Friday, January 18, 2019

Unplanned pregnancies

NewstalkZB reports that NZ has a "shocking" rate of unplanned pregnancies, 6th in the OECD apparently. There is almost certainly a link between this and our high rates of child poverty, neglect and abuse.The major reason given for this state of affairs is that long-acting reversible contraceptives are far more effective than other forms of contraception but not financially accessible for many.

Coincidentally yesterday I was studying the dramatically increased rate of hardship assistance granted in the past couple of years which the left say indicates greater need. It may just indicate that under the changed culture at WINZ - far fewer sanctions for instance - that fewer requests for hardship assistance are declined.

But I noted one interesting stat.

Of 344,771 grants in the September 2018 quarter only 41 were for long acting reversible contraceptives. (0 in December but I'm picking that is a delay in reporting.)

If the latter number increased substantially the former should fall.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Benefit numbers continue to climb

Released today, benefit numbers continue to climb even as so many industries are experiencing shortages of workers. The aged-care sector, and the lack of labour resource is dominating talkback today.

Yes, there is a regular seasonal rise to the end of the December quarter. However at December 2017 there were almost 10,000 fewer beneficiaries than at December 2018.

All of the increase is in Jobseeker Support. Heard on radio this morning Shane Jones' trees will not be planted because there aren't enough people to plant them. Travelled around the North Island over summer and saw multiple signs for workers - apply within.

And the reason for this according to MSD:

The number of benefits cancelled has decreased by 4,136 from the December 2017 quarter, to 35,710 in the December 2018 quarter. Most of this decrease came from a decreased number of Jobseeker Support cancellations. Obtaining work is the main reason for benefit cancellations, however this reason fell by 2,682 when compared to the December 2017 quarter.
So the upshot is New Zealand is a country rich in work opportunities yet one in ten people can't support themselves.

Update: Minister's headline: Benefit rates remain low
Thursday, 17 January 2019, 10:49 am
Press Release: New Zealand Government

ACT and National respond

Monday, January 14, 2019

Socialists describe the junior doctors' strike

"The doctors’ strike is part of an upsurge of working class struggle internationally in opposition to brutal austerity measures imposed over the past decade."

The idea that doctors are part of the working class is a hoot.

So is the idea that NZ has undergone "austerity measures".

This isn't Cuba or France.

This is New Zealand under a government primarily led by a party puppet-stringed by the unions. The strings might break but they will be tested.

Road spikes kill

In 2007 the police introduced a new kind of road spike that, according to the NZ Herald,"....can penetrate all tyre types and are designed to prevent blowouts by allowing for the slow release of air - allowing drivers to come to a safe and controlled stop."

It's ironic that as I read that article a headline is moving across the top of the page informing that three lives were lost in a car fire resulting from a crash into trees after police lay road spikes to stop a speeding vehicle in Christchurch last night.

There is a sound argument to be made for protecting lives that speeding vehicles may endanger. But what about the lives of the passengers in these vehicles? And indeed the life of the driver, foolish in the extreme but young and impetuous. In other scenarios a strong case is made to get these young people safely through to adulthood because their brains don't mature until mid twenties. Are road spikes a legitimate part of that endeavour?

Questions with no satisfactory answers I am afraid.

And pity the poor officer who made the decision to lay the spikes. He has a life sentence of anguish to live with.