Saturday, September 01, 2007

"The money might be hard to give away"

The money might be hard to give away - give me a break.

Today's Editorial from the NZ Herald begins;

Few taxpayers will disagree with the proposal from the Families Commission that paid parental leave should be extended from the present 14 weeks to one year. If couples cannot afford for one of them to give up paid employment to care for a baby through its first year, the grant would seem one of the better uses of the social welfare budget.

How do they know that? Do you support it?

The commission estimates the extension of the benefit would increase its cost from the current $95 million a year to $450 million, a significant new financial commitment by any measure. To soften the fiscal shock the commission suggests the extension be phased in over eight years, first to six months, then nine, reaching the full year in 2015.

But these cautions will be based on an assumption the benefit will be fully subscribed. In all likelihood, the money might be hard to give away. Even with the offer of paid parental leave career-minded young mothers may be as anxious as fathers to return before their baby is a year old.

Hard to give away?? Let's test that. In 2002 Treasury predicted PPL would cost;

2002/03 $41 million
2003/04 $44 million
2005/06 $45 million

Here are the actual spending figures;

2003 $56 million
2004 $63 million
2005 $76 million
2006 $96 million

2006 spending more than doubled predictions. That blows that theory out of the water.

The full benefit would probably be taken up mainly by women in low-paid, non-career employment who would need it most. In this respect the scheme has a natural efficiency that enables it to be supported by taxpayers who might be concerned at the present Government's tendency to waste precious public funds on welfare for all.

Offer a universal benefit and towards universal uptake is what you will get. But worse. Many people who have no intention of returning to work will also take the year's payment so the potential for ripping the system off is also boosted.

Paid parental leave, though, carries a social signal more important than its financial terms. A decision to extend it to a year would tell young parents that society thinks it a good idea for one of them to care for their baby at home for that time. The present provision of just 14 weeks paid leave arguably gives quite the opposite message, though the right to unpaid leave with a preserved job already applies for a year.

Ah. That all-important 'sending a message'. For pity's sake. The DPB is permanent Paid Parental Leave and look at the message that sends. The taxpayer will keep you indefinitely as long as you can keep churning out babies. Whether or not you care for them properly is neither here nor there.

This country's 14 weeks payment is less than any other Western country except the United States and Australia, which do not provide parental leave. If we are going to provide it we ought to do it properly. Both main parties seem to agree with the Families Commission. Even if the cost is too much to extend the scheme more quickly, a decision to do so could be made soon. The decision would be a statement of value, affirming that nurturing for at least the first year should be a full-time job.

So rather than seriously considering what our two largest trading partners, both much stronger economies than NZ, do, the Herald wants to rush headlong in the opposite direction. This is a fine example of ill-thought-out advocacy. Unfortunately, they are not on their own.

Friday, August 31, 2007

That's what mums are for

A man has sex with his daughters for a decade to show them how to be good wives (conveniently forgetting they were daughters). What astonished me is the last line;

Judge Lovell gave full credit for the man's guilty pleas, saying he was genuinely remorseful and had a good chance of rehabilitation as his wife and the church remained supportive.

Some mother. That's a horrible story and a lamentable ending.

Only scratching the surface

Drugs and alcohol are the cause of child abuse. OK.

But why are people abusing drugs and alcohol? Because they can. Work and Income hand them the obligation-free time and obligation-free money. Even men that hold down jobs can piss all their money up the wall while the 'missus' brings in benefit money. The latter has been the case for decades and decades. That was what Sir Apirana Ngata used to fight. When he said welfare would destroy Maori he wasn't talking about the DPB. He was talking about the early family benefit which, for a large family accustomed to living off the land, amassed to quite a bit of money. The provision of this benefit to Maori during the forties was the most controversial aspect of the social security department's work.

People need to be given back their driver for living. Survival by their own efforts.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Hide answers Moore

Rodney Hide answers Mike Moore's criticism and explains to Larry Williams why and how he is still the hardest working MP in parliament. If you haven't 'got it' yet have a listen.

Cloud Cuckooland

In Whitecloud (otherwise known as Cloud Cuckooland), Michigan, your yard must be green. If it isn't they send you to jail.

(Hat tip Reason.Com)

Garth George quotes Adam Smith

Garth George. I don't know a great deal about this man except he despises the free market and anybody who believes in it. He has called Don Brash's economics "inhuman" and Brash himself a "monetary ogre". And he believed Mrs Muliaga was killed by the profit motive.

Today he writes about finance companies, moneylenders (the first are OK but the second are evil?) and greed - though I doubt Mr George could distinguish between greed and self-interest. And then, lo and behold, quotes Adam Smith ;

As for me, I go along with the 18th-century economist and philosopher Adam Smith: "What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?"

Why not try some more Adam Smith quotes for size?

"The real tragedy of the poor is the poverty of their aspirations."

"It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

I can google too but at least I know what Adam Smith's main tenet was.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

National disgrace

Even David Farrar says of National, There are times when the term “Labour lite” is not 100% inaccurate.

So there are times when it IS 100% accurate and times when it is only 90 or 80 percent accurate.

Then he blogs his disappointment that National has welcomed the proposal to lavish another half a billion dollars on Paid Parental Leave.

Still I suppose all you National supporters aren't going to get too fretful while the prospects of regaining the seats of power are looking so promising (despite the attainment of power for power's sake being pointless).

You should be ashamed of your party which is now so far removed from its advertised principles -

• Individual freedom and choice
• Personal responsibility
• Competitive enterprise and rewards for achievement
• Limited government

- that it should be hauled before the Advertising Standards Authority.

On the button

Two quotes from today's NZ Herald;

Colin James; Labour's real problem with Key is that he is less an opponent than a successor: if you are tiring of Labour, you can have something not dangerously different.

Mike Moore; John Key just has to keep his head down, and is happy to campaign as "Labour with tax cuts", sort of like playing a vacuous political air guitar.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Dick Hubbard, you moron

The long-awaited Local Government Rates Inquiry came up with an idea Dick Hubbard likes;

He called for all the report's recommendations to be implemented and said the suggestion that rates be charged on government land including hospitals, schools and universities could mean an extra $25 million.

Translated; Let's find yet another way to screw the dough out of the productive.

Rates should remain the major source of local government revenue and there was no need for a new tax or a rates cap, it said.

The enquiry seems to have found there is a problem alright. The problem is the ratepayer hasn't got a bottomless pocket so let's have a crack at the taxpayers.
What a fiasco. What a joke.

"Selfish lifestyles of the childless"

Dear Editor

Chris Goldsbury (Letters, DomPost, August 28) says childless people are selfish. Childless people should, he says, "cover shifts and take the awful holiday slots" for their work colleagues who are parents.

That's OK if people are willing to do so. But why does Goldsbury demand it as of right? It could only be that he does not believe people own their own lives and are therefore free to choose how they use them. This lack of belief is at the heart of many political problems.

If people decide not to become parents, or are unable to become parents, that is their business. It is not their job, in lieu, to subsidise with their time or money, those who do.

I don't know what has happened to New Zealander's legendary 'rugged individualism'. It seems to have been drowned in a constant clamour (satiated by government) for certain people to subjugate their freedom and choice to others.

The net result is not a gain to society. It is division and resentment.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Worth remembering

Thanks to this report just released from Waikato University, we are about to be bombarded by the bleeding-heart believers in violence; a men's monopoly. The victimhood vanguards will be out in force.

The report lists 217 women and children who have died from domestic-related homicide since the [Domestic Violence] Act was implemented and says some judges seem to be enforcing the law as they think it should be written, not how it actually is.

Just remember when you watch the News tonight that in the 5 years to 2003 24% of the children killed in New Zealand died at the hands of their mothers.

What's 'good' for women isn't always good for children

Feminism and what is best for children are not necessarily synonymous. This is shown by New Zealand's ranking in the Save the Children Mothers' Index Rankings for 2007.

In ranking Children the report takes into account mortality rate for under fives, percentage of under-fives who are moderately or severely underweight, education enrollment and access to water.

In ranking Women they look at maternal mortality, attendance at births by skilled personnel, use of contraception, female life expectancy, female schooling, participation in government and ratio of female earnings to male.

New Zealand rates 4th of the "more developed" countries for mothers, 3rd for women but only 19th for children.

Take a country like Italy, where women rank only 19th (presumably because of more traditionalism, the edicts of catholicism, less govt assistance for single mothers etc) their children rank 1st.

And it's called a 'justice' system?

The NZ Herald has a piece about the falling number of protection orders being issued by the courts. It says;

Protection orders

* A court order is aimed at preventing physical, psychological or sexual abuse.

* A temporary "without notice" order can be obtained within 24 hours and comes into force without the abuser being told. They then have 30 days to file a defence. Orders can also be sought "on notice" and are made after a hearing before a judge.

* Police will generally arrest anyone who breaches a protection order, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

Assuming the above is accurate, does anybody see the immediate problem here?