See how Maori have fared under colonisation (not too badly) and how Ardern has fared in averting criticism

We commend social issues commentator Lindsay Mitchell, who tirelessly digs up data that put a different perspective on matters reported by mainstream media or brings government policy and its implementation into question.

Two splendid examples have been posted on her blog in the past few days.

One post (using graphs to underscore the argument) contends the progress of Māori social and economic indicators that has occurred under the process of colonisation stands in stark contrast to the constant barrage of contrary claims

The second post challenges the Ardern Government’s claims to be the most open and transparent government ever. Continue reading “See how Maori have fared under colonisation (not too badly) and how Ardern has fared in averting criticism”

Greens see red despite benefit increases – but Michael Cullen could tell them (and the Ardern government) what safety nets are all about

The Ardern  government has  made  “well-being”  such  a  focus  of  its  policies  that many  New  Zealanders  think  it  is   now  the  way  forward.

Labour’s ally, the  Green Party, is so enamoured  with  the  “well- being”  philosophy  it  sharply criticised   the  government for raising the  level of  main  benefits  “by less than $8 a week” from April 1.

“We have a poverty crisis in NZ, and we must go further and faster to deliver income support that enables everyone to live with dignity,” says Green Party spokesperson for Social Development & Employment Ricardo Menéndez March.

“The government currently expects a single person over 25 years old to be able to get by on just $250.74 a week, and they’re supposed to celebrate that rising to $258.51. That extra eight dollars isn’t even enough to buy a block of cheese.”

Menendez  March  says it is  “disingenuous”  of  the  government to continue to say indexing benefits to wages is the best thing they could have done, and 

” … even the Children’s Commissioner said they need to be bold and courageous, and actually lift benefits.

“Indexation of benefits to wages means little without a substantive lift in core benefits to close the gap which has continued for decades.”

Continue reading “Greens see red despite benefit increases – but Michael Cullen could tell them (and the Ardern government) what safety nets are all about”

The right medicine for NZ (we are told) is a matter of Pharmac’s ethnic mix rather than pharmaceutical expertise

Stuff delivered another woke-up call to its readers this morning with a report which presses Pharmac to hire more Maori.

There’s nothing in the article to convincingly explain how current staff ratios adversely affect Pharmac’s job of buying medicines or how they actually undermine the nation’s health.

The drug-purchasing agency’s “appalling” shortcomings instead relate to concerns about cultural inadequacies, systemic racism and a failure to meet Treaty of Waitangi obligations.

The on-line report is accompanied by a video of the PM facing questions about the government’s healthcare policy and its funding of Pharmac.

She will be used to such questioning.  Pharmac is the constant target of grievances about its medicine-buying priorities and of petitioners who quickly muster popular support for demands that certain drugs be bought (typically at great cost) to deal with one life-sapping illness or another.

This time Stuff’s Katarina Williams has discovered –

Just three of Pharmac’s 130 staff members identified as Māori last year, despite the country’s drug-buying agency vowing to prioritise Māori leadership and uphold the Treaty of Waitangi as a way to ensure better health outcomes for Māori.

Readers are left to puzzle about how Pharmac’s drug purchases and the policies underpinning them are adversely affecting the health of people who identify as Maori.  Or how they might unfairly advantage the health of other people. Continue reading “The right medicine for NZ (we are told) is a matter of Pharmac’s ethnic mix rather than pharmaceutical expertise”

Oh look – 28 potential good-news stories about young people overcoming challenges (but Stuff has mostly missed them)

The Dom-Post gave front-page treatment today to the government’s declaration of a climate emergency.   This emergency – says Climate Change Minister James Shaw – will be backed with ambitious plans to reduce emissions.

Another of yesterday’s press releases from the Beehive, about an awards ceremony, did not pass muster with the Dom-Post editorial gate-keepers.  This was a statement about 28 young people who have overcome formidable disadvantages – Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis described them as young achievers who have been in the care of Oranga Tamariki or involved with the youth justice system.

Each of them received Oranga Tamariki Prime Minister Awards in recognition of their success and potential.

At the awards ceremony in Parliament, Kelvin Davis congratulated these young people for showing the strength and perseverance to succeed despite facing significant challenges. Continue reading “Oh look – 28 potential good-news stories about young people overcoming challenges (but Stuff has mostly missed them)”

The case for putting stability and security above other factors when deciding a child’s best interests (and they are colour-blind)

The inexorable march to separatism – manifest in the political clamour to have Maori children removed from the protection of state welfare agencies – raises questions which most commentators have overlooked or prefer not to tackle. 

Lindsay Mitchell is not so coy.  She asks if the future of a child with a modicum of Maori blood should be decided solely by Maori members of a family and raises the matter of the rights and claims of non-Maori family members.    

Rights were brought smack-bang into the issue when the Human Rights Commission threw its support behind calls by the Children’s Commissioner for urgent action to keep at-risk Māori children with their wider  family.

In effect, these authorities are telling us the rights of Maori family members outweigh the rights of non-Maori family members.   

The Children’s Commissioner this month published the second of two reports on a review of what needs to change to enable Māori aged 0-3 months to remain in the care of their families in situations where Oranga Tamariki-Ministry for Children is notified of care and protection concerns

The key recommendation in the report is for a total transformation of the statutory care and protection system. Continue reading “The case for putting stability and security above other factors when deciding a child’s best interests (and they are colour-blind)”

Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question

Green Party co-leader Marama Davidson was mentioned in despatches during the week, in a post which dealt with MPs’ air travel expenses.

We mention her again today because of her eagerness to have taxpayers become more generous to the unemployed, no matter – apparently – how feckless or disinclined to find work they might be.

Our earlier mention of Davidson and the Greens was triggered by Taxpayers’ Union data, gleaned from the latest Parliamentary expense disclosures, which showed the list MPs from the Greens (on average) are spending more than a third more than Labour’s equivalent.

Average air travel spending for non-ministerial list MPs by party:

Greens – $9,816
NZ First – $8,059
National – $7,332
Labour – $6,499 Continue reading “Blogger sees red at Green co-leader’s urging the handout of dole money without question”

How taxpayers are pumping millions into the motel business to provide emergency housing

Blogger Lindsay Mitchell has used the Official Information Act to flush out data on emergency housing from the Ministry for Social Development.

The results have been posted under the heading Motel charges premium for emergency housing.

At long last MSD has updated OIA requests, Mitchell writes. Responses up to November 2019 are on-line

“ … and always make for interesting reading. For instance payments made to the Olive Tree Motel for emergency housing.”

Clients are granted an amount which is paid directly to the motel, Mitchell explains.

In the June 2019 quarter the motel was receiving $265 a night.

But nightly charges per unit range from $145 to $165 according to their website. Charges reduce for longer stays.

The response to another request reveals that over 600 accommodation providers  received emergency grants in the June 2019 quarter. Continue reading “How taxpayers are pumping millions into the motel business to provide emergency housing”

Child poverty – the depressing data the government’s spin doctors have not been braying about

New Year is a time for predictions to be made by commentators bemusingly confident they can foretell what the year ahead will bring, and for last year’s predictions to be checked.

On her blog today, Lindsay Mitchell has gone back a bit further than January 2019 to check on a prediction she made in September 2017  that Jacinda Ardern would increase child poverty if she became Prime Minister.

So how has that turned out?

On 7 of 9 measures introduced under the Child Poverty Reduction Act, to June 2018 poverty had increased. That’s fairly out-dated data now and not a particularly useful measuring stick.

But also now known is that children in benefit dependent households rose between June 2018 and 2019. Continue reading “Child poverty – the depressing data the government’s spin doctors have not been braying about”

Amidst howls of “racism”, protesters demand an agency boss’s resignation because – begorrah – she is Irish

The Hands Off Our Tamariki Network has an admirable ring to its name. Here’s hoping everybody gets the message because if whanau members kept their hands off their tamaraki … well, there would be no need for a state agency to intervene and get its hands on the victims of domestic violence.

The reasons why the Oranga Tamariki agency becomes involved in caring for children has been somewhat downplayed by speakers at protest meetings who demand the state leave their mokopuna alone and insist Māori be the ones caring for their children.

Yet while they call for the state to stay away when Maori children are involved, paradoxically they want the government to do something: Continue reading “Amidst howls of “racism”, protesters demand an agency boss’s resignation because – begorrah – she is Irish”