Friday, November 15, 2019

Is having to feed kids breakfast at school cause for celebration?

MSD thinks so:

The KickStart Breakfast programme will tomorrow celebrate 10-years as the only national breakfast programme of its kind in Aotearoa, serving more than 30 million breakfasts since 2009.

73% of Northland schools participate down to 26% in Canterbury.

Now this government 's goal is to replicate the dependency on lunches as well.

Truly aspirational.

Monday, November 11, 2019

If only Huntaways could vote

Switch on the computer this morning and  kick off with the really important stuff - an article  and short movie about my favourite dog - the Huntaway (mine waits impatiently as I write to get out and into it, despite the foul weather). Designed to run up to 20km a day, they relish their work, their freedom to work and purpose.

Feeling cheery I move on to an opinion piece by David Seymour at Magic Talk.

While encouraged to see him published for wider consumption, as I read it I am reminded about how bad this government - and National - really are. As well as last week's Zero Carbon abomination,

In ‘Red October’ last year, it was left to ACT to vote against the entire Parliament on three issues. Market studies legislation gives massive powers to bureaucrats at the Commerce Commission to demand sensitive commercial information from entire industries even if no allegation of uncompetitive behaviour has been made. The Prime Minister’s child poverty legislation focuses on inequality (and therefore ‘fixing’ it with income redistribution) rather than child poverty and neglect. ‘Equal pay’ legislation gives courts the power to decide how much workers in entire industries get paid.
Aside from a few brave academics and activists, we’ve been the only voice against new restrictions on what New Zealanders are legally allowed to say. Freedom of expression is important because it respects the fact that every one of us has a unique view of the world and because it allows us to make progress on difficult social issues.
Only ACT said ‘no’ to the first tranche of firearms legislation because it treated firearms owners with contempt and because rushed law is bad law. We are now seeing the consequences – just 32,000 of perhaps 240,000 firearms have been handed in to Police.

Matthew Hooton made mention of UMR polling last week finding ACT pushing 3 percent.It is probably premature to get excited about doubling (or more) their 2017 vote.

But as Seymour says, "...we believe in a free society..." They appear to be the only party in parliament that truly does right now. And they need support.

If only Huntaways could vote.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Home ownership falls but barely

Over recent years the narrative amongst the media has been 'falling home ownership'. Today in Stuff Susan Edmonds writes:

"According to the 2018 census, only 64.5 per cent of New Zealanders own their own home, compared to nearly 74 per cent in the early 1990s."

Note the front page of Stuff  says an economist blames "greedy" boomers.

The rather more tempered headline reads, "Home ownership at lowest level in 70 years, economist says Baby Boomers to blame." I wonder if he actually used the word "greedy"?

In fact the rate is down by 0.3% since 2013 - a much smaller change then between previous census takes. From Stats NZ:

"By 2013, home ownership had fallen to 64.8 percent of households – the lowest rate since 1951 (when 61.5 percent of private dwellings were owned)."

It's possible the downward trend is arresting.

Wednesday, November 06, 2019

Single parents better off in work

Yesterday Statistics NZ released results from the General Social Survey which asks respondents whether they have enough money to meet everyday needs. Here is the result by family type for 'Not enough money'

The accompanying text reads:

"The proportion of single parents who felt they didn’t have enough money to meet everyday needs decreased from over one-third (36 percent) in 2008 to around one-quarter (24 percent) in 2018 – the biggest decrease of any family type."
There is a very strong correlation with the numbers on the DPB (which became Single Parent Support in 2013).

Obviously the strengthening economy after the GFC has provided more jobs. But also Bill English realised that is was just as important to focus on parents on benefits as it was the single unemployed. In fact probably more important as their well-being would effect the next generation.

Unfortunately between September 2018 and 2019 the numbers rose for the first time since 2010. They went from 58,620 to 59,715 - a 1.9% increase.

I hope that we are not looking at a future where more single parents will be saying they don't have enough money to cover their costs because of the current government's attitude to welfare.

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Housing waiting list increased 139% since September 2017

Just released 139 percent increase.

Update on child poverty statistics

The Child Poverty Action Group is holding a summit later this month. This statement is from the release about it:

Late into 2019, 174,000 children living in the most impoverished, desperate situations are yet to see any real gain.
It is quite incorrect to say "late into 2019" and put a number on it. But thanks anyway for prompting me to update myself on where the statistics are at.

Statistics NZ says:
"We have made improvements to the data source for measuring child poverty in the future, including increasing the sample size from between 3,000 and 5,500 to 20,000 households. These improvements were implemented in the 2018/19 HES, which is collected between July 2018 and June 2019. First child poverty results from this survey will be available early in 2020."
The figure of 174,000 is for the year ending June 2018. The definition for this group is:

 h) Percentage of children living in households in New Zealand in each financial year who fell in: Low income: less than 40% median equivalised disposable household income after housing costs (AHC) for the financial year
But there are multiple measures of poverty. Here's another:

i) Percentage of children living in households in
New Zealand in each financial year who fell in: Severe material hardship 

That number is 65,000

As that is the lowest number by any measure, these must be the "most impoverished".

You can find the various measures here.

They comprise a) through to j) 

The numbers range from  65,000 to 341,000

By 7 out of 9 measures (there is no d) table) child poverty grew between 2017 and 2018.

Friday, November 01, 2019

Are benefits protection money?

I heard Kim Workman expressing a view this morning that withholding benefits from gangs would result in more crime.

He may well be right.

But is that what Mickey Savage's grand and noble idea has come to? That benefits are now paid as protection money to some individuals or groups to ward off violence and lawbreaking?

Maybe a society could live with such an arrangement if it worked.

But it doesn't. The crime gets committed anyway.

If we want to reduce crime, by Mr Workman's logic, gang members should be paid more.

The tragic thing is that many current politicians actually believe and want that. If we just pay the unemployed and the unemployable more, Aotearoa will become some sort of nirvana. A shining beacon of social justice.

They are dangerous delusionists.

Thursday, October 31, 2019

"Welfare crackdown"

Couple of quick points.

Stuff is reporting that Labour abolished the sanction for not naming the father of a child on a benefit and that National would reverse this.

The removal of the sanction does not kick in till April 2020. Hasn't happened yet.

Also reported is National's plan to apply "money management " to beneficiaries under 20. This already happens. Introduced under the last National government.

The idea to withhold benefits from non-vaccinaters has been proposed repeatedly in the past. The problem seems to be if something untoward happens to a child post a vaccination received purely because the parent needed to retain their benefit, 'enforced' by the state, what responsibility does the state bear? This could be argued much further re what is and isn't a 'choice.'

But from a philosophical viewpoint, anti-vaxers rely on the herd immunity without contributing to it. Should they be allowed to rely on the herd's financial safety net without making that contribution?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Towards a Code of Social and Family Responsibility - Mark II

National is revisiting the past with its 'Social Services - Discussion Document.'

When Jenny Shipley was Prime Minister,

" February 1998 the Department [of Social Welfare] distributed copies of a discussion document to all 1.4 million households in the country. Towards a Code of Social and Family Responsibility described current laws and the role of government in relation to eleven issues, and posed questions that were intended to prompt discussion and stimulate feedback... John Angus and Maree Brown, the senior DSW officials responsible for analysing much of the public reaction to the Code, concluded that many of the negative responses were related less to the content of the proposal than to distrust of the government's motives. "
It is wearisome when you have followed political responses to social problems for so long.  The politicians come and go. The issues remain.

Can't help but conclude that working groups and public consultations are not much more than avoidance tactics.

Gangs are not good for children

If National comes out promising to attack gang welfare dependency you can bet your bottom dollar the Left will counter with, "But what about the children?"

The Left is as prone to manipulating children as pawns in their pro-welfare arguments as the gangs are in using them as meal tickets.

Just remember when you start hearing the objections:

The vast majority of adult gang members have received a main benefit. 62 percent for 5 or more years. Over half (59 percent or 2,337) of all gang members had benefit spells that included dependent children, either with or without a partner.

This will not include those children on a sole parent benefit whose mother is the main recipient.

Sixty percent of the 5,890 children of gang members have been abused or neglected. The alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect was more often recorded as the children’s mother than the gang member.
How can anyone advance an argument that the taxpayer should continue to fund an environment that is so bad for children?

Statistical source