Friday, March 14, 2008

Party pill palaver

Another senseless ban passed in parliament last night.

The bill passed 109 to 11 with only the Green, Maori and Act parties opposing.

Thanks National, the party of individual freedom and choice - huge joke.

And what is it with the contradictory, contrary Greens who want to tell us what we can and can't consume in the foodline but not in the recreational drugline.

The Maori Party??? Hone Harawira talks convincingly about the dangers of prohibition creating black markets and crime but wants to ban cigarettes.

How I long for some consistency and principle from the big house on the hill.

(BTW - Who abstained? 11 should be 12)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Aboriginal apology rejected

John Howard, backed by Aboriginal leader Noel Pearson, says Rudd's apology was wrong. A later generation cannot apologise for the actions of a former and the act of apologising risks the 'box ticked' mentality whereby nothing else gets done.

"I think we persevered for too long with the notion of separate development. I think the only way the indigenous people of Australia can get what we call a 'fair go' is for them to become part of the mainstream of the community and get the benefits and opportunities available from mainstream Australian society, whilst recognising … the particular and special place of the indigenous culture in the life of the country," he said.

I agree. The same sentiment should hold for Maori and other indigenous people.

"Children don't come first"

This is a heartbreaker and in my experience the 'authorities' are hitting the nail on the head.

The case has highlighted concerns held by child agencies about child neglect.

Hamilton-based Child Protection Studies chief executive Anthea Simcock said neglect was one of the most under-estimated and under-reported types of child abuse.

"Fifteen years ago if you said `child abuse' everyone would have thought `sex abuse'. In the last seven or eight years we've had so many reports of child death Coral Burrows, James Whakaruru ... and the last year or two people have become more aware of abuse suffered when witnessing family violence, the emotional or physical neglect of being in the way."

Mrs Simcock said with neglect it wasn't what people did, rather "it's them not doing things". "It's often because of ignorance, often because of pressures on their own life and often because children don't come first."

Without getting into discussions about children's emotional needs across their ages, very young children must come first. They are incredibly physically vulnerable and need at least one individual dedicated to caring for them around the clock. That means knowing exactly where they are and what they are doing.

This instance wasn't just neglect. It was gross neglect. And I have seen too much of it. Children given less attention and love than many would give their pets. Readers of this blog (as I do) will take for granted the care and attention they received as babies and toddlers. That's as it should be. And the habit is passed on.

Unfortunately bad habits are also transmitted through generations. People who do not understand the commitment that comes with a child should never be encouraged and incentivised to have babies. But in New Zealand they are. And that's crazy and tragic.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

No justification for junket

I cannot come up with any reasonable justification for or defence of this.

Are we more upwardly mobile?

Colin James has a good column in the NZ Herald today in which he argues that upward mobility is important for sustained economic growth.

In his February 7 speech, Cullen argued that Labour's workplace regulation and "fairness" spending in the 2000s enhanced economic growth. He is premature. The boom was in large part debt binge-fuelled. We have yet to live through the bust.

A big reducer of inequality has been the transition of large numbers from benefits to jobs, more a factor of business growth and, in part, 1990s policies than Cullen's spending. Societal changes are likely to affect economic growth rates only after a lag.

There is no denying the movement from benefits to jobs but let's qualify which benefits. The dole. Yes. Sickness and Invalid - some but newcomers or returners have added to overall substantial and steady growth. Although numbers on the DPB have been dropping there are still well over one hundred thousand single parents reliant on welfare. To put that into some sort of context there are just over half a million NZ families with dependent children. Around 22 percent depend on welfare. The vast majority of these are single parents. In low socio-economic schools children from welfare homes can make up the majority.

The left constantly harps on about the growing gap between haves and have-nots as if the greedy 'rich' are somehow to blame. The gap (which is more about values than income) in NZ society is growing because poor, predominantly brown children are growing up without a working parent. All they know is WINZ the provider. They are concentrated in poor areas and the likes of my kids have no experience of them and vice versa. I cast my mind back to growing up in 60s NZ when most families were headed by two parents. My closest friend's parents were Pacific and American and they both worked at General Motors. They lived in a small house which was home to 9 children. It was a different experience to mine and I spent much of my time there. The oldest daughter got pregnant and the child was brought up in the family. Today she would almost certainly have left home and gone on welfare. In other words in the 60s this family produced upwardly mobile children. Today it might not.

Because NZ society has become increasingly segregated due to the growth of one parent families on the back of welfare. Naenae in the sixties was a pleasant suburb with a modern shopping centre. We would visit it most weeks when I lived in Avalon. Now it is to be avoided. Naenae Work and Income is nanny to over a thousand single parents. Sure, many will be struggling to do their best, living in one of the few areas their budget can stretch to. But they have to send their kids to schools where dysfunctional kids make everybody's learning that much harder. Again harder to get an education. Harder to maximise opportunity. Harder to get ahead.

The poorest NZ families are those on welfare. Too many are there by choice, either consciously or sub-consciously. The days of blaming unemployment are over. It is welfare that has driven the re-emergence of a class-based society with a large group stuck at the bottom with poor prospects of being more productive than their parents. With easily available and relatively generous welfare, the left has achieved exactly what they set out to destroy.

Monday, March 10, 2008

PM apologises

This is good. The PM is apologising for the last Labour government. She is reported on NewstalkZB news saying Roger Douglas ran rampant in the last Labour administration, did things he shouldn't have, sold things he shouldn't have and then went off to ACT. Yes. The PM can obviously see value in publicising Roger Douglas and ACT at National's cost.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Not being left doesn't make you right

Deborah Coddington has called for ACT to become the "hard-ass" party. They should select candidates that don't mind being called right-wing because the attempt to explain ACT through the 'liberal' tag failed.

The trouble is I do mind being labelled right-wing. Not being left-wing doesn't make one right-wing. And extreme right-wing is synonymous with racist and redneck which is why ACT shouldn't accept the label.

But Deborah makes a few suggestions for potential candidates, one being Peter Douglas. From what I remember of Douglas he was one of the rare Maori prepared to speak against welfare. As head of Maori Strategy for CYFS he called for a review of the DPB in 2001 saying, "I think we should be thinking about the damage that those benefits do to some communities. Because it takes away the need for ambition, it takes away a sense of responsibility and sets young people on a trail of entitlement.”

Having a candidate like Douglas would give those Maori who want to vote based on race a real alternative. But he shouldn't be there for that reason primarily. He should be there for the ideas and the ability to implement them.

I was also interested in her comment that Rodney opposed the 'liberal' tag because "it wasn't true". I take this to mean that he thought at the time ACT was still a mix of liberal and conservative elements. It doesn't follow that he should drop it now.