Thursday, 17 July 2008

why we need strong unions

thank goodness we have unions. two excellent pieces of analysis today which show how important it is to have strong voices for workers in political debate.

the CTU critiques national's just released policy to investigate competition in regards to accident insurance. of course when pushed, mr key stated that they had a firm policy to open ACC up to competition, they would just do an investigation first to ensure that private insurers wouldn't just cream off all the easy sectors and leave the difficult ones for the state.

well aside from the CTU's responses, and the concerns of the nz manipulative physiotherapists association, and the number of facts he has got clearly wrong, no-one has mentioned the fact that an investigation will require... bureaucrats!! or consultants!! listening to the morning report interview this morning with business nz's phil o'reilly and lawyer hazel armstrong, mr o'reilly responded to every concern by saying that the investigation would ensure that it wouldn't happen. sounds like it's going to be one hell of an investigation, and all on the public purse. which means, given that mr key promises to cap spending on bureacracy, someone else somewhere is going to miss out.

if that money went to private consultants, i'd like to be sure it went to consultants who would have the guts to state clearly that all those concerns couldn't be taken care of through a competitive model. because honestly, once you take into account all the issues ms armstrong raised, there would be absolutely no reason to have competition.

but given that price waterhouse, a very reputable firm, have found that our state scheme is much better than australia's privatised one, what is the point of us, the taxpayer, having to pay for a further investigation? just read the first one mr key, and give up on privatising a very successful scheme.


the second excellent piece of work was this piece by the PSA's richard wagstaff. it provides a more in-depth critique of the report by ANZ's cameron bagrie on "back-room" government spending. i just couldn't believe this:

But what about the Government's biggest expenditures, health and benefits? ANZ simply excluded them, noting "We exclude health as, to be honest, we were unsure where to classify it."

That defies all logic. Most employers would agree that having healthy, alive workers contributes to a productive New Zealand. And health happens to be the place that spending has increased the most but it, along with almost $7 billion in superannuation, is excluded entirely from the report.


the critique is purely on the quality of mr bagrie's work, but i wonder if he going to continue to complain about personal attacks, in a very clydesdalian fashion. it appears to be the fashion these days, to act the victim if your work doesn't stand up to scrutiny. mr wagstaff's work however, provides plenty of detailed information showing how meaningless the demarcation of "back-room spending" (bureaucrats if you will) really is.

2 comments:

Ben R said...

"it appears to be the fashion these days, to act the victim if your work doesn't stand up to scrutiny."

This approach has been around for a long time. Usually it is used in a racial context - ie stating that the person giving the critique is motivated by racism. For instance Robert Mugabe complaining that UN efforts to impose sanctions were racist.

Ben R said...

"but given that price waterhouse, a very reputable firm, have found that our state scheme is much better than australia's privatised one, what is the point of us, the taxpayer, having to pay for a further investigation? just read the first one mr key, and give up on privatising a very successful scheme."

I agree. This seems motivated more by ideology than evidence. It still annoys me that Max Bradford privatised the electricity sector in 1999, again, that seemed motivated more by ideology.