Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Capably and ablably"

Yes, that's what Kate Sutton says about the female quota Labour plans to impose on electorate committees. The Labour Vice President says that international research shows that  "...when you create space for women they will capably and ablably fill it."


Still at least she has stopped swearing in her speeches.

I've chaired an electorate committee and am just trying to envisage turning away willing and able male members because I didn't have a female counterpart - of any calibre. How utterly absurd.

Friday, November 16, 2012

No European parents named and shamed?

From yesterday's post about the ethnicity of child killers Joe asks this question:

"Lindsay from your figures why have no european parents ever been named and shamed -as a society is European infanticide acceptable but not for Pacific islanders like Luffely or other brown New Zealanders."
The report I kinked to does not break down the reasons for death but another does.

It reviews family violence child deaths from 2004-2011.

Some cut and paste facts:

33 children were killed by 34 suspects

79% of children were aged three years or under at the time of death

Cause of Death

Head trauma  16
Newborn baby killed by Mother  5
Injuries to body  5
Drowning  3
Suffocation  3
Stab wounds  1
Total  33

 Mothers killed 15 (45%) of the 33 child victims, comprising 10 daughters and 5 sons. 

In  five  cases  the  mother  concealed  her  pregnancy  from  family,  friends  and/or
workmates.  When the baby was born the mother, through act or omission, killed
the baby and disposed of the body.  Three of the mothers were European, one Pacific Island and one Indian.

Murder/suicide. Six children died as a result of (four) mothers who killed their child(ren) and then killed themselves.  Three mothers were European and one was Maori.

In three cases children aged between one and two years of age were drowned
by their mothers; in two of the cases the children drowned in the bath after being left unattended. The mothers were Maori, European and Fijian.

In the remaining two cases of mothers killing children, both victims died as result
of physical assaults to their head and body. Both mothers were Maori.

Stepfathers killed five stepsons and two stepdaughters. In all cases the injuries involved physical assaults resulting in trauma to the head or body.  Five stepfathers were Maori, one was European and one was Cook Island.

Fathers killed two daughters and one son.  Two babies were five weeks and 11 weeks old and died from head trauma.  One child was three years old and died from injuries to her head and body.  Two Maori fathers were aged 18 and 21, while the Tongan father was aged 27.

My guess is that just as suicides aren't necessarily reported, neither are child murder/ suicides. There is no trial. Killing a newborn at birth is more commonly reported but treated (rightly or wrongly) sympathetically. Equally, drowning through neglect might also not make the news. The one case I found from 2010 had name suppression so no clue to ethnicity.

The high profile stories are where children are killed via wilful physical abuse and a trial ensues. Hence, over this period anyway, the predominance of media reporting Maori/Pacific child deaths is because they fall into this category.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Family violence deaths and ethnicity

As per usual the discussion about the death of J J Lawrence features arguments about child abuse  being a Maori problem. It isn't solely, but it is disproportionately. But let's put the actual statistics on the line:

But what do you notice about the preamble to this table?

Truth column November 8

The Truth on-line is now up and running.

(For those who don't know Josie Pagani has replaced Bomber Bradbury and now writes the column 'from the left'.)

"Housing affordability will be a major election issue in 2014. There’s a difference though between mortgage affordability and the affordability of rent. Both problems affect large numbers but the second group is less likely to vote. That’s why the National Government has focused its reforms on home ownership first, if not only.

Houses are expensive because there aren’t enough.
Finance Minister Bill English promises to cut waiting times for (some) consents to build to six months tops – still two seasons during which would-be home owners twiddle their thumbs. "


Other Truth columns here

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

An e-mail from John Ansell

"I hope to see you at my talk - either tonight Wednesday at Lindale Auditorium, Paraparaumu at 7pm, or tomorrow Thursday at the Museum Art Hotel at 6.30pm.

On Monday night in Tauranga, I saw what can happen when a local newspaper allows discussion on racial equality.

As a result of the Weekend Sun running many letters and articles from both sides of the Treaty debate, 200+ people filled the Hotel Armitage conference room to hear my talk 'From Treatygate to a Colourblind State - Let's Be Worldbeaters TOGETHER!'

The 150 local Maori who had planned to protest outside - and whom I was determined to meet - turned out to be only 15, so I invited them in to hear my evidence of the twisting of New Zealand history. We agreed to disagree, but respectfully I'm pleased to say.

The Tauranga audience was 90+% in favour of my proposed poll: 'Do you want a New Zealand where all citizens have equal rights, live under the one law, vote on the one roll, and have their taxes spent according to need, not race?'

They were much relieved and appreciative that the pushback has started. It is now my goal to turn this snowball into an unstoppable avalanche.

I hope Wellingtonians will show just as much willingness to hear my evidence and solutions - and join the discussion at the end - even though our local newspaper is unlikely to give the meeting any coverage.

(You may remember that the DomPost banned my ACT ad asking the perfectly reasonable question: "Fed up with pandering to Maori radicals?")

Thank you for taking the trouble to read this and other emails. I hope to see you this evening or tomorrow evening."

Joel Loffley - another 'killer on bail'?

The jury is deliberating about whether Joel Loffley is guilty of the manslaughter or murder of his partner's child J J Lawrence.

If the verdict is guilty either way, one aspect of the story hasn't been highlighted.

Joel Loffley was "on probation" after a previous assault charge. The ability to put him on probation was afforded by J J Lawrence's mother who provided a "bail address".

Only the Otago Daily Times has reported this detail:

Earlier, Loffley told police he met JJ's mother Josephine on a social networking website. He said she let him move in because he needed a bail address while he faced a charge of male assaults female. The charge related to an alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend.

Loffley had also been to prison earlier because he talked about not wanting to "go back to prison". In the main, only hardened types end up in prison in this country. Even J J 's real father James Ruhe, also in prison, knew of Loffley, knew he was "not to be trusted" because he was trying to get in touch with the mother about him. Judging by Loffley's admitted behaviour while on probation, he should have stayed there.

The number of murders in this country due to bad court decisions is deplorable. This may be another.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Truth column October 26 - Tamihere vs Bennett

Recent Truth columns haven't been posted here because the relevant website section isn't updated yet. Here's my column from October 26, John Tamihere versus Paula Bennett, newly topical because this weekend Tamihere (and company) will be at the Labour Party conference  trying to stake a claim:

Rodney Hide isn't returning to parliament. There's something a bit tired and sad about returned  MPs like Winston Peters and John Banks. He advises, "Move on" and make way for new blood. But will John Tamihere listen? Labour's lukewarm reaction to his publicly-announced ambition to take Waitakere for them hasn't put him off yet.

Tamihere's musings may be motivated by his unresolved court battle with the Ministry of Social Development. It's convenient that the Minister, Paula 'Benefit' as JT calls her, is the MP for Waitakere.  Is this plan some sort of utu should the court find against his organisation, the Waipareira Trust? He's a smart operator and will have considered all outcomes.

Even if Tamihere won Waitakere, but National retained power; if Bennett returned as Minister via the list and JT was appointed shadow welfare minister (easily out-qualifying the current amateur) it would be game on. Undoubtedly they are both scrappers and while Bennett might have looked the feebler party a couple of years back, the interim experience can only have toughened her markedly.

It's the points of difference I can't envisage because Tamihere is actually a better fit with National. Paula Bennett has been implementing the kind of reforms JT has pushed for years. Whanau ora, devolving WINZ money to mentoring organisations, free contraception, etc. Unlike most on the left, he isn't sympathetic to bigger state handouts and is dead-set against encouraging more dependency.

Which brings me back to why? Is he simply slightly jealous of Bennett's achievements? For instance, the law change that kicked-in on October 15. Women who add a child to their benefit will only get one years reprieve from work-testing. Labour couldn't even admit this was a real problem, let alone try and sort it.

Paula's tough. Tough as in 'tough love'. And a tough love Mum is amongst the most disciplined, formidable, fierce types. Too tough for Tamihere I think.

Treasury CE to address Social Service Providers

Not in my neck of the woods unfortunately but I was asked if I'd post the flyer here. Obliging:

Gender pay gap - big yawn...or small yawn?

The only reason I am blogging on this subject is because two headlines - one in the NZ Herald and the second in the DomPost - totally contradict each other.

According to the NZ Herald yesterday:

Gender pay gap widens in New Zealand

The gender pay gap is the biggest it has been in 10 years, according to new data from Statistic New Zealand. The quarterly employment survey shows the gender gap has increased in the year to September by 1.3 per cent, from 12.85 per cent to 14.18 per cent.

But according to the DomPost today it's at an "all time low":

Biggest or smallest?

Who knows and who cares.

Monday, November 12, 2012

MSD cover-up

The front page story in this morning's  DomPost has left me very angry. It concerns an employer who took $5,000 wage subsidies from Work and Income and then failed to pass them on to beneficiaries sent to him.

I'd heard complaints from other employees of Washworks/Shop n Shine back in May this year and started asking the Ministry of Social Development questions. According to my source employees had complained to Work and Income after being short paid or not paid at all, then sacked.

So on 25 May, 2012 I asked under the Official Information Act:

The Ministry responded on 25 June, 2012:

But people had been complaining. That was my understanding and now the DomPost confirms this:

This week Work and Income Wellington regional commissioner Louise Waaka confirmed $39,807 was paid to Mr Willbourne as wage subsidies for 13 beneficiaries.
Nine of the subsidies were for employees at Mr Willbourne's Wellington car washes, and four were for his New Plymouth business.
The money was paid under the now-defunct Job Ops With Training programme, which provided incentives to businesses for employing beneficiaries under 25.
One complaint was received in December regarding holiday pay, and placements at Wash Works were stopped in March after four more complaints were received, Ms Waaka said.
So MSD was telling me they weren't investigating Shop n Shine or any other employer when quite clearly they had received complaints.

Not satisfied with the first response from MSD, on June 28, 2012 I asked more specifically under the Official Information Act:

Has a company called Shop n Shine received Work and Income subsidies and is it under investigation for abuse of those subsidies?

The Ministry responded on 26 July 2012:

So in July MSD denied Shop n Shine (I notice they changed the name in the last sentence but surely that wouldn't have been deliberate?) was under investigation. Yet go back to their earlier response and  they state that any complaints about wage subsidy fraud "will be investigated by Work and Income and referred to NZ Police where evidence of fraud exists."

Shop n Shine must have been under investigation for it to have been "blacklisted".

Was I being misled by semantics regarding 'fraud'? Wilbourne was clearly repeatedly abusing the subsidies.

Additionally, while WINZ claim placements to Washworks ceased in March I believe placements to Shop n Shine did not. I am still trying to confirm that.

According to Work and Income Wellington regional commissioner Louise Waaka, concerns raised about employers were taken very seriously.

As a matter for cover-up maybe.

Now I am wondering how many other  investigations-that-aren't-investigations may be occurring, and the integrity of MSD's responses to my questions.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

More adoptive parents needed

The UK is leading a trend back to adoption:

Michael Gove has called on more people to adopt children. The call comes as it has emerged that more than 4200 children are ready for adoption but have not yet been able to move in with a family – a figure that has grown by 650 in each of the last two years.

The Secretary of State [for Education], who was adopted when he was four months old, said he wants other children to have the same early settled experience of a secure and loving home. It still takes on average two and a half years from a child going into care to being adopted. For that reason the Government has undertaken a series of reforms to make the adoption process swifter, and encourage more people to come forward.

"There are thousands of children around the country waiting for adoption. I was adopted when I was four months old and it changed my life. These children should have the same opportunities as I did and reap all the benefits of being in a loving supportive home."

Hear, hear.

Hear, hear.

We'd have 4,200 babies and children in this country, if not ready for adoption, ripe for adoption.

Two thirds of youth 'unemployed' are 'in education'

Each time the news comes on I hear Labour's Megan Woods talking about how one in four young people is unemployed. The "crisis". The "tragedy".

Yes. Officially they are 'unemployed'. But when you look a little closer two thirds of them are 'in education'. Only 9 percent of all 15-19 year-olds are not in employment, education or training.

That's a picture a little less bleak.

(This tends to also give weight to my earlier suggestion that more young people are being supported by a student allowance instead of the dole hence the low numbers on unemployment benefit.)

Part of my problem with Woods' remonstrations is that young people (and others) begin to believe there are no jobs for them. That they have an excuse not to look.  Even I found myself saying to job-seeking son, "It's tough out there right now", trying to be realistic and ward off a sense of personal failure if he couldn't find work. At the same time I was telling him that prospective employers would appreciate him asking for a job, being proactive and they did.

Megan Woods, Labour MP, on youth unemployment

Megan Woods, Labour MP, is all over radio and TV today talking about the burden on the state of young people on benefits:
The Labour Party is labelling New Zealand's youth unemployment situation a "crisis" and warns the social and financial cost will be felt for years to come. Latest numbers from Statistics New Zealand show the overall unemployment rate's risen to 7.3 percent - a 13 year high - but youth unemployment is much higher, at 25 percent. Labour's Youth Affairs spokesperson, Megan Woods, says the flow-on effects are felt in youth health and welfare pay-outs. “There is the financial burden on our welfare system when we have that many young people who are dependent on the state,” she says.
Labour is very fond of highlighting New Zealand's situation, and by implication National's failing, in isolation to the international recession. In any case, the burden on the state in respect of the unemployment benefit at least, has been reducing (see below).

This graph charts numbers on the unemployment benefit and the associated unemployment rates. Now I'm scratching my head as to the implications of it.

In September 2000 there were 38,500 unemployed 18-24 year-olds and 38,510 on the dole. An almost exact match. At that point under Labour everyone unemployed was on a benefit. But by the end of their term fewer people were getting the dole than were unemployed. This has continued to be the case.

By September 2012 there were 65,200 unemployed 18-24 year-olds but only 13,454 of them on the unemployment benefit.

There are a number of angles one could put on this. More unemployed young people are staying at home and relying on their parents? More are relying on friends?

Or perhaps more are relying on other benefits? In 2000 there were 31,932 on benefits other than the dole; by 2012 there were 41,427. That's what I'd expect given the overall rise in the size of that age group. So no answer there.

Is it possible that a number are supporting themselves via student allowances which had been trending up steeply between 2005 and 2010 (latest available) but have dropped out and are describing themselves as 'unemployed'?

Whatever the reasons are it's a bit silly for Labour to be complaining about the burden to the state of the unemployed when National has been successfully keeping large numbers out of the benefit system.

(My 18 year-old took his CV out to a large retail centre and went around asking for work. Got an interview later in the week as a result and accepted the job on Friday. Hope he hates it and returns to his studies next year:-)).