Friday, October 27, 2017

Green's persist with Turei's campaign

Thanks to a reader for highlighting this blog post from Jan Logie, now the Under-Secretary to the Minister of Justice (focussing on Domestic and Sexual Violence Issues).

Logie has stepped straight into Metiria Turei's shoes. This is exactly the message she was pushing before her fall. The message that unsettled so many New Zealanders.

Under the cloak of compassion it promotes open slather access to benefits.

Greater benefit dependency is not good, for many reasons. Being born to unknown or unnamed fathers is not good for children. These statements are generalities but they are self-evident.

People who work have obligations to their employers, and vice versa. The same should apply to a system that purports to replace income from work, at the very least.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

This Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition will be a different kettle of fish from the last Labour govt

This Labour/Greens/NZ First coalition will be a different kettle of fish from the last Labour government. If you doubt that, here's a perfect example.

Just heard on Radio NZ, Ardern talking about excessive sanctions in the welfare system like the penalty for not naming the father of a child. James Shaw then chimes in backing this concern.

When Steve Maharey was Minister for Social Development he too was concerned about mothers not naming the fathers of the children - a growing trend. So he increased the existing penalty against opposition from the Greens.

Most moderate New Zealanders back a welfare system that helps people in genuine need. I accept that. But they balk against  being forced to be financial fathers to children whose biological fathers  fly the coup.

HOWEVER, here is what NZ First MP Bill Gudgeon said in the debate relating to raising the penalty in 2005:

"The Social Security (Social Assistance) Amendment Bill goes part of the way to try to rectify this problem. An increase from 5.6 percent in 1993 to 16 percent in 2004, indicates an increase in the number of liable parents who are failing to meet their responsibilities. One result is that it makes it financially harder for the custodial parent to move off the benefit, as that parent would not receive child support. The crux of the matter in sole parenting is how the children receive physical and spiritual support. Is the benefit sufficient? Will the sole parent become independent of the State? Many in today’s society would consider these questions to be quaint and old-fashioned, yet I say that we should look at where we have been, where we are, and where we are heading.

The bill increases the rate of reduction in the benefit, and does so as an incentive for sole parents to carry out certain actions so that the other parent contributes financially to the upbringing of the child. Currently, under section 70A of the Social Security Act the rate of benefit paid to the sole parent is reduced by $22 per week for each dependent child where that parent fails or refuses to identify the other parent in law, to make an application for child support, or to attend a hearing and give evidence at proceedings brought under the Child Support Act. By July 2005 additional increases in the rate of reduction will be imposed, but this decision will be reconsidered should the beneficiary meet the section 70A requirements.

Let us look at the responsibilities that we have as parliamentarians, because within the four walls of this Chamber we have the power to pass laws. But what about the citizens of this country? New Zealand First is not judgmental of people who find themselves in this situation, but it is the responsibility of Parliament to help them to become independent of the State. It is our responsibility to ensure financial support is given to the sole parent from the other partner, who, in many cases, is the father. On too many occasions we sit here and debate with each other, and among parties, about who did this and who did that, but our prime responsibility as parliamentarians is to govern so that freedom prevails and assistance is given to people in need.

This legislation will be very difficult to implement, but New Zealand First supports it."

So what will Winston do in 2018? Without NZ First support, Labour and Greens are stymied. What price is NZ First prepared to pay for power?

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Trotter's advice for Ardern

Writing in today's DomPost:
A "Real Change" Government, determined to reverse the draconian policies adopted by a Ministry of Social development advised by neoliberal "experts", would call upon the experience and expertise of Sue Bradford and Metiria Turei. Those who find themselves astonished and/or offended by the thought of two such bitter opponents of this country's actuarially inspired and excessively punitive welfare system being asked to advise Jacinda's government on its root-and-branch reform should, perhaps, pause and consider just how radical (albeit from the opposite end of the political spectrum) was the "expert" advice that created it.

What were those "draconian" policies?

- funding early childhood education so single mothers could return to the workforce
- providing intensive monitoring for teenage parents
- asking parents receiving benefits to enrol their children with a GP
- increasing penalties (that Labour had introduced) for people who failed to turn up for interviews or pass drug tests
- creating a new category of benefit with no work-testing at all, the Supported Living Payment...
to name a few

Trotter seems to have forgotten that the last Labour government also tried many ways to reduce welfare numbers. The Jobs Jolt is just one example that the far left bitterly opposed.

Again a reality check is sorely required. Not only regarding Trotter's description of National's reforms but the idea that the new government would let Turei anywhere near it. Even I do not think the PM would be that stupid.

Monday, October 23, 2017

"I'm intending to stay and critique these buggers pretty hard"

So said Steven Joyce. I hope he sticks to this. 

Explanations of policy concessions are now emerging and it appears National rejected those 'bridges too far'.

NZ First is also understood to have won concessions from Labour that National balked at, including work to progress a multi-billion dollar Northland port.
The deal will also cut property sales to foreigners - another policy National balked at, warning it would send an unfortunate message to our neighbours and be in breach of trade agreements.
Immigration was also crucial to NZ First's position - National rejected whole sale cuts. concerned about a labour shortage.
The last point mirrors my major concern with the new government.

New Zealand was built on immigration. I am an immigrant. The public services in particular - Health and Corrections I can personally attest to - are heavily supported by immigrant workers. Many rural sectors cannot operate without immigrant labour.

National could not support policies that would actively hurt the economy.

Effort needs to go into explaining this, relentlessly.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Unfounded statements - hallmark of PM Ardern

If you think I have a grudge against Ardern, you are partly right. She  publicly ridiculed my research. But my problem with Ardern is mainly impersonal. It's just another battle in the war against dishonesty.

From NewstalkZB:

She's told TVNZ's Q&A programme that leaving everything to the market simply hasn't worked for workers.
"Everything" is not left to the market though.

Working For Families subsidises employers. It allows them to pay their workers less (and the childless suffer as a consequence).

Ganesh Nana, left-leaning BERL economist, was lamenting this subsidisation last week. But he never drew the correct conclusion. Abolish the state subsidies. Certainly Jacinda isn't going to.

A state-mandated minimum wage  is hardly descriptive of "leaving everything to the market". And she plans to raise it.

Huge regulation/ compliance costs are hardly "leaving everything to the market". Those costs are reflected in wage constraints. They are passed down to employees and clients.

Company tax, GST, rates, etc. all dictate costs to the labour market.

"Leaving everything to the market" is the most absurd statement.

Oh, correction. There will be a more absurd statement shortly. Money on it.

And so the Prime Minister's prevarications begin

Well continue actually, but begin as Prime Minister

Let's start with this one:

"When you have a market economy, it all comes down to whether or not you acknowledge where the market has failed and where intervention is required. Has it failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you've been successful when you have growth roughly 3 per cent, but you've got the worst homelessness in the developed world?"
This was refuted earlier this year by NZ Herald reporter Isaac Davison who found:

New Zealand was ranked as having the highest homeless rate per capita in a piece of analysis published by Yale University last month.
The analysis was based on an OECD paper which said 0.94 per cent of NZ's population was homeless. The lowest homeless rate in the OECD was Japan, at 0.03 per cent.
The OECD paper said that NZ's high incidence of rough sleepers could partly be explained by its broad definition of homelessness.
As Social Housing Minister Amy Adams says, if NZ measured homelessness the same way Japan did, it would be ranked among the top of developed countries.
Japan only measures rough sleepers. According to the Otago study, New Zealand has around 1400 rough sleepers, or 0.03 per cent of the population - equivalent to Japan.
Conclusion: Mostly fiction. The study does not compare apples with apples, so it is unfair to say NZ has performed worse than every other country on the list.

Then the PM claimed that  most people's incomes are "not keeping up with inflation...."

Another lie. The official source for data on household incomes says:

 • From HES 2015 to HES 2016 median household income (BHC) rose 3% in real terms (3% above the CPI inflation rate)

And over a longer period?

It's going to be a long three years listening to fabrications, distortions and exaggerations ad nauseam.