Catherine Delahunty
Ōtautahi/Christchurch teachers vote to strike for education

Dr Megan Woods (Labour), Sandra Spekreijse (local union member), Catherine Delahunty (Green) with a box containing 7000 letters to John Key from teachers across New Zealand

Yesterday I attended the industrial action meeting held by primary school teachers of Christchurch. The meeting was held in the vast Riding for the Disabled Arena at the Canterbury Agricultural Show Grounds and more than 1000 teachers attended the event. Many schools were represented and teachers were grouped around the banner for their school.

Before the meeting started, I talked to a number of these groups about why they were considering serious action in opposition to the Government’s plan for Christchurch schools. Some schools were not directly affected by the mergers and closures but were attending in solidarity with their colleagues. Some were exhausted from preparing submissions on the future of their schools to meet the December 7 deadline. A number of teachers described the face to face meeting they had with the Minister of Education and how they really did not feel heard.

In temperatures of 30 degrees, the teachers applauded the NZEI representatives who explained that they had three options. One option was to take no strike action, one was to for one day strike next week and one was to strike on February 19th. They agreed that no action was necessary if the Minister would stop the failed consultation process and start again in a genuine grassroots dialogue with the schools.

During the vote counting I and Megan Woods MP from Labour Party spoke to the audience about our parties’ support for the education communities of Christchurch. They presented Megan, as MP for the Wigram electorate, with 7000 letters from teachers to be presented to the Prime Minister. My characterisation of the “rejuvenation” being imposed sounding like a bad face cream made from dead whales was well received. But it was also a very serious moment. When over 700 teachers vote to strike in February for the well-being of the schools of Christchurch the Government would be wise to start listening.

This action, whether it is technically legal or not, is a strong stand. It is not about pay negotiations or conditions of work, some schools are under no threat from the proposed changes but the teachers want respect. They want respect for the community vision and voice, they want a genuine dialogue that respects the stresses of their communities post-earthquake and they don’t want to be guinea pigs for charter schools, unregistered teachers and super-sizing the education structures. The Green Party supports them, one of our four core principles is the principle of “appropriate level of decision making” and these people should be leading the process not being forced to fight it.

62 thoughts on “Ōtautahi/Christchurch teachers vote to strike for education

  1. technically legal or not

    “Technically”? It’s either legal or it is illegal.

    Wouldn’t it be a little more convincing if they waited to hear the decision made by the Ministry first?

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  2. Why aren’t they striking now?

    Silly me. It’s the school holidays.

    These teachers are paid to do a job. Teach kids. If they don’t like the direction of their employers, that’s fine. They are quite welcome to resign.

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  3. “Wouldn’t it be a little more convincing if they waited to hear the decision made by the Ministry first?”

    You mean wait until it’s a done deal and then complain?

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  4. In a political strike, the point is to demonstrate the level of opposition, and presumably, to give your opponents time to reconsider what they are doing and change course before the strike actually happens. So setting a date down track makes perfect sense. They might also have been mindful that a strike next week would be more disruptive.

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  5. Okay, let’s call it even. Early January, so as not to disrupt kids and parents.

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  6. It is the Government that is disrupting kids and parents.

    Teachers are doing what their code of ethics says they should. Acting in the best interests of their students and the community.

    National are acting in the best interests of the private corporates that fund/bribe them, as usual.

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  7. Arana,

    If a strike does not cause any disruption or inconvenience to someone, then it loses its effectiveness. The general idea is that the wider community do not want children to miss out on education, and therefore will put pressure on the government to resolve the issue quickly (if not before the strike even happens).

    Now this tactic could backfire if there is not a large amount of support for the teachers. But I think you’ll find that the majority do support the teachers in this case, because irrespective of the legality, it is an issue about what is right and wrong, and in this case, I suspect most people think the teachers are in the right.

    Of course there are people like (presumably) yourself who do not support this action. Maybe you think that there would be a better, less disruptive way to resolve the issue? Well, that may be the ideal situation, but in the real world, unfortunately unpleasant power struggles are sometimes the only effective way to achieve an outcome. Time will tell if you are on the winning or losing side.

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  8. Teachers are doing what their code of ethics says they should. Acting in the best interests of their students and the community.

    That can be used to justify any position they care to take. Everyone thinks their own actions are righteous and good.

    If a strike does not cause any disruption or inconvenience to someone, then it loses its effectiveness

    Exactly.

    Which is why strikes such as this are unlikely to be legal. Just because someone doesn’t get their way, does not mean they are justified in striking.

    At the end of the day, they are paid to teach, not make decisions about which schools go where.

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  9. “At the end of the day, they are paid to teach, not make decisions about which schools go where.”

    Correct – and all praise to them for doing far more than they are paid to do, for being active, concerned citizens who give a damn about the work they do and its impact on society, rather than just taking the easy way out – taking the money, doing as they are told and saying “not my job to worry about it” when decisions are being made that are against the interests of the community they serve.

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  10. Arana,

    You raise an interesting question: a strike may well not be legal. That does not necessarily mean it is “wrong”. There are plenty of cases where what the law says is legal, and what most people in the community think is right are at odds with one another.

    On your point about teachers being paid to teach, and not make decisions about which schools go where. Well the point about being paid to teach is correct. However, teachers are in just as good a position, if not better, to be able to have a say on education policy as anyone else, so why shouldn’t they be able to make their views on this matter known? Of course if they go on strike, they will not be being paid, because they are not teaching.

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  11. The NZEI, who have not even once bothered to contact the ministry with their concerns about the process, are going on strike because of a “lack of consultaion”.

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  12. Correct – and all praise to them for doing far more than they are paid to do, for being active, concerned citizens who give a damn about the work they do and its impact on society

    So, whenever teachers don’t get their own way on any issue, it’s “all praise to them” for striking. Perhaps the government – you know, the people in charge as a result of democracy – think they care about society just as much, and that their decisions are right for society.

    After all is said and done, it is their call, not the teachers.

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  13. You raise an interesting question: a strike may well not be legal. That does not necessarily mean it is “wrong”.

    I think progressive taxation is wrong, but that argument doesn’t seem to wash with the IRD. I might try and change governments mind by debating and offering my opinion, but ultimately, it’s their call.

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  14. so why shouldn’t they be able to make their views on this matter known?

    Of course they can.

    But what do we tell our kids? Just because they don’t get their own way, does not give them the right to throw their toys like brats.

    Striking should be reserved for “life and death” issues, not whether some schools go, or get rearranged – which is inevitable after an earthquake.

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  15. Arana likens the teacher’s (proposed) strike to toys being thrown by brats.
    Is it any wonder we dismiss her comments as immature?
    “Striking should be reserved for “life and death” issues”
    Theatrical much?
    Nothing moderate or reasonable about our Arana – it’s all or nothing, black and white in her reactionary world.
    The best people to decide whether a strike by teachers is appropriate, are…teachers, not the Aranas and Photonziz of this world.

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  16. The National Government have been wreckers in the education sector.

    They’ve cut funding for students, made education harder to access and in Christchurch have been using the earthquake as an excuse to ram through unpopular cuts and school closures.

    I suppose Christchurch can count itself lucky that the Nats did not decide to close all their schools and replace them with for profit charter schools where the janitors can be teachers as well because no qualifications are necessary under National government policy.

    It will take a while to fix the messes in the education sector which the Nats have and are causing. Good on the Christchurch teachers for making a stand against them

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  17. Just a few points of information, the NZEI and many of us have raised this issue with the Minister on a number of occasions – as have all the schools Hekia Parata visited last month. The teachers i heard last week are not wanting to strike, but they are not prepared to see the terrible process of “rejuvenation” continue. If the Minister stops and commits to a grassroots/flaxroots led dialogue there will be no industrial action. But Chch people have had enough of being told what will happen!

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  18. Arana,

    Here are some of my observations/personal views on strikes.

    I have been involved in organising my colleagues to go on strike, including threatening a strike when a cabinet minister started to interfere in an employment negotiation we were involved in.

    Basically, in these sorts of situations, the workers/staff find that strike is the only form of power they have. I have spent hours putting together well argued cases for why the management should consider one thing or another. Yet what often happens is that when you go and present these clearly thought out, reasonable arguments, they are just rejected out of hand. Sometimes management or the government even come back and say something like: “we actually agree with you, but …” And as they say, everything before the but is bullshit.

    So what staff are faced with is this: lie down and take whatever the management or government has decided, or threaten a strike and hope that they will move a bit. That is the only real power that staff have.

    If strikes were only reserved for life and death issues, then it would be a one way street to the bottom, and all the conditions that have been achieved for working people over the last century or more would be lost. And make no mistake, much of what has been achieved to give working people (who incidentally are the
    vast majority of the population) the conditions they have now has been achieved
    by organised union action, including strikes.

    Is there a better way? I personally hope there is … but have no clue what it is. Is it right or wrong to use strikes to improve the conditions for working people and the wider community? Well I guess that depends on what side you are on.

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  19. Catherine says “the NZEI and many of us have raised this issue with the Minister on a number of occasions”

    Yet on the contrary, the ministry says the NZEI hasn’t even bothered to contact them even once over any concerns.

    Then the union complains about lack of consultation.

    It’s just like when the Labour party and union memeber harrased parents in front of children at our school over National Standards.

    The pretended to represent teachers – who were appalled at their terrible treatment of parents.

    Many of the teachers are also disgusted that whether they like it or not, their union fees get “donated” to the Labour Party without them having any say whatsoever.

    Is is any wonder that union membership is lower than any time in decades.

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  20. Last year our local schools (two just 300m apart, and another two just 500m apart) put up a big protest about being closed.

    This year kids in the combinsed schools have more specialised teachers, more equipment, and substantially better facilties for children than any had previously in individual schools.

    Nearly a year into the new combined schools, there’s not a word of protest -even from the unions.

    And that’s without the drastic demographic changes because of an earthquake.

    The idea that after the huge demographic changes Christchurch schools can contuinue on as before is completely unrealistic.

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  21. Photonz,

    I’ve got strong (and perhaps similar to yours) feelings about union officials being involved in Labour party politics, and vice-versa.

    Unfortunately (for union members), union officials are often an “elite” group of people who have had no work experience in the industries they supposedly represent. Instead, they use their positions in the union as a stepping stone into parliamentary politics. In my opinion, this sucks (and that is to put it mildly … my full views on the matter would probably be unpublishable here).

    In my workplace we are making a big effort to have the union members being represented by union delegates who actually work in the same place. This ranges from representing individuals who have got themselves into the shit for one reason or another, through to negotiating pay and conditions with management. We still rely on paid union officials for things like legal advice and specialist negotiators, as well as general organisational matters such as using the union’s phone and computer systems for calling up members and so on. However, much of the day-to-day union work is done by volunteer delegates who also have a normal day job (or night job as the case may be) in the industry.

    This is what I think the future of unionism should be … workers representing and standing up for themselves and their colleagues. Not an elite group of people with no real world work experience who just want to get a leg up into the shit-house of Labour party politics.

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  22. Nothing moderate or reasonable about our Arana – it’s all or nothing, black and white in her reactionary world.
    The best people to decide whether a strike by teachers is appropriate, are…teachers, not the Aranas and Photonziz of this world.

    Yeah, “fight the power that be!”. Laws? Meh. If you really feel something is right, you do it. Decision making at the appropriate level (code for “whatever level *we* decide to make them”).

    Just like a farmer dumping sludge in the river. He’s fighting the power! Making decisions at the appropriate level. He feels it’s right.

    It’s all grey. It’s all a matter of what you “feel” is right. Laws are so black and white.

    I wonder why we have laws?

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  23. The teachers i heard last week are not wanting to strike, but they are not prepared to see the terrible process of “rejuvenation” continue.

    Really?

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/schools/8041809/Strike-only-phase-one-in-teachers-campaign

    “A one-day strike is only the start of a battle against the Government’s education overhaul in Christchurch”

    It seems to me it’s more National bashing by Labour-aligned Unions. At the end of the day, teachers can have their say about school closures and amalgamations, but the government has a right to pursue their own management decisions, regardless of what teachers think.

    A teachers job is to teach, not arrange buildings.

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  24. Arcana is actually pretty right in what he says.

    We pay teachers to teach, and it is the governments job to put in place the strategy and framework to enable teachers to teach.

    Sure, teachers have opinions on what is the right thing to do, as does pretty much everyone. If teachers insight was special, then every teacher in the land would already know the best way to teach, and every class would be taught identically, as there would be the one right way. We already know that different teachers (and schools) teach in different ways (see debate about how it’s hard to apply National Standards) so clearly their isn’t a single “right” way to educate. Therefore allowing disconnected pockets of opinion and ideas to determine a national strategy for education is obviously wrong.

    Having illustrated that the teachers can’t determine national strategy, it must be down to the government to make the strategy, and, after all, that’s what we pay them for.

    If the teachers really want to run education, then they have to step up; once they’ve got a single national model for teaching, then perhaps they would be a credible authority on national education strategy.

    Alternatively, charter schools may offer an opportunity for teachers who want to escape being part of the national straitjacket and want to do something different.

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  25. ” If teachers insight was special, then every teacher in the land would already know the best way to teach, and every class would be taught identically, as there would be the one right way.”

    This claim reveals the shallowness of your understanding of teachers, teaching, education and just about everything else in the field, dbuckley.
    Teachers should be involved closely in the discussion, along with other education professionals and experts. Their representatives should be called upon by the Government to shape education as it progresses toward its best state. Waste that opportunity, over-look them, dismiss them, deride them and you’ll get a strike (or two or three). Feigning surprise or indignation is par for the course.

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  26. Arcana – if the teachers ‘job’ is only to teach, there are going to be thousands upon thousands of very disappointed young sportsmen and women across the country from here on in and sport is just one field that teachers give of their time to ensure that their students are well served by education in NZ. You suggest a work to rule. That’s very shortsighted.

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  27. Greenfly opens with an ad hominim attack. Very mature.

    Now would you care to explain why I’m wrong?

    Once we’re past that then perhaps we can explore your last paragraph, much of which I agree with.

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  28. Teachers should be involved in some discussions. It is good that people express their opinion. However, this does not mean they get their way on any aspect, not does it mean they must be involved in all discussions.

    Education strategy and facilities management are not their call. It is not their job. These are the calls we pay governments and the Ministry to make.

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  29. Arcana – if the teachers ‘job’ is only to teach, there are going to be thousands upon thousands of very disappointed young sportsmen and women across the country from here on in and sport is just one field that teachers give of their time to ensure that their students are well served by education in NZ. You suggest a work to rule. That’s very shortsighted.

    Sure, and they get very generous holidays (there is some work to do, but let’s not kid ourselves they are doing 40 hour weeks in the school holidays). Perhaps they should show up at the “office”, 8-5, just like everyone else, with four weeks off?

    Perhaps this would be good for the slower teachers who appear to be having trouble getting their heads around National Standards…

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  30. Saying that your thinking around education is shallow doesn’t seem to be much of an ad homattack, pbuckley, but you’re offended and I apologise. I’ll happily attempt to show you how your claims are wrong.
    ” If teachers insight was special, then every teacher in the land would already know the best way to teach,”

    What?? Teachers could have special insight, yet still be learning/trialling/adapting to the changing needs of students. I can’t understand why you think teaching is a fixed process.
    and every class would be taught identically, as there would be the one right way.
    Perhaps I’m missing something and you are joking here. You’ll know that teaching methods are as varied as the situations that exist amongst our diverse communities, so there will not be one right way to teach. Apologies if I missed your meaning.
    We already know that different teachers (and schools) teach in different ways (see debate about how it’s hard to apply National Standards) so clearly their isn’t a single “right” way to educate. Therefore allowing disconnected pockets of opinion and ideas to determine a national strategy for education is obviously wrong.”
    The Land and Water Forum champions the coming-together of ‘disconnected pockets’ of water-users in order to forge a
    best practice’ policy on water use across New Zealand. Could the ‘disconnected pockets of opinion’ that come from the teaching force in New Zealand not be analygous to this much lauded process?

    Finally, and out of order…
    Sure, teachers have opinions on what is the right thing to do, as does pretty much everyone.
    The opinions of “Pretty much everyone” don’t carry the same weight as that of teachers, wouldn’t you think, about matters teachers are intimately involved with. In particular, teachers must have longstanding experience of all sorts of peripheral issues, such a relocation of students, the creation and retention of ‘school communities’ etc, that no one else has got. Clearly they think so and are pressing to have their experience recognised.I hope this clarifies my position, pbuckley.

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  31. Lets face reality and acknowledge the national party would like to smash unions and remove the right to strike ….. in other words a return to working conditions which existed 100 years ago is their idea of progress…..

    The national Governments big spends in education has been the extra money they have gifted to private schools with their wealthy family’s and children.

    And the nats will be giving a lot of money to the for profit charter schools where the teachers need have no qualifications.

    Allowing unqualified teachers in for profit schools snd giving them tax payer money is Nationals true face in education ……. its what they’ve done and its for all the wrong reasons including hate of the teachers union.

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  32. Greenfly, much better. It was an ad hominim attack as you didn’t reference what I was saying, merely that my understanding must be shallow.

    Education is one of those things that we all have experience of, both as students, and then later as parents, and making education choices for one’s offspring is one of the harder thing one has to do as a parent. From this experience we know that teaching varies, from the truly atrocious to the wonderful. I am very much aware that the practice of teaching is an evolving journey, not something we already know the answer too.

    I have difficulties understanding why entire communities have different teaching needs. Individual pupils, absolutely. But that we need to teach differently in papanui to bishopsdale?

    Collating, sifting and analysing “disconnected pockets of opinion” is an excellent idea, and that is what we have a ministry for, and universities, and many other groups if interested parties. But ultimately the party that matters is the government.

    What the real problem here though is that because the teachers are not getting their way they are going to strike. In any process involving collation and examination of material, there is often not going to be a consensus, and there will be those who do not have their views accepted. That’s the nature of the beast. To then say you are then going to throw the toys out of the pram indicates that ones involvement in the process is in bad faith.

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  33. Oh, dbuckley, you’ve slipped by your own standards. Equating the teachers and their indication to strike with throwing toys out of a pram is demeaning – was that your intention? To align yourself that way, with the yabbering Arcana surprises me. Quite frankly, your view echoes that of rightwing commenters I’ve read here and on the Tory blogs, who just don’t like underlings speaking their mind and refusing to be dictated-to by … dictators. It’s a meme that repeats itself over and over on the blogosphere. John Key, Steven Joyce, Brownlee and English exhibit this all of the time, dismissing and demeaning those ‘below’ them who are uppity and speak out/protest/strike to show their un-acceptence of what the governers propose. Governments are supposed to fear the people, not the other way around, and part of that relationship comes from a bolshy population that demands reasonable treatment from their elected representatives. the responsibility those few hold to attend to the voices of the people does not end as soon as the votes are counted – it’s a day to day thing. I support the teachers’ actions because I know they don’t do these things lightly and they have been pushed very hard on this and other matters. Something has to give and it will b the Government.

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  34. Governments are supposed to fear the people, not the other way around, and part of that relationship comes from a bolshy population that demands reasonable treatment from their elected representatives. the responsibility those few hold to attend to the voices of the people does not end as soon as the votes are counted – it’s a day to day thing. I support the teachers’ actions because I know they don’t do these things lightly and they have been pushed very hard on this and other matters. Something has to give and it will b the Government.

    You support the left-wing being bolshy. I doubt you’d support dairy farmers being bolshy against LabGreen government decisions on the environment.

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  35. I support the people speaking up whenever the Government they chose acts against their best interests. I don’t care who speaks out, who might be in Government or what the issue. I support freedom of speech and an proactive population. I support governance, but it has to be done with constant regard to the needs of the people they represent. If the government gets out of touch, too removed from the grassroots, then ordinary people should make themselves heard. Clear enough for you, Arcana?

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  36. It’s Arana.

    I support the people speaking up whenever the Government they chose acts against their best interests.

    You’ve already decided that is what is happening. What I see is a group of teachers who fail to grasp that accommodation and education strategy are managed centrally, not by teachers.

    The government no doubt feel they are acting in the best interests of people. It is a job they were elected to do, and the responsibility to make these decisions lies with them and the Ministry, not teachers.

    You appear to conflate “being heard” with “getting your way”. Yes, they’ve been heard, but the government is simply making different decisions.

    It’s like someone down the road holding an opinion on what colour you should paint you shed. It’s an opinion, certainly, but not a decision that is his to make.

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  37. To then say you are then going to throw the toys out of the pram indicates that ones involvement in the process is in bad faith.

    Well said.

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  38. What’s Arana?

    “The government no doubt feel they are acting in the best interests of people.”

    Not this Government. National are motivated by a different objective altogether. The teachers know this. That’s why they are up in arms. You appear to be unaware of what is motivating the teachers in this issue. You also have a typically authoritarian view of the relationship between employers and employees and will never be able to clear your head of such a view. Debating the issue with you is quite pointless, but maybe there are quiet watchers of this thread who are forming their views as a result of your exposing your thoughts, and me mine.
    Still with the ‘toys’ and ‘pram’ slights?
    You are a troll.

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  39. Not Arcana.

    Not this Government. National are motivated by a different objective altogether. The teachers know this. That’s why they are up in arms. You appear to be unaware of what is motivating the teachers in this issue.

    Yes, yes. “Evil Tories doing evil because Tories are….evil!”. They have different ideas on how things should be done, certainly. The people voted for a National government.

    Isn’t government all about who has authority?

    It’s always give and take between workers and employers. It’s great if everyone is on the same page. But sometimes, decisions must be made, and not everyone will like them. Was it a unanimous vote to go out on strike? What about those teachers who voted against it? Are you in support of the “authoritarian Union” forcing those people to strike?

    As for your “surveillance” threat, meh. Seen The Standard lately? So much for free speech in Godzone, huh.

    Everyone is free to form their views, hopefully without intimidation.

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  40. You believe the Tories are evil?
    You’re all over the show, girl!
    Back to your manual for a little study.

    “Isn’t Government all about who has authority?”

    There ya go. A little reflection might tease out what it is that ails you. To help, I’d suggest that government is primarily about decision-making. That comes from consultation and research. Holding authority is only a part of the job of government. Sadly, you see it front and centre, as do other authoritarians.

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  41. Decision making is done by those with the authority to do so. The government does consult and research, it’s just that you don’t agree with their conclusions.

    You appear to want everything run by the manufactured consent of a partisan committee, but that doesn’t work when people have very different ideas about how things should be done. At the end of the day, those with authority are going to make a decision, and it will annoy some people, no matter how long they spend talking about it before the decision is made.

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  42. …. I’ve arrived at the conclusion, based on decades of observation … that Labour are bad and rotten , while National is just plain evil.

    National hates unions and a lot of their policy’s and actions are designed to undermine and weaken unions.

    The Nats have been in conflict with the teachers union since they gained power with their national standards ( but no money to lift the standards ) and in christchurch are using the earthquake to push through unpopular cuts and school closures.

    Good on the christchurch teachers for making a stand against this corrupt dishonest National government.

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  43. “So, whenever teachers don’t get their own way on any issue, it’s “all praise to them” for striking. ”

    I didn’t say that teachers should be backed whenever they don’t get their own way, did I? I said I backed them “when decisions are being made that are against the interests of the community they serve”.

    Of course, it’s much easier to win an argument when you ascribe things to your opponents that they haven’t said.

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  44. making a stand against this corrupt dishonest National government.

    Nothing quite like a negotiation in good faith.

    If the other side is “evil”, why even bother with talks?

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  45. “when decisions are being made that are against the interests of the community they serve”.

    When *you think* decisions are being made that are against the interests of the community they serve.

    I’m sure National notes that opinion, they just don’t agree with it.

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  46. Sorry, I’m inclined to trust the opinion of Christchurch people to know what’s good for them, rather than the National government. If the teachers are shown to lack community support, and the goverment shown to have it, I’ll happily change my mind and admit I was wrong in supporting the teachers. I don’t think this is likely.

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  47. “Nothing quite like a negotiation in good faith.

    If the other side is “evil”, why even bother with talks?”

    Have I missed something? Has there been a call for talks with blog commentators?

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  48. ” It’s much easier to win an argument when you ascribe things to your opponents that they haven’t said.”

    Words to live by, Arcana. No doubt you have them scratched into the screen of your laptop. Rock on!

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  49. Sorry, I’m inclined to trust the opinion of Christchurch people to know what’s good for them, rather than the National government.

    Yes, I’m sure many people in Christchurch want a rebuilt replica cathedral, too, but other considerations are in play, namely fiscal.

    But hey, if we both agree we should devolve the power of central government to regional communities, I’m all for it. I imagine the farmers would be, too.

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  50. Reductio ad absurdum – scratch that on as well, Arcana.

    Nestled in between your extreme statements, almost by accident, is the answer: Central Government, governing according to integral rules, and local government, doing likewise. It’s when Central muscles-in on the regionals, that trouble starts. The correct and proper relationship needs to be maintained. National is a bully government and can’t help itself. The people of the provinces are honour-bound to remind them of their responsibilities. Apologists like yourself hinder free, democratic activity. Stop it. You’re doing us all a disservice.

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  51. As usual the national government reverts to telling lies and their cheerleaders repeat them. policy is then rammed through on the basis of these lies.

    The truth is always different than the dishonest corrupt national government spin ….” the government announced plans to close schools across Christchurch, in what seems to be a crude attempt to use the earthquake there as an excuse to create a market for its substandard charter schools. The plans have attracted widespread opposition from the public, not helped by the Ministry of Education’s contemptuous attitude towards the “consultation” process (which isn’t).”

    http://norightturn.blogspot.co.nz/2012/12/a-warning-shot.html

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  52. “But hey, if we both agree we should devolve the power of central government to regional communities, I’m all for it.”

    Absolutely – so why are you such a cheerleader for the rights of centralised authority?

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  53. Absolutely – so why are you such a cheerleader for the rights of centralised authority?

    It’s what the people voted for.

    I’m all for a lot less government. I think it should focus on law and order, basic welfare, and trade – and that’s it. The rest should be devolved to the regions (who can levy their own regional taxes) and the private sector.

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  54. I’m sorry, but when in living memory did people vote for the extended powers of central government to deal with local issues?

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  55. I have to agree with Arana on one point. People did vote for the National government.

    Maybe they are doing things they never said they would, or didn’t campaign on. But honestly … when in living memory have politicians of any persuasion told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? With a few exceptions the whole bloody lot of them are pathological liars with a moral conscience that makes used car dealers look like saints. I just don’t buy the argument that people voted for National and didn’t know what they were likely to get (or Labour for that matter).

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  56. Sam says “Sorry, I’m inclined to trust the opinion of Christchurch people to know what’s good for them,..”

    Dunedin thought that too.

    They didn’t want several schools closed and merged. But now their kids are in better managed schools with things like gyms, better sports fields and more equipment, significantly more modern computing facilities, specialised teachers for reading recovery, music, art, tech etc.

    They have sports that weren’t available previously, and teams with kids of their own age and ability – none of which they had in the smaller schools.

    The parents here also thought they knew what was best for their kids, but they didn’t.

    When it came down to it, the factor that motovated them more than anything else, was that they were scared of change.

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  57. Photonz1: “Democracy?Poof! The people are fools! They don’t know what they want.
    Thank God for heroes like John Key, Gerry Brownlee and Hekia Parata. They will save us from ourselves!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1 (+3)

  58. “It’s what the people voted for.”

    How many ‘people’?
    How many people voted for something else?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

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