Friday, July 01, 2011

MSD Statistical Report released

If you wanted to do a crash course in the benefit system and current trends this weekend (in-law visit avoidance perhaps) you could bury yourself in the Statistical Report, released today. It is bursting with 300-odd pages of information about trends, expenditures, grants, reasons for leaving, historical data, and much more. Trouble is it only extends to June 2010. A year ago. So not a great deal is newsworthy. Just a few things caught my eye while browsing;

* Nearly two fifths of benefit expenditure was on the DPB and nearly a third on the Invalids benefit

* Older clients - aged 40-64 - account for nearly half of benefit expenditure. More precisely 47-49%.

My comment - why not rephrase that as younger clients account for over half of benefit expenditure? Not a good look really.

* Women accounted for the majority of total main benefit expenditure

That's enough for late on a Friday afternoon.

I have more enjoyable things to do.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

ACT, don't forget the 'youths' on the DPB

NZPA reporting about ACT's push for the reintroduction of a youth rate mentions the following statistic:

There were 17,726 youths - people aged 18-24 - on an unemployment benefit as of May.

It would add greater weight to consider also that there are 22,502 'youths' on the DPB.

If paying the adult minimum wage means young males are less likely to get work the same applies to young females. The only difference is they have an alternative benefit to go on. One that pays better and has more perks attached.

Image supression?

Not far below a NZ Herald photo of Chris Kahui's sister, who gave evidence at the Coroner's trial into the deaths of her twin nephews yesterday this appears:

Coroner Garry Evans granted suppression of Ms Kahui's image today, after she told the inquest her children were bullied during her brother's trial for the twins' murder.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Australia moves on welfare for teenage parents

The World Socialist Website reports on a pilot scheme to target teenage parents who receive welfare:

The program will affect some 4,000 parents, predominantly mothers, aged 19 or under who receive the Parenting Payment. When their baby turns six months old, they will be required to attend so-called support and engagement interviews at the government’s Centrelink agency. They will be forced to develop a “participation plan” which will include compulsory activities designed to ready them for the workforce, including placing their one-year-old infants in childcare while they finish secondary school, or engage in other training or paid work. Attendance at regular interviews will be mandatory until the parent completes Year 12 or its equivalent, or their child turns six years old, when they will then be obliged to look for work.

Good job too. The Welfare Working Group made extensive suggestions about conditions that must be put on young parents if they are to receive taxpayer funds.

The source of this excerpt is a socialist site which, naturally, can only see what is designed to enhance the life chance of both young mothers and their offspring, as part of a capitalist plot.

The Labor government’s objective is to increase business profitability and make Australian capitalism “internationally competitive” in order to attract globally mobile capital. The systematic dismantling of the welfare system will facilitate the lowering of business tax rates, while at the same time expanding the pool of exploitable labour, using those cut off welfare to leverage to drive down the wages and conditions of the working class as a whole.

The rationale driving the government’s stated goal of “breaking the cycle of welfare-dependency” is not that of helping the impoverished, but of eliminating the basic right to welfare altogether.

Sounds just like the Greens and soon, the Mana Party.

Seeking redemption or justice? Either way it's a joke

What does Macsyna King expect to achieve through telling her side of the story and naming who she thinks killed her children?

She has no moral compass afterall. So what is motivating her? She obviously liked sex, especially with younger men but didn't like the result. There seems not to be a mothering bone in her body. Does she understand that most people find her indifference to all of the children she has given birth to utterly abhorrent? Or has she changed her ways, perhaps become a Christian and needs forgiveness? That isn't an uncommon transformation and might explain Ian Wishart's involvement.

Don't look here for it.

She may be able to convince readers she is innocent of murder, but she will never convince me she was innocent of ongoing gross neglect and inhumanity. These I consider worse crimes than a murder committed by a child too young to know what he was doing.

If I seem harsh, here is a taste of what the book might read like:

A look of shock passed over the doctor's face as he examined the fatally injured Kahui twins, says their mother.

"His eyebrows raised, his eyes widened," said Macsyna King.

Macsyna King 31, was giving evidence in the High Court in Auckland where her former partner Chris Kahui is on trial for the murder of their three month-old twin boys Chris and Cru.

"I remember thinking that if he's looking like that and he's a doctor, then what else is wrong."

Ms King she decided after talking to Kahui to take the babies to their GP. Cru was due for a follow up visit and she was concerned about what had happened the night before, she said.

She collected the car seats and strapped the boys in, not stopping to change their nappies or clothes.

On the way to the doctors, they stopped at MacDonald's for breakfast but could not remember if she took the twins in with her, or left them strapped in their car seats in the car.

They arrived at the doctor's surgery about 1pm and told the reception they needed to see their GP, that it was "about the boys".

They waited about 20 minutes then were shown into the doctor's room where the twins were examined one at a time while they remained strapped in their car seats.

After examining the babies, Dr Nayar said he was concerned about the boys and would write a referral.

"He needed me to take the boys to Middlemore Hospital."

Asked by Crown lawyer Richard Marchant who was the dominant person in the relationship, Ms King replied "I thought I was".

"I would yell the loudest, I would swear at him and I just wouldn't stop till I got my way," she said.

"I've kicked him in the shin, I've slapped his face before."

Kahui, eight years her junior, was a quiet, softly spoken person who would bottle things up.

"That would come out when he'd get really angry – he'd lose it."

Ms King told the court she had three children to two different fathers prior to meeting Kahui in 2004. All three children were now cared for by their respective fathers and she did not have contact with them.

She started living with Kahui shortly after meeting him and quickly fell pregnant, giving birth to a boy, Shayne, in 2005.

In September that year, she split with Kahui for several months and went to live with her sister Emily.

During that time she got into a relationship with another man but then returned to Kahui.

She fell pregnant with the twins soon after her return.

Kahui's sister, Mona, later questioned her about the paternity of the twins.

"She asked me if Chris was the father of the twins" Ms King said.

"I said 'Yes'."

Ms King said she then went to Kahui and repeated the conversation to him and reassured him he was the father.

The next day, after a second argument with Kahui about taking time out, she left again for Emily's place.

About 6pm they went to visit a friend of Emily's where they drank and talked.

As she had only had one or two glasses of wine, Ms King said she drove them home about 1am, and she slept on the couch.

Although she could not recall anyone trying to wake her in the night, her sister told her in the morning that had attempted to, to tell her that Cru had "held his breath overnight", she said.

"That was the very first time I knew about that."

She got home about 10am, to find her brother Stuart King looking after the twins.

As he was telling me what happened the night before, Ms King said she was walking towards the nursery. She dropped the side of the cot, bent down and felt their breath on her cheek.

At the same time, she noticed a fresh bruise on baby Chris's face.

"I stood up and started on my brother about where the hell was he when all this was going on."

Then Kahui arrived and she started yelling at him.

Kahui told her Cru had held his breath the night before and had to be given CPR and that the bruise on baby Chris' face was from Shayne.

He told her he had left the babies on the couch in the nursery after feeding them, while he returned the bottles to the kitchen.

The door to the nursery had been left partially opened and Shayne had pushed it opened, climbed up on to the couch and "got at the boys".

She accepted his explanation but then Kahui started blaming her.

"He said "well you should have been home taking care of the kids," she said.

"He was blaming me. If I had stayed home and looked after the kids this would not have happened, I would know what happened."


Earlier today, social workers told the court they had discussed referring Ms King to Child, Youth and Family in the weeks before their deaths.

Social worker Nadine Ingham said she first met Macsyna King after the twins were born and were being cared for in Middlemore Hospital’s neonatal unit.

Hospital staff were concerned about the lack of visits to the unit by Ms King and her partner Chris Kahui.

Ms King said she did not like being told what to do by hospital staff and had a problem with their "expectations".

She said she had not been up to the hospital because the house she was living in was unsuitable for the babies and she had to find somewhere else for them to live. She also had to train a new person to take over her job.

During her conversation with Ms Ingham, Ms King said she sometimes hit Kahui – but not around the head or face – and occasionally smacked their one-year-old son Shayne with an open hand. She also said she was attending an anger management course.

She also said she like to go out with her friends and get drunk but would get the babies "out of her hair" first.

Hospital staff had discussed referring her to Child, Youth and Family, but the referral was never made, she said.


The Crown alleges the babies were killed deliberately, with the fatal injuries being delivered shortly before an episode in which baby Cru’s eye rolled back, his lips turned blue and he stopped breathing.

Kahui was alone with the babies in the nursery for up to 10 minutes before the episode and was the only one who had the opportunity to harm them.

The babies' mother, Macsyna King, was not home at the time so could not have been the killer, the Crown alleged.

But in her opening address yesterday, Kahui’s lawyer Lorraine Smith said the mother was the most likely killer and had confessed that she "did it".

Medical experts would testify the babies’ injuries could have been caused earlier than the Crown alleged, at a time when Ms King was at home with the babies, she said.

This morning Counties Manukau District Health Board homecare nurse Jane Eyres said the twins showed no sign of being injured in the weeks before their deaths.

They slept in a "beautiful", clean, warm nursery, were feeding well and were putting on weight, she said.

Despite stripping each of the twins to examine them, she never saw bruises or any other sign that the babies were injured.

It was only after they were killed that she became aware one of the babies had an old brain injury and the other an old wrist fracture.

Middlemore Hospital play specialist Kathryn Greenwood said Macsyna King told her the babies had been hurt by their toddler brother.

Greenwood told the court she first met Kahui and Ms King when their twins were in the neo-natal unit in April 2006 at Middlemore Hospital.

She looked after their eldest child Shane, who was 10 months-old.

Miss Greenwood was working on June 13 when Ms King brought the twins into hospital and went to see her in the resuscitation room where the twins were being treated.

Ms King told Ms Greenwood that Shane had climbed onto a couch at home and into the twins cot and "got them".

Ms King talked about how busy she had been and how life was a balancing act, she said.

Initially Ms King was angry but became more in control over the course of the day, Ms Greenwood said.

Her observations of Shane before June 13 was that he was not an "active child" and was not able to hold himself up but could crawl, Miss Greenwood said.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On Cactus standing for ACT

I am pleased to see Cactus is going to stand for ACT. Why? I'm not sure. I have never met Cactus. Not that I am aware of. We have communicated sporadically via e-mail. We seem to favour the same ACT types. Or maybe it was just Rodney. She has been incredibly loyal to ACT whereas I, as she puts it, "chucked my toys". Fair enough. Don't want to revisit why.

Cactus personifies what I value most in people. Honesty. But when she enters politics there will trouble. For everyone, including Kate. I expect she has the constitution to handle it. Although she is deep, I have seen no sign that she is sensitive. Or the trait is well-buried for her own protection.

Unavoidably politics is also about compromise. Does anyone see Cactus as a compromiser? Me neither. My sympathy is extended in anticipation.

But Lordy politics is not going to be dull if she is in the house. And no-one will be left wondering what the heck is going on with ACT. Unlike Heather Roy who essentially wasted her time as an MP and Minister, Cactus will take her portfolio and stamp herself indelibly all over it. I expect she will fearlessly rark up every one and everything she sees as needing it.

The other morning I was watching that awful Jacinda Ardern on television and musing mawkishly that she could be a future Prime Minister, such is the sad state of NZ politics. Now mercifully I can see the perfect foil for her.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Crisis? What crisis?

The Alternative Welfare forum last Monday was addressed by Professor Paul Dalziel. According to Metiria Turei:

Professor Paul Dalziel from Lincoln University pointed out that the Welfare Working Group attempt to portray some sort of “crisis of sustainability” in the welfare system was not backed by the evidence. Welfare payments as a percentage of GDP are actually dropping and will continue to drop, even under the Welfare Working Group’s worst case scenario. As I suspected, the whole basis upon which the Welfare Working Group’s report was based is flawed.

From page 58 of this report you can view the various modelling charts that attempt to estimate what will happen with the numbers of beneficiairies and associated costs. This is what the group found under a 'current trends' projection:

"....if current trends continue, there would be 16 percent of the working age population on a benefit by 2050. This would be unsustainable, particularly in the context of an ageing population, and would reduce the government’s ability to respond to a serious economic downturn."

A rise from the current 12 percent to 16 percent would increase costs by a third.

GDP would have to rise much faster if the increased costs were to account for a lower percentage than now.

And even if working age welfare was consuming a smaller percentage of GDP, Super and the health costs of our ageing population will be consuming considerably more.

But isn't the crisis of sustainability as much about lives impaired by welfare as the financial cost? Is it OK to give our blessing to spending X amount of GDP on welfare and disregard the social fall-out?

The Greens and other adherents of the modern-day welfare state seem to think so.