News 3/2 – BIMs. Rod Carr’s Pay. HIV Data.

February 3rd 2012 at 8:11am, By Dave Guerin

Policy, Management & People

  1. BIMs Treasury’s BIM sparked media releases from NZUSA’s Pete Hodkinson (opposing interest on student loans) and the TEU’s Sandra Grey (opposing shifting funding to younger students and research money to help the private sector). It is not surprising that NZUSA wasn’t too worried about shifting funding towards younger students as most student reps are…younger students. The EXMSS VP, however, has addressed the focus on younger users in a good post. Bill English said there was nothing new in what Treasury said (NewstalkZB).
  2. Rod Carr’s Pay Rod Carr, Canterbury VC, has asked for no pay rise for the final two years of his term. He has better PR sense that the Christchurch City Council CEO, although that has been obvious for some years!
  3. Adventure Tourism Here’s a nice profile of adventure tourism coordinator at Waiariki, Nick Chater.
  4. Academic Publishing Auckland’s Siouxsie Wiles has written on current academic publishing issues, including the Elsevier boycott (she also wrote on scientist-journalist relations). The TEU also wrote about Elsevier in this week’s newsletter.
  5. Extras: Otago Poly has a $1m+ funding boost this year; EXMSS is looking to expand membership beyond Massey; Andy West’s Triumph motorcycle (adjunct at Waikato).

Research & Innovation

  1. HIV Data Otago Uni’s Peter Saxton and colleagues recruited 1,049 gay and bisexual men in Auckland to undergo an anonymous HIV test. 6.5% had HIV and 1.3% of the total population were unaware they had HIV (21% of those infected). This sparked many stories from the media, including One News, TV3 (earlier story), Fairfax (and again), APNZ, AAP, (and here and here) and RNZ. The numbers sound terrible, but unfortunately there is no explanation in the media release about their sampling approach (which may well have introduced a bias) or their population estimate. Without identifying sampling issues and margin of error, we really have no idea of whether the research really “suggests” that 6.5% of gay and bisexual men in Auckland have HIV. So then I went to the free online journal article (refereed, but not linked, to in the media release) and found that the “community settings” where participants were sourced were “a gay community fair day, gay bars and sex-on-site venues” – the first is broad (and made up 80% of respondents), but the second and third would skew the sample. There was also a 49% acceptance rate to invitations to participate, and only 80% of those who accepted an invitation supplied a sample. The paper acknowledges that these factors are study limitations but doesn’t explore them in depth. That said, the survey provides an enormous amount of data that illuminates very real health concerns. My critique is really about whether the statistic at the start of the media release is reliable enough to be the lead, especially when the NZ Aids Foundation then treated it as gospel in their release.
  2. Hot House Venture capital firm powerhouse has been running a summer programme at Canterbury to mentor students and grads towards commercialising new ideas.
  3. Extras: Auckland gout research.

Public Issues

  1. Facebook Canterbury’s Anne-Maria Brady on Facebook and China.
  2. Extras: Canterbury’s Scott Walker on American politics; Auckland’s Jane Kelsey on loss of sovereignty; US water expert speaks at Waikato.


  1. Bad Work Some students allege they were paid very badly and forced to work hours beyond their visa allowances.
  2. Missing Out Careers New Zealand’s CE Graeme Benny has tips for students who miss out on their first study choice.
  3. Extras: Wintec students to get award for hospital history; Auckland might get a 15 year old student next year.


  1. Tale of Two Ports While Auckland’s Port is having strife, Tauranga’s Port is giving out scholarships (SunLive)
  2. Extras: CPIT picks up $80K for its ArtBox project; winners of an Auckland Games Jam held at Media Design School.

Teaching & Learning

  1. Carpentry Whitireia and WelTec have set up a joint carpentry programme in and around Kapiti – nice idea.
  2. Extras: Aoraki’s Diane Turner off to NY to speak at a conference.

9 Responses to News 3/2 – BIMs. Rod Carr’s Pay. HIV Data.



February 3rd, 2012 at 8:37 am

Are you able to imagine that people are able to argue a point on the basis of merit (even that based on self-interest)? The economic rates of return for training younger people compared to those, shall we call them er mature or later in life are clear. Maybe NZUSA are just supporting a good argument. Different i know. Your constant sniping about peoples motives detracts from your excellent blog. I think. There is a very good quote from the current Vice-President of the United States that i will send you.


Dave Guerin

February 3rd, 2012 at 8:43 am

I can imagine it Dean, but there is a stark contrast between NZUSA simply not commenting on a proposed major transfer between groups of students and the TEU making a comment on the matter. And the focus on younger students is a long-term structural factor in students’ associations – note the investment in Orientations, events, etc that focus on younger students. EXMSS’ VP did protect his patch to an extent, but also made a thoughtful contribution to the debate.



February 3rd, 2012 at 9:48 am

Sigh, really …

You question (am I right in saying negatively?) an organisation’s motives on something they omitted to say and unless you have further information on NZUSA which you did not include in blog … you did a Philosophy major and they specialise in Modal Logic at Victoria … . Well you get it.

Maybe, just maybe the motivation is that the Government has it right in terms of refocusing our investment and NZUSA (given its view – more to the left than the right – am i correct here?) is loathed to put out a press statement supporting the current administration. Maybe, just maybe it has nothing to do with being younger.

Is there a “stark contrast”?


Dave Guerin

February 3rd, 2012 at 10:02 am

Dean, an organisation can argue as it wishes. Given the collection of stories and releases today, NZUSA chose to focus on some things rather than others. I pointed that out and in my experience it is a rather consistent approach from NZUSA and most students’ associations to focus on the needs of younger students. I have 20 years of experience to reasonably make that call. And you haven’t actually argued against that call, even though you have a few years on me.

I’d suggest your main concern is that you support the rebalancing towards younger students and are using NZUSA as a proxy to make your own case. I’m agnostic on the issue as I don’t think the MOE or Treasury have fully explored the labour market effects of not supporting retraining of older people. Or indeed the probable greater likelihood that young people will go offshore after graduation. I think the argument needs more work, but I’m open to be convinced.

In terms of logic, you are arguing that the absence of a mention of the younger students issues suggests support for the policy, whereas you provide no direct evidence for that belief. I believe I have put forward some better arguments as to why the issue was not mentioned. We differ – that’s OK.



February 3rd, 2012 at 10:18 am

Well, err, um i was actually trying to point out how potentially futile ascribing motive to something that wasn’t said is … and tried (hopefully suitably poorly) to ascribe another motive to NZUSA on the basis of little or no actual information but with enough prejudice based on my own experience (and as you point out I bring quite a lot) 🙂



February 3rd, 2012 at 10:20 am

I loved that you started to question my own motives. BTW.


Richard Hamilton-Williams

February 3rd, 2012 at 10:27 am

Tinkering with funding on the basis of the age of students doesn’t have a very successful track record.

Study Right was an ill-thought out policy very badly implemented. It certainly put money into administration. I would be interested to know whether it made much difference to the demographic profile of students but I suspect nobody ever researched the matter.

The new Youth Guarantee may in fact make a difference to some young people but, like Study Right, it is a policy and administrative mess. Here we are in February and TEC can’t even define a “Funded Place” with any clarity, let alone explain “Occupancy Rate” or how the EFTS-based performance measures will function, so the chances are that we will never know whether the money was well spent.


Stephen Day

February 7th, 2012 at 12:32 pm

I’ve just met the folks from NZUSA this morning, and I’m pretty sure we were/are on the same page with our concerns about the shift towards Treasury trying to ‘pick winners’.

Personally, I’m not surprised that NZUSA chose to focus their media release on student loans – it is there bread and butter. And, a good media release should only address one issue rather than analysing every rubbish thing that Treasury decided to put down on paper.

Personally I think the issue is less about young-old or Pakeha-Māori/PI and more about Treasury (and also the TES) focusing on picking winners, rather than investing in equitable opportunities for all potential learners.
Treasury as far as I know has no evidence to support its picks, and seems to be working on assumptions that only hold true now because Govt. is stripping apart foundation studies, pathways and opportunities for special admissions. In other words, their previous ill-conceived policy changes become the justification for their next round ill-conceived of policy changes.


Dave Guerin

February 8th, 2012 at 9:40 am

Those issues of Treasury’s rationale are well worth wider discussion Stephen.

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