Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Labour's soft-on-welfare policies hurting South Auckland

According to RNZ gang problems are exacerbating in South Auckland leading to their question, What's behind south Auckland's recent crime spike?

Apparently deportees from Australia are now setting up new gangs resulting in turf wars.

But alongside Australia's relatively new hard-line deportee policy is New Zealand's soft-line welfare policy which includes a huge reduction in the application of sanctions, a suspension of the requirement to name fathers and a generally open slather philosophy.

So what effect is this having in South Auckland?

I chose three service centres (including Otara as it was mentioned in the article) and looked at Jobseeker numbers between June 2017 and June 2019.

In total the number of Jobseekers has increased from 3,749 to 5,054 - or 35 percent. The national increase is 15 percent.

Is the unemployment rate increasing?

Not nationally. I don't have data for South Auckland but I do have ethnic data and South Auckland has a very high Maori/Pacific population.


Down for every group.

Benefits are the staple of gangs. Sure the money isn't particularly lucrative but is it predictable and secure.

Here's Corrections official advice for deportees from Australia:

What if I have no money?
Work and Income in New Zealand is like Centrelink in Australia. They will talk to you about finding employment and can provide income support. They’ll sort out some immediate things to support you in the first few days and they’ll continue to work with you to support your relocation to New Zealand.
Of course all the extra beneficiaries in South Auckland aren't just gang members.

This area is a mere microcosm of what's happening nationally. On steroids.

Unemployment down from 4.7% in June 2017 to 3.9% in June 2019

Jobseeker numbers up from 118,776 to 136,233 over the same period.

Labour's soft-on-welfare policies are hurting South Auckland. It's par for the course. Labour always hurts those it pretends to care for the most.




Friday, September 13, 2019

'Survivors'

My most hated word is 'survivors'.

A survivor used to be someone who lived through the Titanic sinking or Auschwitz.

Now it's anyone who has experienced bullying or harassment.

And what about 'sexual assault'?  So broadened and bastardized as to now include any kind of unwanted touching disconnected from intent?

I have no idea what has been going on with Labour volunteers and staffers.

But it just goes to show that he who controls the language does not control the argument.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Australia to move on substance abuse and benefit dependence

Only one more voted is needed to pass the legislation that will see random drug-testing of people receiving unemployment benefits roll-out in trials across Australia.

If the beneficiary refuses to be tested their benefit will be suspended. If they test positive they will be moved onto income management which means only 20% of their benefit is paid in cash. A second positive test will see a referral for medical assessment (at which stage many will probably shift onto some sort of disability benefit I expect.)

But it's hard to argue with the sentiment behind this move.

...substance abuse is "not consistent with community expectations about receiving taxpayer-funded welfare payments"

And let's not forget that many of these people who effectively render themselves unemployable are also parents.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

NZ mothers and relationship transitions

A new MSD/Victoria University study, The influences of social connectedness on behaviour in young children: A longitudinal investigation using GUiNZ data December 2018, was released last month. A large part of the investigation was about relationship transitions, their effect on children and interconnection with vulnerability.

Broadly extracting from the paper,

Children raised in families that had experienced relationship transition(s) also reported higher externalising (aggression, fighting) and internalising behaviour (worry, depression) and lower pro-social (kindness, empathy) behaviour.
Children in the first year of life typically develop strong emotional bonds to their parents and caretakers, and disturbances of these attachments may not only cause emotional difficulties, significant stress may also actually harm the all-important foundation of the infant’s brain.
…numerous family transitions, especially early in life, put children at cognitive, emotional, and neurological risk for later adverse outcomes. Family transitions are usually accompanied by financial hardship, a reduction in parenting ability, changes of schools and consequent instability of peer relationships, and changes in neighbourhoods that can all adversely affect both child and adult relationships. However, strong emotional bonds within the family, termed family connectedness, and strong relationships with neighbours, termed community connectedness, may buffer these stressful events and states...
… higher family connectedness predicted significantly reduced externalising behaviour for those children whose mothers were consistently in a stable relationship but did not have an effect for those children whose mothers experienced relationship transitions or were consistently unpartnered 
That's just a small sample of findings.

Now, the analysed Growing Up in New Zealand data showed, "1095 (17.3%) of mothers were categorised as having experienced 1-4 relationship transitions from pregnancy to the 4.5-year interview."

I've done some further analysis to allow for the drop-out rate.

There were originally 6,938 conceptions. By age 4.5 there were only 6,392 children. That’s 7.9% attrition. If, conservatively, half of the lost mothers had experienced a relationship transition then 17.3% would rise to 21.25%

It's not inconceivable that most of the mothers who dropped out of the study experienced instability of relationships.

It would be wholly reasonable to suggest that between one in four and one in five NZ mothers experience 1-4 relationship transitions between pregnancy and their child being 4.5 years of age.

Speaks volumes about our social problems.






Monday, September 09, 2019

New Zealand's Falling Fertility Rate

Late last month Family First published my paper Families: Ever fewer, or no children - How worried should we be? It contains data that NZ's public service doesn't seem to be on to.


For the last three years the total fertility rate has dropped. In 2015 it was a smidgen under 2 births per woman  - last year it was 1.7

Treasury has been somewhat sanguine about the birth rate and has not yet considered the recent decline.

Treasury’s Long-Term Fiscal Modelling from 2016 assumes fertility, “Falls to 1.9 babies per woman from 2032.”  It fell progressively below that optimistic projection in years 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Additionally, in a ‘high level’ initial briefing to the 2019 Welfare Expert Advisory Group the Ministry of Social Development described fertility as “…low and relatively stable.”

It doesn't look particularly "stable" to me.


The fastest falling rate is Pacific and the only rate climbing (slightly) is Asian. Demographer Ian Pool suggests this is due to Filipina contribution.

Each country similar to NZ - The UK, Australia, and the US - is experiencing the same scenario. We appear to be heading toward the low fertility rates that many European and Asian countries have fought against for some time.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Shocking revelations about Dunedin Women's Refuge

The title of this post may look like a mere attention-grabber but I was genuinely shocked as I read through this RNZ report about Te Whare Pounamu in Dunedin.

1/When children had told staff about sexual abuse it was not reported to Oranga Tamariki. There are some legitimate reasons why I can imagine this happening concerning the child's well-being. Some operatives have very little regard for Oranga Tamariki and might consider they could better handle a situation without involving the state. Still it appears to be a breach of procedure when it comes to accreditation and funding. MSD and Deloitte are both investigating.

2/ A very strong culture of staff using the organisation to feather their own nests; helping themselves to goods donated before they get to clients eg $1,000 of new toys donated by the Warehouse.

3/ The attitude of a manager who described the clients as  '... a pack of skanks and slags'.

4/ Inventing client names to attain or retain funding.

If it was just one complainant there might be a temptation to suspect someone with a grudge and good imagination, but the reports are corroborated. And I've only touched on some of the problems.




Sunday, September 01, 2019

David Seymour: The speech Jacinda Ardern should have given on Ihumātao

"E ngā mana, en ngā reo, e ngā karangatanga maha. Tēnā kotou.

Greetings. It’s my special privilege to address this nation today about Ihumātao because it’s an issue that goes to the heart of who we are as a country. This Government believes in shared prosperity, and I want to tell you what that means in relation to Ihumātao.

I’ve heard some barracking that I should provide leadership on this situation, but curiously that’s where the alternative ‘leadership’ stops. So, as Prime Minister, please allow me to lay out how our nation will find its way through this impasse.

First, let me acknowledge something. It’s wrong that the land at Ihumātao was taken against the wishes of its owners in 1863. But lest we forget, that land was taken by conquest before then. That was wrong, too."

More at Magic Talk

Fewer Men Celebrate Father's Day

Saturday, 31 August, 2019 - 19:58
'Families: Ever Fewer, or No Children: How Worried Should We Be?' - a new report just released by Family First NZ - drew attention to New Zealand's all-time low fertility rate of 1.7 births per woman in 2018.

Fewer women are becoming mothers. 16 percent of 45-49 year-old women were childless at the 2013 Census - almost double the 9% in 1981. But international data shows even fewer men are becoming fathers.

Report author Lindsay Mitchell says, "Childlessness affects more men than women. In the absence of New Zealand data, two countries with total fertility rates not dissimilar to New Zealand - Norway at 1.56 in 2018 and the US at 1.728 in 2018 - have collected data relating to childless males."

According to Science Norway: "Fertility figures from Statistics Norway show that fewer and fewer men in Norway are fathering children. The share of men who are childless at age 45 rose from 14 percent in 1985 to 23 percent in 2013. The share of women who had not become mothers by age 45 increased from 10 percent in 1985 to 13 percent in 2013."

In the United States, 2014, the US Census Bureau reported, "Just under a quarter of U.S. men between ages 40 and 50 were childless."

These percentages are unsurprisingly similar and quite likely to mirror male childlessness in New Zealand.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Ever Fewer or No Children, How Worried Should We Be?

MEDIA RELEASE


FAMILY FIRST NEW ZEALAND

30 August 2019

Pros and Cons Of “All-Time Low” Fertility Rate - Report



New Zealand's total fertility rate has reached an all-time low, with an average of 1.71 children per woman in New Zealand, well below population replacement level.



“Families: Ever Fewer or No Children, How Worried Should We Be?“ - a new report from Family First NZ -  looks at the reasons behind falling fertility, and discusses what might influence future trends.



Report author Lindsay Mitchell says, "In the past, government policy could positively affect the size of families. The Universal Family Benefit strongly influenced peak fertility in 1961 when women had an average of 4.3 children. But as females have become better educated and increased their work force participation, more have chosen to have fewer or no children. Economic pressures like student debt and insecure employment play a role. And now they face additional pressure from environmentalists. Meanwhile, policy interventions appear less and less effective."



The report examines the historical context of family size; identifies some of the underlying factors affecting fertility rates, including derivation, marital status, ethnicity and ageing mothers; discusses the implications of smaller families; and analyses some of the policies which could reverse the shrinking family. It also reviews other countries’ efforts to incentivise fertility.



“To date, New Zealand has been complacent about its total fertility rate because firstly, it fluctuated around replacement rate for a long period, and secondly, it was higher than most other OECD countries. Now we are trending down to resemble many other European and Asian nations struggling to boost fertility. As New Zealand’s fertility rate falls progressively further below population replacement level, the need to address the issue becomes more urgent."



“Without population replacement or growth, economies decline. A nation's strength lies in its young: their energy, innovation, risk-taking and entrepreneurship. The new blood drives the exchange of ideas and experimentation. If these attributes aren't home-grown, they have to be imported. At an individual level, single person households are the fastest growing household type in New Zealand. Increasingly people face old-age with few or no family supports.”



“These are just some of the big picture considerations New Zealanders need to be thinking and talking about.”



“The matter of fertility is critical to New Zealand’s future. If not actively worrying about the shrinking family, at the very least the topic should feature regularly in our private and public conversations.”



"Ultimately, whether or not people choose to have a child or children is a highly personal matter, but they shouldn't be denied balanced information to help them decide."

Report