Wednesday, September 6, 2017

The Election looms...some thoughts.

Disclaimer: These are my opinions, you are not obliged to like them. I don't mind you arguing them as long as you remain civil. If you are a dick to any of my friends in comments, I will verbally eviscerate you.

EDIT: Well I'm part way through one topic.... this is clearly not a one off blog, but will have to be a series. Ranging through various areas of government purview.

I expect a shit tonne out of our new government, to achieve it all they'd need to find some money - there's a couple of very good places to get this money, but certain people are very reluctant to even consider either one. We'll get to that later.

A little bit of what I feel we need to do to make this country better than it has ever been before. As good as the *good old days* but without the raging misogyny & rampant racism.

Let's start with my major bugbear. Education.

-Teachers are not paid enough, and have to work far too many hours. We need a better student to teacher ratio in all schools and we need to find a way to make sure that ALL SCHOOLS PROVIDE EQUAL OPPORTUNITY to their students. I shouted about this. It matters. In our current situation, low decile schools are underfunded and the families of students cannot afford to make up the short fall.
-We need to provide food options in schools with students struggling with poverty, students who are not receiving sufficient nutrition cannot learn at the same rate as the properly fed.
-Schools need good fun programs as well as good learning programs. Music; Outdoor and Indoor sports; Something like a Wii system for the more gamer oriented for fitness and coordination, without the stigma of being crap at sport.
Subject material taught at all levels need to be re-examined. Primary school & Intermediate schools should be about learning basic life skills. Yes Math & Reading & Science, but also cooking, housework, basic DIY, gardening and last but definitely not least COMMUNICATION. All the things that prepare you for actual day to day life. I've probably missed some. Comment away. Then you hit Secondary School with basic skills to look after yourself and High School can focus on building your knowledge base. Hagley Community College is a great example of an excellent selection of learning possibilities. There young adults get a chance to take a look at a lot of options and maybe get a feel for what they want to become.
-Get rid of BLOODY NCEA. Or at least make it into something that works, but given how bollocks it appears to be scraping it altogether and building a better system seems the better way to go.
-NO MORE CHARTER SCHOOLS, and get rid of any currently operating ones that are not achieving at an acceptable level. Where acceptable is decided by actual education experts not twatty Ministers who KNOW NOTHING JON SNOW.
-Tertiary Education needs to be much cheaper or even free (there's a part of me that doesn't want to admit it but NZ First's idea "Introduce a universal living allowance, and a student debt write-off scheme that would give students free tertiary study by requiring them to work in NZ for the same as their length of study." is actually quite appealing to me. It encourages students to stay here using the skills they learned here for at least a while to get their debt written off. And therefore, discourages students getting their degree and disappearing overseas with their new skills, leaving us with a skill shortfall. This could also be addressed by doing something about the fairly shoddy entry level salaries. What's the point in staying here if you can nick off overseas and earn enough to pay off your student debt in short order and then be much better off?

Let me explain why I think we need to make these changes and why they matter so much to me. Because I believe (and suspect if I could be bothered looking there would be science to back me up - I'm so freaking lazy, and this is getting super long already) A high level of education across the population makes for a happier and healthier public. It lowers crime, and therefore prison populations. It allows people to be pickier about finding a job they actually WANT to do rather than just taking what they can get. When did we start thinking any old job would do? Why shouldn't we all have a reasonable shot at being happy in our work? Yes, in times of desperation, you take what you can get - but doesn't it feel to you like it's been that kind of desperation for a long time now. Nine years at least. *Zing*. There are so many areas that I very strongly suspect will be improved by higher levels of education across the population. Household economics. Of course poor people suck at budgeting (*not all poor people*) most of them haven't been taught how to budget properly, and their income is low enough that there is no buffer for unexpected situations. Mental Health, how many people in this country are depressed because they can't work / hate their job / are ill enough that certain work is awkward but with the RIGHT help would be able to find work and become productive again / because poverty is squeezing them tighter and tighter / because hospital waiting lists, even just to see a specialist for POTENTIAL diagnosis are ENTIRELY MAD/because they could be MORE than what they are and they know it?

Aside: If I really wanted to watch a few politicians go through the motions of pretending to see what it's like to be poor, forget this spending a night on the streets bollocks - the thing I would like to see is for them to actually stay in there normal home situation, but with only just enough to make it work, or even a bit under that. For let's say 8 weeks. That should give them the opportunity to see all the fun of robbing Peter to pay Paul and suddenly having a bill you don't have spare money for. Maybe sneak in and break their car so they have to have it serviced. Enough food budget for basic food for the number of people in the house. Because they learn nothing until they have to take away a need to pay another need. Until the kids are whining that they're bored with marmite sandwiches. And because they can't have whatever they want whenever they want. It's tiring, and depressing, saying no to your kids all the time. Saying, I'm sorry that's all we can afford. I can only hope the get a nasty cold or something so they can know the joy of feeling like total garbage but knowing that going to the doctor means half (sometimes more) of the weeks food budget gone. 
No more free lunches at work. Because seriously fuck all places provide any kind of free food to their workers. The best place I ever worked provided fresh fruit every day and sometimes some treatier things. It was not only wonderful it also quickly identified people who were struggling financially. But they are the exception to the rule, most workplaces don't give a rats ass if you ate lunch or not.
No more maid to clean the house. No pool boy or cook, if you're up to that level of wankery. No extras. Just you and your immediate family, with not quite enough money each week to get everything done.
Don't tell me I'm exaggerating - almost every beneficiary in the country is living like this, some in much worse situations. I just had to mess about moving money around and putting off payments to make sure the cats insurance payment went through. (Tell me I shouldn't have a cat then... she halves the amount of pain medication I need to take, and gives me unconditional love when I need it. I need a cat.)

That was WAY more than enough aside. This has been part one, in what at this rate may be an infinite series of, we can do better, political outbursts. No, I'm not telling you where the money is coming from yet. I'm sure some of you can figure out the 2 primary options without much difficulty.

Tomorrow: The Environment & Climate Change. Please be aware that suggesting climate change is not a thing may lead to mockery.

Peace. Out.

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