Opinion: Fed Farmers' Conor English argues there is no free lunch

Opinion: Fed Farmers' Conor English argues there is no free lunch

By Conor English

There is no free lunch.

I went to a restaurant and had lunch last week. Unfortunately it wasn’t free. I had to pay for it. There is no free lunch. If you spend money, if you haven’t earned it, you need to borrow it from someone else who has. And they want you to pay rent for it (interest) and to pay it back. This makes it a more expensive lunch in the long run.

Right now the geopolitical balance is being influenced by those who believe there is a free lunch and those that realise that not only is their no free lunch, but using another cliché, tomorrow does actually come.

 People across the USA, continental Europe and the UK are having to adjust to a lower standard of living as their excess are catching up on them. They are now having to pay for the long lunch they enjoyed over the last decade. Recently the UK government announced half a million job losses in the public sector and social unrest is rising across Europe and the USA as unemployment rises and credit tightens. Some voters thought Obama would deliver the free lunch – he’s only done half the job and therefore lost in the halftime elections of his first term.

In New Zealand, over the next four years our public debt will double. This year we are spending about $13 billion more then we are earning. This is to knock the edges off the deepest recession we’ve had in over 70 years. It is appropriate that governments operate deficits at the bottom of the business cycle. However, it is critical that the fact there is no free lunch, and tomorrow does come, is not forgotten.

It was interesting, therefore, watching 4 recent protests in Auckland. The first against just the idea of doing a stock take on the minerals that we have. Secondly the idea that a movie might be made in New Zealand on different terms than in some other countries. Thirdly marching for more pay for teachers, and finally, against New Zealand produced food.

 I suspect that some people support all four marches. But they need to join the dots. Some one has to earn the money. It doesn’t grow on some tree out the back of the Beehive. This is true of any business or household, and the country is no different.  So if you are marching for “more pay from government” then you should not also be marching against investigating our mineral potential, our creative film sector or indeed our food sector. Right now our primary sector earns more then two thirds of our export dollars. Every export dollar matters, which is why the USA and others are trying to devalue their currencies.

But as a country we all need to do better, because governments only have three ways to get money; taxing or charging others who have earned it; by selling assets; or by borrowing it. Or if you are in the USA you simply print it, which reduces the value of all existing dollars and you get inflation – there is still no free lunch.

 So we have some choices to make. They need to be informed choices.  

 In this context productive infrastructure spending is critical. Water storage and rural broadband should be the priorities because they help make the cake bigger. Roads are OK but for our food supply chain to international markets they form only a very short part of the journey. Rural broadband is not only the next big enabler of productivity and production increases, but it is critical to the social fabric of New Zealand. Rural people are people too!. But it isn’t just about rural communities - it will allow our growing population to be less concentrated on Auckland, thus reducing it’s infrastructure, taxpayer and environmental demands.

 Attitudes to growth, risk, success and sustainability matter. The RMA’s four pillars of environmental, social, cultural and economic all should be considered when making those choices, not just one narrow aspect. The critical issue is getting the balance right. This isn’t always easy.

 This year, Federated Farmers has been focused on getting the balance right with, , environmental sustainability, infrastructure, water (its ownership, allocation, management, quality and storage), farm succession, energy, urban rural understanding, biosecurity, animal welfare, safe food, property rights, skills and human capability, research, and depth of capital markets to name a few, along with other issues that affect farmer’s financial viability through their impact on costs and incomes and possibilities.

 New Zealand has some fantastic opportunities in the food production and agricultural technology space. It is one of the few areas that we are recognised as world best. We can make a significant contribution to humanity. We should be proud of this. But rather than celebrate and support that success and champion the exciting opportunities, we have people marching against them. They want to inhibit just the possibility of carefully and environmentally harvesting just some of our resources, inhibit our film production, inhibit our food production. What’s left?   

If these marching groups don’t want our fantastic primary exports to be allowed to pay for the country’s lunch, who do they suggest will? 

Conor English is Chief Executive of Federated Farmers of New Zealand

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

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One of the best thing that could happen now in NZ, is a "reaction" to all these destructive "protest" mobs. "Kiwis Care" in the early 1980's, was a reaction to years of Trade Union sabotaging of the NZ economy. We need some sort of "Kiwis Care" movement now, to react to these new forces of sabotage of the livelihoods of all of us. I don't know what it will take. The media are very responsible for their biased portrayal of enviro issues, so that most people have no idea just how LITTLE of our land mass is used or could be used for mining, or manufacturing.

And as little as possible sounds a good idea....If I wanted to live in a cesspit I could live in one of the industrial bomb sites that pass for a city in china.....no thanks.

The protests recently are totally different to those against the Unions in the 80s....they simply dont compare....PPl want a decent environment to live in....there is more to quality of life than $.

Mining and indeed manufacturing use up one time resources, we have managed to go through millenia of oil in what will be 150 years....and most other minerals in 200....given how many centuries I hope or civilisation will be around thast an eye blink....


Spot on Phil, and spot on Connor.

On the teacher topic, I'm yet to talk to one who feels as strongly apposed to the government's current offer as the union leaders and media would have us believe.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tackles teachers union representatives something along the following lines, and his people love him for it.

Firstly, the union does not represent all teachers. Tell us how you were selected to represent teachers. How many teachers voted for you, Ms. representative?

Most teachers are normal decent people, and appreciate that their job is an above average one in terms of pay and hours and holidays and conditions. The best teachers love teaching and would hate to try to find something else to do for the same money.

Most teachers appreciate the pain that most of society is experiencing in this recession, and do not expect others who are suffering, to carry the cost of insulating THEM from the pain.

The people are tired of being patronised by politicians who assure them that there is no need for suffering negative consequences at any time. The people actually appreciate being levelled with and told the harsh facts.

Chris Christie, one of the most popular politicians in US history. A Presidential run may eventuate.

NZ has no-one remotely like this guy, unless it is someone on the fringes because our leftwing biased media keeps a careful campaign up against anyone who looks like a threat to articles of leftwing faith like teachers unions.

" So we have some choices to make. They need to be informed choices".

There I agree with him. Bring it on.

Firstly, we can cop the true cost of resources, including our impact on water quality. Ducking and weaving is very obviously ducking and weaving. Time it stopped.

Then - and some folk are cranially incapable of grasping this - we have to realise that there is no 'balance' to be had between 'development' and 'sustainability'.

The 'economic wellbeing of the present....' phrase in the RMA, was put in when National inherited the draft Bill from Palmer's dying tenure. It was a sop, but one which in a finite world, was always an oxymoron. An appropriate phrase.

Farmers who went into debt on the assumption that the future would underwrite them, did so with either ignorance, or arrrogance, or (possibly) gambling that food would be relatively important enough during the powerdown phase.

To them: caveat emptor.

The marchers are not the same - living sustainably (in a chemistry and physics sense) has nothing whatever to do with teachers relative incomes. I'd have marched in the resources march (more people in it than in FF, i'd guess) but not in the others.

" Attitudes to growth, risk, success and sustainability matter. The RMA’s four pillars of environmental, social, cultural and economic all should be considered when making those choices, not just one narrow aspect. The critical issue is getting the balance right. This isn’t always easy."

It's bloody impossible, and we're overdue owning up to that. Economic is the nigger in the woodpile. It's a cover-word for greed. Time it was deleted. Growth, of course, is exponential, and if Connor English thinks it is sustainable, or even desirable at this point, then in my opinion, Fed Farmers is lead by an anachronism.

Any time he wants that debate, bring it on. We're overdue this one. Time to stop the nonsense.

Baa, baa, baa.

"........Growth, of course, is exponential....."

And so is technology and resource use efficiency and subsitution. That is what you fail to grasp.

By the way, population growth seems to turn around once people reach a certain level of prosperity, too. It would be the height of stupidity to try and reduce birth rates that are already hovering at below 2 per woman on average, still further. It would be intelligent and noble of us to get those fast-breeding third worlders up to our level of advancement.

Incidentally, the great increase in human population in recent decades is the result of REDUCED MORTALITY. Was this not an intelligent and noble achievement?

But I am coming to realise that what you WANT is subsistence living and genocide-level reductions in human population.

"And so is technology and resource use efficiency and subsitution"

Efficiency is inversely so.....you can only ever get to 100% it gets harder and harder to get to that..........obviously absolutely no idea on enginering or science.......you are grasping at straws....

Sure populaton growth drops off once a certian level of prosperty is reached, the trouble is the damage that is caused before that.........we cant get the 6.5 billion to live like us because they would produce 18 billion in the meantime....we cant support 6 without oil let alone 18.

Its not a case of intelligent and noble, while yes I agree it cannot be done.........(see above) The great increase in population is due to the excess of food....we bred like rabbits...and like any pest our food is about to collapse...so our population is going to drop to 2 billion if we are lucky......

Dont be stupid, he doesnt want it and neither do I, however we both can see that without fossil fuels propping up the food supply, subsistance living and genocide level reductions is what nature will see to.........and within 2 generations at most....probably one....


20 mpg, 80 mpg, 200 mpg; where is "100%"?

Moore's law runs into the law of diminishing returns.

Molecular cross-talk vs heat-dissipation vs time. That's why computers started to need fans

We're never going to change this one, Luke, that coal scuttle is firmly jammed down.

Interesting thing on Nine-to-noon this week - apparently dying-age globally has risen every year until 2007, whence it's declined yoy. You have to look at peak energy, 2 years earlier, and wonder. If the fireman on the steam-train shovels less coal, it's hard to pick which wheel drives less, but it's easy to predict a slowing.

I wnder if a lowering of energy poked into the system, has a percentile influence on the age-forcing?

we've had that interchange.

I said that predicting/warning was a far different thing from wanting.

OK, good on you. So you won't be in favour of imposing "pre-emptive" suffering and death on humanity either then?

Very interesting one eyed view from Conor...notice his bash at teachers but his complete lack of any comment on the monster bloated salaries paid to senior state sector bosses and underbosses....perhaps Conor thinks his sprogs (if he has any at school) could do just as well if the teacher took a reduction in salary....and no doubt he really believes the Fonterra bigwig deserves 5 million a year.!

Good move Conor...well crafted comments...mustn't upset the fatcats in the old boys network must we! 

Wolly, you can make sense on occasions and your post above is bang on.  If anyone has a teacher in their family, they will be quick to tell you that the general public perception so often expresssed, saying what a good number they have etc, is way off the mark.

If the government is sincere about settling the teacher claim, why doesn't it agree to put the case to an independent arbitration?? Otherwise they are just spinning the b.s.

While I agree, consider that NZ has one of the highest spends on education in the OECD, and what do we have to show for it?


Let's just say I know a heap about what goes on in the classrooms!....and Steven must have missed the fact that ed. standards in Noddy are very high on world ratings....

The govt is not interested in being sincere or fair...they see the number of teachers and the final cost of any adjustment...meanwhile the head of the department gets a payrise to put her on over $500,ooo a year....member of the inner club!

The question parents all need to ask themselves IS: why do people who are so implacably opposed to you getting any sort of CHOICE re your child's education, have any right to regard themselves as "the best" teachers of your children? If they really WERE, they wouldn't mind voucher schemes, not to mention external assessments. People striving for excellence would say "bring it on".

This doesn't make sense.

I don't like disagreeing with Wolly, so I will say I agree with him THIS far; teachers DO have to put up with consequences of social breakdown, like the Police do. However, in so far as teachers are part of the leftwing forces behind social breakdown, they DESERVE to reap the consequences. The fact that their experience DOESN'T result in "teachers" and their union being a major force for conservatism in our society, only makes them more guilty and deserving of everything they get.

Maybe Gov Chris Christie was onto something here - maybe many teachers ARE being turned into conservatives and their unions are getting less and less representative of them.

It is interesting that things got so bad in Sweden that the teachers union ended up SUPPORTING voucher schemes and parental choice.



 I read this link you posted(think it was you) then downloaded his book onto my Kindle and read it. Thanks its been a great and interesting read, I found it cemented a lot of my thinking and Im definitely changing my attitude to growth. A big thanks from me- Andrew

Andrew - cheers.

This guy is my favourite of them all.

He did a 2-hour skype to us at the Otago Uni Physics Dept recently.


Lots of downloads there - he doesn't do it for the money. If your library has a copy of his Powerdown, it's worth the read.

I looked at Colin Ridens work on farm profitability and debt and drew the conclusion that we took a wrong turn. The problem is the growth and production mantra is now etched in the primary sectors ethos. Its goes from the top down. 

 I've tried to change it. I've met with banks I've used a production modeling software put out By GSL and Barrie Riddler, which proves peak profitability lies at lower levels of production forget talking sustainability. Our belief system is so far up the creek, mean while the massive transfer of wealth to the robber barrons goes on, we are getting robbed blind while we stuff up in style, driven by a promise of wealth that will never materialise. 

 Thanks again its been a good afternoon, ive booked marked Richard Heinberg and will read him at a later date.   Andrew

Now let me see we have hot year and the farmers put their hand out for a govt payment because its expensive to feed their animals and the crops dont grow.  The next it rains and the farmers put their hands out again as the consequenes on them are the same.  Then we have a bumper year, nice profits but when did a farmer hand back the hand outs?  Never.  They expect the to keep the upside and get help in the down.  Thats what I call a free lunch paid by the tax payer.

The Govts in Europe assist the banks because they are too big to fail.  Has a remarkably similar ring to MAF today who say we have to help the kiwifruit industry as its too important to the country to fail. 

However, its evident that the education system is not too big to fail - but we forget that they lay the foundations for the future of NZ. 

A different perspective - A youngish South Auckland secondary teacher friend told me they are resigning from the PPTA over the strikes.  My friend said that most younger teachers they know are happy with their lot and it is the 'older (BB) teachers who are stirring the pot.'

Might be true CO, but that young teacher is more likely to leave the profession than the PPTA!. Try to get your hands on the correct stats re the loss of new staff in the first 5 years and it has been hidden away...but those at the 'coalface' know...as would you if you were a teacher...The loss rate is staggering and recessions change it little.

You need to know that it is only because of the effort of the 'older' lot that the young teacher does not have a fulltime workload of students in the first couple of years...something that the govts in the past refused to fund....their salaries would be much lower had not the 'older' ones battled to push it higher.

If you want to be able to comment on this with any certainty, go and do the training and become a teacher...then stay the distance for ten years.

The fact is the govt targets teaching first whenever they wish to cut back on the spending because the govt can always get the media to join in with their propaganda. Yet the head of education gets a fat pay rise to put her over $500,ooo a year. Go figure.

Well said Wally.

My better half is a teacher, 14 years in.

She's getting out.

She's an 'Anne of Green Gables' type teacher, and loves the kids to bits. And it's not the money, either.

It's the paper work, the long hours, and the lack of support. It's the nonsense of 'National Standards' - (for goodness sake, everyone travels at their own pace, all you can do is support them at that, to the best of their potential, for themselves. Why tell half of them they're losers?)  She is on-site 8 to 5.30. After tea, she opens her laptop, and does 1-2 hours. Term holidays, she gets sick at the beginning of every one (held off until then). Every term holidays, about half of it is spent at school, or preparing. Phone calls at our house run probably 30% on school business, up to 10 at night. Three days (usually) before the school year starts, I'm in there helping set up the classroom.

And there is a trend for parents - part of our instant, no effort society - to blame anyone but themselves, when behavioral problems arise. You can guess where they offload the blame...

Tolley's Folly is to want bricks in the wall. The economic growth/productivity/cannon-fodder folly. These are individual youngsters who we should be assisting to achieve their potential as human beings.

AS you say, go figure.

Like I just said above, what needs to happen, is for teachers to become a force for conservatism, not for continued social breakdown via moral relativism and all that stuff they have been poisoned with at teachers training college.

Did you know that for 20 years plus, the teachers training colleges have been rejecting applicants whose backgrounds are "too conservative"? Merv Wellington was the last Min of Ed who actually tried to change this.

Haaaaaarhaha...so I must have been one of the 'too conservative' mob way back then....where did you get that fluff from Besty?


Joseph McCarthy died at the Bethesda Naval Hospital on May 2nd, 1957.

(Of chirrosis of the liver, not long after he'd been asked to leave a campaign stage because he was an embarrasment to.......................Richard Nixon!)

Just guessing where you are on the time-line, thought you might want to catch up.

Merv Wellington - wasn't he the wee fellow wanted us all to salute flagpoles?

You should go see 'Iolanthe' sometime.

"Did nothing in particular.........And did it very well..........

Merv Wellington was said to be bloody good at throwing his briefcase across his office in a daily tantrum at not being able to get his way!

Related to Gordon Brown , ex-UK PM , was he  ? There was a lad who ranted at all and sundry . ..... And he threw the furniture around the office , as we all do , in a hissy-fit  ! ...... Most unlike a POM to be sour-pussed 24/7 ............ Aha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa !

Maybe he had what Cullen had!

Wait, so you think that teachers should actively push a particular political viewpoint, but only if it's the same as yours?  How very hypocritical.

Personal neutrality in the classroom should be the goal, surely.

I mean that teachers should be honest and admit that the viewpoint they have been pushing for decades, has helped ruin society.

I don't see what Joe MacCarthy has to do with it. I know enough about Marcuse, Derrida, Foucault, et al; and about moral relativism, cultural relativism, deconstructionism, and political correctness; to know what I am talking about. Sorry if you either "don't get it", or are part of the problem.

You remind me of him.

It's a goal Kakapo....almost impossible to achieve to be honest...better to appreciate the differences and know that pupils and students get to experience all colours. Or are you advocating teachers be all the same...plain pink sausages all dressed in the same sheep gut skin !

Nah, variety in teachers is good.  They shouldn't abuse their position to push their own political and religious beliefs at the expense of others, but that's an obvious ethical standard, really.   Religious teachers, sure, but if they start teaching some ridiculous creationist fairytale instead of evolution they should GTFO.

Oh right I do agree with you. As for those who push a religion and call themselves 'teachers'...not a one should be employed in any state school...... and for those who push a political viewpoint...they are usually sorted out by the students very quickly. If not, they need to be told to stop and if they don't do so, they should be sacked.

(Yet, we put up with the Speaker of the House opening with a prayer to god....how insane is that?)

Utterly insane.

I'm a big fan of teaching kids how to think rather than what to think.  It's a pity that critical thinking is almost completely neglected until university and most people never learn the techniques.

Are you familiar with the Freshwater trial in the USA?  Google for a jaw-dropping example of a religious nutter abusing his position to push an uber-conservative religious agenda. 

I can imagine Kakapo...they have the system they deserve...Teaching thinking skills is great and can be started at an early age by parents!...no need for a teacher. Trouble comes when the 'Tolleys' of this world demand the sausages be graded according to size colour taste fat content and skin thickness. How do you establish and grade thinking skills standards.....it just doesn't provide the type of data needed to facilitate engineering performance grades for teachers, so that govt can divide up a united workforce that knows a bloody sight more about what real teaching is, than the latest version of 'Merv'!

He burned crosses into a couple of kids' arms, and yet there's still debate over whether to fire him.  Mindboggling.

I had to teach myself logic and critical thinking, because it wasn't really covered at school ,and homogenisation through ridiculously simplistic timewasting standards testing will just make it worse.  This kind of simple-minded nonsense has infected so many fields, management theory for one - ignore or downgrade anything that can't easily be quantified or summarised in more than five bullet-points.

Maybe he was a baker once and mistook them for buns!

My better half was part of a pilot based on Otago Uni, teaching a thing called 'critical literacy'.

I'd have recognised it as 'reading between the lines'.

Anathema to the Tolley kind, of course.

Generally those who become teachers & nurses do so because they love the work and the positive impact they can have on others lives. These traits have been taken advantage of over the years, and it is a disgrace.

I am younger than most of those who comment here, so am somewhat more recently left school, but no matter what, I am sure we all remember those teachers who we loved most. Of course we all had teachers who may not have been that great, or our perception was they were not, but we all remember the ones who we loved.

The hypocrisy of the ruling class etc is now so great, and been pumped up so much by the media through articles like the above, that the average person takes issue with teaches & nurses, and yet does not seem to take offence by the morons who have screwed the system in which they now operate. These same people only want to tick boxes to produce figures they can then massage & spin to an ever more ignorant public. The same people pull salaries many times larger than a teacher or nurse.

Wake up people, teachers are by and large in a role to help your kids learn, so be a little more grateful NZ eh, and stop having the wool pulled over your eyes in every direction !

Seems as if Wolly worked in the Education arena, so have I.

Young teachers with student loans do sometimes look to not pay PPTA fees as it does cost.

They do have a protected teaching and mentoring (from experienced teachers) situation for their first 2 years, thanks to PPTA, which they might fail to appreciate.  Then in Year 3 with a full load too many fold and within a year or two quit, saying it's too tough.  Yes the government keeps it under wraps the drop-out rate during years 3-5, and says they were always going to go on OE anyway- not too many return to teaching in NZ.

  And yes, Wolly, NZ does have one of the better educational standards in the OECD, but it is getting harder with the growing proportion of Maori and Pacific Island students who are under-performing, despite one intiative after another (comes back ultimately to the home environment).  The statistics for pakeha and Asian are high by world standards, despite the conditions of service being considerably not as good.

You've been reading between the lines me!.....I had the good fortune to teach many hard working Maori teens who were always given 110% family support and they made it through high school gaining top qualifications. Great students and wonderful parents. Tolley is trying to force on all parents her parties viewpoint on what makes good teaching and sadly it comes down to National wanting to please a very vocal minority of parents who find it easier to throw mud at schools and staff for any difficulty their children have in gaining qualifications.

Hare Hare - oops.

And has the kind of social policy - that teachers unions support, by the way - that has led to social breakdown; resulted in MORE Maori kids with "110% supportive" parents, or LESS?

There was a generation of Maori that sang "For God, for King, and for Country", and meant it. Sir Apirana Ngata would be spinning in his grave if he could see what neo-Marxism, cultural relativism and political correctness, has done to his people.

 "There was a generation of Maori that sang "For God, for King, and for Country", and meant it"...but that was at a time when the NZ govt and Judiciary treated Maori rights as something to be swept under the carpet of history.

They were tolerated as long as they said the right thing and did what they were told..

Thankfully the threat of international court judgement brought an end to that bloody farce.

We had to stand and sing " God Defend the Queen " , before the Carry-On movies in the Rangiora theatre ...... ..... Grandad took us to all the Sid James flicks . ............ . I never knew who was the bigger joke , Sid , or the silly moo in the crown .

Those were the days when a thrupence bought you a bloody big ice cream..

Thruppence ! Even as a kid you were rich and privileged .

Cheeky bugger....I had to go to school shoeless and only the fresh cowpats kept my feet warm.

Cowpats...? cowpats......Wally bloody luxury...there wasn't a cow in sight till I got to school and my Dad had to draw pictures of em to show us what meat looked like. Tough we ad it tough mate....what I would have given to be able to roll in fresh cowpat  in middle o winter....  

School ? .........  Huh , luxury ! We had lessons in life under an old man macrocarpa , in the howling sou' wester . ........... And pictures of meat .......... You were lucky ! We had lines drawn in the wet clay of what a carrot looked like ................ Eeee , by gum , we 'ad it tough !

I give up!

Right.... erghmmmph!.. tree bloody luxury mate six of us had to seek shade it middle o summer by diggin our own graves and gettin in them on a practice basis.......wet clay ..?we could have dug in half the time wit wet clay.......bedrock followed by scoria is what we ad to contend with........

Yessssss , well of course , we had it tough ! We called it a tree , but it were only a twig , we planted in the offal pit . .......... Bedrock and scoria ? We dreamed of bedrock and scoria ! Next to offal pit were lava flow from the volcano . We had to dig our graves in that . And lick the hot lava clean each morning with our tongues !  ........ Aye , we 'ad it tough , lad .

Tongues...?....tongues!...how you managed to go all that time wit tongue still in your head is mystery to me.....it were one o the first things we ate before Father spotted you hiding one.. n tore it out for square meal to enable im to dig extra grave when one of us were sick with the plague.

We dreamed of being sick with plague ! Would've been merciful release from being buried in red hot lava each day , and having ferrets from Dad's  fitch farm stored up our bums  ................. Plague ! You were bloody lucky , mate .

Fitch Farm...? bloody Fitch farm....storage room in your bum...? I'd love to have weaselled my way into that lark.......red hot lava..? at least you had a hot meal inside you.....once when I said I couldn't eat my grits n grass any more my Father buried me while I were napping and didn't dig me up for a year........the plague was a birthday....once when I had leprosy my brothers found some fine shingle and used my neck for dip.......my Mother who was afflicted too laughed her head off. 

My wife is Maori and man her extended family lurches from one crisis to the next. I reckon if anyone lives in a cuckoo land it is probably someone like that geezer, Connor English, who wouldn't have half a clue what goes down [would he be related to Double Dipton?]

I had a neighbour who said teachers need to get into the real world, and all I said is are you having a laugh, because a comment like that is so naive.  If anyone deals with the real world that crosses into the school gates on a daily basis it's certainly the teaching fraternity (may be private schools excluded but they are few and far between in NZ)

My wife (who used to be a secondary teacher) says that the of hardy annual of so-called 'Merit' pay is just a ruse, the government doesn't want it as it would actually cost much more, and they would always cap a finite amount irrespective, teachers are awake to that one, but of course Jo public doesn't have any understanding.

See in NZ Herald today, Brian Gould, who was Vice Chancellor when I was a Waikato Uni, refers to the study that puts NZ education at the top of the table, don't hear the government sayng good one guys, here's your merit pay, reckon all they are going to do is brass the teacers off more and more by their litte political gamesmanship, directed for consumpion to the guys Wolly indicated.   

Teachers have ruined society according to PhilBest.  You having a laugh or what???

Don't think bankers/financiers, free traders, blue chip/bridgecorp etc brigade who are culperable were influenced/indoctrinated by the teachers, as you would lead people to believe. Probably becase it hasn't been happening!  You may think so but quite frankly you either have your tongue in your cheek or you are the one with the political agenda.  

Well, the blue chip brigade didn't get their ideas from the local vicar, did they? There was a time when the teaching profession might have been part of a social structure that inculcated values that might have limited all the stuff you mention. Not any more. Sorry, the touchy feely stuff is no substitute for plain ol' personal responsibility. I DO see a connection with this as well as with family breakdown, which was the main problem I was referring to.

You're good for laugh Besty....I notice you make good use of "might"!.

Might you not be wrong on all counts?

by Kakapo | 17 Nov 10, 12:03pm

"Nah, variety in teachers is good.  They shouldn't abuse their position to push their own political and religious beliefs at the expense of others, but that's an obvious ethical standard, really.   Religious teachers, sure, but if they start teaching some ridiculous creationist fairytale instead of evolution they should GTFO."

So you have no problem with the teaching, as scientific fact, that DNA "evolved"? Some early nanoparticle just happened to add other nanoparticles that added up to a string of genetic instructions? And this happened by chance?

And some species managed to "evolve" a womb all the while they continued to reproduce by some other means, over millennia?

And some species spent millennia with useless appendages that were halfway evolved from a fin to a leg, and were not "selected against" in the process?

I could go on, but Mr Hickey's forum is not the place.

FFS, it should be the evolutionists who are on the defensive about THEIR religious faith and THEIR totalitarianism. And this stuff being taught in school is all about "secular", non religious positions? BAH.

More wilful ignorance, strawmen and utter lack of scientific understanding.  So physics isn't the only field you completely fail to grasp.  I agree that faith is an invalid and inadequate reason to believe in anything.  That's where evidence comes in.  Are you familiar with the concept?

But yes, not the place to go into this any further.

Jeez besty you have it bad mate.....what next....sub atomic particles were the creation of a mystical power....and the big bang too....and whatever went before that....I guess you must be permanently tuned to channel 112 and block out those evil Geographic type stations....gotta be quick with the news though..they can sneak in all manner of warped thinking.


yes my boy...?

Father I have sinned - but I bet you had guessed that :)

well just say your three Heil thingy's and a couple of our Fatherlands and we'll forget all about it eh..?

And here I was praying for more liebensraum for hughenfolk.


I don't understand your previous rant about teachers Besty, family breakdown is not the fault of teachers, but every day the teachers have to deal big time with the products of that.  And the breakdown is bad amongst way too many of Maoridom, hence the problems teachers have to deal with, and then beyond that society in general. Yet, despite this, the teachers in NZ are producing results that compare with the best in the OECD, even without the same resourcing or wages, and even despite the harping and carping from the likes of Tolley and all her soul mates, along with lackeys in the Ministry of Education [ who Jo Public often mistakingly think are one and the same as the front-line teachers]. Don't think you have had a teacher in your family, you would wise up about things pretty quickly if you had. 

I did say earlier that most teachers are ordinary decent people and that the problem is union representatives who do NOT actually "represent" them.

Do you get my point about teachers dealing with the consequences of social breakdown being turned into social conservatives in the process? I believe many of them do, and end up seeing through the relativist nonsense that they get stuffed full of at training college. I should have made this clearer earlier.

But you won't find unionists or bureaucrats accepting this.

I remember a new young teacher at my secondary school in the 1970's, fresh out of training college, who obviously subscribed to the fashionable theory that one could be overwhelmingly niiiiice to the students and get the best results out of them. Bedlam in his classroom was the norm, with even surrounding classroom's teachers popping in periodically to restore order. Around halfway through the year he lost his rag completely and caned several of the worst misbehavers. After which, respect and order gained,  he turned out to be quite a competent teacher, and resorted to the cane only infrequently thereafter.

Don't our politicians all get free lunches? Oh wait no somebody pays for them too. Us

What he misses is any sane household saves for a rainy day, and in tough times does not go out for meals....the latter i think the Govn tigthened quite well on.

So to start from here is bad news, but places like Singapore didnt they saved Govn surpulses in the good times, meanwhile here we the voter decided after listening to the Poolies that the money should be given back to us instead of saved....we now reap what we sowed.


PhilBest, you might be right in a different time when unions like the meatworkers Cook Strait Stewards and wharfies had professional unionists.  But  Me has it right as to the situation. Teachers actually have fellow teachers as their reps, even the contract negotiators are ordinary teachers who PPTA or NZEI have to organise for them to take leave for a few days and fly them into Wellington.  The government hire full-time professional protangonists who probably get a bonus for how hard they can screw the teachers down. My brother-in-law, an everyday principal of a little school, was a union rep for years and your vision of what he and others are like is way off the mark. I had a friend who  was a branch secretary, all voluntary unpaid stuff but he and others did it as they felt teaching and education is important to fight for.

I might add at age 50 yrs the b-in-law took a job with the Rugby Union (they've hired a number of people with teaching skills) admittedly he was quite a notable rugby guy in his day and teaching was a good job in the amateur days as you got paid leave to play rep sports. The remuneration from teaching couldn't compete.




You do not seem to have any idea of the front line staff s working conditions and of interferences by the managers/Bureaucrats  in various public services such as educations,health and police. I can tell you from personal experience as a senior doctor that even the conditions agreed in the collective contract are not met with. The buffoons called mangers make policies that ultimately affect patient care and service delivery. The teachers need to be paid properly ,just remember that what they do has huge impact on the quality of future workers and society. I have seen teachers who have been  bullied and traumatised by students.