Monday, February 18, 2019

An 'old white women's' view

My last post was about sole parents and their declining dependence on benefits. It was a public alert countering the messaging from welfare advocates.  My husband asked me, Why doesn't Paula Bennett tackle this stuff, promote her record of welfare reform?

I don't know, I replied.

But today we are privy to what she does spend her time doing My new look and life 12 months after gastric bypass surgery

Of course she is not alone.

Maggie Barry and her bolt hole was a recent DomPost piece Inside Maggie Barry's sea front home

Links for celebrity MPs on the left - especially the PM - can be found but I can't be bothered.

I disapprove of MPs magaziny muppetry. Makes me very old school, I know.

But these individuals are handsomely remunerated by the taxpayer to perform a public service. This fluff stuff is overt vote-buying. It's another form of pork-barreling.

And think about it. It's most commonly female MPs exploiting their gender - and the interest it elicits from their 'sisters' - that pimp themselves in this way.

But they might dismiss me as an 'old white women' clinging to a paradigm of policy over personality. Of service over stardom. Of serious, sustained endeavour over shortcuts.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Welfare advocates start lining up

An article appeared in the DomPost on Thursday, Feb 14.

My response.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

If leftists won't believe the Sally Army, then who?

If I had a dollar for every time some individual or organisation claimed inequality was growing, I'd be rich.

But the latest Salvation Army appraisal of the nation (an annual publication) has this to say:

Our prosperity is fairly shared
The past five years have seen increasing prosperity for most New Zealanders and a very modest narrowing of income inequalities. Those living on welfare benefits remain economically excluded, however.

The last statement is  not correct.

The report goes on to acknowledge this by mentioning extra supplementary assistance, the " one-off increase in benefit rates in 2016" and the winter energy payments.

It does not mention increases in the accommodation supplement, changes to benefit abatement rates allowing some beneficiaries to earn more, the significant Best Start payment for newborns and increases to WFF payments to children in beneficiary households.

They draw a depressing conclusion:

... the numbers of working-age adults receiving a benefit remains constant around 285,000, and this is despite the official unemployment rate in September 2018 sinking to a 10-year low of 3.7% of the workforce. The core of those receiving a benefit, around 150,000 adults, do so for health or disability reasons and so are paid the Supported Living payment or the Jobseeker/Health Condition payment. Their needs and this number of people are unlikely to change even in times of low unemployment. This permanence, alongside the economic exclusion suffered by those reliant
on welfare payments, suggest that a radical re-think is required for setting benefit levels. Such a re-think should look at avoiding the need for top-up and supplementary payments, and could consider indexing benefit levels to changes in wages and salaries as we already do for New Zealand Superannuation.
This final recommendation will undoubtedly be a feature of the Welfare Working Group's report due end of this month.

I don't have a problem with such an indexing, which is what we do for Superannuitants. But don't pretend that beneficiaries have been "economically excluded" without it to make the argument.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Flummoxed by latest political poll

I couldn't really give a fig if National tanks. They've been almost as socialist as Labour for a long, long time. They message otherwise then merely manage degrees of intervention and redistribution.

But I am surprised at the latest poll result that has Labour well up and National down. I'm not sensing any warming to Labour or Jacinda. Talkback, letters-to-editors, personal conversations don't find for Labour.

Topical issues have run against Labour. Don't need to spell those out.

Leadership? Personally I lost any interest in Bridges when his ' useless' descriptive remarks about a fellow MP came to light. Because he had painstakingly painted himself as Mr Nice Guy prior. BUT I am atypical.

Such a sizable swing simply makes no sense to me.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Another racist policy!

The government has announced it will ban smoking in cars that contain children:


Seriously, what about the thousands of children who are affected by drugs and alcohol before they ever get to grace a baby car seat? This move is a superficial scratch on the surface of a much deeper problem.

Friday, February 08, 2019

Govt ignores own research

MSD monitors the effectiveness of its spending on employment assistance. The 2016/17 assessment has just been published.

"$149 million (72%) went on effective or promising employment assistance."

Not all of the spending is effective. Some results are "mixed" and some "negative".

But among the "effective and promising" interventions appears:

"Work obligation focused interventions: interventions that use work obligation requirements to ensure people are actively seeking employment."

In other words, sanctions. A failure to meet an obligation requires a consequence. Otherwise an obligation is meaningless.

In the year to December 2018, this government reduced the use of sanctions by 42.2 percent.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Brief comment on prison population

Based on the most recently available prison statistics the total muster is reducing. The PM says:

"We've seen about 1000 fewer people in our prisons, and so any work that we do on rehabilitation programmes ultimately does benefit Māori."
She must have more up-to-date stats than the public because the September 17 to September 18 reduction was only 418.

Corrections Minister Kelvin Davis says:

"...tribes from Ngāti Whātua right through to Ngāti Kuri are working with the department to reduce the prison population in the north and support people when they emerge from prison."
Yet in September 2018 there were 625 prisoners in Northland Region Corrections facility. A year earlier there were 607.

The government is fixated on the prison population.

But they are ignoring where it begins. Births into unstable, dare I say it, unmarried, dysfunctional family situations. I blogged yesterday about Maori accounting for 93% of the increase in births to the year ending September 2018. Around a 1,000 more were ex-nuptial and 300 fewer nuptial.

Marriages (with proven greater longevity than de facto relationships) might not last, but they at least say something about parental commitment at the time of birth. There is no doubt that these babies have significantly lower risks of eventually becoming prisoners.

Monday, February 04, 2019

Maori births account for 93% of year-on-year increase

Ever-interested in the behavioural response to 'incentives' I was looking at recent birth data. Labour promised and delivered greater financial benefits for newborns and families with dependent children.

It is probably too soon to assess any response to this, especially as the latest data available is to September 2018, not December.

In the year to September 2018 there were 59,331 live births. An increase of 837 on the previous year.

Not particularly significant.

However Maori live births rose to 17,118 from 16,341 - an increase of 777.

So of the total increase 93% were Maori.

17,118 is also the highest number of Maori live births since 2012.

The increase is almost totally accounted for by Maori mothers aged 25-34.