Thursday, February 04, 2021

Good is bad: black is white: up is down

People growing produce which earns income for the country are no longer good. They pollute, they treat their animal stock badly, they export livestock in inhumane ways to countries that abuse human rights.

People providing places for other people to live in are no longer good. They pry, they fail to maintain their properties well, they exploit rental prices and deny would-be home owners opportunity.

People who pay the lion's share of  tax are no longer good. They are the greedy privileged.

They're all bad.

So who are the new 'good'?

Government members who uncritically side with any group with a grievance because superficial kindness is key.

A media that uncritically sides with any person or group with a grievance because producing headlines that contain 'racism' and 'sexism' is all that's left in the age of click-bait. ('Ageism' isn't really very popular because the media hates boomers.)

Public servants who correct and regulate the behaviours of the farmers and landlords (while living at their expense).

Academics who study and publish about the behaviours of bad people (while living at their expense).

What will happen?

The 'bad' people will get on with it regardless. That's what they do.

The 'good' people will get ever more emboldened by the seeming acqiescence of the 'bad' people. They must be guilty.

Democracy should stand a chance of righting this upside-down stuff.

But with interference in the democratic process, inculcation of children about the past so as the shape the future, and the mass adoration of a highly photogenic Prime Minister (with potential longevity), I am very unsure about New Zealand's future right now.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Unemployment rate down - Jobseeker numbers up

Kiwiblog ran a post titled, "Great employment news." Here are a couple of comments and my response:

Having said that, the process for calculating the official unemployment rate remains unchanged.

The Aotearoa New Zealand History curriculum outcome

Regarding the new history curriculum, according to RNZ, "On Wednesday, Education Minister Chris Hipkins urged New Zealanders to check out the content and provide feedback before it was finalised."

It isn't the easiest website to navigate but I eventually found, from the 'draft curriculum', the 'progress outcome by end of year 10'.  This is what students - akonga - will 'know' by that stage:

"I have built my knowledge of stories iwi and hapū tell about their history in the rohe, and of stories about the people, events, and changes that have been important in my local area. For the national contexts, I know the following:

Whakapapa me te whanaungatanga

Migration and mobility

Aotearoa New Zealand has a history of selective and discriminatory practices to control migration, with little negotiation with Māori as tangata whenua. Nineteenth-century immigration schemes were designed to create a British colony and consequently shifted the balance of power from Māori to settlers. Immigration policy has been used to exclude some peoples and to restrict conditions for entry and citizenship.


Contested ideas about identity have come from youth challenging social norms, and from social actions addressing injustices and societal divisions over values. Māori have communicated their distinctiveness through cultural practices that have sometimes been appropriated and used inappropriately.

International conflicts

Our attitudes towards and reasons for participation in international wars, and the impact they have had on our society, have changed over time. The ways that we have commemorated these conflicts have reflected these changing perspectives.

Tūrangawaewae me te kaitiakitanga

Land, water, and resources

There have been contested views about developing Aotearoa New Zealand and its economic resources. This is especially evidenced by our environmental history.

Mana motuhake

New Zealand’s settler government and the Crown were determined to undermine mana Māori, especially by acquiring Māori territories. The New Zealand Wars and the legislation that followed demonstrated their willingness to do this by any means.

Tino rangatiratanga me te kāwanatanga

Te Tiriti o Waitangi

In 1840, the Treaty promised to protect tribal rangatiratanga. By 1900, it had become the means of regaining what it had promised – rangatiratanga, mana motuhake, self determination. It also underpinned iwi attempts to remedy injustice by working inside, alongside, and outside the Crown system.

The Waitangi Tribunal investigation process and subsequent settlements by the Crown have led to economic, political, social, and cultural growth for iwi. The settlements have also provided an opportunity for reconciliation.

The state and the people

When people and groups have campaigned on or asserted their human rights, it has forced the state to act. This has been evident in the actions of workers’ groups and organisations of women and of wāhine Māori. It has also been evident in law reform in relation to gender identity.

The state and the Pacific

Aotearoa New Zealand has acted in the Pacific in line with its own political, strategic, economic, and social interests. But its actions have also been an expression of whanaungatanga.

In my learning in Aotearoa New Zealand’s histories, I can:

• construct and compare narratives of cause and consequence that place historical events, people, and changes in an extended sequence with links to the present

• actively seek out historical sources with differing perspectives and contrary views (including those that challenge my own interpretation), giving deliberate attention to mātauranga Māori sources. While doing so, I identify missing voices and draw conclusions that capture the diversity of people’s experiences

• make an informed ethical judgement about people’s actions in the past, giving careful consideration to the complex predicaments they faced, the attitudes and values of the times, and my own values and attitudes."

What do you think?

I'll make one response (though I have more). 

I thought that making ethical judgements belonged to the study of philosophy. 

Monday, February 01, 2021

Will 'By Maori, for Maori' be another failed experiment in child protection?

New Zealand seems poised to implement separate child protection services based on ethnicity. Minister for Children, Kelvin Davis says he is against separatism but recommendations of the all-Maori four person panel appointed to advise on reform of OT may carry more weight. We have already seen the influence of others standing behind the appointees compel the resignation of embattled OT chief last month.

So I read the following article with great interest. Canada, specifically Manitoba, has gone down the path NZ now seems destined to follow.

There are parallels with respect to the historic removal of Indigenous children, inquiries and compensation. The responsibility for care and protection of Indigenous children now lies with the Indigenous people:

However, they continue to remove children from their homes in alarming numbers. Why?

I think that if you asked the Indigenous workers why Manitoba apprehends so many Indigenous children – in fact, more than were apprehended at the height of the “60’s Scoop” – the answer an Indigenous worker would give you would be basically the same answer that the non-Indigenous worker of the last generation would have given. It would go something like this:

“We work very hard to keep children with their parents. Unfortunately, in too many situations the parents (often, just the mother) are unable or unwilling to provide a home for the child – usually due to alcohol, or substance abuse issues. Every effort is made to help the parents, but sometimes the parents are unable or unwilling to accept the help. Even then, we make every attempt to place the child with extended family, or with another Indigenous care giver in the community. Only if all of these efforts fail do we make the painful decision to remove the child. Our work is greatly complicated by the fact that many of the children, and many of the parents, suffer from Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD).”

The only significant difference between what child welfare workers from an earlier decade would have told you is that there was very little understanding of FASD until well into the 1990’s.

As a recent analysis of OT cases showed reasons for removal included:

Substance abuse, particularly synthetic cannabis, methamphetamine or alcohol addiction, often coupled with mental health issues associated with that addiction,including psychosis and suicidal behaviour.

The story is the same. Forget for a moment the veracity or otherwise of the systemic accusations/excuses made - until parental behaviours change, children will be at risk, often, extreme risk. 

There are no signs that substance abuse and addiction is abating. Can 'By Maori, for Maori' make a difference?

It is probably a forlorn hope.

The writer of the article, a retired Manitoba court judge and long-time observant of care and protection practice, finishes by putting this question:

"Is it not time to jettison the false notion that a child is nothing more than property belonging to a culture?"

Is that where NZ  will be in another twenty years time when the current, fashionable 'solution' has failed?

Sunday, January 31, 2021

MSD makes 'gender diverse' prediction


This graph released on Friday is accompanied by an interesting prediction. "We expect the numbers in this category [Gender diverse] to increase over time."

Why? is my immediate responding question.

Is it because MSD prophets expect gender diverse people are more likely to be unemployed?

Or is it because they expect more unemployed people will identify as gender diverse?

(There's a subtle difference between the two)

Or simply that more of the general population will identify as gender diverse?

That might make for an interesting OIA.