Saturday, March 04, 2006

Hanging and judging...

Unlike David Benson-Pope I have been selected for hanging and final judging.... least my entry into the 2006 National Bienniel Portrait Competition has.

Till divorce do us part

The median age for men divorcing is 43 years; for women it's 40.4 years

The median age of bridegrooms is 32.3 years; for brides it's 30.2

I guess that means that for marriages which end in divorce the median length is about 10 years. Wonder what happened to the seven year itch?

In 2004 for every divorce granted two marriages took place.

In 1971 for every divorce granted, eight marriages took place. Interestingly divorces filed for and granted on the basis of adultery were more commonly filed by men (877 to 661) and the same for desertion (324 to 235). The median length of a marriage which ended in divorce was between thirteen and fourteen years.

Female parliamentary representation

Where would you expect NZ to rank? Have a guess and then check this remarkably up-to-date link

Friday, March 03, 2006

Had anything nicked from your car lately?

This editorial from the Hawkes Bay Today caught my eye. It begins;

How crazy our society has become when Napier is subjected to a car break-in epidemic, yet it is the naughty citizens who dare to leave their possessions in their cars who are being scolded by the police.

I well remember working in Liverpool in the late 80's and being agressively rounded-on by passersby when returning to my car. I'd left my handbag on the seat. They had stopped a ne'er-do-well from breaking in but I was the target of their anger.

New Zealand now has that level of crime. The editorial sheds some light on why.

Some offenders who have been eventually caught have committed up to 200 previous break-ins. That is a risk of half a percent, well worth taking, especially when the punishment for the few who are caught is inconsequential.

Juvenile offenders face little more than family group conferences or, at the extreme end of the scale, are placed in a secure house, which often proves to be anything but. Even those who can't hide behind their age don't really have much to fear. From the age of 17, thieves face being fined (generally around $400), or periodic detention and community service.

With a laptop computer and accessories worth upwards of $1500, stealing from cars can be a low-risk and lucrative career option.

But you see, good citizens, the justice system can't be held to account. It is all your fault. If you insist on having valuables in your car then you are as good as aiding and abetting criminals. Desist.

Why Mommy Is A Democrat

I once tried my hand at writing and illustrating a children's book. It was modelled on our dog whose nose was put very much out-of-joint when his position of first was supplanted by a newborn human. The publisher rejected it. Here's another that should have been given the thumbs down.

Here's what Reason had to say;

Why Mommy Is a Democrat, available online at, advertises itself as "a different kind of children's book," and that it is—a really bad kind that manages to insult the intelligence even of late-term fetuses. It pairs amateurish drawings of what appears to be a single-mother squirrel and her two offspring with mindless platitudes that ascribe all that is good and decent to the party of West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd.

"Democrats make sure we are nice to people who are different, just like Mommy does," explains one lesson. "Democrats make sure sick people are able to see a doctor, just like Mommy does," says another. "Democrats make sure we all share our toys," threatens a third. You don't need to be Phyllis Schlafly to wonder just where the hell the daddy squirrel has gone to in this scenario, which reads like a Republican parody of Democratic devotion to an oddly feminized nanny state.

To be fair Reason also had a pop at a Republican book, "Help! Mom! There are Liberals Under My Bed!"

Two boys' parents refuse to buy them a swing set ("Mom and Dad always told them that having everything given to them would not make them feel good about themselves"), they decide to start a lemonade stand to earn the money. Before they do, they have a nightmare in which they become small business owners in "a very strange place called Liberaland." Once the boys' lemonade business is booming, "Mayor Leach" (get it?) comes around and squeezes them with a 50 percent tax. Next up is "Mr. Fussman" of the "Liberaland Civil Liberties Union" (haw haw haw!), who is offended by the picture of Jesus the brothers hang on their stand and demands they replace with it a picture of a big toe. Before you know it, a Hillaryesque "Congresswoman Clunkton" is demanding the boys force broccoli on all customers, and so on, until at last the lemonade stand is seized by the state and run into the ground.

Luckily, the boys wake up and their long, nationalized lemonade nightmare is revealed simply as a bad dream.

The second sounds more fun. Reason's beef was with sermonising on politics to kids who, in America apparently, have less and less free time to wile away aimlessly. Very funny article.

Bring Maori "savings" entitlement forward

That's what Hone Harawira called for yesterday in his speech addressing the KiwiSaver Bill;

"Mr Speaker, one of the key concerns we have with this Bill, is that quite simply, it discriminates against Maori.

The facts are that Maori just do not live past 65. What that means is that while Maori, like everyone else, will be encouraged to join the Kiwisaver scheme, less than 4% of Maori will actually live long enough to derive any benefits.

That Mr Speaker, is simple discrimination.....Give those with a lower life expectancy the entitlement at an earlier age."

The problems with this are glaringly obvious. Adjusting for varying life expectancy would mean allowing males to qualify earlier. Is that also Maori Party policy? Probably not. This isn't the sexist party. It's the racist party.

Is this some kind of joke?

Have I gone mad or is it the rest of the world? I read this with utter disbelief. Let me say that on occasion I have shared a drink bottle with my kids. If we hike the nearby hills we go as lightly as possible. My God, What was I thinking of??

Phrases such as bugger and sheep-shagger are acceptable – but apparently there is no place on the telly for an advertisement showing a father and son swigging fruit juice from the same bottle.

The Advertising Standards Complaints Board says the Keri fruit juice advertisement should be taken off air – because it is socially irresponsible. The ruling follows several decisions reflecting the growing number of complaints demanding that advertisers be more socially responsible.

The board acknowledged yesterday that the advert probably would have been acceptable a few years ago – but said society had moved on.

Moved on?? To what?

Trev vs Treasury

Economic Development Minister, Trevor Mallard follows Michael Cullen's policy of rejecting Treasury advice.

The NZ Herald reports; The Government will keep funding large-budget films despite the Treasury's reservations about the assistance scheme and a report that shows its economic impact could in the "worst case" result in a $38 million net loss....

....Treasury officials said there was not sufficient robust evidence to support the view that there were large spillover benefits to the economy to justify the subsidy programme.

The finding that the grant could have a negative economic impact raised doubts about its effectiveness, the Treasury said.

But Mr Mallard said yesterday that in his view the overall benefits outweighed the costs of the grant.

So the scheme will continue in accordance with Trev's view. I sometimes wonder what Treasury is for.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


Finished my competition portrait so thought I'd have a change and try some still-lifes. This involves stopping direct daylight coming in and setting up an arrangement with a constant artificial light source. Then paint what you see. It's fun because in a darkened room it is quite difficult to discern colour variation so you end up with some quite interesting effects. After a couple of hours....

Nannying hasn't improved matters

For the year ended 30 June 2005, ACC spent $39.8 million on Injury Prevention. The budget for the year ended 30 June 2006 is $46.7 million, which includes discounts for employers who are able to meet and maintain good health and safety management systems and performance.
ACC undertakes Injury Prevention programmes in five main focus areas. These areas are listed below with examples of particular programmes carried out in each area.

· Safer Communities - Alcohol and Drug-related harm, Family violence, Suicide prevention.
· Safer Homes – Slips, Trips and Falls, Child Safety for New Parents.
· Safer Workplaces - Safer industries programme, ACC partnership programme, Workplace safety management practices.
· Safer Sports – ACC Sportsmart, Sideline concussion, “the 11” prevention programme for soccer injuries, Snow safety programme, Water safety.
· Safer Road Use - Down with speed, Young driver training, Drink drive initiatives such as support for the NZ Police’s “Booze Bus” programme.

Now for the $46.7 million question.

Is it working?

The population has increased by 7 percent yet the number of accidents has increased by 15 percent. Don't tell me. We aren't spending enough.

(Info courtesy of PQs put by Dr Paul Hutchison.)

Joan Rivers

Joan Rivers is soon coming to NZ and has been doing some publicity interviews. She really is gorgeous. Paul Holmes was gushing all over her this morning.

"I've loved you for years," he drools.

"That's the trouble," she drawls."Where were you when I was young? I've only got two eggs left."

Overdue recognition

Good on the DomPost who swing in behind their Tuesday columnist, Michael Bassett with this editorial today;

Michael Bassett's critics – and he has a few – at least cannot accuse the one-time Labour Cabinet minister and Dominion Post columnist of cowardice, this newspaper writes in an editorial. This week, he bravely tackled the delicate issue of "careless breeding" by people who he believes should not keep having children they cannot afford.

More haggling over poverty levels

Debate over true poverty levels in the US heats up again. The left claim high and climbing poverty levels to stave off further welfare reform. Here the Census Bureau has made lower poverty estimates by including non-cash assistance. The level drops even further when calculations based on rent-sharing are included. "Poverty" is notoriously difficult to measure and official statistics should always be taken with a grain of salt. It is very easy for governments to boast great gains in the war on poverty by simple jiggery-pokery.

Fertility problems

Mention fertility problems and most people think about aging would-be mums who may left it too late. Here a Canadian newspaper looks at the national problem of low and possibly reducing fertility rates. NZ, by the way, is just below replacement level at 2.01. Canada's rate is 1.5

By the year 2015, for the first time in the history of Canadian population statistics, there will be more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 15. Even the normally staid national bureau of record-keeping, Statistics Canada, declared, "This would be an unprecedented situation in Canada," when it announced late last year the critical turning point in a population projections report.

These projections, which were shaped by various growth scenarios, predicted fertility rates ranging from a low of 1.3 babies per woman to a high of 1.7 babies per woman. That puts Canada in line with the growing roster of nations beset by declining fertility: France, 1.9; Australia, 1.7; Germany, 1.3; Italy and Spain, 1.2, Japan, 1.2; Korea, 1.1.

Only the United States is conspicuous among its industrialized neighbours for a fertility rate that continues to remain above what is known as replacement level, with 2.01 babies per woman. The main reason for this difference seems to be in the fertility rate among women aged 24-29, which has been cut almost in half in Canada and many of the other nations with declining fertility, but which remains virtually unchanged in the U.S., where more traditional values prevail, says demographer Alain Belanger, the demographer behind Statistics Canada's latest projections.

Traditional values? The reason that NZ and the US have higher rates is the higher rates of birth to minorities. They have bigger families and higher proportions of young women.

In 2001, non-Hispanic whites had an average of 1.9 births per woman, compared with 2.0 births among Asian Americans, 2.1 births among American Indians, 2.2 births among non-Hispanic blacks, and 3.2 births among Hispanics.

The comparatively high rate in New Zealand reflects the higher fertility rates of Māori (2.65 births per woman in 2004) and Pacific women (2.94 in 2000–2002). The non-Maori fertility rate is 1.86

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Maori Party view on fiscal policy

If there is something postive to be said about Maori Party finance spokesman Hone Harawira it's that he is bringing some much-needed plain speaking to Parliament. But putting aside the style, the content is pretty awful.

"Government is planning to spend an extra thirteen billion dollars over the next four years but for some reason it can’t find the money to help the 250,000 poorest kids in Aotearoa."

The govt will spend around 11 billion on these kids and their families over the next four years. The more govt spends, the less responsibility their parents will assume.

"In terms of income and growth, we note that the country has a 3.8% growth rate, but that sixty percent of Maoridom still has an annual income of less than $20,000. And in fact, at the time of the election, the average income for Tai Tokerau Maori was less than $13,000."

Any tribe claiming an average income of $13,000 either isn't declaring their whole income or hasn't worked out what they can get from WINZ. Maori income is largely low due to their over-representation in the benefit system. 94,000 and their dependants are on a benefit.

"And then, at the other end of our population, we note that government is expecting to have nearly ten billion in the superannuation fund by 30 June, but for some reason there is still a massive difference in life expectancy between Maori and Pākehā. And while every Maori taxpayer, like everybody else, will be expected to contribute to that super fund, very few Maori will actually get to receive the benefits of it."

The Maori economy pays $2.4 billion in tax annually and receives $2.3 billion in cash benefits alone. Who is paying for their health, education etc?

There is more from Hone in today's Budget Policy Statement speech. Essentially it is about saving money by collectively stamping out undesirable and costly activities; including crime and smoking, but not benefit reliance.

NB As a proponent of individual rights I really don't want to write about Maori in collective terms but any response to the Maori Party requires me to.

The great fiction of the welfare state

Frederic Bastiat put it simply, "Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else."

Here Thomas Sowell puts a bit more flesh on it in "Something for nothing?";

People who think that they are getting something for nothing, by having government provide what they would otherwise have to buy in the private market, are not only kidding themselves by ignoring the taxes that government has to take from them in order to give them the appearance of something for nothing. They are also ignoring the strings that are going to be attached to their own money when it comes back to them in government benefits.

That is not even counting the fact that government programs are usually less efficient than similar services provided by private enterprises.

Yet the illusion of something for nothing has kept the welfare state going — and expanding. If there is something for sale in the marketplace for ten dollars and you would not pay more than five dollars for it, some politician can always offer to get it for you free — as a newly discovered "basic right," or at least at a "reasonable" or "affordable" price.

Suppose that the "reasonable" or "affordable" price is three dollars. How do you suppose the government can produce something for three dollars that private industry cannot produce for less than ten dollars? Greater efficiency in government? Give me a break!

The fact that you pay only three dollars at the cash register means nothing. If it costs the government twelve dollars to produce and distribute what you are getting for three dollars, then the government is going to have to get another nine dollars in taxes to cover the difference.

One way or another, you are going to end up paying twelve dollars for something you were unwilling to buy for ten dollars or even six dollars. But so long as you think you are getting something for nothing, the politicians' shell game has worked and the welfare state can continue to expand.

Unbundling confiscation

The clamouring for Telecom regulation makes me uneasy but it's a call difficult to argue against. Bruce Sheppard, Shareholders Association Chairman, has an opinion piece, "Unbundling is confiscation by another name", in the DomPost this morning. Unfortunately it's not on-line. He charges that the Ministry Of Economic Development are actually working against the national interest in pressuring Telecom to invest more in the face of unbundling. He argues that shareholders will, rather than invest more, look to divest themselves of existing assets.

"Now the big issue. All first-world countries have two common features and if either one of them is taken away they relatively quickly descend into third-world status."

"The first is a functioning democratic process and the second is a robust rule of law that respects personal and property rights."

"Unbundling a private asset in the name of 'national interest' is, in effect, chipping away at the second foundation of any successful economy and in terms of international investment confidence, may do more harm to the national good than the short-term price advantages created for the telecommunications industry through the illusion of competition."

You'd have to say this Labour government has already done plenty of "chipping away" for lesser perceived benefit.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

What a girl needs...

If you are unable to read this document it is a list of what the DPB Action Group wants. Let me summarise;

- reverse the 1991 benefit cuts which "devastated the social fabric of New Zealand.....government attacks on our livelihoods constitute violence against women and children."

- value the work done by sole mothers because "it is society's responsibility to support mothers and children."

- provide 100 percent free high quality childcare because "childcare is society's responsibility ...(and) stressed out mothers with young children need a break."

Next page to follow shortly.

What a girl wants...

- pay for our study and training choices because "many sole mothers are prevented from raeching their potential".

- reduce abatement rates and abolish secondary tax which "keeps us in a poverty trap".

- abolish work-testing which "denies us the right to seek employment appropriate to our family's circumstances.

- stop scapegoating us and support our civil rights

- women do two thirds of the world's work and get five percent of the income

- in solidarity with mothers of Venuzela and Argentina and Iraq we demand adequate support for single heads of households.

- it is time society values our work and takes care of our needs.

Imprisonment for drug offences

According to the LA Times article, posted yesterday;

The huge increases in federal and state prison populations during the 1980s and '90s (from 139 per 100,000 residents in 1980 to 482 per 100,000 in 2003) were mainly for drug convictions. In 1980, 580,900 Americans were arrested on drug charges. By 2003, that figure had ballooned to 1,678,200. We're making more arrests for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined. Feel safer?

I got to thinking about this overnight. NZ has the second highest imprisonment rate in the western world at 178 per 100,000. So how many people do we lock up for drug convictions? From 2003;

In the US;
Percent of sentenced
State inmates
1995 2002
Total 100 % 100 %
Violent 47 51
Property 23 20
Drug 22 21
Public-order 9 7

So although the percentage of people locked up for drug offences in the States is much higher than here, 21 percent as opposed to 9 percent, it is something of a myth that the high American prison rate of 486 per 100,000 in 2004 is solely due to drug offences (although many of the violent offences stem from the war on drugs). It might also be suggested that the percentage of non-violent drug offenders is higher in the States than in NZ.

Interesting that NZ separates "sex" crimes out from "violent".

Monday, February 27, 2006

End the war on drugs

A former Seattle police chief argues for an end to the war on drugs. He porposes an alternative model with "no apologies" to libertarians for taxation and regulation;

The demand for illicit drugs is as strong as the nation's thirst for bootleg booze during Prohibition. It's a demand that simply will not dwindle or dry up. Whether to find God, heighten sexual arousal, relieve physical pain, drown one's sorrows or simply feel good, people throughout the millenniums have turned to mood- and mind-altering substances.

They're not about to stop, no matter what their government says or does. It's time to accept drug use as a right of adult Americans, treat drug abuse as a public health problem and end the madness of an unwinnable war.

How extremists damage causes

"An article by the pastor of a Wanganui church sent widely around New Zealand has alleged that Green MP Sue Bradford is "under the control of Satan" because she is advocating the repeal of section 59 of the Crimes Act."

Of course, who is giving this article all the publicity? Sue Bradford. She headlines her press release with;

"Accusations of Satanism show nature of pro s59'ers."

I oppose the removal of section 59 because it puts power in the hands of CYF and the police as opposed to the court. A point that seems to get overlooked in the hysteria which, when it suits Bradford, she will further inflame to her advantage.

Savage Youth Crimes

"Juvenile offenders seem to be becoming harder and more sophisticated and our short-term institutions have become over filled with a disturbing influx of remand cases," Minister of Social Welfare, Mr King.


Mr Norm King was Social Welfare Minister in the Labour cabinet of 1973.

33 years on and we have the Principal Family Court judge, Andrew Beecroft, warning that serious crime by young people is becoming more savage.

I don't post this as an example of, the more things change the more they stay the same.

Mr King's comments came on the eve of the introduction of a new Child Welfare Bill which sought to keep keep young people out of court except where is was absolutely necessary to otherwise.

Didn't work, did it.

How we measure up

Some up-to-date figures from the US as they relaunch their welfare to work requirements;

Based on federal figures, 4.45 million men, women and children - or about 1.9 million families - are enrolled in the $16.7 billion welfare program called Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. The money includes cash payments to families, as well as subsidies for transportation to work, child care or job training.

Working on a straight per capita basis the US has 1.5 percent of its population on TANF. Doing a direct comprison with the DPB our figure is 6.8 percent.

What a lot of tosh

Political Commentator Graeme Hunt says Mr Benson-Pope has already come out relatively clean after one inquiry and it might be time to let the matter go.

He says National is clutching at straws by demanding the MPs removal and it is just another example of MMP allowing nasty allegations that have no substance, to be thrown around from both sides of the house.

What has this controversy got to do with MMP?

Not a dying business

Idle undertakers fear business is dying away. The already grim job of funeral directors is getting tougher as a lack of deaths causes a slump in business.

Oh Dear. Well, why not introduce Minimum Funeral Fee legislation?

Seriously, this is an industry which will just have to hold its breath for a wee while. With our ageing population they have boom times ahead. Undertaking has a big future.

Wellington - the subsidised city.

Leading the DomPost business pages today is a report about a survey which shows the majority of Wellington businesses approve of the rise in the minimum wage and the abolition of youth rates. This is at odds with a survey done in Auckland. Why would that be? You may recall that Wellington's economic growth is outstripping other regions. That's primarily due to the growth in the civil sector.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the Wellington respondents were more likely than the Auckland ones to be involved in the domestic sector as retailers and small manufacturers, rather than in the exporting sector.

Considering the nature of the respondents' businesses, it was possible some would think an increase in the minimum wage would mean more spending, which could benefit them, particularly if they were retailers and small manufacturers.

It is also possible that those already paying over the minimum wage want their competitors forced to follow suit. There's the key word. FORCE. Notice that force is always used against the productive. We don't force people to get jobs but we force employers to pay those who do whatever arbitrary figure the govt wants to put on it.

Good on those employers who pay the extra. But why embrace turning choice into edict?

This morning Wellington is absolutely positively socialist.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Aborigines choosing welfare

Many supporters of the welfare state deny that people choose welfare over work, even when evidence is as conclusive as this;

The Australian reports;
AUSTRALIA'S peak indigenous land management body wants the welfare rules for Aborigines tightened, after revealing more than 40 per cent of its workforce is white because Aborigines are refusing regular paid work.

The Indigenous Land Corporation, a taxpayer-funded body charged with buying land and businesses to support indigenous entrepreneurs, has put forward a "get to work" plan after years of frustration at trying to recruit and retain workers from Aboriginal communities.

The situation is so dire the ILC has had to recruit backpackers to run some of its eight cattle properties and tourist resorts, which are intended to provide work opportunities and hope for indigenous Australians.

Reminds me of the situation here with backpackers getting special work permits to pick the fruit local beneficiaries won't. Crazy.

From the pen of Theodore Dalrymple

Dalrymple is technically a very , very good writer. But his stuff is dark. This is an excerpt from a piece entitled, "The Frivolity of Evil". Read the whole thing if you can stand it. It is, I gather, Dalrymple's parting serve to Britain which he left in disgust after 14 years as a prison and slum hospital doctor. To be fair, I am sure there are other parts of the world just as bad. By the way, I think he is wrong about "libertarians on the Right". As he points out himself, the market is not the same as the welfare state. You may disagree.

...... a man aged 25 came into our ward, in need of an operation to remove foil-wrapped packets of cocaine that he had swallowed in order to evade being caught by the police in possession of them. (Had a packet burst, he would have died immediately.) As it happened, he had just left his latest girlfriend—one week after she had given birth to their child. They weren't getting along, he said; he needed his space. Of the child, he thought not for an instant.

I asked him whether he had any other children.

"Four," he replied.

"How many mothers?"


"Do you see any of your children?"

He shook his head. It is supposedly the duty of the doctor not to pass judgment on how his patients have elected to live, but I think I may have raised my eyebrows slightly. At any rate, the patient caught a whiff of my disapproval.

"I know," he said. "I know. Don't tell me."

These words were a complete confession of guilt. I have had hundreds of conversations with men who have abandoned their children in this fashion, and they all know perfectly well what the consequences are for the mother and, more important, for the children. They all know that they are condemning their children to lives of brutality, poverty, abuse, and hopelessness. They tell me so themselves. And yet they do it over and over again, to such an extent that I should guess that nearly a quarter of British children are now brought up this way.

The result is a rising tide of neglect, cruelty, sadism, and joyous malignity that staggers and appalls me. I am more horrified after 14 years than the day I started.....

....The state, guided by the apparently generous and humane philosophy that no child, whatever its origins, should suffer deprivation, gives assistance to any child, or rather the mother of any child, once it has come into being. In matters of public housing, it is actually advantageous for a mother to put herself at a disadvantage, to be a single mother, without support from the fathers of the children and dependent on the state for income. She is then a priority; she won't pay local taxes, rent, or utility bills.

As for the men, the state absolves them of all responsibility for their children. The state is now father to the child. The biological father is therefore free to use whatever income he has as pocket money, for entertainment and little treats. He is thereby reduced to the status of a child, though a spoiled child with the physical capabilities of a man: petulant, demanding, querulous, self-centered, and violent if he doesn't get his own way. The violence escalates and becomes a habit. A spoiled brat becomes an evil tyrant.

But if the welfare state is a necessary condition for the spread of evil, it is not sufficient. After all, the British welfare state is neither the most extensive nor the most generous in the world, and yet our rates of social pathology—public drunkenness, drug-taking, teenage pregnancy, venereal disease, hooliganism, criminality—are the highest in the world. Something more was necessary to produce this result.

Here we enter the realm of culture and ideas. For it is necessary not only to believe that it is economically feasible to behave in the irresponsible and egotistical fashion that I have described, but also to believe that it is morally permissible to do so. And this idea has been peddled by the intellectual elite in Britain for many years, more assiduously than anywhere else, to the extent that it is now taken for granted. There has been a long march not only through the institutions but through the minds of the young. When young people want to praise themselves, they describe themselves as "nonjudgmental." For them, the highest form of morality is amorality.

There has been an unholy alliance between those on the Left, who believe that man is endowed with rights but no duties, and libertarians on the Right, who believe that consumer choice is the answer to all social questions, an idea eagerly adopted by the Left in precisely those areas where it does not apply. Thus people have a right to bring forth children any way they like, and the children, of course, have the right not to be deprived of anything, at least anything material. How men and women associate and have children is merely a matter of consumer choice, of no more moral consequence than the choice between dark and milk chocolate, and the state must not discriminate among different forms of association and child rearing, even if such non-discrimination has the same effect as British and French neutrality during the Spanish Civil War.

The consequences to the children and to society do not enter into the matter: for in any case it is the function of the state to ameliorate by redistributive taxation the material effects of individual irresponsibility, and to ameliorate the emotional, educational, and spiritual effects by an army of social workers, psychologists, educators, counselors, and the like, who have themselves come to form a powerful vested interest of dependence on the government.

Who will replace David Benson-Pope?

These are the Associate Ministers for Social Development and Employment;

# Parekura Horomia - Associate Minister
# Ruth Dyson - Associate Minister
# Luamanuvao Winnie Laban - Associate Minister
# Mahara Okeroa - Associate Minister

Would one of these people step into his shoes? It would be most appropriate to have a Maori or Pacific Minister for Social Welfare. But Dyson is the most experienced. I'll put my money on her. When she and Judith Collins square off, things will get interesting.