Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Reality on the front-line

Politics and reality not infrequently bear little relation to each other.

My last two posts have been about the Maori Party's determination to retain the CYF whanau first policy.

The new boss of CYF was recently at the Otara office facing questions from front-line staff. For example:

Will you solve the foster-parent drought that makes it impossible to find placements for our mokopuna?

Note the questioner wasn't asking for specifically Maori placements. More importantly, the question implies that they aren't enough whanau carers available anyway.

The main difficulty in recruiting foster parents, I expect, is the temporary nature of placements which is very unsettling for the children and, in turn, the carer. The vetting processes may also be off-putting or rule out potential carers for possibly trivial reasons. But more 'foster parents' will step up as the home-for-life rules become better known. I hope.

Friday, February 17, 2017

More on whanau first and "assimilationist policy"

Radio NZ reports quite clearly today about the legislation the Maori Party is threatening to draw its support for the National Government over:

The current law gives priority to placing a child with a member of their family or wider hapū and, if that was not possible, then to someone with the same tribal, racial or cultural background as the child.....But new legislation removes that priority, and instead puts emphasis on the child's safety.
It is particular troublesome to identify "tribal, racial or cultural background" as a priority for placement. Why?

Because thousands of Maori children have mixed cultural backgrounds.

More Maori partner with Europeans than their own ethnicity.

Meteria Turei can blather on about the new legislation being state-forced assimilation but people are making their own choices about blending their ethnicities and will make their own decisions about making it work. Maori and Europeans are integrating rapidly. Voluntarily. Legislation needs to reflect this fact.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Falling out over whanau first

Maori Party MP Marama Fox is threatening to pull support from the government over legislation that removes cultural priority when placing a Maori child in care. But her choice of words would lead you to believe she supported the change:

"Just because we want to provide a safe and loving home doesn't make it mutually exclusive to a Maori home," Fox said.
What she actually wants is the status quo - whanau first.

Winston Peters disagrees. Unusually I am completely in accordance with him:
"I've known of too many children thrown from pillar to post between whanau members. I also know of hundreds of Maori who have been massively successful because they were lucky to have relations who would look after them.
"But to apply a blanket whanau-first principle just does not in the circumstances make any sense," Peters said.
The government is currently recruiting people who can effectively adopt children under their Home For Life programme.

The most crucial thing for a child is that they have a 'parent' that puts their needs and well-being foremost. Whether they are kin or not must be a secondary consideration.

Fox says:
History has already resulted in a "stolen generation," said Fox.
"Children who were put into state care immediately went to the bottom of every disparaging statistic in this country. They immediately are more likely to offend, more likely to be in prison, more likely to fall out of education."
That ignores the current push to find permanent and stable homes for children.

For too long there have been hundreds of couples wanting to adopt and thanks to CYF's antipathy for removing children from their whanau, very few children can take advantage.

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says:
 “The fundamental provision in this bill in the deliberate intention to remove Māori children from Māori whānau for good! It is an assimilationist policy!”
Bunkum. It's long overdue policy to keep children safe. To give them the best chance of leading happy and fulfilling lives. If anything it's about ignoring (or at least de-proritising) race and culture and seeing the child as an individual foremost.

There has also been extensive consultation with children - and that's ongoing.

The [Expert Panel review of CYF] found children and young people said they crave nurturing and love, and feel the stigma of being in care. They feel powerless in the face of a system which is perceived to hold all the power and have no voice in important decisions being made about their future.

Anne Tolley can have the last word:
Minister Anne Tolley says that the goal of this bill, is to bring the focus squarely on the children.
“The bill makes changes to the purposes and the principles of the act, to imbed a truly child centric approach and ensure children's and young people's participation.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

"Tall poppies"

I feel I have featured this man's letters before. He has a rather acerbic turn of phrase. For your reading pleasure:

Putting adult's rights before children's

On my reading of the situation, because New Zealand wants same-sex couples and singles to be allowed to adopt Russian children, and Russia can't agree, there will be no more adoptions (which were put on hold in 2013).

Yet another case of putting adult rights before children's. Something at which New Zealand excels.

Monday, February 13, 2017

To work or not to work?

Throughout the 2000s the left argued against work-testing (requiring employment from) people on the DPB. Maharey removed National's work-testing requirements around 2002. Labour and the Greens have long represented the DPB as an escape route and haven from family violence (whereas I argue it is a driver because it attracts serial, ill-motivated partners.)

Here's what Green MP Jan Logie wrote as late as 2012:
To institute mandatory work preparedness requirements and pressure women leaving these violent relationships to go into work flies in the face of generations of work in this country to enable women to leave these violent relationships.”
However, a letter in today's DomPost, from the National  Council of Women (traditionally very left-wing), the Federation of Business and Professional Women, the Equal Opportunities Employment Commissioner, CTU and National Collective of Independent Women's Refugees says the following:

"....people affected by domestic violence should be able to take up to 10 days leave. This will help them move house, attend court hearings and meet with lawyers. Put simply: this bill will save lives. It will make it easier for people to leave a violent relationship and stay in employment. It will also keep victims safe at work from their abusers." (My emphasis)

Ironically the letter is in support of Jan Logie's Domestic Violence Victim's Protection Bill which enters parliament this week. The authors of the letter wouldn't often agree with each other to the extent that they could enter into collective advocacy. I am not sure Logie would be 100 percent comfortable with it.

Surely their last sentence is an argument for getting women off benefits and into the workforce?

Saturday, February 11, 2017


The following is extracted from a report by  the World Socialist Website so be warned of bias. Putting that aside, what famous quotation comes to mind when you read the article?

Up to 34,000 workers at the Australian government’s Department of Human Services (DHS) are scheduled to hold rolling strikes over the next two weeks. They include staff at Centrelink, the agency that oversees welfare payments, along with Medicare and Child Services employees.
The limited industrial action has been called by the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) in the face of protracted opposition by public sector workers to the government’s demands for cuts to wages and conditions. There is also immense popular anger over the government’s draconian “debt recovery” scheme targeting current and former welfare recipients, which Centrelink workers are being forced to implement.


(Clue: The quote has been falsely attributed to Thomas Jefferson)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Asking the right questions

A sane letter from the DomPost today. Makes a change.

(Left click on image to enlarge)

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Mystery no more

Yesterday the Sallies published their State of the Nation report. It was covered in the NZ Herald:

"...the report notes that welfare numbers have declined faster than unemployment in recent years, suggesting that not all those pushed off benefits have found jobs.
"Just what has happened to these people, and whether they are better or worse off, is a mystery." "

Not quite. SuperU (ex Families Commission) released some research today which followed 140,000 people who left benefits in the year to June 30, 2011:

About the 'unknowns' the report makes this observation:
 "18 percent of people who moved off a benefit but did not return, their main activity two years later was unknown. It is possible that some of these people were being supported by their partner."
I suspect quite a large proportion as movements in and out of sole parenthood are common, and the rate of sole parent dependency has fallen the fastest.

This is significant because the left have been complaining for some time that the heartless government was pushing people off benefits and had no idea what happened to them.

It does now.