Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Social obligations

To be honest I find it difficult to understand why anyone would want to mount an argument against children being enrolled with a doctor, completing WellChild healthcare checks (things like ante-natal weight monitoring and vaccinations), go to kindy and then onto school. This is what a large majority of parents expect to do as part of raising their children responsibly. It's also what what parents on benefits do. But some don't. Some do not even register the birth of their child. This results in  those children described as "falling through the cracks". Paula Bennett has a way of trying to prevent this from happening. Using their benefit to motivate them to do all the right things by their children.

And I don't have a problem with it. Yes, it's state intervention and state compulsion but it is also the state protecting children whose parents are not up to the job.

And in the final analysis if you don't like these social obligations then don't go on a benefit. The rest of society has social obligations; to partners, to employers and to the government, like it or not.

Just did a pre-record on National Radio with Child Poverty Action Group's Janfrie Wakim. She wanted to make it a political fight. I think it's going to play after 8am if they use it.

Update: Interview here

Yes shock, horror I end by calling for the government to be allowed to do what it can to get the estimated 5 percent of children from highly stressed and dysfunctional families enrolled with a doctor, attending kindy and then school. Just remember, I am asking for this within the context of a benefit system which isn't going away any time soon.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quote of the day

The federal government, in guiding the economic destiny of the country, must be staffed largely with those who are unaware of how little they know, who have no qualms about their ability to plan and regulate the national economic growth, set wages, prescribe hours of work, write the price tags for everything, decide how much of what shall be produced, expand or contract the money supply arbitrarily, set interest rates and rents, subsidize with other peoples' earnings whatever activity strikes their fancy, lend billions not voluntarily entrusted to them, allocate the fruits of the labor of all to foreign governments of their choice - in short, decide what shall be taken from each Peter and how much of the 'take' shall be paid to each Paul.

— Leonard E. Read, Anything That's Peaceful [1964]
(Hat tip

The good news is New Zealand no longer regulates to this degree. But there's no shortage of people who think we should....a return to the "golden age".

Greens launch campaign at a primary school

"At a campaign launch at Miramar South school today, Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei and ‘Laughing Samoan’ Tofiga Fepulea’i joined with pupils to leave their colourful footprints on a banner promoting our campaign to recruit Champions to ‘take a step’ and help end child poverty.....Metiria Turei’s Income Tax (Universalisation of In-work Tax Credit) Amendment Bill is due for its first reading and would extend the tax credits to the children of beneficiary and student families.....'This isn’t about signing up to a political party. Children don’t care if your colours are green, red, blue or pink.' "

Of course this is a political campaign. It's about drumming up support for a Green bill that is highly controversial. I'm very surprised that Miramar School joined in this high profile support for Green policy.

In my experience schools won't even hire out their halls to political parties for campaign or fund-raising activities.

Justifying theft

I'm wondering how widespread Community Justice Panels (CJPs) are. Perhaps it's just a Christchurch development. I've never heard of such a thing before. It appears a CJP is a panel to which criminal offenders are referred to if there is an element of social injustice motivating their offending. But looking at an example the process looks open to manipulation.

"Police had referred some low-level shoplifters to the Community Justice Panel (CJP), made up of community members who deliver justice on behalf of society.
CJP co-ordinator Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said 17 of the 20 cases heard by the panel since July 1 were for shoplifting. About half of those were single mothers on a benefit with low self-esteem and a poor support network.
In two recent cases, the women were stealing items of clothing for children, while another young mother was stealing items to supplement what she had already bought for her son's birthday because she felt she was not able to give him enough.
In a similar manner Another young woman said she had stolen beauty products because of a low self-image problem. "She wanted to look and feel better," Appley said.
The panel had seen cases in which women were stealing for "hand-to-mouth" necessities, but they were in the minority, he said."

Along similar lines - justifying theft because of social injustice -another child poverty article contains this:

"Mangere Budgeting Services chief executive Darryl Evans said there were hungry children throughout New Zealand, particularly in South Auckland and parts of Christchurch.
His organisation ran a breakfast club at the Southern Cross Campus school in Mangere East. ''We estimated we would get about 30 kids a week turning up, we had 80 on one day.''
Teachers also reported children were having their lunches stolen by other children, he said. ''Not because they're naughty but because they're hungry.'' 

I am troubled by this attitude. Telling offenders that their actions are understandable provides neither a reason why they are wrong, or why they should stop. When theft occurs, at any level, there is a victim.

But I suppose the moral relativists would tell us that by definition 'rich' kids or 'rich' business owners can't be victims.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Chart/Table of the day

1.17 million individuals or 27 percent of the total population on an income-tested benefit or Super (left click on images to enlarge.)

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Dane Moeke is back

Dane Moeke first appeared on Homai Te Paki Paki in 2009.  His rendition of Whitney Houston's I Will Always Love You was sensational. Sadly, the YouTube clip has been removed.

But watching the first episode of NZ's Got Talent I was thrilled to see him auditioning. He sang The Greatest Love of All which isn't his strongest song (on those I've heard) BUT he got through with huge kudos from the judges. And this is smart. Starting with a lesser performance and saving his stronger for later. Again, his Dad was there in the wings supporting him.

He came on in bare feet and judge, Rachel Hunter asked him why. Slightly embarrassed he replied his jandals had gotten too sweaty. Downplaying expectations works for him. No-one anticipates the voice.

Can't wait for his next appearance.

Truth column August 30

My August 30 Truth column is now on-line

Inequality between household incomes is at its highest level ever (at least since 1982) according to a report released last week. But before we react, some context is needed. 

Other Truth columns here