Thursday, September 05, 2013

Dissatisfaction among public servants

This survey has just been reported on Radio Live. Perhaps the best slant that could be put on it is the response rate of just under one third. Perhaps those who are more positive don't say so:

"The study showed that, in general, public service staff do not feel recognised or rewarded for putting in extra effort or for performing well. Dr Plimmer says the reported rates of bullying are high although the number of workers experiencing sustained and frequent bullying are relatively low.
He said survey respondents are ambivalent about their managers and view them as often basing decisions on politics rather than facts, as weak at taking prudent risks and poor at developing staff."

Wouldn't it be interesting to know whether those who think their managers are politically biased are themselves left or right, or a mix? And also whether these findings have any historic comparison. Were public servants happier under a Labour government?

Update: I asked the head researcher if there were comparable earlier surveys. None exactly the same exists but there are plans to repeat this in a few years plus put the same questions to private sector employees.

The other side of the coin

In the last blog post regarding Lady Stout's ideas about alcohol, I noted there was no mention of women drinking, only men, specifically fathers. Two days later the ODT has another gem of a piece in their '100 years ago' feature:

At the quarterly meeting of the Wellington Licensing Committee on Monday (says the New Zealand Times), Superintendent Ellison spoke strongly on the subject of women loitering in hotels.
He stated that in the Magistrate's Court on the previous Friday morning several women were charged with being idle and disorderly persons, in that they did habitually consort with reputed prostitutes, while the evidence indicated that frequently two and three, and sometimes four or five, of these women were seen congregated together in the Royal Tiger and Cricketers' Arms Hotels.
The superintendent went on to say that he had told the licensees that he would mention the matter at the committee meeting, so that they could attend if they desired. Under section 162 of the Licensing Act, said the superintendent, it was conceded that women had the right to drink in an hotel, but the licensees of such houses could not expect anything but a bad report if they fostered and encouraged a trade with this class of women.
The licensees would also find great difficulty in getting a transfer to another house if they wanted it.
Women had the same right to obtain drink as a man, but they should remain in the hotel only a reasonable time for the consumption of liquor. In the cases referred to, the police found hordes of women congregated together drinking, and he contended that those houses were badly conducted.
If any strange young man fell in with ''these harpies'' at an hotel, continued the superintendent, he would be in need of a young men's protection society. Dr A. M. Arthur, S. M., stated that the committee desired him to say that they would support the superintendent in every respect.

Come to think of it, myself and girlfriend could be spotted loitering at the local pub last Saturday lunchtime over a couple of pinot gris' and salt and pepper calamari. We were not in the company of prostitutes and the young men in our vicinity were quite safe. It may have taken 100 years, but we have learned to drink responsibly in a public place.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

"The role of the father"

This piece of writing from 100 years ago published in the ODT today intrigued me.

Lady Stout, who is at present on a visit to Wanganui, gave some plain truths to a public meeting on Sunday concerning the responsibilities of fatherhood.
This was, she said, the century of the woman and the child.
It was claimed that girls should be taught the virtues of wifehood and motherhood, but no one talked of training the boys.
Fatherhood was the highest privilege a man could attain to, yet men were not to be taught that responsibilities were attached to that privilege.
The girls were expected to be trained in every essential that went towards the making of an ideal mother, yet the man was allowed perfect freedom from all responsibility, He could gamble, drink, and commit immorality at will, and do as he liked before and after marriage.
There was no one to warn him of his duty to his wife and children.
Alcohol, Lady Stout continued, did more harm to the physical development of the child than tight lacing and high heels.
Then there was the spiritual aspect of the duties of fatherhood to be remembered.
The racial function consisted of service to the mother and seeing that her health and strength were closely guarded.
Lady Stout referred to the awakening of women and quoted a number of passages showing that an evolution with regard to the relationship between man and woman was in progress.
In New Zealand, she continued, the many youthful imbeciles had to thank their fathers for their affliction.
The sins of the fathers were revisited on the third and fourth generation.
Heredity did not stop at birth.
Lady Stout referred to the white slave traffic, to cruelty to children, which darkened the annals of the courts, to the rescue and maternity homes, packed full of unmarried mothers, and to the asylums and the hospitals.
Would these exist, she asked, if man realised the duties of fatherhood?

Is Lady Stout foreshadowing foetal alcohol syndrome but attributing the incidence to men? Or is her point that the behaviour of drunk, profligate men was not conducive to reproduction and raising of healthy children? She makes no reference to mothers' use of alcohol.

In any case, over the century many men did not learn the "responsibilities of fatherhood" and the state took over their financial role leaving the mother in charge of the "physical development of the child",  and that hasn't provided the perfect answer either.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Making families on welfare

What is welfare for?

I can accept a refugee coming into NZ and getting some emergency relief while they establish themselves and any family members.

But it's not for making family members.

Work and Income has ordered a refugee mother with a 5-month-old baby to attend a seminar about the military-style Limited Service Volunteer scheme.
The young mother, who came here from Burma under the United Nations refugee quota in 2010, was ordered to attend a seminar about the "boot-camp" scheme on August 2, despite having only very basic English, a 2-year-old son and a 5-month-old daughter.
The letter, dated July 29, arrived the day before the seminar and warned: "If you don't attend the seminar or contact us to make an appointment by 02 August 2013, your benefit may reduce or stop."

Yes, the blanket approach from WINZ is probably a waste of time if it doesn't fit her practical circumstances . But what does she understand about welfare? That a state income is no-questions-asked as long as there are children in the picture?

I get very annoyed with the NZ Herald portraying people as victims of an unreasonably heavy-handed state. Whatever she ran from was worse.

(And, yes, none of the 'father' questions are canvassed either).