Friday, June 19, 2015

A back-handed compliment from the local MP

Tweeted from the Muriel Hopper Art Award.

Not a big fan of Trevor Mallard's politics but he's not a bad art critic!

This is a tiny painting so forgive me for the imperfection inherent in the features. Even with my glasses on, getting a minuscule portion of pigment in the right place is a challenge. It's based on a black and white photo c 1909. More of these wonderful photographic portraits are becoming available on-line as copyrights expire.

Had convivial conversations with both the Labour and National MPs in attendance.  What I really enjoyed was talking to Jane Clifton. I'm a big fan and said so. The humour, humility and earthiness exuded in her writing and radio appearances is utterly genuine.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Messing around with a knife

I've been messing around with a palette knife again, bored with tight and uncolourful portraits.

Paremata Inlet.

Even looser, bordering on abstract, a South Island mountain scene. Looks like a snow storm to me. Both quite small paintings.

(Had two other paintings accepted for exhibition in the Muriel Hopper Art Awards today - yippee)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

No consistency in the new world

The Bruce Jenner phenomenon has just illuminated a world bending over backwards to embrace people who want to change their gender,

Image result for bruce jenner

Not so hot on people who want to change their race...

Image result for pretending to be black

Turning down welfare

If people are offered assistance, and they don't accept, is it a problem?

An article from Brookings Institute points out that the uptake of food stamps (SNAP) and the earned income tax credit (EITC) among those eligible is nowhere near 100 percent.

There are still millions of Americans not claiming benefits they are entitled to

 The authors speculate on the reasons why. For instance, assistance is too difficult to claim, or too far away. They didn't consider pride or stubborn independence, or an actual lack of need because incomes can be misreported. Then they canvas how much lower poverty rates would be if people took what was available and suggest ways to improve participation rates in these programmes.

Really? More welfare is the answer?

When I was a volunteer one supervisor would always start out with a struggling family with a 'make sure they are getting all their entitlements' strategy. My own observations of unkempt and chaotic homes containing unkempt and chaotic people and their unkempt and chaotic relationships immediately told me the problems were deeper seated than a lack of resources. They weren't universally hopeless, but they were universally on welfare.

Entitlements aren't the solution. They are the problem.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

A frank admission from Anne Tolley, MSD Minister

Trying to reduce the numbers and plight of at-risk children is fraught area. The Minister says,
“At the moment there is little evidence of the effectiveness, or not, of funding in this sector, because up until now most contracts have focused on the numbers of clients receiving services, rather than the effect that the service has on improving the lives of vulnerable people.
She wasn't mounting an argument for social bonds but her admission allows me to.

Those opposing social bonds are missing this reality.

When it comes to social services, existing results are often abysmal. Performance is all about ticking boxes and the feel good factor.

I sympathize with those social workers who put in genuine and grinding effort yet can't demonstrate a real change. But within the current model, they keep their jobs.

Their salary is a debit to the taxpayer despite "little evidence of effectiveness" as the Minister puts it.

If the private sector could be persuaded to underwrite a programme with the promise of real results-based change, and a commensurate dividend, what is lost?

My only misgiving is that this is New Zealand.

A country that can't persuade people to invest in the stock exchange or business (because they are wedded to property investment) hasn't much chance of using social bonds as a regular way of funding the amelioration of social woes.