Friday, March 20, 2015

"Another Nanny State Failure"

I enjoyed this short post from Jacob Hornberger of the Future of Freedom Foundation...well, I was enjoying it until I reminded myself that the war on obesity is picking up momentum here:

Another Nanny State Failure

Advocates of the nanny state are undoubtedly suffering a bout of depression over their latest failure. According to the Los Angeles Times, a legal ban on fast-food restaurants in south Los Angeles has failed to reduce obesity.In fact, it’s worse than that. While obesity has increased in all parts of Los Angeles, the increase was largest in the section where the fast-food ban was in effect.


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Can CPAG show some appreciation for a change?

It occurred to me today (as I argued with Andrei at Home Paddock about the veracity of the reported drop in teen mothers reliant on welfare) that the Child Poverty Action Group never reports on positive relevant news.

Teen mothers who start out on welfare stay there a long time. According to new MSD Minister Anne Tolley, 19 years.

Home Paddock reports Tolley's latest offering, titling the post Fewer teen parents, less poverty. And that is exactly right.

So can we have some appreciation from CPAG for a change? Or does their political bias preclude it?

CPAG makes redundant request

The Child Poverty Action Group has just released a report about the poverty of disabled children. The release says,

CPAG is particularly concerned about the impact of a significant decline in the number of Child Disability Allowances (CDA) granted annually by Work and Income. The CDA is a non-income-tested allowance available to parents to help compensate for the time and expense of caring for a disabled child.The number of new CDAs granted has almost halved since 2008 while the number of disabled children has increased, from 92,000 in 2001 to 95,000 in 2013.  Over the same period spending on the Disability Allowance also dropped 14% in real terms.  CPAG Co-Convenor Alan Johnson says, "We have not seen the Government championing cuts in support to families with disabled children, but that is in effect what has happened."
And requests,

 That the Ministry of Social Development:
  • Investigates why there has been a sharp reduction in the number of Child Disability Allowance (CDAs) granted
The following is from the MSD Statistical report. 2012 is latest available.The decline in numbers is noted and explained:

Since mid-2008, case manager decisions on eligibility for the Child Disability Allowance have been improved by:
  • a requirement for fuller medical information
  • case managers being able to consult with Regional Health Advisors when making decisions about eligibility.

Numbers of children assisted by a Child Disability AllowanceTop

The number of children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance decreased between 2009 and 2012
This decrease (see table CD.1) largely reflected the reduced use of the Child Disability Allowance by working families. This in turn reflected a combination of changes in economic conditions and the administrative reforms outlined above. These administrative reforms affected the number assisted by the allowance through:
  • an increased number of clients not retaining their allowance, due to parents not confirming their children still met the eligibility criteria for the allowance
  • reductions from mid-2008 in the proportion of applications for the allowance being granted, following the administrative reforms noted above.
table CD.1: Numbers of children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance
Children assisted by a Child Disability Allowance1
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012
Total children assisted 43,185 45,767 43,883 39,253 36,894
 In 2013 the number had dropped to 34,968.

The government has already explained why the number has declined. Futhermore, the revised medical certificates were instituted in September 2007, before National became government, and their use for determining eligibility for a CDA occurred from mid 2008, again, before National became government.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Raincoats for kids who already have them

Key came under sustained attack from Metiria Turei yesterday.

The two haggled over how many kids come to school without lunch.

I found it trivial in the scheme of things.

But here is the PM's last respone:

Rt Hon JOHN KEY: I have been to numerous schools where KidsCan has been in operation. I have been to those schools with Julie on numerous occasions. This is actually the Government that gave KidsCan $500,000 more for raincoats, and $900,000 more to deal with headlice. We are providing extensive support. But I will say this. I went to one of the schools where every child was given a raincoat, and, yes, we fully supported that. The argument around that is that children do not have raincoats. So I actually asked about 20 of the kids: “Do you own a raincoat?” Every single child told me: “Yes.” So it is great they have got another one, and we support KidsCan and we are giving them money, and we think they are a great charity, and they are doing good work, but just because you give kids a raincoat does not mean they did not own one beforehand.

What is the message here?

Need cannot be accurately measured by acceptance of aid.

And the government wasted money, albeit $500,000 is small beer.

Really though. A PM trailing around with KidsCan, and then haggling with the Greens over who can waste more money???

Update. It was too late to go searching for this quote last night but it also illustrates the principle above. What researchers found when they analysed breakfast in schools programmes,

 "Rather than increasing breakfast consumption overall many children who previously ate breakfast at home appeared to swap location (substitution effect)"

James Bartholomew: The Welfare of Nations

If you read The Welfare State We're In, by James Bartholomew, and knew he was writing a sequel, you will be very pleased to hear the publication date of The Welfare of Nations is March 31st. He will officially launch the book in London on April 9.

You can view a short launch video here.

He hasn't let up on his stinging criticism of welfare statism blaming it for unemployment (it is unemployment, not inequality, that makes people unhappy), lone parenting (the over-representation of single parent children amongst failing youth) and the warehousing of the elderly in old people's homes where many wish they were dead.

The following is the jacket blurb:

The twentieth century experienced an
epochal war between capitalism and
communism but the real winner of the conflict,
James Bartholomew argues, was welfare statism.
The defining form of government of our age,
welfare states have spread across the advanced
world and are changing the very nature of
modern civilisation.
In his bestselling book The Welfare State We’re
In, Bartholomew controversially argued that
the British welfare state has done more harm
than good. Many people – including Lady
Thatcher – responded by saying, ‘If that is the
case, what should we do about it?’ Now, in this
hard-hitting and provocative new contribution,
Bartholomew sets out to answer that question.
Travelling across the globe, from Australia
in the east to San Francisco in the west, he
investigates what happens elsewhere in the
world and considers which welfare models
Britain could potentially follow. His search
for the best education, healthcare and support
services takes him to eleven vastly different
countries as he teases out the advantages and
weaknesses of other nations’ welfare states
and delves into crucial issues such as literacy,
poverty and inequality.
What damage is being done by failing welfare
states? What lessons can be learned from the
best welfare states? And is it too late to stop
welfare states permanently diminishing the
lives and liberties of people around the world?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Maori trust police more than the media

Statistics NZ surveyed Maori adults and asked them to rate their level of trust in various institutions, '0' being 'not at all' and '10' being 'completely'.

What would have been really interesting is how these ratings compare with other ethnicities but that wasn't part of the exercise.

Anyway it is reassuring that Maori do have relatively high trust in the police. Many will deal with the police as victims.

As for trust in the media, I expect that would be representative across all adult New Zealanders.

Here's a thought. How would you rate those two institutions? We can run our own mini survey. I'll kick it off.

Media. Depends on which media and in what respect eg delivery of information or personal dealings. Generally I'd be around 4 but there are exceptions.

Police. My personal dealings with police have been good and bad. Brushes with authoritarian heavy-handedness and possible racism takes my rating down, but generally, compared to other countries I think we've got a fairly non-corrupt and responsive police force. So a 7.