Friday, August 11, 2006

Public Service Association "defends" staffing increase, by pointing out exactly how they are not needed

Hattip: Scoop "The myth of the exploding public sector"

The PSA provided an attempted press release with regards to defending the greater than 50% increase in public servants, which generally does a pretty good job.  Primarily through ignoring the actual issue and quoting completely irrelevant statistics (decreasing debt has nothing to do with public service employment figures...) and then mixing in with those areas that actually are relevant and can be used to support their cause.

However they do fantastically as they point out what Public services incorporate:
"The services that are central to the administration of our society such as collecting taxes, paying benefits, passing laws, regulating consumer protections."

Kindof speaks for itself as to why we "need" 65% more public servants now.  43 new taxes, WFF, x new laws, constant interference in infrastructure companies (Telecom and Vector anyone?).  We need that many more public servants because we have a Labour Government - the relationship is that simple.  The core of the public service employment is doing those things that the Labour Government is philosophically aligned with increasing: taxes, welfare, regulation and market intervention.  The only Government that would increase the public service faster is the Greens.

Bye Bye Origin Pacific

Kind of sad to see Origin Pacific finally shut its doors completely, especially after it looked like they may have rescued themselves from bankruptcy earlier this year.  I quite liked some of the innovations they brought to the table with their five flight click strips, and a greater accessibility to standby tickets.

However they were always going to struggle against the might of another player that could get free $300 million capital injections.  Just like the Overlander.
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Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Maori failing the closing the gaps policies

The NZ Herald today published a fantastic statistic that should help everybody question the entire intent of the closing the gaps policy, and the fundamental mis-guidance with which it has been sold to the public.
It shows how the poverty line in New Zealand has moved from being 12% of the population in 1985 to 19% in 2005 - where poverty is defined as earning less than 60% of the median income level.  Which of course means that the success of Peter Jackson, Sam Morgan et al. should all be deplored as they have contributed to the increase of poverty in this country.  Every time anyone creates wealth above their station, moves from a menial type role to a high productivity role, they have increased the numbers in poverty.

Which is of course ludicrous.  Poverty should only ever be defined in terms of an absolute level.  Not in income, but in living standards.  And because your neighbor has a plasma TV, and you don't does not make you in poverty - which is effectively how our current definition works.

It is this type of thinking that has led to the current situation where despite millions of dollars being poured into Maori and Pacific Island communities, their growth rates have continued to lag further behind the growth of the rest of the New Zealand community.  At some point the responsibility for this needs to be placed at the feet of those communities themselves, rather than blaming the rest of the community for growing faster than them...

As Gareth Morgan points out:
"Could it be that the traditional Maori marae-based model with its denial of private property rights and promotion of lineage over meritocracy is just incompatible with the achievement of economic and social outcomes that mainstream Western capitalist democracies achieve? Economic theory would suggest tribal-based feudalism is bound to impoverish those it discriminates against - commonly women and children. As well as being a questionable practice anyway (from the perspective of Human Rights), protecting this chauvinistic societal model under the guise of Treaty of Waitangi obligations is to discourage its evolution. The approach portends the need for infinitely deep taxpayer pockets if equitable outcomes under Treaty Article Three are to be achieved."

I would highly recommend reading the rest of his article: Closing Gaps is a misnomer which helps to direct attention towards the question of whether we want to close the gaps, if this means pulling the top down rather than pulling the bottom up. 

And I would pose the subsequent query: Are not Maori failing the policies, more than the policies are failing them?
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Employment discrimination, no smokers need apply

Smokers really need to wake up on this latest development where it has been found that the human rights act et al. do not prevent employers from specifying that smokers will not get employed.

Mainly because they need to realise that the primary defense which they are presenting is completely fallacious.  At present the reaction has been that "it is discriminatory and where would you draw the line?".  Discrimination is already inherent in our employment legislation and the line drawing already exists - so what the smoker needs to do is differentiate which side of the line (protected or open-season) they sit.  An employer can already discriminate on the basis of criminal record, education record, previous employers, time in the workplace, cultural fit etc, smoking in many realms is actually more relevant to your future perceived performance than some of these highly used discrimination measures.  What they need to realise is that the actual protected areas: sex, race, religion, sexual preference etc are all generally protected due to their supposed "non-choice" based origin.  A person does not "choose" these things, and therefore may not be discriminated against on the basis of them.

However things that are chosen, or are the results of decisions are all (currently) fair game for the purpose of discrimination. 
So the question needs to be: If we protect a smoker from being discriminated against, where do we stop, where does the line get drawn?
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Monday, August 07, 2006

Dysfuntional Justice System

I have been surprised by the amount of backlash against both the Rotorua city council and the police with regards to the RCC's proposal to ban repeat criminals from the city center for periods of time.

The main reason for my surprise being centered around the fact that the main reasons that people are touting are actually showing the dysfunctional nature of the justice system, not either of the two parties they tend to focus on.
Where you have a repeat offender to the tune of over 80 offences that is still offending, it is not the police you should blame.  They have done their job - hence the convictions for 80+ offences.  It is the justice system that keeps recycling this type of individual into our society with whom umbrage should be taken.

It would seem to be a failing of our current system that it does tend to take the view that once a criminals "debt to society" is "paid" (IE time served, fine paid, fine waived due to insufficient means...) that this should take little to no part in determining future sentences, and most particularly; cannot be used to escalate the offence with which one has been charged. 

In the latter point one would think that a system much like that of the NRL should be used - where a person accumulates their penalty points against their record and this is used to determine appropriate atonement in conjunction with the seriousness of the current offence.  This would remove the need for the RCC to enact their current bylaw - the people who they are banning would still be being dealt with by the appropriate authorities, and it would free up the police from needing to deal to the same criminals on as frequent a basis.  Because the simple fact is someone else won't start offending because other offenders have been removed.  Crime does not increase to populate a vacuum...
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