Friday, June 8, 2012

The New Zealand Government is a leading edge Social Government

Within the past 24 hours, New Zealand has seen something take place which shows radical support for the institution of democracy.

All around the world governments are being faced with financial challenges resulting from the Global Financial Crisis.  Currently, we see significant concerns throughout Europe and other parts of the world.  New Zealand has seen that it needs to cut back on fiscal spending which has resulted in significant cost cutting initiatives throughout all departments.  There's a focus on being more innovative and productive to achieve better results for less.

While this has been happening, the government has placed significant importance on education which has resulted in an increased investment in funding over the next fiscal year.  However,  it's not about just throwing more money at the education system and expecting better results.  The government has been coming up with new initiatives to ensure better value for money.

One such initiative was to invest in the improving of professional leadership and teaching quality.  An investment which meant the reallocation of existing expenditure of $174m and a further top-up of $60m.  The proposed reallocation was expected to come from reduced teaching headcount and increased class sizes.

Over the past couple of weeks there's been a range of people protesting this decision, including teachers, parents and students.  The form of protests has varied from community gatherings through to the use of Social Media.  

A few hours ago, the Minister of Education, Hekia Parata, announced that they would no longer be going through with these changes due to the amount of opposition.  At this point I got quite excited.  The New Zealand Government is acting like a Social Business.  It's listening to the people and making decisions based on the feedback.  

My wife is a teacher, she, along with all other teachers in New Zealand, received an email from Hekia Parata before the changes were announced.  The email outlined the changes and asked for feedback.  It would appear that the Minister is open to collaboration.  To back-down, on what was a 'bold' move is noteworthy.

The opposition parties had been having a field day over the past few days.  They were doing all that they could to fuel a fire of hate and distrust.  Labour's leader, David Sharer, has called this a Humiliating Back-Down while offering no bold alternatives to improving childhood education.  Other parties have asked that Hekia stand down for incompetence.  

It is one thing for the government to listen to the people in such a way, but the problem still exists.  With a lack of funding, how do you improve childhood education? The crowd-sourced response will now need to lead to crowd-sourced collaboration to produce new innovative ideas.

1 comment:

  1. Well :-) this blog has given some real food for thought.

    The way that I see it is that Governments have taken much of the control of the people - the people having become rather complacent and not listening to what is going on (pretty much both ways). With this case the Government has taken a gamble to see if the people were and are listening and they were. I don't think that it is over especially with what you have said "it would appear that the Minister is open to collaboration."

    Many people are desperate but know that one needs education. If education falls by the way side there will be huge amount of illiterate people who will not be able to think for themselves and will need "Governments" to action for them. This is one area where they had to listen the ramifications were to big and too wide.

    What it has done is made people stand up and take note also the powers that be that basic necessities like education, clothing, a roof over ones head and food are important. This is one area which they had better listen..... from all perspectives. These are my thoughts only....

    ReplyDelete

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