Saturday, April 30, 2011

Birthright get it wrong

Stuff has picked up on a report released by the OECD mid-week. I subscribe to OECD social statistics releases and scrolled through the report it but it is typically full of out-of-date information.

The writer of the piece fails to say her headline statistic is from 2007. But strangely does date recent information. But here's what gets me frustrated;

Birthright national manager John Donaghy said there were about 219,000 single-parent families in New Zealand, most of whom were middle-aged.

"Unfortunately there are many people who basically poke at the 18-year-old person on the DPB who is seen as a weight on the rest of society, but actually they're a minority."

In March, 46 per cent of single parents were aged 25 to 39, and 20 per cent were aged 18 to 24.

How many times do I have to point out that teenage parents age. They stay dependent and they stay single. Hence we find that there is a spread of single parents across all agebands. The fact remains that up to a half began life as a single parent, usually on the DPB, as a teenager. That is why I bang on, or "poke at" that particular group.

Birthright are apologists for a serious problem that won't be resolved as long as they fail to understand it. As a volunteer I once attended a meeting between a seriously inadequate teenage mother and one of their social workers. The social worker, a pleasant enough young woman, was going through the motions - counsel, make a next-visit appointment and bugger off - whereas I was getting stuck into the filthy surroundings, showing the mother how to look after herself and her once-was-perfectly-nice home. (Another battle I eventually lost even though I won the girls trust. The usual happened. Rent arrears piled up and she disappeared.)

I am sure Birthright serves some purpose but politically they are aggravating the problem they were born out of.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Consensus on Brash

Isn't it indicative that Labour's cheerleader, The Standard and National's cheerleader, Home Paddock are essentially saying the same thing this morning.

Home Paddock blogs, Most votes are in the middle

The Standard blogs, ....what he’s [Brash] thinking is batshit crazy stuff that most New Zealanders want nothing to do with.

Doesn't that tell you how centrist and similar the two big parties are, no matter how much National protests.

Anyway, no matter. We are about to find out how big "most" is. Helen Clark used to say something at this juncture. But I will refrain.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another dead baby

I feel bad because I look at the photo of this baby, this time, and I don't feel as much as I used to. Am I losing my humanity? I've cried in the past. Why? For the pain they may have endured? The waste? The thought of a limp, lifeless corpse that should be a warm, snuggly, chubby, wriggly, smelling- of- baby being?

Perhaps the edge is taken off what should be deep sadness, by anger. Perhaps mothers with older children are less emotional than mothers of very young and I am now in the former camp. I don't know.

But we should all resign ourselves to more of the same as the causes of child abuse and neglect, sometimes ending in death, continue to be enabled with state money and state systems. Perhaps not feeling deeper sadness is a protective mechanism. More probably it is just mental fatigue. Human beings are made to be resilient, to adjust, to get used to. That is what we do well.

I am sorry you were failed little thing.

Benefit numbers rise over the year

The March quarter benefit statistics just came out.

The numbers on the unemployment and invalid's benefit have been flat over the year.

BUT the numbers on the sickness benefit have risen by 7 percent. Thirty percent of the rise occurred in Canterbury. As the invalid's benefit is flat (0.02% rise) it may be that beneficiaries are being moved from that benefit to the sickness. Only an OIA question would answer that.

And the DPB numbers have risen by 3 percent. So, six months of work-testing the DPB has made no impression so far.

Numbers at March 31, 2011

DPB 113,077
IB 85,055
UB 59,940
SB 59,582

Monday, April 25, 2011

Brash "very old"?

Seventy is not "very old". In fact, believing that says more about the outlook of the person who said it than the subject of the claim. The statement tends to fall into that collectivist-thinking basket of ideas I hate so much. It's ageist. Some people in their seventies may be very old - near death's door because of physical and mental ailments and deteriorating health. Others have good health, sound minds and decades of life experience under their belts. Above all they have a living memory of a New Zealand when values were different. Some better, some worse. But some worth reviving as universal. Like possesion of a work ethic.

And here's another thing. The population is ageing. For those who don't properly comprehend that term - possibly the owner of the ageist attitude - the proportion of people over 65 is growing in relation to those under. And they all have a vote. And life expectancy is growing. So a growing percentage of voters are less likely to judge a politician on their age - at least, having too much of it.

Brash has been upfront about what he wants. There is only room for one party that wants less government involvement in the economy so he has to try and use the ACT vehicle first. Anyone that has been around ACT for any length of time knows the high regard supporters hold him in. So if he just went ahead and formed his own party he will decimate ACT's vote anyway. In that context his strategy is fair to current ACT players.

National's lines on this are eminently silly, as described by Whaleoil whose political opinion is worth rather more than mine.

If Brash assumes ACT leadership and runs a campaign based on the 2025 Taskforce recommendations I am in the camp that believes he can get up to 10 percent of the vote.

Disclaimer: I am not an ACT member and learnt about the leadership bid through the media.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Aussie ahead again

Listen to any racing industry pundit and they will tell you NZ racing is in a perilous state. With globalisation many trainers have upped sticks and left for Australia or Asia where stakes are higher and training is more viable. Punters can bet with competing bookies internationally with ease and do. From my small knowledge breeding seems to be the only aspect of thoroughbred racing that is sound. And that is because so many good types are exported.

Sorry to drag us back to the seemingly insurmountable problem of catching Australia but here is yet another instance of where they are more open-minded and commercially savvy. They are racing today. Easter Sunday. All over Australia. Thousands of NZ dollars will flow into Aussie coffers while our trainers miss opportunities thanks to archaic law.