Saturday, July 27, 2019

"Key fact" is not

We live in a time when so many 'facts' turn out to be lies. They are not facts and the untruthfulness degrades the level of understanding and debate.

According to the Welfare Expert Advisory Group:


Curious and dubious I sent an OIA to MSD:

Under the OIA  please supply the statistical evidence for the following claim:
"Over 50% of Māori children are growing up in households receiving a main benefit."

Here is their response:

 "...we have not been able to locate any data that was provided that might support the statement."

Neither can I.

This is a big deal.

If MSD didn't provide the data, where did it come from?

Who wrote the 'key fact'?

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

'Harm in state care' does not mean harm inflicted by the state

Not my first post on this subject but there now seems to be an official response from Oranga Tamariki clarifying the true situation.

While Maori organisations plan to protest the uplift of Maori children many people are under the misapprehension that the state is actively harming children under its care.

That only happens in a handful of circumstances and usually as part of attempts to manage the child or young person.

Oranga Tamariki deputy chief executive Hoani Lambert said the majority of the harm to Māori children happened in placements where they had been left with their family.

OT has to front-foot this issue due to biased media reporting. For instance, a letter I wrote (published) to the DomPost back in March:

Michelle Duff (DomPost, March 28) writes about the 220 children abused "in state care", they were "...taken from their families, from their homes, to a place that's meant to be safer". Most children who are 'in state care' are placed with an approved family member or returned to their original caregivers. They are under the legal custody of the state (Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive) but not living in foster care or residential homes. Most of the abuse occurred in placements that were family-related or having been returned to parents. Most of the abusers were family members or parents. No abuse or re-abuse of children is acceptable. But the facts show that family members and parents posed the greatest danger to these victims. This suggests that where the state primarily fails is in poor decision-making and monitoring of risk. 

Monday, July 22, 2019

Does Duff exaggerate?

Maori organisations have just announced a rally to Parliament a week tomorrow, July 30,  to protest the state removing Maori children from their whanau caregivers. It'll be called the Hands Off Our Tamariki rally.

I felt weary reading about it.

Then by chance I read an excerpt from Alan Duff's new book, A Conversation with My Country.

Poor Shahlaya wasn't 11 when I first saw her — she was 111. She was discreetly pointed out to me at a low socio-economic primary school many years ago. She came from a place like Pine Block, my fictional suburb in Once Were Warriors.
The school principal whispered, "See that girl . . . the sad-looking one? The one not smiling? We know she's on a house-to-house circuit, suffering sexual abuse. A tragedy, and too many like her."
The sub-society she was born into stole and violated her right to childhood. Men took turns at possessing her body, subjecting it — not her, the innocent child — to indecencies. Too weak to resist, she was an "it", a body solely to give pleasure to sick-minded adult males. And you can bet they figured out that should she go to the police or to the school authorities, her allegations would not be believed. It probably did occur to her abusers that what they did was wrong, but wrong only if they were held to
account. As to evil, it has to be assumed that abusers like this lack
a self-reflective, moral mechanism.
They may as well have put her brain into an electric mixer. 
I've read most of what Alan Duff has written over the years. In my estimation he falls into the 'been there, done that' category (though I hasten to say not as a child abuser.)

If his description of the abuse of Maori children by Maori is not an exaggeration - indeed if it holds any weight - doesn't Hands Off Our Tamariki suggest an entirely different visual image?