Saturday, October 14, 2006

Being Maori

This is from Hone Harawira's newsletter;

You know you're a Maori when ... you go to the ball with your cousin; a nice restaurant is an 'all you can eat' place; you visit the cuzzies, and someone's wearing the clothes you left behind last time; you have brothers or sisters with different mothers or fathers; you’re at a party, and your uncle turns the stereo off and starts playing the guitar; and your older brother makes you cry and you’re the one who gets a hiding for crying.

Maori and Pakeha are different IF we live by generalisations. Trouble is most people have become scared of admitting we are different because that seems to imply better or worse. I am quite happy with different, both having our strengths and weaknesses. But I would love to be able to understand the language.

I've long been interested in learning Maori. Started a course once but it wasn't quite what I had in mind being geared towards helping Maori speak Maori and based on quite rough conversational English. Now I have this new book which comprises short lessons and exercises. The trouble again is that I'm not convinced the author has a thorough understanding of English. That means that a given pronounciation, based on an English example, can be difficult to comprehend. I could be wrong.

Is there any interest out there in my posting some of the lessons? Perhaps one every two or three days? Anybody else want to pick up some more of the language?

I was with a Maori friend yesterday and we were watching a wood pigeon and she was grasping for the Maori word, "" I finished it for her. She too would like to learn te reo and believes it can be picked up to a passable level of comprehension in the space of a year.

There may even be a Maori speaker who reads this blog who could throw some light on any difficulties.

So, is there any interest?

Collectivising cock-ups

Labour and the Greens have both launched campaigns asking their members and supporters to help payback their election over-spending debt. As far as I am aware ACT has not.

As I said previously I am not voluntarily paying for other people's mistakes. We get enough of that through taxation.

So it makes me quite sick to see the collective mentality at work with the first two parties. In our 'caring and sharing way' let's all be responsible for this cock-up. Well it wouldn't surprise me if members and supporters don't quite see it that way. At least one commentor on the Frog blog doesn't.

"I personally think that the MP’s wages should pay at least two thirds of the debt, if I even cared about recompense, because if we as individuals over spend to get a job then the money comes from our pocket’s. Or maybe a vote of confidence within the party’s and the for and against vote became the quotient the sitting member’s were liable for. Taking away some of their privilege might get them thinking more about what it’s like to be us… responsible for our action’s."

It must have passed the commentor by that the Greens are not into individual responsibility.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Teenage birth rate variability revealed

This is a strange headline; Teen pregnancy linked to wealth
A better summation would be, teenage pregnancy linked to poverty. Also the article is mainly about teenage birth, not pregnancy. However, this is important information that I have been looking for. Other countries have established the link. Now New Zealand joins them.

The numbers

* 65.8 girls per 1000 aged 15-19 gave birth in the most economically deprived areas, classified as decile 10.

* 6.92 per 1000 gave birth in the most affluent areas, or decile one.

That is a massive variation. Yesterday one of Sue Bradford's supporters challenged Dalrymple saying, if girls get pregnant for the DPB why is the teenage birth rate going down? This is a common objection from the left.

Yes, overall the teenage birth rate is going down BUT we do not know that the teenage birthrate amongst the poorest, those most likely to choose or default to a welfare lifestyle, is going down.

Last year the overall teenage (15-19) birth rate was 27 per 1,000, the abortion rate was 25 per 1,000.

The fact that the overall teenage birthrate has dropped in no way disproves a link between the availability of welfare and teenage birth. The main reason for the drop over the past 20 or so years is clearly abortion. Teenage births peaked in 1972 at 69. But that was before legalised abortion and the morning-after pills. Unwanted births were much harder to avoid.

And why is teenage birth a cause for concern? Are you listening Tariana?

I will quote from the Christchurch Health and Development Study;

"Specifically, early parenthood has far reaching physical, social and emotional consequences including an increased risk of antenatal complications and mortality, failure to complete schooling, socio-economic disadvantage, welfare dependence, marital difficulties, maternal depression and less competent parenting. In addition, children born to teenage mothers have higher rates of health problems, physical injury, behavioural difficulties, cognitive problems, and educational under-achievement than children born to older mothers."


This is fascinating. I'll just paste the full press release for your edification.

Maori To Make Treaty Claim For British Pensions
Thursday, 12 October 2006, 9:25 am
Press Release: David Rankin
12 October 2006

Maori To Make Treaty Claim For British Pensions

The leader of Northland's Matarahurahu hapu, David Rankin, has announced that he will be lodging claim with the Waitangi Tribunal for his people to be entitled to British pensions on reaching retirement age.

Mr. Rankin claims that Article Three of the Treaty, which guarantees Maori 'the same rights and privileges as British subjects', entitles the Matarahurahu people the right to this pension.

'I see this extending to other areas as well', says Mr. Rankin. We may expand the claim to include British passports, unemployment benefits, and other entitlements', he says.

The claim will be lodged at the end of October.

Dominated by libertarians

ACT is now dominated by libertarians, according to a disgruntled board member who has just resigned. Is it?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

NZ First support EBs

Apparently the Education Minister is accusing National of a "cash for policy" deal for the Exclusive Brethren regarding independent schools. A pleasant surprise - NZ First has gone in to bat for the EBs.

Dalrymple/Bradford debate

Here's the thing. Sue Bradford has a very dim view of the human nature. Every beneficiary is a blameless victim and their capacity to be anything else is limited. People are "forced" into the benefit system.

Theodore Dalrymple sees human beings as people with a capacity to make choices, to adapt, to be resourceful. He is not advocating abolishing the welfare state overnight but calling a halt to the future availability of benefits.

WELFARE CONDEMNS MORE KIDS THAN IT SAVES. Dalrymple argued for the statement and easily, gently and humourously, carried the day.

I asked a question. There had been a brief discussion of the welfare reforms in the US which Dalrymple admitted he wasn't an expert on but understood that they had been instigated with the weight of public opinion on board. Where, then, is British public opinion, (given NZ is more likely to be influenced by their government's actions?)

Mr Dalrymple responded that they weren't even having the debate. And that NZ shouldn't follow anything the UK does.

Welfare and Social Security spending up again

Given all the self-congratulatory compliments Labour pays itself over having the second lowest unemployment rate in the OECD one begins to wonder when it will start to show.

Year to June 2006 spending has risen to $15.598 billion - a 6.2 percent rise on the previous year at $14.682 billion.

According to Treasury, Social security and welfare expenses increasing by $0.9 billion due to the annual indexation of welfare benefits and the first full year impact of the Working for Families Package.

I suppose we should be thankful it hasn't risen any higher. This is the highest figure ever.

"Frivolous Politics"

This is a good column by Thomas Sowell entitled Frivolous Politics. "Frivolous" pertains to politicians and the media blowing up private lives and not-so substantial events, as we have witnessed here over the past months. But it also describes an approach to more serious matters.

Relieved they aren't sex-pots

Here's something to really worry us. Christchurch women have the lowest libido, according to a sexual health doctor speaking at a menopause conference (yikes). But Mayor Gary Moore is unphased. He says, "It's quite nice for it to be known that we're not the sex-pot capital of the world."

Politics first

Hone Harawira is refusing to help any constituent who isn't on the Maori roll. Obviously he can only get a party vote from someone on the general roll so they are no use to him. I can understand his reasoning but in his shoes I would be assessing whether I could help somebody based on what their problem was, not what roll they are on. Maybe I am the fool.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006


Are you depressed? Find out by going to Nanny's new website and taking the test.

I was alright until I discovered the website, part of a new $6.4 million campaign.

Now my feelings of irritability and frustration indicate I MAY NEED HELP.

Pot calling kettle black

Sue Bradford gave a speech last week primarily promoting her section 59 repeal bill which should have its final reading before Parliament rises for the Xmas break. An interesting speech, highly readable, quite thought-provoking and disturbing in parts. I have symapthy for Bradford's opposition to the fundamentalists stance and material but that isn't the main issue. I remain unconvinced that passing her bill will make one iota of difference to the worst offenders and too much power will be conferred on the police and CYFS.

She also touches however on the Kahui case.

Fallout from the Kahui tragedy

I’d like to turn now, just briefly, to an associated topic, which is the political fallout from the tragic death of the Kahui twins. There was something about the fact that it was twins who were killed that touched everyone very deeply, no matter our political persuasion, yet of course the responses are highly politicised.

The nadir in the media came with Emerson’s cartoon in the ‘Herald’ depicting a level of overt racism against Maori I can’t remember seeing for decades, and in Parliament, from National using the tragedy as an opportunity for a renewed attack on an already inadequate benefit system.

The ideology of ‘blame the victim, not the system’ is alive and well in Aotearoa today. As usual, Maori and beneficiaries are right up front on the receiving end.

While I’m not for a moment suggesting that whoever killed these babies shouldn’t be held to account for their actions, at the same time it is alarming the way in which this particular case has been used as an opportunity for a new assault by the Right on tangata whenua and the welfare system....

What we shouldn’t be doing is removing benefits and income-related rents, as Rodney Hide suggested in the House when debating the Kahui case. The consequences of that course of action are almost unimaginable in terms of a total descent into crime, violence, neglect and children who run the risk of being literally discarded, as we see in societies where infanticide or the killing of street kids are everyday evils.

After dwelling at length on the hysteria generated against her bill by various Right groups this is pretty rich.

"An artist of idleness tells how to work the system for 24 years"

This is great. French beneficiary writes a book about his years of living contentedly off the welfare system. Begs the question why somebody in this country doesn't produce such a useful manual.

Monday, October 09, 2006

What is going on?

Media Release
9 October 2006

The Ministry of Social Development is no longer prepared to supply data unless it forms part of one of its own self-generated reports. According to welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell, "Previously I have encountered no difficulty in obtaining quite detailed data from the Ministry. But two recent requests have met with a refusal to provide information."

Ministry of Social Development Chief Executive, Peter Hughes, says, "The information you have requested is not held by the Ministry.... Although the Ministry may collect the data you have requested it is considered 'raw data'." The raw data, " not captured by any current reports that are run by the Ministry....the Ministry regularly reports on benefit statistics via its website. The Ministry's view is that this reporting substantially meets the public interest in this matter."

Mitchell says, "This recent use of the Official Information Act's clause 18(g), that a Ministry need not generate new information, is a departure which raises a number of questions, the obvious being, why isn't the Ministry regularly generating reports about the nature and number of children on benefits? "

"In August I asked, 'How many children are attached to the benefits of 18 and 19 year-olds currently on the DPB? How many single parents with dependent children are currently on any form of benefit and how many children are attached to these benefits?' Peter Hughes has refused to answer these questions."

"Previously I have asked similar, if not more specific questions (see below) and answers have been provided. Clearly there has been a change in policy. Does this have anything to do with a change in Minister?"

"The most pressing concern I have, however, is the ability of the Ministry to censor information simply by not generating their own reports. They are defining what is and isn't in the public interest."

"When the Labour government came to power in 1999 the Prime Minister promised transparency and accountability. In this respect the Ministry of Social Development is not delivering."

Previous questions;

'What are the ages of the children dependent on those single parents on a benefit who first received a benefit aged under twenty?'

Answered with a table current at February 2005.

'In respect of those single parents with dependent children who first started on a benefit under twenty, how many children are attached to their current benefit?'

Answered with a table current at February 2005

'How many children are currently supported by benefits and what is the break-down by benefit type?'

Answered with a table current at October 2004.

'What are the numbers of children supported by NZ Superannuation, War Pensions, Orphan's Benefit and non-beneficiaries?'

Answered with a table current at October 2004.

'How many DPB recipients have only one child recorded on their benefit and what are the ages of these children?'

Answered with a table current at May 2004.

Bad idea

It was recently suggested to me that the DPB should only be available for one child. That would not stop the abuse I explained. In 2004 just under half of recipients had only one child but 55 percent of those had a child aged five or older. What do they do all day while living off the taxpayer at a cost of around $600,000,000 a year?

Instead of one child, what about one year?

Russia's outlook

Russians are a dying population according to this fascinating but grim article.

Russia is rapidly losing population. Its people are succumbing to one of the world's fastest-growing AIDS epidemics, resurgent tuberculosis, rampant cardiovascular disease, alcohol and drug abuse, smoking, suicide and the lethal effects of unchecked industrial pollution.

In addition, abortions outpaced births last year by more than 100,000. An estimated 10 million Russians of reproductive age are sterile because of botched abortions or poor health. The public healthcare system is collapsing. And many parents in more prosperous urban areas say they can't afford homes large enough for the number of children they'd like to have.

Truant kids babysit while parents party

This is no surprise. Get the quote from the youth aid officer, "Those parents shouldn't have kids if that's what they're doing," stating the blindingly obvious.

In Te Kauwhata, truancy officer Girlie Iwihora found one set of parents drinking at a party during the morning while their nine-year-old child, who should have been at school, looked after his six-month-old sibling.

Both truancy officers said the cases were not isolated.

"I'm dealing with more situations like this everyday, where children are put in this kind of environment," Ms Te Heuheu said.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Mustn't offend the Maori Party

ACT says it could go with Labour if Labour cut taxes. Ho hum. But this is the bit of the article that interests me.

And he (Rodney Hide) said the National Party, which also offended the Maori Party when Brash suggested there were no full blooded Maori left, was "increasingly isolated".

It worries me that ACT are going to spend the next two years trying to stay on side with the Maori Party. Many of their ideas are the antithesis of what a classical liberal party should be promoting.

Ironically, it might offend Tariana Turia that ACT could consider going with her antagonists, the Labour Party.

Let's hope he passes the "test"

Gresham Marsh killed an elderly couple in 1994. He is serving a life sentence. Marsh's three sisters oppose his release. Apparently he is a time-bomb who will reoffend. Rowene Marsh-Potaka says, "I have dedicated my life to keep my brother inside in order to save another victim's life. Mark my words, if he is released he will kill again."

On September 19 the parole board said it supported supervised home leave to test if his (Marsh's) improved behaviour was genuine or a "manipulation" that could be trusted.

Last week three guards managed to lose a Arohata patient while she was at the local dentist.