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.