Saturday, December 19, 2020

At face value, an odd juxtaposition

 A couple of days ago I blogged some trends from the Briefing to Incoming Minister for Corrections which included:

- a growing proportion of the prisoner population who have histories of extensive methamphetamine use – associated with significant and lasting impacts on mental and emotional function, including anger control 
-  Levels of violence in the community - the number of violence victimisations recorded by Police has increased steadily over the last five years.

The latest prisoner stats have ben released and show:

A rapidly falling prison population could be the result of a number of factors: fewer admissions, more releases, shorter sentences...whatever, the net number is dropping and it's not the result of more community sentencing which is also decreasing.

Given the widening gap between forecast and actual numbers a significant policy change must be in play.

Andrew Little promised to reduce the prison population and it was an electon year afterall. 

The blue line is odd in another way too inasmuchas I do not know whether to read it as good or bad.


Thursday, December 17, 2020

Is a return to the bad old days of high inflation on the cards?

 Government will lift the minimum wage to $20 an hour on April 1, 2021:

“This minimum wage increase will lift the incomes of around 175,500 New Zealanders – which means $44 more each week before tax for Kiwis working 40 hours a week on the minimum wage.”

Down the track it will lift the incomes of many more now that beneficiary rates  are linked to wage inflation.

 “Signalling the minimum wage increases over three years has helped give businesses much needed certainty. Next year I will outline what changes we are intending to make in the coming years to give businesses time to plan ahead,” Wood said.

It makes life harder for businesses and there is no increased certainty about supply of labour if benefit payment rates are competing. Earlier Henry Cooke calculated, "...benefits will go up between $27 and $46 a week by April 2023 - between $10 and $17 a week higher than they would under the old formula."

To maintain relativity employers will be pressured to raise the wages of those above the minimum wage and are likely to pass their increased costs along to customers and nobody will be any the better for it.

It's going to be difficult for the Reserve Bank to keep a lid on inflation.

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Revised forecasts


PREFU = pre-election fiscal update

HYEFU = half year economic fiscal update

"...the number of people receiving a working-age benefit (WAB) (Working-age benefits defined here as Jobseeker Support, Sole Parent Support and Supported Living Payment) is expected to be lower than was forecast in the Pre-Election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU) 2020. This is mainly because the number of people on Jobseeker Support has been lower than expected. Since the PREFU 20, we saw fewer COVID-19 Income Relief Payment (CIRP) recipients than expected and also a smaller proportion of CIRP recipients transferred to JS than was expected, which contributes to the lower forecast number of JS recipients for HYEFU 20. We also did not see significant growth in the number of JS recipients following the end of the Wage Subsidies."


My crystal ball is no better than anybody else's. 

But so much activity is predicated on borrowed money.  


The hard copy DomPost leads front page with headline:

Abuse in state care 'astounding'

 "As many as 655,000 children went through different care institutions between 1950 and last year and up to 39 per cent of them could have been abused..."

Not included in the lead story was that 1,332 people actually came forward to the royal commission (it appears later in the paper almost as an afterthought).

What interested me was this:

Andrew Sporle, who teaches statistics and research design at Auckland University, says the report risks giving credence to numbers that are far from established.

“If you say these are the results of research they get some sort of veracity that isn’t justified by the source of the data or what is done with it,” he says.

“The problem with that is, once it comes out with somebody’s name on it, then it becomes almost fact because people won’t look at the criticisms, they won’t look at the peer review. It will come out as fact because it’s got the royal commission’s name on it.”

Sporle points out that the Australian royal commission into sexual abuse refused to produce a report on the numbers because the data wasn’t strong enough. He believes the royal commission here should have taken a similar stand.

“That should be the statement – sorry, the data is crap,” he says.

“Their methods don’t take into account the completely different age profiles between Māori and non-Māori, which means there are completely different population dynamics over the last 30 years. Which means they’re massively underestimating the impact of this on Māori society.

“If one of my stage 3 students had done that, I would have failed them. Seriously, it is that bad.”

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Corrections - violence increasing

I've been browsing through the various Briefings to Incoming Ministers here and here.  All I've looked at contain redacted sections which is probably ops normal but belies the claim to being the "most transparent government ever" nevertheless.

Here are some interesting trends noted by Corrections:

- an increase in the proportion of the prisoner population who are gang affiliated (now 35%), which mirrors growth in gang membership in communities. Gang members are over-represented in acts of disorder and violence in prison

- a growing proportion of the prisoner population who are on remand, with a strong association between being on remand and incidents of disorder within prison

- a growing proportion of the prisoner population who have histories of extensive methamphetamine use – associated with significant and lasting impacts on mental and emotional function, including anger control

-  Levels of violence in the community - the number of violence victimisations recorded by Police has increased steadily over the last five years.

In addition to this, over 75 per cent of the prison population have convictions for violence in their offending histories, and more than 90 per cent have had a lifetime diagnosis of a mental health or substance abuse disorder.

I've blogged in the past about how the ratio of 'on remand' prisoners is growing rapidly. That trend also rates a mention and this table is provided:


Then there is a sub-heading, 'Responding to extremism' :

There has been an increase in the number of people we manage identified as potentially holding extremist views or displaying risk factors and indicators specific to radicalisation or violent extremism. Corrections has taken several steps to respond to this, including by: 
• Establishing a Prisoners of Extreme Risk Directorate – we recognise that additional measures are needed to safely manage those who present an ongoing risk of harm and the potential to influence others to engage in serious violence. 
• Making violent extremism an intelligence priority – Corrections Intelligence operates in support of the Government’s National Security and Intelligence Priority (NSIP) of Terrorism, engages in prevention and disengagement initiatives with partners (government, community and academia), and has supported the development of individualised treatment plans for people displaying extremist views.  

 But then the final paragrapgh is again redacted

Iwi working constructively with OT

The media is always looking to beat-up on Oranga Tamariki. That their Chief Executive is moving on to Internal Affairs is reported thus:

Grainne Moss has confirmed Oranga Tamariki deputy chief executive Hoani Lambert has resigned, but she herself is not stepping down.

A clear inference is made by the framing of the resignation.

Anyway I shall report some positive news about OT to redress the balance.

On December 7 they formed their seventh agreement with Iwi.

This is an agreement to work TOGETHER.

Named Developing Te Rangapū Ahi Kā Roa, the strategic partnership agreement looks to build a sustainable and effective relationship between Oranga Tamariki and Wellington region iwi. It was signed by Helmut Modlik, Chief Executive Officer Te Rūnanga O Toa Rangatira, Wirangi Luke, Chief Executive Officer Te Rūnanganui o Te Āti Awa and Oranga Tamariki Chief Executive Gráinne Moss at Parliament on Thursday...“We want to ensure that tamariki are thriving in the protection of their whānau, hapū and iwi and our strategic partnerships are helping us to continue the downward trend of tamariki Māori coming into state care.”


It would appear that some Maori - the radical separatists - want the resignation of Grainne Moss while others do not.

Sunday, December 13, 2020

The nasty new collectivism

My parent's generation harboured bigots. People who put all Women, all Maori, all Teenagers, all Poms (to name a few of the flawed) into each of their collective boxes. They lazily stereotyped to their heart's content. 

My generation wrote TV series that highlighted the Alf Garnetts and Archie Bunkers - bigotted collectivists on steroids. Some viewers laughed with them. Others laughed at them. But they weren't muzzled. The players or the audience.

The response came by way of a rejection of nationalism (war), rejection of racism (civil rights) and embrace of feminism (women's rights). Like the welfare state these -isms have well-intentioned roots but get unwieldy, distorted and become a bigger problem than that which they formed to alleviate.

But there was also an underlying move towards individualism. A greater diversity of thought. Enabled by the improving economic conditions.

Individualism describes those who don't conform or subscribe to ANY collective. Individualists refuse to hold allegiance or obligation by sheer dint of type or class which are mere accidents of birth. Their identities, loyalties and reciprocal dependencies are chosen. Not imposed.

This freedom to choose lies at the heart of a truly free society.

I thought we were ever-so-slowly getting somewhere (along with the self-destructive over-indulgences along the way that have caused considerable havoc.)

But right now we seem to have come full circle, and collectivism is fashionable like never before. People hanker to be part of a group - especially those groups perceived as victimised. Grievance is earnestly sought and if the seekers can't legitimately be part of the aggrieved group, they protest vigorously in the group's name. Brand new groups are created and labelled, with the non-member creators then patting themselves on the back for embracing them! Unwittingly people are forced into groups of believers and deniers, enemies or allies. It's almost comical. Almost...

Except the new collectivism is best characterised by its propensity to rapidly lash out at, denigrate and silence any party that questions. Despite their largely collective facelessness, through mass communication they are far more powerful and influential than any individual bigot. This monstrous movement changes the meaning of words and disregards facts. So detractors are left impotent.

Though its economic 'solutions' to inequality and climate change are largely state-driven, its enormous power now displays in controlling the private sector by naming and shaming businesses and manipulating corporate cultures.

None of it is sustainable but they don't care. Because they think the world is ending anyway. 

I took a break to look at today's 'news' and found this from Alison Mau:

“[David] Seymour’s attempt to skewer Mallard for wasting taxpayer money in litigation is misdirected, shallow and self-serving. Why is he not more seriously concerned about addressing, if not his women colleagues’ victimisation by his male co-workers, then the current epidemic of sexual crime experienced by the female population of New Zealand, as evidenced by the 6-month waiting list for help reported by all relevant agencies?

“In short, there is no help. There is just lots and lots of rape and serious sexual assault, everywhere.

“This is the serious concern Seymour should be raising in the media. This is where the serious cost is, both in taxpayer dollars and wasted female potential, most of it young. Perhaps he could initiate a cost deficit analysis to the country about this. He won’t, because nobody cares, least of all Parliament.”

This is the perfect example of everything wrong with the new religion that Mau is part of (kudos that she at least is not faceless).

First the chosen adoption of a severely contorted word - 'rape' - landed Mallard in hot water but devastated an innocent man. Mau approves of going after people first and finding out if they are innocent second.

So then she attacks Seymour for not behaving how she wants him to. Which is to collectively share the guilt of male harrassers because he happens to be a man. Idiocy.

I feel no shame or guilt for being the same sex as Mau.

(As an aside Brooke van Velden has taken mental health as her porfolio and is proposing remedies for waiting lists.)

But what can we do about this stifling atmosphere of convoluted and controlled thinking?

Resist. Communicate with your younger ones. Encourage them to think. Oddly, encourage them to rebel. That's the prerogative of youth. Some of their world view has justified roots, and we should listen. But many of us do have something they don't. A lifetime's experience of the world and its many earlier bouts of madness and mayhem.