Saturday, December 08, 2007

"Women want 'no-strings sex' "

Two young women researchers are calling for a new form of sexual ethics that would allow women to have casual sex without feeling that they're "sluts".

I do not understand this or the extrapolations made. A new set of ethics can't just be 'called for'. They evolve. My morality is my understanding of what is right and what is wrong. I can't just expect others to adopt my morality wholesale (although I can try to persuade them why I hold it).

Does this mean they want parents and teachers to tell children casual sex is OK? How can they do that when feelings about sex are so personal?

If people want to have casual sex that's their business. Hopefully they can find a willing partner and it doesn't get messy emotionally. But I won't be imparting this set of 'new ethics' to my kids. I will be imparting what I have learnt through my own experience and hoping I can help them avoid some pitfalls and pain.

It seems to me these ladies are denying the human condition.

Friday, December 07, 2007

I have a request off-blog for an eyes-open shot of Daisy.

Really...I'm not a cat person but we have all joined the dog's camp and are head over heels.....

The Family Party...

...has launched its website. They aim to take Mangere off Labour. I was interested to see what they had to say about welfare and especially sole parents as the Destiny Party was typically woolly. This is slightly more encouraging;

Sole Parents

THE FAMILY PARTY acknowledges the immense challenge of sole parenting when it comes to raising a family alone. In saying this, THE FAMILY PARTY is extremely concerned at a prevailing attitude amongst young girls who view the Domestic Purposes Benefit as a valid career choice; not understanding the detrimental affects such a lifestyle has on their children.

Don't try telling me they are wrong. I know and they know that this is fact. And it has to stop.

Abstinence opponents jump to conclusions

The US has experienced a rise in teenage births - the first in a long time. Some are saying it is a blip - others a reversal of a tend.

NZ figures are just the same. 2006 showed a marked increase over 2005. And the year-to-date Sept 2007 data showed a further increase.(Interesting that the Herald has printed the US story but ignored our own).

Without knowing more details - which ethnicity and socio-economic class are more affected, the teenage pregnancy and abortion rates for the same period - it is difficult to say what is causing this rise. But it is, for both countries, part of an overall increase in fertility.

Abstinence opponents are grasping on the idea that the rise in the US is a reaction to not being taught about contraception. Maybe. But we haven't had the abstinence drive here.

What role is welfare playing? Again difficult to say when each US state does it's own thing and can exempt up to 20 percent of welfare recipients from time-limits.

Then again, is there any point in trying to compare two countries with different ethnic make-ups?

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Hamilton's Parentline looks like it's a bit of a dog really and should probably be wound up. They have now had three years of staffing and governance problems. I had a look at their Annual Report and was disappointed in how captured by fashionable verbosity it has become. For instance;

In April 2007, the Trust Deed was updated by the Parentline Board when it was found the previous deed had not been registered following its adoption in November 2005. Independent legal advice recommended against continuing with the 2005 edition, and so the original 2003 constitution was reviewed and amended. This provided a further opportunity to review our ‘purpose’.

‘We wish to see an end to violence and neglect of children, and provide child advocacy. The aim is to enhance the lives of children and their families….’

- Parentline Charitable Trust Deed 2007, Clause D (iii)

The focus now is intervention, educating families and healing children.

‘We will explore means of empowering our communities to unify in the mission of promoting the well-being of all children & preventing child abuse and neglect, to ensure our children (irrespective of religion, race or gender) will live with dignity, in a safe and caring environment.

- Parentline Charitable Trust Deed 2007, Clause 3.1 Purposes

Mission statements are a waste of time when in practice the staff - what's left of them - are (allegedly) operating in an environment described as including;

An air of lethargy;

Low energy levels;

Spirit and soul gone;

Trying to keep the peace;

Not feeling safe.

Some of this will be to do with the kind of clients these social workers are dealing with. But I wouldn't mind betting that a great deal of their problems stem from being captured by government. 80 percent of their funding comes from the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development. In my experience this leads to organisations becoming obsessed with process and systems instead of results.

With all the bad publicity the organisation has had it is surprising they can raise any private money. It seems to me that volunteer organisations (which is what Parentline probably began as) should stay small and channel any ambition towards those they are trying to help.

We are going to hear a lot from National about welfare services being provided by the private sector as if it is some sort of magic bullet. Just remember many NGOs are but a tiny step removed from their major funders in character and effectiveness.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Standing for National

Stephen Franks explains why he is standing for National. I couldn't resist commenting.


If you think I've been a bit light on blogging here's why;

Our latest addition, she hasn't put a paw wrong since arriving on Monday. The dog is besotted and follows her everywhere with its nose just about up the kittens bottom. The kids are making just the most wonderful but restrained fuss over her showing me they are actually far more responsible than I might otherwise give them credit for.
She is 8 weeks old and come from a rather chaotic home where she has lived in the clay floor basement with her 3 brothers for the past two weeks. Her mother was hand reared after being discovered in an abandoned derelict car less than a year ago. She is gorgeous. Daisy. Named for my friend who wanted her to "grow up in luxury". She's making a good go of it.

Barriers to work

I was thinking about a conversation I had earlier this week. It was with a friend who is on the DPB. Her youngest has recently started school. So she told Work and Income, I want to get back into the workforce. Her daughter has an improving and intermittent health problem which may mean she is more prone to need time off school. Work and Income tells my friend she needs to get the Doctor to sign a form stating the daughter is well enough for her mother to work. My friend says, but her father can take care of her if needed. He is willing and available. Work and Income say, but he is not allowed to be in your home because he isn't allowed to live in your home. So that answer is not satisfactory. As the Doctor had only recently signed a form confirming the daughter still suffers from this health condition and needs continuing medication he can't 'un-sign' until May next year. The upshot is while my friend wants to work, WORK and Income are telling her she can't. I said, if you weren't on a benefit they couldn't tell you what to do and what not to do. In reality there is nothing to stop her finding a job herself, which she intends doing. But she is effectively barred from using Work and Income employment services. And I am guessing if she finds work she could be faced with relinquishing her daughter's disability allowance, as she has more or less asserted her daughter is no longer sick by getting a job. Assuming I am getting the full story, how dumb is all of this?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Another stupid ban

This time in Devon, England where angel wings have been banned from nativity plays;

Linda Mitchell, headmistress at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic primary school in Paignton, Devon, told parents they would have to get rid of the wings on their little girls' angel outfits or they would be banned from taking part in the Christmas play.

Mrs Mitchell said that, because the wings, which are all made by the parents, had been of all shape and sizes, some of the children had been scratched during last year's nativity play.

She added: "We hold our services in a church where there are candles and if children turn around, there is a risk they could catch fire.

"For the safety of the children, staff decided that this year the angels would not have wings."

What next? Trees without Xmas lights, puddings without coins, crackers without bangers....what about a ban on fat Father Christmas' 'sending the wrong message to society' about healthy eating?

Stupid ban. Stupid people. There's no shortage of them.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Looking forward to this

Let me know if you'd like a ticket.

Next weekend, Heather Roy will host a special private screening of 'We're Here to Help' - the true story of Dave Henderson's battle, with a little help from ACT Leader Rodney Hide, against the IRD.

Date: Sunday, December 9 2007
Time: 7.30pm for 8pm screening
Venue: The Light House Cinema, Pauatahanui
Cost : $20 per ticket (no door sales)
RSVP: Lindsay Mitchell - or (04) 562 7944

All welcome. Only 60 tickets available, so RSVP today.

New Minister Rejects Call For Work-testing

Media Release
Monday, December 3, 2007

In an updated report, Babies and Bosses, the OECD has once again recommended New Zealand work-test sole parents on welfare. The new Minister for Social Development Ruth Dyson has continued in the tradition of past Labour Ministers and rejected this advice.

Welfare Commentator Lindsay Mitchell was surprised that Ms Dyson , a committed social-democrat, would dismiss what is the norm in Scandinavian countries. "This government is usually quick to praise countries like Sweden and Denmark when it comes to social policy yet refuses to consider their approach to single parents. Neither country has a DPB equivalent. Scandinavian countries treat sole parents the same way as any other parent. Once paid parental leave expires they are work-tested for any further benefit receipt. "

"In Sweden sole parents only qualify for temporary social assistance as a very last resort, which results in their average duration of stay on welfare being just 5.9 months. In Denmark there is also no lone parent benefit. Out-of-work single parents are only entitled to a sickness or unemployment benefit. Both of these countries have employment rates for sole parents of between 70 and 80 percent."

"Even the United Kingdom and Australia have recently moved to more stringent testing, with the UK testing after the youngest child turns 12 and Australia, after the youngest child turns 6, with no eligibility for a Parenting Payment for new applicants with children 6 or older. They will be treated the same as the unemployed."

"While work-testing alone isn't enough to be highly effective, it would be an improvement on the status quo. Meanwhile, Ms Dyson claims NOT work-testing has been an effective approach yet there are still over 100,000 single parents reliant on welfare."