Saturday, July 21, 2018

Poor Prime Minister

I used to think that feminists had a beef with men making the world a tougher place for them to exist in. Now I believe that it is feminists themselves making the world a tougher place for women.

There are boundless contradictions and inconsistencies bandied about. Today's NZ Herald publishes a prime example. Another face of feminism that believes babies need their mothers! That baby's needs should be elevated above those of its natural first carer - not the father by the way.

This one is guilt-tripping the PM big time. With feminist friends like these who needs enemies?

The reaction to this demand from an Australian that the New Zealand Prime Minister should shrink and shirk her political role will be vitriolic. It'll be frighteningly, ferociously ....feminist.

After all the proud celebration of a woman combining motherhood with the most powerful position in the country along comes this treacherous traitor to prick Jacinda's bubble with a loud bang. At exactly the moment when she might be feeling uncertain. How hellish hard will it be to relinquish constant contact and cuddles after 6 intense weeks? I wouldn't hand over my 12 week-old pup to ANYONE.

What we are seeing is yet another inevitable failure of collectivism. If the group is more important than the individual, then the group rules the roost. But just who makes those rules?

Feminism has descended into a cauldron of cattiness; of nasty factionalism. It doesn't empower. It  scrutinises and judges groups within groups. Like extreme left or right politics, the creed is hardest on those most like it - those who should know better but fail. Like our poor PM.

Feminism is eating itself.

Good riddance.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Benefits by ethnicity - note last graph

The last graph reminded me of another recently viewed.

Graphed in the same colours and groups prisoners by ethnicity looks like this:

Quite a close match. Hardly surprising.

Benefit numbers up for first time since 2010

The first June to June increase in benefit numbers since 2010 has been recorded. This sits alongside Carmel Sepuloni's change to the benefit sanctions rules - essentially a softening. Sanctions are down by over 20 percent. The two developments may be related.

The specific benefit numbers that have increased are Jobseeker.

This is concerning when employers are crying put for unskilled workers. We know that MSD are worried about slowing exits from the Jobseeker benefit. They recently commented, "Demand for low skilled labour in the regions is not being readily absorbed by jobseekers in those regions." More than once emergency rules have been invoked to allow migrants to pick up the slack.

More Jobseeker benefits are being granted and fewer cancelled.

Further analysis required.


The data tables show the increased Jobseeker numbers are accounted for overwhelmingly by 25-39 year-olds.

Maori on Jobseeker have increased by 12% since 2015. They are now the single largest ethnic group receiving this benefit.

Psychological and psychiatric conditions among Jobseekers have increased almost 16% since 2015. This is a standout statistic among health conditions.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Prisoners come from families broken by the state

One of the charts from my latest report, Imprisonment and Family Structure

The rest of the paper argues why this is more than mere correlation traversing Maori urbanisation, whanau and nuclear family disintegration, gangs, state-care and inter-generational dysfunction.

As a society we continue to keep paying for it - the processes and consequences.

One hand in the Labour Party is actively increasing welfare while the other is planning to hold a hui on how to bring down the prison population.

If you think putting more money into dysfunctional families will reduce crime reflect on what children of gangs told the Children's Commissioner. That, despite feeling bound to follow in their footsteps, one of the upsides of living in gang families was not having to live in poverty.

(Post prompted by this piece.)

Sunday, July 15, 2018

A child's logic

A little girl asks her mum, 'Mum, can I take the dog for a walk around the block?'
Her mum replies 'No, because she is on heat.'

'What does that mean?' asked the child.

'Go and ask your father. I think he's in the garage.'

The little girl goes out to the garage and says, 'Dad, can I take Lulu for a walk around the block? I asked Mum, but she said the dog was on the heat, and to come ask you.'

He took a rag, soaked it in petrol, and scrubbed the dog's backside with it to disguise the scent, and said 'Ok, you can go now, but keep Lulu on the leash and only go one time around the block.'

The little girl left and returned a few minutes later with no dog on the leash..

Surprised, Dad asked, 'Where's Lulu?'

The little girl said, 'She ran out of petrol about halfway round the block, so another dog is pushing her home.'

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Cartoon provokes outrage

The cartoon below was published in the DomPost, Monday, and has provoked letters of outrage.

So I'm adding my two cents worth.

Dear Editor

So Al Nisbet's cartoon touched a nerve amongst some readers. Why? While somewhat blunt it nevertheless describes a very real problem with welfare - that benefit incomes for families with children are too close to incomes from work. The last Labour government attempted to fix this by introducing the In Work Tax Credit making employment financially advantageous. This Labour government has effectively undone that with substantially increased payments for babies born into workless homes.

As for the depiction of neglected children one reader found so offensive, it is a fact that, "Of all children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83% are seen on a benefit before age 2." (Auckland University, 2012)

Lindsay Mitchell

Sunday, July 01, 2018

Part of why National lost the 2017 election

It struck me today why National couldn't pull enough vote to stay in government because they can't articulate a clear position.

What highlighted this problem was Amy Adams response to today's commencement of Labour's Family Package. RNZ reports:

To pay for the package, the government scrapped the National government's promised tax cuts, but National's finance spokesperson Amy Adams said that would have helped more people than the families package.
"National's philosophy is people who work hard should get to keep more of their money.
"It shouldn't be taken off of them by government, filtered out to a few and pay a whole lot of extra tax that the economy doesn't need imposed on it," she said.
No problem with the first part.

But then she says the money Labour takes will be "filtered out to a few".

My understanding was that is exactly National's position. They were targeting their spending - call it social investment if you like - whereas Labour sprays money universally so as to avoid any stigmatisation of the 'beneficiary' and to buy votes.

The controversial heating payment to all pensioners regardless of income could hardly be described as "filtered out to the few". Neither can the $3,120 a year for babies born as of today in families with incomes below $79,000.

If National had been clearer about what they were doing to help needy and dysfunctional families, more on the centre-left could have been persuaded. It makes no sense to churn vast amounts of tax. It makes no sense to take money off someone only to give it back. All that does is keep an army of IRD workers employed (who are currently agitating for higher wages which will add even more to the dead-weight of taxation).

What a mess.

UPDATE: The $3.120 payment is universal for the first year.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Another nail in the coffin of compassion

This is a man who likes to hurt people. Severely physically hurt people.

He has irrevocably alienated himself from normal society by disfiguring his face. He knows that.

I looked for some hardship this man had faced. He is now 29. No spring chicken in criminal circles.

Here's a report about the crime and sentencing that resulted in his initial ten year imprisonment:

A killer was embraced by the family of his victim before he was sentenced to life in prison.

Adam Robert Gempton, 21, was sentenced to life, with a minimum non-parole period of 10 years, by Justice Chisholm in the High Court in Christchurch yesterday for the murder of Timothy John Constable....

Constable's parents hugged Gempton as he stood in the dock.

Pauline Constable said in her victim-impact statement that she forgave Gempton despite going through a "living nightmare" after her son's death.

She hugged Gempton, who twice whispered, "I'm sorry."

...Gempton said: "It was never my intention to kill Tim. I was just trying to defend my partner and I feared for my daughter's safety. I feared for everyone's safety, and I'm sorry."

After the sentencing, Pauline Constable said she was happy with the outcome.

"There was true remorse shown by Adam and he was very sorry this happened," she said. "It's a shame he'll have to spend 10 years in prison."

My experience of prison and prisoners is limited. But greater than most people's. Volunteers tend to work with the most motivated prisoners and it's natural that our views are coloured by this experience. There are plenty of deserving and salvageable souls to be encountered.

Which is why this individual angers me beyond what is reasonable. Because he makes the public turn feral on inmates.

Prison houses the worst humans. The most damaged and the most dangerous. I recently visited a property where two chained dogs were writhing, straining, snarling and desperate to attack. They have to be taught to be that way. And so do humans.

But humans have mental faculties dogs do not. They have the opportunity dogs are not blessed with;  to think about what they have done and where will they go from there.

This man certainly did. And added the deepest insult to injury possible. He became more violent.

State housing capture

State house tenants are on a good wicket. MSD explains: (note: benefit = advantage)

The benefit tenants receive from subsidised rents (IRR/IRRS) [Income related rent subsidy] is (on the whole) significantly greater than the benefit received by people who get the Accommodation Supplement (AS) - creating pressure on public housing places.

Exits from social housing are decreasing rapidly.

MSD explains some of this effect:

"The cost of public housing to government is very sensitive to growth in rental prices
Rental growth has three key impacts:
• IRRS [Income related rent subsidy] increases directly as market prices increase
• growth in rents above incomes means proportion of rent paid by tenants
falls (IRRS grows faster than rental growth)
• higher level of IRRS means tenants are further from the market > decreased
exits and increased durations.
If rental growth per year is 1% higher than what is already built into Budget
forecasting, costs to government grow by 20% and the number of exits falls by
6% over 20 years."

So part of the housing 'crisis' - the shortage specifically - is the result of the normal flow in and out of state houses becoming disrupted as market rents rise.

State housing is about provision of homes for the neediest, hopefully as a temporary state of affairs, because the housing stock hasn't grown for decades. That can't happen if  current occupants batten down.

Every move the government makes that impinges on the private housing market eg land restriction and bureaucratic interference on many more levels, comes back to bite them at the social housing end.

Now instead of reversing restrictions and bureaucracy they plan to increase the supply of state houses and have increased the accommodation supplement. It's just not a viable solution.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What could be kinder than offering a jobseeker a job?

Apparently the treatment of beneficiaries has become harsh and they are subject to unreasonable obligations. An 'expert' panel has been appointed to review the welfare system.

But what could be kinder to a jobseeker than the offer of a job?

MSD freely admits however that it can't get people off benefits despite a demand for workers. In a just-released publication relating to trends as at 2017 they say:
 "Exit rates for jobseekers are lower than expected. Demand for low skilled labour in the regions is not being readily absorbed by jobseekers in those regions."
This indicates a choice on behalf of  jobseekers despite the eligibility condition, "To receive Jobseeker Support a client must be willing and able to undertake employment."

So the rule is ignored. Nothing new there. Let's face it NZ is a place where most people follow rules in order that a few can ignore them without consequences. (And then those following the rules get accused of undue privilege and power.)

As the unemployment rate is dropping, the likelihood people will leave a benefit is also dropping.

Maori make-up 15% of the population but 35% of beneficiaries. Unsurprisingly, their exit rate from the system is also declining and lower than non-Maori.

There are just under 119,000 people currently on a jobseeker benefit. The number has been fairly static over the past six years, but is at risk of rising, especially with the messages being sent by the current government. The Minister, Carmel Sepuloni,  announced today that benefit suspensions - one of the tools staff can use to persuade people into jobs - have fallen by more than a fifth since she changed the policy to allow only senior staff to apply them.

The last Labour government made a song and dance about not wanting 'dead-end' jobs for beneficiaries (Steve Maharey) - an insult to anyone who works. So getting people into education and training became the holy grail. The current Labour government has perpetuated this ideology with their spectacularly unsuccessful tertiary first-year-free policy.

Yet when MSD tracked those who left a benefit in 2013/14 to study or train they found only, "28% were in employment after 18 months" and "35% were back on a main benefit at 18 months."  Were they still studying? Apparently not, "Only 8% had study or training as their primary activity after 18 months."

On the bright side, 60 percent of people who exited to go to employment were still employed after 18 months.

Which brings me back to the opening question, what could be kinder than offering a jobseeker a job?

There is an answer: making him or her accept it.