Saturday, November 11, 2006

Say What?!

MORE research. This was released yesterday by the Ministry of Social Development, from their Research News, Issue 5, October 2006;

The research, part of the Centre for Social Research and Evaluation's ongoing living standards programme, found that, while income is important, sustainable employment, education and assets are also key to achieving good living standards.

"One example of this," says Deputy Chief Executive of Social Development Policy and Knowledge, Marcel Lauzière, "is that people on benefit were found to have lower living standards than working people with comparable incomes. While income can certainly help improve our living standards, this research demonstrates the importance of sustained employment, as well as higher levels of education, home ownership and assets accumulation."

So? There are plenty of jobs. Get rid of the benefits.

More Families Commission research

More hand-wringing and naval-gazing here. And YOU paid for it. Well-educated, well-off women with too much time on their hands whining about how society views them. Where is their self-respect?
But it gets worse. Their solution is to demand even more of your money!

Friday, November 10, 2006

Unbelievable, literally.

Andrew Falloon has linked to a video which has Sue Bradford making this claim about the number of child deaths through physical abuse in Sweden. Apparently, "Between 1971 and 2000, in 21 of these years not a single child died from physical abuse and in each of the remaining 9 years one child died from abuse."

Below is the most recent UNICEF-produced Innocenti League Table for deaths from maltreatment. Sweden has 0.5 deaths per 100,000 children. If Sweden has around 2 million children (assuming a similar demographic spread to NZ) that means, on average, 10 children die from maltreatment per year (right click on image to enlarge).

I am fairly sure Sue Bradford would be quite happy using this table to point out how poorly NZ is doing.

"Women bear brunt as job figures fall"

This headline in today's DomPost is highly questionable.

The article continues,"10,000 women lost their jobs in the last 3 months".

Yet the Statistics NZ release says, "The decrease (in employment) of 9,000 over the quarter was wholly due to falls in female full-time and female part-time employment.....Unemployment rose by 4,000 over the quarter....this movement was wholly driven by an increase in male unemployment."

So the women no longer working are not unemployed which rather suggests they have other means of support, probably a partner. They might have 'lost' their jobs or alternatively, they may have decided not to work. Why? Because as I suggested yesterday, the Working For Families assistance means they don't need to.

The DomPost article goes on to say,"Fewer jobs means overall spending is likely to slow down." Not necessarily, if my suggestion is correct.

What we need to know is the recent trend in WFF payments to see if there is a correlation with the drop in women employed. I'll see what I can find. But the WFF scheme is such a significant redistribution of wealth it has to be factored in to what is happening in the labour market.

The writer has overlooked the fact that women have a much greater degree of choice about work than men.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

False complaints

This case is disquieting, to put it mildly. The former policeman has been found not guilty of rape charges yet the person who made the false accusations gets name suppression? Will charges be laid against her? And now it is revealed that the case only went to court because it is one that the PM "personally" referred to a commission of inquiry into Police conduct, according to the man's lawyer, Gary Gottlieb.

Mr Gottlieb said there was a huge bill for private investigators and Ogle had to sell his house to met his costs.

"If we hadn't done what we did and had treated it like an ordinary trial, he would have been rolled.

"This is the trouble with anyone. If the state brings its forces against you, it is so bloody hard to stand up to it," Mr Gotlieb said.

And then, on a related subject, you have to wonder what motivates people to make false complaints. Coincidentally while pondering that I received this in the letterbox;

$100,000. And you pay nothing unless they get a result. Seems to me we are increasingly appealing to the worst aspects of human nature.

Latest Employment Statistics

Unemployment rises slightly to 3.8 percent

NZ falls from 2nd in OECD to 4th=

But here's the interesting development; The decrease of 9,000 (0.4 percent) over the quarter was wholly due to falls in female full-time and female part-time employment.

That'll be the effect of Working For Families. Now the kids can have their Ipods and their mums. Doesn't it give you the warm fuzzies.

No? You're worried about productivity? So's Helen but let's face it - the votes are more important.

The philosophical problem with the DPB

So ably described by David Green in Poverty and Benefit Dependency;

Try to remember this when next confronted with an indignant lifestyler belly-aching about society's obligation to support mothers and children. And if they try to argue they are raising future taxpayers tell them to take out a loan in anticipation.

On the same wave length

Last night I had the honour of stepping in for Rodney Hide and addressing the Waikanae Rotary members. No surprises what I talked about (after describing MY experience of Dancing with the Stars - a phone bill that grew at about the rate Rodney shrank) - welfare and the worst excesses of the welfare state.

But I also talked about my experiences as a volunteer and my conviction that people are far more resourceful and creative than government ever give them credit for. There was audible assent when I said the government should back off.

The President responded with a George Washington quote about government being like fire; a dangerous servant and a fearful master. We were on the same wave length.

Three killed in Gisborne

Yesterday there were radio reports about two domestic violence incidents in Gisborne but they have barely rated a mention in today's papers. Just small columns. Three killed, one woman is still fighting for her life in hospital.

I asked David if he knew about the killings in Gisborne and he responded, what killings in Gisborne? Life is becoming very cheap in some circles. Perhaps its lack of value is reflected in the media's lack of interest.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Extreme Socialists vs Socialists

The Child Poverty Action Group has won the right to challenge the government through the Human Rights Tribunal. They want beneficiaries with children to be eligible for the $60 per week In-Work payment. Here is Tariana Turia egging them on. Around 70,000 of these children will be Maori.

I'll briefly reiterate my argument. If the CPAG win, essentially we will see an increase in benefit levels. An increase in benefit levels leads to an increase in the number of people going on or staying on benefits. CPAG want a short term gain and refuse to see the long term cost which cannot be in the best interests of children.

There is no guarantee the money reaches the children anyway.

And, most obviously, the incentive effect of the In-Work payment will be nullified if it is extended to non-working families.

Rugby stadium be damned

According to the NZ Herald, The Government says the stadium will cost about $500 million, although that is considered conservative.

Based on this government's record with large construction projects, prisons for example, the cost could easily escalate to $8-900 million.

That's half of what we spend on Law and Order. Three quarters of what we spend on Defence.

What a stark reminder of how wrong this government's priorities are.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


From today's DomPost;

Scientists call 'climate frenzy' a diversion

Since the release of the Stern Report this is the first account I have seen (though I haven't exactly been looking very hard) in the NZ media describing a different viewpoint. Glad to see Tim Barnett has taken an interest. He is one Labour MP I have time for based on personal experience.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Melbourne Cup

I'll be putting my money on this horse, Pop Rock. Anyone else made their mind up yet?

...and now for some good news

This could be the beginning of a useful trend.

Thanks, United Future

As you know I like to keep track of what the Families Commission is spending the taxpayer's $7 million a year on.

"Researchers, funded by the Families Commission Blue Skies Fund, interviewed 40 Chinese, Korean, South African, UK, USA, Indian, Palestinian and Iraqi women about their experience of pregnancy and birth in New Zealand.

Migrant women who become new mothers in New Zealand say their cultural needs are often not met or understood by health professionals."

Looks like 'cultural insensitivity' is contagious. Perhaps it's caught in maternity wards.

Yeah right 4

In 2004 then Minister for Social Development Steve Maharey released the following;

New rules instituted within the Department of Work and Income (DWI) ensure that the benefit fraud is being properly detected and recovered, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

Mr Maharey dismissed claims by Act MP Muriel Newman that the Government had gone soft on benefit fraud. In fact the opposite is the case, Mr Maharey said.

It's a dog's life

Monday morning. Everybody off to work or school as the fifth household member prepares for another busy day.

100 million websites and growing - fast

Here's an interesting blog entry from the Adam Smith website detailing stats on the internet;

The big growth has been fueled by blogs and small business sites. The numbers going on line to set out their stall have increased more greatly and more rapidly than many people supposed. The world is becoming connected by invisible links, and those not able to grasp the simple technology of it will soon be like outsiders at the gates, watching the village feast take place within.

Getting the 'snip' on the social

Shock, horror. WINZ (naughty reporter) pays for vasectomies!
Great. Let's hope this publicity encourages a few more people down to their local office to apply for one.

Sharing the blame

United Future met at the weekend for their annual conference. The NZ Herald reports Peter Dunne saying,"Sometimes we have appeared standoff-ish and looking down our noses at particular people. I don't think that is appropriate."

What a joke. His use of the word "we" that is. Remember this?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Shonky Aussie advice

My BS detector has just gone off. I was reading Muriel Newman's weekly column in which she quotes Helen Hughes from the Australian Centre for Independent Studies;

Professor Helen Hughes, a senior fellow at the Australian based Centre for Independent Studies has looked at the question, “Should Australia and New Zealand open their doors to guest workers from the Pacific” and co-authored a report which is featured as our NZCPD guest commentary this week (click the sidebar link to view). Helen’s conclusion is that such a scheme is not only ill advised for Australia and New Zealand, but for the Pacific Islands as well. With 1.5 million people unemployed and underemployed in the region, a migrant worker scheme for 10,000 to 38,000 would be a ‘cruel deception’, which would shield Pacific governments from need to pursue economic reforms.

In her report she provides an interesting comparison between Australia and New Zealand’s approach to Pacific immigration, noting that while 24 percent of Australian residents were born overseas, only 2.4 percent were born in the Pacific, whereas of the 19 percent of New Zealand residents who were born overseas, 34 percent were born in the Pacific. She states that too great a reliance on immigration from the Pacific has given rise to serious social problems:

“Many Pacific islanders in New Zealand are less well integrated into the economy and society than Pacific islanders in Australia . In New Zealand, they remain geographically segregated into the second and third generations. Most live in highly concentrated communities in Auckland. Welfare dependence contributes to young Pacific Islander gangs, notably in Auckland. Compared with 16% of the total population, 26% of Pacific islanders receive some form of government benefit in New Zealand. The experience of Pacific migrants in New Zealand diverges from that in Australia because Australia has preserved selectivity of its migrant intake”.

The 2006 Census data is not yet available but official estimates for the Pacific people population for NZ in 2006 range from 7.1 to 7.4 percent. Across all main benefits Pacific Islanders make-up 7.5 percent of working-age beneficiaries, being under-represented in SB and IB and over-represented in DPB and dole.(By way of contrast Maori make-up 31.5 percent of working age beneficiaries.)

So in order to claim Pacific people are receiving significantly more government benefits than the general population she must have included children (Pacific families being larger). The creates an unfair impression.

Pacific people make a valuable contribution to the economy and it irks that an Aussie think-tank is trying to discourage New Zealand from allowing willing and able workers to come here.

Long term benefit dependence - the real picture

Yesterday David Farrar linked to a story about a man who has spent 21 years on the dole. Redrag comments that the number of people long term dependent on benefits is not very high. He says, Wow, is that all?

At the moment at least 124,000 working age people have been on a benefit continuously for four or more years. Almost 60,000 have been relying continuously on a benefit for more than ten years.

Note the word continuously. Many people cycle on and off benefits which breaks the continuity. When I took this into account in 2002 I found that the average stay on the DPB was not the publicised 3.7 years but at least 6.5 years. This is because almost half of the recipients had more than one stay on the benefit. There is a significant difference between continuous time spent on benefit and cumulative time.

Also remember that thousands of people who were on a benefit long-term are now on Super. It would be an interesting exercise to add those numbers into the mix.

Another WINZ whoopsie

An Auckland electrician has perpetrated a massive fraud on WINZ.

According to sums done by Work & Income, which answers to the MSD, there were at least 120 linked false identities that were receiving cash. In total, those identities were receiving $54,000 a fortnight.

Looking on the bright side, I thought, now he is locked up at least the benefit numbers will come down. But alas, we will even be denied that silver lining. His inventions were collecting Super.

(If you are going to comment please feel free to use the contracted form of Work and Income - WINZ - because it saves time. Officially, and I have been given this instruction, they are to be referred to as Work and Income. Note the journalist obliged.)