Lacking class

One of the areas that got battered the most by the budget was adult and community education.  Throughout the election campaign the National Party signalled it’s dislike for any kind of education that was not either literacy and numeracy or jobs training.  (Although, ironically funding to those areas got cut as well).

So, the government has kept its election ‘promises’ (read as ‘threats’) in astonishing fashion – as Sabine Schneider states in here blog:

More than 200.000 New Zealanders enrol in adult and community education (ACE) courses each year, most of which will not be offered from 2010. This is because of the 80 percent cut in funding our new and not-at-all-improved National government has announced in their latest budget.

The Tertiary Education Union covers the dismissive attitude the minister of education, Anne Tolley, has for adult and community education, or, as she calls it, “hobby courses”.

The Wellingtonian has an interview with the Principal of the high school where I have taken several ‘hobby courses’, Wellington High School’s Prue Kelly:

“I find it ironic that the demands of parents of children in private schools have been put before community groups, community card-holders, and second-language learners/English learners, all of whom have benefited from subsidised courses at Wellington High. These are the people who will be adversely affected by this change.”

So much for hobby courses. Not that there’s anything so wrong with hobby courses that they need to be wiped from the face of the country. But, even if that were the aim, an eighty percent cut is hardly a very surgical way of making sure you only get the hobby courses and not other important adult education.

Catherine Delahunty covered this topic very well last week on frogblog:

Two hundred co-ordinators and two hundred tutors will lose vital part time jobs in this “reform” which will no doubt be justified by the Govt as necessary in the recession. If the Government had a vision of sustaining communities through hard times they wouldn’t cut these programmes.

Since then the Community Learning Association through Schools (CLASS) has set up a stop the cuts campaign page with a petition and postcard you can sign.

Cock-shorn urges Brazilian for Virgin Bush

Well, that could have been the headline!

Unfortunately, it was the somewhat more sedate “Kokshoorn tells Greens to back off”. After all, we’re talking about the Westport News here (circulation 2,167). A racy headline or too might raise the circulation somewhat imo, but I guess the Westport News doesn’t go there.

Anyway, last week the Wesport News (not online) rallied behind Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn (who does have an unfortunate name in the context of this issue), giving him the headline in response to this frogblog post from Catherine Delahunty advocating plantation forestry on the West Coast as an alternative to resuming logging of native indigenous forest.

Kokshoorn, in his fanatical defence of the right of West Coasters to chop down ancient native forest, came up with the gem of an argument:

The Greens had no credibility on the issue and should ‘mind their own business’… A return to sustainable logging of existing natives was preferable and possible.

Interestingly, Labour ex-MP for West Coast Tasman (and soon to be List MP) Damien O’Connor also attacked Catherine and the Greens:

…no-one trusted the Greens about logging. It wouldn’t surprise most people if the party changed its stance once the trees were old enough to mill. Even out of government, the party had clout when it came to the environment, making it dangerous to commercial ventures.

National MP for West Coast Tasman Chris Auchinvole:

…commended the lateral thinking of the Green suggestion. It may have some real merit. However, any such idea had to meet economic bottom lines as well as environmental ones.

For once, and it’s not often, I agree with the Nats on this one. Auchinvole has taken a sensible and pragmatic approach of exploring alternatives to logging virgin forest. O’Connor has bought straight into the Cock-shorn Brazilian solution of how best to treat virgin bush.

Somebody’s gonna get their dick chopped off tonight

I can’t believe the male paranoia!

Catherine Delahunty, in a well reasoned Frogblog post criticising Paul Henry’s sexist comments on Stephanie Mills’ facial hair, used the term “scrotum shrivelling”.

And it got a reaction. Resident right-wing frogblog troll BluePeter commented:

As for “scrotum shrivelling”, I guess some Green MPs are on exactly the same level as Paul Henry.

And wannabe/hasbeen Green philu who loves animals but seems to hate almost everyone in the Green Party and everywhere else commented:

oh..1..really..? would you equally approve uterus-shrivelling..? ..as ‘a brilliant turn of phrase’..?

Hey guys, time to get the genital armour in place! Because I’m proposing that Catherine, who has considerable musical talent, form a band. I (who have no musical talent) will manage them. We’ll call them Catherine and the Scrotum Shrivellers. I like the name – a bit like Bobby Boris Picket and the Crypt Kickers from the 70s.

And the first single? Well, a remake of this, perhaps? But with the lyrics rewritten slightly, including the song title and chorus being revised to the title of this post:

Come on guys – get a grip. Your perceived feminist conspiracy ain’t really all that threatening. Or is it?

Oh, dem pesky polls – giz us enough votes for Mojo!

After a couple of polls that have been poor for the Greens, the latest Roy Morgan Poll puts the Greens at 8%.

Now, 8% means 10 or 11 seats in Parliament, depending on the overhang and the wasted votes that might go to NZ First – who are looking increasingly like electoral dog food and according to the Roy Morgan Poll are polling at 2.5%, and that before the worst of the revelations about their electoral finance declarations.

So that 8% would get all the current Green MPs elected, plus Kevin Hague, Catherine Delahunty, Kennedy Graham, David Clendon, and (possibly) one of the youngest Green candidates, Gareth Hughes.

This would give a real boost to the Greens in the composition of the next Government, because, unless the Maori Party were to support National, as a result of a deal over the Foreshore and Seabed Act, the figures indicate the Greens are crucial to the formation of the next Government.

Take a look:

Now, on the basis of this poll, and that the National Party are unlikely to agree to repeal of the Foreshore and Seabed Act (which the Greens opposed through its passage, and still vehemently argue for its repeal), there is a great opportunity for the Greens.

A few dead rats might have to be swallowed by either of the two best polling parties to form a Government.

But the Greens can do better! Let’s look to get at least 11%. That figure would really set the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons at Parliament, because it would elect Mojo Mathers as New Zealand’s first profoundly deaf Member of Parliament. Mojo has impeccable credentials on both environmental and social issues.

Her election would require Parliament to give some real consideration to enabling people with impairments. And that can be only a good thing!