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.’




If you feel inclined to make your own submission the email address is
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.