Saturday, June 03, 2006

Bloggers too blokey

A Guardian journalist who likes to put people in boxes.

"Men used to go fishing when they wanted to get away from 'the wife' and swap smutty jokes. Now they take up blogging.....Today, it is one of the more useful services - some might argue, the single valuable service of the political blogosphere - to afford interested women a similar glimpse of what respectable middle-aged men do when they think themselves unobserved."

Double Standards

What a dilemma, when you agree with one sentiment expressed by a group whose main agenda is an obnoxious anathema. The National Front took out ads in a local newspaper describing National and Labour as Tweedledee and Tweedledum government. Well, if that's not true already there can be little doubt they are heading that way.

The National Front also called for "equal rights for kiwi whites". Wrong. They should be calling for equal rights for all individuals. BUT notice the furor over their ads while national ads claiming Maori Genocide earlier in the week passed under the radar. The Maori Smokefree Coalition can apparently make quite offensive claims without repurcussion.

Friday, June 02, 2006

April 1, 1939

Get the date. This marked the introduction of benefits to meet need of any kind. The new emphasis was on legal entitlement and disbursement of cash - no questions asked. That was not the department's responsibility.

A 5 percent tax on salaries, wages and other income was levied, along with a registration fee. Any other necessary funds were to be appropriated from the consolidated fund.

What's with National?

State Owned Enterprises and Economic Development Minister Trevor Mallard today announced a change in policy for State Owned Enterprises, which will encourage them to get into new business areas to help build New Zealand's wealth.

Labour must abandon its policy of rewarding cronies by appointments to State Owned Enterprise boards if they are to succeed in expanding, says National Finance spokesman John Key.

Labour's encouragement of State Owned Enterprises to invest in areas outside their core business is a tragic policy, says ACT Leader Rodney Hide.

Fatherhood US-style

A federal report released yesterday found that 47 percent of American men without a high-school diploma have fathered a child out of wedlock, compared with about 6 percent of college graduates.

There's the welfare spring.

Dob-in a dope

A dob-in phoneline has been launched for people who are sick of having their letterboxes stuffed full of unwanted junk mail.

Down our street there is a section from which the house has been removed. There is no house but there is always junkmail sticking out of the letterbox. But dob-in the culprit?
Probably some dopey kid, MP3 stuck in his ear, away with the fairies.
What the heck. At least he's got a job.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

UK Child Support Agency "to be scrapped"

Very interesting, actually exciting news from my friend Bruce Tichbon. The UK Child Support Agency is to be scrapped.

The Times has learnt that, in future, separating parents will be told to sort out their own financial arrangements with the help of national guidelines on appropriate levels of child maintenance.

Ministers will be accused of letting down some of the most vulnerable families in the country. However, they will argue that, when parents separate, the Government should get involved only as a last resort, not as soon as the break-up happens.

Frank Field, a former welfare reform minister, said that he would welcome any move to keep warring parents away from the agency.

“The power of the State should only be used against people who fail to meet minimum requirements of good parenting.”

No less than you would expect from the deeply considered Frank Field.

Correct me if I'm wrong but this agency has been around for about the same time as the IRD Child Support Agency. Certainly the NZ Child Support Act came out of the early nineties. The most iniquitous piece of legislation.

(Dunne is fiddling with it at the moment but don't hold your breath.)
Three boys were talking:
"What does your dad do, Tom?"
"He's an airline pilot"
"Wow! And what does your dad do, Dick?"
"He's a racing driver."
"Cool! What does your dad do, Harry?"
"He's a Cabinet Minister."
"No, just the normal sort."

(Hat-tip Adam Smith)

Awatere Huata back in court

Donna must really like standing in the dock. She will appear in the Hastings District Court on June 30 on tax offence charges after not filing tax returns for 2003,2004 and 2005. I suppose she'll be nice and handy on the day. Must be planning her wardrobe and hairdo as we speak.

Maori Party Must Refocus

It is not my intention to run a one-man crusade against the Maori Party but, apart from some weak protestations from Labour Maori MPs, they get carte blanche to make all sorts of claims. Here is my latest advice to them as posted at Scoop


Staples Rodney has just announced June 1 is this year's Tax Freedom Day. A cheerful thought for the first day of winter........what the?? winter?? Yes. You are now working into winter to satisfy the government's avaricious appetite

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Fast forward to 2020

News report from 2020.

"In 2011 parliament passed Hone Harawira's smoke-free Aoteoroa legislation. After the revolution fewer people smoked but thousands of tobacco addicts continued to drive a huge black market. Crime spread into suburbs previously unscathed. More people were exposed to illegal drugs they had formerly had no contact with.

Poverty rose, especially among children, as tobacco prices escalated. Lung cancer rates dropped but obesity-related diabetes continued to sky-rocket. In 2011, the government was forced to increase income taxes to make-up the $700 million shortfall from lost tobacco sales revenue. Taxes were increased again in 2015 and 2018 to fund additional pressure on the health system and law and order spending. Authorities also began recording fatalities due to the ingestion of impure or contaminated tobacco.

A Royal Commission was established last year to review the financial and social costs of tobacco prohibition. Its report is due to be published later this year and is likely to lend weight to an ACT private member's bill to repeal prohibition legislation."
These are the ads the Maori Smokefree Coalition have published today. The top one appears as a full page advertisement in the DomPost. Any idea what a full page ad costs? These ads are intended to be "provocative". Given the Maori population is growing faster than non-Maori, using the term "endangered species" only provokes amusement here.


Apparently drug addicts are committing crimes so they can get into prison to recieve treatment. Prison psychiatrist, Theodore Dalrymple, writes about similar efforts whereby the addict makes a suicide bid for the same reason. But in a bizarre turn of events there are British prisons considering "quietly retoxifying" addicts due for release. Otherwise there is a risk that when released the prisoner, whose tolerance has declined while inside, kills himself with an accidental overdose!

If they don't value their own life, why should the rest of us? Leave them alone to get on with it. Even more bizarre is we spend millions trying to stop the production of drugs, millions trying to persuade people not to use them, millions putting people through the courts and locking them up, millions policing all the associated crime because we insist on prohibition, and now some to make sure these hapless creatures will be back for more.

If grown-ups want to smoke, drink, drug or eat themselves to an early grave - let them.

Revenue gathering taken to extreme

This happened just down the road from where I lived in London. The photo made me feel a bit nostalgic but the story didn't.

The dead donkey

Michael bought a donkey from an old farmer for £100. The farmer agreed to deliver the donkey the next day, but when he drove up he said, "Sorry son, bad news...the donkey is on my truck, but he's dead." Michael replied, "OK, just give me my money back." The farmer said, "I can't do that. I've already spent it."

Michael told him to unload the donkey anyway. When the farmer asked what he intended to do with it, Michael replied, "I'm going to raffle him off." The farmer exclaimed, "But you can't raffle a dead donkey!" But Michael, with a big smile on his face, said "Sure I can. Watch me. I just won't tell anybody that he's dead."

A month later the farmer saw him again and asked, "What happened with that dead donkey?" Michael told him, "I raffled it off. I sold 500 tickets at £2 each and made a huge profit" Totally amazed, the farmer asked, "Didn't anyone complain that you'd defrauded them with a dead donkey?" Michael replied, "The only guy who found out the donkey was dead was the raffle winner when he came to claim his prize. So I gave him his £2 back plus £200 extra, which is double the going value of a donkey, so he thought I was a great guy."

Michael grew up and eventually became Minister of Finance, and no matter how many times he lied or how much money he stole from New Zealand voters, as long as he gave them back some of the stolen money, most of them thought he was a great guy.

Hat tip Adam Smith

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Pathetic excuse

An Auckland woman has been given 180 hours community service for chopping down a tree on her property. A representative of the council spoke to Larry Williams about this. He suggested their approach was rather zealous, to which she responded, if everybody was allowed to cut down trees imagine what the environment would look like, "We've seen the carnage."

Well isn't it strange that garden centres and nurseries are more popular than ever, that the environments where private homes predominate are more attractive, that so many people want to move onto lifestyle blocks, grow trees and protect their privacy. What a pathetic excuse for an outrage. What really motivates these people?

Maori Party should come clean

Hone Harawira has a column in the DomPost today about his aim to boot tobacco companies out of NZ (no link sorry). There are any number of points that could be argued eg he says smoking is not a choice, it is a disease, but I have chosen to argue the futility of prohibition.

Dear Editor

Maori Party MP, Hone Harawira's aim (DomPost, May 30) to boot tobacco companies out of New Zealand leaves questions about what comes after.

Many people already smoke tailor-made cigarettes sparingly and generally roll their own. If they can't buy their tobacco from the supermarket or dairy what does Hone think they will do? Give up?

We have been strikingly unsuccessful in stopping the cultivation and importation of cannabis. Only recently the DomPost ran a front page story about a Porirua tinnie house turning over huge money. Porirua's top detective was quoted as saying in some New Zealand suburbs it is easier to buy cannabis than tobacco.

If the Maori Party wants to drive tobacco underground then they should make that absolutely clear. We can then consider whether the downsides of banning legal production will be worse than the problem Harawira seeks to remedy.

Brave question

"Can a welfare culture that has no work ethic be in a position to prepare its children for school?"

Perhaps this is the question last week's hui (as commented on yesterday) should have been asking. The question is lifted from a debate over whether Aboriginal culture should continue to be taught in schools. But take the question in isolation. Forget ethnicity and focus on the "welfare culture" which can affect all races, albeit disproportionately.

(Do you notice the Aussies are more prepared to discuss these types of issues than we are?)

Abortions at home for 10,000

Abortions at home for 10,000

Not for the squeamish really. As far as I am aware this drug is not used in New Zealand. When I read about growing abortion rates, New Zealand included, I just wish that more people took a bit more care in the first place.

"Brash speech shows he's worried, says Clark"

"Brash speech shows he's worried, says Clark"

Well of course he's bloody worried. So am I, as we edge further towards becoming a Scandinavian-like state with a layer of separatism thrown in; as we fall behind not just Australia but other up-and-coming nations with more daring and vision than we collectively possess; as we fail to attract highly skilled migrants or get used as a stepping stone to Australia; as we refuse to face a growing ill-educated, ambitionless underclass fuelled by welfare. Hell's bells Helen. So should you be.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Stuff the ceremonies

Prince Philip is at it again. I love it.

"I am truly fed up with the opening and closing ceremonies. They are a pain in the neck," said the Queen's husband, renowned for his outspoken views and political gaffes.

"Opening and closing ceremonies ought to be banned. Absolute bloody nuisances. I have been to one that was absolutely, appallingly awful."

Philip said he hoped to do "as little as possible" during the London Olympics in 2012.

Yet another hui.....

The usual bunch of suspects get together and make all the predictable noises.The scene, a workshop about families;

Governor-General Dame Silvia Cartwright told delegates New Zealand family life had undergone dramatic and rapid change. Fewer people were marrying, women were choosing to have fewer children and at a later age, and single-parent and multiple-parent families were becoming "very common".

But she said the changes were exciting and families had not lost their importance in society.

Interesting choice of word don't you think?

Judge Beecroft, in juxtaposition said, "Building strong functioning families with strong male role models is perhaps the fundamental crime-fighting initiative we could deliver to the community."

Honestly. And this is a job for the state? Perhaps he thinks if the state undid it then the state can put it back together again.

And what great wisdom from the Children's Commissioner?

Dr Kiro, who first mooted the ID proposal, said it was important that every child had "a set direction and a plan".

The assessments, which are likely to include health, reading and literacy tests, would take into account the "whole child" across a range of agencies.

Oh thank goodness "they" know what they are doing. "They" are going to take care of my children. Now if anything goes wrong it'll be "their" fault - not mine.

That'll make me a much better parent.


Look out! Here comes Tana and he's got Mum's handbag.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Welfare pre-industrial times

Today I was told there was no welfare system in pre-industrial times. I pointed out that in England the Elizabethan Poor Law required parishes to tax and provide assistance to the poor - the aged, the unemployed, widows and deserted wives.

But, according to another person, I am confusing charity and welfare.

From this I gather that because the church (parish) was involved the welfare provided was deemed "charity".

But the church, at that time, was very much part of the state machinery. The law required tax to be collected and redistributed through the parish. This is "public" welfare. Charity is "private" welfare. It is a matter of private individuals giving to a cause voluntarily either of their time or from their pocket (although there is some blurring today with many organisations classed as charities also getting govt grants.)

I am going to use the words of author David Thomson to briefly describe the Britain most of our settlers came out of.

There had been a long "historical cycle of alternation between personal and public responsibilities in welfare matters."

During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries "dependence on public support (was) a signal part of the English way of Life".

But the nineteenth century saw a turn against public assistance. During the early 1800's there were, "Repeated government investigations of work and poor relief through those years, which stressed the failure of employemnt subsidy in the stagnating and impoverished south, while free-market progress was booming in the north...there were also increased penalties against those who refuse to work or who failed to maintain their children....during the late 1860's...arguments against public assistance and in favour of the individual and family responsibility reached a new crusading pitch....self-help, independence, opposition to compulsory public support, and the lauding of voluntary effort were all standard features of the later-nineteenth century in western Europe and North America, as well as Australasia."

Unfortunately intergenerational memory is weak and during the twentieth century most western nations began to rebuild their public assistance programmes. This is what people now commonly refer to as the "welfare state". But it's not new.

And now we are once more out on the extreme of the pendulum trajectory, with state or public support having run to its useful and sustainable limits.

Meanwhile, back in Naenae...

Interest in Naenae seems to be gaining traction around the blogs. Here's another insight from Big News and a cautionary note from Oswald Bastable.
I missed my weekly visit to Naenae this past but had the pleasure of spending time in and around some Wellington council houses which are in even worse repair than the state ones I have seen. There's no getting away from mould resulting from the use of acrylic paint in bathrooms but cracks in windows can be hidden if you don't open the curtains.

I don't until "I do"

Kids that make chastity pledges are not keeping them. Well I never.

The debate over sex education vs abstinence rages on in the US. There are pitfalls with either approach. But a comment by an abstinence advocate who tours schools caught my eye;

(Yet) the effect of all that “sex ed”, argued Keith Deltano, a former teacher who tours schools advocating abstinence, is that the average American is exposed to between 240,000 and 480,000 sex acts before reaching the age of 18.

I have no idea what he means. Do you?