Saturday, August 01, 2015

DomPost beat-up

My previous post discussed the DomPost coverage of a paper they appear to have acquired under the OIA. Yesterday the editor pushed on with the "lab rat" line, maintaining

This blur of bureaucratic words does not seem to include a denial that the officials proposed to watch the at-risk kids and not intervene even if they were abused. It is hard to believe that any official would ever contemplate such a thing.

Here is the excerpt the DomPost released.

There was nothing in statement 40 to indicate no intervention was proposed. So I requested the paper. I needn't have bothered. MSD has just released on their website.

Here is a prior paragraph.

The predictive modelling (PM) score (calculated using various factors like older siblings having had contact with CYF) would identify a small group whose outcomes and service contacts would be observed.  How far from "not intervene even if they were abused" is that?


The vulnerable group would be experiencing far greater oversight than under the usual scheme of things.

And further

That is what the Minister is outraged by. A child could be officially 'flagged' as at high-risk of maltreatment but nothing proactive is done about it. At least not during the study period.

Isn't that pretty much what happens now? Children are unofficially identified or recognised by health  maternity nurses, Plunket, district nurses, family, GPs as high risk but there is no referral or report to CYF until something actually happens.

The DomPost take on this issue is a disgraceful beat-up. Reminder of what they wrote Thursday

documents show officials had sought ethical approval for one study which involved risk-rating a group of newborns and not intervening in high-risk cases, to check whether their predictions came true.

And reminder of what Tolley now plans

Tolley also appeared to signal a major backdown on a proposed population-wide application of the model, saying it was "unlikely" to be used on children that had not already been notified to Child Youth and Family (CYF).

There is no need for a population-wide application. But the plan was to identify only those who were at the greatest risk. Tolley won't agree to progressing this (despite agreement from other groups involved in the whole exercise for much longer).

Thursday, July 30, 2015

"Children not lab rats"

The following report intrigues me.

 MSD Minister, Anne Tolley is outraged by a study proposal which she describes treating children as "lab rats".

A plan to treat vulnerable newborns as "lab rats" by sitting back for two years to see if they were abused has been blocked by the Government.
The Ministry of Social Development proposed to include 60,000 children born this year in an "observational study" to test the accuracy of its new predictive risk modelling tool.

It has been described as a study that does not intervene.

There isn't enough information provided from the official papers to confirm that.

Many 'vulnerable' children - if not a majority -  suffer adverse outcomes despite intervention. CYF can be going about its usual business alongside a study that seeks to discover whether a pre-identified group meet predictions.

But if it is correct, that MSD sought a period of no intervention for all children born in 2015... well that's ridiculous. So ridiculous I suspect it was put up to thwart the progress of the predictive modelling regime.

The reporting is rather sensational. "She has called a halt to the study."

But there was no study. It hadn't even been to the ethics committee for approval.

Tolley also appeared to signal a major backdown on a proposed population-wide application of the model, saying it was "unlikely" to be used on children that had not already been notified to Child Youth and Family (CYF).
That's in line with what MSD is saying,
Predictive Modelling will be carefully tested to assess whether it can enhance decision-making at intake for children who are reported to Child Youth and Family because of concerns about abuse or neglect.  The aim is to support, not replace, professional judgement

Ironically this involves waiting for something bad to happen. Or non-intervention despite predictive flags. Which isn't far removed from what has wound the Minister up in the first place.

This whole business is very curious. Very.

(On a third reading I am beginning to think the reporter is talking about two different studies.)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Maori - both on the move... and static

A friend sent through a newly released paper about Maori, mobility and economic liberalisation:

Between 1984 and 2003, New Zealand undertook comprehensive market-oriented economic reforms. In this paper, we use Census data to examine how the internal mobility of Māori compares to that of Europeans in New Zealand in the period after these reforms. It is often suggested that Māori are less mobile than other ethnic groups because of attachment to particular geographical locations. If this were the case, Māori may have been disadvantaged in the post-reform period because they were more likely to be living in adversely affected areas and less likely to move to pursue better employment opportunities. In contrast to the anecdotal evidence, we find that Māori are more mobile on average than similar Europeans. However, Māori who live in areas with strong networks of their iwi are slightly less mobile than Europeans. The difference between Māori who live locally to their iwi and those who do not is even more pronounced when we consider responsiveness to local labour market shocks. Non-local Māori are considerably more responsive to changes in economic opportunities than are Europeans, whereas local Māori are almost entirely unresponsive.

None of this surprised me.

Maori up sticks with more frequency and ease than Pakeha. While this paper covers "internal mobility" the large Maori population in Australia is tangible evidence of this willingness to follow the jobs (and other desired lifestyle factors).

But other Maori, connected to tribal homelands, or, let's be less romantic about it, who live in long-standing  uneconomic bases, but among whanau and iwi, are quite likely to increasingly rely on each other and the state - and to pool those resources - rather than endeavour to be part of the work force.

No disrespect to Urban Maori Authorities (whose intentions are worthy), but their development may have extended or exacerbated the combination of whanau/ iwi/state dependence into the city.

NZ on a similar trajectory to Greece

A post at Kiwiblog about pensions crippling the Greek economy prompted me to look at the path NZ is on.

The following figures are all from a Treasury Report, Affording Our Future 2013:

Of course, most of the people reading this blog won't be around in 2060. But our children will be.

Treasury suggests as responses:

• Government taxes more as a percentage of GDP than it does currently.
• Government restricts spending growth in some areas, relative to historical growth rates. Spending in a particular area may still grow as a percentage of GDP, but not as much as it could grow.
• Government reacts to demographic change. Because one of the major drivers behind future financial pressures is population ageing, services are redefined to compensate for the fact that people are living longer, healthier lives.
How come they didn't suggest growing GDP at a faster rate?

Anyway, the message is,
"No matter what policy changes we decide on, it is important that we decide on them early. Fiscal pressures are already starting to build, and the sooner we can address them the easier it will be. The next step in managing fiscal pressures is deciding what choices we will make to achieve a prudent level of government debt by the end of this decade and maintaining it beyond that date."
Just what Greece failed to do.

And my impression is NZ isn't making any hard decisions either.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The "wrong people"

You hear it all the time. He fell in with the wrong people. She started hanging out with the wrong crowd. My kid started mixing with the wrong people.

Mostly it's a piss poor excuse. Only occasionally does it pertain to people who are easily led and impressionable.

"...he had joined with "a couple of the wrong people and got into drugs", meaning cannabis..."

He WAS the wrong people.

Jail sentences for discriminating against the poor?

Among the bits and piece I've read this morning, from France, Bill aims to lock up offenders who pick on the poor

I wonder what provision will be made for offenders who 'pick on' the rich? Then I wondered if the Greens might like this piece of legislative insanity.

On a more cheerful note, there should be fewer poor to discriminate against according to research from the US;

51 percent of individuals said they are better off than their parents at the same age and only 24 percent said they are worse off.
The frequency that individuals felt better off was constant across socioeconomic starting points, except for individuals whose parents both had a bachelor's degree. 
Only 40 percent of individuals whose parents both hold a bachelor's degree said they are better off.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Worthwhile Sunday morning read


Leading Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump just visited my hometown of Laredo, Texas!
Not surprisingly, Trump entered Laredo filled with fear. I say “not surprisingly” because Republicans live their lives filled with fear. Communists! Terrorists! Muslims! Illegal aliens! Drug dealers! Bin Laden! Saddam! Ho Chi Minh! Republicans are convinced that they’re all coming to get us. Knees are always a’knockin’ among Republicans.