Saturday, November 18, 2006

Children into care, Families into care...same thing really

Putting entire families into care is the next approach on the agenda for dealing with welfare and drug dependent parents with children. Apparently this is a common strategy used in Sweden so has Sue Bradford's backing. Hang on. I thought Sweden was some kind of promised land where families weren't dysfunctional, thanks to the state running their lives for them. Funnily enough Green co-leader, Russel Norman, apparently said, in a debate about Rodney Hide's Regulatory Responsibility Bill that the Greens share ACT's suspicion of the state. Has anybody told Sue?

Less Government = more wealth

Socialists believe, when you claim the above, it's all about putting more money in your own pocket. Because that's the way they think. What's in it for me? And they assume everybody else does. After all it's always lefties trying to live off somebody else.

But more wealth benefits everybody and reduces poverty. And more wealth requires less government. A new Goldwater Institute report out of the US proves it. The great thing about the states is that each one does its own thing and the results can be compared.

The report, which can be downloaded from the NCPA link begins;

In modern politics, many believe that the government plays the role of Robin Hood. Through progressive taxation and spending, proponents believe that government reduces poverty while making everyone pay their fair share. The pages that follow will empirically evaluate the effectiveness of state government as Robin Hood.

NCPA summarises;

# The 10 states with the highest state spending per capita (Alaska, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming) saw an average increase of 7.3 percent of overall poverty rates and a 4.5 percent increase in childhood poverty.

# The 10 states with the lowest spending (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas) saw overall poverty decline by 11.2 percent and childhood poverty fall 12.2 percent.

The dramatic declines in poverty in the "small government" states strongly confirms the hypothesis that reduced taxes and state spending encourages the emigration of people and businesses to areas where private-sector job growth is able to flourish and become a powerful and effective antipoverty program, says Ladner. And while taxes and business climate alone are not the only factors in reducing poverty rates, they certainly go a long way in helping fight the war on poverty.

And from the report a couple of highlights; Colorado, the only state operating under a Taxpayer Bill of Rights reduced poverty more than any other state during the 90s. (It'll be interesting to see what impact suspending it will have.)

Wisconsin, which led the way in welfare reform, experienced strong drops in poverty rates.

Bear in mind this report pertains only to the 90s.

Rubbing their noses in it

Film maker, Michael Moore is such a magnanimous guy. Read this - his pledge to the Republicans. Just to give you a taste here's number 5;

5) When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you too will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why do we need state telly?

Stuff poll asks, Which free-to-air television channel do you prefer?

TV One (863 votes, 16.3%)

TV2 (767 votes, 14.5%)

TV3 (2382 votes, 45.0%)

C4 (222 votes, 4.2%)

Prime (738 votes, 14.0%)

Triangle (36 votes, 0.7%)

Maori TV (191 votes, 3.6%)

Other (89 votes, 1.7%)

The "Who do we adults think we are?" Forum

This is a report from a UNICEF forum held yesterday (I think). I wonder what you will make of it? I have interspersed some comments.

What emerged from the forum was a declaration that New Zealanders generally, and professionals in particular, need to start watching their language. People who care about the wellbeing of children and young people need to start following the feminist example of challenging disrespectful jokes and language that put women down, and start being strong about challenging ways of talking that are disrespectful of children as fellow human beings.

Has the 'feminist example' improved relations between the sexes or the level of violence adults are subjected to?

Too often children are talked about dismissively as if their value lay in the adults they will become rather than the human beings they are now. The forum challenges adult New Zealanders to listen to themselves and to not just demand respect, but to give it too.

I thoroughly respect my kids when they act in ways that deserve respect and I try to remember to remark on it to them. When they don't, I let them know.

'Children are often talked about and talked to in ways that are incredibly disrespectful’ says David Kenkel the UNICEF advocacy manager for New Zealand. He went on to add. ‘If you talked about any other group in society in the disparaging and dismissive way that children are so often talked about you’d face serious complaints.’

As well as silly complaints.

This is particularly true for teenagers, we demand respect from them but don’t always give respect in the ways we talk to them and about them. Think about what it must be like to be constantly described as a problem in media and conversation and to be viewed with suspicion when you and friends walk down the road just because of your age?’

I seem to remember not weeks ago many NZers fighting for the rights of young adults as largely responsible and respectable young individuals.

Dr Ian Hassall , New Zealand’s former commissioner for children described how children are loved and cherished in the private spheres of family life but that this attitude and way of talking doesn’t always cross over into the public sphere where too often children are described as if they were troublesome and burdensome. When a phrase like ‘they were no trouble’ is the best praise you can say in public about a child it says something about how the public sphere sees children as needing to be quiet deferential and obedient. Of course they can never conform to these expectations because they are human beings just like the rest of us.

Quiet, deferential and obedient? He's kidding. Very few parents harbour such old-fashioned expectations. It's rather nice if it happens but generally children make noise, think about themselves first and regularly test the boundaries.

These people are really trying too hard.

Milton Friedman dies

Classically Liberal reports on the very recent passing of Milton Friedman.

My thoughts turn to a live-link interview he and his wife Rose conducted with an ACT conference audience about 3-4 years ago. His mind was crystal sharp at over 90. This will be a great loss, especially for his wife with whom he co-authored much work.

Benson-Pope - wrong again

Yesterday he told Parliament, 'People coming off a benefit in the last year outnumbered those going on to any benefit by a ratio of 4:1.'

If Mr Benson-Pope understood his portfolio he would immediately recognise that this is simply not possible.

Typically between 50 and 60 percent of the total caseload turns over each year. With a current caseload of around 280,000 at least 140,000 will have been new applications granted in the past year. In which case 560,000 people must have come off any benefit to satisfy a 4:1 ratio. That is impossible

The quality of the advice Benson-Pope is getting from the Ministry is very poor but his inability to recognise this is even more worrying.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

US Congressman Ron Paul's weekly column

Demographic Reality and the Entitlement State

November 13, 2006

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, is an investigative arm of Congress charged with the thankless task of accounting for the money received and spent by the federal government. As you might imagine, people who spend all day examining the nitty-gritty realities of federal spending and deficits might not share the voters' enthusiasm for grand campaign promises.

David Walker, Comptroller General at GAO, has been on a speaking tour of the U.S recently-- and he pulls no punches when explaining just how precarious our nation's entitlement system really is.

He explains that Social Security and Medicare are headed for a train wreck because of demographic trends and rising health care costs. The number of younger taxpayers for each older retiree will continue to decline. The demand for "free" prescription drugs under Medicare will explode. If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes.

Furthermore, Walker asserts, we cannot grow our way out of this problem. Faster economic growth can only delay the inevitable hard choices. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.

In short, Mr. Walker is telling the political class that the status quo cannot be maintained. He is to be commended for his refreshing honesty and unwillingness to provide excuses for the two political parties, the administration, or the even the entitlement-minded American public.

I urge everyone interested to visit the GAO website at, where you can view a report entitled: "Our Nation's Fiscal Outlook: The Federal Government's Long-Term Budget Imbalance." This report should be required reading for every politician in Washington.

Are ever growing entitlement and military expenditures really consistent with a free country? Do these expenditures, and the resulting deficits, make us more free or less free? Should the government or the marketplace provide medical care? Should younger taxpayers be expected to provide retirement security and health care even for affluent retirees? Should the U.S. military be used to remake whole nations? Are the programs, agencies, and departments funded by Congress each year constitutional? Are they effective? Could they operate with a smaller budget? Would the public even notice if certain programs were eliminated altogether? These are the kinds of questions the American people must ask, even though Congress lacks the courage to do so.

If we hope to avoid a calamitous financial future for our nation, we must address the hardest question of all: What is the proper role for government in our society? The answer to this question will determine how prosperous and free we remain in the decades to come.

Russell Fairbrother tells us how it works

"Often indirectly, you ask questions which suggest the girl is a bit of a sleazebag ... we're trying to put a stop to that kind of thing."

Read the full story here. Rather an injudicious choice of words. And isn't there a whiff of hypocrisy here.....what I used to do I now want stopped?

"Child abuse, 'It's your fault' "

Head of the Ministry of Social Development, Peter Hughes, came out swinging yesterday saying it is the responsibility of NZ adults to stop child abuse. Stop blaming government departments, he says. Of course he is right - to a point.

But look at what the Ministry does. In full knowledge that most abused or neglected children will come out of beneficiary homes where the parent is young, supposedly single, frequently Maori it continues to pay out cash no questions asked. It administers the very system that perpetuates the problem.

And if he looked at his own statistics he would see that there has been a steady rise in under-twenty single parents, a steady rise in the proportion of Maori on benefit, a steady rise in CYF notifications and substantiated findings of abuse or neglect, a steady rise in the number of people who are on a sickness or invalid benefit for drug, alcohol and substance addiction, some of whom have children. Yet his department continues to pay out more whenever a new child is added to a benefit, again, no questions asked.

The day Mr Hughes starts demanding policy change at a select committee is the day I will pay him some respect.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dunne vs Robson

Would anyone care to comment on the significance of this for Matt Robson?

Compo for cold turkey (cont.)

750,000 pounds to 200. That should buy a few doses.

The hysterical thing about this development is that earlier in the year there was talk about quietly "retoxifying" reformed addicts coming up for release to prevent them over-dosing once out.

So addicts are committing crimes to get into prison for treatment. They don't get any so sue and win. But, unless they are retoxified after the cold turkey, they run the risk of killing themselves on release. With three or four thousand pounds in their pockets the prospect seems even more likely.

Doomsday predictions

Further reporting about the diabetes epidemic reveals, "There is a death due to diabetes every 10 seconds, and an amputation due to diabetes every 30 seconds. We are dealing with the biggest epidemic in world history."

Because indigenous peoples have higher rates they run the risk of becoming extinct.

There are 5 deaths due to cardiovascular heart disease every 10 seconds, 3 deaths due to smoking every 20 seconds, 1 death due to a road accident every 30 seconds. As Maori also feature disproportionately in all of these risks, presumably they are all threatening extinction as well.

Boy. I'm glad I'm not Maori.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Cold turkey' compensation

A group of UK prisoners are sueing the Home Office for infringing their human rights for forcing them to go cold turkey while incarcerated. The case was due to go to the High Court yesterday but now it looks like the Home Office is going to settle out of court. Apparently the government doesn't want to suffer an embarrassing loss under its own human rights legislation. Around 198 prisoners may be compensated. What a terrible precedent. How long will it take to catch on here?

Vote on Stadium

Vote here

This also generates an e-mail to Trevor Mallard and Dick Hubbard

Update; Last night's TV3 Poll was split 68 % against, 32% for. This one is much far.

13 year-old on contraceptive pill without parental knowledge

I've been vaguely aware of the rules that allow this to happen but it's still something of a shocker. The debate has previously raged over abortions being procured for very young girls. When I last thought about it to any extent I think I came down on the side of the health authority based on the types of homes some of these girls come out of and the repercussions of having to tell their family (the pregnancy could be the result of incest). While I hate the idea of most parents not being involved or a girl not wanting them to be, sometimes it's in the child's best interests. But perhaps the legislation should allow exceptions as opposed to making proviso for all. That may be the way it is interpreted anyway. Certainly it would be my preference for the pill over an abortion. Sure, abstinence or protection from molestation would be preferable but in some cases it just isn't going to happen.

And sometimes contraceptive pills are prescribed for reasons other than preventing pregnancy - for example, reducing acne.

It might not happen overnight.....

.....but it did. What was a headline about Australian Aborigines yesterday is now a front page headline about Maori, Maori 'facing extinction' from diabetes.

Professor Zimmet labelled rising world diabetes rates – with the disease affecting one in four "indigenous" adults – a tragedy threatening to consume world economies and bankrupt health systems.

Self-induced diabetes is just another abuse of the socialist state. Another instance of Nanny killing people with 'kindness'. Make people responsible for their healthcare costs and they might develop an interest in staying healthy.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Meningococcal death rate climbs

(Death rate should not be confused with number of deaths.)

This is a graph just released by anti-MeNZB vaccine campaigners Ron Lane and Barbara Sumner Burstyn.

1/ How do they get the data so quickly??

2/ The graph would be far more useful if it included the total number of cases. The fact it doesn't makes me slightly suspicious.

Percentages of smaller numbers are subject to greater fluctuation.

But I appreciate what they are giving us here and certainly the increase in fatality could be due to greater complacency. The, "My child is immunised so she can't be sick with meningitis" scenario. This result may have even been predictable.


There's a word begging to catch on here. It is being used to describe the diabetes epidemic threatening the Australian Aborigine with extinction, if you believe this news report.

Maori were going to be wiped out by disease before the turn of the twentieth century too.

Coca Cola really is demonised beyond reason. It's a sugary drink for goodness sake. Come to think of it I haven't heard anyone talking about the 'alcholonisation' of Aboriginal Australians.

They don't want to know

Media Release
Monday, November 13, 2006

Less than one in five people applying for a benefit is new to the system.

According to welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell, "In the year to June 2005 218,491 benefits were granted to working-age people. Of these 34 percent had previously been on a benefit within the past year, 15 percent had been on a benefit within 12 - 48 months previously. Only 23 percent had either never been dependent or the dependency was more than 4 years ago. The remaining 28 percent were transferring between benefits or regions."

"The significance of this 'repeat business' lies in the total time people are spending on benefits over their lifetimes. Currently the Ministry only tracks continuous time spent on benefit - not total time."

"While many politicians portray benefits as a stepping stone to a new life, the reality is they are a revolving door which most beneficiaries pass through many times. When the Australian government gave consultants access to beneficiary records their analysis revealed that the average time women spent on a benefit, commonly cited as 3 years, was actually closer to 12."

"The importance of understanding how long people are affected by benefit dependency was highlighted by the Ministry of Social Development Deputy Chief Executive Marcel Lauziere who said in the October issue of Research News, 'People on benefit were found to have lower living standards than working people with comparable incomes.' "

"Benefits, not low incomes, reduce living standards yet the Ministry appears to show no interest in understanding just how long people are dependent on benefits across their lives. They, and government politicians, prefer to talk about current durations of stay because this masks the horrendous level of benefit dependency they have allowed to develop."

Fergusson criticises Families Commission

Excellent. Some substantiated criticism of the Families Commission. I understand the argument but ultimately David Fergusson is right. They can't have a bob each way and talk about the most severe forms of violence (which tends to come from the pathologically jealous male) and then brawling, which goes on in a much larger section of the community and flows both ways.

"...the commission is backing White Ribbon Day on November 25, which asks men to wear a white ribbon to show that they do not condone "men's violence towards women"....

But in an email to the Herald, Professor Fergusson said: "It is my frank view the commission's stance on domestic violence is not being guided by a dispassionate and balanced consideration of the evidence.

"Rather, it is being guided by an ideologically driven model that assumes on a priori grounds that domestic violence is a male problem and that female-initiated domestic violence does not exist or is so trivial that it can be ignored in the commission's policy focus."

(If I see a man wearing a white ribbon I'll punch him in the nose:-))

Sunday, November 12, 2006

"How Government destroys moral character"

An excellent short piece from the San Francisco Examiner by Robert Higgs. Well worth the read;

“Thou shalt not steal” is a rule as old as human society itself. We are taught early to respect what belongs to others, and by the time we are three years old, we understand the difference between mine and thine. Those who do not take the lesson to heart and persist in treating everybody’s property as something to take, so long as they can get away with it, are viewed as sociopaths.

Yet government as we know it rests entirely on this kind of sociopathy. Rulers take what does not belong to them and dispose of it to suit themselves.

Dear Landlord

This is a letter Russel Norman has drafted for tenants to send to their landlords. I hope he will be particularly encouraging those in the Green's beloved council and state houses which, in my experience, are in the worst state of disrepair. I was hanging curtains in one on Friday which had two panes of glass with holes in them. The tenant told me the council had inspected them and said they were safe as the remaining glass was firmly intact. Holes that let in cold air are obviously not a concern.



Dear [Landlord]

I am writing this letter because of the report by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released on the 7th of November on building insulation and energy conservation. This report details the importance of ensuring that homes are well insulated not only to conserve energy use (and thus lower energy bills), but also because homes that are well insulated are more easily kept warm and dry, thus ensuring better health for their residents.

This report is intended to encourage homeowners to invest in better insulation for their homes. However, since I rent my home, I am not in a position to make the changes necessary to improve the quality of insulation.

However, these changes are important not only for conservation of energy, but also for my wellbeing and for your ability as landlord to keep your property viable in an increasingly competitive market. Thus, I am writing this letter to ask you to contribute to a more sustainable, healthier, and more economical home by considering the advantages of improving the insulation in this property. This could include insulation in the ceiling and floor and insulation around the hot water cylinder. Solar hot water would be great too!

With the release of this report, many New Zealanders will have the opportunity to act to improve their quality of living through better home insulation. I hope that you will consider aiding this effort by improving the quality of the insulation in your property and my home.

Thank you for your time and your consideration of this matter.



That's Life

A man and his wife were sitting in the living room discussing a 'living will.'

"Just so you know, I never want to live in a vegetative state, dependent on some machine and fluids from a bottle. If that ever happens, just pull the plug."

Without a word his wife got up, unplugged the TV and threw out all the beer.

Getting in on the act

New Zealand's very own Paul McCartney/Heather Mills celebrity muck-raking, mud-slinging, bust-up hits the news.