Saturday, September 18, 2010

The glaring anomaly when state steps in

The High Court case featuring caregivers providing care to their disabled adult children is currently being conducted in Auckland. The carers want to be paid for the care they provide because, they argue, if a stranger is required to provide it that stranger gets paid. The Crown lawyer, acting for the Ministry of Health, counteracts;

Coleman explained the Ministry's argument that a social contract existed where people look after their own, and pointed out the policy in question was about filling gaps in services for people with disabilities.

It was not about providing a wage for families - that was the business of the Ministry of Social Policy.

So sometimes the state is happy to ignore the "social contract", and at others, it suits to uphold it.

When it ignores the contract it undermines and weakens it. That has already occurred on a massive scale at an enormous social and economic cost.

The state should uphold the social contract. Having said that these parents are more deserving of assistance than those who treat a "wage for families" as a lifestyle option.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rearranging deck chairs

There is a certain useful phrase about rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic (and I am not referring to the post on Big News about ACT). No. It was my instant response to reading that Iain Duncan Smith ( double-barrelled surnames are bad enough - unhyphenated ones are worse), Incomes and Pensions Minister in the UK, is still pursing a 'single' benefit. It is "doable" he insists.

To what end? NZ Labour spent years pursuing the idea. Why would it encourage people off welfare or discourage them from going on? As I heard a talkback caller astutely point out the other day on an unrelated matter, you can staple feathers on a Labrador but that doesn't make it a chicken.

And the classic political argument is employed to justify the estimated $7 billion pound cost of setting up this new creature. It will be paid for by the taxes that the long-term unemployed will produce when they get jobs.

Run a mile Chancellor.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Identity theft - identical crime

I wonder what Frank Macskasy was sentenced to?

Update: the answer is here.

"Lifestyle choice is going to come to an end"

Will we ever hear Treasurer Bill English saying this?

"People think it's a lifestyle choice just to stay on out-of-work benefits; that lifestyle choice is going to come to an end."

Of course just exactly how UK Chancellor George Osborne plans to bring it to an end is not at all clear. This won't cut it.

When Clinton vowed to "...end welfare as we know it" he carried through on the promise.

Still I suppose even publicly acknowledging the lifestyle choice is progress.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Musical mammeries

Apple announced today that it has developed a breast implant that can store and play music.

The iTit will cost from $499 to $699, depending on cup and speaker size.

This is considered a major social breakthrough, because

women are always complaining about men staring at their breasts and not listening to them.

Garrett revelation: why now?

The only aspect of the David Garrett assault conviction story that interests me is, why has it come out now? Are we in for another morbidly fascinating round of murky leaks, accusations and counter-accusations ACT-style? Will Whale Watch once again attract more visitors than Kaikoura? Or is this revelation merely the work of the tacky, tabloid media and Mr Garrett's fellow MPs can be expected to stand stoically behind him? Or he may prefer beside and in view.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Kiro calls for higher benefits for Maori

From Simon Collin's article it becomes apparent that what Cindy Kiro said last week was misreported by Catherine Delahunty. She isn't looking at what employment opportunities await young Maori but asking for more early investment and higher benefits.

Former Children's Commissioner Cindy Kiro has made an impassioned plea to invest more in Maori children - for the sake of New Zealand's economy.

She told a conference on welfare reform that Maori were "the canary in the coalmine", losing their jobs and being thrown on to welfare benefits before others when the economy was hit by recession.

It actually matters not whether the country is in recession. Throughout the 'good' times Maori continued to be heavily over represented on benefits.

Dr Kiro, now an associate professor at Massey University's School of Public Health, said these differences were driven by a wider increase in inequality in New Zealand since the late 1980s.

"Maori and Pacific families and individuals are among the most deprived and this is part of the macroeconomic environment that we need to address," she said.

A challenge for Dr Kiro. How does she explain the sharp difference between Maori welfare dependency and Pacific? At June 2010 of all those receiving a benefit 32.1 percent were Maori whereas only 8.3 percent were Pacific.

Professor Kiro said the ageing non-Maori population, combined with relatively high Maori and Pacific birth rates, meant the future NZ economy would depend on today's Maori and Pacific children.

"Quite apart from the moral imperative, we have an undeniable self-interest in making sure they grow up well-educated and well-adjusted. They must, to look after us oldies when it comes time.

"The scientific evidence about the importance of the early years in terms of good life outcomes, including productivity, is now overwhelming."

If Maori children were growing up in families on welfare, then welfare payments had to be high enough to support good lives in decent housing.

Defeated. Forget that children do better when their income comes from the market. Forget that they need a working parent to build expectations. Forget that they need in situ fathers to protect from going off the rails and being prey to gang recruitment.

Put welfare payments up and all we will have is more relatively poor parents and children on benefits. Especially Maori. Kiro has a very poor understanding of what really matters regardless of ethnicity. People need work and strong, constructive relationships, both of which are undermined by the DPB in particular.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

In need of a ' home for life'

On first reading this is a heartbreaker but on second thoughts it might be the best thing that could have happened. Let's hope Paula Bennett can find these two a ' home for life'.

Maori and Pasifika children "future caregivers of an ageing population"

Green MP Catherine Delahunty made the following statement about an address by Cindy Kiro to the shadow Welfare Working Group last Thursday;

I loved Cindy Kiro’s challenge to our self interest by investing our best in Maori and Pasifika children as the future caregivers of an ageing population.

Now that is a most interesting statement. At a child poverty conference in Auckland last year I suggested to Cindy Kiro directly that there exists a great deal of care-giving capacity in the DPB population which our ageing population could harness thus providing many more paid jobs. She responded to me that she didn't want to see sole mothers "ghettoised" into rest home workers.

Perhaps she has been thinking a little more about where the employment opportunities lie for many Maori and Pacific females in particular. There is no shame in providing care for the aged (or the young for that matter) and being paid to do it well.