Thursday, July 18, 2019

Justifying beneficiary increase

According to TV Three News:

"...the number of people on benefits has increased by 15,000 since the Government took office - but it's insisting that's down to population growth..."

And "...the number of people on a benefit has increased by 15,000 - though the numbers remain in line with population growth."

Labour is backtracking to "since the Government took office" because it can't defend its more recent record.




Another big jump in benefit numbers



"The number of working-age people receiving main benefits as at the end of June 2019 was 5.2 percent higher than at the end of June 2018."
Here's ACT's press release on the matter:

Beneficiary numbers spike by almost 15,000
Thu, 18 Jul, 2019

“A massive spike in the number beneficiaries shows Labour’s anti-growth policies are slowing the economy and making it easier for people to stay on welfare”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.

“There was an increase of 14,559 people on a benefit in the last 12 months.

“That is a shocking indictment of Labour’s economic record and a reflection its approach of failing to sanction beneficiaries who don’t comply with their obligations.

The number of New Zealanders on a main benefit has grown to 291,969, or 9.7 per cent of the working-age population.

“Even more damning is an 11.2 per cent increase in the number of people on Jobseeker Support – that’s 13,720 more than this time last year.

“Uncertainty over a capital gains tax, industry-wide collective bargaining and foreign investment and a higher minimum wage are starting to take their toll on the economy.

“Labour needs to take responsibility for the harm it is doing to the economy.

“It is completely unacceptable that nearly 300,000 New Zealanders are on a benefit when some industries are desperate for workers. If people can work, they should.

“The Government should alleviate genuine hardship, but Labour’s anti-growth policies will see many more New Zealanders dependent on handouts, rather than living productive, independent lives.”


Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Why children are uplifted



(Left click to enlarge)

Above is a graphic from a short article by Ian Lambie, Chief Science Advisor for the Justice Sector, which appears in the latest edition of the New Zealand Corrections Journal.

It shows that 292 children aged 0-5 had been exposed to 5 or more known family violence incidents within a year.

Lambie writes:
"Talking about the wellbeing of babies seems a long way from arguments about the prison muster, but that is where the evidence says we must begin."
This should be to the forefront of thinking while the controversy about uplifting Maori children plays out. There are certainly cases where Oranga Tamariki have been heavy-handed or overly rules-bound, and while social workers continue to be human beings, variation in the way they approach cases will exist. But there is also a great deal known about the circumstances some babies are being born into and it would be reprehensible not to act.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Steep decline in fraud prosecutions

Having scanned through the OIA responses mentioned below I found a couple of interesting tables. The first shows that fraud prosecutions are well down:

The reduction began before Labour became government. The decrease was 27% from 2016 to 2017; and 35% from 2017 to 2018. Have people suddenly become far more law-abiding?

The accommodation supplement is topical given high rents are always in the news.

At September 2018 there were 292,006 payments in place.
Two thirds were to beneficiaries; the rest to veterans, super-annuitants or non-beneficiaries.
66% were renting, 22% boarding and 11% owned their own home.
24% were receiving the maximum amount available.
8% were couples with children; 26% were sole parents with children; 57% were single.

And finally this caught my eye. Another accommodation problem that's been in the news but here's some stats:


Perhaps it isn't a 'problem' for the owners of ageing motels being displaced by better quality establishments.


Well done MSD

On June 27 I posted about MSD lagging behind in its publication of OIA responses at its website.

They have now got up responses from January and March 2019.

(Which does kind of beg the question, were there none in February?)

Saturday, July 06, 2019

RNZ witch hunt finds ... reasonable numbers

RNZ is constantly on Oranga Tamariki's back trying to show them as a failing agency.

Oranga Tamariki published data not long ago detailing the number and nature of abuse/neglect cases happening to children in state care. I pointed out then that many children who are 'in state care' officially are nevertheless in the day-to-day of their parents or family members.

Today RNZ reports:

Oranga Tamariki released data showing its own staff have harmed children in care eight times in the space of six months: six cases of physical harm, and one each of sexual and emotional harm.
My immediate response is surprise at how low the number is.

'Children' can include individuals up to 18 years of age. Some will be incredibly difficult to handle. Doubtless they will require firmness; may provoke and may attack. Some will be pre-prison characters.

I would dearly love to know more about these cases but privacy dictates details can never be released.

But I don't see 8 cases in 6 months as a rod to use on the back of people doing extremely difficult work.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

OIA response publishing - MSD lagging behind

Government departments have to make OIA responses public.

MSD has fallen off not posting anything since September 2018

Treasury is keeping up their latest posted is June 24 2019.

Corrections latest is also September 2018.

Now I have to go looking in places I don't normally lurk.

The Ministry of Health is doing well, particularly well, with an up-to-date concise display of information.

So is Education.

So what's with MSD in particular?

It has the largest expenditure of any government department and as such, impacts on thousands of lives.

Seems in keeping with their general philosophy of loafing off. Not really trying to get people into work. Not really trying to get fathers to take responsibility for their children. Not really trying to get clients to turn up for appointments.

Hoped the Minister would be pensioned off today but no such luck.

Monday, June 24, 2019

There will be war

Between them, the risk averse and the environmentalists are quite determined to severely reduce the quality of our lives to preserve the quantity.

The closure of amenities such as the Wellington Public library has a huge negative impact on thousands of regular users. Some of those people virtually lived there through the winter months. The church my husband infrequently attends in Eastbourne has been closed down due to earthquake risk. The Naenae pool which is quite iconic to those of us who grew up anywhere in the Hutt Valley and the backbone of Naenae's economy is closed until further notice. We've lost cinemas. Rising insurances due to earthquake risk (which are more real than rising seas at this stage) rob us of money we might spend on other pleasures - then again they might not if there is bugger all left to spend the disposable dollar on.

The environmentalists - AKA the climate-crisis calamitists - are steadily restricting dog exercise areas and ostracizing cats. At the same time SAFE - animal rights activists - would have horses become extinct as they try to shut down racing and rodeo. Perhaps that meshes in nicely with the other environmentalist - the vegan, who wants us all to desist with our love of meat and dairy. One even tried to explain to me why cheese is addictive and I should wean myself off it.

Need I mention cars, cabin cruisers in the sky, cheap clothes, cows, coal....and children?

Going childless is now the new demand from the environmentalists. The very, very best way to save the planet (with nobody left to inhabit it anyway). I expect no grandchildren.

But this morning I flew into an apoplexy. There will be war. I am now under notice that "companion pets are looking more and more like a selfish and unnecessary extension of a carbon footprint we should be going all out to reduce."

What is the vision of these guilt-tripping oppressive obsessives? A world where ageing childless pet-less people  can only go where their legs carry them (with no four-legged friend in tow)? Can only eat what they can grow from soil and barely heat their tiny houses?

No thank you. You can keep your horrid hands off my beloved dog. She is saner, more tolerant and infinitely better company than any grim and glum greenie. She stays.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Leaving a benefit lifts income but not life satisfaction


Which is probably a key finding for explaining long-term benefit dependency.

From a sample of 423 people, incomes and the life satisfaction ratings are plotted in the 150 days before and after leaving a benefit:



What the heck is going on at WINZ?

What the heck is going on with WINZ?

According to advice given to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group in February 2019:

Source

Obviously here will be a time lag between writing the statement and publication but we can only assume that the percentage may now be as low as 10%??

Unbelievable.


Sunday, June 16, 2019

Hood Aerodrome not

Have been following the horrible news today of  two light aircraft colliding just south of Hood Aerodrome in Masterton. I was flying there at the club a couple of years back and thinking one of the planes is the one I flew. It's not looking good. Tragic for the families.

But whoever put up the following photo is clueless. Someone who has never been south of Auckland perhaps:

Update: Corrected now

Friday, June 14, 2019

Outrageous lie from Tariana Turia

Dame Tariana Turia was interviewed by Ryan Bridge on Magic TalK yesterday evening regarding the removal of Maori children by Oranga Tamariki. Her words:

Dame Tariana calls this "overkill", and disputes Te Puni Kōkiri (the Ministry of Māori Development)'s statistics that Māori children are six times more likely to die from abuse and neglect than non-Māori."The stats aren't telling us that," she says. "In the last few years since 1993, we have had 83 non-Māori children killed, we have had 17 Māori children die, so the fact of it is this is an overkill when it comes to Māori families. Now if you don't want to call it racism, you can call it what you like."

Source



Slightly muddied by the fact that the first set represent children under 15 and the second set, children under 19, combined they show that a total of 105 children (or youth) lost their lives in CAN (Child Abuse or Neglect) deaths over the 14 year period and 51 percent were Maori.

I take no pleasure in these stats but Turia needs pulling up.

Monday, June 10, 2019

How do lies like this happen?

Last week it was reported locally that a Dutch teenager was assisted to end her life. This was grasped by the end of life bill opponents in this country. I heard a little of the discussion on Magic Talk and turned it off tired of hearing people who want to run my life when I am quite happy to leave them be.

As it happens the report was incorrect. The girl died because she refused to eat and drink. Not uncommon for anorexics. She had been rejected from an end of life medical centre.

A little more searching answers my own question (and I've updated my original link). It appears a suspect source promulgated the original news story.

"According to multiple sources at British national newspapers, news outlets were alerted to the story by the newswire Central European News, which specialises in supplying unusual and quirky foreign stories to English-language news outlets.

CEN, which has previously been accused of providing unreliable information, did not immediately return a request for comment."

"Strong economies create wellbeing, not government"

From a plethora of commentary on the well-being budget this is my pick. The author, Bruce Cotterill, is unknown to me but that doesn't matter.


"The Wellbeing Budget left me uninspired and disappointed.

Don't get me wrong. There have been big allowances made for improving mental health services, which are long overdue. A substantial investment into the hospitals of our growing population is a good thing too.

It's just that when it comes to government services, and health in particular, I'm not convinced that much of the new money will get to the patients, and the others that need it.

To me, critical to well-being is a society where people are able to have aspirations and the education to support those goals.

It also means economic growth powered by business and industry that's supported by global demand for the goods and services we produce.

When business is growing and people are capable, we get a society that looks after itself.

Against that background, the trouble with the budget announcements is that we just parked another raft of expensive ambulances at the bottom of the cliff.

In other words, while I don't want to diminish the real needs in terms of mental health for example, the budget focus seeks to help those who have developed mental health problems, rather than stopping those problems from occurring.

Firstly, governments throwing a lot of money around is a inefficient way to get things done.

The trouble with most of this spending is that a lot of it will be chewed up with establishment costs and bureaucracy.

By the time they set up a couple of new departments within various ministries, design a new logo and letterhead, lease some offices and refit them, and establish the ministerial reporting lines, there could be little left for those who need the help.

What if we put some funding into ambulances at the top of the cliff?

We can fix a lot what's wrong, or even stop some mental health issues from occurring in the first place, by building an economy that is aspirational and growth-minded.

The foundation of doing so is education.

But education is a mess. It's been under-invested for a long time and it's starting to show. Principals are protesting at Government induced curriculum changes. Teachers are striking aggressively for higher pay.

Uninformed students who have been brainwashed by the liberal left are striking too for causes that many don't understand.

Imagine a society where all our kids – not just the privileged few – left our schools informed, educated and aspirational. And then imagine if those aspirations were met by a business community with equally passionate ambitions, and with a need to take on the educated talent on offer.

I spoke to someone who works close to the mental health sector.

She said that "too many kids leave school, or one of the myriad of underperforming tertiary skills development programmes, without the prospect of work".

Many can't get a job. Those that can, often only get something part-time, usually in retail or fast food, with no real prospects.

The trouble with those employers is they only call you when they need you. So, these kids sit around not knowing whether they will be required or not.

Often, they're not, and a feeling of unworthiness can quickly creep in.

Idle minds turn their attention to other pursuits, booze and drugs included. You can see where mental health difficulties can start.

If those kids have somewhere to go, a place that needs the skills and ideas they have developed, they will feel worthy indeed.

Our economy suffers from having a plethora of businesses doing low value stuff at a low level of productivity.

We continue to export logs with the bark on while we import kitset timber furniture or modular houses.

If you have the luxury of owning a house, and you need new window frames, just ask why they will take 12 weeks to be delivered.

It's because they're made overseas. And this is a country that exports timber. Lots of it. How stupid is this?

This need to build a productive economy is where governments, and the Budgets they so willingly trumpet, should start, but often fail.

Let's get education working. Build kids up. Make them believe in goals and aspiration. Feed them accurate information on the state of the world and give them the skills to participate in that world. Enable them to chase and achieve their dreams.

And then let's support and build a business community that can take on those youngsters, give them a career, encourage their greatness and celebrate what they can achieve.

Wellbeing doesn't happen because governments throw money at underprivileged minorities. Wellbeing happens when you create a society and an economy that enables people to help themselves."

Source

Bruce Cotterill is a company director and advisor to business leaders. He is the author of the book, "The Best Leaders Don't Shout". www.brucecotterill.com

Friday, May 31, 2019

"Sign of hopelessness"

This was in yesterday's DomPost. Most columns these days I scan or lose interest in rapidly. I'm not sure if that's a fault with me or the writers. Maybe a bit of both. But this one gripped me; made me profoundly sad. It's written by court reporter Marty Sharpe whose writing has touched a chord with me before.

No more Super for non-qualifying spouses

Below is a post I wrote in 2015:

Most people think you have to be 65 to qualify for NZ Super. But there is a group of individuals who receive Super as 'non-qualified' recipients. A minority are over 65 and don't meet necessary residency qualifications but almost 12,000 are under sixty-five; 3,689 are under 60.

Generally the male turns 65 and can reject the single rate ($345.72 net weekly) for two married rates (2 x $273.82 net weekly or $547.64 combined). The decision to include or exclude  lies with the Superannuitant. The effect is the government has to pay 58% more.

An OIA supplied the numbers at December 2014:




88 percent of non-qualifying spouses are female.

Here's the ethnicity breakdown:





It appears only partners in marriage or civil unions can receive the 'non-qualified' payment. That's borne out by the ethnicity breakdown. Maori have a  low marriage rate.

At the same date there were 650,636 Superannuitants aged 65 and over.  So just under 2 percent have a non-qualified spouse.

Annual payments to non-qualified spouses amount to $133 million.

Now that mightn't be a big deal against the total Super bill, but significant anomalies are occurring.

1/ For the purposes of an unemployment or sickness benefit, the law similarly recognises marriages and civil unions. However it also recognises de facto relationships. How long before under 65 year-old de facto partners of Superannuitants start pushing for Super payments?


 2/ In the case of unemployment or disability, the rate for two partners is exactly half of the single rate. For non-qualifying partners of Superannuitants the payment is 79 percent of the single rate. How long before partners of unemployed or disabled beneficiaries under 65 start challenging on the basis of discrimination? 

Beneficiary advocates are notoriously active so it surprises me that this hasn't already become an issue.

Perhaps most people aren't aware that under 65s can collect Super via their 65 or older husband (or more unusually, wife)?

Would appreciate hearing from readers whether they were aware of this. A simple 'yes' or 'no' would be fine.

Yesterday the government announced:

From 1 July 2020, the Government is closing the non-qualified partner provision, and removing the direct deduction of a government-administered overseas pension received by a superannuitant’s partner from that superannuitant’s NZ Super or the Veteran’s Pension...
The changes reflect society today. In most households both partners work. There is no longer a ‘principal breadwinner’ whose retirement marks the retirement of both partners.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Paying for three Labour bribes

(Left click to enlarge)

Source

Labour's universal bribes - Winter Energy and Best Start - account for almost $1 billion by 2023

Family Tax Credit ballooned by 39% in 2019 due to Families Package

Paid Parental Leave  reaches $500m in 2023 extending from 14 to 18 weeks initially and shooting up to 26 weeks in 2020

(All dependent on Labour winning next election of course though who would put money on National abolishing the bribes?)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The vilification of landlords

Yet another story in stuff about the woeful circumstances of a tenant because of the implied greed of landlords. As one person comments these "endless articles blaming landlords"  don't help anyone. Landlords are not raking it in.



 "As shown in Figure 1.3 and Appendix Table 3 rental investment yields have fallen gradually from 6% to 7% in 1997 to 3.5% to 5% in 2017. Such rates of return are now below mortgage interest rates and are close to low-risk deposit rates."

The 2018/19 yields will fall even lower as the current government imposes greater regulation and significant increased costs. Insurance and rates only go up.Yields at this level suggest that rents are not unfairly or unreasonably high. In fact they are too low. I would suggest that at least some landlords are holding rents down to keep good tenants.

Source

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Marilyn Waring was bullied and became one

Marilyn Waring keeps popping up on the back of her new book.

I was speaking at a conference, my topic being the US Welfare Reforms and what NZ could learn from them. Just a couple of minutes into my presentation Marilyn Waring put her hand up. I had to stop. She said, "This isn't working for me." I can't remember how I responded. Probably just barreled on. Later she had another go and I remember now what it was about.

Here's a post I wrote in 2013.

Well. 

After years of trying to tell people that sole parents spend many, many years on benefit I see MSD has just released a statement containing this:

"...sole parents spend an average 15.8 years on benefit with a lifetime cost of $234,000."

I have repeatedly talked about Professor Bob Gregory's Australian research which found sole parents spend an average of 12 years on welfare not including benefits they may move to when they no longer had dependent children.

People have derided me for it in public forums. For instance Marilyn Waring sneeringly telling an audience I had included time spent on Super. Time and again politicians, welfare advocates, bloggers etc have sought to convince the population that the average time spent on the DPB is, most commonly, only about 3 years. They look at the available data but don't understand it.

Waring was a Professor of Public Policy at the time. Essentially it was her way or the highway and she plenty of fellow travellers. Their strategy then was to shut down by discrediting what they didn't like. And it continues today. My opposition to the DPB would possibly be classified as hate speech by some.

But I shake my head when I hear Marilyn Waring talking about the bullying she took. She knew how to dish it out.

David Seymour's response to Newshub...

...which they refused to publish. If you haven't already seen it at Kiwiblog here it is:

David Seymour on free speech

“Let it be known, the public beating has not gone out of fashion.” So goes the quote from the movie Thank You for Smoking, as politicians attack the wildly unpopular protagonist, a tobacco lobbyist.

I’ve found those words to be true over the past week and it has strengthened my belief in the importance of freedom of expression.

To recap, I was asked about Green MP Golriz Ghahraman’s stance on free speech. In her own words “it is vital that the public is involved in a conversation about what speech meets the threshold for being regulated, and what mix of enforcement tools should be used.”

I believe that such an idea, and by extension politicians who promote it, is a danger to our free society. When asked about Ghahraman’s position, in the middle of a 15-minute radio interview, I responded that I thought she was a ‘menace to freedom.’

What has followed has been extraordinary. It has been a lesson in how beat-ups and witch-hunts occur, and why it’s so important that we retain laws that allow us to express ourselves freely. By Tuesday afternoon, I was being asked by media if I was responsible for Ghahraman requiring a security detail. It was clearly a rhetorical question.

Politicians, journalists and other establishment figures have lined up to denounce my comment.

National’s position is that being nice to people who threaten free speech is more important than defending freedom itself. The Greens have said it’s my fault that a few nutcases are threatening an MP. The Commonwealth Women Parliamentarians wrote, asking me to apologise for my comment. I should have known it was not a sincere gesture because the letter was duly released to the media who happily published it with barely a response from me. Other women MPs told me they’d known nothing about it. Surprisingly, Trevor Mallard went on TV and said I was a bully. The Speaker is supposed to be Parliament’s neutral referee.

A number of journalists have attacked me. The media should be the loudest cheerleaders for freedom of expression. Their job relies on freedom of expression, and freedom and democracy rely on the media doing their job.

Were it not for ACT, Parliament would be sleepwalking towards tighter speech laws. The media wouldn’t bat an eyelid. Only a few brave academics might raise their heads above the parapet.

There is something not right about this situation. If my comment endangered Ghahraman, then the response of media and politicians has multiplied its airplay exponentially. That response has been driven by the very people accusing me of endangering Ghahraman.

Because I do not think anyone should be endangered for engaging in political debate, I am reluctant to respond any further, but it’s difficult when the very people who say they’re concerned are using the situation to attack me politically. After all, the media cited a ‘source,’ then Ghahraman herself, when reporting the new security arrangements and attributing them to me.

My detractors believe that expressing a genuinely held view on an important issue makes me responsible for threats of violence. They are wrong. My comments do not come close to giving me such responsibility. And the current law is easily on my side.

This belief absolves the real perpetrators – those making the threats – of responsibility. It also introduces the worrying implication that some MPs are unable to fully participate or be criticised because there are violent threats. It’s a belief that allows violent thugs to set the agenda.

The response to my comment proves we cannot trust government to enforce hate speech laws. Imagine if the state had even greater powers to punish speech at its disposal. Some state agency would now be using that power to investigate and punish a sitting MP’s genuinely-held views.

Hate speech laws turn debate into a popularity contest where the winners get to silence views they don’t like by using the power of the state. Tighter restrictions on speech can only mean giving some agency the power to punish people for saying things that do not incite harm but are merely offensive or distasteful. In other words, what you can think is determined by what is popular.

ACT will continue to defend the critical principle that nobody should ever be punished by the power of the state on the basis of opinion.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

State house waiting list more than doubles in three years

When people apply for social housing or to move to another social housing property they go on the Social Housing Register. June quarter 2018 statistics have just been released. Official reasons for the increase are listed below.

The waiting list has more than doubled in 3 years.



The increase in demand can be contributed to a number of factors:
• Public awareness of support available through increased media and stakeholder engagement activities,
• Increasing financial barrier and the impact of aging have meant that exit rates from public housing have been falling steadily,
• Tenancy Reviews have not yet resumed and the number of tenancies ending influences the number of available public houses

Translated as, renting a state house is much cheaper than renting a private sector property so more people are staying put and nobody is compelling them to move on.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Big jump in working-age welfare spending

"The grey columns show historical spending, and the dark blue columns show forecast spending. Since 2002 working-age welfare spending (including main benefits, Working for Families tax credits, and supplementary and hardship assistance) has increased in dollar terms. Part of the increases after 2005 can be attributed to the introduction of Working for Families, and from 2008 to 2010 the impact of the Global Financial Crisis (and domestic economic downturn) can be seen to have increased pending (as unemployment rose).
Between 2010 and 2016 overall welfare spending fell slightly, reflecting the economic recovery and potentially the impacts of welfare reforms, and changes to Working for Families that kept spending and recipient numbers relatively flat. The increased welfare spending forecast from 2018 onwards is largely the result of the Families Package changes (increases to the FTC, AS, OB/UCB and FCA and the introduction of WEP and BSTC)."

The above is from one of the background papers provided to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group.

(WEP = Winter Energy Payment and BSTC = Best Start Tax Credit. Yes, you can receive a tax credit without actually ever paying any tax).

NB Hats off to whoever wrote that background paper. Simple, concise and thorough.




One in 12 doctors publicly say no to assisted suicide

A full page ad in today's DomPost (so possibly in other major dailies) features the names of 1,000 doctors who say no to assisted suicide. To be fair, here is their message.

For context there are 12,000 practising registered doctors in New Zealand.




Monday, May 20, 2019

50 years of fighting family violence

1970s Feminists started to pressure govt to recognise domestic violence as a public concern - not private. The first Women's refuges were established. Their collective body started to seek legislation, research and greater funding for the protection of women which the Social Welfare dept partially provided.
1981 Committee on Gangs - subsidies for rehab for a range of 'difficulties'
1982 Domestic Protection Act introduced non molestation orders. Emphasis still on private resolution and counselling. Low police priority
1983 subsidized emergency housing for street kids.
1985 new funding for those working with violent men on anger management and alcohol treatment; and to victims
1987 Ministerial Committee of Inquiry into Violence recommends domestic violence be treated as a crime. Police adopted a pro-arrest  Domestic Dispute Policy
1991 Hamilton Abuse Intervention Pilot Programme places family violence in the 'power and control' context rather than isolated incidents of anger and frustration. Suspected abusers arrested without complaint and compulsory re-education to address abusive behaviours
1994 Prevention of family violence identified by MSD senior staff as highest priority
1995 Domestic Violence Act definition broadened to include psychological and sexual abuse
1996 Statement of Policy on Family Violence introduced safety and protection needs of young child. Growing awareness of inter-generational violence. Breaking cycles of violence needed early intervention. Welfare to Well-being to promote the strengthening of families
1999-2002 CYF funding increase by 50%
2002 'Te Rito' a five year action plan to address family violence
2003 Care and protection Blueprint
2005 Family and Community Services FACS saw 600 separate contracts funded including family violence education, early intervention and prevention providers
2005 Budget funded 45 full-time child advocates
2006 Taskforce for Action on Family Violence allocates $11 million for nationwide 'its not ok' campaign
2007 Pathway to Partnership injection of $20.4 million to child and family service providers
2008 $446 million (for 4 years) for essential services with an initial focus on family violence and early intervention
2017 Budget extra $37.2 million for family violence and  $434.1 funding the development of the Orangi Tamariki
2019 $320 million on a package of initiatives aimed preventing family and sexual violence and breaking the cycle of violence.

So is this latest initiative aimed at a "violence-free Aotearoa New Zealand" finally going to do it?

(Summary complied largely from Tim Garlicks history of Social Developments.)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Does Winston believe the PM?

RNZ reports:

Ms Ardern said 1,000,000 people - including 300,000 children - were victims of family and sexual violence each year in New Zealand.

I expect these eye-watering statistics come from the Victims of Crime Survey which estimates the level of reports NOT made to police. Otherwise, the usual stat we hear about is the 120,000 plus call-outs to family violence incidents police make annually.

Funnily enough just last week Winston Peters was rubbishing this survey. I wonder if Winston believes the PM?

"Political Correctness is Destroying Philadelphia"

Sometimes it feels as if I am living in a world where up is down and black is white...though I don't think I can say that last bit any more.

A brief but shocking reminder of the ideology infecting the developed world, not just America. For the record I believe in 'traditional values'. That doesn't mean that I didn't also spend much of my younger life questioning and rejecting them.I still don't 'respect' authority and see nationalism as just another form of collectivism. But in time it became apparent to me why family values and acquiring a work ethic are vital. In any case, if people disagree, and they are free to, I don't expect to be persecuted for saying what I think.

Equally nihilistic is a story out of the University of Pennsylvania Law School. On Aug. 9, 2017, tenured Penn Law professor Amy Wax and University of San Diego School of Law professor Larry Alexander co-authored an opinion piece titled “Paying the price for breakdown of the country’s bourgeois culture.”
Its thesis was that the rejection of American bourgeois middle-class culture is the primary reason for most social ills in America today:
[American] culture laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime.
Within a few weeks, a petition was signed by 4,000 people calling for Wax’s dismissal, and the dean of Penn Law, Ted Ruger, wrote an op-ed in The Daily Pennsylvanian, ostensibly about Charlottesville but really about Wax, in which he implied her views were “divisive, even noxious.”
Most significantly, he wrote, “It is important that I state my own personal view that as a scholar and educator I reject emphatically any claim that a single cultural tradition is better than all others” (referring to Wax’s position that those bourgeois values are superior values).
More

Friday, May 17, 2019

Further on the Privacy Commissioner's inquiry into MSD practice

Further to yesterday's post I've done some more reading. The following (you will have to enlarge it to read or refer to p11 here) is the model that MSD uses to investigate reports of fraud.


The ministry investigates between 2300 and 5100 reports a year. When a report is categorised as 'high risk' (which is calculated from the amount of information the person alleging fraud can supply) it is referred to the investigation team.They assess whether informing the beneficiary of the investigation would prejudice the case eg parties start colluding. If the answer is 'yes' they issue  requests for information from third parties.

MSD began to do this more frequently in 2012. Historically in 95 percent of cases beneficiaries did not directly provide the information requested within a specified time-frame.

The Privacy Commissioner is unhappy with the frequency of the bypass of seeking information from the beneficiary first. He wants it stopped, or to be precise has recommended, "MSD immediately cease its blanket application of the ‘prejudice to the maintenance of the law’ exception when issuing section 11/schedule 6 notices."

I would question the use of the term 'blanket application'. His inquiry reads:

The Ministry categorises fraud allegations as low, medium or high risk using the DST. The Ministry has said that after the practice change in 2012, only high-risk cases were deemed to come within the prejudice to the maintenance of the law exception, even though policy documents from 2012 suggest that the exception could be applied to all fraud investigations. In either case, this meant that the Ministry authorised and encouraged investigators to go straight to third parties for information using their compulsion powers, rather than approach the beneficiary first.

In a nutshell the commissioner wants beneficiaries suspected of fraud accorded more privacy.

His note to editors reads:

The Privacy Act 1993 enables agencies to collect, use and disclose information that is necessary and proportionate to their lawful requirements. The Act provides that, in general, information should be collected from an individual directly.
Section 11 of the Social Security Act 1964 provides a mechanism by which the MSD can compel information from persons other than the individual. Before exercising this power, however, MSD is required in the first instance to seek the information required from the individual directly, unless there are reasonable grounds to believe that this would ‘prejudice the maintenance of the law’.
In my view discouraging  investigators from going directly to third parties (in high risk cases) will make benefit fraud easier. And that development will be consistent with the general approach this government wants to take. For example no longer requiring mothers to name the fathers of their children for the purposes of seeking child support (starting next year) and non-application of other sanctions (already happening).

This is a simplified reading and description of the situation. I stand to be corrected.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Privacy Commissioner sides with fraudsters

RNZ reports:

"[Privacy]Commissioner John Edwards has concluded that the ministry has been unjustifiably intruding on the lives of beneficiaries.
Since 2012, the ministry has been bypassing beneficiaries and going to third parties for information.
Mr Edwards said that's allowed fraud investigators to collect large amounts of highly sensitive information about beneficiaries without their knowledge."


When 5% of sole parent beneficiaries freely admit they have private child support arrangements with partners and 70% of sole parent beneficiaries in our largest longitudinal study ever say that they have partners, is third party investigation really "unjustified"?

MSD responds via new Deputy CE Viv Rickard:

"We take a prevention-first approach, using conversations with clients and data matching agreements to detect and stop anomalies early. We don't investigate lightly," Mr Rickard said.
"We will need to continue to go directly to outside parties for information without going to the client first, where we believe there is a risk of collusion, evidence tampering, witness intimidation, or we can't locate the client."
Mr Rickard said the practice introduced in 2012, in response to the then National Government's approach of taking a harder line on benefit fraud and speeding up investigations.
"Ninety-five percent of the time people didn't provide the necessary information when we asked them directly, meaning we had to go to third parties anyway, delaying investigations," he said.
I am the last person to encourage the state to snoop BUT if people want to live off other people's money that practice needs to be justified.

Thursday, May 09, 2019

Children with no identified father much more likely to come to CYF attention


Of children born in 2010-2011 affected by Section 70A reductions, by age six 41% had a care and protection concern reported (P12).

The earlier 2000-01 cohort is depicted below. It's a horrible graph to comprehend hence I provided some context in my opening statistic

('Episide' is a typo - means episode)


(Right-click on image to enlarge)

Proof of the Section 70A rort

That's what Maharey called it back in 2004 when the Labour government increased the penalty rate to try and get more mothers to name the fathers of their children.

Here's proof that for some at least it is a rort.

MSD interviewed 4,000 sole parents who had a Section 70A penalty.

A small proportion (5 percent) said they did not report not applying for child support because they had a private arrangement with the other parent. 
I am surprised that many were honest about it.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

MSD ignores own research

To justify removing the penalty for not naming fathers of benefit-dependent children MSD now says:

A developing evidence base suggests that outcomes for some of the children affected are likely to be being harmed by loss of family income associated with the reductions. Recent studies from overseas suggest a causal link between family incomes and care and protection service contact. More broadly, a developing body of international research shows that lower family incomes have a negative causal impact on child development.[my emphasis]
Why look for overseas research when their own and University of Auckland's shows the  care and protection link is not to lower family income but benefit income. At their site, Children in poor families: does the source of family income change the picture?

"...receipt of welfare income is negatively associated with children’s outcomes, even when level of income is controlled. This effect derives not so much from welfare receipt per se, but from parental characteristics that make some parents more prone than others to be on welfare (Mayer 2002).
Taken together, the findings suggest that children in families reliant on welfare may be particularly vulnerable to negative outcomes, being not only relatively poor but also more likely than children generally to have other disadvantages. The findings suggest substantially lower vulnerability among children supported by market incomes who are not poor, with an intermediate level of risk found among children supported by market income but who are relatively poor....To summarise, the findings show that poor children reliant on government transfers, when compared with poor children reliant on market incomes, have lower living standards and a number of compounding shortfalls that can be expected to place them at greater risk of negative outcomes. The findings suggest a need for policies that have a wider focus than just income support."
Yet MSD now argue for a policy based purely on the income support aspect.

But simply asserting the "greater risk of negative outcomes" doesn't prove a link to CYF involvement does it?

No.

So, staying at the MSD website, Vulnerable Children:
CAN ADMINISTRATIVE DATA BE USED TO IDENTIFY CHILDREN AT RISK
OF ADVERSE OUTCOMES?

 "Of all children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83% are seen on a benefit before age two, translating in to a very high "capture" rate."

It isn't low income that puts children at risk of abuse or neglect. It is, to quote the former research, "parental characteristics that make some parents more prone than others to be on welfare."

Increasing abusive parents benefit payments won't make any difference. MSD's justification is hollow.



Monday, May 06, 2019

Labour's 180 degree turn on the responsibility of fathers


On Friday the government announced it will cease applying Section 70 A penalties from April 2020.

Background

"Section 70A of the Social Security Act 1964 requires that the rate of a sole parent’s benefit be reduced for each dependent child for whom the person does not seek Child Support, subject to some exemptions. The benefit is reduced by $22 for each dependent child for whom the client refuses or fails to meet their Child Support obligations. After 13 weeks a further $6 a week reduction may apply. Close to one in five sole parents receiving Job Seeker and Sole Parent Support have these benefit reductions. Reasons include being unaware of the penalties and how to comply and grounds for exemption, and a strong desire to have no contact with the other parent."

From the 1990s the Green Party started to agitate against this penalty. they would argue about women's reproductive rights, the penalising of children etc.

Labour however dug in. Their view was that fathers should provide financially for their children. It should not fall to the taxpayer. The numbers of mothers (and occasionally custodial fathers) who failed to name the father of a child dependent on a their benefit continued to grow. In the early 2000s Labour introduced legislation to increase the penalty. From the parliamentary debates:

Heather Roy: When will he admit that this is just a rort so that fathers can dodge child support, and why should taxpayers always have to pick up the bill?
Hon STEVE MAHAREY: It is a rort, and I have said time and time again in this Parliament that fathers must front up to their obligations, and we will make sure they do, as much as we can.
                                                                    Hansard, August 25, 2004

And later:

“It is not unreasonable to expect that single parents bringing up children on their own identify who in law is the other parent, or to expect that they seek financial support for the child from the other parent. It is not unreasonable to penalise financially those who do not. It is not a new philosophy.” Steve Maharey, Hansard, October 5, 2004

NZ First, represented by Bill Gudgeon also spoke in favour. The penalty was increased.

But 13 years on a new Minister said:

“The most common reason for not naming the parent was often family-violence related and so, keeping that mind, it’s almost like you’re doubly punishing these women and their children. So, we’re not going to allow that to continue.”
                        Carmel Sepuloni, RNZ, November 14, 2017

That is a red herring as the Work and Income Manual states:

“Your benefit payments may be reduced if you don’t legally identify the other parent or apply for Child Support. In some situations you may not need to do this, for example if you or your child would be at risk of violence. Work and Income can tell you more about this.”
                                         
Advice to cabinet said:

“Repealing Section 70a could provide an incentive for clients not to apply for Child Support and establish private arrangements with the other parent. This is because clients would retain their full benefit rate and receive the child support paid privately.”
                  MSD report to Carmel Sepuloni, November 10, 2017

And that has always been the problem.

Nevertheless Labour has been persuaded, along with NZ First (also traditionally of the view  that a father should be financially responsible) by the Greens to drop the penalty at a cost of $113.4 million over 4 years. But that is only estimated on the current number of mothers who aren't naming the father.

In the future, as there is no longer an incentive to name him (or disincentive not to) many more fathers will never pay child support for their children. 


Sunday, May 05, 2019

Another Working Group:Another Waste of Time and Money

The Welfare Expert Advisory Group has delivered what the Green-driven government wanted - a recommendation to wildly increase wealth redistribution - an ideological affirmation. The group advises, "The fiscal cost of improving the adequacy and design of income support is estimated to be around $5.2 billion a year." That's an increase of around 50% on current costs.

The report overflows with conceptual phraseology, much of it drawn from Maori culture; words like equity, fairness, justice abound. It lacks however any concrete suggestion as to where an extra  $5.2 billion is to come from. The only justification for such a massive hike comes in the form of:

"It is important to recognise that the current system has costs of its own – those associated with the broader negative effects of poverty including lower educational attainment,imprisonment and poorer health." Which is exactly the approach National had taken under Bill English's actuarial analysis, but without front-loading savings.

Unsurprisingly then, only two policies were announced in direct response to the report and have been scheduled for introduction in April 2020. 1/Scrapping the penalty for not naming the father of a benefit-dependent child (a 180 degree turn from the last Labour-led government's stance), and 2/ an increase in what beneficiaries can earn before their benefit is affected (which National quickly approved without considering  more people getting trapped in a part work/part benefit regime) .

The Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni, says, "The Government can’t deliver on every recommendation at once." Indeed. It can only deliver on two of forty two in a year's time,  just months before it stands to lose any ability to do more.

In that respect alone this working group has been another waste of time and money.

Many of its recommendations are pie in the sky. It wants core benefit levels raised by up to 47 percent. On top of higher abatement rates, paid work for the unskilled would become uneconomical. People respond to economic incentives. For sole parents benefit 'packages' already rival income from employment despite the report's claims about grossly inadequate levels of welfare.

Some recommendations are a straight reversal of the last National government's welfare reform measures. Single parents should only have to work part-time when their youngest is 6 - currently it is 3 in line with eligibility for free early childhood education. Removal of the 'subsequent child' policy, introduced to prevent sole mothers from adding children to their benefit to avoid work-testing, is urged. The compulsory 'money management' aspect of youth benefits should be scrapped with a return to  handing out unconditional cash to 16 and 17 year-olds

Especially cheered by the Greens no doubt, the panel calls for removal of obligations and sanctions for "... pre-benefit activities, warrants to arrest sanctions, social obligations, drug-testing sanctions, 52 week reapplication requirements, sanctions for not naming the other parent, the subsequent child work obligation, and the mandatory work ability assessment for people with health conditions or disability."

Under such a scenario New Zealand would have parallel worlds whereby one group of people - the producers and risk-takers - are constantly expected to meet work, tax, health and safety obligations - to name a few - while the other avoids any and gets paid for the privilege.

Increases to Working For Families tax credits and eligibility thresholds are advised. Child support payments to beneficiary parents, currently kept by Treasury to offset benefit payments, should be passed directly to the custodial parent.

With regard to Job Seekers, here's an odd one: "Establish an effective employment service of the Ministry of Social Development so it is better able to assist people to obtain and keep good, sustainable work." Surely the Ministry has an effective employment service already (though on currently increasing Job Seeker numbers, you may wonder). What constitutes "...good, sustainable work"? I am reminded of a previous Labour Minister Steve Maharey who protested against "dead-end jobs" for beneficiaries. Exactly who is going to do the unskilled yet vital work required by this country's economy? And why a downer on those who do the least desirable jobs? I am thankful for them everyday.

There are multiple vague wishy-washy recommendations like, "Improve the health and wellbeing of people with health conditions and disabilities, along with carers of people with health conditions and disabilities who interact with the welfare system by providing financial support that is adequate to live a life with dignity and is equitable across the social sector." Meaningless.

A call to "increase public housing on an industrial scale" conjures visions of future ghettos based on past experience.  And then of course demands for heavier regulation of landlords feature as if that will magically make rental property cheaper when evidence points to the opposite outcome.

One recommendation makes sense: to index benefits to the cost of living, as is Super. That would be fair inasmuch as beneficiary income would keep pace with inflation. That is the solitary saving grace amidst an utterly unworkable, utopian/dystopian manifesto (take your pick).

Instead of this charade the Green's 2017 welfare policy could've easily been printed and circulated saving over $2 million in the process.

Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Graph of the Day

Very informative piece in DomPost today by Justin Stevenson regarding the forthcoming Well-Being Budget argues we actually need to focus more on GDP and featured this graph:




Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Is it any wonder beneficiaries prioritise tobacco and alcohol

Stats NZ have provided interactive data that shows expenditures on 12 items in a variety of households.


Spending on alcohol and tobacco rates 4th highest in beneficiary households. No other household has a rating this high.

In absolute terms most other household types are spending more on alcohol and tobacco but it's lower down the list of items usually appearing 6th or 7th.

The other stand-out obviously is housing. All households bar the highest income/expenditure have housing as their number one cost - even Superannuitants, which is a worry. But the graph above has a pattern unlike any other in that all of the expenditures are close to the left (bar food) with housing hard to the right. Note the vast difference when compared to the highest income group:


Going back to the problem of housing making poor people poorer, look at the change for beneficiaries since 2008:


If I was on a benefit under this scenario I'd be prioritizing alcohol and tobacco too (notwithstanding rising accommodation supplement is meeting some of the increased housing cost).

The housing market is in a real mess. And it happened under a National government. After Labour set up the stifling regulations.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Silly Simon

Simon Bridges is making himself sound silly over the slushy 'scandal'. How much time (taxpayer money) did his staff spend digging up this dirt to throw at Corrections' Minister, Kelvin Davis, who sounds like a man with gravitas for a change?

It just makes me question Bridge's judgement even more. What goes on in his head?

For instance the prison population is on the rise again, despite Labour's pledge to reduce it; despite the Justice Summit which did cost a truckload and seems to have delivered little. Corrections says  a backlog of criminals due to be processed caused the rise. Why a backlog? Justice delayed is not justice. There are a myriad of serious questions the leader of the opposition could be asking but he picks the petty.


Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Youth Payments increase by 88.9%

That was sneaky. The March benefit statistics were due out last week. But they were never posted on the front page of the website. If you didn't know where to look, you would never find them.

I do and there they are.

All bad news.


Because the quarters fluctuate it is vitally important to compare year on year to get an accurate picture.

So amidst the glaring shortages of workers eg bus drivers, that are crippling services there has been an almost 11 percent increase in numbers of unemployed. Worse, those jobseekers classified as 'work ready' have risen by 14.5 percent.

While the base number is low Youth Payment has risen a staggering 88.9% from 126 to 238.

There are just 6 fewer sole parent beneficiaries putting the brakes on that downward trend. The same can be said for the ex invalid benefit, now SLP, where there has been a very small increase.

What this illustrates is how the benefit system had now evolved into a bona fide, state-sanctioned alternative to employment for too many. (Recall my earlier post that showed 75% of those in the Growing Up in New Zealand study receiving a sole parent benefit said they had partners.)

It isn't kind or compassionate to admit more young people into a system that traps them and saps any ambition they may otherwise have held. It's just a waste.





Friday, April 19, 2019

Ardern's no Lange

Currently reading David Lange's memoirs, I am reflecting on how different the two Prime Ministers
are. When Roger Douglas had almost unanimous caucus support for a flat tax (Lange: When it came to the crunch only Cullen and I opposed - "Dear God! What a terrible lot of people they were!") he unilaterally scuppered it by announcing an unscheduled press conference and telling the country there would be no flat tax. He'd said nothing beforehand to Douglas who was out of the country, or the rest of the caucus. He put his Prime Minister-ship on the line for his convictions.

If Ardern was as convinced about the CGT (another ideological economic device) she'd take it to the next election and set about right now trying to convince New Zealanders of its merits.

Friday, April 12, 2019

"Jacinda Ardern's economics of blindness": David Seymour

ACT MP David Seymour writes at Magic Talk:

Would you live in a country in which the average age at death is 45, few children attend secondary school, and most people don’t have access to a telephone or electricity?
Sounds awful, right? That was New Zealand in 1913. The difference between then and now is productivity.
Paul Krugman – a Nobel Prize-winning, left-wing economist – once wrote that “Productivity isn't everything, but, in the long run, it is almost everything. A country's ability to improve its standard of living over time depends almost entirely on its ability to raise its output per worker.”
Most serious economists would agree. 
More 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Media Release: Widespread benefit fraud identified by Auckland University

Widespread benefit fraud identified by Auckland University

April 11, 2019

Lindsay Mitchell, Welfare commentator and researcher

Widespread benefit fraud has been identified by the Auckland University of Technology in research published yesterday by the Ministry of Social Development.

For a number of years, and on a number of occasions, I have questioned the longitudinal Growing Up in New Zealand (GUiNZ) data because the level of reported sole parenthood does not match the reported national level. In new research by AUT the authors have made similar observations:

"A weakness of the GUiNZ data is that it may not be population representative and is not linked to administrative data.... Overall, 95% of GUiNZ children are born to mothers who are partnered. The GUiNZ sample seems to have low sole-parent status compared to a 2009 study that found one-third of families with dependent children were headed by sole-parents (Ministry of Social
Development, 2010). This could be because being partnered in the GUiNZ data is not the same as their domestic-purposes benefit status, from which partnership status is inferred by other studies. We find that 70% of those who say they receive the domestic-purposes benefit also answer yes to the question of whether they have a partner – confirming that the sole-parent status derived from GUiNZ is essentially different to those studies which rely on benefit status to infer partnership status." (My emphasis)

Work and Income rules state:

You may get Sole Parent Support if you are:
-aged 20 or older
-a single parent or caregiver with one or more dependent children under 14
-not in a relationship
-without adequate financial support

Claiming a sole parent benefit while partnered is illegal. Based on these new findings the practice may be widespread. It appears however to be tolerated.

The government is currently sitting on the completed Expert Welfare Advisory Group report. It is to be hoped that benefit fraud and better policy to prevent it, will form part of the ensuing discussion.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

There are no fathers now - just 'partners' of mothers

Are you a Dad? Do you want to be known as the father of your child or just the 'partner' of his mother?

Research released today by MSD into protective factors for vulnerable children based on the longitudinal Growing Up in NZ study refers only to mothers and partners, not mothers and fathers.

Fathers are only referred to in token reference to overseas research. Barely at all.

There is a huge irony in play here. I doubt the researchers noticed.

Thursday, April 04, 2019

Stephen Franks nails it


Stephen Franks utterly nails it using gun control to illustrate how unknowingly incompetent the current crop is:
A general problem when censorious children are elected to govern
I see this issue as yet another where the urban ‘woke’ have utterly tin ears.
New Zealand has avoided many irreconcilable political fights over competing values. Now an ignorant generation are looking for ways to anger their opponents by deliberately kicking  sleeping dogs. Wise politicians pick no unnecessary fights that focus people on differences instead of on values they share.
Gun law has not been a tribal political issue here. My Select Committee 17 years ago reached a cross party consensus. But it is a badging issue in the US. So our “progressives” start the same chants to ape their US betters. They want to stick it to gun owners to show who is in charge – to anger “deplorables”. Whether the changes have any connection to a problem or a solution is immaterial to them. It is not so much ‘virtue signalling’ as IFF – identifying friend from foe.
From the same impulse they are trashing our 50 year old tacit deal  on abortion (‘we’ll pretend we have a law against abortion and leave the issue alone, if you too pretend the same”).
They look for any issue they can to stick the coercive state’s fat finger up the nose  of Christians – while excusing the ghastliness of Islamism, again to ape their US models.
They ended charter schools out of similar vindictiveness, thereby ensuring that whatever Hipkins does now in education will be reversed when he loses power.
And on free speech and so called non-binary gender and many other ‘me too’ (in its original sense) progressive causes their language, their solutions and their reasons are entirely derivative.
A consolation is that they are cementing their distance from the ordinary working people they have long scorned but claimed as the objects of their sanctimonious “altruism”.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Why child poverty claims are all over the place

MSD has helpfully produced a table that shows the extreme variability of official child poverty measures:

Depending on what political barrow is being pushed, the highest or lowest number can be selected.

The highest number - 341,000 - represents children living in homes under 60% of the median equivalised household income after housing costs. The lowest number - 65,000 - represents children living in severe material hardship experiencing eight or more specific deprivations.

Of interest the higher number has increased recently; the lower has decreased calling into question the relationship between the two.

The paper usefully goes on to point out:
Are all children in low-income households experiencing material hardship?
No.
The overlap between those in low-income households and those experiencing material hardship is considerably less than 100%, and the actual overlap depends on the measures being compared.
So next time you hear UNICEF for instance talking about one in three children in Aoteroa living in poverty you'll have some context to make sense of the claim.

Monday, April 01, 2019

Violence against women - some balance

Yesterday I received a press release from the White Ribbon Campaign containing the following statistics:

 KEY STATISTICS
·         New Zealand has the highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world
·         Police investigated 118,910 family violence incidents in 2016 or about one every five minutes
·         That’s 41% of a front line officer’s time
·         One in three women will experience partner violence at some point in their lives
·         Less than 20 percent of abuse cases are reported
·         Approximately 3,500 convictions are recorded against men each year for assaults on women
·         On average, 14 women a year are killed by their partners or ex-partners
·         Between 2009 and 2015, there were 92 IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) deaths. In 98% of death events where there was a recorded history of abuse, women were the primary victim, abused by their male partner.
 
 For balance here are some further statistics from the most recent 2018 Crime Victimization Survey:

The survey estimates that 16 percent of adults experienced one or more incidents of partner violence at some point during their lives. Women (21 percent) were more likely than men (10 percent) to have experienced one or more incidents of partner violence at some point during their lives.

21 percent is considerably lower than "one in three" so perhaps matters are improving. The correct expression of these percentages  should be one in five women and one in ten men.

 The survey also estimates that 23 percent of adults experienced one or more incidents of
sexual violence at some point during their lives. Again, women (34 percent) were more likely than men (12 percent) to have experienced one or more incidents of sexual violence at some point during their lives

Here we are closer to the one in three claim but note the distinction between 'violence' and 'sexual violence'. And again men are also affected albeit to a lesser degree. Of course these numbers rely on personal subjectivity and the individual's idea of violence. There may be gender differences between perceptions and willingness to acknowledge.

From 2009 to 2015 the Family Violence Death Review  Committee reports
There were 91 intimate partner violence (IPV) death events
Of the 92 deceased and 92 offenders in IPV death events:
• 68 percent (63 deceased) were women and 32 percent (29 deceased) were men
• 76 percent (70 offenders) were men and 24 percent (22 offenders) were women.

Almost a quarter of the offenders were women. Most of the women offenders were considered to be the victim of a history of abuse, but not all. Some cases are described as 'perpetrators in combination' which accounted for 8% in the 2002-08 reporting period.

Based on the above (latest) data, by my calculations, 9 women a year are "killed by their partners or ex-partners". Not 14. Googling 14 turned up this from the Christchurch Women's refuge:

About half of all homicides in New Zealand are family violence. There were 41 family violence homicides in New Zealand in 2010/11. On average, 14 women, 7 men and 8 children are killed by a member of their family every year.
So that claim is based on older data. Statistics are improving then for both women and men.

As for NZ having the "highest rate of reported violence towards women in the developed world," deaths are usually a good indicator for levels of violence, reported or otherwise. I had a quick look across  the Tasman where, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 99 women (and 27 men) were killed by a current or previous partner between 2012/13 and 2013/14. 50 women on average annually versus 9 in New Zealand. With a population only five times larger than NZ's, Australia looks slightly worse.