Tuesday, October 19, 2021

No jab, no unemployment benefit

 As this country inches closer to a 'no vaccination, no job' scenario, the question on my mind - one I'm sure must have crossed others - is, will vaccinations be mandated for receipt of an unemployment (or other) benefit?

The 2011 welfare working group set up under National (not to be confused with the Labour's WEAG headed by Cindy Kiro, about to be sworn in as new GG) considered whether benefits could be used to compel parents to immunise their children. The idea was never implemented. A condition of receiving the Young Parent Payment for 16-19 year-olds stopped at, "you must also enrol your child (or children) at a medical centre or with a doctor."

Australia financially penalises parents who fail to immunse their child through reducing family benefit. That began under the Howard government. So there is a sort of precedent for linking vaccination to benefit receipt.

I've had a look around the world to see what other countries are doing in this area. Not much. Most are still grappling with mandating vaccines for certain employment sectors.

In the US unemployment benefits (which are distinct from other  Social Security benefits):

If an employer terminates you because you don’t follow its policies, it has “cause” to fire you. And if you’re fired “for cause,” you may be ineligible to claim unemployment benefits.

“Every state defines ‘for cause’ differently,” Mariel Smith, partner at law firm Hall Booth Smith, PC. “Most states have similar statutes that indicate if an employee is terminated for breaking company policy, the employee would be denied unemployment benefits.”


 Some states have made it clear that people terminated for not adhering to vaccination policies are likely precluded from receiving benefits. Oregon is one example of a state that has mandated health care, education, and government workers to get vaccinated. The head of the state Employment Department has said eligibility will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, but those terminated by public or private employers for refusing to get vaccinated probably won’t be eligible.

Notice in the first sentence two incomaptible words - 'clear' followed by 'likely'. The latter negates the former. Oregon sounds more definitive. 

Three days ago:

New York state's labor department makes clear on its website that workers in health care facilities, schools and nursing homes who quit or are terminated for refusing the vaccine will be ineligible for unemployment benefits, unless they qualify for a medical or religious exemption to the mandate.

 Last month in Austria:

Job seekers in Austria will risk losing some of their unemployment benefits if they turn down a job offer because it requires getting vaccinated against COVID-19, local media reported Thursday.  

Austria’s Der Standard newspaper shared a letter sent on Aug. 25 by the Austrian Labor Ministry to the Austrian Public Employment Service (AMS).

It said that In the event that job hunters refuse any employment offer due to a requirement to get vaccinated, the AMS will have the right to cut their unemployment benefits.

In this case, the unemployment benefits of job seekers who do not have a medical excuse for not getting vaccinated can be blocked for up to six weeks.

This month in Canada:

 People [core public service, as well as air travel and rail employees]  who’ve had only one dose will be given 10 weeks to get their next one before they are put on unpaid leave. They won’t be allowed back at work until they’re either vaccinated or the policy is no longer in effect. Employees put on unpaid leave will generally not qualify for employment insurance benefits, say officials.

That's all a variety of phrase searches turns up presently.

For a long time New Zealanders have appeared happy to pay taxes to support people who choose not to work/ make themselves unemployable. That's the price of having a safety net they say.

But considering how bitterly and deeply divided society here and around the world  is becoming over the decision to covid vaccinate or not, this could be when intolerance of carrying others sets in.

Those who have reluctantly immunised themselves to stay employed (and for other reasons) may feel deep resentment against those who have refused and want to be financially supported as a consequence.

There will be compulsory vaccination ramifications for the welfare state. Just how significant, remains to be seen.

Monday, October 18, 2021

MSD: "What's happening to the number of sole parents on a benefit?"

Until the welfare reforms of 2013 most sole parents on a benefit relied on the DPB - not exclusively but mainly.

Since the introduction of the Sole Parent Support (SPS) benefit, which sole parents only qualify for until their youngest child turns 14, it's been harder to track how many sole parents are actually reliant on welfare. Far more are now receiving Jobseeker support.

Usefully MSD released some research in September, "What's happening to the number of sole parents on a benefit?" Numbers have been increasing - in part due to the economic effect of lock downs  - and they wanted to predict whether the growth trend will continue. More on that later.

First some facts. At January 2021 there were "around 99,000 sole parents receiving a main benefit". Yet at December 31, 2020 there were just 67,563 on SPS. That highlights the significant difference I was talking about. Almost fifty percent more than receive SPS are relying on other benefits.

Of the current total 46 percent are Maori, 28 percent NZ European and 12 percent Pacific Island. Other/ unspecified make up the remainder.

On the upside 99,000 is still fewer than  in the early 2000s. The chart below covers 1996 to the present. The decline since the GFC is due to the falling teen birth rate and increased employment rates of sole parents.

If  the trend reversal could be pinpointed it looks like the beginning of 2018 - well before covid.

As to whether the trend will continue, the authors expect the growth to be "temporary."

I am less certain.

Since Labour took over there has been a clear shift in approach to sole parents. Financial penalties for not naming the father of a child were abolished and early work obligations for mothers who add a child to an existing benefit have been removed. Benefit payment rates increased as did family tax credits, including the Best Start payment for 0-2 year-olds.

The paper itself gives clues to an attitudinal change. For instance,"A strong work focus may not be appropriate for all parents in the long-term..."

There is also a cultural tolerance, bordering on apologism, for the high rate of Maori dependence with,"Wahine Māori have higher and earlier fertility rates than other women, meaning they are more likely to require support from the benefit system as a parent."

Further to this, the following statement appears to endorse sole parenthood for Maori: "...research suggests for tamariki Māori, diverse family trajectories, including living in a sole parent household, may be associated with higher levels of cultural connectedness in some cases."

So in light of the above, including racial indulgence, I will not be surprised if the numbers of sole parents on a benefit actually continues to grow.

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

And now for something completely different...

From March through November 2019 I conducted weekly interviews with local composer, musician and teacher, Dorothy Buchanan. It had been a joint ambition to get Dotty's memoirs recorded and formed into a book. But I hadn't expected to personally get so much out of the process; transcribing, researching, the geneological tracing and chronological  ordering of material; visits to the Alexander Turnbull Library where the composer's ephemera is held; trawling through reference publications and microfiche material. So much pleasurable learning about a person and a process.

Dotty is an amazing individual who achieved so much so young, and simply never stopped. At just seventeen,  she was playing violin in the Christchurch Civic Orchestra,  – the forerunner to the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra; at eighteen she recorded her Mass in English and received performance royalties from the NZBC for the first time. At nineteen she was leading the Christchurch Orchestral Society, and at twenty – when long distance air travel was in its infancy - Dotty celebrated her birthday with a Pimms in a London pub whilst on tour with the Christchurch Harmonic Society.

Her musical pedigree comes through both sides of the family and goes back generations. But her origins are West Coast and humble. The opening chapter will evoke their own memories for New Zealanders of a similar vintage.

'The Birds Began To Sing' is about to be released by Cuba Press. The first few pages can be read here by clicking on 'look inside'.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Long-term benefit dependency is growing

Long-term benefit dependency is growing, and it was growing before Covid, though the advent of the virus has obvioulsy played a role.

The blue line shows the effect of the first March 2020 lockdown and then returns to near  'normality'.

The orange line however continues to climb and the gap between the two extends.

A significant contributor to this is psychological and psychatric conditions - rising sharply after the first lock down -  keeping people on Jobseeker HCD (Health Condition and Disability). Over the same time frame:

There are also over 32,000 adults on a Supported Living Payment (ex Invalid benefit) suffering from pyschological or psychiatric disorders. That's up around 4,000 over the same period.

These numbers are very sad. It's just horrible to think of thousands of mentally unwell people unable to get treatment and live functioning lives.

Friday, October 08, 2021

If you need a lift...

Give Us Hope Jacinda update:

Monday, October 04, 2021

More weasel-wokery; more welfarism

Yesterday I wrote about a recent law change which effectively encourages adding children to an existing benefit.

Here's the next move in this government's reckless expansion of welfarism.

But first some background:

"The introduction of a statutory DPB [1973] represented a major shift towards public responsibility for the financial support of sole parents, but it did not extinguish private maintenance obligations. Applicants for the DPB continued to be required to take maintenance proceedings as a condition of being granted the statutory benefit until the introduction of the Liable Parent Contribution Scheme in 1981, when the Department of social Welfare took over this responsibility and sole parents had only to name the liable parent. This policy was continued when the Child Support Act came into effect in 1992. There is no maintenance disregard: all maintenance received is paid into the Consolidated Account to offset the cost of providing the benefit.  For almost all sole parents on benefit, therefore, receipt of maintenance makes no difference to their income."

The government that created the DPB was regarded as generous in providing a secure income regardless of whether or not the father (or sometimes non-custodial mother) paid maintenance/child support. The taxpayer would henceforth be picking up the majority of the tab for the family upkeep.

Fast forward to 2021 and reason has flown the coop.

Various advocates now want the partial reimbursement the father has been making to the taxpayer to go direct to the mother.

An Auckland professor says, "At the moment it just sends the signal that the government wants to take the money for itself."

By implication the government is no longer generous. It is greedy.

The Children's Commissioner, Andrew Becroft also says current practice 'fails the fairness test.'

But if  the $150m currently collected from non-custodial parents is not used to offset the benefit then the unseen invisible taxpayer will have to stump up with it. Because there sure as heck won't be a reduction in benefit rates. So that 'passes the fairness test'? How so?

But wait. Here's comes the inevitable weasel-wokery. According to Becroft, because more than half of sole parent beneficiaries are Maori, it's a RACIST law.

Naturally enough the Minister for Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni is acquiescing, agreeing that the law is "discriminatory," needs to change and that "the mahi on it is underway."

The upshot will be 1/ a rise in the income of sole parent beneficiaries which increases disincentive to work and 2/ a funding shortfall (one of many) inevitably leading to higher taxation.

Sunday, October 03, 2021

Carte blanche to keep having kids on a benefit

 An evidence brief prepared for Oranga Tamariki and published in April 2021 contains some fascinating data.

It looks at people born 1997 to 2002. At around 60,000 each year that should be around 300,000. And so it is:

The first group is those who had interaction with both care and protection (CP) and youth justice (YJ). You can figure the rest from there.

The next shows the association with benefits at age 17:

Looking at just the first group 19% had already received their own benefit; in the past year 23% had a parent who'd received Jobseeker; 20% a parent on sole parent support and 8% with a parent receiving suported living payment.

That totals to 70 percent. (This might be an overcount because it's feasible one parent received both types of benefit in the same year but the paper doesn't spell out any overlap).

For those 17 year-olds who had never been involved with care and protection or youth justice the equivalent number was just 13 percent.

The link between long-term benefit dependence and appearing in the care and protection or youth justice systems is very strong.

On Thursday last week the government effectively sent a message that it's fine to be on a benefit and keep having kids. They passed a law to undo prior attempts to discourage this, known as the 'subsequent child policy'. Put simply, a rule to stop people avoiding work obligations by having more babies.

Why has the government done this?

Here's Minister for Social Development Carmel Sepuloni:

The subsequent child policy has a disproportionate effect on Māori women. By removing the policy, we can further our commitment to improving outcomes for Māori and valuing the role of carers, who are predominantly women. 

Maori make up 56% of the people adding children to a benefit. 

So I leave you with one last graph from the brief:

The last Labour government swept having babies on a benefit under the carpet. That was bad enough. 

Now it's overt and encouraged.


Still waiting for Jacinda to start on "that list"


Replying to a column by David Seymour when she was still in opposition Jacinda Ardern wrote:

...our welfare state is having to pick up everything  that is broken – ridiculous housing costs, low wages, people working multiple jobs to put food on the table and barely see their children, an education system that leaves too many behind, and a generation of kids who have lost hope.

If you want to genuinely help turn the bus around, start with that list.

 Over five years later - half a decade - and what's changed?

Thursday, September 30, 2021

That old hoary chesnut about Maori children being forced to speak English

Graham Adams details a number of media failures to provide the full story culminating with: 

Perhaps the most egregious omissions, however, occurred during Maori Language Week, which ran from 13-19 September. The programme aims to encourage wider use of te reo, with relevant stories featuring heavily in most media outlets. 

Several times over the week readers would have seen references to Maori being beaten for speaking te reo at school. 

On Stuff, the Human Rights Commission’s chief executive, Rebecca Elvy, was reported saying: “State-sanctioned attempts to assimilate Māori into British culture through the removal of language have a long and documented history in Aotearoa. For more than 100 years Māori children were beaten and traumatised in Native Schools for speaking their reo.” 

In the Guardian, former RNZ journalist Eva Corlett wrote: “When Aotearoa was colonised, Europeans actively set out to erase Māori language and culture. Schoolchildren were beaten for speaking it.” 

On RNZ, former Labour Māori Affairs Minister Dover Samuels related his experience of being caned in the 1940s for speaking te reo — and asked the Queen to send Prince William to apologise for this injustice. 

It is extremely rare for any journalist or editor to put this unfortunate practice of corporal punishment into a historical context. The sad fact is that caning or being strapped was an extremely common form of punishment for school children of any race until at least the 1970s. Qualifying misdemeanours could be as minor as having dirty shoes, an untidy sports locker or talking in class. Thrashings were so commonplace they were unremarkable. 

But a much more significant omission is the fact that well-intentioned Pakeha and Māori alike during the late nineteenth century and early decades of the twentieth believed teaching Māori children English as a priority was the best way of helping them prosper. Banning any Māori being spoken in schools — and punishing those found speaking it — was an inevitable extension of such a policy. 

And it was, in fact, Maori leaders who pushed most energetically for English to be the only medium of instruction in Native Schools. 

In 1871, newly elected MP Karaitiana Takamoana pointed out in Parliament that missionaries had been teaching children “for many years, and the children are not educated. They have only taught them in the Māori language. The whole of the Māoris in this island request that the government should give instructions that the Māoris should be taught in English only.” 

A petition by Wi Te Hakiro and 336 others presented to the House of Representatives in 1876 recommended: ”There should not be a word of Māori allowed to be spoken in the school, and the master, his wife and children should be persons altogether ignorant of the Māori language.“ 

There were more, including one by Renata Kawepo and 790 others. They asked that: “The government should use every endeavour to have schools established throughout the colony, so that the Maori children may learn the English language, for by this they will be on the same footing as the Europeans, and will become acquainted with the means by which the Europeans have become great.” 

Piri Ropata and 200 others also asked that Māori children be given the opportunity to be instructed only in English at school. 

The great Sir Apirana Ngata — who served as Minister of Native Affairs, was ranked third in Cabinet and whose image graces our $50 note — was positively evangelical in his campaign in the 1920s and 1930s to have English given priority in Māori primary schools. He argued that proficiency in the English language was “the key with which to open the door to the sciences, the mechanised world, and many other callings”. 

Furthermore, it was an approach endorsed by many Māori parents, who backed teachers disciplining their children for speaking te reo because they believed learning English was the path to success. 

The essential countervailing fact that helps make sense of these campaigns is, of course, that te reo was widely spoken in homes and marae, where Ngata and other leaders believed it would continue to prosper. In short: Māori at home; English at school.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

OT Report starts with half-truths

The Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board report released today paints a picture of pre-colonisation nirvana. There s a heavy emphasis on Maori because Maori children dominate among OT's caseload, and the Board members are all Maori.

It begins with a section called, TE AU O TE KANOHI MĀORI, which translates as 'The Maori Eye'.

It states  "...the reality for tamariki Māori " was they "were nurtured and treasured as the centre, the pito, the magnetic pole of Māori society in pre-colonial times."

"We recognise that of course Māori are not unique in treasuring their tamariki as the strength and centre of their culture and their economy, and of the wealth and health of all their futures. This is a common scenario across humanity and particularly in pre-industrialised economies where the health of the collective was what mattered. It is our view that the processes of colonisation, bringing urbanisation and commodification of people as units of production has broken that down. Inevitably transported to Aotearoa New Zealand with settlers from industrialising Europe, a view of organising family as individual units with tamariki as a subset - and in some Victorian eyes to be seen and not heard - has been imposed."

People were also "units of production" pre-industrialisation. They did back-breaking work in fields and their survival depended on the climate's co-operation. A pining for our agrarian past isn't prevalent among the general population.

Individual family units were not imposed on Maori. For decades Maori remained predominantly rurally-based and lived on and around maraes. But as they moved to the towns and cities for better paying jobs (turning their backs on working as agricultural units of production) they began to arrange themselves similarly to Europeans, just as they had adopted European dress and housing.

The report goes on to complain about the misrepresentation of warrior culture which apparently actually existed for the protection of children.

"An example has been the portrayal of this role as the warmongering, aggressive leader of the community. While the depiction may have become self-fulfilling for some, the primary role of a warrior was to provide for the community and to keep it safe from harm."

Safe from what harm? Other warriors seeking to violently plunder and pillage for starters.

So here we have yet another report which starts from fallacy. Let's be generous. Half-truths.

How Maori lived before colonisation was much better. Children were safer being raised by the collective. Therefore a return to that way of organising Maori society is the solution.

"While the context of the 21st century is different from that of pre-colonisation, views shared with us from hapū, iwi and Māori organisations indicate that these responsibilities and structures must be rebuilt so that the whānau can once again be self-determining."

The Minister Kelvin Davis has accepted every recommendation summarised as:

-Decision making and resources to be shifted to communities, with children and whānau at the centre of the system

-A new operating model, with better support and training for social workers

-Without notice orders (uplifts) to be only used after proper engagement with whānau

I find it ironic that one Maori Minister wants to centralise control for the benefit of Maori (Three Waters) while another seeks to decentralise control for the benefit of Maori (Oranga Tamariki).

Sunday, September 26, 2021

Bouquet for OT social worker

An Oranga Tamariki social worker makes a cameo appearance at their site. This seems primarily to encourage more people to become social workers. I want to take my hat off to this one, Racheal, for the following observation:

She says one of the most satisfying things about social work is seeing changes in the lives of the people she works with: returning tamariki to their whānau and setting them up for success, seeing parents getting jobs and gaining self-respect, being greeted by young people in the street (‘Levin is a small place!’).

Connecting 'jobs' with 'self-respect' seems almost radical.

Not sure how she slipped through the net. 

But a bouquet to her.

I've seen this process first hand too. When people have either been disconnected from the workplace long-term or never worked full-stop, getting a job can be a huge hurdle. The prospect of creating a CV when there's bugger-all to put on it is totally demoralising. People feel inferior and worthless.

But  given a go, they just double in size.Somebody trusts them; somebody is willing to pay them to peform a role; they join their working mates. It's a lovely transformation to behold.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

"Can Pakeha raise Maori children?"

In response to this article which was headlined Can Pakeha raise Maori Children? in the hard copy.


Friday, September 17, 2021

Jobseeker benefit - new trend


The orange line shows that the numbers of people who can't work due to a temporary health condition or disability rose quite quickly after the first lock down and continues upwards. 

By September 10, 2021, the number had risen to 81,579 - the highest it has ever been since this category of benefit was introduced (and higher than numbers on the old sickness benefit it replaced ever reached).

This is undoubtedly a consequence of delayed treatment. Just one aspect of the underlying harms that are being caused by lock downs.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Women run the show


The Taxpayer's Union Curia Poll released yesterday includes a gender breakdown. While we know more females than males vote Left, I didn't expect a gap this big.

50% of males would vote National/ACT with only 43.2 percent voting Labour/Greens.

Essentially women, collectively, are running the show.

What is it about Labour/Greens policies that women love?

The trend isn't confined to New Zealand. Here's one explanation from Europe:

"...social liberalism has been gaining ground. It appears to have a direct impact with women increasingly calling for the redistribution of wealth, and men insisting more often on personal responsibility in politics."

That'd explain the policy attraction of Labour and the Greens here. And of course there's the indispensible policy called 'Jacinda'.

What really worries me is the conclusion drawn. That ACT and National  need to attract more support from women. True but they can't do it at the risk of losing support of men.

For integrity's sake parties should stick to policies based on their principles. ACT should stick to its traditional recourse to personal responsibility but endeavour to explain to female voters why.

For instance, a popular policy among women is taxpayer-funded Paid Parental Leave.

Wouldn't it be better to have lower income tax that would enable a new mother to stay home OR to use according to her own priority?

Some of the strongest support I received when campaigning against the DPB was from mothers angry at having to work to pay the taxes for others to stay home indefinitely (with no obvious social benefit to society).

ACT can gain more female support by convincing women that greater freedom and choice doesn't lie with greater government.

Monday, September 13, 2021

Effect of lock down 2020 on satisfaction with govt

From a survey by MSD into how the 2020 Covid lock downs affect various aspects of people's lives, two graphs. 

The propensity control group was surveyed before the pandemic.

"Satisfaction with the Government. Respondents rated their satisfaction (0 = completely dissatisfied; 10 = completely satisfied) with “the performance of the current New Zealand government”:

Voting in the 2020 election confimed this pattern.

I'll be watching for a repeat of this survey in 2021.

Does anyone think the effect will be the same?

We better hope not or there will be plenty more lock downs coming.

Not unusually I'm out of step with the norm - or surveyed respondents anyway.

My satisfaction with govt went south (if that's possible) with the onset of the first lock down.

Thursday, September 09, 2021

Judge rules against Oranga Tamariki actions

A Family Court judge ruling on the high profile case involving a Maori child removed from a Pakeha couple who'd been her stable caregivers for three years, has found in their favour.

Very briefly, because you can read the details here, I make one observation.

This is the money quote:

“Until such time as Parliament gives statutory effect that the views of an iwi are the start and end points, the determination must be by reference to the holistic factors in the statutes, which include the taking into account of such important cultural perspectives as part of the matrix of considerations,” [ Judge Peter Callinicos] said.

There's the steer to Maori separatists within parliament.

If you are unhappy with my decision, change the law. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

'Expert' invokes myth

This is Dr Rodney Jones backing New Zealand's Covid elimination strategy:

"When we did elimination we were the first country to pursue elimination. And, you know, in the '30s we were the first to create a welfare state. I think ... we have to be the ones to do this. I don't think there's any examples we can actually look at ... this is very specific to us."

We weren't the first to create a welfare state, and circumstances here - The Great Depression - certainly weren't very specific to NZ.

Even if it was factual I am struggling with relevance of this claim.

The United States led NZ.

The Social Security Act was signed into law by President Roosevelt on August 14, 1935. In addition to several provisions for general welfare, the new Act created a social insurance program designed to pay retired workers age 65 or older a continuing income after retirement...it included unemployment insurance, old-age assistance, aid to dependent children and grants to the states to provide various forms of medical care.

New Zealand borrowed from their thinking. They stole the term 'benefits' to replace 'pensions' which had become demeaning and stigmatising. The 'aid to dependent children' applied regardless of the parent's marital status so in effect ushered in single parent assistance LONG before NZ.

Germany was well ahead adding an unemployment benefit to old-age and disability pensions in 1927.


[Modern social insurance arose in the 1880s in the German Reich.] It quickly became a model for other countries, including Switzerland. 

NZ's system wasn't especially different. It wasn't funded through taxation. It was funded by employees who each compulsarily made dedicated contributions recorded in their social security book. A very elderly neighbour, aware of my interest, once paid a visit to show me his.

Our claim to be the first to give women the vote is also accompanied by numerous riders.

"...a number of other territories enfranchised women before 1893..." 

NZ puffs its chest out over world-leading myths. In the scheme of things it doesn't really matter. It's a rather endearing small-country trait.

But when myths are used as reasons why we should pursue a particular strategy, especially one of such moment, it's hard to let it pass without comment.

Monday, September 06, 2021

Low Maori vaccination rates

John Tamihere on low Maori vaccination rates:

"When 30 per cent of our people are on the dole, earning under $28,000 a year, and another 30 per cent earning less than $50,000, working their guts out while supporting families - there are bigger things on their mind than getting vaccinated."

1/ "On the dole" and "earning" do not belong in the same sentence.

2/  Whatever JT means by "on the dole" those people, more than most,  have the time to prioritise free vaccinations.

3/  I have some sympathy with the 30 percent who are low income earners, often working more than one job, or long hours. Vaccination centres need to be open when their targets are available. But many will also be 'essential workers' with employers facilitating and prioritising vaccinations.

Yet again we see a Maori leader adopting a defeatist, apologist attitude. 'It's too hard. Accessibility is racially restricted. It's not our fault.'

If he wants more Maori to be vaccinated he should stop dishing out bogus reasons why they aren't.

Perhaps the 'soft bigotry of low expectations' is a form of self-inflicted racism?

Dropping like flies at Magic Talk

They're dropping like flies at Magic Talk.

Leah Panapa opened what had been Peter William's show this morning with the news that he'd retired - just like that. There Friday - gone Monday. The media are describing it as something about to happen. It's happened. Without a whisper of warning.

I've listened to Williams fairly regularly since he started out in early 2019. He was getting slicker and more energetic in my view. He didn't sound jaded, tired or unenthusiastic. So I am naturally skeptical about the reason given for his sudden disappearance from the airwaves.

And one could hardly be forgiven for being slightly suspicious when his departure has quickly followed Duncan Garner (August), Tony Amos (July), Sean Plunket (February) and part-timer John Banks (January).

Williams steadfastedly rejected man-made climate change and interviewed qualified experts like Willie Soon. He gave airtime to lock down questioners like epidemiologist Simon Thornley. He talked with doctors who have questions about the covid vaccine. He gave airtime to The Taxpayer's Union and Bob McCoskrie from Family First. He didn't leave listeners in any doubt about his political preference and it wasn't National. He appeared to me to be socially conservative and economically liberal. He was no friend of the government.

I repeat, if anything, he was getting more focussed and outspoken. He certainly didn't sound like a man who'd grown bored or disinterested in his work (or maybe he'd simply given himself licence to be more candid knowing he was going to shortly pull the plug?)

Phil Gifford also recently departed NewstalkZB as afternoon co-host. I'm clueless as to whether so many departures are mere coincidence or otherwise. But the optimist in me hangs onto the prospect of a new broadcasting enterprise emerging. One prepared to rigorously engage in political and philosophical debate; and to take a chance on there being enough support to attract crucial advertisers. 

I'd be tuned in like a shot.

Update: I was reminded by a comment on Kiwiblog that Chris Lynch, NewstalkZB Christchurch host was another recent 'casualty' in May this year. So there is a workforce of at least half a dozen highly experienced broadcasters on the loose...

Thursday, September 02, 2021

135,570 jobs

 Data for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (August 2021) since applications opened on 20 August 2021:

135,570 jobs - most probably still in limbo - some never coming back.

Yet the focus is always on the health risks - almost never the economic. Not from the government anyway.

The two are in any case deeply intertwined. Unemployment is a leading cause of depression.

Why aren't health specialists talking more about the toll lock downs take on the mental health of the population?

How much suffering for 'safety' will New Zealanders put up with? 

Saturday, August 28, 2021

Inflated death rate over Covid-free summer


From the University of Waikato, this is a multi-layered chart.

The black line depicts deaths during the year from just before the first lock down to the end of  Feb 2021.

The gray lines depict deaths in the same period for each of the prior 9 years.

The red line depicts nine-year average deaths in the same months.

The black line veers strongly away from the norm after October/November 2020.

"The fall in all‐causes mortality after lockdowns in 2020 is only a short‐term effect. A winter of no excess mortality was followed by four months of excess mortality totaling  about 1200 deaths (ca. four percent of annual deaths). The surge in deaths was concentrated on the elderly so public health interventions only slightly postponed death.  Repeating Covid control measures in future to deal with  seasonal influenza may provide just short‐term benefits."

But there was also a small "surge" in deaths in  0-64 year-olds around Dec/Nov:

I can only speculate. 

But Covid definitely affected death rates - just not in the way anticipated.

UNROC Submission

Periodically the UN requires the NZ government to report on the progress - or otherwise - it is making on upholding the many articles that form the UN Rights of the Child convention. This is my submission on the latest draft report.

Submission on the government’s draft sixth periodic report to the United Nations on the Rights of the Child (UNROC) 

I wish to make two observations regarding the government’s draft sixth report to the United Nations on the Rights of the Child (UNROC).

1/ UNROC ARTICLE 26 states: 

“Social security - The child has the right to benefit from social security.”

Data at Table 21 in the draft report shows the number of children dependent on a social security benefit increased by 14.4 percent or 25,842 between 2016 and 2021.

The length of parental stay on a benefit is also increasing. The proportion of sole parents dependent for a year or more grew by 3.6 percent over the same period.

The NZ government can claim to be upholding the right required by article 26.

However, analysis of data by the NZ Treasury shows, “There is a clear gradient between the proportion of time spent on a benefit as a child and the likelihood of future poor outcomes across all domains.”[1] 

2/ UNROC ARTICLE 19 states: 

“Freedom from abuse - The State shall protect the child from all forms of maltreatment by parents or others responsible for the child’s care.”

A strong association between dependency on a social security benefit and the incidence of child abuse also exists.

The Auckland University of Technology reported: “Of all children having a finding of maltreatment by age 5, 83% are seen on a benefit before age 2.”[2] 

NZ Police data at Table 13 of the draft report shows the number of reported cases of violence and abuse against children, including sexual abuse, rose by 4 percent or 435 cases between 2017 and 2020. However, Serious Assaults Resulting in Injury rose by 34% - from 2,023 to 2,706 while Common Assaults fell by 29 percent. This indicates that the severity of physical violence against children and young people is worsening significantly.

It can be seen from these two observations that UNROC articles 19 and 26 are not necessarily compatible. UN required adherence to article 26 does not guarantee enhanced child outcomes, and worse, may increase physical harm to children. That leads to a contravention of article 19.

This is just one instance of the folly in allowing the UN to dictate domestic policy. Furthermore, the hours and money spent fulfilling UN reporting demands would go a long way to funding effective initiatives which have a direct and positive impact on needy New Zealand children.

Note: The brevity of this submission is due to the late notice given by MSD who made public notification of the consultation period - July 20 to August 31, 2021 - on August 26, 2021, when only 2-3 working days remained. Whether intentional or incompetent, the process shows no commitment to ‘open and transparent government.’

[1] https://www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/ap/using-integrated-administrative-data-identify-youth-who-are-risk-poor-outcomes-adults-ap-15-02-html#section-6

[2] https://www.msd.govt.nz/documents/about-msd-and-our-work/publications-resources/research/vulnerable-children/auckland-university-can-administrative-data-be-used-to-identify-children-at-risk-of-adverse-outcome.pdf


If you feel inclined to make your own submission the email address is uncroc@msd.govt.nz
I've focussed on my particular area of interest but you may have thoughts about the education system or the mental health of children, for example.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Most open and transparent govt ever

Most open and transparent govt ever. That's what the Prime Minister, who charged herself with bettering outcomes for NZ children, promised. 

I monitor the Ministry of Social Development's website daily.

Today the following notice appeared:

Every five years, New Zealand reports to the United Nations about what they are doing to make sure children’s rights are met. 

The government has apparently prepared a response and says:

We would like your feedback on how well the Government has responded to the issues raised by the Committee.


Submissions are welcomed and encouraged from-

children and young people

forums that operate on behalf of children and young people

iwi and Māori engagement forums, particularly those that work with tamariki and rangatahi Māori


interested individuals and experts

non-governmental organisations (NGOs)

professionals who work with children.

Wonderful. Inclusive. Participatory.

Except the notification appeared today and...

The opening date for submissions and feedback is Tuesday 20 July 2021.

The closing date for submissions and feedback is Tuesday 31 August 2021.

So the notice appears 28 working days after the opening date and 3 working days before the submission closing date. 

No I'm not mistaken. MSD even dated the public notification:

This is a very shonky and incompetent government. Make no mistake.

Ardern will not want a report to the UN reflecting badly on her. The opportunity for criticism is minimised.

But 3 working days in lock down is three days when many people may have time on their hands.

Make a submission. I'm going to.

I may even mention the lack of commitment to 'open and transparent government'.

Monday, August 23, 2021

Cruel to be kind

'You have to be cruel to be kind' is a long-standing axiom.

Axioms arise from generational wisdom. Human nature doesn't change.

Jacinda Ardern consistently calls for Kiwis to "be kind". In today's 4pm stand-up, the record hadn't changed.

How would she respond if asked what cruelty she had exercised in the pursuit of kindness?

Because she has inflicted cruelty on New Zealanders through lock down.

Currently NZ has no 2021 Covid deaths and few hospitalisations (compared to 9 RSV deaths and over 4,000 hospitalisations) yet people are cut off from each other; from elderly, needy parents; can't work with their mates; can't  run their businesses; can't get treatment for life-threatening illnesses; can't socialise; can't arrange or attend funerals or weddings, and are encouraged to nark on anyone breaking these rules. 

Jacinda certainly fulfils the first part of the old wisdom. There's plenty of cruelty going down.

But does she even get close to the second goal?

Her pleading to "be kind", her kindness ideal, is no more than an instruction and expectation about how people should treat each other on a superficial level, bcause under lock down our interactions are no more than fleeting.

If she is asking people who barely tolerate each other in normal circumstances to transform under lock down, you know she lacks any understanding of the human condition under extreme stress.

She must. Or she wouldn't be pig-headedly pursuing the same pathway she led us down in 2020.

"Be kind" is a hollow platitude. That's all it has ever been.

Lock down cruelty can never be rewarded in the way the axiom intended.

Saturday, August 21, 2021


 NZCPR has just published a brief paper I've written which leans heavily on graphic data hence the title:


"The over-riding theme from those academics, politicians and public servants currently holding sway is that colonization was and is a negative experience for Māori. Poor outcomes are given as concrete and conclusive evidence.

This paper takes a different tack. It examines social and economic indicators for Māori under colonization over various time periods (dictated by available data). It relies heavily on graphic depictions. Rather than comparing Māori to other ethnicities, the focus is on how Māori themselves are progressing or otherwise….

This brief paper shows for most Māori living standards have improved enormously, as has equality of opportunity. The progress of Māori social and economic indicators that has occurred under the process of colonization stands in stark contrast to the constant barrage of contrary claims."

Read the full report here

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Eye-watering graph


Can our children and grandchildren repay all the debt being incurred as well as fund Super and aged Healthcare? Perhaps a cynic might reply 'yes' - they can spend it on us instead of all the children they don't have.

Something to think about while you twiddle your thumbs under lock-down.

Monday, August 16, 2021

New Zealand’s teenage birth rate: Is it time to stop worrying about it?

Family First has just published my new report examining New Zealand’s teen birth rate which has plummeted by almost two thirds since 2008. 

The report tracks trends in teenage maternal inputs and child outcomes, but finds that a number of the risks associated with teenage births have actually worsened.

Teen mothers are increasingly likely to live in the poorest quintile; obesity, which increases pregnancy and birth complications is rising; and the dependency rate on welfare benefits appears slightly elevated. The disproportionate perinatal mortality rate – the death of babies between 20 weeks after conception to 27 days after birth – remains tragically and unacceptably high, and possibly rising according to official data.

The smoking rate for pregnant teens, which increases risk of miscarriage and premature, low weight births, is much higher than for other teens. There was only a small reduction in mothers under 20 smoking at registration with Lead Maternity Carer between the periods of 2008-2012 and 2013-18 from 36.4 to 34.4 percent. Indicators for drug and alcohol use also suggest higher rates among pregnant or teen parents.

Compounding all of this, teen mothers and their children are susceptible to ‘falling through the cracks’. Drop-out from the longitudinal Growing Up in New Zealand study typically comprised Māori and Pacific teen mothers living in high deprivation areas with incomplete education. About those children who present the greatest concern, we know the least.

Based on the findings of this report, a continuing decline in the teenage birth rate should be actively encouraged and welcomed. There is no margin for complacency.

Read the report here.

"Should Maori children be placed with non-Maori families?"

That was the question headlining a lengthy article by Marty Sharpe in the weekend's DomPost.

Here are my questions in response. 

What if the Maori child's aunties, uncles and grandparents are non-Maori families?

More Maori partner with non-Maori than Maori. This is a long-standing trend.

Will the radicals who are currently pushing a separatist agenda decide that a Maori child must be placed with a Maori family in preference to kin family? 

Will cultural ties triumph over blood ties?

These questions literally keep me awake at night.

In the sixties in Auckland more Maori married non-Maori than Maori. These people formed life-changing and often lifelong bonds. They were possibly the most important thing in each others lives. 

They were being what it is to be human.

In the same way children can and do form bonds with caregivers. They don't care about about skin colour.


So not far on from the original question posed in the headline, will we hear, "Should Maori be having children with non-Maori?"

When that sort of thinking gets a grip, well...

I am reminded of a  gut-wrenching novel I read in the late 1990s, Holly, by Albert French, set in North Carolina 1940s. The story of a young negro who fell in love with a white girl, Holly, who reciprocated. She got pregnant. He lost his life for it.

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Gillespie wrong about ACT's support for conversion therapy law

 I was somewhat surprised at the following piece of information from Polly Gillespie in her SST column today about her support for conversion therapy legislation. She uses the example of John Key siding with Labour on the anti-smacking bill to show how National should support Labour on this issue:

"The current lot in Opposition might be wise to choose similarly around their peculiar stand on the evils of conversion therapy. Even ACT, who it can be argued have some flamboyant conservatives lurking about, are standing on the right side of history. ACT who, but for the general all round likability of David Seymour, possibly would not have a s... show of sitting in the parliamentary chambers. They are clearly morally intact around this."

Now I did't know what ACT's position is but I'm surprised because what I've read about the proposed legislation is concerning, especially the intent to criminalise and imprison parents who talk about conversion therapy to their children. So I did a search and found the following report from RNZ:

ACT this afternoon said it would support the bill at its first reading, but had "serious concerns" about it in its current form. National's Justice spokesperson Simon Bridges said the party supported the intent of the bill, but it would need amendment.

Heading into the debating chamber, Seymour said it was "very unlikely" the party would continue to support it - although the majority Labour government will have little trouble getting the bill passed.

"If I was taking odds at the TAB I wouldn't want to bet on ACT voting for this further on," Seymour said.

Gillespie doesn't distinguish between supporting a bill through to select committee and voting for it to become the law.  

Monday, August 09, 2021

Benefits viewed as self-reliance

 RNZ reports on research from a Christchurch Beneficiary Advice group which looked at the effect of benefit sanctions, the consequence of not meeting obligations - those pesky things we wll have in our lives. Here's the quote that stopped me:

"We had clients talk about how they had to go and ask friends and family members for food for their children, which I think quite often causes embarrassment. They don't want to be seen to not be providing for their family," she said.

This amply illustrates that many people whose income arrives weekly from WINZ make no dinstinction between that source and earnings from work.

They don't want to be reliant on visible people but don't understand that they are reliant on invisible people. 

Should there be some form of plain-English Work and Income pamphlet that explains how benefits are funded, how taxation from workers is spent on non-workers, and the incongruity of a beneficiary describing her or himself as a "provider"?

Yet again we see another example of the inversion of English. Words have lost their original meaning and with it comprehension of real life.

The people to blame for this are not those dependent. It's the people they deal with, who should know better.

Friday, August 06, 2021

Child Poverty Reduction Minister is a foolish risk-taker

 According to a report in Stuff the Prime Minister - also Child Poverty Reduction Minister - asked for advice on raising benefits by $50 weekly. That would bring more children out of poverty on paper. But she was advised that the incentives to work, which are already weak for sole parents, would be even further eroded.

The PM seems disinterested in the question of whether it is more important for children to be in working homes than on benefits.

Her overriding goal is for family incomes to rise regardless of source.

Since she became responsible for reducing child poverty Ardern has done a number of things including creating Best Start, lifting child tax credits, linking benefits to wages and increasing core payment rates (and it won't stop there based on the advice sought since.)

That has coincided with a nineteen percent increase - or 32,427 - more children in benefit households.

Currently almost two thirds of the children are in sole parent homes and the proportion of parents who have been dependent for more than a year has increased from 75 to 79 percent.

Now consider the following Treasury evidence (work done under Bill English) about the poor outcomes associated with benefit dependency:

These are the real risks the PM is prepared to take so she can talk about lifting thousands of children out of poverty.

Perhaps in a generation's time there will be damaged adults calling for an apology from her for being reckless with their lives?

Wednesday, August 04, 2021

The conundrum of low unemployment and high benefit dependence

Stats NZ reports that the June 2021 unemployment rate has fallen to just 4 percent.

MSD reports that the June 2021 working-age Jobseeker dependency rate was 6.1 percent.

The graph at StatsNZ is interactive and shows that back in September 2008 the unemployment rate was 4.1 percent.

Yet in September 2008 MSD reported only 3.6 percent of the working-age population was on a Jobseeker benefit.

Graphed, the difference between the two quarters is quite remarkable.

It is possible to work part-time and receive Jobseeker but the last time I requested relevant data  - December 2019 - only 6.8 percent of Jobseeker recipients were declaring earnings.

As mentioned previously the denominators for the unemployment rate and jobseeker dependence rate differ slightly but that isn't material to the massive difference between Sept 2008 and June 2021.

Out of interest I will chart the percentage unemployed against total benefit dependence.

This graph confirms is that the 2008 lower jobseeker % wasn't because people were 'hidden' on other benefits.

The central question is, why are 190,257 people on a Jobseeker benefit when only 117,000 are officially unemployed?

According to StatsNZ, "Additional people captured only by Jobseeker Support are benefit recipients seeking full-time or part-time work but unavailable for a short period of time, benefit recipients working part-time, and benefit recipients not working or seeking work."

That confirms people are on a Jobseeker benefit but not necessarily counted as unemployed.

That's very handy for the government.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Re-imprisonment rate climbing



The blue line depicts the percentage of released prisoners who are re-imprisoned within 5 years.

The red line depicts those who have been given a community sentence and enter prison within 5 years.

Covers all bases

1. We don't need no hate speech laws

We don't need no “one source of truth”

No criminalising of academic freedoms

Labour, leave them scientists alone

Hey, Faafoi, leave our speech alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another stick in the craw


2. We don't need no revised history

We don't need no NCEA reform

No rank separatism in the classroom

Labour, leave them kids alone

Hey, Hipkins, leave our schools alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another thick in the brawl

3. We don't need no carbon zero

We don't need no SNAs

No farmland to pine forest conversions

Labour, leave them farmers alone

Hey, O'Connor, leave our Ag alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another tick in the fall

 4. We don't need no fair pay agreements

We don't need no ute tax

No extra holidays in the workplace

Labour, leave them trades alone

Hey, Wood, leave our work alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another mick in the hall

 5. We don't need no 3 waters reform

We don't need no foreshore and seabed

No centralisation of our assets

Labour, leave them councils alone

Hey, Mahuta, leave our water alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another chick in the mall

 7.  We don't need no brand new taxes

We don't need no rent caps and freezes

No removal of interest tax deductibility

Labour, leave them landlords alone

Hey, Robinson, leave our Rentals alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all you're just another prick in the stalls

 8. We don't need no maori wards

We don't need no 50/50 co-governance

No treaty partnership in our constitution

Labour, leave them votes alone

Hey, Mahuta, leave our democracy alone

All in all you're just another brick in the wall

All in all its just another kick in the balls!


(left as a comment)

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Seymour responds to Tamihere

Yesterday I linked to a column John Tamihere wrote about David Seymour not before reflecting on whether I should give it any further exposure. Seymour did the same. Here is his response, unpublished by Stuff, who were however happy to run Tamihere's piece:

There’s a dilemma we all face when personally attacked. Just ignore them, (like most people probably have already), or set the record straight. Ignoring them is easier, but maybe they think throwing enough mud will see some stick. Setting the record straight takes more time, and risks giving them and their argument more attention than deserved.

The dilemma is harder when the attack is dishonest, but from someone who’s done little to earn your respect. We’ve all been there, and John Tamihere’s article about me, The subtle dig at Māori in race-based politics and how it's swinging voters' judgement, is so filled with outright mistruths, that the record needs to be set straight.

Tamihere’s argument is summarised in his words: ‘Act Leader David Seymour plays a far more insidious, sophisticated and covert form of race-based politics.’ He goes on to say that my criticism of the Reserve Bank spending $400,000 on a monstrous piece of artwork is really an attack on Māori because the artwork was supposed to represent Tane Mahuta, the god of the forest.

He goes on to say that I wouldn’t criticise the America’s Cup losing hundreds of millions of dollars because it’s a white man’s sport. Here’s the problem. I am on the record criticising the America’s Cup getting taxpayer money. Just Google ‘David Seymour America’s Cup circus.’

Tamihere goes on to ask ‘Can you imagine a Waka Festival losing thousands of dollars being swept under the carpet by Seymour?’ Well, actually, something similar did happen when I was responsible for charter schools in the previous Government.

Te Kāpehu Whetū, a charter school in Whangarei was attacked for using its flexibility of funding to buy a waka. I believed, and still do, that charter schools were a power of good, and defended that school for that action among many others connected with the policy. They were a policy supported by ACT and the Iwi Chairs Forum because they were good for Māori.

That’s where the wheels really fall off Tamihere’s argument. On the basic facts, he’s not only a little bit wrong, but shilling the exact opposite of the truth. But on the wider issue of who really cares about Māori kids’ opportunity, it is Tamihere who’s played politics.

He forgot to mention his Waipareira Trust applied to operate a charter school, apparently believing in the power of the policy. He went through most of the application process then tried to renegotiate the terms he’d signed up to at the last minute.

He thought he could steamroll the young first term MP in charge of charter schools. Big mistake. When he didn’t get his way, he publicly trashed the policy that was working for disadvantaged kids, including those at his old friend Willie Jackson’s charter school, Te Kura Māori o Waatea.

It would be easy to dismiss Tamihere. He had a short parliamentary career, that ended with losing his seat, before losing his radio show for gross misogynistic comments, then running a disastrous campaign for the Auckland Mayoralty, then failing to win a seat in a short-lived revival as co-leader of the Māori Party. Why give him time?

The problem is that he’s doing such a terrible disservice to the very people he claims to represent. Just like his disgraceful conduct over the charter school affair, he is prepared to play politics without truth on the very important cause of solving poverty and improving education for Māori.

In his mind, to attack egregious waste at the Reserve Bank, gangs, and welfare abuse, is to attack Māori. Really? Do Māori speak with one voice? If we listen to John Tamihere, being Māori means you can’t want responsible Government spending, gangs to be treated with the contempt they deserve, and welfare dependency to be reduced.

ACT says all New Zealanders benefit from better policy. All New Zealanders want less crime, less tax, and greater independence. The idea we can’t have honest conversations about the challenges our country faces because we might offend Māori doesn’t just stop us making progress. Ironically enough, it is patronising and belittling of Māori who, unlike John, overwhelmingly want a better world through better policy.

John was once billed as a future Prime Minister. Now the best lesson he shows young New Zealanders of all backgrounds is not to waste their talent on hubris.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Claim lodged for Maori to receive half of benefit system resources

Lady Tureiti Moxon, on behalf of the National Māori Urban Authority (NUMA), has lodged a claim with the Waitangi Tribunal.

According to the Child Poverty Action Group, who provded evidence for the claim, Moxon maintains, “The only way we can change the whole [welfare] system is by allowing Māori to take care of themselves and by sharing resources by splitting it 50-50.”(P59)

It's difficult to know how to respond to such on outlandish proposal. Is this the realisation of what 'Treaty Partnership' actually means? 

Maori presently receive rather more from the benefit system than matches their share of the population. 36 percent of working age beneficiaries are Maori.

But some are not satisfied with that. 

From Te Ao Maori News:

The claim addresses the Crown's failure to acknowledge the historic issues of loss of land and culture and the overarching effects of colonisation.

She [Moxon]says the benefits system and processes have been harmful to Māori over generations.

“For a lot of people going on the benefit is actually quite a traumatic experience. It's quite traumatic. And yet they're made to feel even worse about that, that they're undeserving of a benefit, undeserving of being able to participate,” she said.

“It's how we're viewed, how Māori are viewed, that we're just takers, we never give anything. Cripes, we gave this whole country over,” she says.

This riles me no end. Non-Maori being told what they think of Maori.

Any rational person is presented with evidence of employed Maori working all around them every day. Yes, I think there are some poorly motivated Maori just as there are some poorly motivated non-Maori. Yes, some Maori on benefits are deserving and some aren't; and the same goes for non-Maori. It shouldn't need to be spelled out.

But the likes of the 'Dames' and NUMA CEO John Tamihere (who yesterday launched this childish rant at David Seymour)  constantly seek to stir up racial division and animosity.

The original concept of the Waitangi Tribunal was worthy but it's now being abused. And in the current climate members may just capitulate.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

The stunning drop in women having children

No, it's not news but I thought I would update the chart to latest available. June's not up but here's to the end of March. Trends that happen so rapidly are quite fascinating. I wrote a paper about it here.

Total fertility rate is defined as "the average number of live births that a woman would have during her life if she experienced the age-specific rates of a given period (usually a year)."

The rate is 1.6 births at March end. I wonder how low it will go?

What prompted me to look for an update was Peter Willliams interviewing a woman  on Magic Talk today who advocates against loneliness, wants a Minister for Loneliness appointed even.

Shrinking families won't contribute to a reduction in loneliness. That's for sure.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Closing the gap - Maori on benefits

Here's a closing gap. Not sure it's quite the type envisaged by left-wing politicians.

According to population estimates there were 489,620 Maori aged 18-64 at June 2021.

128,877 on a benefit equates to 26.3 percent or over one in four.

36.3% of all beneficiaries are Maori. A percentage as high as it has ever been.

In the Maori electorates Labour enjoy strong support.

I don't know why.  Maori never fare very well under Labour governments.