Saturday, July 05, 2014

Another take on Cunliffe's apology

Thanks to Brendan for uncovering this information.

From the American Government National Library of Medicine website:
Objectives. We sought to examine the prevalence of reciprocal (i.e., perpetrated by both partners) and nonreciprocal intimate partner violence and to determine whether reciprocity is related to violence frequency and injury.
Methods. We analyzed data on young US adults aged 18 to 28 years from the 2001 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which contained information about partner violence and injury reported by 11 370 respondents on 18761 heterosexual relationships.
Results. Almost 24% of all relationships had some violence, and half (49.7%) of those were reciprocally violent. In non-reciprocally violent relationships, women were the perpetrators in more than 70% of the cases. Reciprocity was associated with more frequent violence among women (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.3; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.9, 2.8), but not men (AOR=1.26; 95% CI=0.9, 1.7). Regarding injury, men were more likely to inflict injury than were women (AOR=1.3; 95% CI=1.1, 1.5), and reciprocal intimate partner violence was associated with greater injury than was nonreciprocal intimate partner violence regardless of the gender of the perpetrator (AOR=4.4; 95% CI=3.6, 5.5).
Conclusions. The context of the violence (reciprocal vs nonreciprocal) is a strong predictor of reported injury. Prevention approaches that address the escalation of partner violence may be needed to address reciprocal violence.

No doubt lead researcher in The Christchurch Health and Development Study would have sympathy with these findings. Professor David Fergusson:

  "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.
The ramifications are a public health system that tends to overlook male victims of domestic violence.
Finally, a thoughtful letter from this morning's DomPost:

I believe all of the above. But, no, I am not about to apologise for being a woman.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Maori Prince hides under Daddy's korowai

The heir to the Maori king has been discharged without conviction on counts of burgalry, theft and a drink/driving blood alcohol count of 761 when his legal limit is 0.

The Maori King's son has succeeded in his bid to avoid drink-driving and theft convictions after his lawyer argued it was likely to bar his succession to the throne...
The burglaries and theft happened in March while he was on bail and the judge noted it had also occurred after a night of drinking.
Paki, supported in court by his heavily pregnant girlfriend, previously pleaded guilty to all charges arising from the theft of two surfboards from Waikanae Motor Camp and items from a car.
His accomplices to the thefts, Te Ahorangi Totorewa, 20; Hamuera Wipoha Pugh, 19; and Raa Ngaru Smith, were sentenced in the Gisborne District Court last week.
The trio was ordered to each pay prosecution costs of $400 and were discharged without conviction.
Paki also applied for a discharge without conviction today.
His lawyer Paul Wicks QC told the court a conviction would impede his ability to accede to the throne.

Outrageous. But it gets worse.

Outside court Paki's representative and former MP Tuku Morgan said it was a "major turning point in his life".
"He's an expectant father and you can see he's brought shame upon his father, his family and Tainui," Morgan said.
He heralded the court's decision as a victory for Maori.
"I think that is a recognition of the uniqueness of this country. Maori tikanga, Maori culture has been recognised today by a very senior court."

I got a drink/driving charge at a similar age. Just over the limit, fined $300 and disqualified for six months, I lost my job. I was deeply ashamed. It was a rock bottom point in my life but accepting the consequences turned me around.

His father should  let him face the same fall-out as anyone else. Particularly that faced by many a less privileged Maori.

Classism is alive and kicking within Maoridom.


This guy isn't a learner either.

Asking too much of parents

A school donation of $100 per year equates to $2.50 a week.

It's too much to ask of any parent. Just as it's too much to ask them to find $2 or $3 for breakfast and lunch for their child. Too much to ask them to go down to Savemart or Rebound and buy a raincoat or second pair of shoes for a few dollars.

It's all too much.

Thank God for Labour. I hope they will also issue parenting guidelines recommending that parents don't make demands on their children. There is nothing to be gained from asking children to assume some responsibility by doing household chores to earn pocket money for example.

The more people are absolved from contributing, the less the stigma will be when they don't.

Hurray. This policy is the mark of a truly compassionate party.

Youth Service evaluation rather too glowing

The Youth Service Evaluation report is now on-line

The evaluation compares a group who received benefits before the Youth Service was introduced to a group post.

Youth Service is helping young people gain NCEA Level 2, so they have a better chance at getting a decent job

During their first year [my emphasis] in Youth Service, young people are more likely to gain NCEA credits and meet the requirements of NCEA Level 2 than under the old welfare system:
  • 63 per cent of 16 and 17 year olds receiving YP achieved NCEA credits in their first year, compared to 24 per cent of similar young people who received the old Independent Youth Benefit (IYB).
  • 14 per cent of Youth Payment participants met the requirements for NCEA Level 2, compared to 5 per cent of the young people who received IYB.
  • 43 per cent of teen parents achieved NCEA credits in their first year, compared to 20 per cent of similar teen parents who received Emergency Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or the Domestic Purposes Benefit (DPB).
  • 7 per cent of Young Parent Payment participants met the requirements for NCEA Level 2, compared to 5 per cent of the comparison group.

But guess what? Unless you read the report you will not find out:

 However, 12 months after enrolment in the Youth Service, YP and YPP participants remained less likely to have met the requirements of NCEA Level 2 than young people in the comparison group

At the point of entry to Youth Service, YP and YPP participants were less likely to have met the requirements of an NCEA Level 2 qualification than their comparison group. There are two reasons for this:

·           the comparison group was selected without consideration of prior educational achievement, as NZQA qualifications data was not available at the time of the matching process;

·           Youth Service targets young people who have lower levels of educational achievement.   

The gains made by YP and YPP participants toward NCEA Level 2 as a result of Youth Service have not been large enough to compensate for this difference (Figure 8). After one year in the service, YP and YPP participants remain less likely to have met the requirements of NCEA Level 2 than their comparison group.

A more robust estimate that controls for differences in prior educational achievement will be developed for the 2015 evaluation update.

I would have thought that a majority (certainly not all)  of young people entering the benefit system at 16-17 would have  "lower levels of educational achievement".

Back to the report.

More young people aged 16 and 17 are moving off benefit as a result of Youth Service

Young people are now gaining the education, qualifications and skills needed to move off benefit and into employment or full-time tertiary study.
  • After one year in the service fewer 16 and 17 years olds receiving Youth Payment remain on benefit, compared to similar young people who received IYB under the old welfare system.
  • We expect to see the same trend for teen parents as their children become closer to school age and they have increased ability to move into full-time work or study.
You can view the relevant tables on pages 15 and 16.

The differences are very small. In the Youth Payment group the leaving benefit rate was slightly higher; in the Young Parenting Payment the reverse is seen. The leaving rate is lower.

The real concern I have is that after they leave the Youth Service young parents have around two to three years on the sole parent benefit. Does the pressure continue to stay with education, ie move on to tertiary training?

I want the Youth Service to succeed. Very much. But evaluations should be fairly represented. The Better Public Service goals do seem to be driving a tendency to report only the gains.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

58 child deaths

For the Sake of Our Children Trust has produced an analytical table identifying 58 "horrific" abuse and neglect child deaths at the hands of caregivers since 1990.

They comment:

Based on the 58 known cases listed,
51 cases identified child’s biological parents were NOT married. The perpetrator responsible for the death indicated 27 of the deaths tabulated had a ‘stepfather’ or ‘boyfriend/partner of
the mother being responsible or part responsible for the child’s death.
The remaining figures for the perpetrator was indicated the  mother or relative of the child or unknown.Many of the children killed were of Maori descent with 35 cases indicating ethnicity of child . The question New Zealanders need to ask is ‘What are our Maori Leaders doing about these staggering statistics?

...The research was unable to provide evidence of welfare dependency of parent(s) as this information is not stated in most of the cases. The Trust stands steadfast on its assumption that for many of the children born into a single parent home or
an environment where their parents were not married is
associated to long term welfare dependency, hence undermining marriage and breaking up families

A fair assumption given that around 87 percent of children who have contact with CYF appear in the benefit system very early in their lives.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Colin James on Labour

Colin James is more impartial than most which is why I read his weekly column:
A long shadow will encroach on the Labour party’s pre-election “congress” this weekend: a Green shadow. There will be shorter shadows, too.
The short shadows are a faltering leadership, bad polls and a spectre looming out of history and off the internet. They add up to a growing sense in the electorate that for a second election in a row Labour is not headed for office.
A year ago most MPs agreed David Shearer had to go as leader. Now a broadening number concede that Labour under Shearer would not be doing worse than it is under David Cunliffe.


Monday, June 30, 2014

Denver crime - up or down?

JC made a comment regarding crime increasing in Denver, Colorado since the legalisation of cannabis. This is his link:

According to American Thinker:

The misinformation continues regarding how Denver's crime rate has changed following Colorado's legalization of recreational marijuana sales in January. claims that "5 months into legal pot sales, crime is down in Denver."  Nothing could be farther from the truth.  Actually, after five months of legal pot sales, crime is way up in Denver.
Denver's crime statistics for the first five months of 2013 and 2014 are available here.  The total number of reported offenses has increased by more than 10 percent, from 17,450 in 2013 up to 19,234 in 2014.

Here are the official crime statistics Vox used for Denver:

There is however another set here.

That set shows crime is up.

So I googled the question,

Why are there two different sets of crime statistics for Denver?

Seems there is indeed a controversy:

Denver's top two law enforcement officials disagree on the answer to what ought to be a simple question: Is violent crime up or down? Police Chief Robert White and District Attorney Mitch Morrissey aren't quibbling over minor details; they have a nearly 18 percentage-point difference in opinion about the way crime is trending. Experts say their disagreement underscores the complexities of measuring and interpreting crime trends in a major city.

White said his figures are based on numbers the department presented to the FBI for its annual Uniform Crime Report [first set above]. He said they are a more accurate reflection of crime in the city than another set of data posted on the department's website that indicates a 13.9 percent increase in crimes against persons last year.
Those are the police department's crime data classified under the National Incident Based Reporting System, which measures the individual crimes contained within a single incident. If, for example, someone is killed during a robbery, the NIBRS [second set] numbers include both a homicide and a robbery. The Uniform Crime Report that White points to includes only the most serious crime, so the same incident would be classified only as a homicide.

Rennison said NIBRS is a better gauge of crime because it offers a broader view of different types of offenses. Driving the 13.9 percent increase in the NIBRS numbers was a 71.5 percent increase in intimidation offenses and a 28.8 percent spike in simple assault, neither of which are offenses included in the Uniform Crime Report, said Chris Wyckoff, director of the police department's data analysis unit.
Crimes such as those seemed higher last year because of a change in the way police officers report them, she said.
Certain citations would be reported directly to court under the old system, so they would not have been captured in the statistics.
I guess the only approach is to ... wait and see.

Police react to changing attitudes to cannabis

Over the weekend the results of a Herald poll showed:
Public opinion on smoking weed is turning towards decriminalisation, according to a new poll.
A Herald DigiPoll survey published on Saturday shows almost a third of those surveyed supported decriminalisation, saying they thought smoking cannabis should attract a fine but not a criminal conviction.
Twenty-five per cent went even further and said they think it should be legalised.
Among National Party supporters, 45 per cent supported decriminalisation or legalisation.
However, 53.8 per cent said they favoured keeping the status quo...
...However, the government says it doesn't favour the approach.
"We do not think there are any benefits for decriminalising or legalising cannabis, for medicinal purposes or otherwise, which outweigh the harm it causes to society," Justice Minister Judith Collins told Fairfax.
This morning the NZ Police have issued this statement:  
Police believe the true success of this year’s national cannabis operation is not the drugs destroyed, the guns seized or the suspects arrested but rather the harm that has been prevented from occurring in the community.
Detective Senior Sgt. Scott McGill said that during Operation Lucy 105,000 cannabis plants were destroyed, 112 firearms seized and 640 suspects arrested.
“The cannabis trade is a destructive force in New Zealand society,” Mr McGill said. “By destroying over 100,000 plants before they were harvested police have prevented significant social damage from occurring in our community.”
Mr McGill said the arrest of 64 patched gang members or associates during Operation Lucy shows the strong connection between organised crime and the cannabis trade.
“We are very pleased with the results from this year’s operation which show our commitment to restrict the influence of these organised criminal groups.”
An analysis of this could lead to a conclusion that the police also support decriminalisation (though I doubt that was the intention). When they say their greatest success is in the harm  prevented they do not allude to any inherent harm in the cannabis itself. It is, the police say, the cannabis trade that is destructive. They go on to describe why, by referring to 64 patched gang members/associates and firearms seized.

Many people who support change do so because of the criminality illegal trade breeds. This statement from the police won't change their position. It will probably reinforce it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Told to choose between Super and ACC

This is curly. In New Zealand the welfare state forces people to pay for insurance against accidents and their consequences.  There is a dedicated ACC payment which, amongst other things, provides for compensation for a surviving spouse in the case of death.

Super is different. It is paid from current revenue. (Though one could mount a non-legalistic argument that having been taxed at levels that furnish the current Super bill,  ability to make private provision was diminished.)

A man's wife was killed in a car (workplace) accident shortly before turning 65. He is the surviving husband, already retired and 65. He is told after one year he must choose between the ACC payment or Super:

Is superannuation an entitlement or a benefit? Fin Heads has taken a case against the attorney-general over "obscene'' legislation that forced him to choose between his superannuation and his dead wife's ACC compensation. The retired Dunedin plumber tells Bruce Munro about his traumatic five-year battle with the Government to win what would be landmark case, and why he believes some in power hope he will die.

My compliments to the journalist who wrote this up. A complicated story made comprehensible.

I believe Mr Heads is entitled to both. He and his wife had no choice but to pay ACC  premiums. Do you think if he'd read the fine print 30 years ago and didn't like it he could have opted out? No.

And Super is not means-tested.

This case highlights the incompatibilities of our social security and accident insurance system. Even more importantly, the pitfalls of state run compulsory monopolies.

"Working for New Zealand"...

... National's new campaign slogan.

On the downside it immediately recalls Working for Families which National originally damned and then retained. Highlights their hypocrisy but also the reality of winning government and staying in government.

Working also suggests some that something is operational and functioning. The economy.

But perhaps most importantly it sends the message that National is the party for Working New Zealanders. The working class even. That's robbing Labour.

It's quite clever really.

The difference between taxing at 33 and 36 cents in the dollar

I wonder who wrote this  Stuff editorial ? It was the lead editorial in yesterday's DomPost:

Increasing the top tax rate from 33c to 36c is not an "envy tax", as John Key claims. It is a tiny impost on the top 2 per cent of taxpayers. Someone earning $160,000 a year will pay an extra $6 a week in tax. They simply won't notice it. It is similarly daft for Steven Joyce to claim that this will somehow have an effect on the brain drain. It will have no effect whatever.
$6 a week looks immediately suspect. Why would Labour bother?

So I did the numbers using income tax rates from IRD:


First $14,000 at 10.5 cents = $1,470
Next $34,000 at 17.5 cents = $5,950
Next $22,000 at 30 cents = $6,600
Remaining 90,000 at 33 cents = $29,700

Total tax paid = $43,720

Remaining 90,000 at 36 cents = $32,400
Total tax paid = $46,420

Difference = $2,700 or $52 a week.

What did the writer do?

Forget to add a 0 on the tax taken at $90,000?

What a numpty.

Update. OK. I'm the numpty who shouldn't have assumed the thresholds were staying the same.