Friday, June 22, 2018

Maori and Pacific getting more dependent on state housing

Thanks to a publicized  OIA response , I happened across statistics not seen before. The data is from December 2017 and graphed below (n= 65,188):



Always interested in trends I did a quick dig about for earlier comparative data. Here's an answer to a PQ in 2003 graphed (n=61,947):


That's a reasonably substantial change in 14 years.

In 2003 the Maori and Pakeha share were identical at 29%.

Now the Maori share is 50 percent greater than Pakeha.

What I'd like to see is an age breakdown of those pie pieces.

How much is the growing dependence a facet of the ageing population?

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Imprisonment and Family Structure

My third report in a series, written for Family First, Imprisonment and Family Structure was released last Friday. I was very grateful to criminologist, Greg Newbold, writer, David Cohen and  ex-detective, Dave Pizzini for reviewing the paper and providing feedback. But apart from Leighton Smith interviewing me last Friday the media seems to have ignored it.

Below an op-ed I produced on the back of it. It is intentionally hard-hitting - more so than the report.

Anyone who would like a hard copy of the report which traces imprisonment rates and family structure statistics over the past 100 years (in order to encompass the period when Maori went from being virtually absent among the prison population to today when they make up half), let me know.

Govt fails public and prisoners alike

Last week the government announced it will add a net total of 174 extra beds at Waikeria prison by 2022. This will fall woefully short of what is needed to fairly serve both the public and prisoners alike because the incarcerated population will continue to increase. How do I know?


Because the population group most prisoners arise from continues to behave as they have for decades.

Corrections has identified that the mothers of those children on the pathway to prison are young, uneducated, suffered abuse or neglect as a child, are, or have been substance dependent, are without family connections and have serial male partners. Treasury says abused or neglected children who spend most of their lifetimes on welfare, with a parent who is or has been a prisoner, and a poorly educated mother are ten times more likely to be prisoners before reaching 21.

Te Puni Kokiri has identified intergenerational imprisonment, particularly among Maori. They report, "...anecdotally we were often told by prisoners that they had children by more than one mother." The renowned Dunedin longitudinal study produced the following observation: "Men who spend time in prison are likely to father a disproportionately high number of children...men who engage in highly anti-social behaviour make up 10 percent of the birth cohort, yet account for 27 percent of babies fathered by the time the men are aged 26 years."

Overseas research finds a causal link between male imprisonment and female multi partner fertility. Father A goes to prison; mother takes a new partner, from a similar background, to whom she has another child. Replaced Father A comes out of prison on a short break (he's a violent serial reoffender, quite possibly a gang member) and in the available time quickly forms a new relationship leaving yet another child set on the trajectory to prison described above.

The enabler of these loveless baby factories is welfare, the ideology behind which is once more on the ascendency. On 1 July the taxpayers will foot a further hefty increase in benefits to these very families.

Last year 17 percent of all registered babies had neither married nor de facto parents listed. For Maori babies, the proportion more than doubled to 35 percent. This fact alone is a reasonable pointer to Maori over-representation in prison. The Department of Internal Affairs estimates 2,600 babies born last year haven't even been registered yet.

Many of these children, from chaotic beginnings, will soon come to the attention of CYF. Some will spend part or all of their lives in state care and will ultimately revisit the terrible hurt they have experienced on innocent parties. Eighty three percent of teenage prisoners have a CYF record.

These are all pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that when assembled reveal an ugly picture of the future.

While this state of affairs continues, there is no hope of lowering the prison population by 30 percent in fifteen years’ time - unless of course these angry young victims-turned-offenders are allowed to avoid custodial prison sentences in the future.

In reality a properly functioning prison system with not just enough cells, but enough rooms and resources for necessary rehabilitative programmes to take place, is vital.

And at the other end, the beginning? If nothing else, to policy-makers, please, reconsider making meal tickets out of innocent babies.



Sunday, June 17, 2018

Doggies needing good homes

I've just become 'mum' to one of these pups. The real mum is a smooth coat smallish Huntaway and the father mostly Sharpei. Working/ farm dogs.

Six remain and the owner is very keen for them to go to good homes.

Mine, now named 'Limmy', has been a joy for the half day we have had her. Very calm - sat/slept on my knee for the journey home. Has done some exploring since arriving, said a shy howdy to the first inhabitants (existing Huntaway seems rather intrigued if cautious) but at 8 weeks, still wanting to be cuddled back to sleep - missing her litter.

Anyone interested in giving a good home to one of these pups please email me at dandl.mitchellNZ@gmail.com

(Hat-tip Gecko)

Friday, June 15, 2018

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Benefits - the staple diet of gangs


If ever you want a damning example of why unconditional welfare benefits are a bad idea:

This fictional Gang Family Example reflects the Gang Intelligence Centre's research into real gang-related families.

Ruby
• Ruby is in her early 70s. She has had nine children from two relationships. She has been a long-term beneficiary, and is currently the caregiver of several young children who are her family members.
• She is currently partnered to a gang member.
• All of Ruby's 9 children have been beneficiaries. Eight are currently on a benefit, and one is now in employment.
• All five of Ruby's daughters have been victims of family violence. One is also a family violence offender. Two of Ruby's sons are family violence offenders.
• Five of Ruby's adult children have been in prison and/or on probation.
• Two of her daughters are partnered to gang members and one son is a gang member.

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Missing the point about 'male, pale and stale' label

Many of you will have seen Karl du Fresne's excellent column either in the DomPost or at his site. The response is still ongoing with another letter appearing today. So belatedly I've thrown my two cent's worth in:

Dear Editor

Most of Karl du Fresne's critics (Male, pale and stale, May 31) have missed his main point - the great irony of  'liberals' using intentionally insulting language about the sex, skin colour and age of an entire group who have no control over these characteristics.

But as so many want to talk about the privilege of the white male baby-boomers, lets do it. As young men they grew up in a society with strict expectations about how they would conduct their lives. Corralled into shot-gun marriages, made the compulsory breadwinner of the family, pursued by the courts if they rejected this task; channelled into menial, repetitive jobs in car manufacturing, the meat works or railways; only a select few went to university and became professionals. Stuck in their economic class because the country was yet to become innovative and export- diverse (beyond agriculture). No cheap cars or cheap air travel.  No internet shopping, decent bars and cafes, or mobile phones. No credit cards. Earning, scrimping  and saving was the restrictive routine for most.

I very much doubt today's generation would exchange their freedom and choice for young adulthood in the 1960s where homogeneity and conformity ruled. Privilege? Not a lot.




Friday, June 08, 2018

More Maori and Pacific medical students

The University of Otago has never seen so many Māori students studying to be doctors, new research from the New Zealand Medical Journal shows.

There are any number of ways this good news story can be negatively interpreted.


Quotas?

Why do Maori patients need Maori doctors?

How 'Maori' are they anyway?


Frankly my interest in the race and reverse discrimination debate is minimal.

However it happens, whatever it means,  I'm happy to  note and broadcast this development.

Pro Vice Chancellor Peter Crampton said the increase in Māori and Pacific students was a positive step in ensuring health workers in the future better reflect the people of New Zealand.
"This is the vision: that when you and I engage with the healthcare system, wherever we may engage, it might be with our own doctor, or with the nurse or with the hospital or with the physiotherapist, or the pharmacist, that there is every likelihood we would be engaging with a Māori health professional.
"We want that to be normal, and in the past that has not been normal."

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Lots of 'ifs' and 'maybes'

In 2009 KickStart breakfast programmes were introduced into schools. Fonterra provided milk and Sanitarium cereals. Government provided subsidy. MSD published an evaluation study today.

It appears there is robust modelling to show some improvement in dental outcomes (though modest). But I smile over other findings.

Attempts to find better bone health for instance:

"We see no evidence of a significant association between KickStart intensity and the two administrative indicators of fracture. One possible explanation is that KickStart intensity had no association with bone health. Another is that students who received more KickStart were more active as a result of increased energy intake. Falls may have increased at the same time as the likelihood of fracture upon falling was reduced as a result of improvements in bone health."
Then there is more speculation:

 -KickStart may have improved the nutritional quality of the breakfasts consumed by students. This mechanism is suggested by a study by Bhattacharya et al. (2006) which examined the United States School Breakfast Program. 

-The effect of the breakfasts may have been to displace consumption of unhealthy snack foods, including sugary food and drinks, as suggested by the cross-sectional study conducted by Utter and colleagues (2007).

-Reduced pressure on home budgets as a result of KickStart may have allowed families and whānau to purchase higher quality foods to eat at other times of the day and week. Such spillover effects are suggested by the Bhattacharya et al. (2006) study, which found that both adults and preschool children had healthier diets and lower percentages of calories from fat when the School Breakfast Program was available to school-aged children in the household.(My emphasis)
From this it is then inferred:

 If Kickstart caused improvements in diet and caused sugary food and drinks to be displaced, this would suggest that benefits might also include reduced obesity and improvements in learning, health and development (Thornley et al., 2017a), including
reductions in rheumatic fever (Thornley et al., 2017b). (my emphasis)

I hope all of these improvements come to pass and feel somewhat sorry that the researchers were unable to conclude very much at all.