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Problems solved


The government is up against it on a number of policy fronts. That’s because New Zealand politics always demands that the government take responsibility and make itself busy doing something. 

“What are you going to do?” is the continual question. The problems themselves are easy enough to solve. They just require that politicians do less and allow people to do more.

We can illustrate the proper policy approach with some high-profile examples:

1. Novopay:
The mad teacher unions and the Ministry of Education have made paying teachers unmanageable.

There are 2500 schools, 15 separate collective agreements and 10,000 possible pay variations.

Teachers can work for multiple schools and belong to more than one collective agreement.

It’s a logistical nightmare.

There’s no other payroll like it.

It’s easily fixed.

All schools should be bulk funded. The payroll would be simplified, teachers being paid each week would no longer be the government’s responsibility and greater flexibility within schools would improve teaching outcomes. Next.

2. Christchurch:
The government is now totally responsible for every inevitable problem that the massive rebuild entails.

Christchurch is a political tar baby and the government is getting stuck deeper with every twist and turn.

The government should butt out of Christchurch.

Property rights should be recognised and reaffirmed rather than endlessly pinched, the region should be declared tax-free and oppressive laws such as the Resource Management Act, OSH and the Employment Relations Act deemed inappropriate.

The city would be back up on its feet and thriving within five years. 

3. Christchurch school closures:
The government should not be deciding which schools stay open and which schools close. They should break the artificial distinction between state and private schools. Every pupil should be funded to a school of their parent’s choice.

The people would soon determine which schools close and which open. There would be huge opportunities to develop new and innovative schooling initiatives. Christchurch would be the envy of the world.

4. Treaty claims:
The 51% of the shares that government is planning on keeping in the part-privatised SOEs should be divided up among the members of the tribes yet to settle.

That is $6 billion.

That’s way above what anyone is expecting.

Returning the shares to individuals would undercut the tribal elites and their crony capitalism, put the wealth into the hands that need it and privatise SOEs that should never be in government hands to begin with.

The $6 billion full and final settlement would be cheap and the Treaty of Waitangi Tribunal dispensed with.

5. Business, innovation and employment:
Easy. Get rid of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. That alone would signal that government understands that business, innovation and employment aren’t things that flow out of the Beehive.

In its stead, introduce a flat tax at 15% and re-establish the supremacy of property rights and the freedom to contract. Stand back. The economy would honk and the only problem would be the shortage of labour. 

News reporting would change. There would no longer be the endless news of government decision-making and inevitable failure. It would instead be the news of people getting on and doing the job.

But perhaps this wouldn’t be as interesting or as easy to report. And perhaps it’s just not politically sustainable to have our politicians standing back doing nothing while people get on with the job.

More by Rodney Hide

Comments and questions

Nope - we put all 5 problems together and like Super City Auckland, problem is solved as it just becomes one big problem but with costs and problems all hidden under a mountain of policies.

That's how things are done in NZ.

Yeah, thanks Rodney, your last piece of wisdom landed us with an unmanageable super city with a socialist Hitler in charge. Thanks a bunch.

Actually Richard, it was the electors who landed Auckland with a Socialist Hitler. The result of the last Local Body Election was a good example of why only Property owning citizens should be electing Councillors.

Rodney for PM!

Rodney - love the idea of local control/bulk funding for schools.

Why did you go in the other direction with Auckland, creating the Super Bureacracy with its spending blowouts, rates rising faster than inflation and built-in permanent left wing majority courtesy of the south and west being lumped in with the rest?

The issue for me was to match the governance to the jurisdiction of the issues. The issues of infrastructure and transport stretched across the region and there was a total failure of them to be dealt with by fragmented councils. There's a long litany of examples.

Restructuring doesn't necessarily result in savings but I am happy to report that the savings this year are $130 million. That's the audited figures.

That's not bad!

Of course, can councils do better. You bet.

But best would be to reduce the red tape and cut council down to core tasks. Unfortunately, I didn't pull that off. But that's politics!



The failures of the Supercity will dwarf the perceived "total failures" of fragmented councils

Only if the electors continue to elect a majority of ineptitude to the Council

Because like his 'solutions' in this article, his ideas and ideology don't work in the real world with real people,

But free people and free markets are precisely the way to work with real people as compared to government actions, programmes and policies.

If you think that poorhouses are a good idea.

But we don't have any poor here in NZ, only people who make poor priority choices... choosing booze, drugs and gambling over providing for their dependants.

With our overly generous welfare state, there is no need for children to starve then the purportrators attempt to play the victim card instead of examining their spending priorities.

Talk to me from the slums of Bhangladesh and India about the poor and "not enough free money so I can keep up with the working Jones's " attitude on welfare payments and then I'll listen.

Pop out to one of the "not quite as rich" suburbs sometime and stay for dinner the day before benefit day and then tell us there is no poverty in NZ. No doubt your would hog the saveloy bits and leave the kids the soup.

And were those children mandatory? Average number of children in my circle less than 2. What about 'in these neighbourhoods?

Poverty = population explosions. Look to India, Nigeria and not so long ago, China. Whats your solution? Sterilisation?

How about thinking on your financial ability to have a family before you do so? Prudent, responsible people do that. As I've written on before:

Your argument holds no validity. Poverty does not create a population explosion. Living beyond your means, and spending more than you earn creates poverty, Having excess children creates more mouths to feed and hence more cost in whatever form that takes i.e. living beyond your means. Like all other life choices children are a choice.
If you are in an emergency situation i.e. unable to earn more than you earn, the last thing thing you need to be doing is popping out babies.

The food replicators on Star Trek have not yet been invented, so every time a baby is born someone has to go to work to pay for it.

The population explosion is creating the poverty, and internal welfare or external welfare (international aid) only serves to worsen the situation, allowing people and cultures to believe that it is their right to reproduce and have someone else pick up the tab for all things, not just the babies.

Rodney mentions you in this article... people who continually look to Govt to make decisions for them. First off, NZ doesn't have a population issue at all, in fact quite the opposite. No, the solution isn't sterilization although I like the way you think. The answer is far more simple. Responsibility and accountability.

Welfare is for those in a desperate situation needing an emergency helping hand, in an emergency you don't spawn more offspring, or spend money on non essentials. Cigarettes, booze, fizzy drink, videos, sky tv, new cars, are not essentials. And since the emergency is no income, failure to get out for 40 hours and either apply for jobs and/ or offer yourself for work is pure laziness. It is time the govt stopped giving social welfare away and made people accountable.

No job? You've got 4 weeks of welfare to get one. No job after 4 weeks means off to the Territorials for 6 weeks to get your backbone made solid again, and then off to whatever job is required. I.E. find a job or get given a job by whatever govt dept will take you. Right know there are plenty of holes to fill in and roads to fix in Christchurch.

Got a degree and unemployed ? Tough. You have to take a job. You can't climb the income ladder if you are not on the ladder. And if there are no spaces where you want to be, you have to start where there is a space. Why should other taxpayers support you so you can avoid getting your hands dirty until you land your dream job.

Stay for dinner? After you've had a few fags and drinks with their parents(?) you won't care about no dinner and no kids.

Make sure that you check for the ciggy butts out on the lawn, the empties tossed into the bin, the large flat screen on hire etc etc. also!.

Thank christ you nutters will never have the power to do anything other than make fools of yourselves here. Oh by the way. Did you hear that vw are sharing 1.1billion euros out of their profit with their workers? Generous and fair. You know what those words mean?

Medication time again.

I think you rather missed his point.

Elaborate please if you are able.

Rodney, I agree with the points you made in this article.

But you did let us down with the Supercity. "Markets" in local governance in a single urban area are much better than a monopoly. At best, a number of jurisdictions will provide competition in ideas and approaches to local governance. Smaller local governance units also means people can engage better - i.e., act like shareholders rather than customers. At worst, a number of jurisdictions means people can vote with their feet to live in the jurisdiction with the servies and rates they prefer, without leaving the urban area.

You could have dealt with "network" functions such as water and transport separately rather than the heavy-handed approach of creating an urban government monopoly. You crow about savings. But you of all people should know how over time a monopoly's costs will creep ever upward.

We all make mistakes. Why don't you admit you made one with the Supercity? You reduced choices that you advocate for a free people. You moved as far away as possible form a "market" approach to urban services.

This is the problem with ideology.

Just like the benefits for Auckland, these outcomes Rodney identifies are pure fiction. God forbid you let this man near your country again.


So we pay out 6 Billion dollars to people many of whom only have a small amount of Maori blood for perceived wrongs that in many cases just didn't happen. I have a better idea just disband the Waitangi tribunal and require any remaining grievances to be tested in the courts, with someone actually representing the Crown side. Remove all race based legislation from the statutes, abolish the Maori seats and have one class of citizen- New Zealanders. Taxpayer assistance to be provided on the basis of need not race.

I've got a better idea. Lets just re-establish property rights. Give Maoris back the land that was stolen or pay the full restitution including the value of lost opportunity for wealth generation. Problem solved. (Perceived wrongs that didn't happen? Which ones are you talking about?)

Your appeal to the property rights works against you. You see, the land in question was taken by the "Right of Conquest" which was fully recognised by international law up until fairly recently.

So, if you were to appeal to the property rights, you would discover you are owed... exactly nothing!

Next problem please.

Thanks for that advice. I'll just help myself to my next property and see where it leads us all.

New Zealand has 26.8-million hectares of land. A total of 1.2-million hectares were confiscated during the 1860s wars (much of which was returned at the time). As at September 2009, there was approximately 1.47 million hectares of Maori land (including customary land). Therefore, successive governments bought 24.13-million hectares.
Bought and paid for sometimes more than once!!!
The confiscated land was taken due to some Maori tribes rebelling ang going on murderous rampages and hence breaching the treaty.

Racism by definition is the positive of negative discrimination based on skin colour or racial group. So let's clear the fact that government policies are racist, not people's personal choices. The mindset that says 'because i have a different skin colour i am worse off " or "whiteys unfairly do better then non-whites" is rooted in the person's own unconscious self-evaluation. It is indeed true that different races succeed more than others. But that has very little to do with colour or culture but with what the people of that culture do. I envy Japanese. The children work harder - up to 13 hours a day to ensure they have a good education and therefore jobs.
Different outcomes for different cultures is due to the different worth ethics, pure and simple.

Probably the greatest, economical restraint placed on this country, has been the increase in MP's to 120 + and the introduction of MMP. We have had paralysis by analysis since, not too mention the increase burden to the taxpayer having to pay for these for these extra parliamentarians. And for what purpose I ask? Our living standards have never been lower. Its a complete nonsense for a county of this size and our GNP way too low, too shoulder such a burden. Fifty, high calibre parliamentarians is more than enough for a country of this size. .

Paul Marsden

Comment of the day. Well said.

Open your eyes, Bay. It's the banks that are killing us. Their profits are obscene. Nationalise them all and keep the profits here. That will boost our living standards.

There won't be a profitable bank in NZ to Nationalise, as soon as the banks realise that you are serious.

Are you saying the banks have no loyalty to our beautyful country? We the taxpayers prop them up. They rip us blind and bolt at the slightest sign of having to share? Doesnt seem quite right to me.

What increased burden? We have never before had such a low ratio of MPs per capita. The burden is decreased.

Yeeeesss Gra #5. Spot on. Need not race...if you and I can see it..why can't the rest of the voting public.

Because their eyes are not clouded by prejudice and money. Its obvious to any fair minded person that the Maori were ripped off bad. Their current difficulties are as a result. Inter generational poverty is a reality and a trap the poor, regardless of race (globally) cannot break free from, while greedy corporations and capitalists keep all the money.

But didn't John Key and John Banks come from poor backgrounds?

I'd say their drinking & drug habits have more to do with their poverty than whitey keeping them down.

I don't think whitey has ever been accused of keeping Shon-Key and Whoopsy Banks down, although some would like to hold them down and....

Polish your glasses Magoo. Drinking and drugs help "them" escape their intolerable dead end poverty stricken existance. If they had dignified jobs paid at a livable wage it may lift their heads.

Absolute rubbish Francis. Read the Great Divide or Twisting the Treaty
for a more balanced version of our history. As well as treaty settlements we have been dishing out money to Maori causes for more than 30 years and the stats are not getting any better. Time to try something different like treating Maori the same as everyone and stop telling them that they are special and owed a living by the rest of us.

Inter generational poverty is a mindset not a condition. Poverty is caused by earning less than you spend. If you like poverty then that's ok. If want something different you have to do something different. Wealth is not attained by working 40 hours a week in a union sanctioned job. Many wealthy people started out working 90 hours a week and being very frugal with their income. So that they created a surplus. You have to get out of the mind set of believing that wealth will come to the Maori if the country keeps giving you handouts.

We became one country, one people when the treaty was signed. If you must dig up the past, the Maoris are 4th generation Nzers in the last 900 years after the Morioris, the Celts and the Chinese. I don't seeing any land claimants recompensing the descendants of the Morioris for their forefathers that the Maoris ate for lunch after taking their land, which by the way was most of New Zealand.

I was with you until you generalised to all Maori at the end of Para 1. Paragraph 2 shows the effects of age (still believing the Moriori myth), ignorance (ditto) and perhaps mind-altering drugs (Celts? Chinese?).

Actually Ewen, Samual is onto it. His version of history is more accurate than the sanitised version being fed to students in schools currently. Maori were far from first here.

While there was certainly barbarism, which I don't believe is being 'sanitised' by current teachings, I'm sorry to say that modern views on 'who was here first' don't support your prejudices.

Mostly, the super city package was good for Auckland. But creating the office of executive mayor was always going to be a mistake. Now we are stuck with an Emperor Mayor, who appears to think he is infallible. And, thanks to the leftist Council, we ratepayers are being screwed for Liability Len's " visions"!

The iwi compensation and Christchurch sales don't strike me as particulary ideological. The former would be an utter political disaster and the latter is ad hoc pragmatism at it worst. Really bizarre.

You really need to get your stuck record problem fixed.

There are none so blind as those who will not see
Good on yer, Rodney.

You're funny Rodney
You should be in a circus

Poor and undernourished in NZ? What nonsense, poor in spirit and attitude, I'm entitled "BS" is more like it. The only poor people featured on our TV shows are obese, perhaps they could share their secret on how to get so fat on no food?
Rodney: Supercity is going to be a massive disaster, we need very strong leaders to change the way councils are run. Who will stand up for this job?
Rates on value system is discriminatory in the worst sense, water-care have got it right, user pays. How did this "poll tax" get through?

Coke is cheaper than milk. Fish n chips are cheaper than red meat. Processed food is cheaper than a cabbage or a brocolli. Fat and undernourished. I'm unhappy coz I'm fat. And I'm fat coz I'm unhappy. I havn't got any land and I cant afford to loan any capital. Pass me a fag please someone. It's all just too floppin hard.