Sunday, November 28, 2021

Lazy thinking

Regarding National's leadership crisis, Tracy Watkins extensively quotes a "frustrated former MP" presumably National.

“Most of Act’s vote is National, if they get their s....t together, it'll go back to National. And as long as (Act) are sitting at about 10%, that's actually good for National, it gets them across the line. So, ignore them.”

This assumes the voting bloc is static which it certainly isn't. But it is characteristic lazy thinking from a conceited Nat. 

The voting bloc is all the time refreshing with new voters via demographics and, to a lesser extent, immigration. Every election around 100,000 of the most reliable voters disappear and around 180,000 potential voters arrive. By my observation  ACT events are well-attended by the young. They may have only ever voted ACT.

There are oldies like me who went from Labour to ACT and never changed back, and the 'blue rinse' brigade are falling off their perches.

There are immigrants from countries which have drilled into them a true understanding of democracy and appreciation of free markets. ACT actually knows what it stands for; National doesn't.

But most importantly, in an undeniable and unavoidable age of personality politics  ACT has never had such a young, engaged, and even charismatic leader whose keen nose for publicity is balanced with judgement and conviction. He also has a sense of humour.

So it is lazy to just assume if National picks the 'right' leader ACT's polling will plummet.

Those desperate for a change of government will get it voting either National or ACT, but given the worsening economic and social situation in New Zealand, they may want an insurance policy for real change and opt for ACT.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

Woke feminist BS

I am sick to death of women crying victim because of so-called offensive comments. 

I am not sick to death of women who have genuine, almost or non-recoverable experience of male sexual violence.

But Jacqui Dean shouldn't be a representative of the people if she takes offence at something only a tiny minority would. 

She certainly needs a head-check if she thinks her dealt-with complaint should be revisited and escalated five years down the line.

For Judith Collins to comandeer such a lame duck, limp, poster girl for 'safe' workplaces is an abuse in and of  itself. What was going on in her head?

Men and women have co-existed, and procreated together forever. 

Can't we all grow up and learn to deal with each other one on one without the government telling us how?

Monday, November 22, 2021

Are you ready for Air Aotearoa?

A Stuff reporter writes

"Air New Zealand says it is cancelling more than 1000 flights between Aotearoa and Australia from now to the end of the year due to border uncertainty."

Cancellations aside, it makes no sense for a country increasingly called Aotearoa to have its airline cling to the old name of New Zealand.

Is it time to get ready for another major re-branding?

I don't know about you but Air Aotearoa doesn't conjure up that warm sense of familiarity felt from near and afar, and pride in the airline's quirky professionalism.

But my reluctance is probably just a facet of subconscious racism. I should succumb to the educators.

As for the rest of the world, international customers, private and commercial, they'll be left to wonder where Air New Zealand disappeared to.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

Something rotten in the state of New Zealand

There's a feeling afoot, backed with evidence, that the state is increasingly on the side of wrong-doers. 

Take the issue of forcing blameless people to live next to anti-social, criminal neighbours.

In 2018 the HNZ chief operating officer said:

"We measure our success by not having any evictions. Every eviction is a failure [so] the lower the number, the better."

Evictions fell from over a hundred during the last National government's term to zero in the last 3 years.

Yet HNZ 'success' is leading to social cohesion failure highlighted by a number of recent nightmare cases which we read about and quietly murmur to ourselves, "There but for the grace..."

When challenged about gangs Stuart Nash says there is nothing to fear. In May:

“In terms of feeling unsafe, unless you’re a gang member, you have no reason to feel unsafe."

Tell that to the poor pensioner in Northland who was told by a gang member neighbour he would cut the old man's throat. Stop and think for a moment how you would feel if that was your father.

I grew up in a time when we took for granted that actually the police - or other authorities - would act to safeguard innocent people. I now think that trust is a faded memory.

If it was merely a matter of inadequate resourcing it would be fixable.

But the application of inverted thinking is far more difficult to confront.

It wouldn't surpprise if  some on the left, some of academia, some of the brain-washed graduates secretly think the 'privileged' are on their own. Suck it up as punishment for what your colonial ancestors did.

That is a very dangerous rejection of a system of laws, and consequences for breaking those laws, that must treat all citizens equally. Yes, there are systemic failures but the principle must still hold fast. The alternative is unthinkable.

This soft-on-crime attitude must have preceded the current government because I well recall then ACT MP Stephen Franks' observation about the naivety which expressed as "If we just keep being kind to crims for long enough they'll start being kind back."

Unfortunately I now think the proliferating philosophy is under-pinned, at least in part, by more sinister motivations.

Friday, November 19, 2021

NEWSFLASH: Huge drop in Jobseeker numbers!


Net Jobseeker numbers dropped by nearly 5,000 in the week to November 12. That's fantastic. 

The number of people cancelling their Jobseeker benefit  numbered 8,280 - an increase of 5,535 on the prior week. The economy must really be picking up!

Too good to be true?

It is.

What happened is around 5,000 Jobseekers were transferred to Sole Parent Support on November 8.

Because of a policy change, sole parents with babies and toddlers added to an existing benefit no longer have work obligations. The government has told them not to worry their heads about looking for a job. 'The taxpayer will keep on funding you for as long as you keep on having babies.'

What looks like a great news graph is actually a very bad news graph. People who keep having children when they are already reliant on welfare have a habit of staying on benefits for years.

But thanks all you hard working young couples who are either delaying starting a family or putting your children in daycare everyday to go to work to pay your taxes. 

Without you the government wouldn't be able to be so kind and compassionate.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Ardern's untenable position

The Prime Minister's cause du jour, reducing child poverty, is a cover for communistic cravings. Left-wing governments always want to tax the rich to give to the poor in the name of greater equality. Do this under the pretext of alleviating child poverty and sympathetic voters will support you. If redistribution was advocated for the reduction of drug-addicted poverty it might find less appeal. That some children in poverty have parents burning money on their addictions remains a fact ... but never mind.

There is no excuse for taking money off productive people to encourage bad decision-making. Many of the welfare reforms instigated under Ardern will encourage people without independent means to start or grow families. The obvious error is to pay new mothers substantially more - $3,120 annually to rise to $3,380 next year; to increase existing child payments, benefit rates and tie them to wage inflation.Then remove work obligations from mothers of young children EVEN if they have been added to an existing benefit, add in the removal of financial penalties for not naming the father/s of the child/ren, thereby letting him off the hook, and, in a certain sector of society, any sense of personal responsibility around producing children is suspended.

Fortunately it maintains in the majority who are waiting longer, to have fewer children or none at all. The average age of first time mothers is climbing steadily and recourse to fertility assistance is increasing.

Meantime other mothers start young and stay on welfare as a 'career' exposing their children to the greatest level of hardship (red):

Under Ardern's leadership the number of children in benefit households has risen from 172,299 to 208,347 - 21 percent. Most are in sole parent families.

In 2013 Ardern railed against the rise in benefit numbers (particularly the DPB) in the aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis describing the increase as an "epic fail" by the National government. So clearly she doesn't think being on a benefit is a great thing.

Yet, as outlined above, the actions taken by her government are resulting in the same outcome.

The cake is not finite.One person's piece does not have to be cut smaller so the next's can be cut bigger. Ever increasing redistribution will not reduce the material hardship too many New Zealand children experience. If NZ stays on the higher welfare = decreasing inequality track, we will all end up poorer.

What is most needed right now is for more people to take ownership of their actions. To create children responsibly, as part of a family unit able to care for and nurture them. With an attitude that their needs are an absolute priority.

All Ardern does is encourage the worst impulses in people. Perhaps she needs to start acting a bit more responsibly too.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Why the ideological attachment to state housing?

The latest MSD report measuring material hardship shows that among children aged 0-17 those in social housing have much higher hardship rates.

Rates of hardship are measured by items lacking such as a, "meal with meat, fish or chicken (or vegetarian equivalent) at least each 2nd day" or shortfalls like "could not pay an unexpected and unavoidable bill of $500 within a month without borrowing." (See p14 for full list)

But a state house tenant should have more money left over after accommodation costs due to lower income-related rents.

Many state house occupants are young. According to Kainga Ora, with around 68,000 properties: "Approximately 82,000 of our household occupants are under the age of 20, and 39,000 are under the age of ten: a critical time in child development. More than 30% of our tenancies belong to sole parents." 

The next graph depicts under 65s with the red bars representing greatest hardship, dark green, the least.

Again, the worst hardship is in social housing, followed by private rental with accommodation supplement.

If social/state housing does such a poor job of alleviating material hardship, why the continued ideological attachment to it? At least subsidised private rental housing does a slightly better job bearing in mind those percentage differences represent thousands of individuals.

From the report, one final related graph for you. 

Of all the household type profiles below, which most closely resembles social housing/ private rent with AS?

Sole parent families - many in subsidised state or private rentals - continue to harbour the greatest hardship.  Coincidentally the high incidence of these families is another result of a failed ideological fervour - the rejection of nuclear families.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Only 8,800 Kiwis unemployed for a year or more

The NZ Initiative this week released a paper arguing against introducing unemployment insurance. One reason advanced is that relative to other countries  NZ doesn't have a problem with long-term unemployment:

"Perhaps more importantly, long-term unemployment, that is, people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, is also relatively low in New Zealand ... In 2020, long-term unemployed was only 8.9% of total unemployed in New Zealand."

Is that a surprise to you?

Their statistic comes from the OECD which in turn derives its data from the NZ Household Labour Force Survey (HLFS).

According to the latest September HLFS quarter supplementary tables (Table 4) only 8,800 individuals had been unemployed for over a year.

I summed the final row which shows a total lower than the reported 98,000 unemployed. The explanation is, "These categories will not sum to total unemployed due to the exclusion of unemployment durations not specific enough to fit into one of the stated categories." I take that to mean if  the respondent had been unemployed for 4.5 weeks for instance they couldn't be categroised. But 'over 1 year' is very specific so we can stick with 8,800.

Yet according to MSD Sept quarter benefit data tables, of 193,635 Job Seeker recipients 121,110 had been dependent for more than a year. 

Yes it is possble to be getting Job Seeker and working part-time. The following table is unfortunately a little dated but at the end of 2019 only 6.8 percent of Job Seekers were working part-time:

That leaves 93.2 percent not working.

The Job Seeker benefit is obviously ill-named as so many of its recipients are not actually seeking jobs. 98,000 officially unemployed versus over 193,000 Job Seeker beneficiaries (I  blogged earlier that many have no work obligations because they are too ill to work and would have previously been on the old Sickness Benefit).

But this latest anomaly regarding duration of unemployment is both baffling and absurd.

Furthermore the mismatch between Statistics NZ and MSD data is getting worse.