Improving Submissions by Understanding Public Policy Analysis
Many submissions to Governments are based along the lines of “I Want”. These submissions often fail to respect the reasonable interests of other affected parties. As a result, they tend to be less persuasive to politicians, when the consider making changes to Government policies.
More persuasive submissions will be based on offering the politician a workable policy option. To be workable, it must respect all affected parties.
My suggestion for entering the challenging world of public policy analysis, is Wikipedia.
Most people think that policy writing is easy. Writing something may be easy, but writing a policy that will work in the real world is astonishingly difficult and generally we are quite poor at doing it. The number one problem is people!
If everyone was like me, it would be much easier! Dangerous and misleading appeal to simplicity.
Economic policy analysis is challenging. (It usually involves business, or engineering design and costing.)
Example: Light rail or heavy rail to airport:
Analysis of social policies is far more complex, due to the breadth of human behaviours and desires and craziness. Politics clouds these issues further…..
The NZ Science Advisor to Government, Sir Peter Gluckman has written several very good papers:
The art of science advice to government
He has commented on the poor quality of policy analysis within NZ Government:
Very interesting subject. It has a huge impact onto everyone’s quality of life. (Even more so for those parents driven to suicide, by poor social quality social policies. Mothers or fathers…)
We have much to benefit from putting in more effort, improving our policy analysis and having clearer political discussion before legislation is passed. This is the extreme opposite of passing legislation under “urgency” late at night, just before a holiday weekend.
As policy analysis is very complex and involves knowledge from a wide range of fields, it should never be done by a single person Teamwork is the essence of success, for many reasons.
Examples of submissions:
Many excellent submission examples may be found on the websites of the organisations listed below, as policy think tanks. Also look at the websites of Parliament and partisan policy writers such as political parties and other pressure groups, that you may be at cross purposes with.
Organisations Who Publish Policies:
You will note that these organisations have teams of people working together on policy analysis.
NZ Army We don’t want to kill poor people, we want to kill happy people!
New Zealand Centre for Political Research (including Dr. Muriel Newman Shared Parenting Bill)
NZ Institute for Economic Research
McGuinness Institute TacklingPovertyNZ
AUT Institute of Public Policy
Auckland Uni Public Policy Institute | Te Whare Marea Tātari Kaupapa
When you understand the other side, throw caution to the winds and pick up your pen…… (before the submission date!)
Political Process and Persuasion:
Bettina Arndt in her Keynote Speech at International Conference for Men 2017 gives positive ideas for getting past the roadblocks that the men’s movement is facing.
More subtle evolutionary based issues were covered by Karen Straughan’s speech about Evolutionary Realities. Keyword Neoteny starts at 10 minutes.
The women’s movement uses simple slogans, which seem deceptively simple and hard to argue with. Such as “equal work for equal pay”. This can be said in 5 seconds. To bring out all of the policy issues that are relevant to forming fair and equitable policy would take a discussion a day or even weeks, if there was no argument. Few listeners have that much patience, in this day of 90 second sound bites.
Good points here Murray. I once thought that any course in critical thinking wwould eliminate submissions that are narcissistic in nature. It is therefore ironic that most submissions put forward are done by academics who have degrees in the humanities and social sciences. It is now these disciplines which lead the world in archaic thinking in our universities which are destroying the very enlightenment and freedoms we have achieved over the last century.
*Sorry if this offends or triggers you.* 🙂
Your first line interests me.
I am not sure if that reflects the men’s experience?
Most, if not all of the submissions I’ve been involved with, personal and group, have been more along the lines of ‘don’t want’.
Is this your observation of submissions in general, Feminist activism, or perhaps an aspect of human nature in personal presentation, ‘I’ am on the attack rather than a third person observation of ‘the likely outcome’.
Dear Downunder, I don’t understand your last sentence. Please explain?
I am trying to focus on how people might be able to make submissions that are more persuasive to politicians.
A submission that says “I don’t want” fails to say what is actually wanted. So it does risk not being clear what is actually wanted.
I’m not sure if you are talking about submissions in general (many submissions to Government) or those submissions related to men’s issues that we occasionally see here.
My experience is that the ‘I want’ tends to be the Feminist side of the equation where as the men’s side is opposed to that change.
Reading submissions from both sides of the fence there is also a tendency of the ‘I want’ submission to be supported by the crying individual(s) bad experience(s).
Submissions relating to social change take a different approach to say something like climate change.
My point is not to nit pick, but to understand the difference.
If you take something like child support you would also see an absence of submissions from affected males as these are naturally suppressed by the risk of exposing the individual to attack or further attack which are very real situations.
So group submissions in this respect are more important and the way this has been approached in some previous events (as you suggest) is to write a more detailed submission with the same submission being filed by a larger group of individuals to maintain some degree of anonymity.
Understanding and making submissions relating to men’s issues becomes even more complicated with a socially varied group of men who go down the track of I don’t want to be associated with ‘that bit’.
There is a very real social prejudice amongst men simply because they have bought into the mass media diatribe and aren’t aware of what is actually happening to individuals because they neither see it personally or become concious of it through news items.
When it comes to gathering information from individual cases, analysing, collating and submitting, that is also a much larger task than the Feminist ‘I want’ as we saw in your recent post about child support.
You make it appear much easier than it is in reality. Having been the organiser for the SFST (Separated Father’s Support Trust) Select Commitee Hearings prompted by Warren Heap’s petition (which with some effort we managed to get held in Auckland along with Wellington) I can assure you the complexities do exist once you get more involved in trying to deal with the men’s/father’s side of the equation likewise making the effort to front a committee and force attacks from Feminist MPs by making a good oral submission in support in also essential.
Is there also social bias through Feminism.
One woman’s bad experience is justification for change, whereas men at the bottom of heap (not that I like to use that expression but it makes the point) are regarded as a group of unrecognized de-personalalised individuals.
Dear Downunder, thank you for your powerful reply.
I was talking about submissions in general.
I do understand the difficulties. That is why I assembled this post, to encourage people to rise above the difficulties.
Both Bettina Arndt and Karen Straughan addressed the subtle and evolutionary issues, that make it yet more difficult for men to be heard in the current climate.
As Karen said (my quote isn’t exactly word for word):
The difficulties that you mention, is exactly why I brought this post together, so that people may build successfully on what has gone before. I hope the comments extend that sharing of experience, as you have done. Thank you.
There are other issues around submissions and the general reluctance to be bothered.
The select committee process was never designed for MMP. Consequently it has developed into a highhacked-by-politicians process stacked according to the importance of various political parties agenda and determination to see any piece of legislation passed.
This is the ‘I want’ as you put it, of politicians, and if you have seen some of these committees in action, they’re pathetic.
You can see this currently reflected in the waka jumping debate, where you have politicians saying we need to preserve politician’s democratic rights whereas today you see Nick Smith (and no surprise) announce all the public submissions are against waka jumping.
The current coalition is the next best thing to a jumped waka, with many NZ First voters believing that the party would go with national in coalition or uphold their priority on an anti-smacking legislation referendum.
The idea of submissions is not only seen as futile, but often dangerous to open one’s mouth, and the current political process is fast losing favour with the general public, who do vote, let alone those who can’t be bothered voting.
Dear Downunder, interesting point:
The manipulation that you mention, number of MPs on the committee, does actually mesh fairly well with proportional representation. Though all of these systems fall down for groups in society of less than say 5%.
I accept that short term changes are often not achieved. Even if we want short term change, usually we have to accept longer term changes, as being better than nothing.
Care of my Children, says I want to obtain long term changes, rather than nothing at all. I cannot understand how any caring parent could say otherwise?
To be beaten by my own decision to give up, would be to admit total defeat.
I have fingernails, teeth, nails, hammers, fists, feet, axes, chainsaws, chains and tritium, all for the purpose of never giving up.
I think you’ve got some concepts confused.
Proportional representation doesn’t equate to irresponsible government rather than responsible government.
The 5% threshold of MMP is only relevant to the voting system, and shouldn’t be confused with groups in society, minorities and other labels that identify politicaly disaffected groups.
There is with age the historic concept … participation is a must … but with younger voters there are other concepts such as … voting only encourages stupidity.
The political view changes along with the system, although in NZ case I would say more with the manipulations in the system.
I suspect that even our spooks are struggling with the credibility of what they are protecting.
Custody is perhaps less of a deterrent to the older protester but one has to wonder why a 54 year old man would be making his submission directly to police rather than through the political process.
This YouTube talk is about sex work policy issues in UK. It incidentally covers the breadth of public policy analysis.
What caught my eye, is that he covers perverse effects of possible policies.
Study of perverse effects is very challenging in many ways. Yet this is the issue in which public policies fail so badly. This happens when they were poorly thought out, before the policies were put into practice.
Sex work today: myths, morals and health (29 Nov 2012)
Prof Graham Scambler, Professor of Medical Sociology, UCL Institute of Epidemiology & Health
The methods of approach that Professor Scambler suggests, can be generalised into other policy areas, if you use a lot of imagination and creativity.
Closer to home, another example of slow, patient, sustained lobbying, in the face of much public ill will.
It grieves me, to hold up an example of women’s lobbying, as a successful example of educating and developing the pubic’s understanding of issues. It does not grieve me because I disapprove of better protection for women. It grieves me, that men’s lobbying has been so poor and learned so little from the women’s movement.
Do you actually believe they are ‘successful lobbying’ or contrived successes?
I would say the lather.
Simply political forces encouraging the paperwork.
When men try the equivalent process on the basis of this being an open transparent interaction of course they are somewhat befuddled at the lack of progress.
@13 – I stopped reading after page one when I read this.
It explain everything. global international players
HTese are the same players behind the phenomenon we call “Feminim” though I disagree with the focus and fascination men on this site have fro it, the domestic violence act and the uncroc (somethng to do with the rights of the children.”
Currently, this is the biggest instrument in pushing the global agenda down on our throats.
Victims have more rights than human
Women have more rights than men
Children have more rights than their parents.
All these agendas and policies are pushed down from the UN – and each participating member/state/country is basically made to incorporate these globalist.inc agenda rules and laws into their own laws.
The few latest big blasts we have been dealing with are the anti terrorrism convention and anti corruption/money laundering schemes which essentially allow any ruling member of any government to declare any opposition a terrorist and use the anti money laundering scheme to seize and confiscate all assets. – Worse, the FBI has now a mandate allowing it to work internationally and in any country where they are signatories to these agreements.
That’s the big picture – so maybe if we want to lobby, we may have to start at the UN level and push it down teh throat of local governments.
This reminds me Jacinda Arden used to be very heavily and strongly affiliated with the UN youth club.
It grieves me that a few men see these social battles as “should take a year or two to sort out maximum”.
Our society is not like that.
How long did the freeing of human slaves take?
How easy was the fight?
…..and women’s battles for equality are far from over yet.
Face the reality, or you will be disappointed!
I am just trying to say, get yourselves together, for a long, sustained slogging match.
Spend your energy accordingly….
I think most men under-estimate the work involved in any of these large social campaigns.
Most of all, survive.
A bunch of self absorbed dribbling idiots convincing young impressionable females that the world owes them an existence.
Like the Wellington bus driver said, “I thought being a woman would protect me.”
In the world they’re creating that’s the payback, the survival, and you, dare I say it, are in Fantasy Land.
You did dare, grin, quite easily it seems.
… women’s battles for equality are far from over yet. What a rise!
Maybe I didn’t say it in black and white above, but:
… men’s battles for equality are far from over yet. Both sides are true, whether I say it or not.
I try to say, look at the wider picture across our whole society,
then lets try to propose systems that are reasonable and fair for all individuals.
That is not turning a blind eye to injustices that have been done. I am trying to say learn from all of the injustices.
I am in Fantasy Land, let there be no doubt.
Most of all, survive.
Too many men on this website show signs of not surviving. At times, I am in that situation.
But battles based on injustices suffered by small minorities are not often going to obtain much public support.
Living only in these narrow situations does not set up an effective social campaigner, as far as I can see. It just fills our cemeteries and mental hospitals.
Besides, why not enjoy being alive, even if only for a short while?
Battles suffered by small minorities?
So, say 8000 Family Court cases, 16,000 parents, 40,000 children … per year.
When you only focus on those men, yes just the few social casualties in a population of 5,000,000.
But the real social affect is to the lives of those children, and that’s a much bigger number amongst one third of the population which is the juvenile third.
I cannot really see that we are arguing about meaningful points.
You are pointing out many small minorities…..
I am saying, try to consider what is fair, just and proper for all members of our society, including all of these minorities.
I cannot see any real argument between us, except that we are kicking each other’s shins. It might get boring after a while?
I wouldn’t imagine that kicking your skins would help you’re thinking but I’m not inclined to behave like a girl.
Given that both the social effect of a court’s shadow and the determining factors in child association that should be taken into consideration, I really don’t think we’re on the same page.
When behaving like a girl or woman is advantageous, then I am happy to do it. Although I don’t see much relevance in that comment.
As far as I can see, antislavery campaigners 1800s, suffragettes 1900s, child welfare campaigners 1700s 1800s 1900s 2000s, anti-racism campaigners 1900s 2000s, anti-homophobia campaigners, anti-nuclear weapons campaigners, women’s health services campaigners, free speech campaigners, offer us useful examples, then I am happy to learn from any of them.
More to the point, try to learn from the best, whoever they might be.
Somebody said, a wise man can learn from a fool, but a fool can’t learn from a wise man.
愚者不学无术,智者不耻下问。 I hope this is right??
Abolition of slavery has been a process through most of the second melinnium post the Roman Empire.
Even now we’re seeing signs of reoccurring human trafficking.
If you are drawing comparison in terms of that process you might want to be a little more specific.
I am trying to be specific that social campaigns are not often fought and won in half a year or two.
23.. a fool can most certainly learn from a wise man..who claims to know what someone else can think,, and who said the fool is a fool…fool until proven otherwise.
Sometimes it pays for fools and so called wise to work together for the greater good as opposed to the wise man working toward an end,,, his own.
It was said very well above at #3
But the outcome of course is very different.
Little more than a bit of street theatre that didn’t make the cut for that days news.
The corruption lurking in the background attacking those individuals who dared to be involved.
“Big job, maybe more than a day, could need a packed lunch,” said Goffer.
Once again I think this is a discussion that may not go anywhere.
We cannot fight feminism – to do so is to give it power.
WE cannot fight at all – It’s like the Palestinians throwing rocks at walls for lack of a better weapon.
And the Israelis throwing bombs in heavily populated areas and shooting fish in a barrel, in reataliation.
Who is the aggressor?
The purpose if any is to make just laws for everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.everyone.
Propose a system that works for men, women and children.
Learn from our hurt and what went wrong.
Use these mistakes or abuses to prevent and protect others from being harmed by a system which sole purpose must be to protect and empwoer every human being it is mean to oversee/serve.
Perhaps not dissimilar to a man going to the Familky Court; “Oh, now I see what they’re talking about.”
So, come back in 10 years and tell us; “Oh, now I see what the Feminist political process is really like.”
But of course it’s 10 years worse, because of the acceptance of our failing political process.
The interesting thing about the Atlantic slave trade is that the remnants of the business moved to the Pacific. Blackbirds, Blackbirders, as they were known tried to reestablish their businesses between the Pacific Islands and a developing Australia.
There simply wasn’t a market, I suspect amongst a population who understood what it might be like to live like that, and it didn’t happen.
So, reflecting on that, was it the outcome of submissions or a public understanding, that stopped this short.
The idea of Australia being the Southern Orleans is hard to even imagine.
Statistics NZ and Treasury are at it again. Good background reading:
Our living standards framework
Indicators Aotearoa New Zealand – Ngā Tūtohu Aotearoa: Consultation
The Lancet has been pushing for more careful, transparent analysis and reporting of medical research, especially in clinical trials. The patient groups presently seen as needing to be specifically analysed, but which are ignored too often, are sex, age, race and socioeconomic status.
As society changes, this lest will need to be amended accordingly.
This same set of attitudes to do careful, open and transparent analysis offers a lot to social policy analysis, which presently suffers from similar problems.
There are concrete problems with the additional costs due to needing larger sample sizes, more carefully chosen samples and a significant increase in the costs to analyse.
If society is to equitably benefit from these clinical trials, or social policy analyses, then these are costs that must be borne.
In this age of greater complexity of society being taken into account in research, then the design of research also becomes much more complex. In particular, designiong research to take into accounts of the very different needs, values and aspirations of different sections of society requires actually talking to these groups to find out what these issues are.
This is why it is important that diverse groups do take part in political process, submissions in particular. As commenters have pointed out above, the end results often leave an impression of why did I bother to take part?
Fair point and an issue that must be solved.
1. Work together in larger groups, so less work per person.
2. Know what types of submissions are likely in next few years and prepare ahead as much as possible eg library research, gathering statistics, contacts for data…
3. Have a library of past submissions from all sides, as templates and for issue scoping.
4. To have better impact on politicians, we need larger group membership
Murray, yes to all your ideas of working toward solution,,, practical and a lot of the groundwork exists!!!!
from Gluckman article above in post…and thank you Murray for the policy making info.
quote: ‘Some agencies assumed “their primary mandate is to implement political decisions”, which devalued the role of evidence-based policy making and evaluation.
“It can be argued that these issues are particularly acute in a small country such as New Zealand,” he argues. “Inevitably we have a less complex system of connectivity between elected officials, policy makers, the public and the media. This, combined with the pressures created by a very short electoral cycle, results in greater potential for evidence to be ignored’ :quote
Correlation is not Causation
This is easy to remember and say.
But making inferences about causation in a whole population is usually difficult, expensive and easy to make mistakes.
Research papers are often misused when the reader makes mistakes that bolster what they want to find.
Learning to validate and cautiously interpret research papers is a whole set of skills in itself. People who prick other people’s balloons are never popular…..
Here is a nice simple example of a social policy failure.
In this case, the National Party is accused by Labour, of applying ideology unsupported by evidence, to drive their social policy decisions. In the end, the citizenry of NZ suffer in direct damage, incomplete compensation and overall further losses to the taxpayer.
In this case, the time delay from the initial deliberately defective policy decision to the actual payment of partial compensation will probably only be about 8 years (compensation has not yet been paid!).
By comparison, familycaught$, child [and spousal] support issues haven’t been resolved in 2 generations, let alone having any consideration about paying partial compensation.
Housing NZ report into meth test saga to cover ‘every aspect’ of ‘policy failure’
20/20 hindsight is more common than foresight, so I wasn’t meaning to attack National Party in the instance above.
The real issue is having respect for what we don’t fully understand and then discussing the issues in Committee and in Parliament, listening to both sides and gathering further evidence where that is obviously lacking and only then making the decision.
Just as important, is monitoring the actual performance of the policy as experience is gained. Where required, the policy may then be changed slightly or even abandoned completely.
Both Lational and Nabour Party’s have a history of employing “urgency” and cutting careful consideration short. And the results include NZ’s most expensive social and economic disasters.
Anyway, our next opportunity for disaster is presenting itself….
Legalisation of Marijuana, possibly for medical use and possibly for recreational use.
Reading the above opposing viewpoints just reminds me that Reality is a Crutch for those who can’t handle Drugs.
More independent commentators:
Perverse impacts of legislation on drug control:
Article written as a broad overview, to be understood by the general public:
Technical article comparing drug characteristics to social harms being caused:
I think this was the material that resulted in the UK Government firing Prof. Nutt from being their adviser on drug control. There resulted a huge outcry from UK scientists, supporting Professor David Nutt, against the regressive UK Government.
Closer to home – homelessness in NZ!
Solo men – discussion by Salvation Army
If you have any doubt about these issues, look up about the WINZ office in Ashburton, where a long frustrated man eventually lost patience at his treatment and shot two staff with a shotgun. This resulted in permanent security guards in all WINZ offices and perhaps somewhat fairer treatment of homeless men.
The mentally ill are poorly advocated for by most advocacy groups in NZ. As a result, their needs are very poorly met in NZ.
A report on homelessness, from a public health viewpoint.
Public sympathy is an important factor in allocation of Government funds for treatment. Groups who don’t receive much public sympathy, easily become “Forgotten People”. This often has resulted in them literally being left out in the cold, to die…….
Thank you Murray,
Yes men’s causes are not popular but much needed.
You are a wonderful source of information and stimulus to action.
I hope you enjoy the festive season my friend.
thank you for your appreciation, but I am only drawing attention to public information and making some suggestions about how it might be interpreted.
I will try to not let your kind words go to my head, as I am sufficiently crazy already.
Unfortunately Sympathy tends to drive decision-making, in the Government executive and in the caught$ too.
There is a (Andrew) Little discussion about altering the legislation classifying psychoactive drugs and poisons in NZ.
Traditionally, NZ has APED the USA, in the High Retail Price Support for drug corruption and maximum profit, despite the visible harm that this does to drug users and to society in general, ie the parts of society not benefiting from the corruption. Both UK and NZ are looking at a more public health approach, focussed on saving lives and improving Quality of Life of the public.
This is very a generous action by politicians, who are among those likely to lose the most after tax income from these changes.
The UK Government seems to see drug abstinence as highly important, for the plebian masses anyway:
The drug social policy analysis documents are also available for reading. They are good illustrations of the types of analysis that are needed in most areas of social policy development and verification.
I have a suspicion that these documents follow a somewhat simplified approach and won’t fly well in the real world. Successful drugs policy is perhaps still two decades away from the UK. Faulty starts will be made. The policy analysis failures show up in lives, money and deaths. When the realities are more squarely faced, then better policies will result…….. (yawn…..yawn….)
Of course, policy development in family situations is ten times more complex and failures are likewise ten times more harmful on average……. But we will get there, just not in any of our lifetimes Jim.
Hi Murray, thank you for the reading material, although I did not yet get past the Sallies and the amazing work they have done and do,,the link from your 44,, the forgotten people,,, shows how men get trapped,,,it is not good to hear that when men do ask for help and assistance they find their experience is not necessarily encouraging..
Some of the new legislation, like going from 5 to 10 days for leave time from the family home after a disturbance is not going to help,,especially considering this may be the start to a downward spiral. At the present time imbalances are too great. I think we will have to rely on the Sallies and other groups with a Heart in the long mean time and it sure hurts when they seem to try to be legislating out the spots of the leopard whilst inviting in the new pink and blue ones without question.
excerpt from this link…
In terms of funding, we know funding for NGOs services does not necessarily match
those of government-managed services. Our prisoners require long-term substantial
support and follow up, and we fear this form of service is at risk of being side-lined to
groups which tender for more cost-effective options. There is concern such options
have less capacity to deliver the soft outcomes which enhance well-being, mana, and
the long-term resilience of this vulnerable group.
In the New Zealand context we have also seen a shift to the increased privatisation
of the criminal justice sector. Serco now runs two of our major prisons in Auckland.
This suggests that the contracting model is moving away from partnering with
specialist NGOs, to one where such services are driven by market and business
efficiency principles, rather than operating out of an ethos of care and well being. As
the “investment” approach gains momentum funding and services are prioritised and
targeted based on an “investment” that reflects government priorities.