Thursday, February 14, 2013

Sally Army report and the Living Wage campaign

It's hardly surprising that the Salvation Army Report, She'll  Be Right, got little media coverage. There's nothing particularly remarkable about the statistics, only the spin that Major Campbell Roberts puts on them. Every year he says something in his introduction that demonstrates his socialist bent. Last year he said the Prime Minister had no moral authority for the welfare reforms (despite having been elected on an overt agenda to overhaul the benefit system). This year Roberts writes:

"...the solutions to our challenges around child poverty, youth employment and housing—The Salvation Amy considers it’s na├»ve to believe and dishonest to suggest that these solutions do not require more tax dollars. The source of these extra tax dollars is, of course, a problem particularly considering the global economic situation. In our view the need for a society that is just and gives every citizen the right to participate economically and socially is so important, that ways must be found to find this additional tax revenue."
As Michael Laws commented yesterday, when did the Sallies become communist?

And in the related matter of a living wage, at last Bill English is pointing out that many people have their minimum wage topped up with various forms of government assistance.

Here's the problem for the living wage campaigners. If a worker receives a higher wage, he will lose his means-tested government assistance. He'll quite probably be no better off.

I'm quite happy for the employer to pay more so the tax payer pays less. It's is the employer that benefits from the labour purchased. But the bottom line is, the worker is no better off. And isn't improving worker well-being and prosperity the whole aim of this campaign?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cycling between benefit and prison

There are people who cycle between benefit and prison. It's highly likely that there's significant overlap between the numbers below.

I've just got the data for 2011.

Benefit ceased for reason of 'in prison' numbered 4,304
Benefit granted for reason of 'released from prison' numbered 3,815

The numbers in 2009 were respectively 4,192 and 3,496
2008 - 3,050 and 3,144
2007 - 2,860 and 3,171
2001 - 3,563 and 4,467

There's a trend there. Interesting. Under a Labour government more people were granted a benefit on release than had a benefit stopped on incarceration. Under a National government, that has reversed.

What can be said for certain is that more people on benefits are going to prison. Of course, it's still only a tiny fraction of the beneficiary population.

But it's quite a large fraction of the prison population.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Cop-out by Corrections

Here's a classic piece of public service obfuscation contained in Corrections latest Annual Report 2011/12:

 "The profile of the prison population also provides challenges. Maori continue to be over-represented in our prisons, reflecting the high proportion of Maori population in the crime-prone age range."

The highest crime-prone age group is 20-24.

8 percent of the total male Maori population is 20-24.

7 percent of the total male non-Maori population is 20-24.

Of the crime-prone 20-24 year-old  age group Maori represent only 17 percent.

What a cop-out.

Ethnicity of prison population at September 2012:
Footnote. By coincidence, searching for something else, I just came across the following statement in the 1939 NZ Yearbook:

"The total number of Maoris convicted and sentenced in the Supreme Court during the last five years is only 216, indicating that serious crime amongst the Native race is far from prevalent."