Friday, October 22, 2021

Lindsay Mitchell: MSD stocktake - "not yet following the desired direction of travel..."

The Ministry of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni's portfolio, has just released its annual report. 

Here are some of the indicators of their 'progress':

Average future years on a benefit:

Net Zero Watch: Nations to accelerate oil, coal and gas production over the next decade, UN discovers


In this newsletter:

1) Nations to accelerate oil, coal and gas production over the next decade, UN discovers
The Times, 20 October 2021


2) Why COP26 will flop: Coal continues to dominate global energy mix and will do so for decades to come
Bloomberg, 20 October 2021 

Mike Hosking: UK Free Trade deal a rare bright spot


Yet another reason to thank Boris Johnson and be grateful that there remain a few visionaries about the place that want us to prosper and succeed. 

By all accounts, our free trade deal with the UK is a winner. It's open and truly free, the hurdles remain few and far between. The gains we stand to make are enormous. 

It's a tangible example of what we envisaged when we entered into the world of free trading all those years ago under the previous Labour govt of David Lange and Sir Roger Douglas. We are the free trade pioneers and we deserve this level of success. 

Karl du Fresne: The cabal that controls the national conversation

Cabal (noun): 1. A secret intrigue. 2. A political clique or faction.

These are the two main definitions in my Oxford Dictionary. There’s a third, historical one which reveals that the word originated under King Charles II, who had a committee of five ministers whose surnames happened to begin with the letters C, A, B, A and L (who knew?).

But it’s the modern understanding of the word that I’m concerned with, because in many ways “cabal” seems an apt description of how New Zealand is being run in 2021.

Okay, cabal implies a small, secretive group, which is not what I’m talking about here. The cabal I’m talking about is neither small nor secretive. On the contrary, it’s big and far-reaching, with an agenda that’s very much out in the open. It’s a cabal so supremely confident about its power that it feels no need to be furtive.

Roger Childs: “Loaded” draft for consultation

No Significant Change Expected in the History Curriculum

There will not be any radical changes to the content and any additional content will be in line with what currently exists. Ministry of Education Report on the submissions to the Draft Curriculum for Year 1-10 students

The History Draft for Year 1-10 students came out in February and almost four months was allowed for submissions. But unfortunately this has proved to be a case of paying lip service to the process of public consultation, with no intention of making any significant adjustments to the document.

The draft, as many submitters and critics pointed out, was a highly flawed, uneven proposal riddled with factual errors and saturated with references to Maori history, heritage, tradition and knowledge. There were also serious omissions in the content, skills and understandings to be covered. But the Ministry didn’t want to know.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 17.10.21

Friday October 22, 2021 

Mataharehare protesters see off construction crew

The head of the Ministry of Culture and Heritage says it is taking a non-confrontational approach to starting work on the Erebus Memorial at the Parnell Rose Gardens.

Contractors turned up at the site yesterday to start work but found protesters blocking the access gates.

Bob Edlin: Oh dear – ECan to spare Ngai Tahu the bother of winning votes at the ballot box

Oh dear – ECan has dug up a bad Bill (that was buried in 2019) to spare Ngai Tahu the bother of winning votes at the ballot box.

Legislation to entrench Ngai Tahu representatives on Environment Canterbury – these would be  guaranteed appointments, to spare them the bother of pitching for popular support – failed to pass its first reading in Parliament in 2019.

On that occasion,  New Zealand First’s Shane Jones featured in scuttling a bill which would have entitled Ngai Tahu to appoint two representatives to sit with elected councillors after the local elections later that year.

It seemed that was the end of a bad Bill – but hey:  a few weeks ago the regional council announced it was again promoting a Bill that will provide “for mana whenua representation around the Council table”, by empowering Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu to appoint up to two members of the Council. This will be in addition to the elected members.

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Gerrard Eckhoff: Murky Waters

Nanaia Mahuta is quite correct to state that the three water reforms are not about shifting ownership of council assets to Government control. Ownership of assets is not needed as the Government seems to regard ownership as a very fleeting thing. The three waters reforms are obviously about the redistribution and control of those vital assets to a new entity made up entirely of Ministerial appointments. 

Ownership, even by councils is now far from essential if a government can legislate to subjugate ownership of land and water use rights to political control for political advantage. By applying this understanding, the once murky three waters rationale becomes crystal clear. 

The current government three waters reform is more about locking in the Government’s Maori caucus, the Maori Party, and the Green Party as we move towards co -governance of New Zealand. Readers will also be aware of claims to fresh water filed with the courts by Maori interests. The back door is now wide open for the stalking horse of re-distribution to co-governance. (see Maori Health Authority /demise of DHBs/ separate tax system/ renaming of New Zealand)

Ross Meurant: Perils of Abandoning Philosophy

National’s decision to support Labour’s left-wing policies (1) is tantamount to abandoning a long-standing core National Party philosophy: “Reap the Rewards of your Efforts and Enterprise”.

Judith Collins now emerges as a prime candidate to lead a new party which advocates equality, not of ethnicity (for maori are now being accorded special rights which Collins does not appear to dispute), but predicated on tangible assets.

Until now, tangible assets have invariably been a reflection of how hard an individual has applied themselves to study, work and prudent behaviour.  The accumulation of asset wealth has been the, “reaped reward”.

Net Zero Watch: COP26 faces debacle as China & developing nations demand $trillions


In this newsletter:

1) To strike a climate deal, poor nations demand $trillions from rich ones
The Wall Street Journal, 18 October 2021 
2) China's COP26 strategy: Western countries 'shoulder responsibility for climate change and need to pay up'
ITV News, 19 October 2021

Hugh Perrett: Open letter to Government and the Prime Minister

Open letter to Government and the Prime Minister on the Mandatory teaching and learning of Maori and other major “Maorification” related agenda issues.

Prime Minister, I must take strong issue with Government’s well publicised agenda and action to make the teaching and learning of Maori language mandatory in our schools and the learning/speaking of Maori a precondition to working for the Government Service (arguably to facilitate “stacking” the Public Service with activists keen to reinforce and support Government’s Maorification agendas).  

Latin has recently been deleted from school syllabuses because it no longer has utility as a language and would therefore be wasting some 15/20percent of time available to students for educational options much more relevant, useful and beneficial to their future lives.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Mike Hosking: Refreshing to see political unity over housing


Surely in these dark and troubled times, a level of cooperation from unlikely foes has to be welcomed. 

The deal done between the Government and National over housing at last addresses, at least in part, one of the biggest obstacles to supply. The councils. 

We have, for years, argued around all the other issues that prevent supply growth in housing. That includes labour, materials, and interest rates. But above and beyond it all, is the councils and their determination to hang onto to land come hell or high water, or at least make the process so difficult people simply give up. 

Net Zero Watch: Biden's climate agenda dead in the water


In this newsletter:

1) Biden’s climate agenda likely to be cut because of Joe Manchin's opposition
The New York Times, 16 October 2021
2) Marc Thiessen: It’s the 1970s all over again, and Joe Biden is the new Jimmy Carter
The Washington Post, 15 October 2021

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Yesterday's press conference was disingenuous and plain cruel


You knew when the PM started selling the idea that we should be so grateful not to be going into level 4, that the mind games were on, and she was going to make Level 3 sound like a picnic. 

And picnics as it turns out, is all we got. Two more weeks of them. 

I could not have called this more wrong. Yesterday, I optimistically said they’d definitely free up some restrictions. I thought a zoo or a museum or the odd library may get thrown a bone. 

How wrong I was. Two more weeks at Level 3 for Auckland, and the announcement that a slew of announcements will be dripfed over the coming week. If we thought we were living week by week on dripfed news by the Government, it just got worse. It’s now day by day. We are being dictated our terms, and our lives, in 24-hour cycles. 

Lindsay Mitchell: No jab, no unemployment benefit

As this country inches closer to a 'no vaccination, no job' scenario, the question on my mind - one I'm sure must have crossed others - is, will vaccinations be mandated for receipt of an unemployment (or other) benefit?

The 2011 welfare working group set up under National (not to be confused with the Labour's WEAG headed by Cindy Kiro, about to be sworn in as new GG) considered whether benefits could be used to compel parents to immunise their children. The idea was never implemented. A condition of receiving the Young Parent Payment for 16-19 year-olds stopped at, "you must also enrol your child (or children) at a medical centre or with a doctor."

Australia financially penalises parents who fail to immunse their child through reducing family benefit. That began under the Howard government. So there is a sort of precedent for linking vaccination to benefit receipt.

Hugh Perrett: Distorted governance perspective

Prime Minister I believe I am speaking for the vast majority of New Zealanders (90percent plus)  in expressing  major concern at the seriously out of balance governance perspective your Government is continuing to pursue in line with your hugely distorted ideological bias, as reflected in your Maorification agendas. 

This distortion clearly reflects the lack of balance in your caucus in favour of its Maori activist members. 

It seems clear that this strongly out of balance bias reflects a deliberate structuring to pursue an ideological obsession favouring your Maori activist caucus members and their personal ambitions for self-enrichment, power and control - observably all strongly endorsed and supported by you. 

Monday, October 18, 2021

Net Zero Watch: China snubs COP26


In this newsletter:

1) Chinese president to snub UN climate summit
The Times, 15 October 2021

2) Hopes of an ambitious climate deal hit after China and Saudi Arabia fail to make written commitments
iNews, 15 October 2021

Bob Edlin: Waste Management Consultation – segregated and iwi come first

We can discuss waste management as one people – but consultation on indigenous rights is segregated (and iwi come first).
- first published 15 October. 

Latest from the Beehive –

The last item we recorded after monitoring the Beehive website yesterday was headed E whakarite ana Te Kāwanatanga i ngā tūāpapa mō tewhakamaumahara ki Te Petihana Reo Māori ka tū ā tērā tau.  The accompanying news dealt with a government decision to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the presentation of the Māori language petition and Māori Language Day as a major anniversary next year:

Lindsay Mitchell: MSD - "What's happening to the number of sole parents on a benefit?"

Until the welfare reforms of 2013 most sole parents on a benefit relied on the DPB - not exclusively but mainly.

Since the introduction of the Sole Parent Support (SPS) benefit, which sole parents only qualify for until their youngest child turns 14, it's been harder to track how many sole parents are actually reliant on welfare. Far more are now receiving Jobseeker support.

Usefully MSD released some research in September, "What's happening to the number of sole parents on a benefit?" Numbers have been increasing - in part due to the economic effect of lock downs  - and they wanted to predict whether the growth trend will continue. More on that later.

John Porter: An Open Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister,

I am writing on behalf of, what I believe to be, many, many thousands of concerned New Zealanders.

New Zealanders who now feel disenchanted, disenfranchised and apprehensive about where your government is leading New Zealand.

In New Zealand we are so fortunate to live in a country where we can enjoy not only quality of life but also equality of life.

Sadly, we now consider that quality of life and, most definitely, equality of life is under serious threat.

Clive Bibby: Common sense isn’t common

I admit the headline to this column isn’t my own.

It comes from a recent Australian Sky News Public affairs programme that was celebrating the “breath of fresh air” that is the arrival of the new NSW Premier, Dominic Perrottet.

The discussion included the public yearning, as in this country, for a return to governments who acted in the best interests of the majority while being sensitive to the genuine grievances and needs of the minority.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

NZCPR Weekly: Covid Wins

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s NZCPR newsletter we examine the Government’s Covid-19 strategy and question the Prime Minister’s authoritarian approach, our NZCPR Guest Commentator UK journalist Ross Clark shares his Daily Telegraph critique of our PM’s performance, and our poll asks whether you think it is possible to contain the Delta outbreak.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Net Zero Watch: Academic freedom under siege


In this newsletter:

1) Peter Ridd to ‘continue the war’ after High Court appeal loss over sacking
The Australian, 13 October 2021

2) Peter Ridd: High Court fails to defend freedom of speech
Peter Ridd, 13 October 2021

Frank Newman: Eeny, meeny, miny, moe rabbit hole


Some things, you just can't make up. Here's a very earnest story in Stuff about why anyone with a different opinion to you is wrong. 

It comes down to rabbit holes. 

But  I will let the author tell the story himself.  Here it is.

Breaking Views Update: Week of 10.10.21

Saturday October 16, 2021 

Tikanga tops title in Tauranga Harbour rights allocation

A High Court decision on customary marine title to part of Tauranga Harbour has found there is no requirement that applicants held the land according to European concepts of ownership, and what counts under the Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act 2011 is tikanga.

The meaning of exclusive use and occupation must also be assessed with reference to particular tikanga.

Friday, October 15, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Things we have learned this week


I think as we wrap this week, we just have to accept we are at a point now where counting cases is actually pointless. 

Delta has got away on us, it's had a good laugh at our elimination strategy, and off it's gone and there’s no stopping it now. 

Hindsight’s a wonderful thing, but earlier access to vaccines, a few more ICU beds, a better MIQ system and all the other things we didn’t do would’ve been great, but that ship has sailed. 

So here we are, and let’s look on the bright side. We’re allegedly not ever going back into Level 4. So that’s it. That’s all the bright side I can think of.  

Frank Newman: LGNZ should tear up agreement with central government and replace its President

The Timaru District Council has withdrawn its membership from Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ).  Stuff reports, "councillors voted unanimously to remove itself from LGNZ, as it felt the organisation had not done enough to advocate for councils concerned about the Government’s proposed Three Waters reform".  Councillors said it had become a 'mouthpiece' for the Department of Internal Affairs. See HERE >>>

It is the first council to withdraw its membership but it may not be the last. This week the Christchurch City Council took the first steps towards doing so. They too expressed concerns about the position LGNZ had taken on Three Waters and a majority of councillors asked staff to prepare a report on the consequences of cancelling their membership. The Mayor and ex Labour Party minister, Lianne Dalziel, was the only member to vote against the motion.

So what’s going on?

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Henry Armstrong: Deep Unrest in New Zealand - the politics of deception and coercion

There is mounting evidence of a very deep level of unrest developing in New Zealand, resulting from a series of fundamental changes initiated in an underhand, undemocratic, and dishonest manner by a Neo-Marxist government headed by Jacinda Ardern.

Ardern was accorded an election victory in November 2020 with 50% of the total vote. But 50% did NOT vote for Ardern. 

New Zealand embraces the voting system of Mixed Member Proportional (MMP). Under MMP minorities can collectively form a majority by attracting a range of minority interest groups. MMP allows one person to have two votes - one for an electorate candidate and another for a political party. But 50% of all New Zealand MPs are NOT elected, they are selected and appointed to a "list" by their party, so that the electorate has no say or direct input into the appointment of 50% of our representatives. Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little were both rejected by their electorates on several occasions, but by being "listed" by their party, both now occupy high political office.

Net Zero Watch: China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s COP26 ambitions


In this newsletter:

1) China’s plan to build more coal-fired plants deals blow to UK’s COP26 ambitions
The Guardian, 13 October 2021

2) How China made a mockery of Boris Johnson's great green jobs boast
David Rose, Daily Mail, 13 October 2021

Mike Hosking: Like it or not, the world is still using fossil fuels


Another example of theory vs reality is playing out in front of our eyes. 

One of my favourite quotes of the week came from the head of a company called JBC Energy. He was commenting on the gas prices that are gripping Europe at the moment. 

Europe's green transition "has been management by chaos," he said. 

It’s a multi-layered mess. But the essence of what is going on globally right now in terms of material that makes the world run, like fuel, is the simple inability of various players to promise one thing while delivering another. 

HDPA: There is no reason Kiwis stuck overseas shouldn't be able to come home for Christmas


We should now expect that Kiwis stuck overseas — especially those in low-risk Covid countries — to be allowed to come home for Christmas.

This shouldn’t even be a debate anymore. It just needs to happen.

Now that Covid is in Auckland — and spreading through Auckland — there is no reason these kids and loved ones can’t fly into Auckland and self-isolate at home or in an Airbnb or a hotel at their own expense or whatever. 

They are not bringing in anything that we don’t already have here.

You are literally at more risk of catching Covid from another Aucklander in Auckland than you are of catching Covid from someone who is coming in from overseas. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Mike Hosking: The MIQ system only leads to unnecessary heartbreak


If the Government are prepared to let Sir Ian Taylor have a crack at his self-isolation trial, one can only hope they will give some of his fellow business colleagues a crack at the idea of sorting out MIQ. 

Everyone sees MIQ for what it is. Liam Lawson was the latest on the show this week, telling us of his misery and anger at the crap-shoot way it still treats people. 

My daughter was in line again yesterday, although yesterday was different.  

Barry Soper: The Pulpit of Truth is fast becoming the Pulpit of Strewth


If you ever have any doubt that this Government has a credibility problem, you only had to tune into the latest sermon from the Pulpit of Truth to confirm it.

This is a government, don't forget, that Jacinda Ardern promised would be the most transparent administration that we have ever experienced. It'd be a pure as the driven snow.


Two women have been holding Northland hostage for the past week.   They crossed the border illegally to get there and travelled widely in the far north.

Karl du Fresne: Judge's meetings with Oranga Tamariki: nothing to see here, folks

Marty Sharpe of the Dominion Post has another story on the Judge Callinicos affair this morning, this time reporting a law academic’s concerns about Chief Family Court judge Jackie Moran having regular meetings with Oranga Tamariki’s chief executive and senior lawyers.

Auckland University law professor Mark Henaghan is quoted as saying our legal system is based on the separation of powers between Parliament, the courts and the executive. Meetings between Moran and Oranga Tamariki, whose staff and lawyers are frequently involved in contentious cases before the Family Court, appear to cross that line.

Henaghan says they give the appearance of “undermining the separation of powers and potentially weakens the checks and balances principle and the independence of the judiciary”.

Net Zero Watch: China rethinks path to climate goals due to energy crisis


In this newsletter:

1) China rethinks path to climate goals due to energy crisis
Bloomberg News, 12 October 2021

2) Gripped by energy crisis, Europe considers breaking climate promises and turning to coal
Newsweek, 10 October 2021

Graham Adams: The debate over the $55 million media fund erupts again

RNZ’s Mediawatch and a video clip viewed 42,000 times keep the topic of the Public Interest Journalism Fund fizzing. Graham Adams reports.

A week ago, the NZ Taxpayers’ Union posted a short video clip of the exchange in Parliament between Jacinda Ardern and Judith Collins in which the National Party leader quizzed the Prime Minister about the $55 million Public Interest Journalism Fund influencing political coverage. Ardern seemed to find the exchange amusing until David Seymour stepped in to ask: “What then would happen to a media outlet that received money under the fund and wanted to report a story deemed inconsistent with the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, which is one of the requirements to adhere to?”

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Mike Hosking: Time for some honesty over our Covid response


The Prime Minister has got to stop telling falsehoods. And if she insists on doing it, the media have got to start calling her out. 

In the midst of her ”you get nothing Auckland, so suck that up” spin yesterday, she referred to our world leading response and our world leading economy. 

It's crap, it's not world leading. Just a week ago, the global monitor of rankings on Covid response dropped us from 1st to 38th. 

It did so for very good and obvious reasons. We are locked down, our economy is haemorrhaging, and there is no targeted end in sight. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Kate Hawkesby: Aucklanders are fed up and angry and rightfully so


It’s lucky we weren’t on air last week, because we probably would’ve been sacked.  

I mean there are only so many swear words tolerable on air, but expressing the rage of Aucklanders right now would use up a lot of them.  

I get the overwhelming sense now that people are angry, and over it. I mean they were angry and over it a while ago, but it seems to be gaining momentum. There’s less empathy for lockdowns and teams of 5 million talk, and more rage. 

Rage against those breaking the rules, border breachers, gangs.. don’t even get me started on the gangs.. the incomprehensible rules we are supposed to be following, the lack of a plan, the needlessness of all this.  

Karl du Fresne: Toxic Tova's weird obsession with Judith Collins

Newshub has ratcheted up its attacks on wounded National leader Judith Collins. These have progressed from being merely pointless to sadistic and even pathological.

Political editor Tova O’Brien, aka “Toxic Tova” (I normally avoid using nicknames, but this one is 100 per cent apposite) seized on the findings of the New Zealand Herald’s latest Mood of the Boardroom survey to aim another kick at the head of a politician who’s already reeling and on the ropes.

This isn’t journalism; it’s blood sport – and a particularly savage form of blood sport at that.

Chris Trotter: Delta’s Week Of Doom

If Jacinda Ardern thought last week was bad, the week ahead promises to be even worse. Sixty community cases of Covid-19, one of the highest daily totals so far recorded in this Delta outbreak, certainly made for a grim beginning.

Making everything worse, is the extraordinary tangle into which the Government has gotten itself. Gone are the days of simple, but inspired, messaging: “Go hard. Go early.” “Stay home. Stay safe.” “Stamp out the virus.” In “To pee or not to pee: A full timeline of the confusing level three bathroom rule”, The Spinoff’s Madeleine Chapman makes excruciating fun of the Government’s messaging disasters.

People hating a government is one thing. What some people hate, other people are almost certain to love. But people laughing derisively at a government, that is something else entirely. Politically, it’s very hard to come back from derisive laughter.

Garrick Tremain: Suppressing the truth

 Here is Garrick Tremain's cartoon commentary on suppressing the truth! 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Clive Bibby: Better late than never

As an unashamed critic of this and past Tairawhiti councils — for lacking vision with their long term planning, or the courage to stand against the worst aspects of central government interference in the lives of ordinary Kiwis — I am pleased to offer my congratulations for their outstanding leadership in rejecting the current Government’s “Three Waters” proposal.

It has come at a time when this community, like most of New Zealand, is struggling to accommodate this life under siege which, unfortunately, has become commonplace.

NZCPR Weekly: Labour’s Health System Failure

Dear NZCPR Reader,   

In this week’s NZCPR newsletter we investigate the Government’s proposed health reforms and raise concerns about the wisdom of pressing ahead with structural upheaval during a deadly pandemic, our NZCPR Guest Commentator Ian Powell explains the Government campaigned on consolidating District Health Boards, but is now planning to abolish them – without any consultation or justification, and our poll asks whether you believe the underlying reason for the Government’s plan to abolish District Health Boards is better health for New Zealanders or tribal control of the health system.

*To read the newsletter click HERE.
*To register for the NZCPR Weekly mailing list, click HERE.

Saturday, October 9, 2021

HDPA: The Ministy of Health needs to give Whānau Ora the unvaccinated Māori details


The Whānau Ora commissioning agency has taken the Ministry of Health to court to force them to hand over contact details for unvaccinated Māori.

They want to know who hasn’t got the jab, so they can call them up and tell them the vaxi bus is on its way to give them the jab if they want it.

Good idea? 

Absolutely great idea.

The entire region of Auckland is in lockdown which means the rest of the country is in Level 2 because we’re waiting for unvaccinated people to get the jab and get us over 90 per cent.

GWPF Newsletter: UK and EU face harsh winter & worsening energy crisis


Britain faces bleak winter of soaring energy costs, firms on brink of collapse and blackouts

In this newsletter:

1) Britain faces bleak winter of soaring energy costs, firms on brink of collapse and blackouts
Daily Mail, 7 October 2021
2) UK industry could face shutdowns as wholesale gas price hits record high
The Guardian, 7 October 2021

Breaking Views Update: Week of 3.10.21

Saturday October 9, 2021 

Local government review: Interim report sets out problems facing sector

An independent review has found a swathe of issues in the sector including not enough funding and capacity, poor cohesion and collaboration, low diversity, mistrust between local and central government, and high demands on iwi and Māori without wellbeing outcomes.

Friday, October 8, 2021

For Auckland!

For Auckland in lockdown - and the Waikato, Northland...! Brilliant parody of Simon and Garfunkel's Sounds of Silence...

Roger Partridge: Well-educated workforce key to prosperity

"For every economist, there exists an equal and opposite economist." Or so satirists of the economics profession claim. The truth is most economists agree on most of economics. And even though they disagree on some things, all economists agree that human capital is critical for productivity. A country's prosperity depends on the skills, knowledge, and experience of its workforce.

Sadly, the stock of human capital in New Zealand is in long term decline. Or at least it is if you measure it by the educational achievement of successive generations of school leavers.

A growing proportion of children leave school unable to read an instruction manual or do basic maths. Over the past 20 years, New Zealand's education system has slipped from being the envy of the world to barely mediocre.