FWIW, I worked in Dept of Education H/O when NCEA was still in development, and hadn't even got so far as the acronym, back in the 80's.
There was so much internal angst about moving off an 'examination standard' - of which School Cert was a mighty flawed example - and it literally took decades before the first NCEA-related stuff came home in my eldest daughter's schoolbag from her college.
Lo and behold! Much of the wording was exactly as I had seen in drafts in 1986, which made me wonder who had to retire/die before the policy came into a form that could actually be rolled out. (I have suspicions ...)
As with this current issue, research, testing, and teacher and parent, not to mention student, input was required, chewing up much of that two decades.
The changes they are attempting to make smack of the same desperation with which the ailing Coates Government, in denial about the way to solve the Depression in the 1930's, closed Teacher's Colleges to save money.
They were voted out in 1933, paving the way for Savage's first Labour Government to come in with a landslide.
Yep, I moved out of teaching support into historical research, with a slant at social policy. I consider this Government to be the greatest risk to New Zealand's national sovereignty in the history of our nation, since the time we became a Dominion, and shucked off the training reins from London.
Nowadays, we are at risk from greedy education entrepreneurs from other countries, notably the USA, who have been eying our excellent State-funded schools and universities for over a decade. Many attempts have been made by business-minded US Ambassadors to get wee chunks of our state-owned education system into private hands - I'll refer you to the debacle when Stu McCutcheon moved from VUW, to the post of VC at AU, and promptly tried to sell off Elim Art School, to major outcry form prominent Kiwi artists in this country and overseas.
Any amount of rattling this cage you fancy, Russ, is alright by me!