Saturday, August 07, 2010

DPB - same story, different decade

Simon Collins' series of articles about sole parents and the DPB published in today's NZ Herald take me back to David McLoughlin's substantial article for the North and South, "The DPB Disaster". McLoughlin also visited suburbs and towns where sole parents proliferated - Glen Innes, Flaxmere and Tokoroa. Collins went to Kawerau.

McLoughlin's investigation was in 1995. 15 years ago and essentially nothing has changed. That is the year Maraia Enoka was born. Now she is 15, pregnant and describes herself as a "breeder". Just tragic.

Economic conditions in 1995 weren't dissimilar to right now. But between then and now we have seen good economic times. Yet the DPB disaster persists. And it always will if it continues to be laid at the feet of the economy.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Garth George - apologist for Harawira

Garth George says Hone Harawira is absolutely entitled to his views and desires and those of us who don't like it are victims of 'multiculturalism'. Please.

Why don't we simply acknowledge Hone Harawira is a Maori who takes great pride in his race and wants to keep his bloodline pure?

We don't because most of us, from the Prime Minister down, have become unthinking victims of the doctrine of multiculturalism, in all its politically correct dissimulation and deception.

32 years ago I was 'going out with' a German/Cook Island boy. I brought him home one night when he missed the last train to Porirua. He slept on the couch. My mum and dad treated him the same as any other boyfriend - if not better. My mother used to predict that I would "fall for" (northern vernacular for 'marry') a Maori because I was attracted to polynesians. That probably had everything to do with my closest friend being polynesian. (In fact, in later years the same friend admits she steadfastly avoided Maori boys because she didn't want to end up living the same lifestyle as an adult that she had as a child - overcrowding and lack of privacy. We both had our own prejudices. Perhaps mine could be described as positive and her's negative.) Anyway, my parents never gave any suggestion, not an inkling that they were against my partnering with someone of another race. Unsurprisingly my attitudes mirror their's.

And this was back in the 1970s. Long before political correctness had started strangling freedom of speech and thought.

As Britain's Chief Rabbi, Lord Jonathan Sacks, says in his book The Home We Build Together: Recreating Society, multiculturalism is a threat to liberal democracy, stifles free speech and has "led not to integration but to segregation". Lord Sacks defines multiculturalism as an attempt to affirm diverse communities and make ethnic and religious minorities more respected. But, he says, the movement has run its course.

"Liberal democracy is in danger. The politics of freedom risks descending into the politics of fear," Lord Sacks says.

Britain's politics had been poisoned by the rise of identity politics, as minorities and aggrieved groups jockeyed first for rights, then for special treatment.

The process, he says, began with Jews, before being taken up by blacks, women and gays. The effect had been inexorably divisive.

But George fails to notice that this has everything to do with the growth of government. Groups will always try to harness resources and influence as long as there are large governments capable of apportioning it.

Then he quotes at length passages about the political process known as multiculturalism and the emergence of thought control. I agree, that is a real phenomenon. But again it has been created by state institutions. From the vast bureaucracy that patrols bogus human rights through to the education system. Ironically it was a representative of one of these, the Race Relations Conciliator, who appeared most reluctant to haul Harawira over the coals. Probably because he believes nonsensical edicts like Maori cannot be racist because they are an oppressed minority.

Political correctness or thought control has nothing to do with my revulsion at Harawira's sentiments. I find his views abhorrent because they allow no room for the freedom of individuals, which must surpass race and gender. Mr Harawira wants to practice oppression of his own children's freedom by restricting their choice of partner. Or he wants to instil in them his own enmity to Pakeha so they won't choose one as a partner. I can't find any excuse for it at all. On any grounds. And certainly not on Garth George's grounds.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Forget illegal. What about immoral?

This case caught my eye only because the judge sent the defrauding mother to jail rather than the defrauding father. Both had been illegally receiving benefits from Work and Income. It appears the decision is based on the degree of fraud. He stole less.

I can no longer get very worked up about the illegal use of the benefit system for the simple reason that the much bigger story is the immoral use. Thousands of people enter the system every year due to avoidable circumstances. They cause their own incapacity or inability to be independent. That is, as they say, the elephant in the room.

Focussing on benefit fraud only allows supporters of the status quo the opportunity to say there is relatively little of it (that which is uncovered and prosecuted) and it is a price worth paying for the preservation of the safety net as it stands.

That's a bad enough cop-out but government's collective failure to confront to widespread misuse of welfare is a much bigger one.

MacDoctor writes to Pita Sharples

Pita Sharples is a likeable man. Politically he is the saving grace of the Maori Party. So it disappoints me enormously that he has gone to bat for Hone the Hater by claiming he is not a racist. MacDoctor is obviously more than just disappointed by this development.

Dear Mr. Sharples

I judge from your recent remarks that you are not aware of the definition of the word racist. In the interests of helping you understand your colleague Hone Harawira, I thought I might help you out:


noun [mass noun]

“the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race , especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races

* prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on such a belief:

In case you are still puzzled, let me spell it out for you.

Hone Harawira is a racist.

If you think what he said was…

* Amusing
* Normal
* “Just a view point”
* Justifiable

…then that makes you a racist as well. Trust me on this. I’m ex-South African. I can spot a racist remark from 10,000 paces.

Now that I have appraised you of the reality, I trust that you will roundly condemn your racist colleague, Mr Harawira. Failure to do so will lead me to the inescapable conclusion that the Maori party is not merely ethnic in nature, but ardently racist. Should this be the case, I will be actively campaigning for you to be voted out of parliament in the next election. The last thing the Maori people need are representatives who are blinkered bigots. Racism has a nasty habit of spreading.

Your views would probably be welcome in Zimbabwe. Go there.

Yours Sincerely


Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Where is ACT on the Foreshore and Seabed replacement legislation?

Further to yesterday's post. I was bemused over David Garrett's question - one so antithetical to what ACT previously stood for.

5. DAVID GARRETT to the Attorney-General: Will he commit to prohibiting Māori owners from charging other New Zealanders for access to beaches; if not, will he at least limit the amount they can charge to $5, the fee currently charged by the Māori owners of Takou Bay in Northland?

There is no doubt in my mind that this question was primarily intended to scaremonger. It is exactly the question Winston Peters would have put.

Let's not forget that last time the Foreshore and Seabed issue was a hot potato ACT voted against Labour, putting the view that Maori had every right to test their customary ownership through the High Court.

Richard Prebble, May 2004;

I rise on behalf of the ACT party to oppose the foreshore and seabed legislation.

ACT is a party that believes in private property rights, the rule of law, the citizens’ right to go to court for justice, and one law for all...

The bill discriminates against Maori, by removing the right that the Court of Appeal has found, that Maori have to seek a declaration from the courts that the seabed and foreshore is Maori land....

Let me make it clear that in upholding the rights of all citizens to go to court I am not lending support to claims that Maori under the Treaty own all the foreshore and seabed around New Zealand. As a lawyer it is very clear that in law, whether it be legislation or British common law or Maori customary law, it is very clear that Maori do not own the vast majority of the foreshore or seabed of New Zealand....

Both Maori and British common law require continuous occupation and control for common law ownership. If Maori controlled and occupied Takapuna beach I am sure we would have noticed.

But it does not follow that it is not possible there are some parts of the foreshore and the seabed that is still owned by Maori, and indeed I think it is likely that Maori do own some parts of the foreshore and seabed.....

Any claim by anyone to the foreshore and seabed should be brought in a proper court, and the appropriate court is the High Court...

I realise that the position the ACT party takes is not a populist one. In this country we have no written constitution. Our Bill of Rights is a totally inadequate piece of legislation that contains no property protections.

It is this parliament, and we 120 MPs, who are the guardians of citizens’ rights. A society that doesn't uphold the right of citizens to own property and the right of all citizens to go to court cannot be described as being free...

Now it would appear that David Garrett is going down the opposite track and will attempt to stir up fear and resentment amongst Pakeha over the implications of the legislation due to pass late this year whereby Maori will once more have the right to test their title.

But in my efforts to establish what the party's view is I came across this from ACT's Maori Affairs spokesman Peter Tashkoff.

“As ACT stated in our minority report on the Foreshore and Seabed Bill in 2004, it was never fair for Maori to have their right to their day in court legislated away. Recognition of that, now from all sides, is long overdue," Mr Tashkoff said.

“New Zealand has a long and established history of ownership issues being resolved by the courts, and the matter should now be left with them. There is no need for any further political involvement beyond the repeal of this pernicious legislation.

So what is ACT's position? Will they be doing some sort of double act, supporting the National government while also trying to frighten the horses? Or will they vote against the legislation? Against the right for Maori to test their property rights in the relevant court?

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Parliamentary questions worth a decko

Couple of interesting questions being asked back to back in parliament this afternoon;

4. Hon ANNETTE KING to the Minister for Social Development and Employment: Does she stand by her June 2009 statement that stopping “the heinous and incomprehensible abuse of New Zealand’s children” is a priority?

Where will Annette King take this? Naturally the Minister will stand by it. What would Labour do that National hasn't? There must have been around 70 or so child murders while they governed.

5. DAVID GARRETT to the Attorney-General: Will he commit to prohibiting Māori owners from charging other New Zealanders for access to beaches; if not, will he at least limit the amount they can charge to $5, the fee currently charged by the Māori owners of Takou Bay in Northland?

Well this is really a mischief-making question. Of course Chris Finlayson could play with it at ACT's expense. The free market party advocating price-fixing, and by the state to boot?

Stupid. stupid. stupid.

I know there are a number of ACT-On-Campus people who are dead set against the war on drugs and I hope that one day their influence may count for something. A 'tough on crime' stance should attempt to sort out and campaign on what properly constitutes a crime, instead of just widening the net. 10 percent of prisoners are committed for drug offences (primarily). When I read stories like Craig McColl's I just shake my head. As taxpayers we will probably spend around $200,000 temporarily (one would hope) ruining this guy's life. If the state was consistent it would have taken the profit from Mr McColl (which was his plan anyway), just as it does with alcohol and tobacco producers, and left Mr McColl to his own devices (which included being a supporting member/business of his small community school).

Monday, August 02, 2010

New research affirms National's DPB policy

The NZ Herald reports new research that finds it's "OK for mums to go back to work" within a few months of their child's birth.

This is important not least because the author of the new research has changed her mind.

An earlier study provided the following abstract;

We investigated the effects of early maternal employment on children's cognitive outcomes, using data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth on 1,872 children who can be followed from birth to age 7 or 8. We found some persistent adverse effects of first-year maternal employment and some positive effects of second- and third-year maternal employment on cognitive outcomes for non-Hispanic white children, but not for African American or Hispanic children. These effects are present even after we controlled for a range of individual and family characteristics that affect child development, including those that are likely to be correlated with maternal employment, such as breast-feeding and the use of nonmaternal child care. Controlling for family fixed effects reduces the effects of early maternal employment on some cognitive outcomes but not on others.

That is a departure from the 2010 study then. The new conclusion is further explained in the Guardian:

The new study, led by New York's Columbia University School of Social Work, was published last week by the Society for Research in Child Development. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Study of Early Child Care followed more than 1,000 children from 10 geographic areas aged up to seven, tracking their development and family characteristics.

It found that, while there are downsides to mothers taking work during their child's first year, there were also significant advantages – an increase in mothers' income and wellbeing, and a greater likelihood that children receive high-quality childcare. Taking everything into account, the researchers said, the net effect was neutral.

"The effect of the parenting itself is the key factor," said Waldfogel. "It is hugely important how sensitive you are to your child's needs. Even for women who have to work more than 30 hours a week, they can make things better for themselves, they just need to take a deep breath on the doorstep, dump all the office worries behind them and go in the door prepared to pay attention to all their children's cues. This is good news for all mothers.


Whether women want to return to employment or stay at home is their choice. It is none of my business until that decision relies on somebody else to fund it. Then it becomes a matter of public policy and public opinion unfortunately. If an individual wants to live off the taxpayer, the taxpayer's opinion becomes pivotal.

National should be taking heed of this research and using it to not only counter the considerable opposition to work-testing the DPB, but to push for much tighter time- limits in line with most other countries. I see the Greens once again labelling the requirement for single mothers to find part-time work after their youngest turns 6 as "draconian". Do they even know what draconian means? Harsh and cruel.

Yet thousands of single and partnered mothers take it upon themselves to pay for their own life choices and subject themselves to what is, by the Green's standards, harsh and cruel, everyday.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Deborah Coddington on ACT - right and wrong

Deborah Coddington writes that ACT has assisted the resurgence of Winston First by keeping alive his Law and Order policies. Like Deborah I believe ACT went too far down (and put too much focus on) this particular policy pathway but there was always conservative support within the party to do so. I cannot agree specifically however with her take on certain matters;

Act went populist instead of remaining principled. Take its opposition to the repeal of S59 of the Crimes Act, giving children equal status before the law if assaulted.

A liberal party, which opposes the initiation of force, should have supported this. How can hitting children, or using unreasonable force, be defined as self-defence?

If one wants to argue this from the libertarian/classical liberal perspective the removal of section 59 provides for the state to iniatiate force against adults in a way it previously could not. I would argue we now have more initiation of force; more uneccessary intrusion and intervention. Using unreasonable force against children was illegal. That seems to be forgotten. I supported the status quo although I can sympathise with the idea that smacking children isn't productive.

Act's "Laura Norder" policies are now taken straight from NZ First's pages, so we end up with a (three strikes) legislation that sees an elderly man suffering from dementia caught by this statute and sent to jail.

That's incorrect. It wasn't the three strikes legislation that sent the man to jail. He was sent to (and remains in) jail because nobody else will take him. That could have happened before three strikes. My concern is that indecent assault is on the three strikes list and what that will mean for this type of offender (and possibly many others) further down the track.

It would be ironically perverse if ACT has played a hand in keeping NZ First's election hopes alive and they end up fighting over the same authoritarian and nationalistic vote next year.

(Prediction; NZ First will promise to revive the Death With Dignity bill. That'll garner them a great deal of vote. Voluntray euthanasia is a top priorty at any Grey Power election meeting. That is one policy I wouldn't have minded ACT nicking.)