Saturday, September 13, 2008

Only 140 years to wait

There is good news on the economic front.

According to the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research;

The trans-Tasman income gap will disappear 140 years from now, if the economies of New Zealand and Australia continue to grow at the same average rates for the period 2000-2007.

Ummm. 2148.

On the other hand New Zealand could choose ACT's 20 Point Plan and aim to beat Australia by 2020.....

I know which I prefer.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Key "booed and jeered" by self-delusionists

Yesterday John Key addressed a conference hosted by Every Child Counts, a left-leaning, pro-Labour bunch which Barnardo's Murray Edridge, also present, described as "partisan". Hostile might have been a better descriptor.

Key was apparently booed and jeered for talking about boot camps to address youth offending.

Minister for Social Development, Ruth Dyson, was more warmly received. She responded,

The current youth justice system worked well and "in a way that respects our youth, keeps them out of the adult justice system". She said New Zealand risked losing its comparatively low youth offending level if it changed the approach.

So things are pretty hunky dory down under.

Consider then the following;

2007. Youth Court judge Andrew Becroft

Despite the successful use of diversion since reforms in 1989, its use had fallen markedly in the past two years, Judge Becroft said.

About 38 per cent of all police apprehensions of youth offenders now resulted in diversion, compared to 55 per cent two years ago.

In the same period, those that led to prosecutions in the Youth Court had risen from 17 per cent to 29 per cent.

One reason for that was a rise in violent offending among young people over the same period - but it was not the only factor, he said.

2007. From the Ministry of Social Development;

While there was growth in the young person population, overall offending rates remained static over the same period. In fact, when considered on a per 10,000 of population basis, the ratio of apprehensions to population decreased by over 11%.

However, there were significant increases in violent offending. Apprehensions for violent offending rose by 36.4% over the previous 8 years and charges for violent offending increased by 57.6% between 2000 and 2005. This suggests it is the ferocity, not the frequency of offending which is changing.

2008. Kim Workman National Director of Prison Fellowship and new appointment to the Families Commission;

Yes, there has been a recent rise in the rate of apprehensions for violent offending, particularly serious violent offending. But that increase applies to every age cohort of the population – apart from 10 – 13 year olds.

It is violent offending that society worries about most. Violent youth offending is accelerating.

It sickens me that Ruth Dyson swans about the place talking in self-congratulatory terms about her government and their international standing in respect of crime. It is bull shit. And those people who sit there lapping it up because it affirms their own wonky world view and their modus operandi of denial are just as bad.

Heaven help us if we get another three years of these self-delusionists holding sway.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

There's just no pleasing some folk

Complaints in private prisons in Victoria, Australia, have risen dramatically. Why?

He [the ombudsman] pointed to private prisons, noting 400% and 100% increases in complaints respectively about Port Phillip prison (rising to 443) and Fulham prison (129) since the 2006 annual report. While rising complaint figures are partly explained by the installation of phones for inmates, Mr Taylor described the increases as "disproportionately high".

I wonder if anyone rang to complain that they had been given phones?

The way to reduce the level of complaints is obvious. Take away the phones.

Nasty nosey-Parker narks

How does a story like this get into the newspapers? In fact, I am not going to repeat it. Suffice to say some individuals personify the worst aspects of this meddling government. MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

The other 'bombshell'

Ever wondered what a cross between Julia Roberts and Rachael Hunter might look like? Wonder no more.

And what relevance could my observation possibly have? None at all. But Ms Ede is a rather pleasant distraction from the text .... and adds a touch of class to Mr Glenn's cortege. Gorgeous Georgie appeared to be enjoying the show.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Families Commission - you're fired!

The Dominion Post came late today. After 5.40am which is when I go to the gate looking for it. So I missed the news that John Key has promised to get rid of the Families Commission.


This was ACT policy in 2005 and National have now seen sense and are joining in.

All the Families Commission does is turn out questionable, superfluous, research. I blogged about some of it here.

Looks like Rajen Prasad did something sensible for once and the new head, Jan Pryor, made the right call in keeping her feet in two camps.

Now will Key commit to killing off Kiro's commission?

Update; Oh no. He's retracting it already. For Gods sake, get some balls.

Telethon supports wrong charity

The telethon is back. TV3 is going to host a 24 hour telethon next year. The 'Big Night In' seeks to raise $2 million for the charity that supports New Zealand children living in poverty, KidsCan.

Call me churlish but I believe this is the wrong charity. Children living in poverty in New Zealand is too political. There is a big question mark over why children are going without food, shoes and raincoats in what is a generous and pervasive welfare state. And whether someone other than their parents providing these things actually improves the situation or just breeds more dependency and irresponsibility. As a volunteer I am happy to give my time working in homes trying to sort these problems but I am not going to support throwing more money at them.

It is enormously disappointing that a charity like Cancer Kids or Variety - for sick and disabled children - is going to miss out. In fact some of the donations going to the telethon will mean donations do not go to other more deserving charities.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A vote for Labour...

... is a vote for Sue Bradford.

Sole Maori identity has protective factors

Identifying solely as Maori has protective factors for mental health.

More from the Christchurch Health and Development Study;

Results: Those with sole Māori identity had rates of disorder that were 1.28-fold higher than those of non- Māori; those of Māori/other identity had rates of disorder that were 1.57-fold higher than non- Māori. Regression analyses suggested that the elevated rates of mental disorder among Māori were largely explained by their higher exposure to socio-economic disadvantage and childhood adversity. But even after adjustment, being of sole Māori identity was a protective factor that reduced rates of mental disorder among Māori. Conclusions: Risk and protective factors associated with the mental health of young Māori involve an interplay between levels of exposure to social disadvantage/childhood adversity and cultural identity, with secure cultural identity being a factor that may mitigate the effects of exposure to adversity.

So what should the policy response be to this? Blame colonisation, and then what? Call for more wealth redistribution to avoid socioeconomic disadvantage? Call for more cultural emphasis through various institutions? The discouragement of Maori intermarrying or recognising their Pakeha heritage? Seriously, what do we do with this knowledge?

And even more recently released;

CONCLUSIONS: Maori ethnic identification was associated with increased risks of cannabis use and dependence. The higher rate of cannabis use by Maori could be largely attributed to a combination of socioeconomic factors and greater exposure to environmental factors known to influence risk of cannabis use. The higher rates of cannabis use by Maori made a small contribution to higher rates of early school leaving, crime, and unemployment among Maori.

Tell us something we didn't know. Confirming-type research but very useful for those needing proof of assertions. Maori are more likely to be potheads. Pakeha more likely to be pissheads (notwithstanding Maori indulge in episodic hazardous drinking).

What about a radical policy response like, prohibition has failed to reduce the use of cannabis, particularly among Maori. Therefore the prohibition policy is forthwith abandoned.

But I am overlooking that policies not working is no criteria for abandoning them. Not in this country anyway. Carrying on doing what we have always done is easier than changing.

Murray "We'll keep them honest" Smith

If there is one thing I can't stand it's lying. On the campaign trail around the Hutt one of my fellow candidates is United Future's Murray Smith. Now Murray has been telling audiences he is number three on their list. That is an electable position and he has probably reasoned it would boost his credibility.

The list has just been announced and he is at number six. Almost certainly (on current polling) unelectable. Giving Murray the benefit of the doubt I then assumed that he had been talking about his list placing in 2005. But no. He was six then also.

The real irony is the strategy he has been pushing;

Sunday, September 07, 2008

The media largely controls the outcome

Deborah Coddington's column reflects her disgust with the current political climate for which I share a smidgen of sympathy. But it is futile to heap more blame on those who would expose and avenge wrong-doings than those who commit them. There is one sentence I want to comment on;

MPs refuse to campaign on important policies, such as health and education, and instead scramble for power on the backs of negative, frenzied attacks.

Having been a politician Deborah would know how difficult it is to get the media to report policy or attend meetings at which they are discussed (although local papers are better than majors at covering candidates) and yet the media is going to have more input into election outcomes than policy. They are controlling the information. Thus smart politicians keep them onside. Winston's continual aggravation of journalists shows a man who refuses to accept this reality and one whose ego will eventually be his downfall.

Egos abound in politics.For the good and for the bad. A lack of one can make it difficult to project and inspire confidence. Too much and the individual loses sight of what it is their party wants to achieve and what the chances are of achieving it.

Deborah finished by saying that for the first time she is feeling apolitical. Can I suggest Deborah that all of the time and energy you put into education policy will be lost if you don't take a deep breath, go into the booth and tick ACT.

Forget the personality stuff and like me, think about what would be an enormous step forward in education choice and the transferral of power from the state to the individual. If National needs ACT after the election the voucher policy has every chance of being a bottom line.