Saturday, May 20, 2006

Do you care?

National law and order spokesman Simon Power said the public would be shocked to know that drivers could be 10 per cent more drunk than their breath tests showed.

"We've always been told the limit's the limit," he told the Dominion Post newspaper.

The legal limit is 400 micrograms of alcohol per litre of breath for adults on a full license, and 150mcg for those aged under 20.

But New Zealand breath-tests will not return a positive result unless drivers have 440mcg or 170mcg in their breath.

Shocked? Big deal. Really. I'm shocked he can be bothered. I accept there needs to be limits on drinking before driving but not that people are categorically "drunk" at a specified level. Saying somebody is "ten percent more drunk" is silly.

Eye to Eye

Eye to Eye at 9.30 on TV 1 looks to be another brawl. Subject: What's in the budget for Maori? Apparently Hone Harawira says the only thing in the budget for Maori is more police to arrest them. Must away and watch it.

UPDATE; Well, I was right. It was a brawl. Clayton Cosgrove and Shane Jones on the left and John Key and Hone Harawira on the right. Willie Jackson in the middle goading them on. You know, the more I see of Shane Jones, the great Maori hope, the less I want to see of him. He is a smart arse but not a very good one. With lines like, "I want to ask Willie if he is a casting agent because Hone is acting" and "I want all New Zealanders to wake up because John has just put them to sleep" and "Give me the lotto numbers Hone if you can read my mind." Oh, save me.

Hone is one angry man. He thumbs it with his dress and language and comes over as a streetfighter. He is mad as hell at Shane Jones who he sees as a traitor to the Maori cause. "What really pisses me off is Shane understands this shit. These other guys don't."

Clayton Cosgrove had to try and get down and dirty with the boys and came out with probably the nastiest remark of all (which had nothing to do with the subject). "Don Brash stands up in Parliament everyday and you can smell the embalming fluid and formaldehyde on his breath." Having got Don off his chest he had a go at Rodney. "Rodney Hide will win (Dancing with the Stars) because he has two dances; the Hussle, which we all know he's very good at and the Limbo - no-one goes lower than Rodney."

John Key said that there was nothing in the budget for Maori because there was nothing in the budget for anyone! He kept calm and good-humoured throughout and won the match by default.

Truly. This programme is theatre. It isn't political debate. It replays Tuesday night.

Friday, May 19, 2006

A different perspective (cont)

...The anti-tobacco industry tells obvious lies, obvious enough for Maori to see through. Here are four of them;

A different perspective

I got this book out of the library called Maori Health and I don't want to give it back. If Hone Harawira is North these guys, Peter Caccioppoli (Ngati Kahungunu) and GP Rhys Cullen, are South. It's deliciously forthright. When you spend too much time trawling through tracts of unctuous material put out by state agencies and state-sponsored do-gooders you need an antidote. This is it;

(Let me know if you want the rest)

Spreading ideas

Here's my media release from yesterday. It went out to a number of National MPs, including Judith Collins. In it I said, "It is bad news for children that the Child Poverty Action Group has today won the right to take the government to court over what it calls a 'discriminatory' In Work payment......Welfare breeds poverty".

Here's a NewstalkZB item this morning in which Judith Collins says, "It is bad news for children that the government can be taken to the Human Rights Review Tribunal for not extending 'In Work' payments to beneficiaries....Welfare breeds poverty."

It's a surreal feeling when you hear your words followed by somebody else's name.

Post-budget thoughts

What I enjoy about post-budget day is the graphs depicting government spending get prominence in all the papers and people, for at least one day of the year, look at where the money is going. Wow. We are spending as much on the DPB as we spend on Defence. Well, actually, we spend more on people on the DPB. An extra 1 percent is hidden away in "other" benefits. (1 percent equates to over half a billion dollars).

Of course, the big story with welfare spending is that it's static. If this is what we get after the 'up' stage of the economic cycle what can we expect after the 'down'?

And why all the focus on National Identity? I think there is a word conveniently missing off the end. What is the government softening us up for? Think Britain and Blair.

Hey Diddle Diddle
Cullen's on the Fiddle
The Cow's just Over the Moon
The Poodle laughed to see such fun
As the Pork Barrels rolled into June

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Intent on state dependence

The Ministry of Social Development releases a Statement of Intent to accompany the 2006 Budget.

What do they intend? To ..... provide income-tested benefits to almost 1.2 million New Zealanders

The provisional population estimate for 15+ year-olds in 2006 is 3,257,480.

Well over a third receive an income-tested benefit.

When Child, Youth and Family merges with the MSD on 1 July 2006 the Ministry will have 9,000 staff. Hallelujah.

Serious stuff from the socialists

Ooooh, this is scary. According to the Worldwide Socialist Website, Clark has been throwing dust in the eyes of the electorate while she secretly cosies up to the Bush administration. Even the Poodle is part of a clever conspiracy to deceive.

CPAG get green light

According to Stuff, the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG) has won its bid to take legal action against the Government's Working for Families package. a reserved decision in the High Court today, Justice Ronald Young dismissed the (government's)challenge to the case going ahead.

Simply, Working for Families introduced an In Work payment that only single parents working a minimum of twenty hours or partnered parents, 30 hours, would qualify for. CPAG claim this discriminates against children of beneficiaries. I argue against the proposition here.

Just this morning I read a statement by author Margaret McClure. "As early as 1979 the New Zealand Planning Council had feared that 'the welfare state faces a built-in problem that it is almost impossible to stop doing what has been done before.'"

Ain't that the truth.

" The GDP needs our misfortune"

Pita Sharples is making a big hit in some quarters. He has charisma and presence. He is also off the planet. Here he argues that GDP grows on the back of Maori misery. That building prisons creates economic activity and treating heart attacks, which Maori men suffer more of, brings money into the country.

The construction of new prisons is not just good news for GDP - it is great news! New buildings, new jobs, associated industries and a flurry of economic activity.....

The life expectancy for Maori is significantly lower than the life expectancy of the total population; with a difference of about 7.6 years between Maori and the total population.

Heart attacks are counted to mean something in the GDP.

They bring cash in to the economy - through drugs, hospital beds, medical supplies, nurses, doctors, theatre and intensive care staff, heart surgeons and community workers who support coronary care.

I'm not an economist but this looks like Henry Hazlitt's broken window fallacy.

A vandal throws a brick through a shopkeeper's window. The shopkeeper will have to purchase a new window from a glass shop for a sum of money, say $250. A crowd of people who see the broken window decide that the broken window may have positive benefits:

"After all, if windows were never broken, what would happen to the glass business? Then, of course, the thing is endless. The glazier will have $250 more to spend with other merchants, and these in turn will have $250 to spend with still other merchants, and so ad infinitum. The smashed window will go on providing money and employment in ever-widening circles. The logical conclusion from all this would be ... that the little hoodlum who threw the brick, far from being a public menace, was a public benefactor." (p. 23 - Hazlitt)

The crowd is correct in realizing that the local glass shop will benefit from this act of vandalism. They have not considered, however, what the shopkeeper would have spent the $250 on something else if he did not have to replace the window. He might have been saving that money for a new set of golf clubs, but since he has now spent the money, he cannot and the golf shop has lost a sale. He might have used the money to purchase new equipment for his business, or to take a vacation, or to purchase new clothing. So the glass store's gain is another store's loss, so there hasn't been a net gain in economic activity. In fact, there has been a decline in the economy:

"Instead of [the shopkeeper] having a window and $250, he now has merely a window. Or, as he was planning to buy the suit that very afternoon, instead of having both a window and a suit he must be content with the window or the suit. If we think of him as a part of the community, the community has lost a new suit that might otherwise have come into being, and is just that much poorer." (p. 24 - Hazlitt)

When we lock somebody up, or we treat their heart attack, it takes money that could have been spent elsewhere adding value.

"I know - it sounds crazy," Pita says.

It sounds crazy because it is crazy.

United Future - saps

Last night United Future voted with the government against the Green's micro-chipping amendment which would have seen this pathetic idea sent back to select committee for review. The amendment was defeated 61 to 60.

In March Gordon Copeland argued vehemently for farm dog exemption, then later conceded all the arguments applied to non-farmdogs. But given the opportunity to demonstrate this concession wouldn't take it. How foolish he looks. As Hone would say, that's politix.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

"Babies having babies"

On Monday I blogged about out-of control Eltham youths. Last night 300 people turned out to a public meeting to discuss what to do (300 in a town the size of Eltham is an amazing turn-out).

Resident Mavis Higgins told the meeting, organised by the local Lions club, that petty crime, vandalism and bullying was caused principally by "too many babies having too many babies".

"They don't know how to bring up their kids and we've let the situation happen because we've sat back and done nothing," she said.

I'd have to disagree with Mavis. We've done plenty to encourage "babies having babies."

Horomia; "It is very hard working with Maori"

If you can be bothered, read through these exchanges from today's question time. Listening to it was worse. Tau tackles Te Puni Kokiri but gets tripped up with trivia, Horomia eventually tells us what he really thinks and Tariana says the opposite of what she intended.

12. Hon TAU HENARE (National) to the Minister of Mâori Affairs: Does he stand by his translated statement in the House yesterday regarding Te Puni Kôkiri that it is not right to say here whether his ministry is “a waste of time for Mâori”; if so, where does he believe Te Puni Kôkiri should be held to account?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA (Minister of Mâori Affairs): Yes, I stand by the interpretation of my statement. It is not right to say here that Te Puni Kôkiri is a waste of time for Mâori. Te Puni Kôkiri is held to account in a number of ways to this House through the parliamentary process, which includes financial reviews.

Hon Tau Henare: Does he stand by his chief executive’s position that the laws of New Zealand, passed by this very Parliament and enforced by the courts, are not prescriptive but rather merely a set of guidelines one can follow if one wishes?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Part of that I agree with, but certainly I believe that people in glasshouses should not throw stones; that certain members who should abide by the legislation that binds this House to good governance go out and leak documents from financial review committees.

Dave Hereora: What will be the specific focus of Te Puni Kôkiri over the next 12 months?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Te Puni Kôkiri is on a roll. Certainly, I remember—[Interruption] Te Puni Kôkiri’s Mâori Business Facilitation Service—and I can tell that member that this Minister of Health is going to be here for a long time—won the Vero award for the best participation development between the private sector and the public sector, and we are going to do a lot more about that. We are about keeping Mâori out of prison, about putting more Mâori into jobs, and about helping Mâori achieve a higher level of education. That is what we will do.

Tariana Turia: Tçnâ koe, Madam Speaker; tçnâ tâtou te Whare. Further to the Minister’s answer yesterday, that monitoring reports were to be found in Te Puni Kôkiri’s annual report to Parliament, and in light of Te Puni Kôkiri’s 2005 annual report, which failed to provide any information on the output purchased monitoring of other State sector agency initiatives, can he tell this Parliament what monitoring reports Te Puni Kôkiri has produced and where they are?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Te Puni Kôkiri takes its monitoring and liaising role very seriously. Te Puni Kôkiri is meeting its responsibilities under its legislation and it is doing that well—and a whole lot more. The Office of the Controller and Auditor-General found in its audit for the last financial year that there were no significant legislative breaches, and it is noted that the office gave Te Puni Kôkiri a good assessment.

Hon Tau Henare: Given the Minister’s answer to my supplementary question, which asked: “Does he stand by his chief executive’s position that the laws of New Zealand, passed by this very Parliament and enforced by the courts, are not prescriptive but rather merely a set of guidelines one can follow if one wishes?”, which part of that question does he agree with?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I agree with most of it. But I want to talk about that former Minister when National had its time in Government, in the sense of the endless reports that that Government produced on negative statistics. We should look at what this Government is doing. It should not be about leaking and it should not be about members in this House who use it to ignore the rules.

Tariana Turia: Will he direct Te Puni Kôkiri to monitor the health of nearly 50 percent of Mâori children, some 93,423 children, who will benefit from the heavily promoted in-work payment because their parents are beneficiaries; or is the monitoring of the health and well-being of tangata whenua also a waste of time?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It is a role that the Ministry of Health, steered by this Government, is managing very well. I assure the member that we have delivered reports, and supports, and those developments that we take very seriously. Working for Families is about that, and making sure that those parents and those children are being looked after is something this Government takes very, very seriously.

Tariana Turia: I seek leave to table the annual report of Te Puni Kôkiri, which clearly shows that no monitoring of other State agencies was done.

Leave granted.

Hon Phil Goff: Can the Minister confirm that during his time as Minister in charge of Te Puni Kôkiri, Mâori unemployment has halved and that the real waste of time for Mâori people was the Minister from 1996 to 1998, Tau Henare, who promised to halve unemployment among Mâori but instead increased it by 5 percent?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: Mâori unemployment has decreased by exactly 61 percent. Mâori enjoy being in work, and they enjoy being paid. That member set up three commissions, wasted a lot of money, and got nothing done for Mâori. We have done plenty for Mâori.

Hon Tau Henare: Is the Minister concerned that the recent financial review of his ministry found that it could not even answer questions about the delivery of its local level solutions programme; and when is he going to brief his ministry on what he is doing for his $180,000 per year?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It is actually $195,000. I tell that member that we have moved on, and the issue is that we are going to focus on Mâori potential. We are going to use those good deeds out of local level solutions that my friend Tariana Turia was involved in, and we are making better use of them—more Mâori in jobs, more Mâori in high level education, and more Mâori getting into asset development. It is great stuff.

Hon Phil Goff: Did the Minister find in that financial review that one Tau Henare had yet paid back the $47 he owed the department as a beneficiary, which he said he would not be paying back?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I am not too sure about that. But what did concern me is that that member flouted the laws and the rules of this great bastion of governance. He did that. He leeched us.

Hon Tau Henare: Does the Minister stand by his support of Mita Ririnui’s statement—support he gave in this House on 14 March this year—that advocacy of Mâori is tiresome; if so, what new career is he looking at now that he is tired of advocating for his people?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: I do not believe that my colleague made such a statement. But if we are honest, and we are in this party, it is stressful at times—[Interruption] Totally honest! Those members should ask Dr Sharples. They should ask Hone Harawira. It is very hard working with Mâori. Tariana Turia will tell members that. So I do not know what people he is talking about, because our people are trying at times. But me and Mita Ririnui love them, and we will do our best while we are in Government to make sure they go forward, not backwards.

Hon Tau Henare: I seek leave to table the speech of Mita Ririnui—the one where the Minister of Mâori Affairs actually supported him.

Madam SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is.

Hon Tau Henare: I wish to make a personal statement relating to the accusations that the Hon Phil Goff just raised. I advise the House that some years ago, when this issue was raised, I did pay back the $47 to the then Minister of Social Welfare, Roger Sowry.

Hon Phil Goff: I seek leave to table an extract from the Sunday Star-Times of December 2000, in which Tau Henare said he would not be paying back a social welfare payment of $47, a debt he had incurred as a beneficiary 20 years ago.

Madam SPEAKER: Leave is sought to table that document. Is there any objection? There is objection.

Hon Tau Henare: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. Just a matter of clarification, I actually said that when I was in the House. I was not in the House in 2000.

Ron Mark: Does the Minister believe that the role played by Te Puni Kôkiri in promoting the ahu whenua awards and promoting Mâori excellence in farming such as that showcased in Rotorua last Friday evening is work of value, and what feedback did Te Puni Kôkiri receive from AgResearch, Federated Farmers, Dairy InSight, and the other key players in the agricultural industry in respect of Mâori farming and Mâori development?

Hon PAREKURA HOROMIA: It was all positive, and Te Puni Kôkiri has been involved in it. The big companies and the industry training organisations were there and they reaffirmed the 1,375 Mâori who are working in the agricultural industry training organisations and whom we will move on, and up, and into employment.

Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker.

Madam SPEAKER: This is not in the guise of a supplementary question, I hope, Mr Brownlee.

Gerry Brownlee: No, it is not. I am extremely worried by the revelation in the House today that the Hon Parekura Horomia is getting a salary of $195,000. I am wondering whether we can seek leave to have him explain whether perhaps that is his salary, while other Ministers’ salaries are $216,000?

Madam SPEAKER: That is not a point of order; nor was it a supplementary question.


"Buy Kiwi-made" is another immoral programme

Apart from the anti-trade nature of this $11.5 million programme there is another aspect I find repugnant.

Importers are forced to pay government to encourage people away from their products. They are doubly-diddled.

If a bunch of NZ producers want to get together to promote Buy Kiwi-made, fine. But it should not be funded from taxation.

Misery loves company?

Why on earth would anyone google "misery"? Auckland has more people googling the word "misery" than any other city in the world.

Update; I gave in and googled "misery". This might have something to do with it:-)

What Hone thinks

Hone Harawira has launched a newsletter, Tokerau Times. As well as urging people to join the Maori roll he presses them to tune into Parliament;


Most of it is crap, but whenever the Maori Party speaks, it’s always worth listening to!

Ka Kite!!

Well, he's not wrong. And the Maori Party speeches are always entertaining if not for the sheer audacity of their ideas. Is it just me or has Parliament really degenerated of late?

Benefits of the War on Drugs

In the interests of balance here is an article about the benefits of keeping drugs illegal.

(Link from

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Census cost doubles

Thanks to parliamentary questions from Chris Tremain we now know that the budgeted cost for the 2006 Census is $74.2 million (excluding GST). This total includes the development of the online Census option. The actual costs are not yet available as the processing and output phases of the Census are still underway. The total budget for the 2001 Census was $37.9 million (excluding GST). The actual cost was approximately $39.1 million (excluding GST).

That is one heck of a lot of money, one heck of a big rise.

Imagine if, in 2011, they funded it directly. You would be presented with an invoice with your forms, billing you around $20 per person in the household. Of course the poor wouldn't be charged meaning the "rich" would have to pay considerably more - maybe $40 per person. That might focus a few minds on where the money goes.


The government is going to spend an extra $500 million on 1,000 police.

Given the amount of offending that occurs before we lock criminals up and the level of re-offending that occurs when we let them out, wouldn't we be better using the half billion on the justice system and prisons? After all, the stated aim here is reducing the number of victims.

My understanding was (some years back) that police demoralisation was largely about delivering criminals to a court system which returned them to the community.

Pensioning the Politicians

I am not hugely fussed one way or the other about Rodney Hide's participation in Dancing with the Stars. Given there wouldn't be an ACT party without him, he can write his own ticket. But I was musing about some role reversal, perhaps a similar series called "Pensioning the Politicians."

High profile contestants would partner an MP, one from each party, who would coach them on parliamentary performance. Every week each contestant would get a question and several supplementaries, and be required to make at least five points of order. The press gallery would comment and score their performance and the public would vote.

Each week we would eliminate not only the contestant but his or her buddy MP! What a great way to dump six MPs.

And, of course, as the best parliamentarian, this is the contest Rodney would win.

Very funny

Heard about this on the radio yesterday. The BBC interviewed the wrong bloke. (Thanks to the WelfareStateWe'reIn for the link.)


...stands for International Day Against Homophobia. (The 'O' is unexplained). Tomorrow is the second such day. Apart from the irritation these done-to-death "days of this " and "weeks of that" cause me, the following I found just plain baffling.

"Many people who are subjected to homophobic bullying or violence may not even identify as gay or lesbian. Schoolboys who are called “sissy” or abused for “playing like a girl”; girls labelled as tomboys; transgender women and men abused or beaten for their gender identity – are all victims of homophobia."

I don't get this. I was frequently described as a tomboy. My daughter is too. Is she a victim of homophobia?

I support the aim of, " ....ensuring that homosexual people here and throughout the world can live in freedom without fear," but this sort of silliness does GAP's cause no favours.

Don't tell the PM

Better hide this from HC. Her grand plan could kill two birds with one stone - fighting obesity and pumping up production.

Juggling a career along with being a wife or partner and parent may help to keep women healthy, scientists said this week.... the study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, McMunn and her team analysed self-reported health records of more than 2,000 women at the ages of 26 and 54 and their body mass index, a method of measuring obesity.

Information on their marital status, work history and whether they had children was also included.

The researchers found that women who had been homemakers most of their lives were most likely to report poor health, followed by single mothers and childless women.

Homemakers tended to gain weight more quickly and had the highest rate of obesity at 38 per cent while women who were employees, wives and mothers had the lowest.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Careless comment from Commissioner

The Canadian Council on Social Development publishes a quarterly journal, Perception. In their Spring 2005 edition an article appeared; View from down under, Lessons from the New Zealand Experience. The writer interviewed Graham Kelly, New Zealand's High Commissioner to Canada;

New Zealand offers a cautionary tale of how bad thing can get when government wields a machete over its social programmes......

Through the 1990s, New Zealand’s government was known not for progressive social policy, but rather the opposite – radical dismantlement of government.

Graham Kelly, a former Labour MP who for 16 years “mostly represented poor people,” refers to that period as “a revolution.”

“When Stalin sold the wheat crop to industrialize, six million people starved. It was about that scale in NZ,” says Kelly, who is now New Zealand’s High Commissioner to Canada.

Graham Kelly has been trouble before when he made careless remarks about Maori and other ethnic minorities. I am astounded that our High Commissioner to Canada would make such an ignorant statement.

CCSD published this article. Their president, Marcel Lauziere, is currently serving a two-year stint as Deputy Chief Executive of our Ministry of Social Development.

A tragic trend

In 2004 436 people died on the roads.

In 2004 488 babies were still-born.

I contrast the two because the clamour over the first is constant and strident. What have you heard about the second, beyond one or two high profile incidents?

A stillbirth is a terrible tragedy. Miscarriages are bad enough but if you go on to conceive again quite quickly the result is you have a gorgeous child who otherwise wouldn't have been. There is nothing good comes from a stillbirth. Just loss.

The rate of stillbirths steadily dropped up until 1995. The definition of a stillbirth was changed in August that year resulting in a larger number than in 1994. Since, the numbers have fluctuated in the 300's. In 2004 there was a significant jump - 40 percent up on 2003. I will post the 2005 figure when it becomes available.

There is something amiss here.

Update; In 2005 there were 362 stillbirths. A drop back to "normal" range. But still one a day.

What to do?

On one hand we wonder about stories like this, where a Turangi teenager kills another and this, where Eltham youths, "thieves, taggers, vandals and thugs" run riot.

On the other we get reports about kids who nobody will provide a home to - not even their own parents.

I'm afraid I don't see anything but our prison population continuing to rise.

UK govt to advise home births best

Given the state of the NHS perhaps it shouldn't come as a surprise that the government is considering a new policy - official advice; stay at home for the birth of your baby. Perhaps the balance has tipped and home is indeed now the safer option. Even in NZ (seven years ago at least) the maternity ward wasn't as clean as my own home. I'll spare you the details.

The Independent on Sunday reported yesterday that Tony Blair's Labour Government is planning a "strategic shift" in childbirth policy away from hospital delivery and has commissioned research to support the case for home births. and "challenge the assumption that births should take place in hospitals".

The Secretary of State wants to "demedicalise" pregnancy

Where Britain goes, we usually follow. Given the huge push over the past 2-3 decades to shorten the maternity stay (even resorting to bribes), having no stay at all should look pretty appealing to struggling health boards.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Disenchantment with the State

The enormous cost of a handful of Christchurch crime families made news this week. Here is an excellent Hawkes Bay Today editorial by the consistently good Louis Pierard.

....a study in Hawke's Bay would likely show families that perpetuate the plundering of others with equal enthusiasm and cost; families for whom "parenting" is merely the biological imperative of reproduction; in which the young are schooled exclusively and extensively in the parasitic arts and in exploiting the law that is supposed to be discouraging them.

When Canterbury's statistics are extrapolated nationwide, it is little wonder disenchantment - of public and police - runs so deep at the State's record of protecting its citizens from crime.

"The man who would be Gordon's guru"

Fraser Nelson of the Spectator talks to libertarian author Charles Murray.

"Here's what I don't understand. Gordon Brown is very well-read, including books he doesn't agree with. He will have noticed things are getting worse. Things have not just failed to improve as welfare has increased; civil society in lower-income Britain is going off a cliff. So why doesn't he ask whether there could possibly be a relationship between the welfare efforts he is making, and the deterioration observed?"

"Cruelty consists of a glib assumption that government support for children can compensate for the absence of the father. That is an assumption which is now refuted by a mountain of data. In the United States, unlike Britain, there has been a wealth of studies on children in different marital situations. You can control for income, race, all the usual suspects. Again and again the same findings come out: children do best raised by both biological parents, whether you measure depinquency, truancy, psychological development, anything."

"A divorced mother is next best. Doesn't really matter if she remarries or not, step-fathers don't do much good. And way down the ladder, right at the bottom, are the outcomes of children born to single women. This has been proven again and again, yet when I go over the England and talk, scholars over there are not even aware that this literature exists in the United States. It's a kind of head-in-the-sand thing, yet what we are talking about is empirical fact, with which Britain refuses to come to grips."

"I think the Left finds it very difficult to give up its power to stage-manage the lives of the people it is trying to help. Allowing people to do what they want causes them deep distress. Gordon Brown seems to show this as much as anybody."

But will Murray's thinking shape the Conservatives? Murray holds out little hope.

"Just look at the Tories, including my dear friend David Willetts, calling for a softer, kinder Conservative Party. It's hopeless. For some reason, in England you still cannot say,'I want to slash all those welfare programmes because they are screwing poor people to the wall.'"

My note. You can't say it in New Zealand either.

Funding Women's Refuge 2

Earlier in the week I was critical of the Women’s Refuge asking for more taxpayer money when the major cause of their under-funding seemed to come from the big jump in the average length of stay. I asked why refuges were being used as an accommodation source when the government provides state housing and accommodation supplements.

This reveals that around 400 women, staying in refuges for sometimes over a year, are immigrants who don’t qualify for benefits. It should also be said that the rise in domestic violence is due in part to growth of some ethnic populations.

Getting this sort of information out to the public is critical. I am more inclined to put my hand in my own pocket now I understand the problem.