Saturday, January 07, 2012

Principals on hungry children

For some time it has seemed to me that the general public has stopped buying into the idea that poor, hungry children simply need more money given to them by the government. The parties promoting this during the election did not find favour. OK, it could be argued that the Green vote increased but I don't think it was due to their policy to increase benefits. I recently talked to the previous local Green candidate - the one I campaigned alongside in 2005 and 2008 - and even she felt it was a weak policy. Coincidently she was a teacher.

The Taranaki Daily News has spoken to a few principals at low decile schools and heard the following:

Waitara Central principal Sharren Read says mismanagement of income and unaffordable debt mean basic needs like housing suffer. 

Devon Intermediate principal Fiona Parkinson says her students come from all walks of life and there are families attending the school bordering on poverty.
"It comes back to the Government and their priorities for spending. The issue is a societal one – not just a school one – and it needs to be addressed at a high level. It's to do with the support given to families and isn't just a case of throwing money at them," she says.
Good. Some sense at least.

Friday, January 06, 2012

High incomes funded through forcible removal of OPI

This guy Marryatt has little judgement or empathy. I don't usually find myself amongst those dragging down people who earn high incomes, but when it comes to incomes funded through forcible removal of other people's incomes, I get very toey. I sent this to the DomPost:

Christchurch Council's chief executive, Tony Marryatt, says his salary is based on market rates. This defence ignores that local and central government jobs are funded from compulsory taxes or rates. Christchurch citizens have no recourse should they object to Mr Marryatt's salary or increase. To be fair, in monopolistic circumstances the customer may also lack a voice but generally, in the market, an aggrieved customer or shareholder  expresses it through withdrawal of purchases or investment.

Marryatt says after February he didn't have a  weekend off in 9 weeks. At least he had paid employment. Some would be eternally grateful for a job paying the total of the chief executive's  $68,000 increase alone.

He insists he is not refusing the 14.4 percent pay increase or giving it to charity. I think he has lost sight of who his real employer is. For a so-called public servant Tony Marryatt shows little public-spiritedness.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

What Americans think about open-ended unemployment benefits

US unemployment has dropped to 8.6 percent. Most US States provide 6 months unemployment benefits but the rules can change according to unemployment levels. The benefits are funded through payroll taxes and are not means-tested. In NZ on the other hand unemployment benefits are means-tested but open-ended. Many Americans however believe that lengthening the availability of unemployment benefits encourages unemployment. Studies have supported this idea. A Reason Poll asked 1,200 people how long they thought benefits should be available for when someone loses their job?

60 percent think a year or less is enough.

What did Michael Joseph Savage expect?

Just reflecting on what Michael Joseph Savage expected from social security bearing in mind the new benefits were created only 30 years after the first old age pension which was strictly administrated to exclude people who were not 'of good moral character'.

Do you think he expected  benefits to support around a quarter of all children because their fathers couldn't or wouldn't?

That benefits would support criminals caught in the revolving door between prison and the community?

That benefits would support people who believe paid work and consumerism are capitalist concepts to be avoided?

That benefits would supports thousands of people who had caused their own incapacity to work through drug and alcohol abuse?

I can answer the last definitively. No. There were rules to prevent people in this category from qualifying.

So when Labour's shadow minister for Work and Pensions says that a new vision is needed over the one William Beveridge  (UK equivalent to MJS) had how can anyone, including Labour supporters, disagree?

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Which will be the party of reform?

At Red Alert Trevor Mallard links to a report about UK Labour re-thinking welfare. But he makes no comment of his own. Mine is still in moderation (while the considerably more caustic Cactus has carte blanche. Can never figure this particular censorship rule. Must be Trev's titillation thermometer.)

It has always been my view that based on history, Labour would be the party to make meaningful welfare reforms in this country. And I haven't abandoned it entirely. National is doing stuff but mainly mimicking what has already occurred in the UK and  Australia.

But hell. Time marches on. National evolves, Labour evolves. There is no ACT to speak of. The Greens remained wedded to 'social justice' - code for communistic compulsory wealth 'sharing'. And Maori politics continues to be schizophrenic. Independence and identity is idealised but impossible without economic input from non-Maori. Their craved population boom presently relies heavily on the continuance of the DPB. (Ironically Maori politicians could boost their population  more by enticing whanau back from Australia but that won't happen until they wean themselves off the victimhood politics and pleading that alienates the ex-pats).

So which party in the next 30 years (my average life expectancy remainder) will make the difference? Remember 30 years ago was only 1982 which saw the beginnings of major economic reform under Labour.

Monday, January 02, 2012


You would think that blaming 'stupidity' for the high holiday road toll was somehow sensational. The reporter who sought a comment from the new Police Minister, Anne Tolley has used it for his headline. That or the editor has.

Tolley is on the button. I hope to see more headlines blaming social calamities on 'stupidity'. Let's stop pussy-footing around the issue of blame and start stigmatising stupidity. Too many people make stupid decisions and stupid choices. I did it myself in younger days. I survived through the ability to learn from them. Some people seem incapable. At an enormous cost to everyone else.

Instead of agonising analysis (eg government commissions) over why NZ figures so prominently in too many negative social indicators, let's start saying it's because NZ has more than its fair share of stupid people.

Second chances are a good thing. A degree of tolerance for the young is a good thing. But it doesn't mean we can't call a spade a spade and say stupid is as stupid does. Grow up for gods sakes. Because if you refuse to mentally, you might never get the chance to in reality.