Saturday, February 12, 2011

What's wrong with Win-a-wife competition?

The kerfuffle around a radio station's Win-a-wife competition continues with the Hand Mirror linking to a facebook campaign. Sue Bradford climbed out of her tree over the issue also.

I am assuming that there are women who want to find husbands outside of their own country. Their reasons are their own business. Why is it feminists don't support the freedom of other women to make their own choices? These women might be intent on exploiting the husband; he may be intent on exploiting her. But the attempt to prevent bad stuff destroys the opportunity to create good stuff. So in the final analysis it can only be left to individuals to make their beds and lie (or lie) in them.

This is what I abhor about feminism and other collectivisms. They pretend to more freedom but actually seek to lessen it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

National - do some lateral thinking about childcare

The Government is signalling a big childcare boost under plans to push more DPB, sickness and invalid beneficiaries back into the workforce....."We need to absolutely have a focus on lifting those children out of benefit-based households, but it may cost us money to make it happen."

So says the PM.

The childcare needed to get people off the DPB or more accurately doing something productive needn't be more costly.

Let me explain by going back to what happened before the DPB when single mothers had to find ways of combining their childcare responsibilities with work. Karitane hospitals, for instance, employed young single mothers before and after the birth of their children. They paid them very little but accommodation, meals and childcare were provided. After the advent of the DPB those workers left. Maybe not directly as a result but ultimately the hospitals closed.

What people on the DPB need is a way of earning their income whether from the public (health, education) sector or private. If they want to keep their young children with them they could work in pre-school childcare centres or even offer child-minding in their own homes. Those who want to work in other caring roles (remembering the National government cut back on aged care in the community) can move into that sector at no extra cost to the atate if the government were to re-instate higher hours. Something has to give in respect of the rapidly ageing population and allowing elderly people to stay in their own homes is the best social and economic option. So a large movement of funding out of MSD and into Health makes sense. A reversal of what happened in the first place.

More creches in rest homes are needed; more creches in schools; more creches in large centres of employment.

The nub of it is the country needs to either stop paying the DPB or get a return for the money that is being spent. For small government advocates, even the latter would be an improvement. The change would be neither punitive nor, most importantly, hurt children. And with the non-working lifestyle no longer an option the number of single parent families might just stop rising.

The objection to reforming the DPB that comes up constantly is 1/ there is no childcare and 2/ there are no jobs. With half of those on the DPB caring for just one child the solution is blindingly obvious.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

There's the problem - right there

The family Mr Key befriended a couple of years back are still struggling.

But it's not their fault.

Mrs Nathan just had her sixth child while on the DPB.

"Bread, milk, everything that we need that is a basic necessity for us is going to be more expensive. It's going to be harder for us to feed our kids."

See, the DPB doesn't pay enough Prime Minister, "arsehole".

Around the time she had her latest child her oldest was removed from her care.

"...which Mrs Nathan said was better because "it's a life I can't give her"."

Poor thing. Poor things, both of them. The eldest "got in with the wrong crowd". Nothing to do with Mrs Nathan who likes to call people arseholes because they won't give her the extra money that she surely deserves. No. Her values are very sound.

I don't know what's wrong with this country. The government should make rich arseholes like me, people who work hard and plan their families, pay more tax so Mrs Nathan can get a bigger benefit and her new baby doesn't end up like her oldest. Because if we aren't made to fork out now, we will only end up forking out more later.

Welfare justice for all! That's what we need.

Monday, February 07, 2011

ACT's position on the Foreshore and Seabed

I think I'll stick to welfare. Trying to sift through the arguments and counter arguments put by National and ACT regarding the Coastal and Marine Bill has defeated me. But my claim that ACT has reversed its position since 2005 is apparently wrong. Fair enough. I was still distracted by their insistence that Maori shouldn't be able to block, or charge for, access to private property (as proven under customary title).

Here is what Rodney Hide said a while back on Kiwiblog;

ACT is the only party never to have flip-flopped on the foreshore and seabed. Our position has never changed.

ACT opposed Labour’s discriminatory Foreshore and Seabed Bill 2004. I joined the Hikoi in Wellington. We argued that iwi — like every NZer — were entitled to their day in court.

In our discussions with both the Maori Party and National Parties, ACT’s position has always been the same:

1. Repeal the Foreshore and Seabed Act;
2. Return iwi and hapu to their pre-2004 legal position with respect to the Foreshore and Seabed;
3. Enable claims for customary title to be heard by the High Court, not the Maori Land Court. As I understand it the Maori Land Court is not equipped either to (a) hear claims for customary title; or, (b) recognise customary title. Their only redress is to award fee-simple title;
4. Legislate public access.

Instead the Maori Party and National Party have agreed to a confusing and confused legislative solution. It is to be Parliament, i.e. politicians and politics, determining the extent of customary title (of course, it is to be no longer customary title, but statutory title), and the test for granting title. It won’t be the Courts determining customary title based on the law and the facts, but politics.

Worse, National’s new Bill gives the Attorney-General the power to negotiate deals carving up the coast with iwi in his office in secret. It’s a disgrace. Politics will determine which iwi get in the door — and what they get.

The objection to ACT’s position from both parties is that the courts would take too long and may determine that iwi and hapu claims are without merit, i.e. that the courts would not award title. That’s certainly what the Court of Appeal judgement suggested and that would be consistent with the 1963 90-mile beach claim. The test under customary law is a high one. Perhaps an impossibly high one.

But that’s not an argument for lowering the test and extending the extent of the rights that can be awarded.

ACT is the only party that has stuck to its principles throughout.

Both the National and Maori Parties promised that iwi would not charge the public for access to the foreshore and seabed in statutory title. But, of course, the Bill as drafted doesn’t preclude that.

ACT is attempting to make sure the government delivers on that promise by proposing an amendment accordingly.

Commentators referring the situation of land held in fee simple or rights granted by the courts are making a straw man. The title being granted under the proposed Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Bill is not fee simple, and is not customary title being granted by the courts under customary law; but rather is title granted by politicians in parliament and the Attorney-General in his office.

ACT will oppose this law for the reasons outlined above but in the meantime will propse amendments to ensure it does what the politicians promise it does!

Rodney Hide

Dunne proposes compulsory DNA testing

Peter Dunne gave his own State of the Nation speech which outlined what he would be campaigning on this year no doubt.

The first is that families should be able to capitalise their Working for Families payments to buy a house. I predicted Labour would put up this policy at the last election and I was wrong. It's just a return to the days when Family Benefit got many people into their first homes. People capitalising their WFF payments makes the assumption that the policy is here to stay. Let's not forget that the two parties Dunne is in government with both opposed the introduction of WFF on principle. It is still bad policy even if used to encourage property ownership.

The second is an extension of Paid Parental Leave to 13 months. This would cost millions yet as Eric Crampton recently pointed out, there is no evidence to support it being an 'investment'.

The last is a bit more from left field;

Mr Dunne said compulsory DNA paternity testing in cases where claims, counter-claims and doubts exist over the parentage of a child would “unnecessarily excite certain civil libertarian tendencies” but commonsense needed to apply.

The idea doesn't excite my civil libertarian tendencies. Currently, as I understand it, DNA tests require the mother's consent and we have the tragic scenario of fathers(?) stealing samples and sending them overseas for testing. From memory statistics show around 1 in 5 fathers turn out not to be, yet a man named in a child support application has to compulsorily make payments for 18 years with no requirement for the mother to prove he is indeed the father. That state power disturbs me more than requiring a mother to prove paternity.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

What Prebble said in 2004

First, good column from Deborah Coddington this morning.There has been too much of this individual-rights-robbery going down under the current National government. (From an earlier post) trying to turn NZ into a 'soft' police state by increasing police discretion. Non reversal of the very unpopular anti smacking legislation. Introduction of on-the-spot DV orders, requiring DNA swabs from non-convicted people, three strikes which encompasses non-violent crimes, patch bans, looming alcohol clampdowns, upping war on P, car crushing, loss of right to elect trial by jury, confiscation of property upon just the mere suspicion of a crime committed. Enough to make me even feel a twinge of dismay at Keith Locke's departure because he is one of the only MPs that advocates for civil liberties since ACT dropped the classical liberal ball and started voting for more state power over the individual.

And harking back to yesterday, I mentioned ACT's reversal on the Foreshore and Seabed issue. Another instance where they have ceded classical liberal principle. Here again is what Richard Prebble said in 2004;

ACT is a party that believes in private property rights, the rule of law, the citizens’ right to go to court for justice, and one law for all...

The bill discriminates against Maori, by removing the right that the Court of Appeal has found, that Maori have to seek a declaration from the courts that the seabed and foreshore is Maori land....

Let me make it clear that in upholding the rights of all citizens to go to court I am not lending support to claims that Maori under the Treaty own all the foreshore and seabed around New Zealand. As a lawyer it is very clear that in law, whether it be legislation or British common law or Maori customary law, it is very clear that Maori do not own the vast majority of the foreshore or seabed of New Zealand....

Both Maori and British common law require continuous occupation and control for common law ownership. If Maori controlled and occupied Takapuna beach I am sure we would have noticed.

But it does not follow that it is not possible there are some parts of the foreshore and the seabed that is still owned by Maori, and indeed I think it is likely that Maori do own some parts of the foreshore and seabed.....

Any claim by anyone to the foreshore and seabed should be brought in a proper court, and the appropriate court is the High Court...

I realise that the position the ACT party takes is not a populist one.

It is now.

National has a special on-line article about the Marine and Coastal Bill here. I wonder where Prebble stands on that?