Monday, July 25, 2016

There's cash going begging?

Police are considering paying for child abuse tip-offs. They say too many people aware that a child is being abused or neglected do not report it. Some people have so lost their moral compass, they say, that only a cash reward would prompt action.

There are so many fish hooks here.

If a witness is more motivated by money than their concern for a child, what kind of person is being prompted? Malicious reports are already a problem. (NZ doesn't keep data but some countries do. No reason we would be any different).

In any case, the problem of not reporting is complex. It isn't necessarily indifference or collusion.
Any person with a modicum of intelligence will consider the repercussions of a report.

1/  For the victim, removing a child from its home and mother is a very, very serious step to take. Where does the child go? The outcomes from foster care and state care are not good. These children can end up physically safer but emotionally, irrevocably damaged. Prisons are full of the product of state care.

2/ If  the risk to the child staying is so great that all of the above looks better, then what kind of parent(s) are you dealing with?

3/ What retaliation will be visited upon you and more importantly, your children?

4/ Are you on balance better to provide a safe haven for the child without involving the authorities?

People who live in environments most likely to harbour child abuse and neglect do not typically trust CYF or the Police. And increasingly I can understand why.

Police act as if a report of child abuse is akin to waving a magic wand over the head of a child. It isn't. It merely begins a chain of events that have the potential to cause even greater harm to the child.

It may save their life, though murdered children are often already known to CYF.

The success of cash as an incentive is evidence-based. It's no coincidence that most abused children are born onto a benefit.

So if there is more going begging, use it to incentivize vasectomies, sterilizations and long-acting contraception. Because some people will take it. And they are the people who have little interest in being a parent - let alone a decent parent.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Almost half of sole parent beneficiaries are Maori

47.4 percent of Sole Parent Support beneficiaries are Maori. In the Youth and Young Parent category the proportion rises to 49.4 percent.

I've charted the latest June data below:

(Right click to enlarge)

Some commentary.

1/ This disproportion accounts substantially for the high rate of Maori child poverty. While Pacific children are also disproportionately poor, they are more likely to have working parents.

2/ The Maori numbers are dropping. There are 9.5 percent fewer on Sole Parent Support now than at June 2014.

3/ But, some with children aged 14 and older are now buried away in JobSeeker statistics. I suspect these numbers will be relatively high in regions like Northland and the East Coast

4/ The falling Maori teenage birth rate may make a positive reduction in the future OR the delayed births may still appear in the benefit numbers

I have included the notes regarding ethnicity that accompany the data tables.

Ethnicity data is self-identified and multiple ethnicities may be chosen by an individual as fits their preference or self-concept. Multiple selected ethnicities are then prioritised into a hierarchy. The Māori ethnicity has the highest priority in this hierarchy, followed by Pacific peoples. NZ European has the lowest priority. This is to ensure that smaller and politically significant ethnic groups do not get overwhelmed by the larger ethnic groups. A single ethnicity is assigned to an individual based on this hierarchy. Ethnic groups do not currently align with Statistics New Zealand ethnicity groupings.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Blurring lines badly

I'm with Sian Elias. This kind of police work makes me sick. It blurs the lines between right and wrong so badly that it can only make outcomes worse.

Using lies and deceit to entrap someone, to encourage worse criminal activity than might otherwise have been the case, and to use oodles of public money to engage in such elaborate baiting is unacceptable.

I don't know how we are supposed to trust an organisation that for months sits around conniving more than 20 set-ups to deceive an impressionable, possibly not that bright, young person. How can sane individuals participate in this sort of hoax? And do they have to graduate from acting school?

It is bad enough that so many young men live in a virtual reality world that leaves them amenable to propositions to join a glamorous criminal underworld. But the supposed upholders of justice exploiting it?

It is a horrible crime to cause the death of a baby but it was manslaughter. Why was the state so hell-bent on punishing this guy (still technically a 'child' when he committed the crime)  when he was only ever going to serve a short sentence?

If I wasn't so repulsed I would find it risible.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

It's the 21st of July

I mention it only because the June quarter benefit statistics have not yet been released.

On April 21st the minister issued a release heralding lowest benefit numbers since 2008.

On January 21st she made a statement referring to the steady annual decline in numbers.

It'll be most interesting to see if the overall downward trend is continuing.

Update: Right on cue
And Jo Goodhew gets the job of putting out the release which is remarkably similar to the April 21st version.

Monday, July 18, 2016

'Marriages that end in divorce' is not the same as the divorce to marriage ratio

Jim Rose has highlighted the following depiction of "the percent of marriages that end in divorce". The range of percentages from 9%  to 71% is fascinating. Naturally the question arises, where would NZ fit in? What colour would this country be?

The answer is....we don't really know.

According to Statistics NZ:

One half of all marriages ends in divorce

This frequently uttered factoid looks like a good reason to save money on an expensive wedding. But can it be true?

Statistics New Zealand’s Population Statistics unit records the number of marriages registered each year and tracks how many of these end in divorce. Analysis of this data shows that roughly one-third of couples who married in 1970 had divorced by their jade wedding anniversary (35 years). This suggests that two-thirds of marriages end in the death of one partner.

But aren't divorce rates increasing? Of those who married in 1980, one-third of couples had already divorced by their silver wedding anniversary (25 years). This is still well below one-half of all marriages.

The longest marriage certified by the Guinness Book of Records is 86 years, although there are longer marriages pending verification.

This myth is busted.

How did this myth arise?
There are roughly 10,000 divorces and 20,000 marriages in NZ each year. 10,000/20,000 = 1/2 – so one-half of all marriages end in divorce, right? Wrong! The couples divorcing in a year are not the same couples who marry in that year, but a subset of all those who married in preceding years and have not yet divorced (a much greater number than 20,000).

When measuring the frequency of an event in a population (eg divorces) it is important to express the number of events in the context of the population who are likely to experience that event (sometimes called the 'at risk' population). For divorces, that population is the estimated number of existing marriages (from all years past and present). The method used to bust this myth, where divorces are analysed by year of marriage, is known as a ‘cohort analysis’.

What the chart above actually shows is the divorce to marriage ratio. Based on that NZ would be 43% in 2015, or the same colour as the UK.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Graph of the Day

Released today by Statistics NZ an article discussing "The Kiwi factor in record net migration."

At the 2008 election  (which I stood in as an ACT candidate so remember the issues well) it was all hand-wringing over our young people leaving to live overseas. The brain-drain even.

Now they aren't leaving, pushing up net migration, it's all hand-wringing over housing prices and job poaching due to high net migration.

There is no happy medium. Because the oppositional style of politics, aided and abetted by media, will always find a crisis.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New painting

Updating artist blog. 

Nice news on Sunday last. My entry into the annual Muriel Hopper Art Award, "Denise", received one of two People's Choice Awards.  I also won one in 2014 for "Azalea"