Wednesday, 30 August 2006

"Zone cheats"

"Zone cheats." That's a fairly powerful pejorative term, isn't it, for parents simply trying to get the best possible education for their children. Break the rules (rules about which no one is really too sure) and you, sir and madam, are "zone cheats."

Can you imagine being called a "zone cheat" because you've been to the "wrong" supermarket; or the "wrong" book store; or the "wrong" service station?

What's the difference? Why do we have arbitrarily-drawn zones for schools when we don't have them for supermarkets, stores or service stations? Why? Simply because for the privately-delivered services we have something called a market, a place in which people can freely bid for the services they wish to purchase, and pricing and supply are set by entrepreneurs looking for a place in the market by meeting the needs and wishes of the customers they hope to attract.

There is no market in New Zealand's factory schools. Instead we have rationing.

In the absence of a market, we have government-imposed rationing -- rationing by zone; if you want to send your son to Auckland Grammar you will either have to pay $50-100-200,000 more to live in the zone, or you'll have to be a "zone cheat." If you're a "zone cheat," expect to be pilloried.

In a market, extra customers are a good thing. Without markets ... extra punters are a bad thing ... a bloody nuisance ... cheats!

Good thing we don't have markets for our schools, huh? Rationing is so much more civilised than the way we buy our groceries, isn't it.

LINKS: School insists zone cheats should stay out - Newstalk ZB

RELATED: Education, Politics-NZ, Auckland


  1. rationing or market? surely this is irrelevant when there are a limited number of places available.

    a supermarket with the ability to only service 1000 customers a day might well decide to impose a minimum purchase amount on shoppers.

    either way, the rich get to go to pick what school their children go to, and the poor lose out.

  2. Hemi -
    Indeed. Whenever the supply is limited, the price goes up. And when the price goes up, people say "here's a chance for me to make a shitload of money!" and build /new/ supermarkets.

    And then the price goes down.

    Have you ever seen a supermarket turn away customers because they didn't have room?

  3. Have you ever been punished by a supermarket for exercising your right to free speech?

    Have you ever been forcefully imprisoned by a supermarket even though you commented no offence and had no trial?

    Have you ever been forced by a supermarket to wear a particular brand of clothing?

    Supermarkets must respect the basic human rights of their customers, not only because the law requires it, but also because it is good business. The recognition that children also have these basic human rights is lacking not only in public schools but also in most private schools. The fault here lies not just with government but also with parents and teachers who force children to go to school. As Alan Forrester notes here human rights organizations also routinely ignore the human rights abuses of compulsory schooling.

  4. Apologies not only for all the "not only's" but also for all the "but also's" in my comment above. More apologies for the commenting offence I committed by committing to comments that one may be committed whilst having "commented no offence". Sheesh, I must be the world's worst proof reader!


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