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Improving Submissions by Understanding Public Policy Analysis

Filed under: General — MurrayBacon @ 5:03 pm Sun 29th April 2018

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.
Public_policy
policy_analysis

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:

https://www.nature.com/polopoly_fs/1.14838!/menu/main/topColumns/topLeftColumn/pdf/507163a.pdf
The art of science advice to government
Citizen-based-analytics
The-role-of-evidence-in-policy-formation-and-implementation-report
He has commented on the poor quality of policy analysis within NZ Government:
too-much-instinct-too-little-evidence-policy-making-says-gluckman

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.
Motu
NZ Army We don’t want to kill poor people, we want to kill happy people!
maxim
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
Family First
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.

11 Responses to “Improving Submissions by Understanding Public Policy Analysis”

  1. triassic says:

    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.* 🙂

  2. Downunder says:

    Your first line interests me.

    Many submissions to Governments are based along the lines “I want”.

    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’.

  3. Murray Bacon says:

    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.

  4. Downunder says:

    @3

    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.

  5. Evan Myers says:

    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.

  6. Murray Bacon says:

    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 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.

    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.

  7. Downunder says:

    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.

  8. MurrayBacon says:

    Dear Downunder, interesting point:

    The select committee process was never designed for MMP.

    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.

  9. Downunder says:

    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 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.

  10. Downunder says:

    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.

    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.

  11. Evan Myers says:

    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.

    A stolen 10-tonne truck smashed through the front doors of a rural Waikato police station just after midnight on Sunday.

    It then led police on a merry chase around rural Waikato before police stopped it by shooting a tyre out.

    A 54-year-old man has been arrested following the incident.

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