Friday, January 25, 2008

Trotter advises, dump the leader

The Prime Minister will not be happy with Chris Trotter. He has written a column in today's Dominion Post (a reasonably rational one) explaining why Phil Goff should replace her as leader, if Labour are to have any chance of winning this year's election.

I disagree. Apart from voter's force of habit, Helen Clark is still the best thing Labour has going for them.

Update; Full column here

DPB Numbers rise in many centres

Media Release
Thursday, January 24, 2008

Figures just released by the Ministry of Social Development show that DPB numbers have risen in many centres over the past year.

"Nearly half of the Auckland region Work and Income Centres experienced a rise in DPB numbers during 2007," Lindsay Mitchell, welfare commentator said today. "Typically centres are in the most deprived areas like Mangere, Clendon, Glen Innes and Manukau. Other rural towns and cities with high Maori populations have also experienced increases - Hamilton, Hastings, Kawerau and Ngaruwahia for instance."

"While the overall trend in DPB numbers is down, with a 2 percent drop last year, only the most motivated and skilled are taking advantage of the strong labour market."

"The young, poorly educated and unskilled continue to gravitate to the DPB. Not having experienced stability or security themselves, the parenting skills of these mothers are often inadequate or absent. Many will become long-term welfare dependants and so the cycle goes on."

"The overall drop in DPB numbers is masking a much bigger problem. There now exists an entire generation of people who have only ever known a welfare upbringing. They predominate in poor neighbourhoods where crime, violence, drug and alcohol abuse are common. "

"The reforms Labour implemented - requiring individual Personal Development and Employment Plans and abolishing work-testing - are having very little impact in the overall scheme of things. The Minister must now be very concerned about the resistance to reform many families are exhibiting."

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Depressing Christchurch

What's with Canterbury?

A quarter of the 16-24 year-olds drawing a sickness benefit for depression live in Canterbury. More than in any other region, including Auckland.

And looking at the invalid's benefit for the same incapacity, the percentage rises to 37 percent!

Canterbury is home to only 13 percent of the population and the demographic is slightly older than the NZ average as well.

(The same disproportionate dependence continues with the invalid's benefit in the older age groups though it is not quite as marked.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Oh Crikey returns

I have just caught up. Oh Crikey is back blogging regularly. Most original, funny, earthy, crass, clever blog in New Zealand. I can't pick a particular post to link to. It's that good.

But here's an excerpt in case I haven't persuaded you to have a look;

There's another family reunion coming up and I'm petrified about turning up without an escort. Nothing says "failure" louder than arriving unaccompanied to social events. Family gatherings are always bizarre affairs since my relatives are such a schizoid bunch, split between saints & sinners. They're either hard-core Christians or hardened criminals: half of them will bash you with the Bible, the other half will just bash you.

I try to avoid the law-breaking bunch; the biggest pack of thieves you'll ever meet. They'll pinch anything not nailed down. Heck, they'd steal the skidmarks out of your undies! Instead, I mingle with my church-going rellies. Yet without fail, every single one of them - conscious of the obligation to "Go forth and multiply" - will ask about my romantic status. There's no point lying as they've x-ray eyes that bore into one's soul. And how can anyone, in good faith, be untruthful to such honest-to-God folk? I hate to disappoint my family, or feel shamed or inadequate, so you can see why I'm desperate to get hitched - even with someone in cyberspace.

So regarding my anonymous blog troll, I'm wondering, when my relatives enquire, "Is there anyone special?" I wouldn't be lying if I said I met someone on the internet, would I? When they ask, "who?" I can say, "Her name's Ana" (short for "Ananymous"). I mean, my stalker keeps trolling my blog, therefore is obviously obsessed with me, right? Which is similar to being 'infatuated,' correct? Which is practically the same thing as being in love, eh? So in that sense, I can truthfully say that Anonymous and I are 'in a relationship' - and I won't have to lie to my family.

Please say you agree! I'd hate people to think I was just another nameless loser living in a fantasy world on the internet.

ACC Minister makes outlandish statement

Maryan Street, Minister for ACC, has a piece in today's Dominion Post explaining why NZ has an accident compensation scheme. There is no link but this is my response to a statement she makes;

Dear Editor

In principle I have no problem with ACC. People need to make provision for the possibility of an accident resulting in personal injury. Just as they need to make provision for an accident resulting in the loss of their home or their car. Yet the state provides the first and the private sector, the second.

Minister for ACC, Maryan Street says that the people have a contract with the government and that, "Insurance companies have no interest in maintaining that contract."

So why, before Labour re-nationalised ACC, were a number of companies happy to get involved? Far from having "no interest" the private sector is keen to provide accident insurance because that is what they do. And, because they have to compete with each other, they do it well or fail.

The government doesn't have to compete, which is why we are all paying $50 more to ACC this year when we register our vehicles. The Minister also provided some questionable excuse for that hike, claiming the cost of injuries from car crashes is rising despite the increasing number of injuries being commensurate with the increasing size of the vehicle fleet.

There is no rational reason for the state to monopolise insurance for personal injury.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Why so many young rely on a sickness benefit

Last week the high number of young people on sickness benefits was making the news. But the reasons for this were unclear. I had forgotten a report from the Paediatric Society published late last year which I printed out but can no longer find a link to. It shows the causes for dependency as follows;

Looking at the group aged 18-64 at March 2007, the percentage on a sickness benefit for psychological/psychiatric reasons was 36 percent. This confirms that younger people are disproportionately reliant on a benefit for these particular incapacities.

PM says housing study lacks "real meaning"

The Prime Minister is complaining about research that shows housing affordability in NZ is amongst the worse because it is too selective;

She said the survey's sample of countries was too small and lacked enough European nations to have any real meaning.

The survey found New Zealand the least affordable place compared with Australia, the United States, Ireland, Canada and Britain.

Permanent and long term departures by country of arrival shows that main countries are the Australia (33,792), United Kingdom (11,940), USA (2,709) and China (2,695).

It seems sensible and relevant to compare NZ to those countries NZers are most likely to move to.

Helen Clark told TVNZ that the survey cited only six countries, and omitted other countries such as France, Sweden, Austria, Germany and Spain.

But none of these countries rates a mention in the destination list of long-term departures. So OK, Demographia may have been wrong to claim NZ was the worst in the world, but it is probably worst in the 'world' that is relevant to Kiwis. In that sense the survey does have "real meaning."

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Information sought

A question for bloggers using

Should I wish to, I know how to delete my blog.

How can it be saved before deletion?