Saturday, April 30, 2022

Behind the headline

An RNZ headline reads:

High rate of suicide in pregnant and post-natal women

"Suicide is the leading cause of death during pregnancy and the postnatal period, and Māori women are three times more likely to die this way, a new report has found."

That's an alarming fact and one that somewhat surprised me.

Any suicide is a terrible tragedy but perhaps even more so when it involves an unborn child.

After a moment's reflection, my analytical mind immediately wants to know, how many?

The report is from the Helen Clark Foundation and while the assertion is made and referred to several times in the paper, no statistics are provided. The claim is referenced though and takes us to this source - the maternal section of Perinatal Mortality Review report.

In the thirteen years that span 2006 to 2018 there were 30 suicides or two annually on average.

There were 809,831 maternities in the same period. Maternal suicides are in fact very rare.

But rarity doesn't make for headlines.

Furthermore, there were 27 in the period 2006 to 2016, leaving three in 2017/ 2018.

Maternal suicides are reducing.

For context 65 young people under twenty took their lives in the year to June 2020.

Update: On TV One the maternal suicide number has grown to 10 every year. 

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Labour actually achieves something

The data for the following chart comes from StatsNZ. 

Looks like New Zealand is becoming a safer place. Fewer crimes are being committed - of every type - that warrant imprisonment.

There has been a 39.3% decrease in sentenced prisoners since 2016 from 8,958 to 5,433 total offences.

'Unlawful entry with intent/burglary, break and enter' has seen a 44.5 percent decrease. Wow.

What a great result by the Labour government.

Mr Sharma will be delighted.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

On Māori inter-marriage and future implications

The rates of partnering between Māori and non-Māori are high and always have been. 


 “Intermarriage with non-Maori contributed to the rapid growth of the Maori population in the post-war period. As at 2003, almost one-quarter of Maori children were born to non-Maori mothers, (Statistics New Zealand 2005).” 

In 2013 fewer than half of Māori men had a Māori partner:


The corresponding figure for Māori females is 52 percent.

Furthermore, trend-wise:

“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%.”

These realities pose vital questions:

1/ Is there a pervasive appetite for separatism among people who have long been attracted to those outside their own race and culture?

2/ With institutions and services increasingly split along racial lines, where will individuals of mixed ethnicity fall? This is particularly pertinent in the case of Oranga Tamariki which is pursuing a policy of keeping ‘Maori’ children with ‘Maori’ relatives as a priority. When all aspects of the child’s well-being are considered, this may be the best course of action; equally, it might not.

John Tamihere famously said New Zealand’s future, “… is being decided in our bedrooms, not our boardrooms.” He also identifies as Māori more strongly than any other ethnicity, as is his right.

Since making that proclamation as Māori Affairs Minister in 2004, Tamihere has become a strong advocate for separate systems. As Māori Party president he appears more radical in his views than when a Labour MP.

Is he now in danger of forcing those of mixed ethnicity – even children – to make difficult, possibly unbearable decisions to meet the demands for tino rangitiratanga – ‘by Māori, for Māori?’

At the risk of sounding overly dramatic the phrase ‘Let no man put asunder’ might be a reminder to those who want to divide New Zealand that ultimately, individuals make their own life choices, and those choices are sacrosanct.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

"What women want from Labour, National"

I strongly object to writers who refer to groups of people and profess to speak for them. It happens all the time with Maori, and now Paula Bennett presumes on behalf of women. 

But once a politician always a politician so it's hardly surprising. 

Political parties run 'focus groups' to find out who to woo and what to say. They put their political pinkies in the wind and blow with it. And blow is a good word.

This piece is a lot of 'blow'.

'We' this, 'we' that. Heavy on stereotypical female roles. A shout out to the sisterhood? A signal about how to behave if you want to belong? 

Identity politics, to be blunt about it. 

BUT Bennett knows more about women than I do. She has lost none of her political smarts. Her cloaked advice is for National (not Labour): "You must capture our heads and our hearts." Currently common corporate parlance.

I must have been mistaken when I thought identity politics was the domain of the left.

It squeezes out the individual who doesn't identify with any group - who gets a shiver down their spine when told WHAT THEY THINK AND WANT. Exactly what Bennett has done.

This whole device (former minister speaks for her gender to her former party) leaves me cold.

Then again, my cynicism regarding politicians has never been as deep as it is right now. 

The manipulative game they play, and which voters willingly participate in, is ruinous.