Thursday, March 22, 2018

Turning the tide on compulsory over-parenting

More in from yesterday's contributor, to whom I am most grateful.


Utah governor signs law legalizing ‘free-range parenting’
Lindsay Whitehurst

SALT LAKE CITY — So-called free-range parenting will soon be the law of the land in Utah after the governor signed what appears to be the country’s first measure to formally legalize allowing kids to do things on their own to foster self-sufficiency.

The bill, which Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday that he’d signed, specifies that it isn’t neglectful to let kids do things alone like travel to school, explore a playground or stay in the car. The law takes effect May 8.

Utah’s law is the first in the country, said Lenore Skenazy, who coined the term free-range parent. A records search by the National Conference of State Legislatures didn’t turn up any similar legislation in other states.

Utah lawmakers said they were prompted to pass the law after seeing other states where parents had been investigated and in some cases had their children temporarily removed when people reported seeing kids playing basketball in their yards or walking to school alone.

Headline-grabbing cases have included a Maryland couple investigated after allowing their 10- and-6-year-old children to walk home alone from a park in 2015.

Republican Sen. Lincoln Fillmore of South Jordan has said allowing kids to try things alone helps prepare them for the future, though some have raised concerns the law could be used as defenses in child-abuse cases if not carefully deployed.

The law states the child must be mature enough to handle those things but leaves the age purposely open-ended so police and prosecutors can work on a case-by-case basis, Fillmore has said.

Skenazy, who wrote the book “Free Range Kids” after writing about letting her 9-year-old ride the New York City subway alone, has said the law is a good way to reassure parents who might be nervous about their parenting decisions.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Graph of the Day

A reader sent me the following graph:

As he comments, "No surprise".

Yet the media witter on and on about the gender earnings gap.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Why more prisons are needed

Two things are happening:

1/ Some inmates released on parole commit serious, even fatal, crimes
2/ Some inmates who have the potential to rehabilitate are kept in prison longer than necessary

But if Labour doesn't want to build more prisons they will have to address the legislation that's driving up numbers. After all, it was passed under a Labour government.

Monday, March 12, 2018

The Rainbow Tick

Ever heard of The Rainbow Tick? I came across it at the Human Rights Commission website:

The Rainbow Tick programme allows businesses and organisations to understand what they are doing well in regard to their Rainbow personnel, what they need to improve, and how to do this. Through the help of the Rainbow Tick a manager can derive the best from an employee by being a good employer.
Getting the Rainbow Tick also allows us to show our employees and all New Zealand that we are a progressive, inclusive and dynamic organisation that reflects the community that we serve.
We are really proud and excited to be recognised for our efforts as a welcoming and inclusive work place and urge other organisations to consider doing the same. 
Nothing of particular interest here then. Just PC back-patting. But wait:

 Other organisations and businesses who have already achieved the Tick include: Westpac, ASB, Fletcher Building, Coco-Cola Amatil, KPMG, Microsoft, PWC, Simpson Grierson, AUT, Sovereign, Publicis Loyalty, Sky City, Repromed and Russel McVeagh.

That last one rings a bell. They certainly have been inclusive.

On a serious note, is it any wonder that the Human Rights Commission cannot hear cases and complaints because they simply don't have the resources? Apparently they are only investigating 'urgent' complaints currently. Perhaps some prioritization is in order.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Michael Cullen can't be trusted

A report in today's DomPost  details Michael Cullen's thinking as he embarks on his chairmanship of the Tax Working Group. The title alone, Cullen: Taxes could change bad behaviours is enough to send a shiver down your spine. But so should this:
Cullen said taxes were normally higher in richer countries than in poorer ones and said New Zealand's tax system did less, compared to most in the OECD, to redistribute money from the rich to the poor.

According to latest OECD data (published 2017) NZ has the highest percentage cash transfer to the lowest quintile:

And NZ rates above the OECD average in how much of its GDP is turned into public social spending to the working-age population:

New Zealand doesn't do so much universalism but it certainly rates right up there when it comes to redistributing money "from the rich to the poor".

A very dodgy start from Cullen.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Vigilantism reaches NZ

A US writer adequately states the problem:

"What counts as sexual harassment? Good question. Men accused of boorish gestures or vulgar remarks face the same disgrace as outright rapists. And never mind if the accusations lack proof and the accusers remain anonymous."

Now we have our own #metoo campaign headed by journalist Ali Mau who yesterday told Mark Sainsbury that her "investigation" would be naming and shaming. "I'm coming for you," said the fearless Mau.

I have one word. Vigilantism.

Who will define the deed(s) and the perpetrator? What legislative framework will they work under? Who decides whether hurt to the families of perpetrators is justified? Who calculates an acceptable degree of collateral damage? Who sets the standard of proof to be met by accusers?

The potential for this exercise to snowball wildly out of control is significant.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

One year on

A year on. Who'd have thought it'd take so long. But how much we have learned. Probably the most educative year of my entire life. Would I recommend it? Not if making money is the goal.

Some before and after shots:


Friday, February 23, 2018

Bravo Bryce

Bryce Wilkinson from the New Zealand Initiative writes:

When I was a lad, Treasury was a home for bean counters. Many a fine public servant did an accounting degree part-time at evening classes at Vic. Full-time study was unaffordable; they needed a day job for income.

They knew their day job. It was to run a surgical eye over departmental spending proposals. Noes were more satisfying than Ayes. Noes could help a minister of finance keep the budget healthy. Noes saved ‘the country’ money.

The proportion of Noes that won the day in Cabinet was a measure of one’s batting average.

They wrote short, incisive reports with recommendations based on a few well-chosen facts, knowledge, and experience. Cabinet deadlines were tight. A succinct one-page report was good. It would be read. A longer one might not be.

Looking back, one has to feel sorry for these investigating officers. The poor chaps never had a chance in these short reports to muse about such lofty matters as intergenerational wellbeing.

Happily, today’s Treasury is not so constrained by cold-hearted value-for-money considerations. Your and my wellbeing and that of our children and their future children are ever closer to its throbbing heart.

This week it added to the warming embrace by releasing four discussion documents on its wellbeing framework. Treasury wants “government agencies to be more cohesive so public policy on wellbeing, spending and other government interventions is aligned with improving intergenerational wellbeing”.

At long last the public service will overcome its silo tendencies. We look forward to seeing agencies graciously deferring to each other: “No, please cut our budget to help you expand yours, what you are doing is more important for intergenerational wellbeing”.

The Treasury old-timers probably never conceived that this might be possible.  One can almost imagine them applauding in unison from their graves.

It is comforting to know that the public service will be focusing on how much you want to cut back on your spending to bequeath more to the next generation. You won’t need to think about that for yourself as much.

Perhaps the day will come when the sign outside Treasury, coined from a Christchurch art exhibit, reads: The House of Wellbeing, Resilience and Sustainability: All Welcome, bar Bean Counters.