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).