Saturday, June 23, 2012

What will they do this week in NZ politics?

I am going to have some fun with predicting what Politics in NZ will look like for the coming week…I will probably be way off the mark!
1)    Ms Parata (minister of Education) and John Key (you see she needs him to back her up as she looks increasingly ‘flaky’) will attack teachers yet again. It will be around the issue of ‘League tables’ in schools.
2)    Anne Trolley ---Ooops! (Wannabe glamour girl) will try to boost her flagging image along with another round of cost cutting measure for the police.
3)    Our Prime Minister will come up with a cheeky little number to divert attention from the stuff-ups of the, last few months. He will release date that he says shows that the ride is turning for him re asset sales—He will claim that NZers are behind the sale now.
4)    The Greens will continue to be effective in parliament and Labour will carry on using its attacks brigade (Cosgrove, Mallard, Little etc. while Mr Shearer will continue build his ‘Statesman-like-status. OH and look for more good stuff from a relaxed looking and very effective Phil Goff.
5)    The dishonourable Peter Dunne will continue to ignore the wishes of the over-all electorate and particularly of his own. He may face some demonstrations outside his electorate office and he will front up on TV trying to defend his senseless stand with the Government. He will look like he has swallowed a snotty sock and his hair will look the coiffured way it has come to be. He will NOT grow balls!
6)    The Maori Party will continue to prevaricate and forget what they have voted for and which way.
7)    NZ First (read Winston Peters) will vote with the Labour Party and Greens and he will attack the immigration Policy again---Asians watch out!
8)    Hone (Mana Party) will come up with some real politically relevant clangers---actually he has been making a lot of sense lately.

OK--- I’m must having a bit of fun---it is at the expense our esteemed politicians, but that’s not too hard eh.

An unequal access to higher education

Oh for the good old days, when access to a higher education was more equal, at least for those who wished to be teachers. We had a bonding system whereby once you were trained, you worked for two, or later, three years. That could be brought down by undertaking ‘country service’ or working in what we now call low decile schools in the main cities.
Then the system of student loans and allowances was introduced. That led to a huge blowout (from the present Government’s point of view). There is no doubt that if the figure had kept trending up, we needed to achieve a higher payback system and possibly at a higher rate.
The issue is one that needs ‘cross-party discussion’, to take it out of the political forum. Parties have tinkered with the system or made drastic changes that have left a section of our society bereft of hope for achieving anything other than that of ‘graduate level.’ The present government cynically makes claims that the system works for all. It has support for this attitude in the community; it presents individuals who say that they worked part-time and after a struggle were able to complete a post-graduate education. Just show me how prospective doctors and other higher-level graduates could cope with part-time work and their studies. For the huge majority of our students at this level, that situation is clearly untenable, both financially and physically.
Not only are we going to see more graduates going overseas, some of them to complete their education after attaining the right through residency in Australia, but we are going to see more leaving our shores to gain the higher pay, in order to payback the debts they have already incurred.
I am not proposing that we do not seek repayment of student debt---that is the reality of life now. I am saying that we need to revisit some of the policies of the past and extend them. We can have a win-win situation if we institute a system of ‘bonding’, much like we had for many years for teachers. For nurses, there was a system that allowed them to work and train at the same time. With necessity for higher level technological study, that would now need more ‘in-campus study, much like teachers do.
Design a scheme that is flexible--- one that includes a range of occupations, with those occupations that we are in most need of, receiving favourable loading. The possibilities are there. For example, if we need doctors, in rural areas, bond the doctors for a set period and then then cut their debts by a generous amount. If after that bonding period they wish to go overseas, then well and good. There is a strong possibility that many would have settles and would wish to stay in NZ.
I am sure that there are many occupations that would, fit the category for ‘bonding.’ Make it flexible enough to target those areas where we see a need. Yes it would increase the burgeoning figure ‘owed to the State,’ but we would retain more of our NZ trained young people. It is very much a scenario of ‘what goes around comes around.’ We would also have a much more equal and caring society, where all can realistically have hope rather than ‘hopelessness.’ Ask yourself--- which state is more economically viable in the long run.
Politicians—stop seeing the three-year cycle of politics as the measuring tool for our future!