Saturday, March 29, 2014

Duncan Garner has a point

How long will it be before Duncan Garner enters politics? Because he has all the attributes of a budding Winston Peters rarking up public outrage with the worst statistics he can find.

In today's DomPost he writes that unemployed young kiwis should be forced to "work for the dole"
(the headline on-line is different) given the enormous need for labour in Christchurch.

The latest stats show 67,000 Kiwis aged 15-24 aren't in any form of education, training – or work. Some are no doubt getting really good at video games, funded by the taxpayer, but the reality is they're rotting away and learning nothing. We could fit them all into Westpac Stadium – twice over (the Hurricanes and the Phoenix could use that support).  
We need to get these young Kiwis off their backsides and into apprenticeships. I'm not suggesting that every beneficiary currently claiming the dole doesn't want to work – but we all know there are plenty who'll do anything to not get a job.

Only 26,887 - or 40 percent - are on the dole but that number is still unnecessarily high.

There are even 1,621 in the Canterbury region. The government has put some effort into getting the unemployed into work locally but that scheme only involved up to 100 unemployed, and not specifically 18-24 year-olds either.

I imagine the problem is skills are required now and apprenticeships actually divert qualified tradesmen away from the job at hand as they teach the apprentice.

But I agree with Garner. There is a golden opportunity going begging.

In a more general sense I have said the same about opportunities the ageing population will present in terms of the jobs their needs will create. More residential carers, in-home carers, various health workers, home maintenance providers, etc. While the government funds much of this, it makes total sense to be diverting dole money into training for these roles. How hard can it be?

The answer must be "very". It's easier to import able and willing workers and hope their productivity and taxes will support the unemployable.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Clear correlation between one parent families and deprivation

The reality that single parent families are responsible for much of the growth in relative child poverty is gaining traction. These two graphs highlight this dramatically. They are a bit dated but nothing has improved since.

They come from a Counties Manukau DHB report so use the health decile rating system whereby 1 is wealthiest and 10 is poorest

The first shows that in the wealthiest decile over 90 percent of children live in two parent families while in the poorest just over half live in two parent families:

 The next shows the same broken into ethnicities:

In the poorest decile around 22 percent of Asian children live in a one parent family compared to around 56 percent of Maori children. What a stark difference.

Quote of the Day

 From Future Freedom's daily newsletter, as relevant today as 164 years ago:

Once we start from this idea, accepted by all our political theorists [that] "The motive force of society is the government"; once men consider themselves as sentient, but passive, incapable of improving themselves morally or materially by their own intelligence and energy, and reduced to expecting everything from the law; in a word, when they admit that their relation to the state is that of a flock of sheep to the shepherd, it is clear that the responsibility of the government is immense. Good and evil, virtue and vice, equality and inequality, wealth and poverty, all proceed from it. It is entrusted with everything, it undertakes everything, it does everything; hence, it is responsible for everything.
– Frédéric Bastiat, The Law [1850]

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Resist WOFs for private rental property

I don't sign many petitions but this one I have. Some rental properties are below par. Some landlords are negligent. But as Muriel Newman points out, there are already legal requirements on landlords and protections for tenants under the Residential Tenancies Act and via the Tenancy Tribunal. I'd urge you to read her column this week.

By Dr Muriel Newman

Sir Bob Jones told property investors at a conference last year that he was sick of landlords being called evil persons and getting attacked by politicians. “You are providing a terrific service. You have to get politicised. Government’s declaring war on you. You have to kick back.”[1]
Sir Bob is correct – property investors provide a crucial service to society by supplying housing to almost half a million New Zealanders who do not own their own home. Yet politicians across the political divide treat property investors as a whipping boy, knowing they won’t get much of a fight and that landlords will not get much sympathy from the public at large.
They are under attack again – this time from groups who want state control of the rental property sector. But first, some facts.


"Fell into crime" because of childhood poverty?

Labour's candidate for Whangarei. Lawyer, Kelly Ellis, says:
"If one addresses poverty then everything else falls into place," she said, referring to the "so many files" on her legal shelves of people who fell into crime because of issues related to childhood poverty.
 Serious criminals end up in prison in which case prison statistics should match child poverty stats.

From the Household Income Survey table H5 I can construct a comparable pie chart (bar Asian) for ethnic percentages of poor children 2010-2012:


But a pie chart which shows the ethnicity of parents/caregivers on a benefit (2009) is a closer fit:

And if I'd depicted children rather than parents the fit would get even closer due to Maori/Pacific families being larger (but the Child Health Monitor source is currently under revision.)

On the other hand, the prison population is around 8-9,000 whereas the number of children living 'in poverty' is between 205,000 and 285,000. More generally there were 194,000 apprehensions for crime in 2012 of which NZ European made up 43 percent, Maori 42 percent, and Pacific 10 percent.

So I suppose I come back to the same sticking point. Maori are over-represented in child poverty statistics, the benefit system and in crime. Pacific people are over-represented in child poverty statistics but not particularly in the benefit system or in crime.

(All not withstanding there are ethnic categorising issues.)


Berend suggested a bar chart as a better method of making my point. He's right (though I still have a slight problem with depicting caregiver instead of children.) The first two colums relate to children, the last to caregivers.

And here's another way of looking at it. As before the first two columns relate to children, the second to caregivers and the final to the prison population:

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tupuranga Aotearoa

Statistics NZ has just released a new interactive tool called Tupuranga Aotearoa to show change over time.

Here I selected social > income inequality. Oh. Decreasing up until the recession.

What a surprise. Not.

Greens ignore child abuse realities

Not that it matters because the legislation doesn't need their vote, but the Greens are withdrawing their support from the Vulnerable Children Bill. From the report of the select committee their position is based on increased state powers to remove children at birth:
The single most critical factor in how children survive exposure to domestic violence is the presence of at least one loving and supportive adult in their life. For many children the loving and supportive adult is their mother
who repeatedly does her best to provide her children a normal life even where she is being abused

This seems a continuation of the article of faith amongst feminists who uphold the rights of women first and foremost - even over children's. Yet there is no rational reason to put mothers on an untouchable pedestal.

83 percent of child abuse takes place in the child's home. Most happens in benefit-dependent homes. And most welfare dependence in families with children is amongst female single parents.

But let's see what an unbiased expert says

University of Otago Professor David Fergusson, an expert on domestic violence, said the public perception that men were the perpetrators of most domestic violence was the result of biased publicity.
"The proper message is that both gender groups have a capacity for domestic violence [and] women probably perpetrate more assaults on children then men do," Mr Fergusson said.
Additionally the Greens are using the bill to once again politic about child poverty. They say that they can't support measures to reduce child abuse if the government won't address what they see as the major cause. Child poverty.

You have to wonder, as I frequently do, whose interests the Greens really serve.

(Labour, to their credit, are continuing to support the bill).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Colin James on David Cunliffe's chances of becoming PM

Colin James writes about Cunliffe's leadership so far and his prospects for becoming Prime Minister:

In his six months as leader Cunliffe, first, got only a short-lived bump in opinion polls and then in February-early March took Labour back to its David Shearer low. His biggest publicity recently has been for leadership stumbles.
First, Cunliffe chose to run Labour’s innovative children policy as a cash handout when its real value is a focus on children’s physical experience in the womb and nutritional, emotional and cognitive experiences in the early years of life. That is, he highlighted the palliative of a dole to parents over investment in children to give even the disadvantaged a close-to-equal opportunity to be full citizens as adults. And he did not say the palliative would be discounted for parental leave cash.


("Palliative"? )

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sons of preachers

The precedent for political success isn't good.

Don Brash was the son of a Presbyterian minister.

David Cunliffe is the son of an Anglican minister.

Ex government MP quick to get snout in trough

Funerals may be a touchy subject but comment on taxpayers being compelled to share responsibility for their funding shouldn't be taboo.

Ex National MP Katrina Shanks is now Funeral Directors Association something- or- other and says that the grants available and accessed by about 5,000 annually (one in six deaths) are too low.

 “We have concerns that due to the costs of burials, those with few means will not have the choice to be buried and may have to be cremated against their wishes.” She says there needs to be a shared responsibility for ensuring funerals are accessible for all by promoting advance planning for funerals, the industry providing a range of services including basic services, and government assistance for those who can’t afford funeral services.

The funeral business does a great deal of advertising. Listen to Radio Live or NewstalkZB if you want a taste. It constantly encourages people to plan ahead and save so their families won't be lumbered with the cost. Perhaps they should come up with a new line in advertising encouraging individuals to save so the taxpayer won't be forced to fork out?

Oh, and what's the bet that if the grants start to escalate so will funeral costs, just like rents under the accommodation supplement.

Bob Jones' loathing of "Leadership"

Sir Bob Jones never holds back much, to the benefit of those who read him. Here he has given an interview to an e-mail website and newsletter, "Get Frank" on the subject of leadership:

The most important piece of advice I would give an aspiring leader is to do the decent thing and cut your throat.
And make sure you find out the answer to "Where are the Maori leaders?" Priceless.