Friday, August 03, 2012

Does Sam win ... yes she does!


Sam  was the winner of a trip to the NZ Fashion Weekend in late September. I watched the show on Friday heart in mouth despite knowing the outcome (she arrived back at Wellington airport with a beautiful bunch of flowers). She was thoroughly surprised when the judges said her name, and suitably humble I am happy to report. Her model was also a Year 9 girl, but 5' 11" and in (ginormous!) heels and they look adorable together - very much the long and the short of it.

The On Demand replay is here

And, from Sam, thanks so much to all of those people who voted her into the Top 25. You made it possible.

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Remand population grows significantly

I wouldn't agree with Kim Workman's philosophical approach to crime and related matters but his statistical stuff is sound. Yesterday he delivered a submission to the Law and Order  select committee containing the following:

“In the last ten years, the sentenced prisoner population increased by 33.7%, while the remand population increased by 116%.” Said Mr Workman, “Around 56 percent of those remanded in custody did not go on to serve a custodial sentence. We remand offenders in custody at a rate higher than other comparable countries, with the exception of the United States.
“Maori defendants are nearly twice as likely as their European counterparts to be remanded in custody. The unanswered question is whether this discrepancy occurs because of differential offending patterns by Maori, a lack of cultural responsiveness, or the negative impact of laws, structures, processes and decision making criteria. There has been no in-depth research on this issue since 1973, and it is a matter of urgency.”
Following the link to his full submission was unsuccessful but it did take me to Rethinking's website. My first visit. It's a well designed site. Just a quick excerpt which describes Maori offending in a way I haven't seen before;

 At every stage in the criminal justice process, the outcomes for Māori are generally more severe than they are for Pakeha. Māori are less likely to receive diversion or cautions and are more likely to be sentenced to prison. Although New Zealand's imprisonment rate is 199 people per 100,000, the rate for Māori is closer to 700 per 100,000. Māori make up over 50% of New Zealand's prison population and over 60% of its female prison population.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Asset Sale poll

All I hear from commentators, politicians, the media etc is the majority of New Zealanders are against the asset sales. How do they know? This NewstalkZB poll doesn't bear out the claim.

Do you support the Government's asset sales legislation?

  • Yes 50 %
  • No 47 %
  • Unsure 3 %

Monday, July 30, 2012

Truth Column Friday July 19

My Truth column for July 19 is now on-line:

A local bus stop was recently tagged with ‘Aoteoroa is not for sale’. I was tempted to sneak out in the dead of night and add, ‘No more house sales to immigrants’ beneath.

Because that is the implication and most would find the idea abhorrent. 

Now we have, ‘No asset sales’ which is equally sweeping, superficial and emotive.  The reality is the NZ government is carrying huge overseas debt and it needs to pay some down. If it doesn’t, its future ability to borrow to fund everyday, vital services could be endangered. 

We are all watching the situations unfolding in various European countries, which are either bankrupt or verging on it. That poses the question: Would New Zealanders prefer austerity over asset sales?

Read more

Other Truth columns here

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Dads matter - an understatement

Rodney's Herald on Sunday column today is about his Dad and how important our Dads are. How they guide us and set an example. I am also blessed to have one such Dad. And I can bring to mind two people who lost their Dads in the past year who felt exactly like Rodney and I about them. Good men themselves.

Then I had lunch with a friend just returned from where her father lives who didn't even visit him. Can't abide him and was forced to explain to the aunties why. Because he violently abused her mother and siblings and she will not forgive him. Never. And without him she'd gone badly off the rails as a youngster (not that she ever seems to particularly rue her 'colourful' past.)

Last week Sam took a photo of her Dad and me as part of a social studies project. It's something to do with photos of everyday things that matter - a favourite meal for instance - to send to a school in another country. I wondered out loud how many of her fellow pupils would be able to send a photo of their Mum and Dad together. She in turn identified out loud which friends could. About half. I told her how when I was her age I didn't know anyone, not a friend, not a neighbourhood kid, who didn't live with both parents. Bar one whose mother had died.

Isn't that a phenomenally rapid  social change. One generation. And we know the downsides. The wealthier kids materially weather the upheaval  better but that's about it. And I'm not condemning people who split. Intolerably unhappy relationships should be abandoned. But the widespread nature of breakdown goes far beyond what should naturally occur. Or what would naturally occur without government interference.