Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another sad sack

Just another sad sack who thinks the world owes them a living.

Yes it was incompetent of New Zealand authorities to miss his deliberate deception. But systems are set up based on most people's propensity to be honest.

I have been ripped off by someone I did a lot of work for this year and who now refuses to pay me. I could be described as 'incompetent' for doing the work up front. But isn't that how most people operate? On trust? And I don't plan to change my modus operandi because of one toe rag.

This WINZ fraudster is just another example of someone who promotes an utter inversion of values. He should be held up as such. He is the embodiment of the enemy of honesty.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Labour welfare policy a sham"

A variation on an earlier blog post published in today's NZ Herald on-line opinion page.

Insight into how OECD operatives think

I have mentioned before that James Bartholomew is writing a new book about welfare. Researching it he recently spent some time at the OECD. His observations about concepts that are currently influencing the thinking in that organisation are not very encouraging:

"As part of the research for my new book, I visited the OECD last week and interviewed eight people there. The concept of low inequality being a ‘good thing’ was referred to explicitly or implicitly a remarkable number of times.... There are certain concepts that were taken for granted as being valid and important at the OECD. In addition to low inequality, there was the idea that women should work because of both economic efficiency and equality with men. The concepts that did not get so much of a look-in were personal freedom, personal responsibility and the idea that families headed by the natural, married parents might be good for the children."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Two little boys...

...had two little toys.

Sorry. There is no relevance to the poignant song Rolf Harris used to sing. Regardless, the lyric and melody entered my head as I read about two little boys. Now dead. The first a one year-old and the second aged two. One from Otahuhu and the other from Orakei. Both families known to Child Youth and Family Services.

The Mexican stand-off that is Epsom

According to Stuff:

The ACT Party is facing an election wipeout – with a new poll showing Epsom voters have been turned off by last week's tea party.

A Fairfax Media-Research Media International mini-poll of 200 eligible Epsom voters showed National's Paul Goldsmith easily winning the seat on 45.5 per cent.

ACT candidate John Banks trailed on 29.1 per cent, while Labour's David Parker had 14.6 per cent. The snap poll, taken on Tuesday, showed last Friday's meeting with National leader John Key shifted support away from Mr Banks.

Almost 30 per cent said they were now less likely to vote for him. Just under 23 per cent said Mr Key's public endorsement made it more likely they would favour Mr Banks. About 43 per cent said it made no difference. However, the poll also showed almost 40 per cent were undecided over the blue-ribbon seat, suggesting voters were waiting to see if National needed ACT as a support partner.

And the rest of us potential ACT voters are waiting to see if you will put ACT back in. This is a classic Mexican stand off.

If John Banks can't win Epsom I am not wasting my vote and effectively giving the Left another tick. My voting priority is making sure Labour can't form a coalition with more seats than National.

But the results also tell us that John Banks was the wrong choice for Epsom and the wrong choice for ACT.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Now it's National's turn to tell porkies

I try to be even-handed and give credit where it is due. At least National are talking about criminals who continue to receive welfare (in the thousands) and women who add babies to their benefit (also in the thousands) but in their latest Welfare Fraud document they make this patently untrue statement.

"Labour did nothing to stop fraud and abuse of the welfare system, allowing it to largely go unchecked."

Look at the facts (as I pointed them out to Larry Williams last night):

In 2005/06 under Labour there were 937 prosecutions for fraud.

In 2010/11 under National there were 690.

The following details the number of investigations and reviews completed:

table IS.1: Trends in fraud and abuse investigation statistics1
Financial year2 Number of investigations and reviews completed Number of overpayments established Value of overpayments ($)
2004/2005 55,632 8,203 41,455,851
2005/2006 45,992 7,299 35,757,865
2006/2007 39,141 7,084 41,935,634
2007/2008 26,736 4,407 33,702,275
2008/2009 26,400 3,327 33,780,453
2009/2010 19,935 2,996 39,336,133

And why has it taken National 3 years to get around to doing something as straight forward as stopping the benefits of people on the run from the police?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

World Socialist Website puts the boot into Mana

What an interesting read about the "pseudo-radicals" that make up the Mana Party.

"Harawira’s posturing is entirely bogus.He was a member of the Maori Party caucus that went into coalition with National after the 2008 election, and voted for all its anti-working class measures. The Maori Party supported National’s agenda of attacking welfare beneficiaries and youth, “downsizing” the public sector and increasing the regressive Goods and Services Tax (GST). The government gave tax cuts to the rich and imposed drastic cuts to living standards. The Maori Party’s principal initiative, the Whanau Ora welfare program, opened the door to the privatisation of welfare.

In his own electorate, Harawira oversaw a social disaster. According to a New Zealand Herald report in June, unemployment in the Northland electorate was at “crisis levels,” hitting 9.8 percent in the first quarter this year—the highest since 2003 and almost 2 percentage points above the next-highest region. A fifth of the working-age population, 29 percent of young people aged 18-24, and 48 percent of working-age Maori were on welfare....

Mana’s policies are steeped in nationalism and profoundly anti-working class. While replete with empty promises to abolish the GST, raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour, and lift welfare benefits to pre-1991 levels, the party proposes to abolish the dole for the unemployed and to discriminate against immigrants by “prioritising the employment of New Zealand residents.” Its opposition to the Key government’s planned further asset sales is rooted in New Zealand nationalism—asserting that “NZ lands” should be protected from foreign ownership. It has published no foreign policy platform, and only belatedly called for NZ troops to be withdrawn from Afghanistan following the deaths of two SAS troopers last month.

The party’s program centres on identity politics, which has been used for decades to divide the working class on ethnic lines. Mana calls for Maori “self determination,” which is an orientation to the business interests of a privileged layer. The Mana Party is demanding that multi-million dollar land claims under the Treaty of Waitangi be extended, further enriching tribal leaders. Recent research by Berl economist Ganesh Nana puts the combined asset base of Maori tribes at $NZ36.9 billion—a fortune built up on the exploitation of workers of all ethnic backgrounds."

Well Hone certainly doesn't cut it with the true Trotskyites.

Why Phil Goff should never get near government again

Labour is going to scrap any work-testing of the DPB if it returns to government. Annette King says that there shouldn't be an arbitrary age for requiring a parent to find a job.

They are also refusing to deal with the problem of women adding children to their benefit by limiting how long they can stay on the DPB thereafter. Yesterday, when tackled about this, Phil Goff told Mike Hosking (21:04) that most women on the DPB were there for a short period of time only and came from a marriage break-up.

He doesn't know where most come from actually. The Social Statistics Report used to record whether someone had been divorced, separated, separated from a de facto or single. But they stopped doing that in 2001 and I have a letter from the MSD confirming this.

So he doesn't know what precipitates an application for the DPB.

Next he doesn't define a short period of time. 6 months? 2 years? Three years? That's a subjective quantification.

But DPB statistics can be twisted to distort the picture significantly and nobody explains this better than Michael Tanner in The Poverty of Welfare:

So it is possible to say that most people go on the DPB for a short period of time AND most of the people on it have been there for quite a long time.

MSD research highlights this phenomenon:

On average, sole parents receiving main benefits had more disadvantaged backgrounds than might have been expected:

• just over half had spent at least 80% of the history period observed (the previous 10 years in most cases) supported by main benefits
• a third appeared to have become parents in their teenage years.

This reflects the over-representation of sole parents with long stays on benefit among those in receipt at any point in time, and the longer than average stays on benefit for those who become parents as teenagers.

Had the research considered all people granted benefit as a sole parent, or all people who received benefit as a sole parent over a window of time rather than at a point in time, the overall profile of the group would have appeared less disadvantaged.

But what does Phil Goff do?

Uses the picture that paints less disadvantage because it suits him politically.

Which is exactly why he should get nowhere near government ever again. He has no intention of fixing a huge problem when he refuses to tell the truth, and the whole truth, about it.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Significantly more Aussie births are to married couples

The Melbourne Age has a piece about the record number of babies born in Australia in 2010.

One interesting fact:Link

Of the new parents, 66 per cent had made the trip down the aisle or had registered a marriage before the birth of their child.

The relevant statistic in New Zealand would be 51 percent (2009), a big difference probably largely accounted for by the low rate of marriage among Maori.

On the lighter side the article also gives New Zealand a mention:

Across the Tasman, New Zealand is expected to experience a mini-baby boom of its own sometime next July.

The last time the All Blacks won the Rugby World Cup in 1987, there was a surge in births nine months later that statisticians explained away as a country in celebration - and copulation.

And typically I wonder how many of these predicted births will be to people able to support a child?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Why is Winston climbing the polls?

I make no secret of being a big fan of horse racing - both codes - and horsebreeding. The industry has been struggling recently with low stakes, high ACC charges and subsequent loss of NZ talent - trainers, breeders and jockeys - to overseas, particularly Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong. I don't profess to know exactly what Winston Peters did for the industry as Minister from 2005 to 2008 but his record is one that the industry applauded. At the same time Roger Douglas attacked the industry because they received tax breaks. Privilege. But it wasn't as simple as that. The racing industry wasn't getting the same treatment as other gaming industries and argued its case accordingly. My view was that they should all be on the same footing obviously but instead of attacking the racing industry, which began to thrive under Winston, Douglas should be using it as an example of how lower taxation allows business to flourish to the point where they produce more income and jobs for a country.

Douglas wrote in 2009, about what families were paying in tax:

“Given the current economic climate, this robbery must stop. What have families got for their $30,000? How has the Families Commission helped? Or introducing tax breaks for the racing industry?"

I wrote to Roger:

"Actually the racing industry is thriving and becoming more globalised. Which means the agistment, breeding and export industries are thriving. This is NZ doing what it does well. In fact it is probably a super example of how industry blossoms with lower taxes and it is entirely possible that the government is now collecting more tax because of that growth.

Of course the tax breaks need to be right across the board otherwise the concession is privilege. But it would be worth highlighting the industry positively rather than negatively.

He replied, "
The last thing nz needs is govt picking winners ie taxing some nzers to give to others. Roger"

I countered,

"I agree. That's what I said. But the racing industry is a good example of why tax breaks should be universal; it provides tangible proof that the govt shouldn't be picking losers. Or do you think that the racing industry can only prosper at someone else's expense? Lindsay"

No further response was forthcoming.

I still maintain Roger missed an opportunity. Libertarians often argue this point and mostly agree that politically they should support any tax reduction but push for equivalence.

So what is the point of my post?

Winston appears to have spent all of (or damn near to) his advertising budget on Trackside TV. And the industry loves him.