Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Bollywood dancing, anyone? Or is Finance for Females more your thing? [update]

I posted this ages ago, but am reposting it in light of Labour's hand-wringing over the end of taxpayer funded night classes (

As my children get older, and money gets rarer as they start to eat more, grow faster, destroy everything, I thought I would be inventive and do community education classes in sewing.  I've missed out on getting into the course every term since the middle of last year; even though I tried to enrol well in advance, the classes were always full.

So I'm perplexed that the classes have now been suddenly cancelled, apparently solely due to the cut in the Government subsidy for community education. In fact, all the classes have been cancelled. On enquiring, it seems that no one running the classes thought to ask the enrolled participants if they were willing to pay more and to keep the classes going. The classes were always over-subscribed. There was always a waiting list. Surely there would have been a few participants who would have been prepared to pay a bit more to keep the classes going?

But it seems there are also a fair number of previously enrolled participants who are assuming that no subsidy should equal no classes, rather than taking the view that the classes be repriced to meet the market demand.

The expectation that "the Government will provide" is deeply ingrained in the average New Zealander's psyche. And there is a high level of economic naivety from the socialists that the Government can afford to provide a high quality of healthcare, infrastructure, justice, welfare, and education (well, clearly not economics education, but I digress), and still have enough money left over to enable us all to do courses in intensive Russian and Rock Climbing for Women.

At any point, have those doing the heartfelt bleating considered that their lessons were being paid, in whole or in part, by other people through taxes?

Is there honestly an expectation that it is acceptable for people who, say, reconstruct the brain and face of a road crash victim, or clean up the operating theatre afterwards, pay their taxes so that other people can enjoy a few night classes in concrete shell mosaics?

I admit I'm only giving the extreme examples of the courses available (I'm not lying. See, but surely those running the courses that are well attended, such as sewing for beginners, or introductory Spanish, can be in a position to price their fees accordingly. Yes, the price may go up slightly, but then, over time, there is a possibility it may well go down, and people are presumably getting what they pay for.

I've vaguely paid attention to the pleas on various media. "Let the subsidies continue," they all say. "I really enjoyed the Intensive French for First Time Travellers night classes that I was taking ahead of my holiday."  I remain unmoved by your plea. You want it, then you pay for it, or you learn to live without it. It's surprisingly easy to do - maybe not as satisfying for you, but I'm sure the operating theatre cleaner will be happier knowing his/her money isn't going towards your French lessons.

In a moment of inspiration, it took me all of 2 hours to find 14 other dedicated people who were committed to learning to sew, to meet a couple of tailors to discuss the proposition of holding classes, to confirm a venue,  numbers, day, time, and fees, and even collect most of the money from people up front. And, here is the most interesting thing: after paying the tailor for tutoring costs, basic sewing threads and fabric for each student, and venue costs for one day a week for the next 8 weeks, IT IS LESS EXPENSIVE PER PERSON THAN THE NIGHT CLASSES.  Granted, people offering their services, equipment, or facilities were willing to do so at a reduced rate in the hope that this would be the start of something more profitable down the track.  But it was damn easy to arrange because there is enough demand for the classes.

So stick that in your spool and sew it, you socialist whingers.


muz said...

The only connection between policy change and cancellation of programs is the political opinion of the teachers who are prepared to deny opportunity to those seeking advancement of their knowledge and skill set as a protest against those disgusting Nats and their demolition of "free night classes". That they were not free just subsidised or paid for by other citizens was just an inconvenient truth easily submerged in the swamp of socialism they live in and the thought that all or most may wish to pay to continue would not enter their warped mind. If a little acceptance seeped in through the indoctrination wall of their psyche it was quickly killed off by the idealogical defense mechanism.
When the cold reality of income reduction sets in however they will come back to attempt a restart of the programs but for now the political skirmish is the only game in town and to hell with people like you O M

Opinionated Mummy said...

Thanks for your comment, muz. I can't see how Labour can say that subsiding night classes - not something that is usually vital to getting ahead in life - is more important than literacy and numeracy education.

Sus said...

Any public "cutback" is worth a guaranteed whinge from Labour. It's in their red blood - and the reality is that they have bugger all to whinge about, so socialist is National!

Isn't it ironic that we small-govt devotees are just dying for Key to do the very things the Labour party dread -- that he's never going to do in a month of Sundays!

Sus said...

ps: Congrats on the initiative. Hope it goes well for all!

Oswald Bastable said...

I brought a second-hand machine many years ago and taught myself to use it. While I never made clothes- hard to compete with the red shed & the second-hand shops- I did save a heap of money on repairs and alterations.

muz said...

Then you prove your case in less time than it takes the socialists stop carping about the stupid idea that something can be free. So when the poor stupid teacher activists come back now for income supplement you will be holding the rug you pulled out from under them and they will squeal some more,beautiful.spiwi

Opinionated Mummy said...

Thanks. It's caused a bit of a stink at the school that used to hold the classes. Their misplaced outrage is very amusing. It seems I "should have contacted them first before organising these classes" but they don't say why. They do ask that I "consider redirecting any profits to the college as an acknowledgement that we no longer receive funding that would have made the class possible."

Naff off. The only person making anything out of this is the tutor.

Sus - the goal is next year's WOW. And if that doesn't work out, I'll just put it into Paris Fashion Week. Watch this space.....

Lucy said...

Private enterprize in action. Beautiful!!!!!