Friday, June 10, 2011

The cute things children say - not

Another study from the previously mentioned June issue of the Social Policy Journal of New Zealand is into children's perceptions of violence - physical, sexual and emotional, which is how CYF also categorises abuse by the way. Over 2,000 children randomly selected from 28 schools of "various sizes, geographic areas and socio-economic neighbourhoods" filled out questionairres. Apart from telling us the overall incidence of experience ...

Sixty-three percent of children reported having directly experienced physical violence at some time in their lives. Two-thirds reported having witnessed physical violence directed at other children, and nearly 90% reported having seen violence in the media. Although less common, still more than a quarter of the children (27%) reported witnessing violence against adults.

...there is no breakdown of socio-economic status, gender, age or ethnicity. What I would have been interested in.

Instead, because of the nature of the type of research, the report features many direct quotes from children. If you only like the cute things kids say, stop here.

"I've been punched, grabbed by the throat and hung over a trellis and then thrown on the concrete"

"I get hidings all the time and some people hurt me"

"Kicked by somebody I don't know because my dog went on their land"

"I got into a fight with my Mum and I hit her. Then she hit me with the broom and kicked me out of the house"

"Some kids tease me and do wrestling moves on me and I'm getting scabs and bruises"

"I saw people having a fight. Blood on walls and carpet. Screaming and yelling."

"My Mum and her boyfriend always get in arguments and I've seen heaps of things get smashed"

"I watched my Aunty and my Dad fighting with knives inside at night"

"My Dad hurt Mum in town and made her mouth bleed".

"In the Christmas holidays my family went away with our friends, but Dad wasn't allowed to come because Mum had a something order out on him. But on the third day we were there Dad came because he needed to talk to Mum, and Dad and my Dad's friends got in a big fight with me, all my sisters and the rest of the camp watching."

"I woke up and heard fighting and banging the walls. I thought my Mum's boyfriend was beating her up."

"When my Mum and Step-Dad broke up they started hitting each other. I was in my room in bed."

"I've been hit with metal or any objects my parents pick up. My Dad abused my Mum when I was young"

"When I got beaten up and when I got chased by a man. When my sister got beaten up by my Dad and when my sister got raped"

"I have been followed by a man six times. I got taken off my Dad. Dad went to jail for beating my Step-Mum and assaulting her. I got punched by someone in my family. But I am not telling who. And my Mum is having a bad time at the moment at home."

"People get mean to me because my Mum goes out with heaps of men"

"Dad's girlfriend yells at me and swears at me when Dad isn't around for no reason"

"People said I would be traded for a dog"

"When my Mum and Dad had a fight and my Dad wouldn't stop beating my Mum up and I can't stop thinking about it, but they don't do that any more and when my Dad yells at my brother and the way he speaks."

"I've been scared when my Mum and Dad fight because I don't know who to go to."

"I have been sexually abused and just had it sorted out and I had to move away from all my friends and family. My brothers always hurt me by calling me names about my weight and size."

"My Dad went to jail for raping me."

"My friend got body slammed before my eyes and I was too weak to help him get up."

"Mum has been quite a witch, spelt with a B, and started screaming at me. I've tried suicide two times because of her"


You will be interested in the conclusion from the researchers:

The level of children's exposure to violence in this country is relatively high, and New Zealand appears to be a more violent country for children than was previously realised. The perceptions of the children in this study were that their experiences had a notable impact on their wellbeing. Furthermore, observation of violent events was rated as having a more powerful impact on children than their own victimisation. For many children the conclusion can be drawn that bullying is part of their childhood. Reporting the effects of their violent experiences highlighted the special vulnerability of children. Adults must assume responsibility to reduce our children's exposure to violence because New Zealand cannot afford the devastating effects of failing to protect its children.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Servant? Give me a break

"Whatever I do, I would like to continue to serve our community and our country."

And get paid a hundred grand more than the average annual income of those I serve.

So "much to offer". So much magnanimity.

Brash was at the Knowledge Wave Conference too

Fran O'Sullivan was delving through old file boxes and came across one about the Knowledge Wave conference in 2001. Ten years ago already. She writes that is was a lost opportunity:

...Catching the Knowledge Wave project stands out as one of the key missed opportunities that also litter New Zealand's history...

Essentially she says we are all talk. But quotes Helen Clark, mentions ex University of Auckland vice-chancellor John Hood and "political, business and social leaders from countries like Australia, Canada, Ireland, Israel, Singapore, Korea, the US and Taiwan."

She makes no allusion to Don Brash, then Reserve Bank Governor. But I was impressed enough by what he said to also keep a clipping.

The headline reads, Let's get radical, challenges Brash. NZ could only climb back into the ranks of the wealthy with a change of attitude and behaviour but New Zealanders had " deeply ingrained cultural characteristics", a disdain for commercial success, no strong passion for education and a tendency for immediate gratification. The economy would not improve significantly while 350,000 working age people received tax-payer funded income support. He suggested lifetime limits on how long able-bodied people could claim state benefits.

But let me finish with Fran O'Sullivan's words:

In retrospect, Catching the Knowledge Wave was too much about conversation and too little about action. It would be too pat to put this down to the heavy infusion of public relations messaging. Although that is a factor.

The real issue is that New Zealand body politic is still far too slow and far too slack when it comes to implementing a big agenda.

The John Key Government's own growth strategy is a case in point. For example, the shambles over the mining strategy and the failure to put some ballast under the PM's financial services hub project. Until recently, NZTE has been a relative shambles ... the list goes on.

It's unfathomable that a private sector operator like Key doesn't put a few more skilled ministers alongside Steven Joyce and Tony Ryall to form a speed team to get major change bedded down.

After three years of economic crises, endlessly debating is no longer an option.

Brash obviously agrees with the final sentence. But the way Key and National reacted to his political re-emergence illustrates exactly why we are going nowhere fast. Perhaps there should be an age limit on becoming the leader of a country. Too young and there is little or less sense of urgency and certainly less context.

Ten years ago my son had barely started primary school. This week he recieved his electoral enrolment form. Ten years is a bloody long time.

As Brash said ten years ago, New Zealand needs to get radical.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

New research into early Maori parenting skirts around the issue of incentives

The Social Policy Journal has just been released and contains a study into the early pregnancy/parenting rate of young Maori using the Christchurch Health and Development birth cohort. It agonisingly pores over the reasons for this and not once considers benefits as an incentive due to the potentially low incomes from work of Maori youth.

What is interesting is new information about the difference between those who identify as sole Maori and those who identify as Maori/other, and the results also include males who were asked if they got a partner pregnant or became a parent under 20.

The following is a quote from the ' discussion':

Two major findings emerged from these analyses. First, respondents having a sole Māori cultural identity had odds of early pregnancy and parenthood that were over seven times higher than those of non-Māori, while those of Māori/other cultural identity had odds of early pregnancy and parenthood that were over three times higher than non-Māori. These results were evident for both males and females. Also, those of sole Māori cultural identity had rates of pregnancy and parenthood that were significantly (p < .05) greater than those of Māori/other cultural identity. Similar findings were obtained using an alternative method of classifying Māori identity. These findings are consistent with the view that cultural identity plays an important role in ethnic differences, since rates of early pregnancy/parenthood increased steadily with increasing Māori cultural identity.

Further analysis suggested that, in part, the associations between cultural identity and early pregnancy/parenthood were due to socio-economic and family-related factors. After adjustment for these factors, those of sole Māori identity had rates of early pregnancy and parenthood that were more than three times higher than those of non-Māori and those of Māori/other identity. Again, similar results were found for males and females, and these findings were replicated in a supplementary analysis using an alternative measure of Māori identity.

Collectively these findings suggest that the higher rates of early pregnancy and parenthood among Māori are a consequence of a combination of socio-economic, family and cultural factors that combine to place young Māori at significantly increased risks of early pregnancy and parenthood. The implications of these conclusions are discussed below.

Although it has been argued that early parenting has been constructed as a problem by the health profession (e.g. Barker 1998), there is evidence that draws links between early age of pregnancy and greater likelihood of negative outcomes for offspring and parents (Coley and Chase-Lansdale 1998, Fergusson and Woodward 1999, Singh et al. 2001, Hobcraft and Kiernan 2001, Mantell et al. 2004, Ministry of Social Development 2008a, Robson and Berthoud 2006, Woodward et al. 2006, Boden et al. 2008). The results of the present study suggest that Māori, and in particular individuals of sole Māori cultural identity, are at increased risk of early pregnancy/parenthood. It could therefore be argued that at least some of the social disadvantage experienced by Māori in New Zealand may be due in part to increased rates of early pregnancy/parenthood among those of sole Māori cultural identity.

It "could therefore be argued?"

What are these people frightened of?

Monday, June 06, 2011

What timidity looks like

From Stuff:

The welfare group's February report said the cost of welfare would go from $47 billion to $34b by 2021 if its reforms proceeded - cutting the 360,000 on welfare by 100,000, by putting work obligations on them in exchange for support such as childcare.

Even if the goal is achieved, in simple terms of total number of beneficiaries, the reduction will be a worse performance than under Labour.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Bans to brush gangs further under the carpet

Todd McClay, who I respected for standing by his Dad but was unimpressed with at select committee when in the 3 hours I was in attendance said nothing, is proposing a ban on gang patches in all property owned by govenment. Really it's quite laughable when you consider the underlying silliness.

"There will be people who will say this is an infringement on civil rights. But these are members of gangs; people who attack old ladies in the streets or sell drugs to their grandchildren. Those are bigger violations of human rights than a law that says if you want support from a government department, you must not wear gang insignia".

But it will be OK to wear your patch in your state-owned house, when you are driving on a state-owned highway, visiting your state-owned GP to get a sickness certificate signed off, visiting the chemist to get your kids state-paid prescriptions filled or visiting a cash machine to draw your state-paid benefit.

You can do all that but if you chance to work for a living and it's on government owned property - a forest perhaps - forget it.

This country is so schizophrenic about gangs. This approach can only be described a bumbling attempt to brush them further under the carpet. There still there though. And once again ACT appears to be in support.

Entitlement malaise strikes at any age

The inevitable comment arrived (also inevitably made by 'anonymous') reacting to my post about the extra handouts to over 65s:

And why not,we have paid taxes all our lives.get the young into eork and leave the oldies alone.Remember most of the facilities the young enjoy today were paid for by these oldies.

I think I am fairly even-handed in my criticism of the entitlement malaise. I don't care what age the sufferer is. The world does not owe you a living.

Recently I wrote about how politicians play one group off against the other by using the welfare state. The commenter should read David Thompson's Selfish Generations which is a fairly good crack at showing how people born from around 1925 to 1940 got back proportionately more in benefits (broad definition) than they paid in tax throughout their lifetimes. He doesn't attack the older generation for this. Merely points out that as welfare states age, later generations fare less well. In turn, my kids are going to do it tougher than my generation.

I won't attack oldies for this either, except when they bleat about wanting even more and ignore that it is their children and grandchildren who are paying for it. And if you want to get a whopping big dose of it go to a Grey Power meeting.

If you are a socialist I will oppose your thinking regardless of age.