Sunday, December 31, 2006

New Year message from Pita Sharples

According to Radio New Zealand,

Maori Party co-leader Pita Sharples has called 2006 "the year of murders" and says all New Zealanders have to turn things around next year.

He says there is too much tolerance of violence in New Zealand society and a tendency to blame other groups for the problem.

Just what is he saying here? As a New Zealander, with a piece of paper to prove it, I must give some thought to who I am not going to murder next year? And I should also stop relaying facts about where most of the violent crime comes from as that could be construed as a "tendency to blame other groups" instead of the obvious culprit - myself?

Did you have a reaction to this admonition?

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Welfare Highlights 2006

To wrap for the year, here are a few of the government's welfare highlights;

- Labour convinces a majority of NZers (using their money) that welfare is for everyone - including Ipod and cell phone owners - as opposed to Micky Savage's vision of welfare meeting only the most basic needs

- the unemployment rate stays near the top of the OECD , but 1 in 8 homes has nobody employed

- sickness and invalid benefit numbers don't grow as fast but continue to grow

- the number of 16-19 year-old welfare-dependent single parents creeps up guaranteeing a permanent DPB caseload for decades to come

- the number of people on the DPB drops due to part-time workers moving to a higher welfare subsidy - the 'In Work' payment

- NZ gets its first 'Super Ministry' after MSD remerges with CYFS

- CYFS receives a record number of child abuse and neglect notifications

- The Canadian MSD Deputy Chief Executive finishes his two year stint without causing the government any embarrassment (think Paula Tyler and John Davey)

- The Minister, Benson-Pope, repeatedly shows ignorance of his portfolio and does cause embarrassment (but is a forgiven 'conscientious and hard-working' Minister)

- The Minister, Benson Pope, manages to evade parliamentary questions about how much the Kahui whanau was receiving in benefits and national anxiety about taxpayers being forced to fund murderer's lifestyles eventually recedes

- For a change, WINZ doesn't experience any high profile staff fraud but an Auckland electrician makes up for it big time

- the Maori Party starts their term slamming welfare but are soon asking for more, proving they are still a reliable coalition partner for Labour

- shifting welfare expenditure into the IRD jurisdiction cleverly disguises growing redistribution

- welfare spending reaches an all-time high and receives no criticism

Feel like celebrating?

Transmission resumes

Um. The mysterious ways of Unable to publish anything since 25 December, I was just beginning to think I would throw it away. It's so liberating. If no output is required neither is input.

My bones and muscles are aching from the unusual amount of physical activity, the skip is almost full, the steep pathways up behind the house are once more navigable (note to myself worst gardening error ever - don't let a thorny rose go wild), my TAB account is looking very healthy thanks to their computer picking me a trifecta headed by the outsider of the field (note to myself - go and withdraw the winnings today thus avoiding any temptation to reinvest them), a jigsaw is completed (only 9 more to go - what a nightmare - a box of ten jigsaws), the Te Papa Egyptian Exhibition has been seen (and dismissed by son and me as 'crap' - daughter and dad disagreed) and the dog is bathed (what Christmas means to a dog - bugger - a bath)


Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Being a snowman sucks

Which is it Ruth?

It's no surprise that a new report says actual child abuse is 3 to 5 times higher than the notification rate. The Christchurch Health and Development Study produced one paper which showed 4 percent of children had been physically abused by age 16.

The problem is simple. Too many people have children they can't or won't look after. Seems like a good idea at the time and not a difficult decision to make when the state is going to pay you to keep them.

I find it interesting that Ruth Dyson is now making noises about too much state interference being "unhelpful" and even "damaging, as families step back from their responsibilities and say 'that's the state's job.' "

Well, Ruth, it is left-wing ideology that got us into this mess. Do you believe in the almighty state or don't you?

There has always been a degree of child abuse but since we turned our backs on adoption and started paying completely inadequate mothers to keep their babies, established cases of abuse or neglect have increased fifty fold, at least.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

It should have been me!

Fifth Columnist of the Year – Michael Bassett

In 'The Hollow Men' - a book filled with skull-duggery and political intrigue Fairfax's former supposedly independent columnist Michael Bassett certainly stands out. When the good Dr Bassett is not sticking the knife into then National leader Bill English whilst advising the man gunning for his job Dr Don Brash, he's off busily attempting to make life miserable for New Zealand's poorest citizens. According to Mr Hager's tome Dr Bassett added inflammatory phrases to Dr Brash's Orewa II speech regarding beneficiaries 'ripping off the system' and using 'stand-over tactics' to get benefits. For this Dr Bassett receives a special additional honour:

Louis 17th medal For Hatred of the Poor – Michael Bassett

Hey. That's not fair. I deserved that award. I mean, Michael might be more widely read them me but I blog everyday about the exploitation and failure of welfare!! I mean, I wasn't even invited to accept it on his behalf!

Look. I know people who are 'ripping off the system' and I am not going to describe them in any other terms. It doesn't follow that I hate them. If I did I would dob them in. Neither does it mean I have to approve of them abusing the system. Is that what Scoop wants from writers? Craven, chickenshit platitudes? PC politeness or worse - peddling the old Kiwi me-tooism - everybody does it mate, so what's the fuss?

What a pathetic attempt at a putdown. Whoever dreamt up this award deserves their own for mental mediocrity. Wake up.

....and the rest

Stuff reports from 1996 to 2005, total crime committed by youths remained static at about 31,000 recorded offences according to the report titled Conviction and Sentencing of Offenders in New Zealand.

The Stuff figure obviously omits 'child' crime, that committed by under 14 year-olds. Current youth and child offences number around 48,000 per year and that is only what the Police resolve (resolution rate is 44%)

(BTW. Any 'old' blogger not able to access their blog, use the 'new' blogger link. It has only taken me 24 hours to figure this out:-()

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Bad legislation

The NZ Law Society has slammed the amendments to Sue Bradford's repeal of section 59 bill saying they create more uncertainty and appear to be a hasty political compromise.

Making the meth problem worse

The government's having a hard time solving the meth problem because the government helped create it.

So says Radley Balko of Reason in this piece from Fox News

(Some of the measures adopted in the US are also in place here.)

Too fat to father

China has imposed new restrictions on prospective foreign adopters. They can't be too old, too fat, too depressed or too ugly. (It's a shame Americans can't or are unable to adopt some of their own hapless babies).

Stretching it

Reading about the proposed ban on party pills on the front page of the DomPost I learn that they are used by one in five New Zealanders.

Oh really. That's over 800,000 people. The population aged 15-29 is only 813,618. Sure, there will be people older than that (and a few younger) using party pills but I figure the concentration of use will be in that age group.

Where did these figures come from? Let's see. Massey University researchers.

The survey consisted of a random national household sample of 2,010 people aged 13-45 years old collected using the Centre for Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation (SHORE) and Whariki’s in-house computer assisted telephone interviewing (CATI) system.

Prevalence and patterns of use
One in five (20.3%; 18.4-22.3) of the sample had ever tried legal party pills, and one in seven (15.3%; 13.6-17.1) had used legal party pills in the preceding 12 months. Levels of last year use of legal party pills were highest among the 18-24 year old age range with 33.9% (25.3-43.6) of 18-19 year olds and 38.0% (31.3-45.2) of 20-24 year olds having used legal party pills in the preceding year.

So run that past me again. One in five surveyed 13-45 year-olds had tried party pills at some time, has become, one in five New Zealanders use party pills. Brilliant.

Fantastic....if you are looking for alarmist figures to persuade the gullible that they must be banned.

(Xmas just came right on time for the Mob.)

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

DPB to In Work Payment

An anonymous commentor has suggested I lodge an OIA request under "code 38" to find out how many people have moved off the DPB and onto the In Work payment. As I cannot directly comunicate with anonymous I will have to do so through my blog.

The following are the questions and replies already sent to and received rom MSD. I do not know what "code 38" is but the Ministry claims the information I seek does not exist. Are you saying it does? (I am pursuing more information from the IRD).

"Fewer on dpb" - more on WFF

Dear Editor,

You report a fall in DPB numbers (DomPost, Dec 19) to below 100,000 "for the first time since 1993". The reasons why are not given.

One is, those people who were on a partial DPB payment due to working part-time have transferred onto the new In Work payment, some with no change to their hours worked. Change the name, change the numbers.

But more worrying than this smoke and mirrors exercise is that numbers have only fallen this far. In 1993, the unemployment rate was 9.2 percent. Today it is 3.8 percent yet we have the same number of people claiming the DPB. That is the real story.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Knee jerk reactions

According to NewstalkZB, in the wake of the Ipswich murders,UK Minister for Constitutional Affairs, Harriet Harman, is considering making it illegal for men to pay for sex. In the wake of Columbine perhaps attending high schools should have been made illegal or in the wake of Aramoana, developing small comunities should have been banned.

Set for life

Massey University researchers find that in poor schools as many as one in four children are incapable of learning.

"Where there is a lot of stress on a family or there has been neglect or they have been misguided in some way, they don't have the resources to do any thinking at all, because everything is focused on personal survival and getting to the next day."

This applies to grown-ups in the same environment. How else would we expect their children to be?

Anyway, who needs an education when you can live off the state.

What is "Far Right"?

From Richard Long's DomPost column today;

The media frequently refer to ACT as "Far Right". I remember vividly my own mother saying to me, "You never used to be a right-winger". One can get tired of trying to explain oneself. But I will try again.

What would a "Far Right" party look like?

Here's my list;
Xenophobic, anti-immigration, authoritarian, anti-democracy, pro-drug prohibition, anti-freedom of speech, anti-individual rights, militaristic, anti-gay, anti-prostitution, pro dictatorship control of production and wealth through taxation.

Such a party would be an anathema to me.

What I am against is force, the rights of the collective overriding those of the individual, and state redistribution of wealth.

ACT is the parliamentary party that best matches my views.

Richard Long is lazy. It is easier to dismiss what it takes time to explain. Especially when it suits his purpose.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Best-by date past

Middle-aged male? You're a suspect.

In profiling rapists who use drugs to sedate their victims an expert says;

Mr Henwood says drug-rapes are committed for many different reasons.

Other offenders resort to drugs because they are unable to attract a partner.

For example, they could be past their prime, perhaps in their 40s or 50s, "so they are going to be on the list".

It's gonna be a long list.

Internet lie detectors

Would you want to have a conversation with someone whose computer just told you it was monitoring your call for lies? I have Skype but if I get this message I'll hang up.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Purple policies

I think I will start of list of "purple policies" - those that are a combination of, or common to, both the red and blue parties. Look out for this breath-takingly boring emblem which will alert you to new additions. Contributions welcome. For instance;

The Sunday Star Times reports on the Working For Families package. A single mum working part-time can now afford to get her hair done at the hairdresser and buy luxury food items.

Along comes an intrepid individual who said, he and his wife, who chose not to have children, were being forced to support those who choose to reproduce.

"I wouldn't disagree with having a safety net, my gripe is the very high thresholds at which it is set. People who are earning very good levels of income are now getting welfare simply because they have children, which is silly."

"Why should I be buying her high priced items of food?"

But National think he should.

Already there are signs that National realises it will be difficult to unwind what has been a revolution in family assistance. Revenue spokesman Lockwood Smith said any changes would not leave anyone worse off.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

"Unlimited access to drugs" in prison

What d'you know? "Unlimited access to drugs" in prison. Not long ago I raised this subject and was told by Crasster that, "Drugs in prisons are not tolerated by any prison officer."

Just yesterday I spent too long sitting in the sun talking about this very subject with someone who has firsthand experience. It was easier to get drugs inside than outside, they said. The "top dog, head honcho"(not a fellow inmate you understand) could get you anything you want. That was twenty years ago, I offered. Could have changed. Maybe.....

Perhaps this report is based on a tissue of lies. If not, perhaps Rimutaka is a one-off. Would you put money on it?

Friday, December 15, 2006

Recorded crime and victimisations

When you read or hear about recorded crime continuing to trend down, as publicised by Statistics New Zealand today, bear the following in mind; (It is tucked away within the report released today).


The data is not designed to establish how many people have been victims of crimes, or the number of crimes committed. This type of information is best obtained through victimisation surveys that include crimes that were not reported to the Police. Research indicates that many crimes are never reported to the Police in the first instance. The 2001 New Zealand National Survey of Crime Victims (NZNSCV) showed that the number of offences recorded in police statistics in 2000 represented 15 percent of the estimated number of victimisations. Crimes most likely to be reported include those that involve insurance claims, those where injuries require medical treatment, and crimes discovered by the Police as a result of police practice (eg policing of liquor bans).

UPDATE; See how the headlines misreport, Crime Falls Overall - Long-term crime statistics show overall criminal offending has fallen in the past 10 years, due largely to a big fall in dishonesty offences.

Where is the word, "recorded"?

The "gorilla" in the room

In NZ we ignore it too. In fact we positively encourage the "huge gorilla" in the room by aiding and abetting it.

It's for your own good

If you still enjoy your butter and full milk, STOP, right now. That's today's message from one of Nanny's little helpers. For your own good you must start consuming synthetic spreads and manipulated milk. Then you too could eke out a few more years on this planet of busybody, anti-smoking, anti-drug, anti-alcohol, anti-billboards, anti-cars, anti-christmas, anti-travel, anti-shopping bags, anti-gambling, anti-hunting, anti-fishing, anti-swimming pools, anti-exotic trees, anti-dogs, anti-cats, anti-hydro, anti-wind turbine, anti-nuclear, anti-soft drink, anti-taser, anti-gun, anti-profit, anti-GE, anti-cows, anti-smacking, anti-party pills, anti-noise, anti-speedway, anti-immigrant, anti-foreign ownership whiners.

Pass me the butter please.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

National - authoritarian and illiberal

Here's National being more authoritarian and illiberal than even Jim Anderton. Does Otago National MP Jacqui Dean really think that banning party pills will get rid of them? What evidence is she basing that on?

More phoney excuses

The soon-to-be-introduced roadside testing for impairment from drug-taking is quite extraordinary. I don't accept what the police are saying.

"If someone is tired or has a medical condition they won't exhibit the same signs as someone who is under the influence of an illegal drug."

Here's just one of the tests;


A driver must maintain his balance while standing upright, with his hands at his sides, head tilted back and eyes closed.

But be assured,

Random tests will not be conducted but if police believe a driver is impaired they must initiate a drug test.

For now but you can bet that will be the next step.

But it's how they justify these things that really rankles. The road toll has come down significantly so that won't work as a reason.

Ministry of Transport figures showed drugs were suspected in 36 crashes in the year to December 31, 2005. Drugs were proven in three whereas alcohol was suspected in 383 crashes.

The evidence of drug-use causing accidents isn't compelling.

So the agent of the state sets an arbitrary target road toll, 300 by 2010, and then complains about looking like we are not going to reach it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Repressive government

It's true I have been feeling grumpy and gloomy since Brash was dumped. While there was a glimmer of hope he would make PM there was something to feel slightly optimistic about. So maybe I am being supersensitive but it seems every which way I turn, the damn government is sticking it's nose in. Switching on Parliament to catch Brash's speech yesterday I got the whining NZ First MP Barbara Stewart telling those protesting about regulation of the natural health products and dietary supplements industry "no regulation is not an option". This morning I see the anti-scalping bill, Major Events Management Bill, will outlaw the sale of tickets to a major event for more than the original sale price.

And of course these odious acts are accompanied by the justification that, the rest of the world does it. NZ was once a radical country. Historically, it has often led the world, sometimes, I admit, in ways I may not have agreed with. As an excuse for meddling and squashing entrepreneurship, it doesn't wash.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Who said it?

As a Minister in a new government almost ten years ago.....and still a Minister today.

"We want to create an environment which encourages NZers to move away from welfare dependence to employment. And for those who still need welfare support, we want to move away from a welfare mentality to a greater acceptance of social obligations. This govt will instil greater levels of parental responsibility. Breaking the cycle of dependency means taking primary responsibility for our own welfare and the welfare of our families."

Barring unemployment, in 1997 there were 191,500 people on the three other main benefits - today there are 223,000.

"Bloggers out for the count in MSM contest"

From today's DomPost, there isn't much here I'd argue with;

We can beat that!

There is a lot of fuss about the US rate of unmarried births right now. Here is more coverage;

The National Center for Health Statistics, the statistical arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has released a report, "Births: Preliminary Data for 2005," that shows the nuclear family is in meltdown:

* Out-of-wedlock births reached 1.5 million last year, or 36.8 percent of the total.

* Among non-Hispanic blacks, the illegitimacy rate reached a staggering 69.5 percent.

* Among non-Hispanic whites, the rate is up to 25.4 percent.

* The illegitimacy rate for Hispanics increased by 1.5 percent in just one year, and now stands at 47.9 percent.

* Of these nonmarital births, 52 percent were to women without a high school diploma vs. just 9 percent to women with a graduate or professional degree.

You may be confused here by the two apparently different Hispanic illegitimacy rates. The first mentioned is the rate of illegitimate births per 1,000 unmarried females and the second is the percentage of all Hispanic births.

According to the NZ Yearbook 2004, ex-nuptial births comprised 44 percent of all births in 2003 and 75 percent of all Maori births were ex-nuptial accounting for nearly half of NZ's ex-nuptial birth rate.

The stereotypical American loves to be biggest and best at everything but I'm afraid we have outdone them in this particular contest.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Sycophantic babble

Whoever wrote today's DomPost editorial (a homage to John Key) is illogical. He or she criticises the government's plans to "clamp down" on third party advertising as "undesirable". This is straight after praising National for promising to support such legislation, "to be part of the solution rather than just a critic in the wilderness." (The writer obviously wants monopoly on that position).

As well, "He has put his stamp on the party and he has shown he knows where he wants to go and how he wants to get there."

The people who would persuade us to hitch our star to Mr Key's wagon are either hearing things or reading between lines. I've been paying attention and there is no 'getting' to where John Key wants to be. We are already there. Anti-nuclear, soft on welfare, and paternalistic toward Maori.

Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency

Teenage Benefits Passport To Long-Term Dependency
Friday, 8 December 2006, 5:11 pm
Press Release: Lindsay Mitchell

At least 37,600 or 37 percent of current domestic purpose beneficiaries first received a benefit as a teenager.

In 1999 the equivalent figures were 17,723 or 16 percent.

Welfare commentator, Lindsay Mitchell said, "Because the Ministry of Social Development can only supply data from January 1993 the actual numbers are likely to be much higher. But the significant increase between 1999 and the present shows clearly that people starting on benefits as teenagers are very likely to stay on welfare long-term."

"Additionally, many of these parents did not start their benefit careers on the DPB. Most started on the unemployment benefit."

Across all benefits there are currently 39,259 single parents with dependent children who first received welfare as a teenager. 53 percent are Maori, 34 percent NZ European and 9 percent are Pacific Islanders. 6 percent are male.

"Having children as an alternative to completing an education or finding a job should not be financially feasible. It is time for the government to look at closing this gateway to dependency and poverty."

Name and shame Dads

The agency that will replace the failed UK Child Support agency is called C-Mec (that should make a difference) and they plan to publish the names of fathers, who have been prosecuted for not paying their liability payment, on the internet.

I've blogged before about the escalation and the size of the child support problem. Welfare is at the heart of it. We continue to focus on an effect rather than the cause.

Methadone for prisoners from today

Can't help but wonder if these two issues are related. From today all NZ methadone programme offenders who go to prison will still be able to receive treatment. Last month the UK government was forced to pay substantial compensation to prisoners who had been refused methadone in prison. There may still be a retrospective problem.

And here's a thought. What about the heroin addicts who were on the waiting list to get on the methadone programme? An addict who committed a crime because he couldn't get on the programme gets no treatment but the one who committed a crime despite being on the programme does. Hardly seems fair.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Manslaughter verdict "appals"

A man who killed his wife by hitting her 4 or 5 times with a cricket bat received a manslaughter sentence. I am assuming this is due to the extreme provocation he experienced. Read about it here and here.

Brian Gardiner from the National Network of Stopping Violence Services is appalled.

"It's not this woman's fault that she is dead, it's his. People experience provocation every day of their lives and do not assault and murder," he said.

I beg to differ. She is, in part, responsible for what happened. In absolving her of any blame Brian Gardiner shows his bias. If the roles had been reversed I doubt Mr Gardiner would be saying anything.

Foreshore and Seabed mess

The Foreshore and Seabed Act is back in the news with John Key looking at supporting the Maori Party's repeal bill (which some Maori are not even happy with). Does anybody properly understand the Foreshore and Seabed Act? I usually stay away from topics I don't. But it seems I am not alone.

The Maori Party says its repeal bill would mean, groups could also pursue aboriginal title claims in the High Court.

Writer Ruth Berry says, they can take the latter path now and if the court finds a territorial - or ownership - right exists, it directs the claimants to the Government to negotiate redress.

Russell Fairbrother believes, the act explicitly ruled out the possibility of aboriginal title claims.

And several lawyers said, the bill was badly drafted and the legal position was unclear.

The advantage for Labour is obvious. If the public can't understand the issue they can turn it into something highly emotive. And people will believe what they want to believe. Should play out well for the government.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Hispanic "family values"

Fascinating, full and frank article here about Hispanic "family values". The Hispanic unmarried birth rate (per 1,000) has over taken that of blacks. This is an exploration of what that will mean for the future. There is still a "lingering work ethic" but more are turning to welfare.(California is one of the poorly performing states in the welfare reform league.)

Every 1,000 unmarried Hispanic women bore 92 children in 2003 (the latest year for which data exist), compared with 28 children for every 1,000 unmarried white women, 22 for every 1,000 unmarried Asian women, and 66 for every 1,000 unmarried black women.

Don't quote me on this but I reckon the 2003 Maori rate to be between 125 and 130 per 1,000 unmarried females aged 15 and over.

The fathers of these illegitimate children are often problematic in even more troubling ways. Social workers report that the impregnators of younger Hispanic women are with some regularity their uncles, not necessarily seen as a bad thing by the mother’s family. Alternatively, the father may be the boyfriend of the girl’s mother, who then continues to stay with the grandmother. Older men seek out young girls in the belief that a virgin cannot get pregnant during her first intercourse, and to avoid sexually transmitted diseases.

I'm from the council and I'm here to help

Like ----. Here's another council horror story. Risk assessment on mince pies ordered.

I seriously considered (for all of two minutes) running for council to try and stem the bureaucracy but apparently the beast just churns away, much of the activity unbeknown to councillors until it hits the fan and they cop the flack.

Race-based funding persists

I was under the impression the government had moved away from race-based funding. The Otago DHB has awarded a contract for a Maori-focused health service in Central Otago.

Southlink Health Maori Health project manager Wayne Smith said cost, transport and a problem accessing doctors during work hours were all issues for Maori.

The new service would provide a necessary link between health services and Maori, many of whom were "uncomfortable" in that environment, he said.

The justification goes, this is needs-based funding, but is there anything in the above that isn't true of many low-income non-Maori?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Picture of disparity

Statistics NZ has chosen to highlight Maori statistics in its presentation of final Census counts. Here is a summary;

Maori make up 14 percent of the population. The Maori population is much younger with a median age of 22.7 compared to 35.9 for the general population. Forty nine percent of the general population are married whereas only 29 percent of the Maori population are. 40 percent of Maori have no formal educational qualifications compared to 25 percent of the general population. The most common occupation for Maori is labourer and the most common over the general population is professional. The median income for Maori is $20,900 versus $24,400 across the total.

Linda reminded me earlier today about the business of doing things in the right order; finish your education, have your kids after marriage and stay married, to safeguard against poverty. (I think it may have been Newt Gingrich who originally said it). It would probably be good advice for Maori, in particular, to take on board. But I also take my hat off to all those hardworking Maori people who do vital manual and unskilled work for very little reward.

Don Brash responds to Hager book

I am pleased to see Don Brash responding to Nicky Hager's book. It appalls me that Hager is profiting from stolen property.

When I was considering whether to stand in the 2005 election it was suggested to me that entering and emerging from politics would be like going through a shower of shit. I thought the person who made this observation to me was exaggerating but perhaps not.

My experience of having half of our hoardings stolen was trifling by comparison but it leaves a sordid and seedy taste. I hope Don Brash has had plenty of personal support over the last few weeks because he certainly deserves it.


According to this graph roughly 35 percent of people aged 15 and over have an income of $15,000 or less. You might be tempted to think a few people are telling porkies. But take into account;

500,000 superannuitants, 300,000 15-20 year-olds, 300,000 working age beneficiaries, some thousands of non-working partners/stay home parents and it begins to make sense.

So when commentators start talking about our low median income, especially Maori, remember how it is calculated. It is sometimes confused with median wages or salaries.

Census data

Interesting Census results just released;

*One in eleven New Zealanders/residents is Asian, one in seven is Maori and one in fifteen is a Pacific person

*Three quarter of households had access to cell phones and sixty percent have internet (Hello there)

*Auckland is the fastest growing region followed by Canterbury

A fat dog story

A very fat dog's owners are being prosecuted for animal cruelty and their dog has been taken from them. Won't be long before 'kids' can be substituted for 'dogs' I reckon.

Cussed councils

How is it councils can't act when you need them to and can when you don't?

An alternative form of birth control?

After some discussion yesterday about birth control I thought on reading this, if you lived in Christchurch, it just might be enough to put you off.

Radical plans to tackle overcrowding at Christchurch Women's Hospital may mean low-risk pregnant women are barred from giving birth there.

Under proposals yet to be put out for consultation, pregnant women who are deemed unlikely to have complications during labour would be directed to primary birthing units, such as Lincoln, Rangiora or Burwood, or advised to have a home birth.

An epidural for pain relief would not then be an option.

On the other hand they could turn up to the Canterbury Charity Hospital which exists for people who cannot get treatment from the public ones. I was going to give a bouquet to Pete Hodgson yesterday for finally sorting the bad blood fiasco but I've changed my mind.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"Single mothers, many problems."

"Single mothers, many problems" is from the Wall St Journal and describes the new demographic - poor, working, single mothers. 37 percent of US births are to unmarried mothers. In NZ the percentage was 45 in 2004.

One answer

It is recognised that criminal victimisation surveys provide the best measure of violent crime. When they have been conducted in NZ they show much higher levels of crime than either court statistics or police records. The latest criminal victimisation survey in the US shows violent crime has DROPPED from 49.4 to 20.9 per 100,000 people over the age of 12 between 1980 and 2005. Why? Because they are locking more people up.

Putting aside the futility of the 'war on drugs' and incarceration of drug offenders pushing up numbers, it is obvious that keeping dangerous criminals away from the public is one way to reduce violent crime. It doesn't need to be forever either. Most criminals burn out in middle age.

Give me a reason

A great song by Luther Vandross but not what I was thinking about.

At a lunch last week a fellow diner remarked on how violent Christchurch had become. There are so many murders, she said. There are "so many murders" in many places, I remarked which elicited a broad murmur of assent. A question arose, "Is it going to get better?". Yes, I replied, because everything is cyclical. I didn't add that I believe it'll get worse first and any improvement will probably be outside my life time. Pessimistic? Give me any half decent reason why it would improve.

I was reminded about this exchange by this morning's report in The Press that violent offending among youth is up 21 percent over the previous year (and that's just the ones the police have caught).

Monday, December 04, 2006

Abstinence hailed as success?

Destiny's Abstinence Programme Proving Critics Wrong

150 young people, primarily from South Auckland and of Maori/Pacific Island descent, will formalize their commitment to Destiny's Absolute Abstinence programme in Mt Wellington this Friday night. The commitment comes off the back of a comprehensive education programme that educates young people on preferred choices when it comes to sex and drug/alcohol use.
Since the launch of Destiny's Absolute Abstinence model, over 700 young people have enrolled in the programme nationwide, with a 78% success rate for those remaining committed to their pledge of abstinence. The pregnancy rate within the programme presently sits at 1.6%.

Not a fan of the religous Right I nevertheless prefer to see people benefiting from some sort of eductaion than becoming welfare dependent, poor (in both senses of the word) parents.

On the basis of the general 15-19 year-old population the pregnancy rate is 2.5 and the birth rate 1.3 but among Maori and Pacific it rises to approximately 5 and 3 percent (the latter are rough calculations).

If on the other hand Destiny's sample is weighted towards younger teenagers (most teenage births are to 18 and 19 year-olds) they may not be making much difference. More detailed information would be useful.

Learning Maori

Came across this site which is very useful. You can click on words to hear their pronunciation, listen to passages, test yourself etc. Now all I need is some time.....

IQ gap persists; why and what to do.

Fascinating stuff from Reason. Charles Murray and James Flynn argue about whether the IQ gap between black and non-Hispanic white Americans has closed over the last thirty years. Murray is a libertarian and Flynn a socialist.

Flynn further observed that blacks generally do worse on vocabulary tests and he suggested that a cultural difference might explain it. The children of professionals hear about 2500 different words in a day whereas the children of welfare mothers hear about 600 different words every day. Finally, Flynn believes that the black adolescent subculture that devalues education is largely responsible for widening the IQ gap. “It is more probable than not that the black/white IQ gap results from environmental factors,” he declared.

Murray argued that general intelligence, so-called "g," a general factor that governs performance on all cognitive tasks, is highly heritable. He noted that g has a biological background in the brain. He cited differences in glucose metabolism, reaction times, and the volumes of specific grey matter in prefrontal cortices.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

'Extremists' not wanted

The following is just one sample of so many opinion pieces written about the change in National leadership. This is from The Press (with my comment below);

When former National leader Don Brash announced his resignation from Parliament this week, it marked more than the end of his personal political dream. Brash, it has become increasingly clear, was supported or advised by a small number of prominent new-Right zealots, says The Press in an editorial.

For them, the revolution that began two decades ago with Sir Roger Douglas's policies should never have ended, and Brash became their chosen champion. His exit from politics and his replacement by the team of John Key and Bill English mark the last gasp of Rogernomics and the end of an era.

Brash often talked the language of the mainstream but, as author Nicky Hager's book has confirmed, his supporters included those who were anything but this. Behind the scenes, he was encouraged or assisted by figures such as Ruth Richardson, Michael Bassett and the Business Roundtable's Diane Foreman and Roger Kerr.

These individuals are undoubtedly passionate about New Zealand and their own vision to promote economic growth and higher living standards.

Their vision and policies might sit well in their more natural home of ACT New Zealand, but they are out of step with the values of most New Zealanders and any political party which aspires to be seen as broad-based, centrist and electable.

New Zealanders are going to get what they vote for. They don't want 'extremist' politicians but are apparently happy to live in a country riddled with extremes. Extreme violence, extreme lawlessness, extreme division between living standards, extreme waiting lists, extreme illiteracy, extreme rates of imprisonment, extreme rates of stds and teenage abortion and birth.

Ironically in this age of choice nobody wants to make the hard ones. Sit on the fence, stay in the middle, don't rock the boat, sit in your comfort zone. Most people are just gutless. That's what National knows and ACT doesn't want to.

Still on Don Brash

Tariana Turia says in her Beehive Comment; The Maori Party position didn’t even make the bulletin. Seems that nobody wants to hear a statement which says ‘we respect his right to make a decision’ or ‘we appreciate the impact such a difficult time can have upon the family’.

You see, nasty headlines, cutting insults are what sells papers – remarks which play on people’s fears and prejudices.

I can only conclude that Hone Harawira no longer officially represents the Maori Party.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

You get what you pay for?

Pay and display machines are being blown up by 'vigilantes'in East Sussex, UK, because they are so unpopular. Seems a bit over the top but when you consider that the authorities in Banbury go so far as to make parkers type in their registration number to prevent them handing an unused amount of time over to another motorist you begin to understand why there is such antipathy towards them.

Kiddy crisis in the 'Naki

Cinema: Parents parking kids, not cars

Children as young as eight are being dumped at the cinema by their parents

One of the lead stories in the Taranaki Daily News.

There are a couple of things I noticed. The use of the word 'dump' instead of 'drop off' inferring any parent who drops off their child is bad. I wouldn't let my eight year-old go to the cinema without an adult but I have dropped off my twelve year-old to meet friends. The reminder that the movie could be sold out is useful.

Good on the movie company for looking after the children that do get stranded.

But here's the line that really disgusts me; The New Plymouth District Council says it cannot review parking charges until next June because of the costs of retriggering the Local Government Act's need for consultation.

Isn't it pathetic? The stifling burden of rules and regulations. In fact, I'm sure if they look hard enough the council or OSH could find some reason why the cinema company shouldn't be taking care of kids in a separate area when they can't get into the movie.

Friday, December 01, 2006

National morphing into Labour

Here we go. National morphing into Labour. Jackie Blue positioning herself to be the next Minister of Women's Affairs. ACT should be putting out a press release reminding New Zealand they would abolish this archaic, politics-of-privilege department.

Let woman then go on —not asking favors, but claiming as a right the removal of all hindrances to her elevation in the scale of being —let here receive encouragement for the proper cultivation of all her powers, so that she may enter profitably into the active business of life . . . Then in the marriage union, the independence of husband and wife will be equal, their dependence mutual, and their obligations reciprocal.

— Lucretia Coffin Mott, Discourse on Woman [December 17, 1849]

Reforming Welfare

I had a flick through the UK report, Reforming Welfare, yesterday, looking for any comparative NZ data. This is all I found and it's from 2002 which devalues its usefulness.

Anyway, Maxim have done a good job summarising the report as follows;


The already compelling case for welfare reform in the United Kingdom grew stronger recently, with the ballooning of government dependency continuing, and the release of a new report by the think tank Reform.

Reforming Welfare examines the current state of the British welfare system, showing that while spending on welfare is "colossal", the state of beneficiaries is getting worse, and the poverty trap only deeper. The British government spent £79 billion on welfare during 2005, supporting an estimated 14 percent of the working age population. At the same time, the number of government benefits has ballooned from seven in 1948 to 51 today.

The Times reported recently that under the British equivalent of New Zealand's "Working for Families" scheme, even those in the richest fifth of households are in receipt of government benefits. The paper reported that a third of the scheme's expenditure goes to the richest 50 percent of homes. It appears that more and more people are lining up for help they may not even need.

But although the welfare budget sucks more and more cash from the public purse, it delivers little in return. Reforming Welfare states that outcomes such as inequality and poverty are only getting worse, with many poorer regions worse off than 20 years ago. The report argues that the moral, social and economic consequences of welfare dependency are crippling, tracing the gradual historical shift from local structures aimed at preserving independence to the modern welfare state with its central bureaucracy and endless paperwork.

Setting the debate in much-needed context, the report lays down a tough and important challenge New Zealand cannot ignore. A welfare state which breeds a culture of entitlement is neither sustainable nor wise. As a country, we must do better when it comes to those left behind.

"Why won't NZ cut taxes?"

National Party associate finance spokesman, Craig Foss, has an article in the Wall St journal. Well done. NCPA summarises it.

Since the Labor Party took power in 1999, taxes have become quite burdensome:

* The top personal tax rate has been hiked to 39 percent from 33 percent.
* The corporate rate -- already a hefty 33 percent -- hasn't changed for over a quarter century.
* New Zealand's income and corporate tax-to-GDP ratio now ranks 16th among Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries; seven years ago, the country placed 10th.

I take it then we can look forward to National cutting taxes.

Pregnant teenage heroin addict remanded

A pregnant teenage heroin addict was remanded in the Invercargill district court in order for CYF to arrange treatment for her and her unborn child. The story focuses on whether or not newborns of addicts are harmed by their mother's drug use, which is a bit laughable given the very strong possibility that if she uses heroin she also smokes and drinks (probably courtesy of a sickness benefit). But I am more interested in the fact she is in court. Had she committed some other crime? Or does CYF have the power to take her to court because of concerns over the unborn child?

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Good luck to the government

From Scoop;

Following yesterday's removal of this final legal obstacle, CPAG is looking forward to its chance to argue that the government's In Work Payment discriminates against some children, says Ms Wakim.

"The basis of our case is that children's needs are the same, whether or not parents are able to work. It is time to support all New Zealand's children including those whose parents may not be able to work," she says.

My argument against this is here.
Not often I find myself supporting the government.

Maori Party against Maori place names

The Maori Party would be amongst the strongest proponents of te reo. But now Tariana Turia is very angry about prisons having Maori names because of the negative connotations associated with these institutions.

"We know too, of the extreme objection that mana whenua took in the process of establishing a name for the Waikato based prison, at Spring Hill, early last year" said Mrs Turia. "Iwi had objected to the name, Puke Puna as they did not want Maori culture associated with the facility" recalled Mrs Turia.

"And yet still the Department persists with a whole new vocabulary of Maori names for their jails: Arohata (Tawa), Te Piriti, Te Wairere, Te Mahinga (Paremoremo), Kia Marama (Rolleston), Te Hikoinga, Rangipo (Tongariro), Kareo (Youth unit at Northland); and I'm sure there's plenty more where they come from" said Mrs Turia.

"Then we have all of the elaborately named programmes, such as 'Te Wairua o Nga Tangata (community probation programme) or even the expensive branding exercise to create a Maori sub-title for the Department".

"Is it meant to seduce us all into thinking these places are actually good for Maori, by virtue of having a Maori subtitle?" asked Mrs Turia.

Can anybody make any sense of her outrage?

Cheery thoughts for a dismal day

The lucky British have a 'welfare nation' that is bigger than ours! With spending of 79 billion pounds, on a per head of population basis that equates to 1,316 pounds or $3,777. Ours is only $3,601.

Gordon Brown is to thank for the wonderful expansion of welfare into the homes of "the rich". What a fantastic Prime Minister he is going to make.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Come on, National

This post is an exercise in cheering myself up and finding something good to say about National. It's partly fiction. But it needn't be.

John Key will hand the welfare portfolio back to Katherine Rich who always presented a softer persona but actually did some real work in welfare when she produced her 2003 paper, Saving the next generation from welfare dependence. In it she laid out a plan which included working for the dole and work-testing, reciprocal obligations, time limits and reform of the child support system.

Rich will then front welfare reform policies using the Key approach of we will not turn our back on you but we have expectations - get off your bottom, be 'aspirational', grasp the opportunities for the sake of your children.

Key has already signalled this by insisting on adopting policies that work. There is all the evidence he needs they work in the United States.

Still, I had similar hopes for the Maori party and welfare but they were misplaced.....

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And the Nicky Hager award goes to....

Robson-on-Politics for;

Mr Bolger promised an end to Rogernomics and won a mandate but the moment votes had been counted after the 1990 election he put a Rogernome, Ms Ruth Richardson, into the finance portfolio and in came policies like Crown Health Enterprises (you had to pay a fee to go to a hospital), asset sales (NZ Railways was sold as were the last of the public shareholding in BNZ bank), unemployment soared to above 20% for Maori and toward 9% for non-Maori and welfare dependency and drug abuse and violence rose.

Unemployment was higher or similar in the UK and Australia and Canada and France and Italy.

Welfare dependency dropped between 1990 and 1996 by 22 percent.

Drug abuse and violence rose. Just as they continue to rise today under the Clark government.

The key from debut

Policies not personalities. That's what we should be looking very closely at. Here's what Key said in his debut today;

Personal freedom, individual responsibility, a competitive economy, and support for families and communities are the very principles under which the party was formed 70 years ago, and they are as relevant today as they were then.

What you can be assured of is that our policies will always be measured against our core principles.

We'll be watching.

Early intervention in UK crime

When I read this headline I expected a story about intervening when potential criminals were still very young children. I was wrong.

Early intervention in UK crime

6.20am Tuesday November 28, 2006

British criminal psychologists are putting together a list of the 100 most dangerous murderers and rapists before they have committed any such crimes, The Times said.

Statements from previous partners, information from mental health workers, and details of past complaints are helping create the profiles.

Once an individual has been targeted, police can decide whether to plan an arrest.

Hone messes with Maori Party mana

Maori Party Statement on the resignation of Don Brash;

“As a party, we have stood firmly on our philosophy that we have practised in the House, of not belitting others. It is a practice we endeavour to uphold in all spheres of our activity. We will not compromise that practice now. E hara tenei i te wa, he whakaiti tangata” concluded Dr Sharples.

(Just goes to show all Maori do not think and act the same way. That's a bugger for the collectivists.)

Monday, November 27, 2006

Our "great social progress"

Another international conference is being held in Wellington today. It is about the FGC, or Family Group Conference, a process which was born in NZ in 1989. The Family Group Conference changed child and youth justice. It primarily kept offenders out of court. Today only 16-17 percent of offences go to court. 44 percent of offenders receive warnings only. Ruth Dyson opened the conference this morning with a typical ministerial speech which would have sent me to sleep in a nanosecond. Here she is winding up;

As any proud parent would, I'm going to finish by noting the international success of our baby – again. The FGC has been adopted and adapted around the world as a best practice model. As a country New Zealand can be justifiably proud of this and the great social progress we continue to make.

The great social progress we continue to make! Doesn't that take the cake. Talk about blinkered government.

"Que(e)rying Research"

Here's a conference many taxpayers will be ecstatic about paying for;

A conference looking at research into Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) issues will be held at AUT University next week.

In her address Professor Pringle will draw on a small local study of 'out' lesbian managers to argue that their lack of response to questions about gender issues in the workplace is because gender is actually heterogender - rooted in a dichotomous masculine and feminine relationship.

Identity issues for the women in this local study centred around the multi-layered process of coming out, making their sexual orientation visible within their managerial position. To some extent these lesbians were freed from gender issues, because managing gender is managing heterosexuality.

So what's the problem? What is it about academics creating problems where there are none. It's too clever for me.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Collin's views on welfare = ACT's?

The Herald on Sunday summarises the Hager book;

Hager says: "(Brash) gave the (welfare) job to an MP called Judith Collins, whose views on welfare would have fitted comfortably into (ACT)."

I suppose they do resemble Muriel Newman's. They are conservative views. The conservative wants welfare with obligations. It's expensive and paternalistic. It's interventionist. It may be an improvement on what we have.

Myself? I frequently disagree with the conservative approach.

Here's an example. Take the common occurrence of women giving birth outside of a permanent relationship. The conservative hankers after making all non-custodial fathers take financial responsibility for their children. Too many fathers are 'deadbeat Dads'.

I say make the person who decided to have the child take responsibility.

The conservative won't move on but we are living in different times. Women have rights, choice and independence hitherto unknown. They now need to accept liability as well.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Beaten by the Aussies again

Economist rates New Zealand 11th= in democracy index (left click to enlarge)

Objective academia

A research team led by the PM's husband Peter Davies has found that families are no better off financially than 20 years ago. The team includes a sociologist who says;

"What's scary in New Zealand is that it hasn't got better under Labour".

I suppose if National had been government he would have said, no wonder. Hardly an objective academic.

Professor Davis told a Sociological Association conference in Hamilton this week that each Census cost $25 million, but until now the Government had not got that value of data from it.

They cost a damn sight more than that. That little bit of 'research' wasn't quite up to the mark.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Will welfare reform go west?

Brash in a Spectator interview two weeks ago;

In the Spectator interview, he said that his overriding objective was to make New Zealand wealthy again. He also admitted that the party's education for the 2005 election was "in some respects" a quasi-voucher system. He said he wanted "real" welfare reform. "There has been a big exodus of people from unemployment benefit to non-work-tested sickness and invalid benefit. We were going to take a much firmer view to avoid people getting trapped in these demoralising dependency traps."

Brash always understood how big a problem welfare dependence is for this country. Google Don Brash and Welfare and you get oodles.

Google John Key and Welfare and there is almost nothing. Sure Key hasn't had the portfolio or been leader but Brash was talking about the need for reform when he was Reserve Bank Governor! It was always crystal clear what concerned Brash but I have no idea what John Key is passionate about changing.

In terms of acting on welfare, Bill English is the better bet.

He's just not Don Brash

Not PC is looking for reasons to get excited about John Key but can't find any. I can't help him.

But I can give him a few which justify his lack of enthusiasm;

Mr Key

- supports Kiwibank buying into the home loan market under the guise of 'public-private partnerships'

- supports raising the minimum wage

- supports the extension of state owned enterprises

- urges a more "hands-on" approach to the economy

- bought into middle class welfare when he used a parliamentary perk to subsidise his Wellington mortgage

Just a few instances I've blogged about this year. I'm sure he's a nice bloke and all that; smart, witty, photogenic and mainstream. But it's the policies that matter.

How much lower?

Broadmindedness is not a characteristic I can lay claim to. I was sent the Investigate article about David Benson-Pope due for publication today and was so repulsed by the images I had difficulty in reading it. I deleted it. If Wishart has fabricated any of this it is a truly evil action. If he didn't, and neither did his informant, then David Benson Pope is gone. I feel very, very sorry for his family. Can politics go much lower?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Pro-legalisation movement strengthens

This has revived my spirits slightly;

More than 60 British officers, including two former chief constables, have joined Jack Cole's Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (Leap). He spent 26 years with the police in New Jersey. "Prohibition doesn't work, it's never worked," said Mr Cole, who will be addressing meetings of police officers and MPs during his visit. "Leap wants to end drug prohibition just as we ended alcohol prohibition in 1933. When we ended that nasty law, we put Al Capone out of business overnight - and we can do the same to the drug lords and terrorists who make over $500bn a year selling illegal drugs around the world."

Brash resigns

Don has resigned. I feel immensely sad and disappointed. It is one more nail in the coffin of politics for me.

Update; Gerry Brownlee is supporting John Key. Is Key a foregone conclusion?

My feeling is he will make National indistinguishable from Labour but capture the public imagination and take National to victory anyway. Then we will have another innings of National largely supporting the status quo. As they have, in general, always done. Labour govts have always been the doers.

Barry Soper has just described Don Brash as a most "unconventional politician" and not suited to "this place". Parliament=conformity? National=conformity.

A stunning display of stupidity

This is a stunner, isn't it? Why do we accord these imbeciles any degree of respectability? The police, that is.....

Culture, not booze, the problem

Auckland Mayoral candidate talking sense here.

And Stephen Berry's advocacy of legalisation of alternative drugs is not silly. I have worked with two people this year who have substantially improved their lives, and those of the people around them, by keeping away from booze and smoking cannabis instead. For these people keeping off alcohol is taking some degree of responsibility.

Govt dept costs balloon

The Commerce Commission is costing the taxpayer 22 percent more than the year before with spending on staff increasing by 24 percent although consultancy costs quadrupled as well. There are around 160 staff and more than 30 earn over $100,000 - up from 12 the previous year. The chairwoman earns $411,000 - up 14 percent on the previous year.

Ironically, this outfit provides a fine example of what happens without competition.

The scrutiniser needs scrutinising.

(Source DomPost - no link)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

White ribbon

See what my 12 year-old son brought home from school.

I asked him, "Where's the other one?"

"Which other one?" he replied.

"The one that shows you don't support women being violent towards men and children."

"Apparently that's on the increase too", he answered. Ah. At least he is getting some balance.


Maori are twice as likely to have substance abuse problems.

The startling finding was revealed in statistical analysis of ‘Te Rau Hinengaro: The New Zealand Mental Health Survey’ and will be presented at the ATCA conference by Professor Doug Sellman, Director of the National Addiction Centre and the Christchurch School of Medicine.

“In the raw data, it appeared Maori were actually three times more likely to have substance abuse problems than other ethnicities, so the question was asked: how much of this result is due to ethnicity, and how much is due to other factors?” says Professor Sellman.

Multi-regression mathematical models were used to factor in variables that could explain the disparity such as age, gender, education, and household income.

“This analysis found that, independently of these other variables, Maori are twice as likely to have lifetime substance use disorders than other ethnic groups,” says Professor Sellman.

I don't find this startling. It's at the root of most of Maori disproportionately poor statistics. Alcoholism, binge drinking, cannabis and harder drug addiction lead to crime, inside and outside the home. Who are they kidding, startling?

Worse than a dog's breakfast

Labour will no doubt be watching this Stuff poll as it tries to decide whether to make supporting Bradford's Bill a conscience or party vote.

Do you support the anti-smacking bill?

Yes (18 votes, 20.5%)

No (66 votes, 75.0%)

I'm not sure (4 votes, 4.5%)

The proposed legislation is worse than a dog's breakfast - it's a dog's breakfast regurgitated.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Xmas presents needed for children of inmates

Angel Tree is a fund set up by the Prison Fellowship to provide, among other things, xmas gifts for prisoner's children. They are particularly stretched this year due to 7,800 people being behind bars -"2,000 more than was predicted two years ago".
If you want to donate you can go to the Prison Fellowship website. To be honest I don't know whether I will or not but there may be more christian-spirited types than me reading this blog.

Birth statistics

The number of births is the highest since 1992. The September 2006 year has just been released and the ethnicity breakdown is interesting. Of the 59,120 births 29 percent were registered with Maori ethnicity, 15 percent Pacific, 10 percent Asian and 70 percent with NZ European and others, 1.5 percent. Obviously the percentages do not add up because around a quarter of births have more than one ethnicity registered.

But in 2004 28 percent of babies had Maori ancestry, 68 percent were non-Maori and 4 percent had no ancestry specified.

Since 1996 Asian births have grown by 61 percent from 3792 to 6100.

The thoughts of Chairman Trotter

While not entirely agreeing with this column by Marc Alexander (Trotter does occasionally criticise Labour) I rather enjoyed it and you might too. I'm sure Trotter's dogged loyalty to Marxist rhetoric raises more eyebrows than just mine.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Xmas work

In the run-up to Xmas I get jobs to paint children. Here's one in progress;

Asian abortion

Further from Deborah Coddington's column;

Here's a disturbing fact: in 2003 four of every five pregnant Asian women aborted their babies. Do we keep abortion as a last-resort method of birth control, or accept it's a casual approach to contraception?

"Four of every five" where??

Not here. In 2003 there were 5285 births to Asian mothers and 3502 Asian abortions. So 40 percent of pregnancies ended in abortion. In 2004 this dropped to 36 percent. Neither figure is anywhere near 80 percent.

I got the distinct impression she was writing about Asians in New Zealand. Did you?

Attitudes to Asians

Deborah Coddington is defending her North and South piece on Asian crime in today's Herald on Sunday. Here's an excerpt;

My sin was to write a feature about how New Zealand has gone from a country which once regarded Chinese immigrants as hard-working, law-abiding, good kiwis to today's situation, where each week brings news of yet another major crime involving Asians.

Contrast this to Margaret McClure's description of how NZ used to regard Asians;

I realise Deborah is considering a different time frame but if anything New Zealander's attitude to and treatment of Asians has vastly improved.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Children into care, Families into care...same thing really

Putting entire families into care is the next approach on the agenda for dealing with welfare and drug dependent parents with children. Apparently this is a common strategy used in Sweden so has Sue Bradford's backing. Hang on. I thought Sweden was some kind of promised land where families weren't dysfunctional, thanks to the state running their lives for them. Funnily enough Green co-leader, Russel Norman, apparently said, in a debate about Rodney Hide's Regulatory Responsibility Bill that the Greens share ACT's suspicion of the state. Has anybody told Sue?

Less Government = more wealth

Socialists believe, when you claim the above, it's all about putting more money in your own pocket. Because that's the way they think. What's in it for me? And they assume everybody else does. After all it's always lefties trying to live off somebody else.

But more wealth benefits everybody and reduces poverty. And more wealth requires less government. A new Goldwater Institute report out of the US proves it. The great thing about the states is that each one does its own thing and the results can be compared.

The report, which can be downloaded from the NCPA link begins;

In modern politics, many believe that the government plays the role of Robin Hood. Through progressive taxation and spending, proponents believe that government reduces poverty while making everyone pay their fair share. The pages that follow will empirically evaluate the effectiveness of state government as Robin Hood.

NCPA summarises;

# The 10 states with the highest state spending per capita (Alaska, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Wyoming) saw an average increase of 7.3 percent of overall poverty rates and a 4.5 percent increase in childhood poverty.

# The 10 states with the lowest spending (Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee and Texas) saw overall poverty decline by 11.2 percent and childhood poverty fall 12.2 percent.

The dramatic declines in poverty in the "small government" states strongly confirms the hypothesis that reduced taxes and state spending encourages the emigration of people and businesses to areas where private-sector job growth is able to flourish and become a powerful and effective antipoverty program, says Ladner. And while taxes and business climate alone are not the only factors in reducing poverty rates, they certainly go a long way in helping fight the war on poverty.

And from the report a couple of highlights; Colorado, the only state operating under a Taxpayer Bill of Rights reduced poverty more than any other state during the 90s. (It'll be interesting to see what impact suspending it will have.)

Wisconsin, which led the way in welfare reform, experienced strong drops in poverty rates.

Bear in mind this report pertains only to the 90s.

Rubbing their noses in it

Film maker, Michael Moore is such a magnanimous guy. Read this - his pledge to the Republicans. Just to give you a taste here's number 5;

5) When we make America the last Western democracy to have universal health coverage, and all Americans are able to get help when they fall ill, we promise that you too will be able to see a doctor, regardless of your ability to pay.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Why do we need state telly?

Stuff poll asks, Which free-to-air television channel do you prefer?

TV One (863 votes, 16.3%)

TV2 (767 votes, 14.5%)

TV3 (2382 votes, 45.0%)

C4 (222 votes, 4.2%)

Prime (738 votes, 14.0%)

Triangle (36 votes, 0.7%)

Maori TV (191 votes, 3.6%)

Other (89 votes, 1.7%)

The "Who do we adults think we are?" Forum

This is a report from a UNICEF forum held yesterday (I think). I wonder what you will make of it? I have interspersed some comments.

What emerged from the forum was a declaration that New Zealanders generally, and professionals in particular, need to start watching their language. People who care about the wellbeing of children and young people need to start following the feminist example of challenging disrespectful jokes and language that put women down, and start being strong about challenging ways of talking that are disrespectful of children as fellow human beings.

Has the 'feminist example' improved relations between the sexes or the level of violence adults are subjected to?

Too often children are talked about dismissively as if their value lay in the adults they will become rather than the human beings they are now. The forum challenges adult New Zealanders to listen to themselves and to not just demand respect, but to give it too.

I thoroughly respect my kids when they act in ways that deserve respect and I try to remember to remark on it to them. When they don't, I let them know.

'Children are often talked about and talked to in ways that are incredibly disrespectful’ says David Kenkel the UNICEF advocacy manager for New Zealand. He went on to add. ‘If you talked about any other group in society in the disparaging and dismissive way that children are so often talked about you’d face serious complaints.’

As well as silly complaints.

This is particularly true for teenagers, we demand respect from them but don’t always give respect in the ways we talk to them and about them. Think about what it must be like to be constantly described as a problem in media and conversation and to be viewed with suspicion when you and friends walk down the road just because of your age?’

I seem to remember not weeks ago many NZers fighting for the rights of young adults as largely responsible and respectable young individuals.

Dr Ian Hassall , New Zealand’s former commissioner for children described how children are loved and cherished in the private spheres of family life but that this attitude and way of talking doesn’t always cross over into the public sphere where too often children are described as if they were troublesome and burdensome. When a phrase like ‘they were no trouble’ is the best praise you can say in public about a child it says something about how the public sphere sees children as needing to be quiet deferential and obedient. Of course they can never conform to these expectations because they are human beings just like the rest of us.

Quiet, deferential and obedient? He's kidding. Very few parents harbour such old-fashioned expectations. It's rather nice if it happens but generally children make noise, think about themselves first and regularly test the boundaries.

These people are really trying too hard.

Milton Friedman dies

Classically Liberal reports on the very recent passing of Milton Friedman.

My thoughts turn to a live-link interview he and his wife Rose conducted with an ACT conference audience about 3-4 years ago. His mind was crystal sharp at over 90. This will be a great loss, especially for his wife with whom he co-authored much work.

Benson-Pope - wrong again

Yesterday he told Parliament, 'People coming off a benefit in the last year outnumbered those going on to any benefit by a ratio of 4:1.'

If Mr Benson-Pope understood his portfolio he would immediately recognise that this is simply not possible.

Typically between 50 and 60 percent of the total caseload turns over each year. With a current caseload of around 280,000 at least 140,000 will have been new applications granted in the past year. In which case 560,000 people must have come off any benefit to satisfy a 4:1 ratio. That is impossible

The quality of the advice Benson-Pope is getting from the Ministry is very poor but his inability to recognise this is even more worrying.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

US Congressman Ron Paul's weekly column

Demographic Reality and the Entitlement State

November 13, 2006

The Government Accountability Office, or GAO, is an investigative arm of Congress charged with the thankless task of accounting for the money received and spent by the federal government. As you might imagine, people who spend all day examining the nitty-gritty realities of federal spending and deficits might not share the voters' enthusiasm for grand campaign promises.

David Walker, Comptroller General at GAO, has been on a speaking tour of the U.S recently-- and he pulls no punches when explaining just how precarious our nation's entitlement system really is.

He explains that Social Security and Medicare are headed for a train wreck because of demographic trends and rising health care costs. The number of younger taxpayers for each older retiree will continue to decline. The demand for "free" prescription drugs under Medicare will explode. If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes.

Furthermore, Walker asserts, we cannot grow our way out of this problem. Faster economic growth can only delay the inevitable hard choices. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.

In short, Mr. Walker is telling the political class that the status quo cannot be maintained. He is to be commended for his refreshing honesty and unwillingness to provide excuses for the two political parties, the administration, or the even the entitlement-minded American public.

I urge everyone interested to visit the GAO website at, where you can view a report entitled: "Our Nation's Fiscal Outlook: The Federal Government's Long-Term Budget Imbalance." This report should be required reading for every politician in Washington.

Are ever growing entitlement and military expenditures really consistent with a free country? Do these expenditures, and the resulting deficits, make us more free or less free? Should the government or the marketplace provide medical care? Should younger taxpayers be expected to provide retirement security and health care even for affluent retirees? Should the U.S. military be used to remake whole nations? Are the programs, agencies, and departments funded by Congress each year constitutional? Are they effective? Could they operate with a smaller budget? Would the public even notice if certain programs were eliminated altogether? These are the kinds of questions the American people must ask, even though Congress lacks the courage to do so.

If we hope to avoid a calamitous financial future for our nation, we must address the hardest question of all: What is the proper role for government in our society? The answer to this question will determine how prosperous and free we remain in the decades to come.

Russell Fairbrother tells us how it works

"Often indirectly, you ask questions which suggest the girl is a bit of a sleazebag ... we're trying to put a stop to that kind of thing."

Read the full story here. Rather an injudicious choice of words. And isn't there a whiff of hypocrisy here.....what I used to do I now want stopped?

"Child abuse, 'It's your fault' "

Head of the Ministry of Social Development, Peter Hughes, came out swinging yesterday saying it is the responsibility of NZ adults to stop child abuse. Stop blaming government departments, he says. Of course he is right - to a point.

But look at what the Ministry does. In full knowledge that most abused or neglected children will come out of beneficiary homes where the parent is young, supposedly single, frequently Maori it continues to pay out cash no questions asked. It administers the very system that perpetuates the problem.

And if he looked at his own statistics he would see that there has been a steady rise in under-twenty single parents, a steady rise in the proportion of Maori on benefit, a steady rise in CYF notifications and substantiated findings of abuse or neglect, a steady rise in the number of people who are on a sickness or invalid benefit for drug, alcohol and substance addiction, some of whom have children. Yet his department continues to pay out more whenever a new child is added to a benefit, again, no questions asked.

The day Mr Hughes starts demanding policy change at a select committee is the day I will pay him some respect.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Dunne vs Robson

Would anyone care to comment on the significance of this for Matt Robson?

Compo for cold turkey (cont.)

750,000 pounds to 200. That should buy a few doses.

The hysterical thing about this development is that earlier in the year there was talk about quietly "retoxifying" reformed addicts coming up for release to prevent them over-dosing once out.

So addicts are committing crimes to get into prison for treatment. They don't get any so sue and win. But, unless they are retoxified after the cold turkey, they run the risk of killing themselves on release. With three or four thousand pounds in their pockets the prospect seems even more likely.

Doomsday predictions

Further reporting about the diabetes epidemic reveals, "There is a death due to diabetes every 10 seconds, and an amputation due to diabetes every 30 seconds. We are dealing with the biggest epidemic in world history."

Because indigenous peoples have higher rates they run the risk of becoming extinct.

There are 5 deaths due to cardiovascular heart disease every 10 seconds, 3 deaths due to smoking every 20 seconds, 1 death due to a road accident every 30 seconds. As Maori also feature disproportionately in all of these risks, presumably they are all threatening extinction as well.

Boy. I'm glad I'm not Maori.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

'Cold turkey' compensation

A group of UK prisoners are sueing the Home Office for infringing their human rights for forcing them to go cold turkey while incarcerated. The case was due to go to the High Court yesterday but now it looks like the Home Office is going to settle out of court. Apparently the government doesn't want to suffer an embarrassing loss under its own human rights legislation. Around 198 prisoners may be compensated. What a terrible precedent. How long will it take to catch on here?