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The no nannies state

  • October 5th, 2009

It is unfortunate for New Zealand that we still draw so much on the UK for our ideas of what is internationally ‘normal’.

I was reminded of how dumb that is by the joy of some UK migrants to find that they could rent a house with all the owners’ furniture in it.  According to them, in the UK furnished house letting is drying up, because of a ‘protective’ law the requires all furniture (as well as the house) to be certified safe by specialists before a house can be let.

Yesterday’s Herald on Sunday reprinted a Daily Telegraph report about the British Government’s persecution of two women who looked after each other’s children in turn so that they could share their job (they are Detective Constables). OFSTED (the Office of Standards in Education) warned them, then put them under surveillance because their arrangement  violated the British law against any unregisterd person looking after another’s child for more than two hours a day for reward.

The reward was each other’s reciprocal free care on the other days.

What a pity the HOS did not check to see what prevents our own absurd law governing paid pre-school child care from a similar intrusion into the private arrangements of normal good parents.

I also hope that  our Minister of Education  follows up to see how our law will treat the inevitable accidents that will allow her official prune-faces to punish the owner-operators of ‘forest kindergartens’, highlighted in yesterday’s Sunday Star Times. Esther Harward’s report shows that the law could be a serious problem

Our Law Commission has just recommended law changes to give our government powers to close down private schools that the Secretary of Education considers to have "unsuitable" premises or curriculum.

The definitions of "suitable" are laughably vague. For example look at the definition for curriculum:

 "35H Suitable curriculum A suitable curriculum for a school registered under section 35A is one which enables students, when their education at the school is completed, to participate in and contribute to their own community, and to New Zealand society as a whole."

The closure power is similarly broad. In effect the Law Commission has chosen not to recommend law (rules which enable people to know in advance what is lawful and what is not). Instead they’ve said – "lets trust wise officials".

"The Secretary may at any time suspend the registration of a school registered under school registered under section 35A if he or she considers that the welfare and safety of the students at the school are at serious risk, and—  

“(a) that it is unlikely that the risk can be avoided by any practicable means other than by suspension of the registration; or

“(b) that, although the risk could be avoided by means other than by suspension of the registration, the amount of time necessary to do so is likely, in the opinion of the Secretary, to be excessive."

Be worried if you are not an establishment educationalist.


  • ben
  • October 5th, 2009
  • 12:48 pm

Seems to me the Law Commission is in dire need of some lectures on Public Choice.

Actually public servants do respond to incentives and we should not expect them to do so in an especially desirable way.

And, no, governments are not very good at picking out the (relatively) few people having problems with alcohol and one-size-fits-all regulation probably probably catches all the wrong people and does much more harm than good.

  • mike mckee
  • October 6th, 2009
  • 11:49 am

another brick in the wall for statism and our loss of liberty.
personally i’d like to see people who think and advise like this to be sacked never to stick their snouts in the public purse ever again.


Stephen – would this potentially apply to home schoolers?



Home schoolers can already be shut down by the Government if the MOE is not satisfied that the children involved are not being taught as regularly and as well as a state school. Basically, they would lose their exemption from the state system.

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