Saturday, August 18, 2012

Blonde joke

An old, blind Marine Gunnery Sergeant wanders into an All-Girl
Biker Bar.
He finds his way to a bar stool and orders a shot of Jack Daniels. 
After sitting there for a while, he yells to the bartender,
'Hey, you wanna hear a blonde joke?
 The bar immediately falls absolutely silent.
 In a very deep, husky voice, the woman next to him says, 
 'Before  you tell that joke, Marine, I think it is only fair, given 
that you are blind, that you should know five things:

 1. The bartender is a blonde girl with a baseball bat.

 2. The bouncer is a blonde girl with a 'Billy-Club'.

 3. I'm a 6-foot tall, 175-pound blonde woman with a black 
belt in karate. 
 4. The woman sitting next to me is blonde and a professional weight lifter.

 5. The lady to your right is blonde and a professional 
'Now, think about it seriously, Marine.... Do you still wanna tell 
that blonde joke?'

The blind Marine thinks for a second, shakes his head and mutters, 'No...
not if I'm gonna have to explain it five times............

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ministry data: It's NOT official!

Paula Bennett keeps insisting there is no official measure of child poverty in New Zealand. This tack hasn't worked well for her.

In any case there is a measure produced by her Ministry.

The 2011 Household Incomes Report summary says:

Child poverty rates were the same in 2010 as in 2009 using both the fixed line AHC measure (22%), and the 60% AHC moving line measure (25%) 

There is much more detail following this statement including a table that shows the change since 1998.

Just over an hour ago a rattled (IMO) Bennett released another statement:

‘’Following recent debate on the issue, I have been misquoted in various media as saying there is no poverty line, or it’s been reported that I don’t acknowledge that a poverty line exists.

‘’What I’ve actually said is that there is no official measure of poverty in New Zealand, and that is correct." 

So her Ministry spends money exhaustively examining, analysing and reporting on poverty but the results are not official. Bizarre.

If I was using the MSD report I would  certainly feel justified in describing the data as 'official'. Would you?

Ill-disciplined MPs

Gareth Hughes, on Frogblog, has a post about the behaviour in parliament yesterday. Kudos to him for not posting the rest of the speaker's comment directed specifically at the Minister for Social Development. I wouldn't have heard about it myself if it hadn't been for a caller to talkback describing the look on her face.  Like Hughes, I don't care for the petty, juvenile behaviour of some MPs - a prime example is my own, Trevor Mallard. So I don't tune in any more.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Maggie Barry in danger of patronising

National MP Maggie Barry is opposed to voluntary euthanasia.

Ms Barry said many advocates of euthanasia were unaware of the world-class palliative care available in New Zealand's 35 hospices, palliative care homes, and in hospitals.

I am not one of them. I am aware of the care available. But being knocked out on opiates and blown up from steroids is still something one should be free to choose to avoid. I've seen it and it didn't strike me as a peaceful exit.

Back to Maggie Barry's assertion. Grey Power members are amongst the strongest supporters of voluntary euthanasia. They more than most will have had the experience of watching a slow death. Claiming they may be ignorant of palliative care is patronising if not insulting.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

My advice to Paula Bennett re breaching privacy

Don't do it again.

Next time a Domestic Purposes Beneficiary starts to publicly complain about unfair treatment,  motivated either as an individual or by political activists, challenge them to disclose their full circumstances and income.

They don't need to be put under threat of exposure from the Minister. But they do need to know that they will be loudly challenged by you through newspapers, radio, television and social media.

You have the mana. You have the media pull. You can set up the platform. Use your power well. Use it to elicit the truth.

Call their bluff.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Jacinda Ardern contradicted by FVDRC

Criticising the Green paper submission summary released today Labour MP Jacinda Ardern says:

“Research shows that poverty and income inadequacy are key drivers of poor outcomes for children. Ms Bennett’s Green Paper ignores this with systemic issues like poverty barely rating a mention in the summary.
Yet the Family Violence Death Review Committee (FVDRC) included the following statement in its submission:

Low socioeconomic status (typically defined as family income below the poverty line, under-employment, and low education) is one of the major environmental conditions associated with child maltreatment. However, while the research shows an association between physical abuse, neglect and poverty, it is not a causal pathway. The majority of families living in poverty raise their children well.
Amen to that.

Being lightweight isn't going to do Labour any favours.

Submissions to the Green Paper on Vulnerable Children on-line and summarised

Submissions are now available on-line from MSD .... that is, those from NGOs and organisations. Those made by members of the public (like me) are not available.

Scanning through the lengthy summary paper via various searches I can only find a small number of references to benefit dependence playing a role in child abuse and neglect. One is a paragraph titled "Blaming Communities".

Blaming communities: A small minority of submissions suggested the problem of vulnerable children lay with particular sorts of people or communities. These submissions argued the culture of that group is the problem rather than the solution. Groups who featured in these kinds of arguments were Maori, DPB recipients, beneficiaries in general and absent fathers.  A related theme was the argument that vulnerability has arisen from a breakdown in family values, such as marriage, within communities.

(In 172 pages the DPB is mentioned three times.)

Anyway I searched "blaming" and "blame" . Guess what? The above reference is the only one. There is no mention of submitters blaming poverty; blaming colonisation; blaming systems or blaming inequality.'Blaming' is code for (as the summary authors see it) unfairly and prejudicially judging individuals.

Here is another brief allusion to welfare:

Benefits encourage poor parenting: A small minority of submissions argued the benefit system encourages and enables people who cannot parent properly to have children.

So a handful submitters have made the connection.   But the observation is pretty well buried under an avalanche of apologism for what is generally, at the core, an abrogation of parental responsibility.

(My submission was published here in February.)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Truth column August 2

My August 2 Truth column is now on-line.

Shortly after Labour’s Bill to extend Paid Parental Leave (PPL) from 14 weeks to six months emerged from the ballot, a poll of 16,000 votes showed 60% of respondents thought National was right to promise a financial veto against it. 

Frustratingly, this doesn’t indicate whether people were against the extension in the current economic climate, against an extension at any time, or against the entire scheme.  I fall in the last category.

Other Truth columns here

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Taking on the Treaty

This is probably a coincidence but Rodney Hide and John Ansell have both launched into the Treaty of Waitangi today.

Rodney serves it up to the Tribunal:

The Waitangi Tribunal is our Babylonian priesthood. Its members spend their days poring over a tatty old text seeking guidance for modern-day government.
The funny thing isn't that they do it. The funny thing is that anyone takes them seriously.

While John writes:

Wake Up New Zealand, We’re Being Conned!

Importantly, John Ansell has also worked out a practical way in which other New Zealanders can join him to stop the "TREATYGATE CON".