Saturday, April 19, 2008

DPB 'reform' results stalled

If I was Ruth Dyson I would be looking at the newly released March benefit fact sheets and worrying.

The invalid benefit numbers have reached a new high of 81,130 - a 6 percent increase in one year. I expected this due to no mention of this benefit during the Labour Congress welfare skite.

But in some ways, even more worrying is that the results of great DPB reforms - personal work and development plans and WFF - seemed to have stalled. Again many of those centres with high young Maori and Pacific populations have seen rises and the overall decrease is only 1.3 percent or an average of 9 people fewer per centre since March 2007.

Add to this Treasury are predicting no further decrease in DPB numbers over the next few years.

A government truly wanting to get DPB numbers down will have to be far more radical than Labour or National.

The politics of racism

This is an absorbing and insightful piece by libertarian Scott Wilson. I am humbled by his ability to grasp and describe the politics of the Maori Party so have reproduced it in full.

Tariana Turia’s comment that Wanganui’s proposed ban on gangpatches is akin to what the Jews went through in Nazi Germany should spark outrage and calls for resignation from all who have any sense of perspective and morality. This is not because I support such a ban. I don’t, and there are a range of useful arguments against it. However, it is the despicable equivalency granted to wearing gangpatches and being labelled as a group which was slaughtered en masse which demonstrates her philosophy. It was first displayed by an earlier comment by her that Maori went through a “holocaust”, so the point is plain and simple. Tariana Turia at worst is anti-semitic and a calculating liar, at best she is a thoughtless fool.

Since the Maori Party was formed it has enjoyed a significant media honeymoon. This is partly due to the self-policing of reporters who fear that criticism of the Maori Party will be seen as being racist. This, of course, is a well known technique of the likes of Robert Mugabe and Thabo Mbeki, both of whom have thrown the word “racist” at their opponents whenever either of them have been accused of poor performance, which as you well know, is being supremely generous to them both. The Maori Party itself refused to condemn Mugabe’s thuggery a few years ago, and despite criticism from many quarters, it still got a “get out of jail free” pass from the media.

One of the most crippling, almost Maoist phenomena in New Zealand political circles is the delicacy used regarding Maori politics. This is because of the “racist” moniker that is thrown about like Zimbabwe Dollars, as if the dominant discourse about Maori in New Zealand is racist. At one point it was, albeit in later years in a patronising way – but who dares be racist now? Those on the mainstream left, in Labour and the Greens accused Don Brash of racism when he openly advocated the precise opposite. Some, of course, clinging to the tribalist view of politics that sees the National Party as some repositary of white conservative heterosexual men who are racist, sexist, homophobic and intolerant, honestly believed Brash was being racist. I don’t doubt Helen Clark thinks that, as she has been in the hothouse of the feminist left of the Labour party for most of her life, and surrounded herself with people of that persuasion. Others on the left know the right is vulnerable on this, if only because those who fought against racism, sexism and homophobia predominantly came from the radical left in the 1960s and 70s. The liberal “right” if I dare call it that was very few in number then, but not invisible. National MP and former Transport Minister George Gair cast the deciding vote in favour of Homosexual Law Reform, at a time when Labour’s Maori MPs were voting as a bloc against it.

So the discourse about Maori in New Zealand is actually about avoiding ever being called “racist”. Plenty have written on the liberal “right” about how seeking a political and legal system that is colourblind is anything but racist, and it takes a curious contortion of post modernist cultural relativism to believe it is.

Nevertheless, the Maori Party is, in fact, racist. By this I don’t mean because it is a party of race – though it is. It would be better saying it is a party of identity, because being Maori is, for many who are, an important matter of identity. Being Caucasian, except for a rather pathetic handful of largely white male malcontents and low to modest achievers, is not. There is undoubtedly plenty of academic work that can be done on this – why do those who identify as Maori regard it as important, but Caucasian New Zealanders do not.

I don’t have to explain to anyone with a moderate knowledge of history, or the basic ability to undertake research, what the Holocaust was about. Also, before the claims of “it wasn’t the only one” are thrown about, the genocidal and mass murderous actions of other regimes are only distinguished by the target groups and the less efficiency by which they operated. The Nazis were coldly efficient and organised, almost all of the other mass murderous campaigns were a combination of hyped up, but relatively short term savagery, or slightly detached, as in the ludicrous policies that created enormous famines in China, Ethiopia, the USSR and North Korea. Whether it be Rwanda, Burundi, Equatorial Guinea, Croatia, Armenia, Cambodia, the Kurds, Darfur, Bosnia Hercegovina, Nazi Germany, Maoist China or the USSR, these cases were marked by the identification of a group to be killed indiscriminately.

To treat the rather stupid policy idea of eliminating the choice of criminal gang members to wear their patches as akin to these is an insult to the victims of those horrors, and a despicable attempt to shock and invite Maori to think of themselves as being subject to the same dehumanisation and hatred that characterised Nazi Germany. You would have to be insane or an evil manipulative racist to claim that this is what many New Zealanders think of Maori. It is despicable beyond words.

It is what characterises far too much of what the Maori Party is about – it is about inciting Maori to vote for it, on the basis that only the Maori Party can protect Maori from the racism of the “mainstream”. It is about painting Maori as victims, not simply a group that, on average, performs worse at school, has a higher proportion of criminals, and maintains lifestyles that shorten their lives, but a group that others think “should be eliminated” and have long thought that. This is why the word “racist” is thrown about, and also explains the empathy some in the Maori Party have for Robert Mugabe – who makes exactly the same claims, when he demonstrably is doing exactly what he claims the Opposition is about. Mugabe is murdering black Zimbabweans – except he doesn’t do it by race, he does it by political affiliation – much like his comrades in North Korea, who have trained many of his goons.

The Maori Party gets a relatively free ride from the media because some of its MPs, such as Hone Harawira, will spit the “racist” dummy when he can. It can demean the memory of those slaughtered in the Holocaust and get away with it, daring to grant moral equivalency to peaceful men, women and children who were dragged, transported like cattle, stripped, demeaned and murdered on mass, to the knuckle dragging violent criminal scum in New Zealand gangs. That in itself ought to deny Tariana Turia and the party any seats in Parliament, for such an abject void of morality.

However the Maori Party already has an electoral system that effectively grants it a significant advantage over any other party. The Maori Party is highly unlikely to ever cross the 5% party vote threshold, and has not come close. Whilst three parties get into Parliament because they have leaders with strong local constituency bases of support, the Maori party enters because it has race based seats it can campaign for. It can, and by and large does ignore voters on the general roll. It is a party based on race, campaigning in constituencies that are racially defined for voters who distinguish themselves politically by race. As such it has won more race based seats than it would be entitled to on a party vote basis, so it is disproportionately represented in Parliament compared to every other party which has representation broadly according to party vote.

So a party that thinks Jews in the Holocaust and Black Power and Mongrel Mob gang members face “similar oppression”, that thinks that having a liberal democracy where all constituencies are based upon geography and none by race are racist, and which has refused to judge the murderous tyranny of Robert Mugabe, which cheers the socialist Evo Morales, which excuses child abuse as being “families under pressure”, which doesn’t think Islamist terrorism is a problem, isn’t held accountable for that. It is about time the light was shone on the Maori Party, in election year, and its inevitable cries of “racism” were confronted for what they are – the bleetings of the morally contemptible, protecting their own racist privilege as they peddle the philosophy of perpetual victimhood.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Debate at The Standard

I wandered into a debate about falling DPB numbers over at the Labour blog - The Standard. Gee. They are very excitable. I shouldn't do this because it takes so much time to make all the necessary responses. Still, it's a pissing-down awful day, not enough light to paint and it is fascinating to see how people interpret statistics to fit their assumptions.

ACT up

I don't have a link yet but just heard on NewstalkZB that the latest UMR poll has ACT's best polling result for a long time at 2.4 percent. Slowly does it.

Update: Here's the link.

What does she hope to achieve?

Tariana Turia, creating waves as is her want, says banning gang patches is akin to treating gangs like Jews. I thought Jewish people were made to wear insignia. Her comments will no doubt cause a good deal of offence. I wonder what she hopes to achieve?


Yesterday was a terrible day. Fourteen parents lost beloved children. I'm not sure people who aren't parents can actually appreciate how precarious and vulnerable being one makes you. Most would lose their own lives before their child's.


Not this one.

Reported by the NZ Herald;

...Ms King told Kahui the twins were in critical danger and were they were unlikely to "make it through this one".

"I'm sure I got the point across. They're f***ed."

Yesterday I found Macsyna King's crying in the witness box repugnant. You think I am too hard. But picture this. What do the other three children she has abandoned feel as they watch their mother on the telly supposedly grieving over her lost babies. Do you think they might wonder what is wrong with them that she never shows any care for their mere existence?

What some would give to have their cherished child returned to them. She just tosses them aside. It is a cruel contrast to stomach.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

You can lead a horse to water etc

Yesterday I blogged about why a national register of domestic violence offenders wouldn't achieve much. I am still of the same view. Consider the following passage from Theodore Dalrymple, a British psychiatrist who has worked with thousands of abused women.

Note the last sentence. So their blindness is wilful.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sharples on fighting domestic violence

He said that when he grew up in the small Hawkes Bay community of Takapau, Maori Affairs officers knew who lived in every house.

"Now there are young people setting up a relationship and having children they're not ready for in a flat at the back of a flat that you don't even know about. We have got to get back to knowing our communities. We have got to get back to empowering our communities."

You can't empower communities while empowering the government to provide cash incentives to do exactly what Sharple's is railing against. When are he and Tariana Turia going to face facts? It's no good promising some sort of hard line work-for-the-dole policy, while leaving the DPB untouched.

From last year,

Dr Sharples said he was not promoting a crackdown on the domestic purpose benefit, for "we have a culture of accepting solo parents, [and] we have to take care of them".

The culture of 'solo' (they often aren't) parents is at the heart of the domestic violence problem. They are too often women with a secure income and home who attract self-centred trash.

A dangerous vanity

There are calls to set up a national register of the worst domestic violence offenders to protect potential new partners and victims.

The trouble is many women get involved with these characters knowing they have a history. They think he will never hit them because they are different. And in the first flush of 'romance' he probably won't. And she won't nag or criticise him either. But that changes.

Men who repeatedly assault women - either mentally or physically - have a personality problem. They also have a kind of split personality. When contrite they are sad, vulnerable, lonely little boys. Highly lovable to someone who is herself very insecure. Hence a mutual but sometimes deadly attraction is at work.

All the legalistic intervention in the world will not change human nature.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Not quite Churchill

I was searching The Welfare State We're In on the subject of tax when I came across this gem from the Daily Mail;

Gordon Brown has been comparing himself to Churchill (as well as Gandhi).

I look forward to his first prime ministerial broadcast. "We shall tax on the beaches, tax on the landing grounds, we shall tax in the fields and in the streets.

"Never in the field of human taxation, has so much been owed by so many.

"I have nothing to offer but tax, tax and more tax."

Chris Carter's 'choice'

I wonder where Chris Carter was educated. He doesn't appear to understand what the word 'choice' means. Let me just confirm that I do by referring to the Concise Oxford Dictionary. Yes. Choice is a decision made between possibilities.

On the current education system,

“....ordinary New Zealand families like the choices they have now and they don’t want to see money from their local school being siphoned off into private education.

“Families can send their children to a private school and that is their choice but real choice is about having a quality, world-leading education system that can be accessed by all New Zealand families.

What on earth is he on about. How can families like choices they don't even have. Real choice is about having more than one option for your child's education. If you can't go outside a prescribed zone, have no discretionary income left after tax, then you will likely have no school choice for your child, especially at secondary level.

ACT's policy would allow the funding for each individual's education to be available to the parent's school of choice be it state, integrated or independent.

When Labour cannot properly debate what choice is they just up and change the meaning of the word. Very handy. But a bad look for the Minister of Education.

Dependency about more than just the dole

Here's the headline, Unemployment benefit numbers at lowest since 1979

On the other hand there are over 100,000 more people on sickness and invalid's benefits than 30 years ago. And there are almost 60,000 more people on the DPB. Don't let Labour kid you that they have solved the dependency problem.

If, like the Swedes, we were to measure welfare dependence in time spent on benefits, instead of numbers at any given time, the picture would tell a different story. For instance in 1971 only 3 percent of people on a sickness benefit claimed it for more than a year. In 2007 that figure had climbed to 50 percent.

The economic conditions of the past few years have provided jobs for people who want to work. That does not solve the problem of people who do not want to work; who believe it is up to the rest of society to accommodate their lifestyle choices. As long as governments tolerate that we will continue to have high dependence and the social problems that ensue.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

For a change, he's right

The Act party argument that the Key-led National Party is really just Labour-Lite is true. But National is so desperate to not alienate anybody that when a decision to pick a side is required, its dithering makes it look evasive.
Matt McCarten

A whiff of hypocrisy

The Herald on Sunday is being just as 'glib' and 'smug' as it accuses Parekura Horomia of being with this statement;

While it is true that among the nation's more affluent and well-parented teens, there will indeed be a few refusing the muesli box so they can fit their skinny jeans....

So the nation's poorer and less well-parented teens are not trying to fit into their skinny jeans?

According to this 2007 research more than 60 percent of girls and 29 percent of boys are trying to lose weight and in particular Pacific Island students feature. Pacific Islanders tend to predominate among the poorer families. Poor children and young people are not stupid. They react to the same societal pressures as their wealthier counterparts.

I have already commented that Horomia's comment may have been ill-advised given the context but brushing it aside because of irrelevancies like his own weight or Labour's out-of-touchness serves no useful purpose. Across the board many young people are misguidedly skipping breakfast in an effort to control their weight.