"Must do better" is the least criticism Education Minister Hekia Parata can expect from her colleagues over the shambolic class sizes policy.
She may argue that being heckled by intermediate school principals at their conference today in the midst of it all is punishment enough, but as John Armstrong writes, the entire mess was completely avoidable – see: Class backdown a mess of National's own making.
The Charities Commission is about to be scrapped. Rodney Hide laments this, saying it does an excellent job, and points readers to its very useful Charity Search Register. But Hide’s bigger and more profound question is whether charities should really receive the various taxbreaks and subsidies that they do – see: Charities Commission deserves better. For more on the demise of the Charities Commission see Andrea Vance’s Law to can Charities Commission.
Today Isaac Davison previews the Green party’s annual conference which will celebrate it’s past – see: Green Party celebrates 40th anniversary. Party historian Claire Browning is quoted as warning the party not to become too conventional. But it’s a measure of the Greens’ success that senior Labour Party activist Greg Presland warns Labour that "the Green Party is performing well. It has a coherence and a unity that Labour does not have right now. Green MPs are talking about issues that matter without distraction". He says if "there is a surge towards the Greens in the near future Labour will need to review its approach as a matter of urgency" – see: The greening of the Labour Party. Meanwhile, David Farrar raises some very good questions about whether the Greens are using taxpayer funds for CIR petition. See also, Pete George’s Green Party use (and abuse?) of “support staff”.
Time is running out to have your say on improvements you’d like to see made to our MMP voting system – submissions close tomorrow (May 31). The big issue so far seems to be the 5% threshold. Yet another weighty submission has been made in favour of lowering it – this time by political scientist Rob Salmond, who says it should be no more than 2% and he puts forward evidence against the arguments that a low threshold cause parliamentary fragmentation and unstable governments – see: MMP Review: My 2c.
What should society do about people who wear military medals without earning the right and is there even a case for having laws against such "offences"? A controversial case in Levin has seen the "offender" receive the maximum $500 fine, and the presiding judge has called for the law to be "reformed" so as to make the penalty harsher – see Peter Franklin’s Maximum fine for medal offence.
A report by Unicef has ranked New Zealand 20th out of 35 developed nations when it comes to child poverty – listen to Radio NZ’s report here.
The contradiction between the government’s growth targets and the effect of its own spending on growth is examined by Vernon Small in Tightening the fiscal thumbscrews. Small quotes ANZ’s analysis which calculates smaller government will slice 3.1% off GDP over the next three years. He makes a late bid to label the Budget "the father of all contractions".
It was only a matter of time before Winston Peter’s took another shot at Whanau Ora, this time focusing on a $60,000 grant to a rugby club for a "health day" – see: Claire Trevett’s Winston Peters: Whanau Ora a 'bro-ocracy'.
Both Gordon Campbell and Fran O’Sullivan criticise John Key for refusing to admit superannuation funding is a problem that needs to be deal with now – see: Campbell’s On affording National Super (and ignoring child poverty) and O’Sullivan’s Key sidesteps that old, old problem again.
Ex-Maori Party MP Rahui Katene has been attacking her Labour replacement Rino Tirikatene, claiming she has been picking up his work in Christchurch. It turns out that Katene has been falsely advertising herself as the MP for Te Tai Tonga on her Facebook page – see: Danya Levy’s Facebook page listed Katene as MP.
The Political Scientist blog takes a hard look at claims young female beneficiaries are ‘breeding for a business’.
- Finally, what’s the most appropriate contest involving women to warrant acknowledgement at Parliament: the Greens’ "Feminist of the Year" or Maurice Williamson’s Miss New Zealand? See: TV3’s Miss NZ contestants hit Parliament and Greens to confront Williamson's 'misogyny'.
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