Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Seymour responds to Tamihere

Yesterday I linked to a column John Tamihere wrote about David Seymour not before reflecting on whether I should give it any further exposure. Seymour did the same. Here is his response, unpublished by Stuff, who were however happy to run Tamihere's piece:

There’s a dilemma we all face when personally attacked. Just ignore them, (like most people probably have already), or set the record straight. Ignoring them is easier, but maybe they think throwing enough mud will see some stick. Setting the record straight takes more time, and risks giving them and their argument more attention than deserved.

The dilemma is harder when the attack is dishonest, but from someone who’s done little to earn your respect. We’ve all been there, and John Tamihere’s article about me, The subtle dig at Māori in race-based politics and how it's swinging voters' judgement, is so filled with outright mistruths, that the record needs to be set straight.

Tamihere’s argument is summarised in his words: ‘Act Leader David Seymour plays a far more insidious, sophisticated and covert form of race-based politics.’ He goes on to say that my criticism of the Reserve Bank spending $400,000 on a monstrous piece of artwork is really an attack on Māori because the artwork was supposed to represent Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest.

He goes on to say that I wouldn’t criticise the America’s Cup losing hundreds of millions of dollars because it’s a white man’s sport. Here’s the problem. I am on the record criticising the America’s Cup getting taxpayer money. Just Google ‘David Seymour America’s Cup circus.’

Tamihere goes on to ask ‘Can you imagine a Waka Festival losing thousands of dollars being swept under the carpet by Seymour?’ Well, actually, something similar did happen when I was responsible for charter schools in the previous Government.

Te Kāpehu Whetū, a charter school in Whangarei was attacked for using its flexibility of funding to buy a waka. I believed, and still do, that charter schools were a power of good, and defended that school for that action among many others connected with the policy. They were a policy supported by ACT and the Iwi Chairs Forum because they were good for Māori.

That’s where the wheels really fall off Tamihere’s argument. On the basic facts, he’s not only a little bit wrong, but shilling the exact opposite of the truth. But on the wider issue of who really cares about Māori kids’ opportunity, it is Tamihere who’s played politics.

He forgot to mention his Waipareira Trust applied to operate a charter school, apparently believing in the power of the policy. He went through most of the application process then tried to renegotiate the terms he’d signed up to at the last minute.

He thought he could steamroll the young first term MP in charge of charter schools. Big mistake. When he didn’t get his way, he publicly trashed the policy that was working for disadvantaged kids, including those at his old friend Willie Jackson’s charter school, Te Kura Māori o Waatea.

It would be easy to dismiss Tamihere. He had a short parliamentary career, that ended with losing his seat, before losing his radio show for gross misogynistic comments, then running a disastrous campaign for the Auckland Mayoralty, then failing to win a seat in a short-lived revival as co-leader of the Māori Party. Why give him time?

The problem is that he’s doing such a terrible disservice to the very people he claims to represent. Just like his disgraceful conduct over the charter school affair, he is prepared to play politics without truth on the very important cause of solving poverty and improving education for Māori.

In his mind, to attack egregious waste at the Reserve Bank, gangs, and welfare abuse, is to attack Māori. Really? Do Māori speak with one voice? If we listen to John Tamihere, being Māori means you can’t want responsible Government spending, gangs to be treated with the contempt they deserve, and welfare dependency to be reduced.

ACT says all New Zealanders benefit from better policy. All New Zealanders want less crime, less tax, and greater independence. The idea we can’t have honest conversations about the challenges our country faces because we might offend Māori doesn’t just stop us making progress. Ironically enough, it is patronising and belittling of Māori who, unlike John, overwhelmingly want a better world through better policy.

John was once billed as a future Prime Minister. Now the best lesson he shows young New Zealanders of all backgrounds is not to waste their talent on hubris.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Claim lodged for Maori to receive half of benefit system resources

Lady Tureiti Moxon, on behalf of the National Māori Urban Authority (NUMA), has lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, who provded evidence for the claim, Moxon maintains, “The only way we can change the whole [welfare] system is by allowing Māori to take care of themselves and by sharing resources by splitting it 50-50.”(P59)

It's difficult to know how to respond to such on outlandish proposal. Is this the realisation of what 'Treaty Partnership' actually means? 

Maori presently receive rather more from the benefit system than matches their share of the population. 36 percent of working age beneficiaries are Maori.

But some are not satisfied with that. 

From Te Ao Maori News:

The claim addresses the Crown's failure to acknowledge the historic issues of loss of land and culture and the overarching effects of colonisation.

She [Moxon]says the benefits system and processes have been harmful to Māori over generations.

“For a lot of people going on the benefit is actually quite a traumatic experience. It's quite traumatic. And yet they're made to feel even worse about that, that they're undeserving of a benefit, undeserving of being able to participate,” she said.

“It's how we're viewed, how Māori are viewed, that we're just takers, we never give anything. Cripes, we gave this whole country over,” she says.

This riles me no end. Non-Maori being told what they think of Maori.

Any rational person is presented with evidence of employed Maori working all around them every day. Yes, I think there are some poorly motivated Maori just as there are some poorly motivated non-Maori. Yes, some Maori on benefits are deserving and some aren't; and the same goes for non-Maori. It shouldn't need to be spelled out.

But the likes of the 'Dames' and NUMA CEO John Tamihere (who yesterday launched this childish rant at David Seymour)  constantly seek to stir up racial division and animosity.

The original concept of the Waitangi Tribunal was worthy but it's now being abused. And in the current climate members may just capitulate.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The stunning drop in women having children

No, it's not news but I thought I would update the chart to latest available. June's not up but here's to the end of March. Trends that happen so rapidly are quite fascinating. I wrote a paper about it here.

Total fertility rate is defined as "the average number of live births that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific rates of a given period (usually a year)."

The rate is 1.6 births at March end. I wonder how low it will go?

What prompted me to look for an update was Peter Willliams interviewing a woman  on Magic Talk today who advocates against loneliness, wants a Minister for Loneliness appointed even.

Shrinking families won't contribute to a reduction in loneliness. That's for sure.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Closing the gap - Maori on benefits

Here's a closing gap. Not sure it's quite the type envisaged by left-wing politicians.

According to population estimates there were 489,620 Maori aged 18-64 at June 2021.

128,877 on a benefit equates to 26.3 percent or over one in four.

36.3% of all beneficiaries are Maori. A percentage as high as it has ever been.

In the Maori electorates Labour enjoy strong support.

I don't know why.  Maori never fare very well under Labour governments. 

Thursday, July 15, 2021

More people on benefits than a year ago

 At the end of June 2021 there were more people on benefits than there were a year ago.

Yet MSD Minister Sepuloni is calling this good news.

In fact her release is headlined: 

Government Initiatives Contribute To Fall In Benefit Numbers

Including those on a Jobseeker benefit who are temporarily sick, the total number reliant has barely budged.

And numbers on a Sole Parent or Supported Living Payment (ex Invalid's) benefit have both risen.

This is a very poor result in a country that can't import labour - or in only a very limited capacity.

Update: It is surprising how media outlets accept the spin and turn out similar headlines to the Minister's. The important point being missed is that because of considerable seasonal variation in benefit numbers quarterly change has less significance than annual change. That is why MSD presents the numbers as year-to-year data.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Number of Maori children entering state care plummets

Oversight of Maori children at risk is being transferred to local and community efforts.

Regardless of our individual political and philosophical views I am sure we all hope it works for the children concerned.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Seymour's support building

 Seymour couldn't want for better publicity. According to NewstalkZB host, Jack Tame:

The pollsters say it’s unprecedented.

Act leader David Seymour is doing better in the latest Preferred Prime Minister rankings than the leader of our second biggest party. 

But I’m not surprised at all, because I think David Seymour is one of the best politicians in Parliament.

But not everyone is a fan. Here we have Lee Williams shouting at Seymour that he is a fraud. Why?

Because he isn't telling people about He Puapua apparently.

Go back to Jack Tame's piece momentarily which contains this statement:
" was his [Seymour's] probing in the house that opened up the He Puapua Pandora’s box.
I guess you can never please everyone.

Wednesday, July 07, 2021

OT beat-up continues

The RNZ beat-up of Oranga Tamariki continues.

The article opens with:

There have been 40 instances where Oranga Tamariki staff have physically harmed children in their care in the last two-and-a-half years....

Then further in: 

In the latest biannual report, for the six months to December 2020, there were 13 findings of physical harm against children where staff were responsible.

So how do these numbers stack up?

Only at the very end of the coverage do we learn:

The Safety of Children in Care reports showed that Oranga Tamariki staff were not the only people abusing children in care.All up, in the six months to December 2020, there were almost 300 instances of neglect, or emotional, sexual or physical abuse, affecting more than 200 children.

Here is the OT report referenced.

There were 13 findings of physical harm by staff alleged to have caused the harm. 8 children had 8 findings of physical harm within a residential placement. Some allegations against staff happened outside of residential placement and "for a small number of incidents, it was not possible to determine where the incident took place or who caused it." (Hence the variability of numbers)

But lets move on to the bigger picture. The first graph is PHYSICAL harm:

The second is ALL harm (which includes neglect, sexual and emotional) versus proportion of children/youth in each kind of placement:

The children at highest risk of being harmed are those in the return/remain home placement. Least likely are those in a family placement.

Children with findings of harm living in residential placements (4%) was representative of the overall numbers of children in this placement type (4%).

Given the nature of these troubled children and youth, the instances of harm caused by staff do not seem remarkable.