Saturday, May 28, 2016

Hitting the nail firmly on the head

Absolute must-read from Martin van Beynen published in today's Dom Post under the hard-copy headline, The dysfunctional are exasperating our patience:

"We have tried everything and all we have created is a culture of dependence, entitlement, helplessness and irresponsibility."

Bennett being a bully?

From today's DomPost:

This is an injudicious response from Bennett.

1/ It sounds threatening

2/ The question is entirely reasonable given the data now available about at risk children and long-term welfare dependence

3/ The government is doing quite a lot to reduce the incidence of "young, incapable and irresponsible" parents through various policies. Does Bennett stand behind those policies?

4/ In light of this, her taking aim at a particular question/er displays illogical defensiveness and  animosity

I have only ever had one direct piece of correspondence from Bennett when she objected to my pointing out that while many sole parents came off welfare, they also returned. She was offended on their behalf. At least they were trying. And she herself had tried to come off welfare and had to return.

It's a little like the Left's 'walk a mile in my shoes' deflection whenever someone questions the circumstances of a needy person. It doesn't wash with me.

An MP or  Minister's job is to deal with questions objectively. I am sure that the questioner knows what Paula's background is. It's been well-publicized.

(Disclaimer - My reaction is based purely on the DomPost snippet. I have no further context. But nether do the thousands of other readers.)

Friday, May 27, 2016

"No cost control mechanism and not under active review"

MSD has just released its Four Year Plan. The stats are only current to June 2015. Not much caught my attention bar this diagram:

(Left click to enlarge.)

The most worrying aspect of this is the note attached to Super:

"No cost control mechanism and not under active review".

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Benefit rise sucked up by Auckland landlords?

Yesterday the NZ Herald reported:

 Rents in Auckland jump $20 a week to record high

" April rents jumped up $20 a week to $520, a record high."

That's according to Trade Me anyway.

Is it a mere coincidence that benefits rose on April 1st by $25?

Rents didn't rise by $20 nationally because there isn't demand nationally.

The resistance to increasing the accommodation supplement is based on the theory that it will go straight into landlord pockets.

Subsidies. They always distort markets and often end up failing to achieve their goal.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Do we need to bring back orphanages?

A woman with eight children has been barred from Housing NZ because she was evicted from a meth contaminated home. WINZ is going to pay $100,000 to keep her in emergency accommodation until she can get back on the HNZ list.

This is madness. The threat of losing her home if it was abused obviously failed. WINZ can't turn her away because she has 8 children. Seems yet another instance of someone using their children as hostages to their lifestyle.

What's the answer? The children need to be cared for, housed and fed. Are we at a point in the welfare state cycle that we need to bring back orphanages that will care for children when their parent/s can't or won't?

But when you think about what it costs to keep one individual in prison the sums say it's cheaper to keep the children in their mother's care and pay out the $100,000.

Foster care? Probably best keeping the children together so a placement for 8 children would rule that out.

In any case, CYF must have deemed the mother the best care solution (if they are involved). So surely it would be better to find a house in a provincial centre, close to schools and other amenities, at around $300 a week and shift her there. She may not want to move out of Auckland but perhaps that's the price she will have to pay. Sorry, WE will have to pay. It's better than $100,000.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Prisoner stats

Statistics NZ recently released prisoner stats some of which I have graphed below.

The Maori and European lines intrigue me. Why do they follow each other so closely in terms of trend? You would almost think there was a quote system in place. Obviously practice and policy plays an important role.

From Corrections here is the latest. At March 2016 there were 9,273 people in prison.

Just as an aside I was reading a paper on Maori over-representation in the justice system.

I searched the paper for the word 'father'. Not one mention.

This despite a number of relevant facts like Maori men under twenty are 6 times more likely to be fathers than NZ European. And children who grow up without fathers in their lives are much more likely to offend.

'Mothers' are mentioned 14 times. For example:

Māori children are more exposed to the risk of fatal child maltreatment associated with having a step-parent, as Māori children are twice as likely as New Zealand European to be raised in a family situation where unrelated persons - such as a new partner to the mother - are resident.
Isn't this what we always come back to? The disruption - even abandonment - of the nuclear family has so much to answer for.

I'll end with another quote:

"There is nothing fixed or immutable about these high rates of imprisonment. The over-representation of Māori in prison is a relatively recent phenomenon, dating from the period of increased urbanisation.  Changing values, family breakdown, lack of education and social competencies and social and economic inequality all feature as explanations of the current situation." 

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Unemployment rate under-estimated

Current unemployment levels could be underestimated by up the 0.5%


Because the source of the unemployment rate is a sample of around 15,000 households which are compulsorily surveyed.

Naturally enough some people refuse to disclose information, can't be contacted, move, etc.To adjust for this the surveyors weight households with similar characteristics to those not responding. To test how effective this is researchers matched March 2013 HLFS with Census 2013 data.

The results suggest that the calibration employed by the HLFS does a reasonable job of adjusting for non-response (once region is included as a benchmark), and that further non-response adjustments have minimal effect on reducing the bias introduced by non-response.

 Using the linked dataset we discovered that bias from non-response exists in the estimates of labour force status from the HLFS. The unemployment rate in the responding sample is underestimated by around 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent, while the labour force participation rate is underestimated by around 0.2 percent. Unemployed people had both the highest non-contact rate and the highest refusal rate. This differs from other studies’ findings, where employed people were found to be harder to contact (Foster, 1998; Stoop, 2005).

So unemployment could be as high as 6.2%

This problem has always existed but appears to be worsening.

Response rates for the HLFS were around 86 percent on average over the four years to 2014, but there has been a downward trend in response rates in recent years that reached an all-time low in the June 2013 quarter (80.8 percent). 

Still, many countries use a form of the HLFS to assess labour force status and will no doubt have similar problems. Arguably comparability and tracking trends is more important than point-in-time accuracy.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quote of the Day

This sentence leapt out at me from a piece entitled, "Don't be a sucker for socialism" by Glenn Reynolds:

Under capitalism, rich people become powerful. But under socialism, powerful people become rich. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

The Moko Rangitoheriri case

Alan Duff savages "Maori violence" and lack of leadership once again.

Back in NZ - and only Auckland - last week it seems as if I never left France.
Except for one major difference, the negative first: a young Maori couple from Taupo convicted of torturing then killing a child under their care. And not one Maori leader stood up and said anything.
Not so young.

As it turns out the male perpetrator - 43 - had been bailed to the address.

CYF has just released a lengthy statement responding to inquiries about the case of Moko Rangitoheriri:

Was CYFS aware David Haerewa was living with Tania Shailer?


Did Probations/Corrections inform CYFS that David Haerewa was being paroled to Tania Shailer's address?

You need to speak to Corrections about this.

If this did not happen - why not - as a result of the inquiries into James Whakaruru's death agencies were meant to share information?

See above

Was CYFS aware of David Haerewa's background?

We did not know David was living with Tania.

If not how could that be the case when Women's Refuge was aware of this?

You need to speak with Women’s Refuge.

So much for joined up government.

I don't blame CYF. I don't blame Corrections. There is so much dysfunction nobody can keep tabs on it all.

And I don't blame Maori leadership either.

But the single-most important point Duff makes is this, quoting Jason Witehira :

Mr Witehira said in his acceptance speech, "It's not about who you are, but what you are. It's about attitude and being an individual and having belief in yourself."
You can bet those hideous child-killer monsters were never exposed to any positive, can-do attitude. No. They grew up on a diet of abuse.
Being a self-believing individual is not particularly compatible with the essentially collective, conformist, Maori culture.