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.
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?
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."
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
Lindsay Mitchell has been researching and commenting on welfare since 2001. Many of her articles have been published in mainstream media and she has appeared on radio,tv and before select committees discussing issues relating to welfare. Lindsay is also an artist who works under commission and exhibits at Wellington, New Zealand, galleries.