Friday, January 25, 2013

DomPost on drug test bill "unfairness"

The DomPost editorial this morning claims an "inherent unfairness in drug test bill."

It does so on the assumption that employers with jobs that don't have "obvious health and safety implications" may require a beneficiary to pass a test. Therefore beneficiaries will be subject to an "invasive and deeply personal procedure that most people in the workforce never have to face."

I think the writer is being over-imaginative.

The Ministry of Labour advises:

"If an employment agreement gives an employer the right to require employees to undergo drug testing then, provided the provision in the agreement is reasonable and does not contravene the protections contained in any relevant laws, it is more likely that the employer will be able to require drug testing. Similarly, it will be difficult for an employer to introduce drug testing if that right is not contained in the relevant employment agreement, unless the employee gives the employer informed consent."

Beneficiaries will be covered by the same laws.

Those opposed to welfare reform or National in general are trying very hard to find fault with the legislation aimed at stopping people using drugs to avoid work.

The other problem the new law addresses is the employer bias against beneficiaries who they consider, from experience, won't be drug free, so won't even interview them or list jobs with WINZ. In the past, when employers have drug-tested beneficiaries they carried the cost, pass or fail. Now the cost of a failed test will fall on the beneficiary.

But it should be made clear in the legislation that drug tests can only be required when they are standard practice for that employer.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Peters says Maori do better when all NZers treated equally

Winston Peters went to Ratana and had a go at the Mana and Maori Parties.

Speaking to Ratana elders at the Ratana celebrations today, the New Zealand First leader said it was unsightly and unseemly to watch the four locked in a power struggle while ordinary people are struggling with issues such unemployment, serious health problems, education and housing.

“They have the warped view that Maori will only progress if they have a separate system for everything whereas history shows the most progress has been made while all New Zealanders receive fair and equal treatment.”

I don't know if he has the evidence to substantiate this claim but I am sure it's true. And I'm even more sure it's the only way Maori will progress in the future.

$13 billion on working-age welfare

Here's a useful sort of chart which unusually includes WFF in working-age welfare spending. It's from a January 2013 draft Treasury paper:

Employ force if you have to

Hone Harawira has a bill due to go to select committee that legislates for the state to provide breakfasts in all decile 1 and 2 schools.

In their typically co-ordinated efforts the child poverty political activists all issued supportive media releases yesterday.

The Auckland Action Against Poverty had this to say:

“As the Bill recommends, the provision of this food shouldn't be left to charity but should be taxpayer funded - this will ensure greater access country-wide and decrease the dependance on the whims and follies of individual charities and businesses"

So charities and businesses have whims and follies, but government provides surety.

That's because government uses force. Government can force you and me to pay for school breakfasts whether we want to or not. Charities and businesses have to persuade us that it's a good idea.

And AAAP want to "decrease dependence" on willingness and increase dependence on force.

Note too the disdain with which AAAP regards the private sector. Whims (sudden fancies) and follies (foolish actions or ideas). Make no mistake, the child poverty activists are socialists and anti-capitalists through and through. If their bottom line was easing child poverty they'd be appreciating and applauding help wherever it came from.

Finally, by using children as the object of their forced redistributionist campaigns they make it extremely difficult for people to oppose them.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Goodbye Gareth

I'm not giving Gareth Morgan's latest publicity grasp any air. He has progressively pissed me off over the past couple of years with his steady transformation into a redistributionist, statist, sometimes nasty non-respecter of property or individual rights, smug know-it-all.

There is a better way to register my disapproval than writing about it.

This was a welcome arrival in our letterbox today:

PS I realise that GM no longer owns the scheme. But demonstrating against the commercial usefulness of his name is still worth the effort.

Today it's Jacinda Ardern

Every day of late I am having to write posts correcting misinformation put about by journalists. For a change, today it's a politician. Jacinda Ardern  has sprung to life with a very weak criticism of Bill English containing this emotive assertion (she must have been reading the NZ Herald):

"In the meantime the number of young Kiwis not in education, work or training continues to soar."

Here are the NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) rates for 18-24 year-olds for the last 9 quarters ending with September 2012:


Any line that plotted those percentages couldn't possibly be honestly described as "continuing to soar".

I don't rate Ardern. This isn't the first time I've pointed out her incompetence. Labour needs to get a better spokesperson into that job for what could be National's most vulnerable portfolio this year. Then again, have they got anyone more capable?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

NZ Herald misleads again

Last week I posted about the NZ Herald getting it wrong on youth unemployment. Today it misrepresents welfare reforms currently at select committee:
The bill also requires jobseekers to be drug-free, and requires beneficiaries with children to immunise them and have toddlers enrolled in early childhood education.
Not quite. The Bill actually says:

Changes in this Bill give effect to the Government’s manifesto commitment to introduce pre-employment drug testing requirements for beneficiaries. The requirements will apply where undertaking and passing a pre-employment drug test is required as part of a job application, or as part of a training programme to which beneficiaries  are referred by Work and Income.....Beneficiaries will not be referred to jobs with pre-employment drug tests if they are dependent on drugs or undergoing drug treatment. Sanctioning these people for their drug use would be ineffective, as sanctions are about changing behaviour, but those dependent on drugs are generally unable to change their behaviour without support.  Instead, people addicted to or dependent on drugs will be offered support to deal with their addiction.
 The reality is only a minority, probably quite small, of jobseekers will be required to be "drug-free".

And on the matter of immunisation which cannot be administered without parental/caregiver consent, the legislation will,

  ....require beneficiary  parents to take all reasonable steps to have their dependent child:
•        aged 3 years or over, enrolled in and attending early childhood education until they start school; and
•        enrolled in and attending school from age of 5 (or 6) years depending on when the child first  starts school; and
•        enrolled with a primary health care provider; and
•        up-to-date with the core Well Child checks.

The reality here is that a beneficiary parent can refuse to have his or her child or children immunised in the same way as any other parent.

Legal expertise required

Regarding the matter of beneficiaries adding children to an existing benefit, legislation currently before select committee states,

Where a sole parent has a subsequent child on benefit, their
work expectations will be deferred for 12 months and will resume
based on the age of the previous youngest dependent child.

 Further into the bill (pg 16) the following appears:

Beneficiaries   having additional
dependent child:  exempting people
resident in certain overseas countries, and
eligibility for sole parent support

.....The third amendment inserts a new section 60GAE(3A), which varies section 60GAE(2) as applied to a determination of a specified kind of beneficiary’ s eligibility for sole parent support. The variation re-quires an additional dependent child of the beneficiary not to be included in the determination not merely once that child is aged 1 year old or over, but instead at all times after that child is born.

Am I correct in interpreting this as meaning at discretion Work and Income can decide not to include a newborn when assessing eligibility for benefit type? So if a sole parent beneficiary has been assessed eligible for Jobseeker Support, and is being work-tested accordingly, the birth of another baby will not change that?

It's complicated and requires reading of the section from pg 16-17

Monday, January 21, 2013

Politics kills progress

Listen to this interview.

My post title is based on more than the block that is bureaucracy; it's listening to Don trying not to say what he wants to.

You are not a politician any more Don. Just spit it out.

All and any hands to the pump. Amnesty for over-stayers.

(Observation to self: how many times have you self-censored on radio Lindsay?? The lesson is, those outside of political parties with any ability to influence, any skerrick, should exercise their freedom-from-vote-buying  lavishly.)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Another murder - ho hum

I thought I'd heard yesterday about another delayed death as a result of violence, and a subsequent upgraded assault charge to murder. But a search has revealed nothing new since the death of a Kawerau man. Perhaps the report I heard related to the accused's appearance in court.

But here's the thing. There have been so many murders since January 1 - seven - they blur into each other. They are now so common place I struggle to recall the individual details of each case. That in itself is shocking yet I don't feel shocked.

Recently I have started reading bits and piece written by people far younger than me who claim this violent crime stat or that violent crime stat is slightly better than the 1980s and 90s as if cause for celebration. But I go back to the 1960s and 70s when murders were remarkable occurrences.

Plus we are constantly bombarded by the media over road deaths and drownings. Accidents, even if avoidable. By comparison I read little if anything about deaths from violence - excluding domestic violence that is.

I think it's a reality. We are now desensitised to murder. And that very desensitisation means a return to days when murders were rare and  dominated the news is highly unlikely.