Real Issues Blog

Cherry-picking statistics for political point-scoring

Kieran Madden
21 July 14

There’s always going to be an incentive to choose (or more cynically, cherry-pick) the stats that best support a pre-conceived stance or will score the most political points. Evidence-based policy is a good thing, but we need to be wily consumers of the evidence we’re offered—not all is equal and none of it is purely objective. + more

A look at Labour's education plan

Luke Fenwick
14 July 14

Labour leader David Cunliffe pulled the covers off Labour’s shiny new education policy at the recent Labour Party Congress. With Education spokesman Chris Hipkins on his right shoulder and Deputy Leader David Parker on his left, he promised Labour will invest $873 million into education over the next four years. This includes smaller class sizes and more teachers, subsidised netbooks for all students, and initiatives to promote expertise-sharing among schools. + more

"How many single mums stay single?" - and other things you find out from quality research

Kieran Madden
08 July 14

On my 30th birthday, a dear friend gifted me a copy of A. A. Milne’s “Now We Are Six.” The launch of the third report from the “Growing Up In New Zealand” study, similarly entitled “Now We Are Two: Describing our first 1000 days” brought the memory of that gift back to mind. I’m not sure whether the report’s title was inspired by the whimsical goings-on in the 100 Acre Wood, but the comparison brought home to me that childhood is a special time, and not only for sparking imaginations.+ more

Political fizz not recommended

Jeremy Vargo
01 July 14

Next time you’re reading, watching or listening to the news, try this: analyse how much time is spent talking about the real issues. Compare that with the space given to speculation about polling, thoughts on how voters will respond to an embarrassing tweet, or arguments over whether or not a minister should resign.+ more

A summary of Maxim Institute's poverty issues paper

Kieran Madden
01 July 14

Maxim Institute has released The Heart of Poverty – matching passion with precision for struggling New Zealanders, an issues paper aiming to stimulate and contribute to the current debate about poverty in New Zealand.

Poverty is unacceptable. Yet we still have a persistent poverty problem in New Zealand today, and not for a lack of debate...+ more

What's happening with National's school leadership policy?

Luke Fenwick
23 June 14

Remember how the National Party announced a $359 million School Leadership policy in January this year? Earlier this month we caught another glimpse of what the Government’s “Investing in Educational Success” (IES) programme might look like. The Working Group assigned to hammer out the finer points of the policy has released their summary report and a background paper. + more

How hyperbole hurts the poor

Kieran Madden
23 June 14

The first step towards truly helping New Zealanders in poverty is to agree on the extent—or even the existence—of the problem of poverty here in Aotearoa. Poverty is completely unacceptable, and as such we have a moral obligation to help those whose lives are blighted by it. The people who wish to sidestep this moral obligation to alleviate poverty will use one of two arguments to do so: to deny that “real” poverty exists in New Zealand, or to claim that the “poor” deserve to suffer because of choices they’ve made. + more

Poverty and "kids these days"

Kieran Madden
19 June 14

When it comes to humans, one-size-fits-all descriptions rarely cut it. While there is often a kernel of truth in generalisations like “Gen-Y,” the ethos of an entire generation cannot be captured in a few words. Thankfully, good research can be pretty darn effective at breaking down wearying stereotypes and painting more vivid, nuanced pictures of how complex we all are. + more

Game Changers - why principals matter

Luke Fenwick
17 June 14

Education is important. You may think of learning as a passport to opportunity. You may see it as a source of pleasure and joy. But regardless, most of us value education. In light of this, we recently brought two secondary principals and an education expert together to speak about the importance of education and school leadership. Professor Vivanne Robinson joined Iva Ropati from Howick College and Tim O’Connor from Auckland Grammar.+ more

"Coat-tailing" and other political oddities

Jeremy Vargo
09 June 14

What is the deal with “coat-tailing” and all those other little idiosyncrasies of our nation’s MMP system we hear bandied around in the news? Before we can get down to the details, we’ll need a quick rundown on the two ways to get one of the 120 seats in New Zealand’s Parliament and be an MP in the first place. + more

Who was Maya Angelou?

Jaimee Abict
05 June 14

I am a chronic “screen-shotter” of quotes. If you looked at the albums on my phone, you’d find among them hundreds of screenshots of words that have inspired me over my smartphone-owning years. Many of these quotes happen to belong to author Maya Angelou, who died last week at the age of 86, after living an unbelievably full life. + more

Picturing our past

Danielle van Dalen
28 May 14

I love that when history breaks into our everyday lives like this we are forced to stop and remember the events that have occurred that form the foundation of how we live today. The thing is, we need to do more than just remember the past, turning up at ANZAC and Waitangi services to show that for those few days in the year that we haven’t forgotten.+ more