Bikes in China (a history)
8 minutes ago
Poverty, says Henare, is no excuse for abusing your family. He thinks back to his own childhood, in a dirt-floor home with no electricity and wonders how his parents managed to feed them all. “But I can recall nothing, but good.”
"A second Bill containing an overhaul of benefit categories and a clamp down on fraud will be introduced in July."
New powers in the Welfare Reform Bill will introduce tougher penalties to deter fraudsters:
Abolishing the option of accepting a caution
A minimum administrative penalty of £350, or 50% of the overpayment, whichever is higher, with four weeks loss of benefit, even for attempted fraud
Extended loss of benefit for offences, which result in a conviction, of 13 weeks for a first offence, then 26 weeks for a second offence and 3 years for a third offence
An immediate 3 year loss of benefit for serious or organised benefit fraud or identity fraud
A new £50 civil penalty in cases of claimant error which results in an overpayment due to negligence or failure
Labour reduced the numbers of people on benefits drastically in 2004/05 when the economy was going gangbusters.Gordon Campbell:
Less than ten years ago, a booming economy had reduced beneficiary numbers to historical lows.Are either of these statements supported by the following graph?
"Every Mongrel Mob man creates a line - that is the number of children they can produce. So they will have a couple of girlfriends and they might have a wife, and they will have mistresses, and they will be in on-and-off relationships," he said.
The number of inmates with gang affiliations has doubled in the past five years and the Corrections Department is developing a programme to help offenders break their ties. Gang members are almost twice as likely as other prisoners to reoffend within 12 months of leaving prison, at a rate of 41 per cent compared with 22 per cent.The percentage of Maori children who are abused or neglected is way out of kilter with their share of the general population and shows no sign of declining.
[Peter] Buck wrote in his annual report [as Native health officer], “The [Maori] communism of the past meant industry, training in arms, good physique, the keeping of the law, the sharing of the tribal burden, and the preservation of life. The communism of today means indolence, sloth, decay of racial vigour, the crushing of individual effort, the spreading of introduced infections, diseases, and the many evils that are petrifying his advance.” [Maui] Pomare added: “The Maori having been an active race and always having been kept in a state of excitement by wars and the rumour of wars, can now only find vent for his feelings on the racecourse, gambling and billiard-playing, with an occasional bout in the Land court”.
Blaming the welfare system for the current existence of poverty is like seeing the incidence of Third World diseases in this country, and blaming it on the existence of hospitals.
Any pattern of repeated giving reinforces whatever prompted the gift … thus we arrive at a great paradox, what I call the ‘aggravation principle’ of sympathetic giving: repeated giving prompted by the misfortune of recipients tends to increase the misfortune.
"Anyone who has reflected on their own behaviour, let alone worked in family planning or youth health, will acknowledge that fertility and sexual relationships are very complex. We have to acknowledge all the possible reasons people have sex, and there are hundreds, and the things that can go wrong and result in an unplanned pregnancy are also many fold. The ideal of safely negotiated sexual relations that use barrier protection and a back- up contraception must be recognised as the ideal rather than the norm.
This may sound like an argument for the provision of contraception, but bodily integrity and sexual agency are two things we must value above budget lines."
From July, up to 14,000 teenagers aged 16 and 17 who are not in education, work or training and teen parents aged 16 to 18 will be coupled with a private provider to help them with budgeting courses, parenting courses, training or job-hunting.Cabinet has released a paper that discusses the welfare changes up and coming. Some sections have been removed. In the paper there is reference to the Youth Package and Youth Pipeline. I am guessing these are the names the youth reforms has been given. Under Treasury comment, it states:
Their basic costs such as rent and power will be paid by the state, and they will have a payment card for living costs that can be monitored to ensure they do not buy alcohol or cigarettes.
As at October 19  Treasury does not support Youth Package and Youth Pipeline IT systems. The business case was assessed as being high risk under the Risk Profile Assessment and Better Business Cases criteria....in particular we have questions about the extent to which the Youth Pipeline system is suitable for extending for wider welfare reform, the degree of risk.I assume they refer to risk for the taxpayer as opposed to risk for the beneficiary.
"... the public has developed very different attitudes towards these legacies of the postwar Labour government. The core principle of the NHS – that health care should be provided to all regardless of the ability to pay or how you have conducted your life – continues to enjoy enormous support. Few regard the health service as perfect, but it is better regarded by the public than most other national institutions. People still believe it is worth spending taxpayers' money on the NHS, which is why David Cameron gave its budget some protection from the squeeze imposed in other areas.
That sort of approval no longer exists for the benefits system. There is instead hostility to the idea that welfare should be an unconditional safety net. The public still has quite generous attitudes to specific groups that are seen as vulnerable, especially children, the old and the disabled. But there is a very wide and entrenched view that the benefits system is directing too much money to the wrong people. This is illustrated by some recent polling by YouGov for Prospect. It found that 74% of voters think that Britain shells out too much on welfare and should cut the amount spent on benefits. Only 17% disagreed."
John Banks is unimpressed at the injection of $1.6 million of taxpayers' money to help fund 'New Zealand's Got Talent'. Part of the cost of making the series is coming from public arts and culture funding. But the ACT leader says while the show is nice to have, it's something the country can't afford when we're borrowing millions a week to stay afloat. He thinks a commercial sponsor should be found.Of course I agree, but would nevertheless make this observation. If I had to choose where I least minded the 'arts and culture' funding going it would probably be on a mainstream popular show like this. Rather than some avant-garde, minority-taste 'art' of which we have seen many dreadful examples. At least a talent show which ultimately rests on public voting can actually sort out the wheat from the chaff. Unlike those elitists who accept funding applications for pointless installations at public galleries - the only kind that will host them.
The top 2 per cent of taxpayers, 58,000 of them, pay 17 per cent of the tax total. An average of $65,000 each, and that doesn't include what they pay in GST or company tax.
And when these citizen-heroes open their newspapers on a weekend they read that, despite paying vastly more than their fair shares of taxes and their money going to feed a bottomless welfare pit, we are facing rising levels of inequality and declining competitiveness.More