Saturday, November 10, 2018

Making light of a serious subject

In my recent paper about  Imprisonment and Family Structure,  I touched on the phenomenon of multi-partner fertility and how it increases prison populations.

If you don't know what multi-partner fertility looks like...

Friday, November 09, 2018

Updating artist blog

Just updating artist blog with this pastel of Wesney, who is now the grand age of 15.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

Unemployment numbers that don't stack up

The unemployment rate has dropped to 3.9% - a great result for the government.

But since the non-publication of latest official child poverty data due to "uncertainty" and a "lack of confidence" in the Statistics NZ  Household Economic Survey sampling, I am wary. More wary than I was anyway.

The unemployment data comes from the Statistics NZ  Household Labour Force Survey.

I had a dig into the tables looking for any stand out development.

Here's one.

In the Manawatu-Wanganui region, the unemployment rate (2nd to last column above) between June and Sept 2018  dropped three whole points from 6.6 to 3.6 percent.

This should be reflected in benefit statistics, no?

It isn't. The number on Jobseeker Support rose.

I checked out the number for the Manawatu-Wanganui region - a different stat which slightly more closely matches the region surveyed in the HLFS.

In June 2018 there were 8,352 people on a Jobseeker benefit: in Sept 2018, 8,532.

The Taxpayer's Union has also questioned the broader opposing trends.

We can measure unemployment three ways: through the HLFS, through the numbers on unemployment benefit and via the Census. Obviously the last count is too infrequent and time-lags terribly.

Just be aware that the positive HLFS result is not mirrored in the benefit data result.

The HLFS result is probably a facet of the growing working age population and labour force. The denominator is increasing faster than the numerator. But it could also be a 'rogue' result.

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

No beneficiaries will be forced into jobs

The aged-care sector is asking government to change rules to allow more immigrants to fill the shortage of care-givers. Apparently some beneficiaries are being trained but according to MSD Minister, Carmel Sepuloni:
" one would be forced into jobs."
"First and foremost it's about making sure that MSD clients are going into work that is sustainable and meaningful to them. We know that that makes the difference with respect to how long they stay in that employment and whether they end up back on benefit. This is not a situation, and we won't be getting into a situation, where we are forcing people to take up particular work," she said.
So beneficiaries won't been "forced" to take available jobs, but the taxpayer will be forced to keep them.

There are over 70,000 work-ready JobSeeker beneficiaries and another 58,000 on Sole Parent Support.

While the Greens love this indulgence of the lazy,  how does the NZ First/Labour coalition deal with the conflict? Labour doesn't want to force New Zealanders to take the jobs and NZ First doesn't like immigrants taking the jobs.

What a shocker of a government.

Friday, November 02, 2018

Increased cash hand-outs reduce incentive to work

Seems obvious to you and I, but a fact that the Left has long resisted. Their response is always to indignantly insist, "...people want to work."

But MSD doesn't necessarily agree. At least the actuarial arm which produces an annual Benefit System Performance Report.

Below is a graph tracking exit rates among Jobseeker-Work Ready (JS/WR) beneficiaries. The associated commentary notes that recent exit rates are lower than during the GFC!

But notice also the bold type sentence below the graph. Paying those JS beneficiaries with children MORE has reduced their exits off welfare.

This slowing exit rate is further broken down into with or without children:

The report goes on to state:

 Establishing causality is difficult, though the widening of the gap appears to correlate with the introduction of the Child Material Hardship Package (CMHP) in April 2016. Benefit rates were increased by $25 for families as part of this package. 

It then speculates:

 Changes to the accommodation supplement from 1 April 2018 could have similar effects, although accommodation supplement is also available to low income families.
It doesn't mention the significant increase to Family Tax Credits (including the Best Start $60 weekly baby bonus) from July 2018 but presumably the same applies.

Further into the performance report comes another gem of commonsense:

IRRS is more generous than AS and can act as a poverty trap.
This means that Income Related Rents - whereby the state house tenant only ever pays a fixed percentage of his income - is a more generous subsidy than paying part of a tenant's rent in the private sector. 

The "poverty trap" describes what happens when the tenant is disincentivised to improve his income (through employment) because he will lose a substantial portion in increased rent. It's similar to the disincentive Child Support imposes. Not infrequently the two disincentives coincide.

There is a very real concern that state housing turnover has slowed up considerably due at least in part to this 'generosity' (causing lengthening waiting lists and recourse to emergency accommodation.)

This sentiment is reiterated later:

In previous reports we highlighted that the design of IRRS, AS and TAS creates financial disincentives for clients to move out of public housing and into the private market and employment.

Yet greater generosity of benefits and other assistance is synonymous with the current government which steadfastly ignores that the associated disincentives come at a devastating social cost, particular to children.

The socialist approach to alleviating poverty merely entrenches it.

Thursday, November 01, 2018

Travesty over child poverty stats breaks at last

NZ Herald reports today:

Child poverty rates unknown as targets about to become law

I blogged about this over 2 weeks ago but far more 'important' issues have dominated. A fine example of how personality politics suppress matters of important policy.

This is the PM's priority policy. And it's based on statistics. It's bad enough that relativity defines 'poverty' but when the relativity is not even reliably measured, policy only deteriorates from bad to worse.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Graph of the Day

(The first bar is 2017; the second, 2018)

Maori now account for the highest share of Jobseeker dependence, reflected in the regional differences.

MSD comments:
We can and must do better to support Māori clients. While there are many programmes and services that are successful in achieving positive outcomes for Māori clients, the outcomes gap between Māori and non-Māori is getting worse. 


Monday, October 29, 2018


MSD has rewritten the old Social Security Act. Today they publish some legislative terminology changes.

Old term     
Attention and supervision substantially in excess of that normally required 
New term
Substantially more attention and supervision than is normally required.
Reason (for change)
Plain English


Old term
Normal functions
New term
Everyday functions
More inclusive language
Is 'normal' ok or not? Probably not but you can't say 'everydayly'.

What concerns me is the time and expense that went into the exercise bearing in mind:

The new Act replaces some outdated terms with more inclusive language and plain English. MSD is updating all its websites, forms and letters with the new terms.

Heavens to Murgatroyd!!

Yikes. That dated expression should no doubt also be 'updated'.

Any ideas for a 'plain English' or 'inclusive' alternative??

Nailing it

Final paragraph from this week's Free Press, ACT's weekly email newsletter nails it:

New Zealand’s real problems are not identity politics, no matter what the left may think. They are that the welfare state has failed. Too many kids don’t get educated. Too many working aged adults are on welfare. Too many are in jail because there is too much crime and they’re never rehabilitated. Housing has gone from a commodity to a ponzi scheme. Our productivity growth is anaemic. With government's and councils’ approach to regulation, it’s amazing anyone still does anything. That’s why we need an ACT Party in New Zealand.