The NZ Initiative included the following graph in this weeks Insight:
The Liberals’ Version of Book Burning
11 minutes ago
“Another freedom has been lost this week,” says Conservative Party Leader Colin Craig, “as the National Government have voted to dictate to beneficiary parents how their pre-school children will be educated.”
“The Social Security Amendment Bill appears to have, as an underlying assumption, that beneficiary parents are somehow unable to make the best choices for their children. This simply isn’t true; many of these parents are doing a great job in sometimes very difficult circumstances. They don’t need a bossy government dictating their choices,” he says.
A well-known journalist recently had a pop at Radio New Zealand for being too left-wing.More
Not being a listener myself, I can’t say if he’s right or wrong.
But I was once a guest on Kathryn Ryan’s Nine to Noon show discussing the blow-out of numbers on the sickness and invalid benefits (more than 10-fold since 1970).
The environment was clinical and coldly inhospitable. Perhaps my views about too much incapacity being self-inflicted had something to do with the ‘ambience’.
In 1887 Alexander Tyler, a Scottish history professor at the University of Edinburgh, had this to say about the fall of the Athenian Republic some 2,000 years prior:
"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse over loose fiscal policy, (which is) always followed by a dictatorship."
"The average age of the world's greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:
From bondage to spiritual faith;
From spiritual faith to great courage;
From courage to liberty;
From liberty to abundance;
From abundance to complacency;
From complacency to apathy;From apathy to dependence;
From dependence back into bondage."
The Obituary follows:
Born 1776, Died 2016
There's likely a fascinating story to tell on Maori fertility. According to my Yearbook 2000 Maori women had 6 kids per female in 1960 but when the Birth Control pill arrived that plummeted to just over 2 per female by 1990 before a steady recovery to the present level. Even the arrival of the DPB in 1973 didn't slow the descent. So why did these women take such drastic control of their fertility back then, and why did it increase from 1990? The story is almost certainly rooted in changes in work, social changes, a precipitous fall in religious observation and marriage and Govt policies.
Of these sole parents [all with dependent children], nearly 36% were in full time paid work, and 19% in part time paid work. These employment rates for sole parents are better than the UK and Australia, although just below the OECD average.
The majority (81.4%) of sole parents on the DPB are aged between 25 and 64 with 1.7% of individuals making up the 18-19 age brackets.The percentage has consistently been between 2 and 3 but dropped to 1.7 percent after a few hundred teenage parents were moved onto the recently created Young Parent Payment. The writer used December 2012 statistics. If she'd contrasted December 2011 she would have found the percentage was 2.8 and wondered (perhaps) why it had suddenly dropped by 39 percent.
Myth 1: Breeding for a business
[Labour’s policy has led to] the situation where people have been, for want of a better term, breeding for a business. John Key, 2002
There is no evidence that anyone ‘breeds for a business’ or that imposing work obligations change fertility outcomes. Relationship breakdown is a major cause of women becoming sole parents. At the 2006 Census, two thirds of sole parents had been previously married or in a civil union.This claim is astonishing. I checked her source for this and found it came from a Waikato University Facts sheet "Sole Parents, Teenage Fertility and Ex-nuptial Fertility."
When a spouse dies, or the relationship becomes violent, access to the DPB contributes to the protection and well-being of the child.
...employment levels among sole parents move with the overall state of the economy. In the mid-2000s when there were increasing general levels of employment, there was a marked increase in the employment rate of sole parents. The numbers on the DPB fell. This ‘gain’ disappeared when the onset of the recession in 2008 led to rising unemployment.
Myth 4: DPB pays more than the average female worker’s wage
DPB pays more than average female worker’s income...choosing motherhood over work is entirely economically rational. Lindsay Mitchell, Welfare Commentator, 2010Her link from the paper to my blog does not work because the final 'l' has been omitted. Intentional? But here is the post she refers to and I stand by. It shows that the average weekly earnings for a female in 2010 were $519 whereas someone living on the DPB in Auckland with two children was receiving $580.
Lindsay Mitchell appears to be adding on things like the accommodation supplement and Working for Families: The net basic rate for the DPB of $293.58 (2012) with an extra $92 for the first child and $65 for the second from Working for Families. The accommodation supplement will only meet part of her housing costs, now much greater as she has children.I used the official MSD figure of $580 which obviously includes all top-ups to the basic rate.
This myth directly contradicts the myth that ‘work is the way out of poverty’.No it doesn't. Firstly jobs change. People join an organisation and move up or work more hours. But perhaps even more importantly, work, and associated environments, are often where people meet new partners. Forming relationships and sharing costs is another way out of poverty.
Myth 5: Welfare traps people in poverty
[The Welfare System] de-motivates and traps people who are perfectly capable of being independent. Lindsay Mitchell, Welfare Commentator (2010).As mentioned above the numbers on the DPB did not drop substantially when the economy improved. Unemployment benefit numbers did but that's not what this paper is about. The writer doesn't disprove that those who remained on welfare during the economic boom weren't trapped. In any case she goes on to talk about the high effective marginal tax rates associated with trying to leave the DPB which I agree are a problem.
There is no evidence for the claim that welfare demotivates those who receive it. It is equally likely that the experience of being on welfare is sufficiently awful to provide an incentive to move into work at the earliest opportunity. The problem is availability of good secure full-time work .The Beneficiary numbers move in line with the general state of the economy, that is, when employment is available, beneficiary numbers decrease. This would not happen if people were ‘trapped’ on welfare.
While the total numbers in receipt of the DPB may remain similar for long periods, there is a high turnover: 25% of those currently on the benefit have received DPB for under a year, 66% have been on it for less than four years, and only 10% have been on it for ten years.These percentages relate only to 'current' spell. Many leave welfare and return and the clock starts afresh. When MSD researchers looked at sole parents on welfare at the end of 2005
Why describe Don Brash as past leader of the Act Party when the quote is taken from his time as leader of the National Party? Political bias is why.Myth 11: DPB separates children from their fathers
The DPB has clearly contributed to many children growing up without fathers, often without even knowing who their father is. Past Leader of Act Party Don Brash, 2005.
The fact that Maori birthrates are higher is not an indication that they are more promiscuous. But more an indication that non-maori have more abortions.What I wonder about is where this sort of thinking comes from? In this day and age it is very easy to check the veracity of your claim before making it. But I suspect this man, young man (?) has latched on to an idea that suits his ideology - anti-abortionism - and never felt a desire to question or doubt it. Perhaps he'd gotten the idea from a source he trusted.
Teenage pregnancy rates are exactly the same.
Teenage birth rates are different because of NZ European Abortion rates... Who is worse - someone who has a baby as a teenager or someone who murders an unborn..?
Despite everything you might hear, most New Zealanders mostly pay their taxes, on time and in full. We’ve got a very good compliance rate here. Somewhere between 80% and 90% of taxpayers pay their tax on time, and over 60% file their returns on time.
People who won’t pay their taxes free ride on other New Zealanders.
Tax aoviders not only free ride on other New Zealanders, but they undermine the whole tax system. Tax compliance is a trust game: if people think that other people comply with tax law, then they are more inclined to do so themselves. But if they think that other people are rorting the system, and not paying taxes, and squirreling money away, then they lose confidence in the system, and start to avoid paying taxes themselves. The reasoning is straightforward: who wants to be the only schmuck left.
The one defense that these tax avoiders might try is that their activities are perfectly legal...But even if the procedures used are legal, it’s not clear that they are ethically acceptable. This is in fact the closest I can get to understanding exactly what a rort is: it’s something that is technically legal, but nevertheless pushes the law to such an extent that it is immoral.
We’ve heard a great deal of nasty rhetoric about people on benefits in recent years, but very little about the scungy behaviour of tax avoiders and tax evaders.