Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Police Ten 7 State

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  • Alfie, in reply to nzlemming,

    Call me a grammar nazi, but I find the use of “Police” as a singular noun in this release disturbing.

    Ditto. While Police can be a collective noun, expressions like "Police has" just sounds silly, as nobody speaks that way in the real world.

    Today's ODT has the perfect example of the type of information the Police compile on licensed premises. A bar is appealing its one-way door policy; police are opposed. (My bold)

    Police alcohol harm reduction officer Sergeant Ian Paulin said police were appealing the application on the basis that Mac's is No2 on the police top 10 alcohol-related offences data list for bars in the Otago coastal area.

    As this appears to be exactly the type of data Jarrod Gilbert was requesting, you'd expect that it would be a simple matter for Police (sic) to fulfil his request in a few minutes with minimal effort.

    So why are they acting like dicks?

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • 81stcolumn,

    This is not me thread-jacking but compare the destructive transparency and relentless scrutiny of schools with how the Police are treated.

    “While national curriculums and tests have been introduced since 2000, results are not published, there are no league tables, and so schools are not constantly worried about their reputation. It is less target driven,”

    From the Guardian:

    The great German school turnaround

    P.S. You get the value of good editing when you try and put education in the title....

    Nawthshaw • Since Nov 2006 • 790 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    So why are they acting like dicks?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7892 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A right-wing govt knows its on the wrong side of the issue when Greg O'Connor and the Herald editorial oppose you.

    This must be the thinnest-skinned bunch of Ministers we've ever had. Can't handle anyone saying embarrassing things. Diddums.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Euan Mason,

    "Censored research" is an oxymoron.

    Canterbury • Since Jul 2008 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Sacha,

    A right-wing govt knows its on the wrong side of the issue when Greg O’Connor and the Herald editorial oppose you.

    Yes, a surprising turn. Not for the first time I would like to know who wrote a Herald editorial - but in this particular case their reasons for anonymity might actually be well-founded. It could be someone who has felt the information stranglehold and the commentary straitjacket personally.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    You’re either one or the other. And you’re generally judged by the company you keep.

    Academic research is a completely different company you keep.
    Unless of course you are Sir Pita Sharples.
    There are many examples of his working with and advocacy of funding gangs (public tax payer funds) for initiatives that could have fallen into a category of research if it needed a label and he got knighted for it . He had even finished ministering when knighted.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to BenWilson,

    but in this particular case their reasons for anonymity might actually be well-founded. It could be someone who has felt the information stranglehold and the commentary straitjacket personally.

    So many types of wrong but. Gilbert needs others shouting for him, not hiding.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to Alfie,

    Ditto. While Police can be a collective noun, expressions like “Police has” just sounds silly, as nobody speaks that way in the real world.

    Or even writes that way.
    The Wellington Corpus of Written NZ English contains 41 tokens of police with potentially variable verb agreement. All have plural verbs (even in a text sampling an official history of the NZ Police).
    The only examples of singular verbs occurring near police have agreement determined by other head nouns, e.g.
    (1) the Police Association faces mounting anger (A01 008);
    (2) The original police patrol was called (A25 057);
    (3) the Police Force was established in 1886 (F30 006).
    Not even these examples are invariably singular, e.g.
    (4) the police administration were giving training a high priority (F30 050)

    Though of course it is not for its language choices so much as for its overreaching content that this contract should be attacked.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to linger,

    Or even writes that way.

    Well, machine translations and lazy pro-forma text search and replaces without proofreading do. Which is what looks like happened here. It's so mechanical that they will make up a bullshit boilerplate excuse that they actually have a computer program doing it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10641 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to BenWilson,

    They probably have a computer program generating their excuses, too.

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Public servants serving Nat party interests - housing roadshow cover-up.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    Apparently Mike Bush is on a salary of between $680k-$690k/year, which is the third highest (equal) public sector CEO salary.

    I can vaguely appreciate arguments that commercial competition pays absurdly ridiculous amounts to its CEOs and so government must compete, but where’s a Police Commissioner going to go and receive an equivalent or better salary than $680,000 a year?

    Is this salary meant to be entirely about accountability for things like, I don’t know, making sure the New Zealand Police adhere to the law and stuff? What’s the supposed justification for such a salary?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Great, if depressing, analysis by Blip.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19688 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to izogi,

    It’s all about committees of other CEO types ratching up the salary and pretending that running an organisation with a guaranteed income from tax money is equivalent to running a company where people actually have to want to buy your product.

    The US caps salaries – nobody in the (federal) public service can out-earn the Vice-President. (NZD350k).

    NZ on the other hand has some of the highest public sector salaries per capita in the world. (The Met police commissioner gets about NZD600k – despite having 5 times the workforce and 3 times the population).

    If NZ capped public sector salaries, I’d suspect that those who want to make money would go and work in something more entrepeneurial, and we’d have no difficulty finding able people to promote who actually want to serve the public. (It would also help private sector businesses by reducing the competition for managers, and encourage people to pursue careers as professionals rather than seeking the big money in management).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • TracyMac, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    If NZ capped public sector salaries, I’d suspect that those who want to make money would go and work in something more entrepeneurial, and we’d have no difficulty finding able people to promote who actually want to serve the public.

    Hear, hear. I don't think the PS should be paid peanuts, but let's not pretend their "business" entails the same financial risks as private enterprise.

    Even the Americans have a decent attitude to executive PS salaries, despite the gobsmacking inequalities in the private sector. (They should pay non-exec staff much more - teacher pay is appalling.)

    Canberra, West Island • Since Nov 2006 • 701 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to TracyMac,

    Hear, hear. I don’t think the PS should be paid peanuts, but let’s not pretend their “business” entails the same financial risks as private enterprise.

    Indeed. And most if not all businesses would be run at least as well by people earning less. It's just a racket/club who vote themselves cash.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2091 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to TracyMac,

    I don’t think the PS should be paid peanuts

    I agree. I also know that senior executives have some legal liability responsibilities that deserve compensation. And the some of the jobs they have to do are just shit.

    But that might add up to $200k maybe $300k.

    I really like the idea of linking highest salaries to the lowest in any organisation. If the boss wants a pay rise she/he needs to figure out a way of paying the lowest more first.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4451 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    The government are doing their best to avoid any association with this mess. You'd expect the Justice and Police ministers to make statements, but Amy Adams won't comment while Michael (it's an "operational" issue) Woodhouse has also gone to ground. It's been left up to the Minister in charge of tidying up government ballsups to assure the public that there's nothing to see here... nothing at all.

    Mr Joyce, who is also innovation minister, endorsed the role of academics, saying their legal responsibility role in the Education Act as "critic and conscience of society" would be unchanged in the current and future reviews of the legislation.

    Mr Joyce said each agency would have a policy around access to sensitive information "but as Science and Innovation Minister and Tertiary Education Minister I'd encourage them to be as open with their data as is reasonably possible".

    As usual, Bryce Edwards provides an excellent summary of who has said what, so far.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1388 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    senior executives have some legal liability responsibilities that deserve compensation

    Has an NZ government employee ever been held liable in this way, except when they’ve engaged in out and out fraud or malpractice? I don’t think Don Elder’s paying us back for any of the money he blew gambling on coal prices rising forever, just as a for instance?

    I really like the idea of linking highest salaries to the lowest in any organisation. If the boss wants a pay rise she/he needs to figure out a way of paying the lowest more first.

    Absolutely.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I also know that senior executives have some legal liability responsibilities that deserve compensation.

    This is true, but (like you and other here) I’m having trouble making it stack up. The Prime Minister, at least symbolically, has the ultimate public sector responsibility in the land, yet his salary is only 2/3 of the top public servants.

    Exactly what accountability does New Zealand get from Mike Bush for $680,000+ if it’s excusable for the government body most directly responsible for upholding the law to have a culture that pays lip service to laws like the OIA, or which (just one example) doesn’t properly handle cases involving young men raping young women?

    Do we need to pay him more for these things to be adequately handled?

    I really like the idea of linking highest salaries to the lowest in any organisation. If the boss wants a pay rise she/he needs to figure out a way of paying the lowest more first.

    Could this, however, encourage organisations to simply re-structure companies in weird ways, or sub-contract their lower paid work?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I wonder what overseas public servants and senior military officers think when they meet their absurdly well paid NZ equivalents. I'd have thought it would be a bit embarrassing to be drawing footballer's wages to run a comparatively tiny defence force or government department.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Has an NZ government employee ever been held liable in this way, except when they’ve engaged in out and out fraud or malpractice?

    That’d be interesting. I came away from reading the Cave Creek Platform Commission of Inquiry disappointed that some people at the top of DOC weren’t held more directly accountable. (14 people died with the collapse of a hideously built viewing platform.)

    There’s always been an outcry that various low-level DOC employees who built the thing, during an informal working bee, should have been prosecuted. But there’s also plenty of evidence that DOC was being run as a severely disorganised, under-resourced mess in 1995, where completely unrealistic outcomes were being demanded from under-resourced and untrained staff at ground level. The Commissioner made a point of commenting that upper management of DOC at the time "simply did not seem to appreciate the concept of accountability in personal terms". (Then he went on to talk about the private sector as a much better example though, after Pike River, I doubt it's such a great example any more.)

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

  • izogi,

    This morning John Edens has written more generally about contractual constraints and funding-related pressures on academics.

    I think one aspect he didn't touch on which could also be of concern is the apparent rise of privately funded research institutions which are engineered to focus their research in a promotion of a particular bias of the benefactor. This alone certainly doesn't make the research itself bad, and sometimes good research wouldn't happen without this model, but it often then gets spun by the benefactors or cherry-pickers to justify more ideological agendas without resources necessarily having been allocated towards any realistic criticism. The phrase "think tank" should always ring alarm bells.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1139 posts Report Reply

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