Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Children's Plea has it back to front

The Children's Plea is a renewed collectivist push for the state to reduce child poverty via greater wealth redistribution.

The NZ Herald reported on it today with the headline

Parent at home vital, says ex-judge

A retired judge says families need more financial support so that one parent can stay at home for the first three years of each child's life.
Graeme MacCormick, a Family Court judge for 16 years until 2005, has paid for full-page advertisements in the country's four main newspapers yesterday and this weekend asking people to sign a "children's plea" to MPs "to accord urgency and priority to all issues impacting the wellbeing of children"...he says "no real progress" has been made on financial support for the 260,000 children in poverty - "more than five times a capacity crowd at Eden Park".
"It is respectfully suggested that all child-related welfare benefits need to be reviewed to ensure that economic assistance to enable a positive start for every child is not only adequate but equitable between children."
He warns against pressuring solo mothers into work because placing children in daycare too early could inhibit their attachment to primary caregivers, the basis for a secure and responsible personality.
You can read the judge's paper here.

He notes,

Few, if any, will agree with everything in this paper. That is not the objective. It is hoped that in areas of contention it will promote further debate and, in some areas, re-consideration.

I can agree with very little bar the recommended free access to long-term contraception and tubal ligations.

The judge talks about breaking the "cycle of dependency" but his major suggestion is more welfare so a parent can stay home. Yet that was a major reason for introducing the DPB.

The only way to break the cycle is to stop welfare. That won't  happen unless people who can, are expected to work.

This 'plea' utterly fails to recognise the damage welfare has done to the family. Strong families - poor or rich - care and provide for their children. They do it in ways that are innate and commonsense. They don't need to be under a microscope. Their children don't belong to the state. They are not economic units that all must invest in.

All the fashionable  brain science is trotted out but marriage - an institution that demonstrably continues to nurture and  protect children - doesn't rate a single mention.

The problems the judge identifies have worsened as the social-engineering state grew. As less and less individual responsibility  is required of parents, the more incapable and immature they have become.

More cash hand-outs will not improve the prospects of  those children who are really in trouble. But believe me, there are not 260,000 of them.

If you are libertarian(ish) I recommend you don't read Mr MacCormicks paper. Intead try this offering from the Freedom Foundation:

The end of poverty may come around yet, but it won’t be due to the machinations or grand plans of colluding elites; instead it will be from the adaptability that inheres in a society built on the principles of individual sovereignty and free, competitive exchange.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

How to defeat child poverty?

The Daily Blog features a post this morning entitled, How to defeat child poverty, which comprises purely the graphic below:


The piece of the picture missing shows the unemployment rate in Finland is 8.5%, more than three points higher than New Zealands at 5.4%.

Additionally Finland's youth unemployment rate is 19.8%. So much for the guaranteed jobs.

A logic problem for you

Grant Robertson gets three times as many votes as Andrew Little from the caucus, and he gets well over a third of the members vote while Little manages only a quarter.

The unions give Little three times more votes than Robertson but the unions are only half as important as either the caucus or the members.

If this were a logic problem and you were asked to deduce the winner from the above information what would the answer be?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Roger Sutton - what the hell?

Read about the case in more detail here.

So in one corner we have society demanding men desist with violence, and all forms of sexual and emotional abuse and disrespect.

In the opposite we have society severely castigating and punishing a man whose harmless expressions of affection, eg addressing women as 'honey' and 'sweetie' and hugging them are deemed abhorrent and unacceptable.

Just exactly what do we want from men?

Why I won't support White Ribbon Day

White Ribbon Day looms:

This year's White Ribbon campaign kicks off tomorrow with an event at the Sky Tower, which will be lit up to "shine a light on men's violence"....As part of this year's campaign, which is officially recognised with White Ribbon Day on November 25, a number of events will be held across New Zealand to raise awareness.
One of those is the Walk A Mile In Her Shoes event, where men must walk in a pair of women's shoes to show support.

Perhaps Coro St's beloved Tyrone could find a pair of Kirtsy's shoes... oh hang on, it should be the other way around.


I have no wish to be flippant but clearly Intimate Partner Violence is a two-way street.

Apologies for not delving back through my own references but here are some incidence estimates from Wikipedia (all supported):

In England and Wales, the 1995 "Home Office Research Study 191" surveyed 10,844 people (5,886 women and 4,958 men) between the ages of 16 and 59, finding that for the twelve-month period preceding the survey, 4.2% of men had experienced IPV. Over a lifetime, this figure increased to 14.9% of men. Of the 6.6 million incidents of IPV in 1995, 3.25 million involved male victims, with 1 million incidents resulting in injury.[27] Since 2004, more detailed annual records have been maintained as a supplementary survey attached to the annual Home Office Crime in England and Wales reports. These reports have consistently recorded significantly higher rates of both male and female victims of IPV than the standard crime surveys. In the case of male victims, the figures range from a high of 4.5% in 2007/2008[30] to a low of 3.1% in 2009/2010.[31] In the Republic of Ireland, a 2005 report carried out by the National Crime Council found that 15% of women and 6% of men had suffered severe IPV in their lifetime, equating to roughly 213,000 women and 88,000 men.[32] In Northern Ireland, police records for 2012 listed 2,525 male victims of domestic violence, an increase of 259 cases from 2011.[33]
In the United States, the National Violence Against Women Survey carried out by the Department of Justice in 2000, surveyed 16,000 people (8,000 men and 8,000 women), and found that 7.4% of men reported physical assault by a current or former spouse, cohabiting partner, boyfriend/girlfriend, or date in their lifetime. Extrapolated to the population of the country as a whole, this figure equates to 6,863,352 men. Additionally, 0.9% of men reported experiencing domestic violence in the past year, equating to 834,732 men.[34] Also in 2000, the Canadian General Social Survey found 7% of men had experienced IPV from 1994 to 1999, amounting to 549,000 men.[35] Another Canadian General Social Survey, in 2005, found 6% of men had experienced IPV between 2000 and 2005, amounting to 546,00 men.[36] Data concerning campus rape, such as from a National Institute of Mental Health and Ms. Magazine study, has found a 1 in 7 sexual assault rate for men in U.S. colleges.[37]
In 2013, the American Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that from a sample of 16,000 U.S. adults, 26% of homosexual men, 37.3% of bisexual men, and 29% of heterosexual men had been a victim of IPV, compared to 43.8% of lesbians, 61.1% of bisexual women and 35% of heterosexual women. Although the study found that lesbians experienced IPV at higher rates than heterosexual women, it did acknowledge that the majority of IPV perpetrated against both men and women was carried out by men. CDC Director Tom Frieden stated, "This report suggests that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in this country suffer a heavy toll of sexual violence and stalking committed by an intimate partner."[38]
In New Zealand, the twenty-one year Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study, published in 1999, reported that of their sample of 1,037 people, 27% of women and 34% of men reported being physically abused by a partner, with 37% of women and 22% of men reporting they had perpetrated IPV.[39] Also in New Zealand, a 2009 report by the Journal of Applied Social Psychology evaluated samples of university students (35 female, 27 male), general population (34 female, 27 male), and incarcerated participants (15 female, 24 male), and found that 16.7% of the male respondents reported physical abuse (12.9% for students and 15.4% for convicts), while 29.5% reported bidirectional (i.e. both partners commit IPV against one another) violence (14.5% for students and 51.3% for convicts).[12]
The 2006 International Dating Violence Study, which investigated IPV amongst 13,601 students across thirty-two-nations found that "about one-quarter of both male and female students had physically attacked a partner during that year." It reported that 24.4% of males had experienced minor IPV and 7.6% had experienced "severe assault."[40]

White Ribbon Day promotes and perpetuates a stereotype of men as perpetrators and women as victims. That is why I won't support it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Cigarette burglary - I blame the government

The following appeared on the front of our local rag:

Dear Editor

It is not surprising that cigarettes were the sole target of a recent Four Square burglary. Due to an aggressive taxation policy cigarettes are now a valuable commodity beyond the means of many nicotine addicts. While the thief bears first responsibility for the increasing incidence of tobacco theft,  the government can bear second.

Smoking is legal. The level of taxation has long since surpassed what is needed to treat smoking-related disease and, yet, further hefty tax increases are planned for 2015 and 2016.

Political interventions always come with unintended consequences. The higher the price goes, the greater the incidence of associated crime will be.

Ironically, in an attempt to curb crime associated with heroin addiction the state dishes out free methadone. The approach to tobacco is a nonsensical opposite.

The village doesn't need security cameras. It needs a nationally consistent approach to addictive substances administered by a less rapacious state.


Saturday, November 15, 2014

The more things change...November 15, 2014

Another example of the more things change, the more they stay the same. Not sure if this is a new feature of Papers Past or I simply hadn't noticed it previously, but 'computer generated' text provides a pastable version of an item. Here's one I enjoyed from the Evening Post 80 years ago today:

Three thousand million pounds was added to the world's wealth by the inventions of Thomas A. Edison. That estimate was used by Sir James Jeans, in his presidential address to 3000 members of the British Association, states the London "Daily Express." He gave an impassioned denial to the charge that science does more harm than good. Although some new inventions had thrown people out of work, he said, scientific discoveries had provided work for millions
"There are many who attribute most of our present national woes—including unemployment in industry and the danger of war—to the recent rapid advance in scientific knowledge," Sir James went on.
"It is obvious that the country which called a halt to scientific progress would soon fall behind in every other respect as well.
"Those who sigh for an Arcadia in which all the machinery would be swapped and all invention proclaimed a crime, as it was in Erewhon, forget that the Erewhonians had neither to compete with highly organised scientific competitors for the trade of the world, nor to protect themselves against possible bomb-dropping, blockade, or invasion. Scientific research has two products of industrial importance—the laboursaving inventions which displace labour and the more fundamental discoveries which may ultimately lead to new trades, and new popular demands providing employment for vast armies of labour.
"Our great need at the moment is tor industry-making discoveries. The investigator in pure science does not know whether his researches will result in a mere labour-saving device or a new industry. He only knows that if  all science were throttled down neither would result.The community would become crystallised in its present state, with nothing to do but watch its population increase, and shiver as it waited for the famine, pestilence, or war, which must inevitably come, to restore the balance between food and mouths, land and population.'' 

And the same anti-science sentiment survives. Here's an example from 1997:

Jeremy Rifkin
A technology revolution is fast replacing human beings with machines in virtually every sector and industry in the global economy. Already, millions of workers have been permanently eliminated from the economic process, and whole work categories and job assignments have shrunk, been restructured, or disappeared. Global unemployment has now reached its highest level since the great depression of the 1930s. More than 800 million human beings are now unemployed or underemployed in the world. That figure is likely to rise sharply between now and the turn of the century as millions of new entrants into the workforce find themselves without jobs.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

MSD recommends higher benefits to Minister

I've been monitoring the MSD site for the Briefing to the Incoming Minister for Social Development. It's still not there but the NZ Herald has it.

Simon Collins summarises what he thinks the stand out points are. A reference to benefit levels - especially the one that relates particularly to child poverty - appears.

A graph in the briefing paper shows that the income of a sole-parent beneficiary with one child has dropped by almost 20 per cent in real terms since 1983, while the net average ordinary-time wage has risen in real terms over the same period by more than 30 per cent.
"In light of the short and long-term costs of child poverty to individuals and communities and relatively flat trend lines in levels of child poverty and hardship, it is important to continue to make progress in this area," it says.
"Alleviating hardship for children in the 'here-and-now' is an investment to improve life chances and child wellbeing in other domains, and reduces the potential harm and costs (including economic costs) to society.
"Within this multi-pronged approach, options could be explored to review the adequacy of the existing transfer payments, notably in the case of families with children."

The 'here and now' phrase worries me. That is exactly what increases future risk.

In short MSD are recommending to the Minister that sole parent benefit levels should rise despite the proven risks that this will result in more single parents and more unemployed households.

By the way, the graph is lifted from the Household Incomes Report (C.8) which states,

"None of the scenario lines include the Accommodation Supplement or the subsidy received by those on income-related rents vis-à-vis market rents."

The same applies to C.7 which fills out the picture. When a typical South Auckland accommodation supplement is added the SPS (ex DPB) with two children rises to $642 weekly:


Update: Received a link in a subscription e-mail posted at 5.00am this morning. Simon Collins sure reads and writes fast.