Saturday, February 28, 2015

The anonymous replacement for Carmel Sepuloni

With Carmel Sepuloni suspended from her spokes role in the social development portfolio I wondered who had replaced her. No clues here:

Home For Life review called for

Home For Life review called for
As Foster care awareness week kicks off, Labour is calling for a review of Home for Life – National’s policy for the permanent care of foster children
“Children’s Day (tomorrow) and Foster Care Awareness week offer the perfect opportunity to consider whether we are doing the best we can by kids.
“Our foster carers do an amazing, but often thankless, job and taking the next step to becoming a home for life carer can be daunting. We need to ensure families are well supported.
“I have heard countless stories of families who transition from being foster carers - especially those who are caring for children with high and complex needs – not receiving the support they still need.
“The sad reality is that many families will also often have to contend with legal battles – an expensive and draining experience for caregivers who are trying to do their best by their foster child.
“While the Government has tried to remedy some of these issues through the Vulnerable Children’s Act, it doesn’t go far enough for many Home For Life families.
“And if they don’t have the necessary support their work may end up having the opposite effect. Every child deserves to grow up in a stable and secure environment, with carers who are well placed to care for them and their needs.
“A family that takes on Home For Life responsibility will have their plan reviewed after three years.
“It’s time we did the same to the policy to make sure it’s giving families, and most importantly our children, everything it promised.”

  Who is "I"?


Murray Deaker, who I enjoy listening to occasionally though I've little interest in sports beyond the turf, writes 'exclusively' in today's NZ Herald:

It is apparent that the Government, John Key and Steven Joyce particularly, have not realised the depth of feeling against Team New Zealand. If the Government funds Team New Zealand under its present leadership and structure, it will pay for it at the polling booths. I could not bring myself to vote for any party supporting the current bunch.
But he will vote for a government that backs the team he wants?

What an absurd basis for deciding who should be government in 2017.

Then John Minto, on the subject of the acquisition of state houses minus double garages and beautiful views, tells Simon Collins:

 "Why shouldn't families on low incomes, who have the highest needs ... They are the very people who would benefit from beautiful views, why should they be reserved just for the wealthy? It's all wrong."
Is the man completely devoid of capacity for logic?

As Paula Bennett points out:

 "We can help more people in need by making smart purchasing decisions, rather than diverting taxpayer dollars towards properties with higher prices due to extraneous features," she said.
(They could help even more people out if they left the taxpayer dollars in the private sector.)

Then in Dompost according to the director of the City Gallery in which the ratepayer will fund an exhibition of Mongrel Mob portraits:

She urged ratepayers concerned about a public gallery hosting the show to remember that City Gallery returned $3 for every dollar of ratepayer funds spent.
"We're helping the ratepayer triple their investment in us."

Good lord. When can the ratepayer expect to receive a tangible cash dividend on their "investment"?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Getting to the crux of welfare dependence

Quick cut and paste of, for me anyway, quite exciting analysis.

New Insights

Age of Entry and Intergenerational Benefit Receipt
·         75% of the liability is attributable to clients that first entered benefits under the age of 20. A key finding of this valuation is the extent to which early entry is co-related with intergenerational benefit receipt.
·         For Youth benefit clients as at 30 June 2014:
§  88% (9 in 10) were from beneficiary families, the majority of whom received a main benefit for most of their teen years. 
§  51% were in beneficiary families for 80% or more of their teen years.

·         The correlation is striking enough to believe that early entry may be a proxy for intergenerational benefit receipt (with the notable exception of teen-aged SLP entrants).
·         The evaluation looked specifically at the share of beneficiaries up to age 25 that can be matched to a record of parental benefit receipt - a “benefit match”. We also looked at the extent of their family’s exposure to benefits, during each matched beneficiary’s teenage years (13-18).
·         These figures show that inter-generational correlations are very strong – most young clients in the benefit system had some exposure to the benefit system through a parent or guardian.
·         Nearly three quarters (74%) of all beneficiaries up to age 25 had a parent on benefit while they were a child, and just over a third (35%) had a parent on benefit throughout their teenage years.
·         The greater the family benefit history the longer the client tended to stay on a benefit, particularly for the Jobseeker benefit.
·         For instance, a client whose parent was intensively in the system during ages 13-18 was then 48% more likely to remain on JS-WR after a year compared to those clients matched to a non-beneficiary parent. Their exits were also less sustainable; on leaving the system, they were 11% more likely to be back on benefits within two years.

To summarise, three quarters of the forward cost of welfare rests with those who go on welfare under twenty. The inter-generational  "notable exception" of supported living payment beneficiaries (SLP) is due to intellectual and other disability affecting young people transitioning into adulthood .

This emphatically highlights the last Labour government's folly of concentrating all their efforts on the unemployment benefit (albeit successfully reducing numbers).

On Carmel Sepuloni's "conflict of interest"

On one hand I can agree with the Whale that Carmel Sepuloni should not be punished for the (alleged) sins of her mother. Andrew Little has stood her down from the welfare portfolio because her mother is facing numerous benefit fraud charges, citing a "conflict of interests".

On the other, Sepuloni has a history of getting directly involved with WINZ staff and interfering in their decisions.

In her own words, after intervening to get a benefit reinstated when someone volunteering in her office missed a WINZ seminar thereby breaking the rules of entitlement:

Get it together WINZ! Not all of these poor young people are going to have an MP on their case, who can ring up and leave rather firm voice messages for you when these mistakes happen.

She set a precedent that has bearing on the current circumstances.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Typical attack on ACT

This writer makes some questionable assumptions.

I am 40 plus plus and would vote for a rise in the qualifying age (at the very least). The writer forgets that many of the group he assumes will vote with self-interest uppermost are also parents worried about the looming taxation burden on their children's (and grand children's) generation.

Also the "apathy" he refers to amongst the 18 to 30 year-olds would  not be a 'given'  if this debate took off.

And typically, ACT's proposal is misrepresented. The writer has framed the issue as one of retaining or losing Super when what Seymour proposed is a "referendum to determine the future structure of New Zealand Super."

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The main driver of child poverty

40 percent of Maori mothers are unpartnered.

From the Household Incomes Report:

the poverty rate for children in sole-parent families living on their own is high at 60%...
the poverty rate for children in two-parent families is much lower at 14%,
What would a policy to improve marriage or partnership rates look like?

Stopping the subsidisation of sole parent families.