Dead students in Uni hostels & NZTA’s horror report are two symptoms of the same neoliberal disease


Can anyone really be surprised that a University Student lay dead in their room for a month while the Australian company subcontracted for student ‘welfare’ chased the father for costs?

Can anyone really be surprised that NZTA just got busted spinelessly acquiescing for transport interests over the safety of New Zealanders?

A public university and a public agency, two symptoms within our public service of the same disease.

NZ is free market uber allas. We vote with lust for the neoliberal profit-before-any-other-consideration model yet pretend to act shocked when that cultural mindset gets exposed for the ruthless obscenity that it is.

NZTA saw their role as giving the roading lobby everything they wanted while compromising the basic road safety of every other road user because the trucking companies profit margins are more important than NZers lives while the Australian company subcontracted out by the money grubbing University of Canterbury to look after the ‘welfare’ of their students cared more about chasing the father for fees than checking the student was even alive.

TDB Recommends

This is what we are now, this is who we are.

The empty values of seeing everyone as a client and not a citizen creates a hierarchy of clients. Those who must be appeased vs those who don’t have the economic clout to demand equal treatment.

As late stage capitalism shudders through its latest heart attack and environmental stroke, the need to reimagine an economy that focuses on the actual welfare of the individual over the profit margin of the public service is needed now more than ever.



  1. We don’t really know how many social services have been placed in the hands of profit-making non-NZ’ers.

    Considering how Australia treats NZ’ers domiciled there, and how Australia treats it’s own refugees, it’s a kick in the guts for us that Nat govts decided that the Aussie ethos is more in line with their policies of greed than what mainstream NZ would find acceptable – or could do better.

    I am no longer surprised that NZ universities – and their venal Philistine VC’s – have lost sight of what they are meant to be, but it is an indisputable fact that university halls of residence functioned well when they were student focused – which is exactly as it should be – and locally run. Knox College, Dn, used to have a matron, who the students never later forgot. The mother of a school friend, headed one in Christchurch.

    In the mid 80’s I was party to discussions about why the corporate profit-making model could not and should not be applied to health or education – and I never really thought it would happen. It did.

    National’s never-ending beneficiary bashing is sick placed in conjunction with the following -retrieved from TS:

    “Simon Collins reports in the NZ Herald that an Australian Company has been awarded a(pilot) contract to find work for Kiwis. They get a big sum of money for each Aucklander with “mental health” conditions or who is a sole parent, that they successfully get into employment for one year.

    Beneficiary advocates are angry that an Australian company has emerged as the big winner in an experiment that will pay contractors up to $12,000 to help a sole parent or a person with mental health issues into paid work.

    Sole parents are already contributing to the economy and social good by bringing up the next generation of Kiwis.

    Mothers are workers too”.

    So – not insignificant monies being paid to an Australian firm to do WINZ’s work, and clearly, not to do it very well, as the beneficiary only has to last a year in the job. Some job. Not exactly fulfilling career territory. But that doesn’t really matter, as presumably the company can pick up a healthy lump of NZ tax payer money doing exactly the same thing again.

    I think that another WINZ function is also contracted out to an Aus firm, but don’t know where to look. I do know that some-one with a PH D in Chemistry can be subjected to compulsory tutorials from a semi-literate WINZ employee about how to write a CV. There’s masses of anecdotal evidence about this, and it paints a picture of a dept possibly now inadequate for it’s own purpose, and hence having to get off-shore companies to do it’s work.

    However, when we consider politicians like Paula Bennett cancelling the Training Incentive Allowance, one wonders if they have a vested interest in keeping people down. I think they do. Capitalism has always depended on having an underclass at its disposal.

    There’s a tragic inevitability about the death of a talented young student in ChCh.

    A student’s non- attendance at a probably big first year class would go unnoticed. Similarly, non-attendance at tutorials, would likely have him simply marked absent. It is in the structure and organisation of modern halls of residence that the fault lies. At my own long ago student hostel, although there was no-one with whom I shared classes, I’d have been noticed missing in two or three days, and women discuss these things. There has to be something chillingly wrong with the ChCh model, that this young guy dies, and no-one notices.

    In so many of the social issues clobbering people today, Maori community-focused philosophy, and sometimes, as we have seen- and Bennett reacted – the Marae model can be superior to what has evolved under the scourge of neo-liberalism, and that is where govt should now be looking.

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