t doing his job, the remedy – surely – is to sack him”