The Dim-Post

May 29, 2012


Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 2:01 pm

In much the same way that astronomers look for extra-solar planets through indirect measurements, like variations in the velocity or light intensity of the sun it’s orbiting; we occasionally get indirect indications on how the governments’ policies are going down in the electorate as measured by their overnight tracking polls by their desperate backpedaling and frantic blaming of officials every time they botch the introduction of some new policy.

‘Fixing’ the education system by increasing class sizes was the brain-child of Treasury – the public service wing of the ACT Party – so it wasn’t hard to predict that it would meet with overwhelming public revulsion, or that if implemented it will be an expensive failure.


  1. Isn’t the variation in velocity and light intensity commonly called a “wobble”?

    Comment by Ben — May 29, 2012 @ 2:04 pm


    I blame him: what does he know about education? And also John Hattie who unleashed the research without safeguards.

    Comment by Maureen — May 29, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

  3. what does he know about education?

    From his bio: “Gabs has a BA degree in economics and an MSc in industrial relations.”

    So clearly, a fuckload.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2012 @ 2:22 pm

  4. I don’t understand the left’s obsession with class sizes. Anyone who went to school knows perfectly well that the impact of teacher quality was a lot more than the impact of the size of the classroom. Obviously in the ideal world we’d have small classes with excellent teachers: we just don’t live in that world.

    I guess it seems common sense (which, in this case, is backed by the scientific evidence) must always be subordinated to the interests of the teachers’ unions, who the left follow unquestioningly as an article of faith.

    Comment by R — May 29, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  5. R: I think that’s because lot of people on “the left” understand that teachers know a fair bit about educating kids because you know, they’re teachers.

    Should Gerry Brownlee be telling the civil engineers tasked with building the roads of national significance how best to do their thing?

    Comment by Rob — May 29, 2012 @ 2:46 pm

  6. Rob, I think Gerry would best serve Civil Engineers as a point load. He could also prove useful for viscous damping. I suspect he’s quite flammable, and petrochemical engineers could probably rend him down and extract a few dozen barrels of crude oil.

    gosh its nice not to see Pete George’s “comments”

    Comment by terryg — May 29, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

  7. it does raise the question though about what to do about Treasury. Should they be shorn of all policy advisory roles and reduced to a rump set of dreary accountants dedicated to the Micawber principle? Then the government could make general economic policy advice contestable, and contract it out – maybe the CTU would win the contract!!

    Comment by Sanctuary — May 29, 2012 @ 3:05 pm

  8. “Obviously in the ideal world we’d have small classes with excellent teachers: we just don’t live in that world.”

    Ideal world? Pish posh. People have decided to make tax cuts and uneconomic road-building projects a higher priority. There is nothing inevitable or natural about that choice. It is deliberate.

    Comment by Stephen J — May 29, 2012 @ 3:42 pm

  9. it does raise the question though about what to do about Treasury.

    I was at last week’s Budget Lock-Up in Wellington for the first time and one thing that struck me was the apparent youth of many of the (very helpful) Treasury Officials. Maybe it’s a sign of me getting old (or past 50), and maybe the greybeards were elsewhere but I’m not sure Treasury should be filled full of bright young things. Several really did look as if they were straight out of university and whilst I have no doubt they are all formidably intelligent I just wonder whether there’s enough experience with the the intellectual capacity to present counter-arguments to what seems an all too prevailing orthodoxy. Remember back in 1984 Treasury was the department arguing the toss with Muldoon.

    Comment by TerryB — May 29, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

  10. lol at Sanctuary.

    No rightwinger possessed with the truth shall be made accountable for their budget or failures or should be concerned at the slightest if they don’t know anything at all about their area of expertise.

    Shock and horror at Julie Ann Gentner actually knowing a lot about her spokespersonship by Brownlee….

    Comment by sheesh — May 29, 2012 @ 7:46 pm

  11. ‘Fixing’ the education system by increasing class sizes was the brain-child of Treasury

    Are we talking about the same Treasury who were this morning voicing their opposition to anti-smoking programs (and I assume to other public health initiatives) because longer-lived superannuitants are more expensive?
    They’re getting into serious Modest Proposal territory.

    Comment by Smut Clyde — May 29, 2012 @ 10:26 pm

  12. True Smut, but I can tell you from experience, that he elderly aren’t that nutritious.

    Comment by Gregor W — May 29, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

  13. the elderly aren’t that nutritious.

    Especially the ones that smoke.

    Comment by George Darroch (@georgedarroch) — May 29, 2012 @ 11:34 pm

  14. I suspect that smoke-flavoured Soylent Green will be even more popular than the usual variety.

    Comment by Smut Clyde — May 30, 2012 @ 8:26 am

  15. I’m not sure yet that this whole class sizes thing wasn’t another song from the “hi-ho hi-ho let’s go mining on Mt. Aspiring and Great Barrier Island” songbook.

    Comment by prgcnt — May 30, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

  16. Dug up this “The Politician” cartoon, courtesy of the National Library. There was an earlier one from the 1990s by Garrick Tremain or Tom Scott, but it’s proving elusive.

    “They’re getting into serious Modest Proposal territory.”
    I’ve previously explored that territory.

    And what’s the whole point of even having a Treasury, if it completely turns a blind eye to what could turn out to be Japanese-style pork barrel highways? I’ve done my 2c on that matter as well.

    Comment by deepred — May 30, 2012 @ 11:28 pm

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