Saturday, August 22, 2009

NZ Herald makes stuff up

Today's NZ Herald op-ed about the proposed reserved Maori seats today contains a lie;

Ever since the rush-of-blood decision to exclude Maori, Mr Key has, quite correctly, been seeking to fashion a compromise.

Maori are not excluded just because reserved seats are not allocated.

Hell, it's not even as if they had reserved seats and their removal has been proposed.

Why has this business become so convoluted that a lie is now propagated as the truth in New Zealand's major newspaper?

Last week I was invited to a Barnardos organised Every Child Counts conference in Auckland. Very unusual. It'll be harder for me to get there than some of the other participants because I live in Wellington. In fact, the cost of an airfare could even be prohibitive. But I am not going around saying I have been excluded from participating.

That would be a lie.

Ever since the rush-of-blood decision to exclude Maori, Mr Key has, quite correctly, been seeking to fashion a compromise.

A compromise? How about inclusion on the same terms as everyone else.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Rodney Hide - a rare politician

While cooking tea last night I received a call from Radio New Zealand. Nothing unusual there. Except they didn't want to know what I thought about anything to do with welfare. The reporter wanted to know what I thought about Rodney Hide's latest position. Apparently he is not only saying he will resign as Local Government Minister but will quit all his other portfolios. I asked why she was asking me. Because you are an ACT member? No. I resigned. I was a candidate. I would be happy to comment described as a former candidate but not as a member. She was still keen.

Of course I support what he is doing. It's hugely important to him because it is hugely important for the future of New Zealand. We can't progress under different democratic rules. That will do nothing for the relationship between Maori and Pakeha or Maori and any other minority.

Do you think other ACT members support him? They should. ACT philosophy is about individual rights yet this is an example of the collective demanding privilege. Maori should have to fight for seats along with everybody else.

What will it mean for ACT's relationship with National? How would I know. You would have to ask the Parliamentary representatives.

That's the guts of it. But I should add that thank God we have a politician prepared, as Lou Taylor wrote yesterday, to put his balls on the line over an issue.

Here's the RNZ item canvassing various views.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Goodbye Your Majesty

When I was seven I felt sure the Queen would want to know that I was about to leave her kingdom. And so I wrote to Her Majesty informing her of my impending departure for a country as far away as I could go - New Zealand. I told her I was unconvinced that a ship of that size would stay afloat but hopefully I would be proved wrong. Because it was an official missive I used the name that appeared on my birth certificate (but my contrary mother never used.)

Here is her reply;

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

NZ judge pushes for same-sex/de facto adoption

NewstalkZB reports;

Judge pushes for gay and de-facto adoption

His call is all very well but surely gay or de facto adoption is a moot point. There are sadly hardly any babies available for adoption anyway. From a high of almost 4,000 adoptions in the early seventies there are now only between 100 and 200 each year (77 non-family adoptions in 2008 according to the Adoption Trust). CYF counsels young mothers to keep their babies and go on the DPB.

Lumping Maori and Pacific people together

It is often the case that people quoting statistics will lump Maori and Pacific people together. I was guilty of doing the same thing when I first began researching welfare.

The practice often does a disservice to Pacific people. It has intrigued me for some time that Pacific people are not over-represented in the welfare dependence statistics to the degree that Maori are. And on combined sickness and invalid benefits, not at all.

For instance, currently the Pacific unemployment rate is slightly higher than Maori. But their share of unemployment benefit is 10.6 percent whereas for Maori it stands at 32.8 percent.

So why is this? I can only speculate but primarily I believe it is because the Pacific family is stronger and the family is a source of support. Religious institutions also play a part in providing services. Perhaps too Pacific unemployment is shorter term hence the opportunity or need to go on the dole is lesser.

Another important reason Pacific people are more independent is that they are not in grievance mode. They see life in New Zealand as offering opportunities whereas some Maori, including Maori leadership, are more concerned with blame, resentment and languishing.

Here are the percentages of total caseload for each benefit (followed by Maori). The population shares are lower than total population shares as Pacific and Maori both have very young populations;

18-64 year-old population share 5.5 (12.5)

Unemployment 10.6 (32.8)
DPB 10 (41.4)
Sickness 6.3 (21.7)
Invalid 4.8 (21.5)
All main benefits 8.1 (31.5)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What religion tree-huggers?

Down our road there is a tree. It is a very big tree. A Norfolk Pine - one of four. It is near a dead-end so not much traffic passes it. A couple of boys whose house is next to the tree decided to mount a basketball hoop upon it. They didn't have a facility or the space on their own property to throw hoops. Seemed like a good idea. Goodness knows, we hear enough about getting kids active.

But no. Very soon a letter arrived in their postbox telling them to remove the offending hoop or a fine would be forthcoming. The council said it is a protected tree. Never mind that at Xmas they hang lights all over other local trees of the same species; that they regularly lop big branches off to accommodate powerlines; that our coastal windy Wellington weather frequently gives them a good working over. A ball shall not be thrown at or near this lump of wood.

As I reflected on this, when walking past the tree today, I wondered what religion, if they aren't one in their own right, tree-huggers most resemble. Catholicism perhaps? Rules-bound beyond common-sense? Intolerant, uncompromising, can't see the forest for the Norfolk Pines perhaps? Or am I being too hard on tree-lovers?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Driven to distraction

A comment by PC over at Kiwiblog on the matter of banning the use of cellphones while driving prompted a trip down memory lane for me.

The last car accident I had the misfortune of experiencing involved a young man who did not have a hands-free pie-eating device installed.

Having purchased his pastry at the dairy, he was unable to curb his impulse to consume it immediately. So absorbing was this exercise that he forgot to check his side mirror and proceeded to make a hasty u-turn across a busy road. Thus he collected the back end of my car, just missing the door behind which my 2 year-old was seated. (My car was also not fitted with a hands-free pie-eating device, so I suppose I was equally culpable under today's share-the-blame-if-you-don't-embrace-the-policy religion.)

The pie was delicious. So much so that the young man got out of his vehicle and proceeded to haul the badly damaged bumper off his vehicle with the right hand, all the while continuing to convey the pie to his mouth using his left.

Now when I think about it I too have been guilty of eating a pie while driving. Not being quite as ambitious as this young man, who was attempting to eat a hot mince pie, I contented myself with a cold pork one. Of the kind purchased from the M1 Services. When I had to break suddenly (altogether expected on a British motorway) the large book I had resting on my knee to collect any greasy crumbs from said pie, shot forward and down and virtually guillotined me at the ankles. Very painful, very distracting.

So like PC and DPF, I look forward to the list of accident-causing activities that Mr Joyce is going to ban. I promise never to eat, operate audio equipment, mediate between arguing children, check a pimple in the rear vision mirror, or even think about anything but driving again - so long as he passes a law compelling such.

Sue Bradford rejects inconvenient truth about DPB

Media Release
Sue Bradford rejects inconvenient truth about DPB
Monday, August 17, 2009

Green MP Sue Bradford is refusing to accept that the DPB is now responsible for violence towards women.

Quoted in The Epoch Times, 8 August, 2009, Ms Bradford said, "To remove it [DPB] would be one of the most evil things we could do to our women and children." It would mean a return to times when women " were dependent on men often (suffering) humiliation and physical violence."

Bradford was responding to a proposal contained in a report, Maori and Welfare, published by the New Zealand Business Roundtable last month.

Lindsay Mitchell, author of the report, said that Ms Bradford was ignoring aspects of the DPB that actually increased women's vulnerability to violence.

"Giving young women, in particular, a long-term secure income and home, makes them attractive to men who have no desire to raise and support a family themselves. Men who want a roof over their heads, sex on demand and another source of money when their own dries up. Men who want to control women physically and financially."

"This life style was acknowledged by the 1996 Ruka Ruling in which the Court of Appeal agreed that a woman who was living in a de facto relationship featuring violence and a lack of emotional or financial support from the partner, should be entitled to continue receiving state support - usually the DPB."

"Sue Bradford just doesn't want to accept that the DPB is no longer primarily about leaving violent relationships. It is about encouraging and staying in them."

"If, on the other hand, assistance became temporary only, the recipient stops being the proverbial goose that lays the golden egg. Women would make far more cautious choices about partnering and deadbeat men would cease to have their exploitive expectations met."

Reiterating the central message in her paper, Mitchell said every year thousands of uneducated and unskilled teenagers enter the welfare system that then traps them. "So long as the present rules continue, the benefit system is condemning many young mothers and their children to the very lives Sue Bradford likes to think it frees them from."