Thursday, May 06, 2021

The spanner in the works for separatism


More Maori men and more Maori women are married to or cohabiting with Europeans than other Maori.

Updated data:

Comparing the 2001 and 2013 data a number of patterns are evident:

1. There has been a small but important decline in the proportion of partnered Māori who

have a Māori partner. In 2001, 53% of partnered Māori men had a Māori partner. In

2013 this declined to 48%. For Māori women the decline was from 52% to 47%.

Wednesday, May 05, 2021

What happened to the 'shecession'?

Remember all the belly-aching by feminist pollies and journos about how hard done by women have been due to Covid?

Here's a sample from The Ministry of Women's Affairs:

The impacts of COVID-19 are exacerbated for women and girls.

Some groups of women will experience greater impacts than others. Women who fall into multiple groups experiencing existing inequalities may feel the combined effects of factors such as race, age, sexuality, and disability with gender.

Wāhine Māori and Pacific women are already impacted by existing inequalities while being more likely to have additional financial and caring responsibilities for extended family members. 

Women are often disproportionately affected by downturns in the labour market and that’s likely to be the case again with COVID-19’s economic impacts. New Zealand’s labour force is highly segregated by industry and gender, with women more likely to work in lower-paid jobs and perform unpaid and voluntary roles.

That was just a smidgen of it.  I countered with data showing more males had to resort to the Jobseeker and Covid Income Relief payments.

Well, the latest unemployment figures are out.

The rate for men and women is identical - 4.7% 

Politicking is only a by-product

Henry Cooke from Stuff says:

ACT voters are definitely more likely to be susceptible to racialised politics than the average voter.

It contains a odd word. "Susceptible".

In the context of the piece, the word "susceptible" implies that as an ACT voter I am being manipulated by the party.

Quite the contrary. I am relieved that there are some MPs in the house who share the same views as I do.

Yes, politicians play at politics. That's their job. To get elected to implement or protect the ideas of those who vote for them.

But the politicking is only a by-product of any issue that causes deep division.

Cooke can write his smug opinion pieces framing He Puapua as a mere plaything the right have latched hungrily onto - despite some of what it contains being already under way. He fails to mention the compulsory history curriculum demanded by the report. Or the UN submission confirming New Zealand wants to lead the world in enshrining the rights of indigenous people.

In the first half of last century I would have fought for the rights of Maori to be treated equally under the law. There were instances when this did not happen and that was wrong.

But to go beyond individuals having equal rights - for instance He Puapua clearly states that in some cases Maori would have greater say over resources - is dangerous and unworkable. It also invokes a chill about collectivism or tribalism which will not serve Maori equally.

We need to heal the division of the past (why the Waitangi Tribunal existed before it moved into the area of policy advocacy) and move forward together all sharing the same democratic framework.

I can't remember a time when this simple idea felt more remote.

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

Green MP likens Oranga Tamariki social workers to Mongrel Mob

Two Green MPs went to a hui with Mongrel Mob. I don't particularly have a problem with MPs talking to gangs. Problems never get solved without people talking. But I draw the line at this statement from one of those MPs, Elizabeth Kerekere:

“Let’s talk about the criminals here - let’s look at the recent uplifting of children. In a different world they would be prosecuted for their behaviour. They are protected at the moment, but we need to do things in a different way.”

This is absurd. Gangs are one of OT's biggest clients:

A total of 3,516 children of gang members were recorded as being the victims of abuse or neglect that had been substantiated on investigation by Child, Youth and Family. This is 60 per cent of the total 5,890 known children of gang members.

If those social workers charged with protecting these children would be "prosecuted for their behaviour" in a "different world", what could we expect for gang member's children? The mind boggles.

Kerekere says her favourite part of the Mongrel Mob event was meeting the Wāhine Toa (the women’s chapter of Mongrel Mob Kingdom), which the women in Waikato formed and is starting to spread out among the country.

”I’m very excited by this. This is where we see women leaders are stepping up inside that particular gang and across the country particularly in caring for our tamariki.”

"Women leaders" no less. What do we know about gang women?

The alleged perpetrator of abuse or neglect of gang member’s children was more often recorded as the child’s mother than the gang member father.

I shudder for the kids if this "different world" comes to pass.


Employing 'B' to make sure 'A' gets the job done

 Or, in other words

Deputy PM Grant Robertson setting up new 'implementation unit' to make sure Government policies actually happen

You couldn't make this stuff up.

Still, it's always good to start the day with a laugh.

Sunday, May 02, 2021

Damien Grant: "Here's your problem, National: You need to take your leader seriously"

"Around 400,000 formerly blue voters abandoned National at the last election. If recent opinion polling can be trusted, they have not come back.

National’s review of why this happened is out, and a sanitised version has been released to the public. The report wants the party to focus on diversity and recruitment. Both recommendations fail to address the party's malaise.

National does not have a diversity problem, and even if it does, it does not matter.

I do not care about the racial make-up of any political party. Neither, I suspect, do most Māori, given that the Māori Party only collected 33,000 party votes.

Indeed, the last time National was polling in the forties it was buoyed by widespread Pākehā support, despite being led by two individuals with Māori heritage. If National believes that dragging Shane Reti around to every photo shoot is going to boost its support among those who identify as Māori, it has a shockingly low opinion of the Māori electorate.

National can embrace the Treaty if it will make it feel better, but diversity isn’t its problem."


"I think the Treaty has been breached"

Oh really?

This from the Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis, regarding Oranga Tamariki's uplift of Maori children and their over-representation in state care.

"I think the Treaty has been breached"

What else has been breached?

A child's right to be nurtured and protected?

The child's innate trust in their mother?

A families responsibility to rally around a newborn child to enure its wellbeing?

The Treaty being breached is way down the list of what matters to that child.

It's got months, a couple of years, to receive the crucial input it needs.

Meanwhile racial politicking drones on ...

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Sepuloni "useless"

Peter Williams described the Ministry of Social Development, Carmel Sepuloni as "useless" on his Magic Talk programme this morning. Specifically, because she had no idea how much MSD had given to moteliers etc for damage caused by "MSD clients".

Is she useless, or something worse?

Since 2017 Sepuloni has driven a culture change at Work and Income. On the surface, treating clients with respect and care (if they weren't already) is laudable and hard to argue with. WINZ offices are brighter, security staff are less visible, there are water dispensers and play areas for children. Away from the coalface, thousands of clients are rung to ensure they are receiving their full and correct entitlements.

This is the policy of kindness in action.

Long-established rules are dispensed with or overlooked. COVID was a great enabler in advancing this change of approach. The Greens, whose MSD spokesperson used to be a beneficiary advocate, should be pleased (though they never are). The Green Party wants benefits to be completely unconditional and open-ended. Last term Labour needed the Greens, and it shows.

The use of sanctions to enforce obligations has fallen away. Benefit reviews have been abandoned. Medical certificates too. Grants for all types of emergency assistance have sky-rocketed; denied applications have plummeted. 

Expectations have been established not just by visibly changing how WINZ looks and operates. But by more insidious messaging.

The promotion of victimhood through claims that structural racism abounds, and colonisation is to blame for every ill imaginable, used to be the territory of extremists. Now it is routinely promulgated by academia and other authorities. If not Maori, there are other excuses for disaffection provided by mainstream Marxism.

People on benefits have every right to feel resentful and aggrieved. So much so that bad behaviour is understandable. It’s just a form of protest bound to become more prolific.

But some (often blameless beneficiaries) who live in or near emergency housing feel very unsafe. The protestors doubtless sleep all day and come out at night to wreak havoc; do drugs, do violence and do damage. These aren’t working people who have to get a decent night’s sleep.

They are anti-social miscreants who arc between apathy and aggression and wear their alienation as a badge of honour.

Instead of a system that refuses to tolerate their destructiveness, we get a system which rewards them with no-strings-attached cash and plenty of excuses for their defection from the rest of society.

Nobody has explained to them that the social security system was born out of shared values, shared compassion for genuine need, and shared commitment to fund it.

Certainly Sepuloni hasn’t bothered. And it is highly unlikely that the new compulsory history curriculum will cover what Mickey Savage envisaged when he created it over eighty years ago.

Green associate housing Minister Marama Davidson is appalled. The situation is unacceptable she says. Yet this is a leading proponent of an anything-goes benefit regime. Is she really surprised at what such a mushy modus operandi results in?

A much harder line must be taken with offenders. They will be breaking multiple laws and for the sake of those in closest proximity – those in genuine, unavoidable need – the very least that should happen is a threat to immediately end their benefit entitlement. Whatever ensues, we have a police force to deal with.

Someone needs to get – and someone needs to give – the correct message: you can’t keep biting the hand that feeds you.

Don’t hold your breath for that someone to be the person in charge though.

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

"Cuddly teddy bear"

Confusion reigns in some lives. A man is murdered. Coleman was his partner:

Three days on from the killing, Coleman told Stuff she wanted to know why someone would viciously attack the “cuddly teddy bear” her daughter thought of as a father.

Rose-coloured glasses after the fact?

 At the time of his death, Hawkins was on electronically monitored bail for alleged family violence-related offending against Coleman.


Sunday, April 25, 2021

"If only they could talk"

Not a burning issue for many people I realise (though a matter of their livelihood for hundreds) but I thought the following two columns were a great example of contrasting opinion from two people; one a politician and one a retired vet.

Opinion: Since only the beginning of 2021, seven greyhounds have been killed and 282 injured on racetracks across Aotearoa.

Take a moment to let that sink in. This is our dog-racing industry, one of the last still in operation in the world.

These deaths and injuries aren’t a bug. They’re a design feature, and they always have been.

Fifteen years ago, former racing minister Winston Peters launched the Greyhounds As Pets adoption scheme, seeking to improve the public perception of the industry’s approach to animal welfare.

In 2017, he reflected on that moment 11 years prior, lamenting: “It is disappointing the industry is still grappling with these underlying issues”.

Those underlying issues are greyhound deaths, injuries, and the occasional meth-doping scandal.

Seven greyhounds have been killed and 282 injured on racetracks across Aotearoa so far this year.

Time and again, the industry argues that it loves these dogs. I would hope that anyone who loves their dogs would have learnt from nearly 20 years of broken legs and ankles, ruptured stomachs and trauma that, just maybe, they should stop doing the same thing over and over again.

Because we’ve been here before.

In 2013, the ‘WHK report’ made a slew of recommendations to improve animal welfare. Then in 2017, with disconcert from the broader racing industry, former High Court judge Rodney Hansen QC produced yet another report.

That report found: “The number of greyhounds reported as euthanised continues at high levels with evidence of widespread non-compliance with reporting requirements strongly suggesting the true figure is much higher”.

There were at least 1200 dogs unaccounted for in the four years since that last report.

Last week, the Government announced the third review of the industry this decade, with new Minister for Racing Grant Robertson stating he was “not satisfied the [Hansen] recommendations are being implemented in a way that is improving animal welfare”.

When the same questions keep turning up the same answers, and those answers are the mistreatment of animals, how long are we supposed to extend goodwill? How many more dogs will die or disappear in that time?

Greyhound Racing New Zealand will tell you greyhounds are athletes; they love to race! This is a sport! Research the breed, you’ll find out!

The reality is greyhounds are typically low-energy dogs with a light frame and, obviously, the ability to run fast. Because of that, these dogs have been bred and imported into New Zealand to generate income for the gambling sector.

Do they love to race? More importantly, do they have a choice? When the gun goes off and the gate goes up, the dogs run, because they’ve been trained to do so, and thousands of dollars are at stake in each race.

In an industry plagued by claims of doping, live baiting, animal welfare issues and kennel cough outbreaks, the dogs that don’t perform don’t make it.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand reported that 165 dogs alone in the last annual reporting period were killed ‘for other reasons’ – they’re too slow or too broken for the industry, and too traumatised to be a family pet.

The dogs that do make it out of the gate on race day are the ones that are still useful. This has nothing to do with ‘loving to race’, and everything to do with training and the window of opportunity the industry has to use them up.

The injuries suffered routinely are serious – horrific major bone breaks and organ rupture – painful, fatal injuries there can be no recovery from.

Athletes aren’t put down. But these dogs are, when they become a balance-sheet liability.

We’ve got plenty of other sports, and many you can gamble on if that’s really what you’re after. Those athletes have a say in what they’re doing and when they retire.

Greyhounds can pursue a love of running in plenty of other ways, like chasing a ball at the park with other dogs.

Or, they can be found nuzzled into the arm of a couch for notorious hours-long naps that come quite naturally, if you ask anyone who’s ever owned a greyhound as just a good old pet, not a bet.

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick is working on a Member’s Bill to end greyhound racing in New Zealand.

OPINION: Recent comments distributed by animal activists and the SPCA reveal it is time to change the narrative about greyhound racing. Contrary to continuing claims, the welfare of the dogs is now well managed and previous problems have largely been overcome.

Since I became the independent chairman of the Greyhound Racing New Zealand Health and Welfare Committee in 2015, the major focus has been on the development and implementation of new health and welfare standards which surpass those required by the Code of Welfare for Dogs issued in 2010 under the Animal Welfare Act.

New Zealand greyhounds are probably the most regulated and protected animals in the country throughout their racing careers until they are rehomed at the end.

As a result of valid concerns highlighted in the past greyhound racing continues to be subject to thorough scrutiny and a third review in the last decade has just been announced. Greyhound Racing New Zealand is confident that all the required management improvements have been made as a result of the first two reviews.

 Greyhound Racing New Zealand has shown no hesitation to suspend racing in the face of disease outbreaks or adverse track conditions. In such circumstances, support is always provided to ensure the welfare of the dogs and the people involved.

Greyhounds have a lovely temperament and chasing is natural behaviour which they love to do, just as much as other dogs. Watch the obvious enjoyment when two or more dogs race to get to a ball that is thrown for them on a park or at the beach.

The concerns expressed by the SPCA and SAFE indicate a lack of current knowledge as the fears they have raised are many years out of date. For instance the SPCA says it wants veterinarians to be present at all race meetings, but this has been mandatory for over 30 years.

All dogs receive a pre-race check and a number identified during and after each race are also sent immediately for veterinary examination by the race day vet. In the event of accident or injury, adequate pain relief is available within minutes, as compared to the fate of working, sporting, and hunting dogs which may wait several hours.

Mandatory collection and publication of lifecycle reports has been in operation and steadily improved upon since the first 2012-2013 inquiry into greyhound racing. Subsequent inquiries have established that most of the “missing data” previously reported had been collected but was not in an easily accessible format. Similar comments apply to injury statistics and with compulsory ear branding and now micro-chipping, greyhounds are the most easily traced breed in New Zealand.

A further SPCA complaint that more greyhounds are bred for the racing industry than will enter is inconsistent with the reality. With the establishment of the greyhound Welfare Committee, the welfare code for greyhounds was largely rewritten with considerable emphasis on all welfare aspects, including adequate socialisation as young pups, restrictions on the number of litters any one female can have, and a ban on breeding from females over eight years-old, except in very special circumstances. These circumstances must be explained, in writing, to a panel of three veterinarians who have the absolute right to grant or deny breeding permission. In recent years the numbers of pups born has remained remarkably stable with any not making it to the race track simply entering the adoption programme at a younger age.

The number of greyhounds euthanased is reported to the Government, published on the GRNZ website and in the annual report. These statistics are not able to be compared with the numbers of dogs euthanased elsewhere in New Zealand because none of the other organisations that euthanase animals in their care make their numbers available. GRNZ has minimised the numbers of greyhounds put down through measures taken to limit injuries and support treatment; and rehoming programmes. With rehoming being the priority for all Greyhounds there is no time limit preventing the rehoming of dogs as they exit the sport. They are cared for until they are matched with the right family.

As far as the claims of over exertion go, racing greyhounds are elite athletes, with the top grade dogs the equivalent of Olympic competitors and treated as such by their trainers. They make every endeavour to ensure their dogs are fit and ready for the distance they will be racing over. Trainers know their dogs and do not ask them to exceed their capabilities.

Greyhound Racing NZ accepts there will always be those who do not support the racing of animals and want it banned. They are entitled to this belief, but it is important when opposing any activity that the true picture is acknowledged and misinformation is corrected.

Retired veterinarian Jim Edwards ONZM is the independent chairman of the Greyhound Racing NZ Health and Welfare Committee. He is also a former president of the New Zealand Veterinary Association and the World Veterinary Association.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Children's Commissioner gets it right - and then horribly wrong

I posted yesterday about the child poverty stats and why they are a joke. While recalibration shows better reduction, nothing materially changes for children.  Here's the Children's Commissioner on the same subject:

“A different number behind a decimal point doesn’t change things for the thousands of tamariki and whanau doing it tough. Children who are growing up in a motel, or whose families are struggling to pay for the basics, still need big bold changes to unlock opportunities to live their best lives."


But then he plunges headlong down the leftist rabbit hole:

 “Government efforts to target poverty reduction, improve incomes through the families’ package, expand the school lunch programme and peg benefits to wages have created the strongest foundations for making progress on poverty in decades.

“Poverty and hardship rates, particularly among Māori, Pacific and disabled children are still unacceptably high.

“We want to see benefits raised in line with the recommendations of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group, and a major shift in the availability of social and affordable housing for whānau."

So his solution is greater dependence on the state. Bigger benefits means more children growing up on benefits. 

There is so much documented evidence, here and internationally, that shows benefit dependence - especially long-term - is detrimental to children's outcomes.

Benefits erode family cohesion and they discourage work.

I had high hopes for Andrew Becroft, who back in relatively sane times was outspoken about the young people who appeared before him in the Youth Court. He identified an absence of fathers as the most common factor in their troubled backgrounds. If he hadn't connected that to the state's encouragement of single parent families through the DPB then he must be wilfully blind.

Perhap he is. As Children's Commissoner he is now actively calling for more of the same medicine despite known adverse side effects outweighing any advantage.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Moving people off benefit is "the old paradigm"

MSD set up a division of case managers to work with people who enter the benefit system very young and/or are "entrenched" beneficiaries. They have a smaller caseload and can work more intensively on other barriers to work the client is experiencing.

A qualitative evaluation of the service has been published and (perhaps understandably)  there seems to be no overall data regarding how successful the programme was/is in getting people independent. 

"Time off-benefit for clients assigned to the ICS treatment group, as compared to those assigned to the control group (and who continue to receive services as normal), is the key metric by which the success of the ICS trial is assessed.7"

Go to footnote 7 to find:

"7 Ministry of Social Development: Intensive Client Support (ICS) Trial Evaluation: Interim 12 Months Evaluation, pg 23. Unpublished internal report." 

Perhaps the quantitative data will come later. We are told, "Of the 26 trial participants interviewed for this research, seven had achieved off-benefit outcomes, although three had subsequently returned to the benefit, one having lost their job, one returning due to an injury, and one due to seasonal work finishing."

Not flash. But the case managers evaluate their own success differently. Two views:

I must resist any pressure from certain staff who are still in the old paradigm of just moving people off benefit as quickly as possible. It’s not about numbers, these are people. They’re people who, if you don’t do anything with them, sure, will cost the government over their lifetime. But the downstream effects are not just one benefit for a lifetime, it’s use of the criminal justice system, their children’s failures and risks. Who cares if they stay on a benefit if it means they don’t go back to jail, if they can get help for their trauma in childhood, if they learn to read and write better so they feel more positive, if they are able to leave the house more. It’s about improving their lives to make society better. (ICSM)

Measuring success rates are quite difficult because who says they’ve done well, and how is that measured? And that’s quite hard for your personal development to go “Oh well I’ve got so many people, this person has been showing up to appointments” and so that’s an achievement to me. But my manager’s like “no, how many people have you got into work?” (ICSM) 

Isn't this illuminating?

On the one hand I have some sympathy for their efforts and priorities. And of course, behind the numbers are real people.

But it also concerns me that the damage the benefit system has done in some families and sectors is so great, self-sufficiency is now a secondary consideration. Just rescuing some people from themselves is enough.

If  'moving people off benefit' is the "old paradigm" have we lost the battle?

When I worked with beneficiaries I resisted trying to solve their problems by trying to get more WINZ money or a food parcel. I tried to help them find practical solutions or make better decisions. But I eventually identified that the biggest obstacle to them making changes was the guarantee of cash in their bank account every week regardless of how they lived their lives. Not uniformly but typically.

Child poverty stats

Child poverty stats are a joke.

If grown-ups get collectively poorer, children get richer (relatively).

Never has this been better illustrated than by a just-announced Stats NZ cock-up.

They have recalibrated recently released child poverty stats and they are better than initially thought. How convenient.

Treasury , "identified several respondents incorrectly reporting the superannuation payments they received, resulting in double counting their income from superannuation, which has also been resolved in this corrected release.

The corrections resulted in a change to the median income for the year ended June 2020, which is used to provide the thresholds for child poverty reporting. The median equivalised disposable household income for the year ended June 2020 before housing costs are deducted reduced from $42,486 to $41,472. After housing costs are deducted, it reduced from $32,579 to $31,717."

If the threshold goes down, fewer children fall below it.

None of this makes children materially any better off.

But it might make the PM puff her chest out.

Stand by.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Benefits stats and some aberrations

 Here's National on the March quarter benefit stats:

Labour Mislead on Negative Statistics Again

Labour’s celebratory social media posts touting a “record 32,880 people moved into work” are disingenuous and only tell one part of the story, National’s Social Development & Employment spokesperson Louise Upston says.

“What Labour aren’t telling us, is that more people were put on a benefit than moved into work across the same time period. That’s 46,437 additional people moving on to benefits.

Yes, it is correct that 46,437 grants of benefits occurred during the March 2021 quarter.

But during the same period there were 60,573 cancellations of benefits.

That's net 14,136 fewer people on benefits. And for a March quarter 32,880 moving into work is a record for the last 6 years. 

That is what Labour is crowing about.

Now if you want to make comparisons to when Labour took office, or the degree of dependence in respect of how long people are staying on benefits, that's another matter....

 If I was putting a question to the minister I'd be asking what happened to the blue lines. Why no cancellations due to benefit reviews or health improvements?

I went into the data tables for a look:

Something very odd about those two categories.

As far as I am aware benefits are still reviewed annually. Most have to be re-applied for after 52 weeks.  And one assumes that a failure to present a medical certificate for  benefit requiring one would typically lead to X amount of cancellations as per past March quarters.

Maybe some porcedures went West during Covid and just haven't been reinstated since.

Benefit increases we don't hear about

MSD has just released a report into how Labour's Families Package has affected incomes of parents with infants in the first six months post-birth. The first table compares mothers with children born in 2017 with mothers with children born in 2018. It uses data from a 3 month cohort pre July 1. The reason for this is that the Best Start payment didn't kick in till July 1, 2018.

Those recieving the largest increase in absolute terms were beneficiary, and by ethnicity, Maori.

Then the study examines the effect of the Best Start payment post July 1 which is "in addition to income gains from other parts of the Families Package":

The Best Start payment is $60 weekly in the first year but it may be offset by adjustments to other assistance. For instance:
...some families receiving a benefit or with a low income lost Temporary Additional Support – this is a payment of last resort that is withdrawn dollar-for-dollar as income from other sources, including Best Start and other Working for Families tax credits, increases
• some families appear to have also lost Accommodation Supplement income

Nevertheless the net increase in incomes for all mothers, but especially mothers on a benefit, is considerable.

The  study also examined whether the 4 week extension to Paid Parental Leave had the intended effect of allowing mothers a longer bonding period.

"The size of the effect on months with no wages and salaries appears small [0.21 of a month] relative to the four-week extension in paid parental leave made available to parents in 2018. One possible explanation is that recent inflation in house prices and rents worked in opposition to the policy reform."

Pretty much a policy fail there. 

The next report will be of great interest when the effect of increased incomes on the health and well-being of the children is assessed.

Another policy fail is entirely possible.

Also, look out for the Child Poverty Action Group and other anti-poverty advocates kicking up a stink when the first recipients of Best Start (3 year entitlement) lose the income from July 1 this year. That's what they did when the Winter Energy payment stopped last year.

With friends like that Labour doesn't need enemies.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Covid 19 vaccination rates by ethnicity

 Regular readers will know I love data. It's like a toy you can play with in different ways. The visual representation relays speedily what raw numbers do not. So for no other reason, I was drawn to this chart and thought others may be interested:

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Latest benefit numbers

Three graphs for you from March quarter benefit fact sheets released today.

Unsurprisingly, large increase in Jobseeker numbers year-on-year. Though on an optimistic note the numbers are slightly below what Treasury was forecasting:

Note the massive increase in emergency housing expenditure:

And the overall picture...

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

What happens to children of beneficiaries?

In regard to my last post questioning what children learn from beneficiary mothers with ingrained helplessness and over-developed senses of entitlement, a commentor, Sam, asked "What happens to children of beneficiaries when they become adults?"

I am aware of various NZ research which answers the question.

Broadly speaking, the longer the parent is dependent, the worse the risk of inter-generational dependence becomes.

While Bill English was Finance Minister there were multiple actuarial reports into the benefit system.

From 2015:

"New analysis this year shows that just under half of all children born in 1993/94 and 1994/95 with a parent on benefits during their childhood went on to become beneficiaries themselves before age 23; 75% of those from long-term benefit families."


About three quarters of current clients aged 16 to 25 (for whom data is available) had a parent who received benefits during their childhood. 45% of the overall liability for all beneficiaries under age 25 is associated with children from families that received benefits for 80% or more of their teen years. 

Perhaps most telling, the following graph shows the probability of a child entering the benefit by the number of years their parent is on welfare (SPS = Sole Parent Support). 

A child who has spent all or most of their life dependent on their parent's benefit is very likely to migrate onto their own benefit as a young adult. In my experience as a volunteer it wasn't uncommon to find the parent encouraging this event as it upped the household income.

The occurrence of inter-generational benefit receipt is now well-documented.For other research see links here.

But a happy story to finish with. One of my clients (then on a benefit but now working) was very unhappy when WINZ advised her son he'd be better off on a benefit than working part-time. This because of the board she was making him pay. She was trying to instill a different set of values, while I was helping him produce and print a decent CV. That was maybe 14-15 years ago. Last year the same young man and his partner bought their first home.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Where and when will it end?

Here is a mother on a Sole Parent Support benefit. She has four children and debt to MSD of nearly $10,000. She repays $46 out of the basic benefit of $386 each week and says, 

"It’s a big difference 'cause we need that money. It’s not enough, even the benefits not enough. If they cannot do anything then we’re going to need a new Government that cares." 

Put aside that on top of the basic weekly rate of $386.78 she'll receive:

Souh Auckland accommodation Supplement = $305 max

Family tax credits for four children = $386.79

That's $1,078.57

And putting aside that there are many other top-ups including for non-repayable grants rent, food, etc...

Where is the father or fathers of her four children?

Why has she no sense of personal agency?

Where did she learn the mindset of entitlement?

What are her four children learning from her?

And why do idiot journalists frame her situation (and thousands of others) as being put into debt by the government because they don't earn enough on their benefit? (You'll have to watch the newsclip for that additional contortion of the facts).

Sunday, April 11, 2021

ACT MP Karen Chhour off to a good start

 From Newshub:

ACT is accusing Labour MP Willie Jackson of "perpetuating a victimhood mentality" for saying we have "institutional racism" in "every area of New Zealand society"...

...ACT's Social Development and Children spokesperson Karen Chhour calls these "inflammatory comments" which will "only perpetuate a victimhood mentality".

"Constantly blaming racism for the problems faced by Māori is wrong. We can't move forward as a nation if that is our only response," she says in a statement.

"Rather than using such divisive language, our Government should be uniting New Zealanders behind good ideas that lift everyone up.

"Jackson's comments also promote a narrative that all Māori are the same and that we don't have our own individual aspirations." 

Chhour criticised Jackson, saying Labour had shown it doesn't believe in 'by Māori, for Māori' solutions in the past.

"[Jackson's] waatea (organisation) sponsored a charter school, but his own party completely opposed the concept and shut it down," Chhour says.

"Labour likes to believe it is the saviour of Māori, but it clearly has no idea how to fix our country's deeply-ingrained problems."

Karen is totally sincere in her comments. I have been meaning to put up her Maiden Speech and now is a good time to do it. Too often children are politicised. They are used to promote leftist ideology: greater state redistribution of wealth. Chhour's speech left me in no doubt that she actually does want to improve children's lives, especially Maori children.

Thursday, April 08, 2021

The worst form of racism

The worst form of racism perpetrated against Maori is that "they all think the same way."

They don't. Never have and never will.

I was just watching this Billy Te Kahika episode from Christchurch today.

Yet another freedom of speech issue. Another case of  'social media'  quashing real life gatherings.

We all have to rally behind the freedom to speak and be heard. 

If we allow ourselves to be divided racially by political manipulation (current modus operandi), we get weaker - not stronger.

Monday, April 05, 2021

Sexist, ageist AND racist

 Is it interesting that of those people convicted of breaching covid 19 restrictions 

- most were men

- around half were under 30

- around half were Maori.

Pretty much the same story as other crime.

Proves yet again the justice system is institutionally sexist, ageist AND racist!

(And before anyone thinks I am condoning people being convicted of breaching covid 19 restrictions, I fully expect that they were concurrent charges to some other law-breaking offences).

Sunday, April 04, 2021

Damien Grant nails it

Great column from Damien Grant this morning. It nails the frustration that those of us older than most current  MPs feel.

"One of the economic lessons we are determined not to learn is that government cannot regulate prosperity. Each generation must learn, from scratch, this lesson. Helpfully, we already know the script.

A successful economy is, over time, corroded by a growing layer of restrictions. Each set of regulations imposes an unintended and unanticipated cost or outcome. This necessitates further rules and government oversight. Eventually the entire system becomes so overwhelmed that it either grinds to a halt or there is a sudden and dramatic economic liberalisation."


Friday, April 02, 2021

Sense out of Britain which seems to be re-gaining its wits faster than some other countries

 According to today's Economist

A commission in Britain that was created after last year’s Black Lives Matter protests to investigate racial disparities concluded that race is less important than social class and family structure in explaining inequality. On schooling, the report found that most children from ethnic-minority groups did as well or better than their white peers. It added that the catch-all term BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) was not very useful. The report contradicted the claims of critical race theorists, some of whom claim that white privilege is the prime cause of most disparities.

It's lengthy and I have only scanned through it but the conclusion, which I've reproduced here in full gives some idea of the clarity of thought and open-mindedness demonstrated by the commissioners. You can download the report from:

"We have tried in this report to present a new race agenda for the country, relevant to people from all backgrounds.

Rather than just highlighting minority disparities and demanding the government takes action, we have tried to understand why they exist in the first place.

That has meant some challenging conversations about today’s complex reality of ethnic advantage and disadvantage, a reality no longer captured by the old idea of BAME versus White Britain.

We have focused not just on persistent race-based discrimination but on the role of cultural traditions, including family, within different minority groups, the overlap between ethnic and socio-economic disadvantage, and the agency we have as individuals and groups.

And we believe that perhaps more than previous reports on these issues a degree of optimism is justified. Our agenda is rooted in the significant progress we have made as well as the challenges that remain.

We were established as a response to the upsurge of concern about race issues instigated by the BLM movement. And we owe the mainly young people behind that movement a debt of gratitude for focusing our attention once again on these issues.

But most of us come from an older generation whose views were formed by growing up in the 1970s and 1980s. And our experience has taught us that you do not pass on the baton of progress by cleaving to a fatalistic account that insists nothing has changed.

And nor do you move forward by importing bleak new theories about race that insist on accentuating our differences. It is closer contact, mutual understanding across ethnic groups and a shared commitment to equal opportunities that has contributed to the progress we have made.

Too many people in the progressive and anti-racism movements seem reluctant to acknowledge their own past achievements, and they offer solutions based on the binary divides of the past which often misses the point of today’s world.

We have paid close attention to the data and tried to avoid sweeping statements or over-ambitious targets and recommendations. Instead, our recommendations have tried to account for the messy reality of life and have been aimed, where possible, at everyone who is disadvantaged, not just those from specific ethnic groups.

Many of our recommendations, on Class B drugs or extending school hours for example, are aimed especially at the COVID-blighted generation of young people. Others focus on better use of data and the development of digital tools to promote fairness at work or for keeping young people out of trouble.

We have also acknowledged where we do not know enough and called for further research on what works in promoting fairness at work, and the role of the family and the reasons behind the success of those minority groups that have been surging forward into the middle class and the elite.

We focused our recommendations on the 4 broad categories of change that the Commission wishes to affect – build trust, promote fairness, create agency, and achieve inclusivity – and never assumed that minorities are inert victims of circumstance. As mentioned in the foreword the fact that most of us are successful minority professionals has no doubt shaped this thinking. And our experience of ethnic minority Britain from the inside makes it obvious to us that different groups are distinguished in part by their different cultural patterns and expectations, after all that is what multiculturalism was supposed to be about. It is hardly shocking to suggest that some of those traditions can help individuals succeed more than others.

Beneath the headlines that often show egregious acts of discrimination, the Windrush scandal most recently, incremental progress is being made as our report has shown beyond doubt. Through focusing on what matters now, rather than refighting the battles of the past, we want to build on that progress.

Finally, a thanks to all those individuals and organisations from across the country who gave us their time to to share their perspectives and evidence, and explain how their inspiring projects are helping to build a fairer Britain.

The year 2022 promises to be a special one: a new energy as we are fully released from COVID captivity, The Queen’s 70th Jubilee and the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham. And we hope it will be infused with the spirit of British optimism, fairness and national purpose that was captured by that 2012 Olympic opening ceremony, and has animated this report."

Thursday, April 01, 2021

April 1 marks another egregious error by this government

Indexing benefits to wages last year set a precedent. They've been indexed to inflation since 2001 but indexing to wages had always been resisted.

For many people the margin between income from a benefit and income from work is a cost they are prepared to pay. Fix that margin and they will always be prepared to pay it. Increase the margin and work becomes attractive.

Covid highlighted NZ's heavy reliance on imported workers in areas where benefit dependence is also high. With benefits linked to wages, that's the way it will stay.

The previous Labour government (a godsend compared to this lot) understood the importance of keeping a margin:

 " is desirable to create a margin between being dependent on a benefit and being in employment....

The Labour Party isn’t the party that says living on a benefit is a preferred lifestyle. Its position has always been that the benefit system is a safety net for those who are unavoidably unable to participate in employment. From its history, the Labour Party has always been about people in employment."

Michael Cullen, 2008

Not Jacinda's Labour Party.

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Herbie in stages

 Having a bit of a tidy up when I came across these photos which show the development of one of my favourite subjects and paintings, Herbie:

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

PM's office trys to spin with non-existent data

The PM's office was trying to get data to show that rents have risen in line with wage increases apparently. PM's chief press secretary Andrew Campbell asks in an email mistakenly sent to Stuff:

“Can we get a table rent increases year on year since been in Govt year on year compared to increase in wages and house prices [sic]. My understanding rents have been in line with average wage growth and obviously a lot less than house price growth...Do we know if our rent increases have been in line with increases under National? If they have been that would be good to point out,” he said.

Well you definitely cannot point it out for Auckland or Wellington:

 The PM and her operatives don't fill you with confidence do they?

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Labour thinks landlords are pernicious cash cows

A media report yesterday talked about landlords "threatening" to hike rents in response to to Labour's closing the "loophole" of loan interest deductibility.

Both of those terms are misleading. The first is an effort to paint landlords as thugs. The second, as tax dodgers.

Landlords with mortgaged properties will have no choice but to hike rents or sell. They cannot simply absorb further expenses. For instance, the government never mentions how quickly insurance has escalated.  And rental property insurance is more expensive than owner occupied insurance. Meanwhile rates continue to grow over and above the inflation rate. Not to mention the significant property maintenance costs imposed by this government.

I can't wait to stop being a landlord. The only reason we are hanging in there is because we care about our tenants and don't want to evict them. 

Friday, March 26, 2021

Stark contrast between the birth places of Maori and NZ European babies

Over the ten year period to 2018, births of NZ European babies were reasonably evenly spread across the economic deciles with the fewest being born in the least deprived decile - the poorest neighbourhood.

For Maori babies the reverse is true. The highest percentage are born in the poorest decile.

More than one in four Maori babies is born in the poorest area compared to one in twenty NZ European babies.

What a stark contrast.

Proportion of Maori living in an owner-occupied dwelling increased between 2013 and 2018

 Statistics New Zealand compiled a report called Housing in Aotearoa 2020 which is full of interesting data. This graph painted a slightly different picture from what might be expected.

 Between the 2013 and 2018 census the proportion of Maori, Pacific, and MELAA ( Middle-eastern, Latin American and African) people living in a home they owned actually increased slightly.  Another interpretation could be more people are crowding into owner occupied dwellings. 

And of course, matters will have changed again since 2018.

For context here's the longer view (unfortunately not available by ethnicity):

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Jacinda: "...we’ve come so far, and I know that we can make it through together."

She wrote me, "...we’ve come so far, and I know that we can make it through together."

She did. The PM. Tonight. Just now. Personally addressed to ME.

At fifteen, I wanted to be a song writer. I lacked Jacinda's brilliance though.

Who cares if it doesn't rhyme?

It's so salvational. So reassuring. So, Up Where We Belong.

Jacinda. I believe in you. I Believe I Can Fly.

You might have taken away my freedom, controlled my economy,  exercised your power over mine and triumphed.

But I knew all along that you, magnificent leader, would write a better song lyric than I ever could.

Another root cause of racial disadvantage


(Left click on image to enlarge)

Note a marked reversal in a number of positive trends since 2017.


Saturday, March 20, 2021

Emergency housing costs SIX times more than private rent subsidies

A reader kindly sent me a response she received yesterday from MSD. She'd asked if any cost benefit analysis has been made of Temporary Emergency Accommodation versus paying market rental. The answer was 'no'. Hardly surprising. 

But MSD did supply a document containing some data from March 2020 quarter. Under a heading 'Analysis'  the following observation appears: 

"The spend on Emergency Housing does not represent value for money."

That's the understatement of the year.

I've charted the three main spends:

Subsidising renters in the private market costs just a third of subsidising them in public housing, and a sixth of what's being paid for motels, hotels and the like. 

Any cost/benefit analysis will show that government should get out of housing and confine itself to subsidising low income private renters.

I understand why people complain loudly about the state subsidising private landlords but as matters stand, it's still the most efficient way to house low income people.

Friday, March 19, 2021

National: "Emergency Motels Have Taxpayers Over A Barrel"

 National is at last complaining about an issue I (and probably others) was blogging about over a year ago.

National’s Housing spokesperson Nicola Willis says the Government is relying too much on using hotels and motels as emergency housing, which has seen the owners of these establishments charge prices as high as $440 a night.

In  relation to one Olive Tree Motel OIA questions were asked about accommodation payments:

"Clients are granted an amount which is paid directly to the motel.

In the June 2019 quarter the motel was receiving $265 per night.

But nightly charges per unit range from $145 to $165 according to their website. Charges reduce for longer stays"

But good on National for getting onto not just the issue of cost but the problems of moving people who are often dysfunctional and criminal into cramped, close spaces which just aggravate their behaviour. Their well-attended meetings in the provinces to discuss this most pressing issue have also been well-covered by the media. 

It's hard to take Green MP Marama Davidson's response seriously - divert away from government failure to accusations of racism yet again. 

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Consentual colonisation

Right now most academics, politicians, public servants, pundits and media maintain that the colonisation of New Zealand was a coercive and negative process for Maori. Moreover, that colonisation is an ongoing process.

I differ. I think much of the colonisation occurred with consent.

Take just one aspect of our shared history - social security.

While Maori were not wholly locked out of earliest social security provision, they were disadvantaged. It was harder to secure the Old Age Pension due to difficulty in procuring proof of birth. Then, authorities vested with the power of granting shied from issuing pensions to elderly Maori ensconced in communal living lest younger members misappropriated the funds. There was also debate about how much money an elderly Maori person living communally needed to live versus a retired European living independently. Neither of these considerations would be brooked today. And these discriminations quickly fell by the wayside.

Post 1938 Maori increasingly enjoyed the fruits of social security.  They were moving to the cities for work and wanted the same unemployment safety net. They were having large families and wanted the same family assistance. They aspired to own homes and wanted the same family benefit capitalization opportunity and access to state-advanced mortgages.

Colonisation provided a population large enough to supply the funds required for a universal safety net. Maori contributed and benefited willingly - or as willingly as non-Maori. (Willingness wasn't unamimous. I'm still no fan but recognise I am in a tiny minority. There are downsides to social security and they have disproportionately harmed Maori.)

Readers can doubtless think of other examples of how colonisation has been a positive process not least, the hundreds of thousands of life-long intimate individual unions between Maori and non-Maori.

I believe the term 'consentual colonisation' could be very powerful. Right now those who would angrily reject the idea are winning the debate and driving division.

Next time someone raises the matter of colonisation perhaps I'll ask, "Do you mean consentual colonisation?"

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

People coming off benefits

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni has been crowing about people coming off benefits recently. I said to nobody in particular, "People always come off benefits at this time of year."

But don't take my word for it. Here's the Jan - Feb change 2021:

In total there was a drop from 389,601 to 377,907 - a 3% reduction.

And this is the same period in 2020:

The overall drop was 2.7%

A good deal of the change is driven by students moving from JS Student Hardship (categorised in 'other main benefits') back to student allowances. This is an older graph from my files but it serves to clearly show the annual December spike.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Piers Morgan

I don't know much about this guy Piers Morgan. His face is recognisable from a British talent show I watched for maybe a season? I live in New Zealand and don't follow social media  - or barely - so am unfamiliar with his views.

Verity Johnson's column Stop shouting, Piers Morgan, we're not listening in today's DomPost presented the perfect opportunity to hear them.

She begins, "...he’s basically just been that drunk dude outside a pub who yells at you when you walk past."

Then , "...he constantly, publicly, screams at successful, opinionated young women like Meghan Markle, Greta Thunberg and Ariana Grande..."

No example of what he screams at them though.

Regarding Meghan Markle, "She continued to ignore him, causing ever more acidic outbursts, to the point where, on Monday, he trashed her mental health confessions (subsequently crossing a line that made even Meghan’s detractors draw in their breath sharply)."

I didn't watch the Oprah interview. What did Meghan say and what did Piers subsequently say?

Again no dialogue forthcoming.

Historically Piers' offensive statements have apparently been made "so openly and for so long" they are "part of the script that we as young women always struggled with."

I scrutinise Johnson's own script but still no examples.

She continues, "No-one stopped his ranting on Monday. And it took a calling out by his weatherman on Tuesday, the devastatingly rational Alex Beresford, for him to shut up and flounce off."

Rational! I love rational. At least we are going to hear what the rational weatherman had to say... 

No such hope.

"A good 40 per cent of social media is predicated on the formula of angry man rants about something a woman has said and gets increasingly annoyed when she ignores his @s and invitations to “enter into a rational debate”. I’ve had it myself when male broadcasters have loathed columns I’ve written, repeatedly trash talked me on air, and been infuriated when I consistently won’t engage with them to “defend my position”.But why would we? We know the difference between rational debate and a drunk outside a pub."

Verity might yet grow up to be a Prime Minister who declares that Mike Hosking is the 'drunk outside the pub' simply because she preferred not to debate the ideas.

Whatever happened to the fearlessness of feminism?

Monday, March 08, 2021

Here's the problem with National

 From Scoop:

Women’s Wellbeing Survey Launched

Monday, 8 March 2021, 10:40 am

Press Release: New Zealand National Party

In recognition of International Women’s Day, National’s spokesperson for Women Nicola Grigg, has launched a survey looking into the wellbeing of women in the Selwyn electorate.

“We know that women have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in terms of job losses, but what we don’t seem to have a full understanding of is the overarching psycho-social impact the lockdown and enduring stress has had on our wāhine.

More (if you can stand it)

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Maori: "...gentle, kind and involved fathers"

Continuing with Stuff's 'Our Truth' crusade Michelle Duff has a piece profiling five good Maori Dads to show that they do exist. 

We all know there are good Dads - Maori and non-Maori - everywhere. The reason it isn't reported is that it isn't news. It's abiding fact.

She goes on to bemoan Once Were Warriors - "the spectre of Māori fatherhood, ground into New Zealand’s cultural fabric like a long stain of Double Brown on a pub carpet" - and some sensationalised  2006 research about the 'warrior gene' reinforcing stereotypes that sadly, "Māori start to believe".

Inevitably the narrative moves on to how Maori child-rearing practises were so much better in pre-European times. Duff lifts this 1840 quote from a writer called Polack:

 “The father was devotedly fond of his children and they were his pride and delight”, wrote Polack, a Jew and a trader for some years.

I went to the source and found that the immediately preceding sentence reads, "Child prisoners were greatly prized and lived with the whanau but they remained slaves for life." That part of the quote was naturally excluded. The practise of slavery - so abhorred internationally today - was ended by colonisation.

Stuff's obsession with selectively re-educating the audience is utterly patronising.

I form my views from a mix of: what I see with my own two eyes, reading, statistics,and anecdote. 

If 47 percent of those on the Sole Parent Support benefit (for caregivers with children up to 14 years-old) are Maori, commonsense dictates that the degree of contact Maori fathers have with their children is lower than for non-Maori.

Yes, I accept that not all of the fathers of mothers on SPS would be Maori, and some of the SPS recipients would acually be the fathers of the dependent children. Some of the claims will even be fraudulent - Mum claims despite Dad being ever-present.

However, from a PHD thesis held at the University of Waikato:

During the 1990s Yeoman and Cook (2008) estimated that around 40% of Māori children lived in a single parent household, predominantly with the mother. In other words, 2 out of every 5 Māori children were raised in homes with only one parent; a trend that is likely to keep increasing (Hutton, 2001). This also means that a large majority of fathers are absent from the everyday lives of their children or have limited contact with them. It also poses a question, where are all the fathers?

Asked, I believe, by a young Maori man. 

Friday, March 05, 2021

A picture of govt failure


Latest housing register statistics.

As usual  Maori displaying disproportionate need:

Out of interest I made a second gragh to see how the proportions compared to when Labour came into office:

Matters have worsened for Maori. You wonder why they keep voting Labour really.

Thursday, March 04, 2021

More biased Stuff reporting

 Another case of Stuff and their biased reporting appeared today.


Teenagers receiving youth benefits say they’re being harmed by a controversial welfare policy that’s meant to help them, with some forced to choose between going hungry or paying rent.

Since 2012, 16 to 20-year-olds who receive the Youth Payment or Young Parent Payment have had access to their money strictly controlled by the state.

Rent and bills are paid directly to landlords. Most of what’s leftover is put on a payment card that can only be used at certain shops and cannot be used to buy alcohol, cigarettes or electronics.

Youth are then given up to $50 a week in cash, but some receive a lot less after their expenses are paid.

The purpose of this is to help rangatahi (young people) budget, but a just-released report, by the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), which oversees the scheme, has found the restrictions can lead to young people feeling “disempowered and stressed”.

MSD report:

Most providers (64 percent) agreed that money management is beneficial to most young people.

I guess you would expect that from the adults. But let's have the full context for the lifted phrase "disempowered and stressed":

From the two studies it is clear that Youth Service providers and young people have similar views on compulsory money management. Both providers and current and past recipients see a definite benefit in some of the components of money management. However, they believe that other components are less helpful and may at times even cause young people difficulty. From the findings it is evident that young people may feel disempowered and stressed particularly due to the universal compulsory nature of money management and the limitations of the payment card. Providers and young people call for greater flexibility in the way money management works. 

So money management for young people and young parents isn't perfect but there is no impetus for it to cease as a practice. 

On what basis do Stuff ask for your financial support?

"Stuff’s ethical reporting is built on accuracy, fairness and balance."



Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Plummeting prison population

Corrections has released December 2020 prison statistics

My question is, how do you react to this graph?

There are around 1,500 fewer people in prison than the Justice Sector forecast there would be.

Does that inspire you? Does it make you feel less safe? I mean, everything is about feelings today isn't it?

Criminal behaviour doesn't change in the space of a year. Only active policy to reduce the prison population by device (eg earlier parole) can create a deviation of this magnitude.

Update: Jim Rose helpfully provided some context for the drop, reported in Suff.

Instead of waiting for laws to change – an often slow and contentious political process – Davis has started tinkering at the edges.

"In one aspect a lot has changed, and in another aspect, little has changed…We're finding inefficiencies in the system and doing our best to eliminate them."

Davis asked Corrections to identify its top 10 initiatives for safely reducing the prison population.

The initiatives included looking at how best to utilise electronic monitoring – something recommended in the briefing papers – and bail applications.

In the case of bail applications, those who have been charged are now given extra help filling out the form and access to their full contact information.

This allowed them to submit a proper bail application, with potential bail addresses, so when they came before the court, if a judge deemed them suitable for bail, it could begin immediately.

"We haven't made any legislative changes, we've just found inefficiencies in the system and changed them; low-hanging fruit," Davis says.

"I'm just surprised that the things that we're doing hasn't happened before."

At the moment, the system was "defying the forecasts", he says.

There is still more to be squeezed from those top 10 initiatives, which also include looking at transitional housing, remand, youth, iwi initiatives, and female prisoners. Then Davis will ask Corrections for the next 10 ideas.

"There's now an environment where they're free to be creative."

And for would-be inmates, more creative to be free!

I support the aim so long as more victims is not the result. An outcome only dscovered after the fact.

Saturday, February 27, 2021

Reverting to failed policies

 The following is the United States' historical experience and mirrors New Zealand's:

Giving parents money with no strings attached in order to reduce child poverty is an idea that has been tried before. The results are hardly ancient history. These policies became part of the federal government’s scope as a way to support the children of mostly widowed mothers, and successfully prevented severe destitution for many children. But these successes faded in the second half of the 20th century as the programs expanded and societal behaviors around marriage and childbearing began to change. Unconditional cash aid to poor families led to government dependency and non-contributing absent fathers, eventually becoming widely unpopular among policymakers on both the right and the left.

Unfortunately the policy never became unpopular with New Zealand's left, which has been traditionally far more inclined to socialism than America's, and far more in thrall to feminists. 

Clark's government had an inkling though and must have watched Bill Clinton's reforms to turn assistance into the result of work effort. Clark's government did attempt to keep liable fathers responsible and ran the line that the best way out of poverty was work.

But Ardern's government rushed back to the failed policy of  'no strings attached' and let fathers of children reliant on the taxpayer for their upkeep completely off the hook.

Now the US is faced again with debating policies that will set back all that was achieved after 1996 (broadly speaking because many states experimented earlier and achieved earlier.)

Here Labour has been and is working hard to undo Bill English' reforms.

In the States some Republicans want to wreck Bill Clinton's achievement.

But it's all government no matter the hue. All unrestrained power to take the hairbrained failed path yet again.

(If you have the time and interest read the linked article which actually contains practical free market ways to reduce poverty which are all adaptable to this country.)