Tracey Martin strikes a blow against ageism – here’s hoping the sentiment lasts more than a day (and that Genter was listening)

The team at Point of Order – proudly  comprising veteran journalists – had been blissfully unaware that yesterday was a special day for us.

It was International Older Persons Day, a matter of huge import drawn to our attention by Seniors Minister Tracey Martin.

Martin’s statement included some fascinating data:

  • By 2027 it is expected there will be a million seniors and by 2034, more than a fifth (21.4%) – 1.2 million New Zealanders – will be aged 65+.
  • As at June 2020 there were 88,000 people 85 or older –  11% of the senior population. That number is predicted to rise to 179,000 in 2034.
  • The senior population is increasingly diverse.  By 2034 the number of Māori aged 65+ will more than double from 2018 figures (from 48,500 to 109,400) the senior Pacific population will also do this (from 21,300 to 46,700), and there will be nearly three times as many Asian NZers aged 65+ (from 59,500 to 171,900).
  • Seniors currently make up around 6.7% of the workforce (in the June 2020 quarter).  By 2033 the number of seniors at work will increase by more than 50% and make up 9.5% of the workforce.

We were just as interested in – and hopeful about –  Martin’s declaration that International Older Persons Day had been a chance to think about the individual older New Zealanders we know and to confront ageism.

“On the International Day of Older Persons, let’s remind ourselves that older people are our parents and grandparents and move away from casual ageism.”

We would like to suppose ageism will be confronted far beyond the 24 hours of International Older Persons Day.

And we trust Martin took time to have a chat with Minister for Women Julie Anne Genter about her odious attitude to oldies. Continue reading “Tracey Martin strikes a blow against ageism – here’s hoping the sentiment lasts more than a day (and that Genter was listening)”

Hurrah for self-identification – already we can change our gender and in the UK we can change our race, too

Legislators who are being pressed to change discriminatory laws  – including a measure enabling people to choose the gender recorded on their birth certificates –  should brace for a fresh wave of agitation.

It’s the notion that people should be allowed to choose their race as well as their gender.

University staff and students in Britain have been told they can choose if they are black, white or any other race as well as their gender and whether they are disabled.

The decision was made by the University and Colleges Union, which represents researchers, teaching staff and lecturers.

Its latest report says:

“Our rules commit us to ending all forms of discrimination, bigotry and stereotyping.

“UCU has a long history of enabling members to self-identify whether that is being black, disabled, LGBT+ or women.” Continue reading “Hurrah for self-identification – already we can change our gender and in the UK we can change our race, too”

We trust Minister Martin gets the message about wasted spending (but we can provide a translation)

We are not alone – here at Point of Order – in questioning Tracey Martin’s spending on the “translation” of a written press statement into a sign language video. The Taxpayers Union (which also monitors government spending and hollers in protest when it spots squandering) regards the translation into sign language as a waste, when the vast majority of any deaf or hard-of-hearing persons are perfectly capable of reading the statement.

The Taxpayers Union asked the Ministry of Education for the cost of this extravagance.  It reports: 

“In a Friday afternoon media release, the Minister boasted that her statement had been translated into NZ Sign Language. After questioning from the Taxpayers’ Union, the Ministry of Education confirmed the translation cost “less than $800”. Continue reading “We trust Minister Martin gets the message about wasted spending (but we can provide a translation)”

Visual news: Minister prepares a sign-language statement to trumpet announcement about help for the hearing-impaired

The Ardern government – focused on promoting wellbeing and diversity – is obviously keen to ensure the beneficiaries of its spending decisions are not left oblivious to what it is doing for them.

Associate Education Minister Tracey Martin yesterday made one of the spending announcements that inevitably trigger the Point of Order Trough Monitor (which is programmed to alert us to government spending decisions but not to make value judgements about the worthiness of  those decisions).

In this case, the announcement related to increased funding of $9.9 million over the next four years to benefit children and young people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

To ensure the target audience was informed of what has been decided, the press statement emerged from the Minister’s office in two forms.
Continue reading “Visual news: Minister prepares a sign-language statement to trumpet announcement about help for the hearing-impaired”

Transgender rights – sorting out the myths (but not getting things quite right)

An article posted on the Stuff website is headed Transgender rights debate: Separating the facts from the fiction

The writer, one Cecile Meier, might usefully have consulted a recent Point of Order report before deciding she had put the misunderstandings to rights – at least on the political process.

Her article rightly says transgender people have to go through a long and costly process to change the sex on their birth certificate.  This involves an application to the Family Court providing proof they’ve had medical treatment to transition.

The process for changing a New Zealand licence or passport is much simpler: people need only make a statutory declaration, which involves an authorised witness or justice of the peace.

At issue is whether birth certificates should be changed as easily a driving licence or passport. Continue reading “Transgender rights – sorting out the myths (but not getting things quite right)”

Chorus of transgender protest greets decision to follow democratic process – but how big is the choir?

In a press statement headed Shock at Minister decision to defer birth certificate change, trans community organisations have expressed shock at Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin’s decision to defer legislative proposals to introduce an administrative process for changing gender markers on birth certificates.

Ahi Wi-Hongi, National Coordinator of the transgender organisation Gender Minorities Aotearoa, said this issue is not new.

“It is over 11 years since the Human Rights Commission’s Transgender Inquiry called for a simpler process.”

It might surprise Wi-Hongi to learn there was shock in the general community when the public learned what MPs on a select committee had done.  They had endorsed proposals not only to allow public records to be changed at the behest of an individual who wanted the change, but to allow these changes to be made without any check on the validity of or justification for an applicant’s request for change.   Continue reading “Chorus of transgender protest greets decision to follow democratic process – but how big is the choir?”

A lesson in how 0.001pc of the population can nudge MPs into changing the law on gender

Good advice for business leaders and politicians can be found at Stuff today in an article headed don’t pander to the loudest minority.

This advice is particularly relevant for New Zealand First’s Tracey Martin, our Minister of Internal Affairs, and any MP who sees merit in supporting a law change that will enable us  to have our birth certificates declare we are whatever gender we care to be whenever we want to make the switch.

A report from Parliament’s Governance and Administration Committee recommended that people be able to change the nominated sex on their birth certificate to ‘intersex’ or ‘X’ (unspecified) in line with how they self-identify.

The recommendations include removing the current requirement of providing medical evidence which is required by citizens wanting to have their birth certificates changed now. Continue reading “A lesson in how 0.001pc of the population can nudge MPs into changing the law on gender”

Great PR for a caring PM – but benefactor’s name has been buried in awards change

Back in the days when a government agency’s name clearly signalled what the public could expect from it, we had a Department of Child, Youth and Family Services which in 2005/06 proudly reported the first William Wallace Awards would be made to four young people during Foster Care Awareness Week in October 2006.

Fast forward to November 2018.  The agency has become Orangi Tamariki (Ministry of Children in small type underneath) but when nominations for the 2018 awards closed (15 – 20 awards were available this year) they were still called the William Wallace Awards.

Many young people in care have overcome significant barriers and gone on to achieve great things. These awards honour these outstanding young people, and provide help for them to pursue their dreams of tertiary, vocational or leadership training. 

Any young person in care – or who has recently come out of care – can win an award. And anyone can make a nomination

But hey.  We have a caring, nurturing Prime Minister and – shazam!

The William Wallace Awards are being renamed …

The Prime Minister’s Oranga Tamariki Awards.

Betcha that has given Jacinda a nice warm glow.

The benefactor whose estate has provided the awards over the past 12 years or so won’t be entirely forgotten. Two William Wallace Scholarships are being retained as part of the new awards. Continue reading “Great PR for a caring PM – but benefactor’s name has been buried in awards change”

Here’s hoping the Minister for Seniors carries more clout than the Minister for Women

We were so busy monitoring the antics of our politicians yesterday that we failed to notice we should have been taking time out for celebration.

It was the International Day of Older Persons, see – a time to recognise the importance of older people in our society and the valuable contribution they make every day.

Your co-editors both come (ahem) into the older person category and both recognise their own importance in our society.  They recognise the valuable contribution they make every day, too.

But somehow they missed the press statement from Tracey Martin, Minister for Seniors, which said the International Day of Older Persons Continue reading “Here’s hoping the Minister for Seniors carries more clout than the Minister for Women”

Do we still need an independent inquiry into how an independent inquiry was set up

Conflict-of-interest allegations are best resolved by an independent authority, as happened when the Independent Police Conduct Authority examined a senior Dunedin police officer’s role in a case in which a man died after taking morphine in April 2016.

A judge described the police investigation as ‘‘haphazard’’ and noted the veteran officer was a friend of the dead man’s father. But the IPCA ruled there was no conflict of interest.

It seemed we would be treated to an independent inquiry into the controversial appointment of Wally Haumaha as deputy police commissioner. But this turned into an Opposition clamour for an inquiry into the process that resulted in Dr Paula Kingi heading the Haumaha inquiry.

Continue reading “Do we still need an independent inquiry into how an independent inquiry was set up”