Sunday, May 19, 2013

Roger Douglas versus Peter Conway on the budget

Rodney Hide hosted Sean Plunket's Radio Live show on friday and from 11am Roger Douglas and Peter Conway (Council of Trade Unions) discussed the budget. But it developed into a more far-reaching debate about the real problems facing NZ, especially education and welfare. Does poverty cause dysfunction or vice versa? Roger kept returning to education and the need to get it right for Maori. Conway insisted that the public schools were fine but the homes that the failing kids came out of were the problem due to poverty and unemployment. Roger used an example of a Ruatoria school run by Maori, with children mainly from beneficiary homes, that is apparently getting great results whereas the next door public school is not. The kids from the private school go on to tertiary education, the kids from the public school don't.

On welfare, Conway was adamant that when jobs were available people took them. He specifically talked about the reduction in the numbers on unemployment benefit dropping from 162,000 to 17,000 which showed that "When the jobs were there people took them and so only a very tiny number didn't...human characteristics didn't change....what changed was the opportunity and availability of work." And that all happened under Labour's investment approach.

Sounds great except the total number of people on benefits  dropped from 1 in 7 to 1 in 10. Not a very tiny number. As Roger pointed out quite a lot of people moved onto incapacity benefits which continued to rise throughout. If that is the best that can be achieved under a Labour government it leaves a lot to be desired.

You can pick up the interview here. It's covered over the four quarters from 11am to 12am, Friday May 17.

Rodney does a great job on radio. This is the kind of discussion I want to hear. And judging from caller's comments to him, so do others.


Anonymous said...

I heard quite a bit of it on the radio and is was encouraging to see the amount of common view between the parties. Conway's archilles heel is, I think, his love of control - that limits his ability to endorse things where people are demonstrably better off when they conflict with his ideology.

The debate was far better than anything Willie & JT have done in my hearing.


Manolo said...

Douglas over Conway every time!

Anonymous said...

Willie and jt are a disgrace to professional radio hosts. Their infantile style and lack of professionalism is at odds with the prime time slot they occupy. I immediately turn off when they come on as I left the school playground many years ago and don't want to return to it every afternoon.
Radio live have made a great advance towards intelligent and interesting talk radio with Sean Plunket. Now they just need to ditch those two time wasters and give their slot to Rodney and they'll see their abysmal ratings soar.
I'm still not convinced about garner, he doesn't seem to be much of a thinker. Lots of reactionary opinion with little substance behind them.

Anonymous said...

Garner is a bit too left wing for me.

Rodney is great on radio and also the articles he writes. If only he had been this good a communicator when in politics. Why he was not, I will never understand.