Saturday, June 13, 2020

The failure to police

 From the 2018/19 Annual Police Report:
Addressing cultural unconscious bias 
Police understands the potential for unconscious bias when it comes to the use of discretion and decisionmaking. For this reason, we have made the identification and management of unconscious bias a priority. The first step in managing bias is having all staff identify that they have them. People can then challenge their biases to understand how they influence their decisions and behaviours. To achieve this, we have started to roll out targeted unconscious bias training to key staff across the organisation.

Um. Training in unconscious bias. That sounds lucrative.

Here's a Wellington course at Vic. $595 for a day.

Nice work if you can get it.

Personally I'd like the taxes we pay for policing to be spent on .... policing. That would be novel.

It's a while since I've needed the services of the police but there is a constant theme on talk-back that calls about car theft or home burglary are logged and not much more. Looks like it's not just jungle drums either. From the report

Property crime - Percentage of victimisations where investigation is finalised within the year because Police determine ‘no crime has occurred’ or the ‘offender is proceeded against’: 13%

Friday, June 12, 2020

Sickly self-congratulations symptom of a society in trouble

Man am I over all this self-congratulatory stuff about beating Covid. Latest example yesterday from my local council:
Kia ora
We'd like to start this email with a thank you.
We should all be proud of our collective efforts to successfully stamp out COVID-19.
No need to nauseate you further.  You've all heard variations of it time and time again, especially from Dear Leader.

I don't buy it. Most of us just did what we were told to do (some less willingly than others). We do not deserve a medal, let alone constant meritorious mention.

I recently watched a 1968 news clip about the Wahine Disaster and was struck by how different the national psyche was fifty years ago. The stoicism, the pragmatism and practical response.Within hours the public were being advised of timetable changes to the Maori, Aranui and Aramoana sailings to accommodate bookings the ill-fated Wahine could no longer honour. No candlelit vigils, no maudlin social media preoccupation, no rahui on the harbour and no premature finger-pointing either. People just carried on.

Twenty years ago I sat in the end-of-year prize-giving audience at primary school. The list of recipients seemed endless. Each mounted the stage until there were more children upon it than left on the hall floor. It was ridiculous. Everyone's a winner. My son tells a story. He played soccer - or rather plodded after the last person in a group chasing the ball. Totally unsuited and he knew it. At the end of one game, after "Player of the Day" have evaded him yet again, the coach turned to him and said, "You can have a turn next week".

The accolade had become meaningless. Just as the current Covid congrats are.

The outcome of this foolish philosophy of embracing mediocrity is now rife. It's there in those dreadful Covid mental health ads that basically urge you to do nothing and feel good about it. Hang out in your PJs all day and pat yourself on the back for it.

It doesn't fly in my house. It isn't a preparation for real life. Nobody is well-served by this nonsense. And it needs to stop.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

99 reasons to vote Labour

"100 reasons to vote Labour" just arrived in my email inbox.

Here's number 30:

Here's number 99:

It really should be titled, "100  99 reasons you are going to be paying a shitload of tax in the coming decades."

When race isn't a divisive issue

The following data is extracted from Ethnic Intermarriage in New Zealand using 2013 Census, the latest available:

With regard to the trend between 2001 and 2013, "Over the period, the number of Maori who have a Maori partner dropped from 53 to 48 per cent for Maori men, and from 52 to 47 per cent for Maori women."

When I reflect on friends and acquaintances over my lifetime these graphs are highly representative.

Tuesday, June 09, 2020

A pathway but not a panacea

Regarding the ongoing battle between some Maori and Oranga Tamariki:
Hands Off Our Tamariki spokesperson and researcher Alison Green has been comparing the state care systems in Canada and New Zealand.
The Oranga Tamariki legislation restricted mana motuhake, and Māori needed a system of their own like tribes in Canada, Dr Green said.
"We are ready for tribal governments," she said.
"For tribes to be able to enact legislation and for tribes to take over the jurisdiction and authority of their young Māori people and their families and take it right away from the state."
Regarding the Canadian experience:

 When I became a judge in 1976 they were just starting to talk about turning the control of child welfare agencies over to Indigenous groups. This changeover took place during the 1980s, and 90s. The theory advanced by Indigenous advocates was that there were far too many Indigenous children in care because white child care workers did not understand Indigenous culture and the Indigenous way of life. If only Indigenous workers and supervisors could take over, the numbers would go down. That didn’t happen. As the Indigenous agencies took over, the numbers went up instead of down. That remains the case today...
...the state of Indigenous child welfare is no better than it was when Indigenous child welfare agencies took over – by some measures it is a whole lot worse. Those neglected children have become pawns in the political games that are now playing out federally. Parents who have clearly failed their children are let off the hook by advocates claiming that it is not their fault that they drank and made a mess of their children’s lives – it is society’s fault, or it is because of colonialism or residential schools – or almost anything going back five hundred years that might have affected their long dead ancestors’ lives. The irresponsible parents are told that they are victims. Never mind acting like a grownup, getting off welfare and starting to support your family. To the contrary, accepting personal responsibility and changing one’s behaviour is considered an old fashioned and discardable notion. Forget the best interests of the child – permanent victimhood and racial politics are where it’s at. But I will stop.
As I said earlier, I know little about the New Zealand situation. I simply don’t know if there are similarities between Canada’s Indigenous situation and the Maori situation in New Zealand. But if I am allowed to give just one word of advice on the subject of child welfare, it is this: “A child is a child. Keep racial politics out of it, and just see to that child’s best interests.” 

Brian Giesbrecht was a Provincial Court Judge in Manitoba, Canada, from 1976 to 2007. During that time he served as Acting Chief Judge, and Associate Chief Judge. 

It was heartening yesterday to hear OT defending itself on two fronts. 1/  The latest report from the Children's Commissioner represents only 12 mothers - a tiny number of the cases dealt with annually and 2/ it focuses on the mothers and not the best interests of their children.

Monday, June 08, 2020

Spot the problem

Spot the problem with the following passage in an RNZ article essentially condemning the removal of Maori babies:

Judge Becroft said there were clear examples of the whānau experiencing racism and discrimination.
Māori babies aged 0-3 months were taken into state custody at five times the rate of non-Maori babies in 2019.
Findings of abuse have decreased overall, yet, more and more Māori babies are being assessed and removed earlier.
Update. No takers.

Here's the problem. That "findings of abuse have decreased" is the desired policy outcome. It is not a reason to rail against the policy.