‘Honey’ calls down a woman’s wrath

Not climate conversation, but assuredly the climate of conversation

According to the Herald:

Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority boss Roger Sutton said: “Hugs, jokes … I do do those things, and I’ve hurt somebody with that behaviour and I’m very, very sorry about that.”

Another man bullied into apologising for being a man. Continue Reading →

Propaganda watch

Activists are everywhere, particularly in our public service, those Wellington gnomes who crawl about the city each working day living from the taxes we pay them and steadily arranging our futures.

Their various agendas continue to creep, to slither, to insinuate themselves into every crevice of our civic existence. I’ll try to post examples as I see them and please send in your own. I’d be very happy to post them.

Here’s my first sample of the secret activists’ tireless, surreptitious toil. Continue Reading →

Public service balanced or merely on a knife edge?

Our friend Mike Jowsey says in comments: “It is headed for a total government of NZ by Maori. Think of Fiji or Rhodesia.” A scant three hours earlier, I received Colin James’s Management Magazine column for September 2011, which I reproduce below. The synchronicity of topics is unmistakable and James’ optimism clear. I take heart from the contrast with Mike’s scepticism.
 
There’s great concern for the position of Maori in society, with the majority responsible for filling the prisons, the dole queues and many of the hospital beds. Courageous, genuinely transformative interventions — and not merely feel-good, hand-holding sops to convention — are called for to let them restore their dignity and again earn an honest living. Whether this happens with the children or the adults, we’re looking at a lead time of 20 to 50 years, so we need to get started.
 
It concerns me to hear Muriel Newman tell us “many New Zealanders [are] completely unaware of what is really going on.” For she’s talking about me — I don’t know about you.
 
This is no off-topic digression either, for the link with global warming is through public policy decision-making. If we don’t know, or we disagree with, how public decisions get made, we must inform ourselves and agitate for improvement.
 
I want to know what Muriel is talking about. A rigorous examination seems called for. – Richard T

A radical departs the public service still sparking

Peter Hughes moves on after 10 years at the top of the Ministry of Social Development at the end of September. He takes with him — to the academic School of Government and some other appointments — his pre-eminent reputation as a chief executive. And he’s still pushing change.

The Maori party reckons whanau ora a revolutionary social policy initiative. But Hughes already had established the base from which whanau ora’s aim of a wraparound service could be developed: Community Link centres.

Peter Hughes

There will be 80 Community Link centres by end-2011 and 130 by end-2012. The aim is to transform the benefit and social assistance systems so they address in one place a range of people’s needs supplied by several services. They replace Work and Income centres which essentially dole out benefits and get people work-ready and into work.

Building on that, Hughes wants to transform the whole public service model. Continue Reading →

Northern Gateway toll road no picnic

  • Based on a letter sent to the NZ Transport Agency on 24th June, 2009.
  • Sunday, May 3rd, 2009, was a clear, sunny day in the East Coast Bays. In the afternoon I drove north with my wife and son to see the new motorway extension and have a nice picnic at Puhoi.

    There was moderate traffic and the drive through the lovely bush-clad hills was a pleasant experience. We passed beneath the gantry and saw the cameras that photograph each vehicle. What a technological marvel they are. The computer software recognises number plates on every kind of vehicle, from the front and the back, at all speeds, in all weather conditions and identifies the registered owners, then matches them up with one payment among thousands; all this without human intervention. Marvellous.

    Nice road, but to pay you must stop

    We spent a mere ten minutes driving along a section of motorway that took over four years to construct, emerging from the northern end of the twin tunnels at two self-service kiosks where one can pay the road toll of $2.00. Travelling north, the kiosks are on the other side of the road and we were unable to stop, but we noticed that only one kiosk was in use and some dozen people stood in the queue, so it was probably taking between five and ten minutes to pay. Paying the toll doubles the journey time. Isn’t technology helpful? Continue Reading →