Saturday, February 03, 2007

Immigration not fair on tangata whenua

Tariana Turia believes immigration is disenfranchising Maori.

The Maori Party has fielded many calls from constituents, who believe that the fact Maori did not achieve an eighth electoral seat is a direct consequence of high overall population growth that has arisen through the influx of migrants to Aotearoa.

"These callers have reminded me that tangata whenua are the only people in Aotearoa who cannot increase their numbers by immigration" said Mrs Turia. "As such, they believe it is a question of justice that present and future immigration is managed in such a way as to prevent Maori from becoming an even smaller minority in their own land".

I disagree with this statement. There are two ways Maori can increase their numbers through immigration. They can intermarry with immigrants which many have done over the years and produce children who identify primarily as Maori. (Tariana herself is a prime example apart from the marrying bit.)

And two, they could try to attract back some of the 100,000 Maori that live in Australia alone. Although I doubt those people are interested in separatism, tino rangatiratanga, etc.

Think outside the square Tariana.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Trotter twists again

From today's DomPost;

Chris Trotter has a dilemma. He fawningly approves of the Maori Party, loathes National and is disenchanted with Labour. When the Maori Party and National line up with the same policy, work-for-the-dole, he is faced with the task of praising the first and damning the second. If he gives Labour a biff at the same time that’s a bonus.

So he begins with a history lesson about the “hated relief schemes”, conveniently forgetting to mention they were a saviour to many during the depression of the 30s. These "slave camps" were the early equivalent of work-for-the-dole.

But then Pita Sharples said he wants a return to work-for-the-dole and that it should be compulsory! Which leaves Trotter no choice but to tell us, quite patronisingly, that Pita didn't really mean that at all.

“Allowing people to subsist without working turns the social welfare system into an intravenous drip, and converts confidant citizenship into demoralising dependency. That was all Pita Sharples was trying to say.”

Then comes the attack on Labour. “Mr Benson-Pope could have responded positively to the Maori Party co-leaders statements by reiterating the links between paid work, human dignity and healthy communities…...sadly, he (preferred) to interpret the Maori Party’s urgent plea to address the disproportionate number of Maori families dependent on the state for subsistence as a call for a return to the ‘Work For the Dole’ schemes formerly favoured by National.”

Hang on there. There was no interpretation needed. Sharples made a clear statement and Benson-Pope responded by slamming work-for-the-dole schemes, which is exactly the position Trotter takes.

Then Trotter says that the state is the only institution capable of solving social demoralisation, after only just blaming the state practice of putting a couple of hundred dollars in beneficiary bank accounts, with no work requirement, FOR the demoralisation.

To shed light on that seeming contradiction I will use Trotter's literary device of telling you what he really means.

What Trotter really wants is the state to use its might to heavily regulate profit and the private sector in an effort to produce higher wages and (superficial) full employment. The reason he doesn't spell it out is we all know that is a tried and failed solution.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Hone told to stay away

This augers well for a peaceful Waitangi Day. I wonder if David Rankin watched Hone Harawira on TV last night (link in post below) promising to keep his mouth closed for 8 days only. Why 8 days? Because the 9th day will be Waitangi Day. David Rankin, who describes himself as "senior to the Harawiras in Hapu" has told Hone and his mum to stay away from Waitangi.

If you wonder why I watch Maoridom and comment quite frequently it is because I am bound to point out that ALL Maori do not think the same way. And I believe their political interests would be best served by joining with non-Maori who are like-minded, not through separatism and the idea that ethnicity trumps all.

POP launches

At last!

My movie (well, I think I have about 1/100th share in it:-)) is having its New Zealand Premiere in Auckland on Waitangi Day. If you are up there get along and have a look. This movie is the product of the efforts of Aaron Keown, an amazing person who raised the funds by ringing talkback shows over and over, trying to inspire support from the audiences. And he raised what he needed for himself and his colleagues to complete a punishing schedule of filming throughout the US and Europe. It was made on a shoestring but has been phenomenally successful at the festivals, winning awards in LA and New York. Aaron has secured a US distribution deal and it will launch there on July 4. I wish I could make the premiere. If you can, please do, and tell me all about it.

Discipline a problem, says Turia

On Tuesday I made these comments about the Maori Party. I said they were making policy on the hoof and there was division amongst their MPs. Have a look at this clip from last night's TV One News and see if you can figure out who the co-leaders are.

How many Parliamentary workers are there???

The DomPost ran a poll on whether people thought John Key would be the next PM. Just over half of the votes come from Parliamentary workers and 80 percent or 13,683 of those are on Helen's team (or at least not on John's.) Even 100 workers would have to vote 136 times each. What do they do all day?

For the record I voted once. No.

Update; DPF has the inside story.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Paying no tax

Under Working for Families some families will receive back as much as they pay in tax (some more, some less) which is why it can't strictly be called either welfare or tax relief. But this is the first time I have seen a threshold specified.

Working for Families means families earning less than $35,000 will effectively pay no tax by 2008.

Is it fair for teenagers, and single low income workers to be paying tax while these families pay none? For all the blathering the Left do about slave wages and upping the minimum youth and adult rates you don't hear them protesting vigorously ( or even weakly) about this anomaly.

Scared of the truth

New research from the country which isn't afraid to ask the hard questions.

It finds, child maltreatment roughly doubles the probability that an individual engages in many types of crime.

Now, keeping to the topic of the day, that speech, did he say anything about the greater likelihood of children on the welfare being abused or neglected? No. He says business should be helping schools feed kids with empty stomachs. Sakes alive. While their hopeless parents are allowed to keep sucking on the WINZ tit?

I'm sorry but today I am very angry about the lack of political fortitude this country witnesses time and time again.

Key's speech "Ho-hum"

NZ Herald political columnist, John Armstrong described reaction to John Key's speech as "ho hum". Nicely put. I would describe the speech as a big yawn. But more from Armstrong;

The other factor against using a welfare theme is that the number of beneficiaries has dropped substantially under Labour, especially those on the unemployment register. Welfare reform is not a "hot button" issue.

Fair enough. Forget there are still almost 300,000 working age beneficiaries - double the number we had 20 years ago.

So what is a "hot button" issue? Crime. And welfare and crime are inextricably linked. Key could have given a red hot speech if he had focused on that.

The underclass isn't everybody on a benefit. It's a group of people who refuse to live in society in a peaceable, co-operative and constructive way. Their thoughts are only for today and themselves. If they aren't already criminals of some kind they are on the fringes. And it isn't an "emerging" class of people. But, judging by what we read in the newspapers and what we see on TV, or what we experience firsthand as victims, it is growing. Bugger reported crime levels. Look at victims of crime surveys.

Then if you looked at WINZ records most of these people are there. They abuse welfare, they abuse or neglect their children, they abuse each other. But most of all, they abuse opportunity.

This country, with its passion for egalitarianism, has bent over backwards to give each and every person opportunity and many have simply hurled the opportunity back in the faces of well-meaning people.

All Key's speech said to me was more of the same. Compassion. At some point somebody is going to have to say, enough compassion now. It ain't working. Not for the underclass.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Questions for the Maori Party

This really is silly season. Usually about once a year all the political parties start clamouring about welfare. It's been Orewa in the past, or some mad scheme of Maharey's, or an idea of John Tamihere. Whatever.

This time it is the Maori Party call for compulsory work-for-the -dole and Key's looming speech about the "underclass" that have talkback lines buzzing and the media in a flap. A lot of it is seat of the pants stuff. Policy on the hoof.

While I appreciate that The Maori Party are at least making some of the right noises, they haven't thought things out.

Why work-for-the-dole when employers are crying out for labour?

Why not work-and-no-dole?

Why did the Maori Party vote against the 3 month probationary employment period if they want their unemployed working?

Why, when only 17 percent of Maori beneficiaries are on the dole are they ignoring the other 83 percent?

Having made the dole much harder to get, without tightening or abolishing other benefits have they considered the migration to those?

Why do they think the state should allow children to grow up in workless DPB homes and then take on the added task of trying to teach these kids a work ethic at 17 or 18?

Why do they think their teenagers will respond any better to second chance education when they blew the first?

Why is Tariana now calling for benefits to be raised to the level of the minimum wage when that will lead to other allowances being abated?

Why is Pita Sharples saying sole parenting is accepted as part of their culture when young male Maori are searching out male role models like heat-seeking missiles?

Doesn't Sharples realise that gangs are surrogate families for fatherless kids?

The Maori Party are going to have to be much more radical than simply calling for work-for-the-dole. Somehow I suspect that Sharples knows this but Turia won't budge on the DPB. She supports teenage childbearing. When past suggestions have been made that it is problematic, and only encouraged by welfare, she has made it quite clear she will not have Maori fertility controlled by non-Maori. That is a sad and short-sighted attitude.

(It has been reported that The Maori Party is reconsidering their policy of split-voting in order to make them a more viable coalition party. Sharples however says he likes the option of being able to split their vote when they can't agree. A pointer to the division that exists.)

Monday, January 29, 2007

Incompetence (?) and centrist kite flying

Update; The NZ Herald has used these statistics to lead in today's editorial.

The level of unpaid child support in New Zealand is nothing short of a national disgrace. The latest figures show the total is $1.1 billion. To get an idea of the magnitude you need only compare it to the equivalent figure for Australia, which is $1 billion, $100 million less despite having five times our population.

As a rule, if you observe a glaring difference between Australia and NZ's welfare and related statistics, suspect it.

The original claim was made here by National MP Judith Collins.

(Judith Collins) said New Zealand's child support debts had been allowed to spiral out of control to $1.1 billion as at last June. At the same date, Australia's child support debt was only A$899.5 million ($1 billion) for a country with five times New Zealand's population.

An Australian paper published last year showed that, in 2002/03, Australia and New Zealand had comparable levels of debt per case. Australia A$1,231; New Zealand A$1,370. And check this. In 2003-04 Australia's debt was $847.60 million; New Zealand's was $339.52 million.

So how could our debt suddenly be so much higher?

David Cunliffe; "Much of the increase in child support debt is the result of penalties compounding rather than core debt itself increasing dramatically. The latest figures put core debt of liable parents who default at about $416 million, with unpaid penalties mounting to another $558 million."

Most of the $1.1 billion Collins refers to is penalties and interest. She is not comparing apples with apples. Furthermore, the Australians have been "writing-off" debt in order to get liable parents back into the system - the idea being, it is better to get some money than none. The Child Support Amendment Bill proposes doing the same but has been slammed by Collins.

So now she is using Australia's debt (with write-off) to make our debt (without write-off) look really bad, yet she opposes what would make it look better!

In the same article Judith flys a very unusual kite for a National MP.

Ms Collins said New Zealand should consider passing full child support payments on to custodial parents on the domestic purposes benefit (DPB). At present, only $151 million of the $341.3 million collected is paid to custodial parents, while the Government takes the remaining $190.4 million to offset the cost of the DPB.

"That's not party policy," Ms Collins said.

"It's something I would look at in terms of whether or not it's feasible and whether or not taxpayers can afford that."

So, as a taxpayer, can you afford to pay the share of the DPB bill liable parents currently pay?

And, remind me again, which party is this MP from? The one espousing personal responsibility?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Key obfuscating

If you have read today's SST article on John Key you'll know he is sort of...kind of... backtracking....on what he said about the DPB before he became leader.

Before; There had been "enormous growth in the number of people on the DPB, and where people have been breeding for a business."

After: There is a small number of New Zealanders who have had multiple numbers of children on the DPB. However, he stresses, it is only a small number.

Hm. So what is a small number? A 100 maybe? A 1,000 maybe. A few thousand? Try 23,000 and throw in another 3,300 on other benefits.

So would he be looking at disincentives? Well, we'd have to work through that.

And only yesterday the person largely responsible (one would imagine) for National welfare policy was suggesting increasing the amount of money taxpayers put into the DPB.

(Stats from 2005 and include children who may not have been born to the primary beneficiary but adopted, or whangai, by the beneficiary but they really are a small number.)

And before I go, I see Chris Trotter, in an amazing feat of logic, is trying to persuade readers that the resounding lack of criticism from the "far right" of John Key's centrist move just goes to show that really, he isn't a "traitor to the far-right cause" at all - he's a wolf in sheep's clothing. Chilling, absolutely.