Thursday, August 25, 2016

Catholic response contradicts

On behalf of NZ Catholic Bishops, the writer says all opinions are equal ... and then says they aren't.


All views on assisted suicide matter

Wednesday, 24 August 2016, 4:56 pm
Press Release: NZ Catholic Bishops
“All views on assisted suicide matter” says Catholic Bioethics Centre spokesperson.

Director of The Nathaniel Bioethics Centre, Dr John Kleinsman, is surprised and appalled at the disingenuous tactics being employed by assisted suicide supporters. Both Matt Vickers and Act MP David Seymour have in recent days described the unprecedented number of submissions to the Health Select Committee and the overwhelming 78% opposition to a law change as nothing more than the result of formulaic submissions collected in bulk by mostly religious institutions or as religious bullying from the pulpit by pastors.

“Their insinuations are two-fold: (i) that the only possible basis for opposition is a religious one and (ii) that the views of people with a faith perspective don’t count or count less,” says Dr Kleinsman.

“The first is totally inaccurate – just read the many evidence-based submissions by professional groups and others – and the second is nothing more than an example of bigotry – a smoke screen, a distraction based on an elitist view of what counts as legitimate political discourse.”

“It is actually impossible to know the precise numbers of submitters whose views on assisted suicide may be influenced by their faith. One analysis of the submissions shows that approximately 17% of opponents and 4% of supporters of a law change drew on religious concepts,” said Kleinsman.

“The Health Select Committee Process is an important part of the way we exercise democracy in New Zealand and all citizens have a right to express their views in their style and in their own language. Some people will express that view in a sentence, others in a few pages. Since when did a person’s view depend on their level of education or ability to be articulate? To think otherwise is to imply that some New Zealander’s views count more than others. I believe most New Zealanders, whatever their personal position on this issue, will see such claims for what they are – as an assault on our principles of inclusion and fairness.”

The idea that some people’s views count more than others is a very small step away from the very dangerous view that some lives matter more than others – something that disabled people encounter all the time. This debate needs to focus on the evidence.”

“I urge the Committee to pay attention to the Palliative Care Physician who, as part of her oral evidence pointed out ‘that people often change their mind, they don’t know all of their choices and that the evidence shows that people who engage in palliative care early not only live better, they live longer.’”

“These are doctors who deal with deaths from all kinds of illnesses every single day – if anyone is in a position to say that assisted suicide is unnecessary or dangerous it’s them.”

“The key question is whether a law allowing assisted suicide can adequately protect those who are vulnerable to coercion because of illness or disability. Let’s have a respectful debate about that.”

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Marriage American-style

From Brookings:

"Educated Americans have not turned their backs on marriage; the well-documented “marriage gap” is mostly due to a decline in marriage rates among the less educated. As a general rule, the more letters American women have after their names—and therefore the greater their economic independence—the more likely they are to be married."

That bottom line is interesting. Seems arrested, as is the top line.

As often happens with Brookings, I can't agree with all of the commentary. For instance:

In the past, highly-educated women faced an unenviable choice between accepting a patriarchal marriage or forgoing marriage and children entirely. Now they are able to raise their children within a stable marriage without compromising their independence.

In the past there were very few "highly educated" women. There were smart women but not many went to university and I reject that its known what was going on inside other people's marriages anyway. I wasn't raised in a 'patriarchal' family' and neither was my husband.

Men compromised their independence too. The role of sole breadwinner in most marriages tied them to jobs and careers they may not have wanted. That always seems overlooked in the feminist dialogue.

Monday, August 22, 2016


The Guardian:

"For 14 days and 14 nights Elijah Saitu, 15, has lived in a damp motel room, bordered by KFC to the left and a Denny’s 24-hour takeaway to the right.

He spends his days watching music videos on television and eating white bread, tinned sardines, fizzy drinks and packets of chips.

“He’s suffocating,” says Elijah’s mother, Emily Fiame Saitu, who has been begging the government to help her family.

“It’s cut-throat in New Zealand. If you’re struggling you get left behind.”

The Saitu family are a tragic portrait of New Zealand’s most shameful national secret: an epidemic of child poverty that belies the image of a Pacific haven offering equality of opportunity and a prosperous, clean, healthy life of plenty for all."


"We are concerned that recent media coverage on the Saitu family misrepresents their situation, and disregards vital details on work the Ministry of Social Development and Housing New Zealand have done to find a solution for this family.

Last Thursday they were offered a property within their preferred area, close to their support network, with necessary modifications including wheelchair access. They have accepted this offer, and Housing New Zealand will continue to work with them to arrange a move-in date.

Family circumstances and the medical conditions of the children meant the family had very specific housing requirements. These requirements, along with the need to find a house in South Auckland, an area of high housing demand, meant a suitable property was not immediately available.

The Saitu family first approached us for emergency accommodation help in late May of this year. They had been living with family following their return to New Zealand from Australia in April.

We granted over $8000 for one-month’s motel accommodation, and they were placed on the social housing register on 28 June as a high priority.

Since then we have been in close contact with the family’s agent - to discuss both social and private housing options, what support is available to move, and ensuring they continue to receive their full and correct benefit entitlement.

It is disappointing that their case has been presented as an example of a family falling through the cracks – they’ve received significant assistance from government agencies, the community, and their agent, who has indicated they have been happy with the support offered. We’ve worked closely with housing providers to get a solution, and find a house."

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Life expectancy by ethnicity - all are rising

JC just reminded me I had a couple more teed up to go.

Life expectancy isn't discriminating. It is rising across every ethnicity. The gain that Maori males and females have made is a real eye-catcher - all against a backdrop of colonisation, poverty and unemployment. Oh, have I got that right?

Figure H1.2 – Life expectancy at birth, by ethnic group and sex, 1950–1952 to 2012–2014

Saturday, August 20, 2016

I prefer the word 'solid'

Interesting that the Maori and Pacific rates are pretty much the inverse of the smoking graph in the post below.

Calling Pacific people 'obese' is problematic in my view. If I go into the local supermarket just before school I see lots of Pacific girls and lots of Asian girls. The Pacific girls are often very tall - tower over me - they appear what I would call big-boned, and they ooze health and vitality. The Asian girls are generally more petite, and slighter in build, but also look comfortable and happy in the bodies they have. 

Do you think if we swapped a couple around at birth and had the Pacific girl raised in the Asian family and vice versa they would look very different by age 16?

Friday, August 19, 2016

Suicide rates by age and decade

This is another eye opener. In 40 years the shape of  the combined columns has reversed. I knew what the current figures looked like but not those from the early seventies. 

Put yourself into the applicable column. If you're a boomer then you are going to appear in the lowest or second lowest columns all along. The generation I hail from has had less propensity to suicide than those following or those who lived through the depression and world wars.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Selevasio Tu'ima sings Hallelujah

Very beautiful.

How's that 'smoke free NZ by 2025' looking?

So much for crippling tobacco taxes. 

Traffic mortality rate three times higher for Maori

Very busy with other stuff right now but have just come across the 2016 Social Report which is full of interesting - but in this case disquieting - data.

I'll post some of the graphs over the next few days. No commentary from me (as per the report) but you are most welcome to comment.

Here's the first;

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


The table above is an answer to a PQ asked by Carmel Sepuloni.

Not much grist for the opposition mill here.

As the teenage birth rate plummets so do the numbers on welfare.

I would never have thought it possible for the numbers to drop this quickly in such a short time frame. It's stunning.