Friday, November 13, 2020

Beneficiary debt balloons under Labour

 Under Labour the culture at WINZ was deliberately changed. Far more resources were put into ensuring that clients were receiving their full entitlements and fewer into work brokering. There was an all round softening of attitude, more 'kindness' I expect. That might also include approving more grants and recoverable assistance. Which might have the unintended consequence of driving more beneficiaries into more debt? (A bit like those nasty money-lenders Labour detests).

Someone asked the question and I've charted the answer.

Note the acceleration occurred BEFORE Covid.

Total monies owed:

Still. Look on the brightside. It's not a billion yet. Chickenfeed compared to this government's borrowing.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Unfashionable truths

Bernard Hickey has joined the chorus calling for benefit increases. That's because beneficiaries will spend the money. But he fails to address the unintended consequnces of benefit rises.

1/ There is risk of landlord 'capture'

2/ All second tier assistance will be subject to reductions negating the benefit rise. If the assistance is redesigned so as to not reduce, then the margin between working and not working gets smaller and more people rationally choose not to work or to reduce their hours

3/ That will lead to even less productivity ...

4/ ... and more intergenerational dependence on benefits

5/ Finally there is no guarantee that the extra money will be spent on children (Hickey's implication with his final comment).

Which goes like this:

It’s worth leaving the last word to the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study of 6000 children born in the Auckland, Counties Manukau and Waikato DHB regions in 2008/09. There’s now eight and the latest report was published this week. Nearly 40 per cent are living in cold, mouldy and damp homes. About a third are obese. About 20 per cent of the families surveyed did not have enough money to eat properly.

Of 4,828 respondents 6% had a major problem with damp and mould; 31% had a minor problem. My expectation would be that minor problems are fixable problems. My own home falls into this category (though perhaps into the former category after this week's deluge.)

And what is "eating properly"? If its chicken and veges ... cheap as chips - literally. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that a family can eat well and inexpensively with some application and planning.

But truths are very unfashionable in 2020.

Raising benefits is a quick-fix; a deceptively appealing but ultimately damaging policy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Fathers forgotten again

 The Growing Up in New Zealand Study continues to frustrate me. Just released is their Now We Are Eight report. Yet again there is bugger all information about the fathers of these children.

The word 'father' appears 3 times in the 172 page report, ironically the last time in the appendix describing the study's "overarching research questions" which include, "How involved are fathers in children’s lives, and what are their influences over time on children’s development?"

The word 'mother' appears 468 times.

'Partner' crops up 18 times, the context of which relates only to

- partner conflict

- study methodology

Data relating to single or two parent households is inconclusive.

In the extracted chart 'parent alone' makes up a smallish percentage for each ethnicity, but the grey and green portions could contain either a single or two parent family. And the 'two parent' portion doesn't necessarily indicate two biological parents.

But that's all there is.

According to the Census 2018 (conducted around the same time as the Now We Are Eight report was compiled):

Twenty eight percent of families with children are one parent.

Next, in the past, the GUiNZ collection waves have included information about sources of income including benefits. Not this time.

Perhaps this is due to the Auckland University of Technology previously pointing out:

"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." 

Perhaps the GUiNZ survey designers do not want to 'compromise' the authenticity of reponses by including questions about benefits.

The media discussion created by the release of Now We Are Eight has been all about how the 8 year-olds responded to questions about gender identification.

More important than fathers, and whether or not they have one.

Monday, November 09, 2020

Briefly on partner violence being all one way...

Earlier last week Peter Williams, Magic Talk, decided to spend the morning discussing "men beating their wives". This was on the back of the Johnny Depp court case and the appointment of Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson as Minister for the Prevention of Family & Sexual Violence. His framing of the violence problem was decidely that it's a male issue. He recalled how he felt about the sickening violence portrayed in Once Were Warriors many years ago and how seemingly nothing much has changed. (I was simultaneously recalling that the author, Alan Duff, was blessed with a peaceful father but suffered a violent alcoholic mother.) 

Anyway, very quickly Williams  began receiving text after text taking him to task, and then callers describing female aggression and manipulation, a couple from grown children who had witnessed it with their mothers. A few people referenced David Fergusson's work in this area who steadfastedly maintained domestic violence is a problem with both genders.

Consequently I have been meaning to write something very brief and gather some international stats from GOVT sources ie crime surveys conducted by state agencies which canvas victim experience as opposed to police prosecutions, convictions, etc which always predominantly feature male offenders,. the type of statistics Williams was citing. Male victims generally don't report violence to the authorities.

But first, I came across this. A fact sheet from the US National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. It is hard to imagine NZ's White Ribbon organisation being as even-handed in their advocacy:

1 in 4 men have been physically abused (slapped, pushed, shoved) by an intimate partner. • 1 in 7 men have been severely physically abused (hit with a fist or hard object, kicked, slammed against something, choked, burned, etc.) by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.  • Nearly 1 in 10 men in the United States has experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner and reported at least one measured impact related to experiencing these or other forms of violent behavior in the relationship (e.g., being fearful, concerned for safety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, need for healthcare, injury, contacting a crisis hotline, need for housing services, need for victim’s advocate services, need for legal services, missed at least one day of work or school). • 1 in 18 men are severely injured by intimate partners in their lifetimes. • Male rape victims and male victims of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences reported predominantly male perpetrators. Nearly half of stalking victimizations against males were also perpetrated by males. Perpetrators of other forms of violence against males were mostly female.  • From 1994 to 2011, the rate of serious violence (rape, sexual assault, robbery and aggravated assault) committed by an intimate partner declined 64% for males • During the most recent 10-year period (2002-11) for which data is available, nonfatal serious violence accounted for more than a third of intimate partner violence against males (39 percent).

So to my unofficial chart:

The US numbers reflect an earlier period  (2003 to 2012) than the others (2018-19) . The percentages reflect lifetime experience. IPV is expressed in different ways in different jurisdictions so I'm not 100% satisfied apples are being compared with apples. But the consistent gender proportions lend credibility to the reporting.

Before I leave the subject, remember these two? Exhorting men to march in the streets of South Auckland and "own the issue"?

National MPs Agnes Loheni and Alfred Ngaro. Never happened. Both gone. Out of touch.

Intergenerational reliance on benefits

Australian data depicting young Australians’ chances of receiving welfare (aged 18–26) by parental welfare receipt:

Sunday, November 08, 2020

What the hell is wrong with this country

 Again the effects of welfarism are manifested in waste and frustration.

New Zealand is heading into peak harvest season and there aren't enough workers to get fruit off trees or vegetables from the ground.

"This could be my last crop," says Heap, who grows courgettes near Waipapa in Northland. "I'm at the point where I'm not going through it again."

Northland for God's sake. Highest unemployment in the country. Thousands being paid to do nothing. NOTHING.

Worse than nothing in some cases. Paid to terrorise and steal from people who the govt has already stolen from to pay hush money. The flawed 'benefits reduce crime' theory.

What we are doing is insanity writ large.