Welcome To The Mimentum Blog...

We've been going since 2006 - completely free speakers, tackling consumer issues, current affairs and other issues and injustices that arise. Based in Australia and New Zealand we enjoy the privaledge of free speech without the threat of the Chinese Communist Party's Green Dam, Iranian Government, the USA's "Homeland Security" thought police, CIA (so much for "Land of the Free!"), and almost all the other fruitloops in the world who can't handle some constructive criticism.

Is Facebook dying?

Posted By on February 15, 2018

Nearly 1 in 5 Facebook users in New Zealand are saying they are using Facebook less than they did a year ago. It’s not just New Zealand users either. It’s a worldwide trend according to Facebook’s Chief Exceutive, Mark Zuckerberg, who told investors that people spent 50 million fewer hours in the last quarter of 2017.

In I.T. circles that should ring alarm bells. Every internet innovation has a life span. It peaks, wanes, and is succeeded by some new innovation. Flash web sites, Frames web site design, AOL, eBay, Myspace, Internet Explorer, blog sites, are just a few examples. Many are still around but are a shadow of their former self, no longer the huge investment opportunity they used to be. Investors should be asking if Facebook is heading down that same path.

I used to log into Facebook daily, a year ago. When they added the online game Farmville, we all played it but after a while, I noticed how much time was being wasted on Farmville. I had a business to run and it was competing with the time I should have spent record keeping. I also noticed advertising was appearing in amongst the main content.

Moving to New Zealand took all my attention and I didn’t visit my Facebook page for ages. When I did return, this year, I was struck by the amount of advertising content amongst the main content section, as well as the ads in the old advertising section. It was all aimed at Australian businesses but I was now in New Zealand. I realised just how much Facebook had evolved and was tracking my usage. What else was it tracking and what information was it feeding to whom?

It has devolved from a social contact medium for friends and family to a data mining program for big corporations. It’s lost all it’s “social” ethos to profit taking and forgotten why we all used it – not to buy stuff but to keep in contact.

While Facebook was busy looking for more ways to exploit us, twitter increased it’s word count and has improved as a messaging and contact platform. Swathes of Facebook users have joined Snapchat and moved to Twitter, to keep in touch. Probably, like me, they have left their Facebook accounts open, just taking a peek once in a while.

While Mark Zuckerberg tells investors that Facebook users have shed 50 million Facebook hours, what he is not saying is they have all but left, they just haven’t closed their Facebook accounts. On the Internet, people don’t bother closing accounts, they just up and move. The statistics can take years to display the actual state of the business. It means nothing to have 2 billion accounts because accounts don’t equate to customers.

While the “experts” spew hype about reinventing Facebook and refining the user experience (or in plain English – get more data about you and use it to target more ads), the real fix is to get back to your roots – develop a social concience. Tell the truth – “sponsored content” is just another name for ads – manure and fertiliser are still shit. Return to your core business – social contact and drop all the ads from the main content completely. That’s how you truely refine the user experience.

What’s all the fuss about?

Posted By on February 4, 2018

During the presidential election campaign, there was a meeting between Donald Trump’s election campaigners and some high level Russians, claiming to have some dirt on Trumps opposition, Hillary Clinton. That much we do know but it could have been more. This raises questions about US security (how the Russians got this information and what was it?) and to what extent did they influence the election outcome (or attempt to)?

The Intelligence community service has the job of finding out what happened and determining if the election was influenced or any arrangement was made that could compromise members of the White House or pose a security risk. If so they can tell the Judiciary to procedd with charges and disciplinary actions. Because the White House is involved, it cannot investigate itself – that would be like letting the fox interview the chickens.

The investigation begins with the Intelligence community who decide if there is anything suspicious. If so, it passes the investigation over to the FBI. The FBI has the right to interview people to get to the bottom of the matter. If it finds anyone has acted against the law, it refers their findings to the Judiciary for prosecution of the offenders.

Trump and his followers have repeatedly claimed there is nothing wrong. First, they denied any collusion with the Russians. Then we discover that not only did Trump campaigners actually meet the Russians, but Trump’s right hand man was at the meeting and helped arrange it!

Donald Trump denies any knowledge of this meeting and wriggles off the hook because he wasn’t personally there at the meeting.

As the facts begin to emerge and we get a few names from the investigators, we find that Trump’s top man (Flynn) lied to the FBI investigators, so he’s fired as Trump tries to distance himself from the fray and look innocent. Shortly after, when it’s apparent that the investigation is still ongoing, Trump fires the head of the FBI , James Comey, replacing him with someone he believes will be on his (Trump’s) own side. Even this person decides the investigation should continue, much to Trump’s concern and he’s even tried to fire this guy, the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller!

The person, Don McGahn, The White House Counsel (a.k.a. the White House lawyer), who was to deliver the news o the new Special Counsel Robert Mueller, advised Trump that even the most brainless Trump supporter would see this as an attempt to cover up something. Such a move would be political suicide. Trump ignored this advice and ordered him to deliver the message, whereupon the messenger, Don McGahn, bluntly refused and said he would resign. Reluctantly Trump is stuck with this investigation.

Trump’s latest ruse is to deflect attention away from the investigation and discredit the FBI. If he can’t stop the investigation findings, he can contaminate the investigation at the fact finding stage. That seems to be the current White House strategy.

It works like this: while there is an investigation in progress, the information the FBI gets, is kept secret until it is no longer sensitive. This prevents the bad guys covering their tracks and messing with witnesses – standard police procedure. Until now, the Government has complied with this and not released any information that could compromise an FBI investigation. The White House Press Office has always worked closely with the FBI on this matter – until now.

This latest memo was not supposed to be released to the public but for the first time, the White House has ignored the FBI’s request and released a sensitive FBI document but to cover their backsides they chopped and changed it, reducing it from a coherent memo to mindless drivel. The end result is – no harm done – or is it?

Firstly- let’s not lose site of the bigger picture: If there’s nothing to hide, why all the fuss? If the meeting with the Russians, that didn’t happen, then did, didn’t result in anything that could influence the election (but maybe did), why try to block the investigation?

Secondly, the fact that so many high up officials are losing their jobs during this investigation is cause for concern. Is there massive corruption and incompetence in the Intelligence Community, FBI and Judiciary or is the White House hampering an investigation, maybe knowing the evidence is going to expose their own corruption?

Thirdly, when the FBI is investigating an incident, it should have the right to prevent the White House from releasing anything sensitive that could effect the FBI’s investigation. To allow this sort of interference is opening the door to top level corruption.

Although the document itself is of no consequence, what is alarming is the way the White House has descended to this level of blatant obstruction, subversion and corruption – so obvious that it has become a world laughing stock. It all points to something much larger than we know about, that the Trump administration doesn’t want to be found – all the more reason for the White House to back off and let the FBI and Judiciary do their jobs.

We’re heading for another crash!

Posted By on January 25, 2018

Without all the hype and fancy labels, what happened in the Global Financial Crisis that averted a worldwide crash?

To put it in layman’s term, prior to the last global finacial crisis, the banks sold each other loans that were bad. Banks were lending more money than they could secure. So they wouldn’t get caught out with bad loans, they divided these up into parcels and sold them on to other banks and finacial institutions. This cross selling became so convoluted it concealed the fact that these loans were dodgy. The fact that these loans came from some of the worlds top banking institutions gave them credibility and the investors confidence, hiding the fact the loans were not backed by enough assets.

Meanwhile the banks, having sold these bad investments to each other, had money from the sale, which they used to fund even more lending. Banks don’t just lend the money they actually have in their vault; they lend more. If they have a thousannd dollars deposited into their vault, they can lend at least $10,000. Their daily business will bring in enough deposits to cover the difference. In many countries the government puts a limit on this reserve to lending ratio through the Reserve Bank..

Unfortunately the USA is different. Their Federal Reserve (supposedly the equivalent to a Reserve Bank), which most people assume is a government organisation, is actually a privately owned institution, owned by the big bankers – the guys behind the dodgy loans!

The Federal Reserve was setting the Reserve to Lending ratio for the banks. It was like the fox guarding the henhouse. Everyone was telling each other, “That loan is good because the lender is a big bank – too big to collapse.”

To some extent this was correct. When the day of reckoning came and investors realised that the interbank lending was dodgy, the Obama government realised if the big boys folded because they couldn’t pay up or were sued for fraudulent loans, the USA Dollar would crash. Since the US dollar underpins world trade as the major trading currency, they decided to give money in the form of a guarantee, to the banks to prop up the dodgy interbank lending.

Of course it couldn’t be called the “prop up the dodgy banks funds”, so they named it “Quantitative Easing”, just to make it sound less desparate. To prevent the effect of a large sum of new money flooding the market and diluting the value of the dollar, Quantitaive Easing was done in several stages.

All of this activity treated the symptoms of the financial crisis but not the cause. Today we have a world economy that is still based on debt that no-one can afford to pay. We circulate currency with a value based on confidence alone. Prior to the 1970s, the US Dollar was based on their gold reserves. With their attempts to cope with global inflation, they kept increasing the value of their dollar until some bright finance official did the sums and realised they didn’t have enough gold to pay for the dollars in circulation. Their solution was to drop the Gold Standard, the link between the dollar and gold.

So today we have banks with underfunded loans to each other (Interbank Lending) based on a currency that gets it’s value from the Federal Reserve – a private company owned and run by the same banks giving out those loans, telling us the loans are good.

While all of this keeps spiralling higher and higher, the top end of town is making money on the investments and playing along with the charade, convinced they will see the crash early enough to get out and keep the profits. They are all falling for the same, “they are too big to collapse”, trap that caught everyone in the global financial crisis. It’s only a matter of time before someone with influence starts asking a few questions and the whole house of cards will come crashing down. This time the US economy cannot fund an ongoing Quantitative Easing programme. Donald Trump’s government has not focused on balancing the books, just running up more and more debt.

Shame on you Australia!

Posted By on December 22, 2017

In the 1967 war, Israel invaded Palestine in spite of UN sanctions and stole a large chunk of Palestine that includes Jerusalem today. In 1980 Israel declared Jerusalem it’s capital but the UN voted to reject the idea. Under International Law, the same law that recognises Israel as a state, any country that invades another cannot claim territory it has taken, as it’s own.

When the US said it would not only recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but in an added slap in the face to the rest of the world, would move it’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the UN refused to accept the idea. Not only is it in breach of International Law but it also would be a very public slap in the face for all of Islam. Like the Christians, they too regard Jerusalem as a significant religious site. Aside from the legality of the situation, it makes common sense to leave Jerusalem alone. Calling it part of Israel would unite all the Islamic factions in a holy war against the USA and all it’s allies.

If close allies like Australia had the balls to vote for the UN sanction against recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would have been a wake up call for Trump, telling the US administration that it had overstepped the line. Unfortunately Australia caved in to Trump’s threats and abstained from voting, demonstrating to all the Islamic nations it is in the USA’a pocket. If it was low on the list of Jehad targets yesterday, it’s gutless actions just moved itself up to the top of the list today.

While the Australian government might believe the USA will protect it in the event of a terrorist war, they might find reality a little different. Until now only ISIL has been targeting the USA. Now all of Islam could target the USA, creating a terrorist war there and abroad. If this blows up, not only the Arab nations will target USA and it’s allies but the South East Asian nations with their predominantly Islamic population will be drawn into the fray as well.
And who is the nearest US ally in their region?
Top of the hit parade will be Australia, just a short boat ride away and Pine Gap, the control center for all the USA drone activity in that half of the world. Australia with it’s vast unprotected coastline and neighbors who are still reeling from being screwed over the Timor gas field swindle, it’s mining companies raping their lands and dumping it’s unwanted in offshore illegal prison camps. Australia has a long history of arrogance in the region. The few countries it shares good relations with, are already struggling with Islamic uprisings. The rest could quite easily turn a blind eye, like the Americans did to New Zealand in the Rainbow Warrior bombing.

Is the same Donald Trump, who is going to make America great and doesn’t give a stuff about anyone else, going to rush to Australia’s aid while he has so many other battles going on?

Australia missed an opportunity to do what was right by both law and common sense. It could have made a stand to curb Donald Trump’s stupid arrogance. Instead it has shown the world it is a spineless wimp, Donald Trump’s personal brown nosed suckhole.

Even worse, it was shamed by it’s neighbor, New Zealand, who stood by it’s principles and voted “No” to recognising Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, like the majority of other UN members.

Shame on you Australia!

 

The hopelessly late Westpac bank

Posted By on December 19, 2017

Back in 2012, I informed Westpac that I had received a phone call from a male with an Indian accent, saying I had been overcharged bank fees for my Westpac account and would receive over $400.00 if I could confirm my Westpac account I.D. I had some friends who also banked with Westpac and they reported the same thing. However other friends with accounts in different banks had not received any such phone calls. The caller knew my name, bank accousst numbers, phone number and address, along with the fact I banked with the local branch of the Westpac Bank. The fact that only Westpac customers had been phoned, not customers with other banks, indicated some form of security breach at Westpac. I met with Sanjay, the Manager of the Melton Branch of the Westpac Bank, who denied there was any breach in their security but could not explain why only Westpac, no other banks customers were being called.

Having worked in bank security for another bank over 5 years ago, I played the caller at their own game and asked which branch and account was he referring to. I was fishing to see how much information he had and where it might have come from. The caller knew the bank, the branch and my account numbers – including ones that don’t appear on any ATM screen, so he wasn’t spying on ATMs. He didn’t know I had been a Westpac customer over 7 years previously, at another branch, leaving for an opposition bank, so the information had to come from Westpac and not some place like the tax office or a credit reporting company. Because he knew other account numbers, the information could not have come from a phone account (or any other type of account) application.

To be honest, he almost convinced me, he had so much information but I had only opened the accounts he was referring to, a couple of months ago and there was no way I had been charged enough bank fees to be overcharged anywhere near the $400.00 amount he promised.

I contacted Westpac’s head office and followed up with emails, outlining how these scammers were operating. Westpac responded with platitudes and denials. Today they are still refusing to admit there was a leak.

You have to wonder, if there was no security breach:

  1. How did that caller get my name, phone number and and address?
  2. Of all the banks in Australia, how did they even know I was a Westpac customer?
  3. If the information didn’t come from an ATM and acoording to Westpac, there was no security breach, where did the caller get my Westpac bank details?
  4. How did the caller know so much information about me and what other information did he have, that I didn’t know about?
  5. What other institution would have that particular collection of only my personal banking Westpac details, when I also banked with another non Westpac bank as well ?
  6. I use Linux, not Windows, so a key logger or spyware was not likely (remember we are back in 2012). I never let anyone use my card, PIN or bank on my behalf. The leak must have been at the bank, I am sure that the leak did not come from me.

It’s now the 19th of December 2017 and I just received this email from the Westpac Bank, one of Australia’s big 4 banks :

Dear (Name suppressed),

At Westpac, helping our customers avoid falling victim to scams is our top priority. We’d like to make you aware of a current phone scam targeting Australians.

The scam involves a caller posing as an employee of a large telco, utility provider or computer company. The caller will usually advise they are calling you because your PC has malicious software, help is needed to catch a criminal, or to recover an outstanding debt owed to a government body. Callers may become quite aggressive, or threaten you with prosecution, if you do not comply with their request.

(Name suppressed), we strongly recommend you simply hang up if you receive this type of call. If you believe the call was legitimate, we recommend you return the call to the company on a trusted number found in the yellow pages or on the company’s website.

I have heard, the wheels of bureaucracy grind slowly and according to Westpac’s reassurances back in 2012, that they take security very seriously but 5 years later to hear they still deny any leak for the same old scam, is a bit long, you’d think?

Today, in 2017, there is the technology to trace these calls. If the banks really take fraud seriously you have to ask, are the banks really doing enough to prevent this type of scam?

When an idiot is in charge

Posted By on December 10, 2017

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump formally recognised Jerusalem as the capital
of Israel and said he would start the process of moving its embassy there from Tel Aviv.

Once again he has ignored the rest of the world to suck up to those with money. I don’t want
to sound antisemitic, it’s a fact that the Jewish community is a tight knit clan bound by
religion and persecution. They are very active in the banking and finance sectors. If you
surveyed the faiths and family ties in the world’s finance sector, you would find more Jews
there than in any other industry. That’s because their faith demands tithes and their church
elders are business focused, lending to their own, especially when it comes to finance.
You have to admit, they’re damned good at it.

They are also good at stealing land too. After World War 2 it was agreed that, as a reward
for their support for the allies, against the Germans and as compensation for the
atrocities committed against the Jews, they would be given a homeland. In World War 1,
the British defeated the Ottoman Empire and took control of Palestine. They carved this
in half to create a Jewish homeland, Israel, under the Balfour Declaration, in 1948.
Ever since, the Jews have been taking more and more land from Palestine.  The United
Nations stepped in and ruled Israel’s theft of Palestinian land was illegal but Israel
ignored the ruling. Jerusalem is in that block of stolen land. Donald Trump’s decision
to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel , flagrantly ignores international law.

The Jews claim a convenient part of history to support their claim to Jerusalem. If we
were to uphold this, Bosnia would have to be returned to the Magyars, Paris to the Vikings,
half of China to the Mongols, Australia to the Aborigines, New Zealand to the Morioris,
Mexico to the native Indians and the whole of the USA to the various tribes of American
Indians. Historically speaking, all these lands changed possession after the Jews lost
Israel.

Keep in mind that this territory is also religiously significant, not only to the Jews
but Christianity, Islam, Samaritanism, Druze and the Bahá’í Faith. In another act of
massive international stupidity , Donald Trump has not only thumbed his nose at
International Law, wrecking any chance of a peaceful solution between Palestine and
Israel but lit the powder keg of an international religious war, on a scale never seen
before.

If you are not familiar with Islam, there are two main factions that are in permanent
disagreement – the Shiite and the Sunni. This forms the underlying force driving most
(if not all) of the wars within the Arabic world. Donald Trump’s decision is an insult
to the entire Islamic faith and of sufficient magnitude to, not only dwarf the
Shiite/Sunni schism but invoke their unified wrath against the USA. Of course, once
again, (like it did in the fake Weapons of Mass Destruction) war in Iraq, it will run
squealing to the rest of the West for support. Frankly, I think this time we should say
“No!” and let them take the consequences of leaving a “f—king idiot” (their own words,
not mine) in charge.

Donald Trump should have been reigned in long ago. If something isn’t done to stop that
lunatic,we could see our children dragged into a war that’s not of our making and dying
on some foreign battlefield; all because of some maniac US President’s idiotic decision.

It should have been on page one

Posted By on December 4, 2017

Both New Zealand and Australia are short of aged care workers and the governments see the solution is to ease up on immigration.

Not a headline news item but maybe it should be. For starters, no matter who you are, you will get old. Unless your luck runs out, you’ll eventually end up in aged care, so the standards of aged care we set today will determine the level of care you will receive. Secondly, you or someone close to you has an elderly relative in, or about to go into aged care. Thirdly; we should ask, are foreigners the best people to care for the elderly?
This is an issue that effects all of us, no matter what our age.

Have our leaders missed the logic here?

Shouldn’t they be asking why there is a shortage of aged carers?

Shouldn’t they be asking who is best, to care for our elderly?

Why is there a shortage of local aged carers?

Aged care is perceived as a lowly job by many in the community (evidenced by the prevalence of foreign workers). Even inside the medical profession, geriatric nursing is seen as a less prestigious form of nursing. Dealing with incontinent, immobile, confused and often aggressive patients is not an ideal working environment, add shift work hours, none of this not reflected in the wages of aged carers.

To handball the issue of aged care facilities funding, governments have promoted privatization, passing it on to rest home operators. When any service is privatized and profit becomes the motive, you drive the service down to the lowest dollar to yield the maximum profits. Put another way, you provide the least for the most.

They do this a number of ways – reducing the numbers of staff, reducing the staff qualification levels, reducing their pay rates, increasing workload without raising wages, reducing the standards of meals and other services. We frequently read stories of neglect, abuse and closures of aged care facilities who fall below minimum standards.

Recently, aged care workers have won a case for pay equality. How sad, that we are in the 21st century and still fighting inequality in a civilized country!

It’s time our leaders took a good look at the aged care sector and paid the people what they are really worth. A corporal in the defense forces earns more than an aged care worker, and gets more privileges.

Who should be looking after our elderly?

Will foreigners from a different country, culture and religion, be able to offer the same care as locals who are familiar with our ways? That “infidel” could be your mother or father.

Caring involves empathy. Do these foreigners have relatives in the same situation here, that they empathize with?

There is a very high proportion of dementia and hearing loss amongst the elderly. Does it make sense to place them in the care of people with an accent? Wouldn’t that compound the communication problems the elderly already have?

Immigrants are vulnerable to threats of deportation and easily manipulated to accept lower wages or take on unacceptably higher work loads than locals. This leaves the profession open to abuse and corruption. Already we have a high incidence of abuse both of patients and overall standards of care. Trusting rest home and aged care operators to do the right thing for immigrant workers, is akin to letting the fox guard the hen house.

It’s not rocket science; it all comes down to paying the carers what they are really worth. This will attract local people into this profession, especially older workers looking for a career change.

It’s time we got our priorities right.

Democracy NZ style – the weirdest system.

Posted By on December 3, 2017

If you were asked to explain democracy,  like me, you’d probably describe it as:
Democracy is a system where the people vote for a government, from a selection of contenders and the one with the most votes, wins.”
At least that’s what we were taught. Right?

However, consider the case of New Zealand:

On the 22nd of September 2017, New Zealand held a general election. There are two major parties in New Zealand;

  • National (conservatives who favour commerce) and
  • Labour (liberals who are more socially orientated).

There are also a smattering of minor parties with various interests. So far it’s a typical democratic system but here’s where it becomes weird:

The votes came in and both the major parties did not get enough votes to form a government on their own. This means, to form a government, they have to for a coalition with one or more of the minor parties.

So we have a system where the real power is no longer with the party that got the most votes. It’s actually with the parties that got the least votes!

To complicate it further, only one of those minor parties won enough votes to make up the difference to send either of the major parties into government – The NZ First Party, lead by Winston Peters.

So we now have a system where the two major parties, who won the election, are held to ransom by a party who lost the election. Winston Peters and his NZ First Party are calling the shots. The first party to agree to his terms wins government.

To put it another way, democracy (New Zealand style) is where the party who didn’t win the election is forms the government and has the most say.

Are Americans really that stupid?

Posted By on November 17, 2017

Donald Trump’s election campaign focused on the middle Americans, the working class people. Now he’s won, he’s sending a message to his election base with his new tax bill and it’s basically “f— you suckers!” If ever there was proof that the USA is the land of the ignorant, this has to be it!

The house tax bill has passed through the senate and is on it’s way to becoming law. It’s shrouded in smoke and mirrors but essentially it gives more tax breaks and a tax cut to the rich while raising taxes and reducing exemptions for the lower and middle income sections of the community – a classic case of the rich feathering their own nest.

Unfortunately it’s shrouded in conditions that provide exemptions for some families, which makes it complicated enough to hide the real slug on the bottom end of town. It will vary for some, just enough to tart it up for selling to the public. Also it doesn’t start to come in until 2019, ramping up to peak in 2021. The fact is, most families earning between $10,000 and $75,000 a year will see their taxes go up. As if that’s not enough, to make sure the tax cuts for the wealthy are funded, Trump’s party is removing the affordable health care bill, saving millions. A conservative estimate says 13 million people will have lost their health cover and the health insurers will increase their premiums by at least 10% in the first year.

If you don’t live in the USA, you probably don’t really care and like the rest of the world you probably think, “You voted for a TV personality, slum landlord, greedy, narcissist and got what you deserve – so suck it up Princess”

However, there’s a groundswell and I’m hearing subtle rumblings around the globe. More and more people are asking questions about the ever growing divide between the rich and poor. Last century rich people were respected and lauded for their entrepreneurship and philanthropic contributions to society. That was before the Global Financial Crisis that laid bare the wanton greed and absence of ethics in the top end of town. As a society, there is a growing trend towards social responsibility and anti corruption.

Is the tide turning? Already it’s surfaced in Zimbabwe, where Robert Mugabe, the most powerful, corrupt and ruthless leader has been deposed. If Americans wake up and see Trump’s grab bag of goodies for the rich, for what it is – a further widening the rich-poor divide, we could see the birth of a new kind of capitalism – one with a conscience.

New Zealand’s Self Inflicted Teacher Crisis

Posted By on October 16, 2017

New Zealand is suffering a critical shortage of teachers. It’s become so bad, many schools where a teacher resigns, will have to redistribute the students to other classrooms and create classes that are well over the class size limit.

In some cases, the shortage is so bad that a teacher resignation could force schools to turn classes into mixed year classes, part way through the school year. Teachers, already overloaded will have to suddenly rewrite their plans, alter their student registers and completely reorganize their rooms. This sort of chaos actually promotes teachers leaving the system, exacerbating the problem.

This fiasco is the result of an out of touch government, concerned purely with economics, at the expense of its own people. Successive governments from both sides of politics have repeatedly cut the education budget. Teachers don’t have time to get involved in political lobbying. If they do speak out they are labelled too militant by their bureaucrat employers, who don’t want to admit the system is broken because the politicians will place the blame back on them.

Ironically there are plenty of trained teachers in New Zealand who are currently in other areas of employment. As a teacher, it is easy to lose yourself in the world of teaching, so many like to get out in the “real world” for some “real world” experience. Often this involves travel and teaching overseas. These teachers are a valuable asset to the profession. Some have left to become parents of their own children. Their broader experience makes them far more relatable to both parents and students alike.

Unfortunately the New Zealand education system doesn’t acknowledge this fact. Instead they want these teachers with their added life experiences to retrain, refusing to give them any credit for their past experience, even if it was teaching elsewhere . But it gets worse! . . . They also demand these teachers pay an additional $4,000 for the retraining.

Is it any wonder there’s a critical shortage of teachers in New Zealand?

Even if the government was to treble the intake of teacher trainees, those teachers would not begin teaching for another three years at least and how will they perform, compared to teachers with decades of experience in the field and as people who have not only taught children but actually raised them?

It’s time the New Zealand government woke up and recognized this asset, right under their noses. Recognize and reward their experience.

Provide a fully paid re-integration course to welcome these living treasures back into our education system.

This will create highly skilled and experienced teachers, ready to step into the classroom in a matter of weeks, not years.