The Point of Order Trough Monitor has drawn attention to a fresh batch of handouts from the public purse, reminding us that the Provincial Growth Fund isn’t the only trough in the capital.
Fair to say, in the case of Education Minister Chris Hipkin, the press statement which triggered the trough monitor related to the government’s spending on tertiary fees in the past year.
The statement was deftly crafted to camouflage the cost to taxpayers. Rather, it brayed that first-year students have been spared the repayment burden that would have resulted from hundreds of millions of dollars in loan borrowing.
On the other hand, Winston Peters unabashedly has announced fresh handouts from a fund in his Racing ministerial bailiwick and encouraged racing clubs to apply for a place at the next serving from this trough. Continue reading “Yes, there’s lots of money in the PGF – but keep an eye on all the other troughs”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has headed for Washington for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, as well as for talks with other finance ministers and senior US government officials.
Despite the darkening cloud on the global economy Robertson is gung-ho about the state of the NZ economy, although he concedes that, as an outward-facing export nation,
“ … NZ is not immune to this global uncertainty, and we have to bear that in mind as we transition to a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy”.
In Parliament before his departure for Washington he cited reports which indicate the NZ economy continues to out-perform its international peers. Continue reading “Budget surpluses are Robertson’s aim but well-being pressures will test his prowess”
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”
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has had a good run this year, with the economy performing well and the government’s books in excellent shape.
Despite ministers splashing out cash in every direction, the half-year economic and fiscal update (out this week) may even offer the Finance Minister scope for a bit more spending in the years ahead, without endangering his self-imposed goal of sustainable surpluses .
But a shadow may be beginning to emerge from this apparently cloudless sky. It lies in the reports from all those reviews the government called for in its first months of office. Continue reading “The reports are coming in – and they bring fresh challenges for the Ardern Govt”
More than 50% of chief executives in public service departments for the first time are women, the Government proudly proclaimed this week.
Seventeen of the 33 public service department chief executive posts are filled by women, including acting roles. That’s 52%, up from 14, or 44%, at 30 June 2018.
“This is an outstanding achievement,” Chris Hipkins said.
Hipkins, Minister of State Services, then noted that in addition to meeting this milestone, more women CEs
” … have been appointed to larger jobs.
“Their average job size has increased by 15% since 2016 and the job size gap with their male colleagues has narrowed to 6%, compared with a 27% gap in 2016.” Continue reading “The case for filling public service leadership posts with women – then let’s look at the All Blacks”
The political “kindness and empathy” which the Ardern coalition government has patented as its trademark doesn’t seem to be making much headway with the teachers’ union. Which is ironic in many ways.
Latest reports say primary and intermediate teachers and principals have “overwhelmingly” rejected the government’s latest pay offer , on the grounds, it’s said, it will not fix the industry’s staffing “crisis”.
About 30,000 New Zealand Educational Institute Te Riu Roa (NZIE) union members voted on what was the third round of offers, in a secret online ballot. NZIE president Lynda Stuart said the message from members was that the offers did not do enough to fix the crisis in teacher recruitment and retention.
“The big concern for members was that the offers had nothing that would give teachers more time to teach or principals time to lead.” Continue reading “Teachers want ‘crisis’ resolved – then exacerbate it with their intransigence”
So who do you feel sorry for: primary school teachers who say they are undervalued, underpaid and overworked?
Or Education Minister Chris Hipkins, who is “disappointed” teachers are going on strike, despite the government’s “strong new offer”.
Political aficionados might find some irony in the whole affair. Teachers were desperate for the Labour Party to win the Treasury benches, knowing it would be a relatively soft touch after nine years of a flinty-faced National government.
And Hipkins early in his term sought to cosy up to the teachers’ union by bending to their demand that charter schools be abolished.
Continue reading “After expelling the charter schools, Hipkins is pressed to do better on teachers’ pay”