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On Best Start

Written By: - Date published: 10:06 pm, January 28th, 2014 - 95 comments
Categories: Left - Tags:

So Labour has launched the Best start policy and the criticism from National and its followers has been swift and well coordinated. And, like the bulk of National’s attacks on it opponents, it also has no basis in reality.

The criticism of Labour’s Best start policy is essentially falling into two categories.

The first is that it will encourage irresponsible parents to breed children just for the extra $60 per week.

There are many good reasons why this is a bogus argument but rather than wade into that it’s much faster to simply look at the evidence:

Australia has had a similar policy since 2002. The following graph (hattip to pete), of Australian fertility rates, demonstrates that this policy has had a negligible effect on the  population.

NZ Aus fert rates

The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

The other common criticism of the policy is that the cut-off limit ($150k) for the weekly $60 is too high. That it is rewarding those who already have enough money and don’t deserve assistance.

Of course the reality is that in low-wage NZ there will be relatively few families who are in this privileged position and that the vast majority of families that receive the $60 will be low to middle income families who really will find the extra money helpful during what is a very financially strained time.

The high cut-off limit also means that ‘Best start’ is, for all intents and purposes, a universal policy like NZ super. You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

geoff

95 comments on “On Best Start”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Thanks Geoff.

    The criticisms are starting to really annoy me and you have addressed their main criticisms.

    The third one, that Labour has not funded the proposal is also bollocks. Between CGTs and increased tax for the wealthy it and other policies can be funded.

    • karol 1.1

      Then there’s Gower’s beat up on TV3 tonight. As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page, that people getting PPL wouldn’t get the Best Start payment for new borns.

      • newsense 1.1.1

        That was on TVNZ as well. In a mostly good piece from Corin Dann the line was allowed that Cunliffe was deceiving New Zealanders or something like that and then Dann said that Cunliffe had allowed Key a line of attack, without assessing the validity of that line of attack.

        eh.

        Thick skin time!

        And the “Labour blindsided” from TV3 by National doing its own PPL. Surely that should read champagne corks off for the opposition as National forced to adopt a popular Labour policy in another successful campaign advanced by a Labour-sponsored private members bill.

      • Lanthanide 1.1.2

        “As if it wasn’t very clear yesterday, on Labour’s FAQ Best Start page”

        It might have been very clear on their FAQ. But it was NOT clear from Cunliffe’s speech.

        It would not have taken much to mention it: announce paid parental leave first, then add the $60 payment for those not receiving paid parental leave.

        Simple. But he didn’t do it.

        Yes, the media are way over-reacting, but the point is, Cunliffe gave them an opening.

  2. tricledrown 2

    The funny thing about the Australian baby bonus it was put in place by the right wing Howard govt which makes Nationals criticism Ironic.

    • McFlock 2.1

      … as well as moronic

    • chris73 2.2

      Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

      • Tamati 2.2.1

        Exactly –what was the ALP’s justification for ditching it?

        I think the Aussies also did it better with the one off lump payment. Cunliffe can’t really say that he’s opposed to “nanny state vouchers” but doesn’t trust parents with a lump sum. It would probably be easier to administer than weekly payments too.

      • karol 2.2.2

        Actually, I don’t think it’s been axed (by the Labor government last year) so much as cut back in Aussie – there will be fewer families getting it. But that also gets Family Tax benefits.

        The thing called “Baby Bonus” has been axed, but some families will still be getting some money for their new born children.

        So it’s a more targeted system, with various kinds of benefits for specific groups of families.

        • Tamati 2.2.2.1

          From that article it seems that the Aussies have a lower threshold, despite a significantly higher wage economy.

          I still think a lump sum option would be more appropriate.

      • joe90 2.2.3

        Even funnier it was the Labor party that ended it…

        But not as funny as you being too fucking stupid to use google to find out that eligibility has been tightened but reduction in the bonus will be compensated for by an increase in the family tax credits for those who qualify.

        http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/excessive-baby-bonus-scrapped/story-fnhi8df6-1226642532079

        edit: now this is a baby bonus

        By having two children, a middle-income Singaporean household may receive various incentives which are equivalent to S$166,000.[9]:14 For third and subsequent child, the household will get an additional S$8,000 as Baby Bonus[10] and S$20,000 as Parenthood Tax Rebate

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baby_bonus#Singapore

        • jbc 2.2.3.1

          edit: now this is a baby bonus

          Don’t bring Singapore into this debate. The far right would love a scheme like theirs.

          Not available to illegitimate children (Singapore Govt’s terminology) unless the “natural parents become lawfully married before the child reaches 6 years old.” Also: absolutely no welfare and very low tax.

          edit: Colin Craig would love that.

          • Colonial Viper 2.2.3.1.1

            And lots of mistreated poorly paid immigrant workers who keep the place running. Nice little workers riot they had a month or two ago.

            • jbc 2.2.3.1.1.1

              Absolutely. Disneyland with the death penalty.

              I lived there for 10 years and can say that is more than enough to cure anyone of their right-leaning tendencies. Provided of course said person brings some sense of humanity / compassion with them.

              • KJT

                Not sure the right would like the Singapore Governments participation and regulation of business and the economy.

                The land rents, that allow them to charge low taxes otherwise, are worth thinking about.

    • Matt 2.3

      The baby bonus was then revoked when the costs grew to 1.1 billion. Where will the money come from for this policy?

  3. chris73 3

    You wont hear the right calling for the end of super because a few millionaires get it. Seems their preference is for kicking poor kids over rich grannies, go figure…

    – This one from the right thinks super should be means tested…

    • McFlock 3.1

      kids don’t vote. Pensioners do.

    • mac1 3.2

      Considering the amount of people who underdeclare their income to avoid taxation, means tested super would just give another justification for that dishonest and antisocial practice, and add to the bureaucracy for no real benefit.

    • KJT 3.3

      That is because tax fiddling right wingers still expect they will get it when it is means tested.

  4. joe90 4

    Meanwhile, over at the sewer the penguin conducts the mob.

  5. Tamati 5

    You can’t simply compare two time series graphs and claim that this proves a lack of causation. Chances are a few parents will choose to have additional children, because of the payment.

    What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

    What’s wrong with having more children anyway? Someone needs to pay the taxes when we all retire.

    • geoff 5.1

      What the graph does show is that any effect will be minimal.

      Yep, that’s all it needs to do. I’m sure a baby bonus does cause a certain percentage of people to decide to have kids but, as the graph shows, that certain percentage is very small.

  6. Bill 6

    What was it with the b/s being carried on Radio NZ ‘news’ reports today essentially sanctioning peeps on +$150k to rort the whole thing? Anyone care to explain that hypocritical, non-sensical and illogical piece of misanthropy? Have people really internalised the null morality of corporate $$$ thought to such a degree?

  7. The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a tsunami of ‘bene breeders’ are talking complete and utter nonsense.

    It doesn’t make that clear at all. If we assume the Aus baby bonus scheme was similar to Best Start (which I’m going to do because I can’t be arsed looking it up, and if they aren’t similar the graph would tell us nothing anyway), then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level. For all this graph tells us, the Aus baby bonus scheme may have had no effect on birth rates of people on benefits, may have made them fall, or may have made them rise. We don’t know because it’s population-level data, not beneficiary-specific data.

    • geoff 7.1

      Argh, not you again! I spent all day patiently trying to reason with you. Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.

      • miravox 7.1.1

        “Someone else please berate Psycho Milt, I need some sleep.”

        Many have tried, and all have failed ;-)

        I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

        I think – with just as much evidence as as those who think the poor will have more children – people will have the same number of children, but they will make the decision to have them earlier.

        The decision to have the first child is pretty much done and dusted, it’s just timing that is the issue – almost everyone has one (although childless choices are becoming more popular). Subsequent children are a result of lots of factors with the personal ability (physically and mentally) to manage the next one quite high on the list for women who have social, educational, cultural, financial and relationship freedoms to make that choice.

        Encouraging women to have children earlier (in the 20-30s) is a good thing, imo.

        • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1

          The Australian scheme appears to have increased the fertility rate from 1.7 to 2.0 between 2001 and 2008, with the biggest increase among women aged 35-39. For quick summary, see http://mccrindle.com.au/the-mccrindle-blog/the-baby-bonus-generation

          • mickysavage 7.1.1.1.1

            Where is your proof of causation Matthew?

            New Zealand had a similar increase during this time without the benefit of a package.

          • geoff 7.1.1.1.2

            Looked at your link, it’s just opinion without raw data to inspect.

            As the graph above in my post demonstrates, they have merely chosen convenient end points in the data for their analysis, ending it in 2008 and ignoring the decrease and flattening off in fertility rate after that point.

            Essentially they’re trying to say that the noise is the signal. It’s the same bogus trick as the climate-change deniers do.

            Nice try, Matthew.

          • miravox 7.1.1.1.3

            Without further evidence, I suggest the gradual increase in delayed motherhood is largely responsible for the higher birthrate in the 35-39 age group. It will be interesting to see if there was a dip in 20-35 age fertility in the decade previously. The article alludes to this also.

            The trend over the last decade has been increasing fertility rate amongst older women. Over the last decade, the fertility rate of women aged 35-39 has been greater than that of women in their early twenties. The fertility rate of a 32 year old woman is ten times greater than that of a 17 year old!

            otoh hand at least the article provides no evidence that teens used it to ‘breed’ for cash.

          • bad12 7.1.1.1.4

            Hooton, have you an opinion here, do you consider the 03% raise in the Australian fertility rate to be ‘breeding for money’…

            • BM 7.1.1.1.4.1

              The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%

              That’s quite significant.

              • miravox

                “The fertility rate rate between 2001 and 2008 increased by 17.5%”

                Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                For example – were there any other demographic trends that could account for the increase (e.g. increased immigration of women who would be of child-bearing age in 2001? ‘Catch up’ fertility of older women? (the tables suggest it might be), a previous ‘baby bump’ generation reaching adulthood?

                Were the fertility patterns any different to those in other similar countries? The graph on the post suggests some similarities between the NZ and Aust fertility rates, for example.

                • BM

                  Although there was an increase in fertility it doesn’t follow that this was a result of the baby bonus.

                  It does seem a bit of a coincidence that the fertility rate spiked after the start of the baby bonus scheme, but I get what your saying.

                  • felix

                    It might seem “a bit of a coincidence” if you were so dishonest that you didn’t consider any factors other than the ones you wanted to link (like Matthew, above) or if you were so thick you swallowed such an obvious line of bullshit unquestioningly (like you, always).

              • geoff

                17.5% of fuck all is still fuck all.

                So no, not significant at all.

                Just like the drop off after 2008 wasn’t significant.
                Just like the similar percentage increase in NZ around 2009 with no baby bonus wasn’t significant.

                Noise isn’t signal.

                Except in your brain, BM.

          • Chooky 7.1.1.1.5

            @ Possum Hooton …well women aged 35 to 39 will be more likely to be well educated women with careers who have been reluctant to have children because they will lose their economic independence…..if this is the case that some State money goes towards babies and their Mothers well-being then all the better! ….we need well educated financial feminist New Zealand Mothers to bring up future generations….for the sake of New Zealand….well educated Mothers bring up well educated children and young adults

            …..anyone who argues otherwise is a misogynist and a sexist

            …..and as well does not have the interests of children and New Zealand’s future at heart

          • Puddleglum 7.1.1.1.6

            Matthew,

            Have a look at New Zealand’s birthrate as compared to Australia’s and Iceland’s.

            Declining birth rates are widespread in developed economies since the 1960s. Financial incentives vary from country to country but the trend is the same. Something much, much more influential on birth rates is determining that trend.

            It’s hopeless reasoning to conclude that we should fear spikes in birth rates as a result of such a policy.

            Please read the downloadable pdf from this site on birth rates. It includes discussion of birth rates by age, region, etc.

        • geoff 7.1.1.2

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          this!

        • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3

          I’m surprised there are people who have argued with venom over they years that the poor don’t take finances into consideration when they decide to have children and with this Best Start policy are at at the same time arguing that the poor will have more children because they can financially afford to do so for several years.

          I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:

          The logical inconsistency is in your imagination. Consider:

          We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

          Two things to note:
          1. It’s a fairly small proportion, because the taxpayer isn’t generous so to become someone who doesn’t care whether they make babies, you have to really have no prospects.

          2. Because the taxpayer isn’t generous, increasing numbers of children results in increasing financial difficulty, so it’s an even smaller proportion that doesn’t find it within themselves eventually to care about whether they make more babies.

          In light of those, what effect could we reasonably expect a sudden increase in generosity by the taxpayer to have? There’s plenty of room for argument over what level of increase in not giving a shit about making babies would result, but that there’d be an increase? No-brainer.

          • One Anonymous Knucklehead 7.1.1.3.1

            Ah, logic sophistry. So much more persuasive than facts

          • miravox 7.1.1.3.2

            “I wouldn’t consider myself someone who argues with “venom,” but as the comment is addressed to me:”

            The comment was addressed to Geoff and was a general observation. But anyways…

            From the perspective of a ex-teen mother, I do feel you argue with venom. I also feel I know a bit about the motivations (or lack of) for having children at a young age. Not ‘giving a shit’ is not one of them. Also, a lack of awareness of future prospects does not equal ‘no prospects’.

            We’ve argued this before, so lets agree to differ here, if that’s ok with you.

            Because I don’t agree with your number 1., your number 2. makes no sense at all to me.

            The Best Start package, from my point of view, would have very little to do with the decision-making process about how many babies a woman may bear (however young or unaware of future prospects they may be). There are far too many other factors that take precedence over $60 per week for 1 to 3 years. I do believe, however, that it may have an effect on the timing of pregnancies. That’s the no-brainer, imo.

          • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill) 7.1.1.3.3

            @ Psycho Milt

            We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies, because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.

            Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason?

            The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

            Should our economic/political system take reality into account? – or keep bumbling along based on notions on how those with their heads up their arse think people should be?

            I personally think all people should be honest and fair -if this was the case very few laws whatsoever would be needed – yet because I know not everyone is honest and fair I support laws that protect people from others’ dishonesty and poor intentions.

            A grasp on reality needs to be included here – one could outlaw having children if one falls under a certain income level – yet what about people who were in better circumstances – whom have children and whose circumstances degenerate? – and even if such an outrageous law existed there would still be babies born illegally. The problem isn’t solved by such a law. You have to address reality – not ‘the way things should be’.

            The reality, also of this situation is that no such law would ever be passed – because those people running the show here and abroad would know that people would quickly realise that there is something seriously wrong with an economic system that leaves 25%plus of the population not ‘allowed’ to have children.

            “…because taxpayers will pay for the children’s upbringing.”

            This is an assumption. I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

            An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country – more people in poor/insecure circumstances might actively choose to have more children – there is historical and current evidence (other countries) for this argument – in such circumstances the more children one has the more chances one has of an income that covers living costs – child labour is usually involved with this option.

            Nowhere in this argument, either, is the notion presented that having children is a service to society and just because it isn’t a ‘profession’ it could be considered a most worthy activity

            • Psycho Milt 7.1.1.3.3.1

              Alot of assumptions here Psycho Milt – how about applying some reason? The case may be that there are a) some men don’t give a shit about whether they make a woman pregnant or b) some women who don’t consider the consequences of falling pregnant or c) people who fall pregnant unexpectedly and yet there is certainly d) women that get pregnant under such circumstances do give a shit about babies and because of that will have them if they fall pregnant regardless of their circumstances -financial or otherwise.

              Yes, let’s apply some reason. Reason tells us that the statement

              We have a proportion of people who are completely careless about or just don’t give a shit about whether they make babies…

              specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

              I really believe you are incorrectly concluding causation where none exists . Where do you get this notion of people calculating such a thing? This is pretty pivotal to your argument – yet what evidence exists that there is a connection between a persons choice to have a child and welfare?

              What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

              An argument could in fact be made that if there was no welfare in this country…

              No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

              • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                specifically allows for other proportions of the population who make a baby because accidents happen or for a range of other reasons, and doesn’t attempt to assess the sizes of the different proportions.

                I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                What evidence indeed? Shit social scientists we have in this country, let me tell you. The evidence is anecdotal, but it could be reasonably inferred in any case from the fact that we now have something like 40% of Maori babies being raised on welfare within the year of their birth.

                You have come some way in this paragraph to accepting that there is a certain proportion of children in poor circumstances – albeit with a racial slant.

                So, what do we do about it? Sterilize them? [exaggerated argument not to be taken seriously!] Or deal with the reality – ensure that these parents have a bit more to provide for these children so these children get more of a chance to grow up without a feeling of alienation – that they feel a welcome part of society - this is important re alienation and then do we follow through with a better economy that actually encourages the creation of jobs and better wages & working conditions – things that Mr Cunliffe’s speech has mentioned is the intention.

                Or do we simply watch what is going on from our moral and idealistic high-ground wishing others weren’t ‘more like us’ (i.e. perfectly correct in everything we do and our lives are perfect – all due to our own marvellous characters and let us not forget to mention hard work) and berating those that come from different backgrounds and make different choices to those ‘we’ do (I mean, diversity isn’t a strength in the world – we really must all be exactly the same).

                We can create the world we wish for as long as we are realistic and can separate our ideals from reality enough to find the path toward making our ideals into reality – there is more chance for this occurring with what Labour have proposed than Key’s create-more-small-groups-of-highly-paid-bureaucrats-who-will-vote-Nat-and-create-a-self-perpetuating-already-failed-approach-to-politics proposal.

                No doubt, but who’d argue that there should be no social welfare, apart from a few ACT and Libertarianz nutters? I don’t see any need to take them into account.

                You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare – it appears you do not want the DPB to be raised –

                [Ask yourself what is the point of welfare that does not ensure that those on it with children are able to raise their children in a manner that puts their children in good stead to get the opportunities that everyone else has, rather it perpetuates a cycle of welfare dependency – due to the payment being too low.]

                • I really don’t get what you are trying to say here at all.

                  Then I’ll put it more simply: you seem to imagine I’m saying that all DPB (or whatever the fuck they’re calling it now) recipients are people who are careless about contraception or simply don’t give a shit; I’m not.

                  So, what do we do about it?

                  1. Give them more money. (Cunliffe seems to have figured this bit out.)
                  2. Take steps to discourage carelessness about contraception or just not giving a shit. There’s no end of options, varying in feasibility, usefulness, expense, compliance with basic human rights etc – I don’t recommend any particular one, but then I’m not running for office. (Cunliffe seems to have missed this one, which is a problem).

                  You have been arguing the point specifically against welfare…

                  Not so. A comprehensive social welfare system is an essential feature of a modern democracy, and I’d never argue we shouldn’t have one. I’ve spent a lot of time here arguing against inviting and encouraging the abuse of welfare, though.

                  • blue leopard (Get Lost GCSB Bill)

                    @ Psycho Milt

                    O.k, I hadn’t realised that you were merely objecting to the strength of strategy being applied toward National’s fake-arguments. You could have made this a lot clearer.

                    This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying there is no causation between giving people $ 60 of welfare support with people choosing to have more babies – there are plenty of other factors that lead to people having babies and ending up on welfare that contribute to this outcome

                    How many times does someone have to be given free contraceptives to satisfy your particular concerns?

                    How many times does someone have to say that the problem with high levels welfare in this country is not due to the victims of it?

                    It is due to the policies that successive governments have been following which have had zero focus on 100% employment and all the focus on interest rates so that people already in debt don’t have to pay so much on the houses that they haven’t noticed they actually can’t afford because work conditions have got horribly bad – specifically wage rates – and this being because of governmental policies that only focus on interest rates and not a bigger picture [please go to start of paragraph if you wish to experience an infinite loop].

                    How many things did Mr Cunliffe say in that one speech alone that directly addresses your concerns – in reality – if you weren’t playing chase-the-Nat-created-delusions- and – shadows-of-distraction?

                    In that speech I heard raising wages, creating a job focussed economy, redistribution of wealth, and a move to curb price-raising speculation to name a few – all these things will discourage unemployment and poverty – i.e. welfare. All these policies will lead to less people being forced to lead lives dependant on government hand-outs – and to belabour a point this joblessness and ensuing welfare has been created by government approaches to our economy that omits to take into account the effects these have on peoples’ livelihoods and how missing this point effects society as a whole.

                    Is THAT enough to allay your Nat-spin-created-fears Psycho Milt? Or are you really like the right-wing spin creators and fearful that these policies of Labour might actually work?

                    • geoff

                      This ends up being like shadow boxing, Milt – attempting to argue fallacious points with someone who when pushed doesn’t actually agree with the arguments – yet somehow argues these fallacious points anyway – yet believes the spin enough to not accept any of the arguments saying

                      And you’ve come exactly to the place I got to with him, BL.

                    • It feels like shadow boxing for you because you’re starting from the principle that there’s no such thing as wasters, or people who don’t give a shit about contraception because it doesn’t matter if they make a baby. Given the non-existence of such people, arguments based on their existence seem bizarre and unreal to you, and arguments that increasing the payments made to such people is likely to increase their number just deranged gibberish. That’s OK, though – there are plenty of people out there who get the point.

      • McFlock 7.1.2

        According to the psychomilt-blatter beast of traal, if it refuses to look up and see if its assumptions match reality, then it’s nightmare of an outbreak of peonic reproduction might still be true.

      • Ross 7.1.3

        Actually Psycho is correct. There may have been a sharp increase in Aussie beneficiaries having kids after their baby bonus scheme, but maybe there are so few beneficiaries relative to the population that it doesn’t show up on the graph. The point is that the graph doesn’t tell us a lot.

        However I do agree that we’re unlikely to see a massive increase in the fertility rate if Labour’s policy is implemented. It costs about $250,000 to raise a kid to the age of 18. Labour’s policy will alleviate that cost by about $10,000. It’d be a dumb decision to spend $250K to get $10K.

    • Blue 7.2

      Why would you need beneficiary-specific data? The graph clearly shows that overall, there was little to no effect on fertility. Unless you have some reason to assume that rich people stopped having as many kids in response to the baby bonus, thus compensating for the imagined increase in poor people having kids.

      A much simpler explanation is that people who were going to have kids anyway had them, and those who weren’t, didn’t. The baby bonus had little to no effect on their decisions. As you would expect. Human reproduction isn’t about spreadsheets for most people.

      Even if you try to be a totally cynical asshole about it and assume that some people have kids solely and specifically to con money out of the state, the introduction of a baby bonus would not be expected to have much impact on their decision, because those people would be aiming to collect the DPB. The baby bonus would be nice for a few years, but that’s icing, not cake.

      The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.

      • geoff 7.2.1

        Exactly.

      • Rosie 7.2.2

        “The idea that a $60 per week payment for a maximum of three years of a child’s life is going to lead to a dramatic increase in the birth rate is totally illogical.”

        Indeed Blue. The freak out line coming from the Right is head scratchingly inane in it’s assumption. I’m not sure how tard you have to be to think a parent would benefit beyond providing the basics out of $60 extra per week. Geez, the two of us can barely look after ourselves on one good income so I take my hat off to parents who must budget like fiends to make their children’s live’s healthy and happy. Children deserve more than the anger and jealousy that is being directed at them by the squawking “adults” that would deny them just a little more in life.

        As Cunliffe said “Paddy, no ones going to make a profit out of it”

    • If I’m reading Milt correctly – “then what it does make clear is that the scheme had little or no effect on overall fertility at the population level” – then he’s actually saying that Labour Best Start policy won’t encourage people to have more children. At least, not for the “princely” sum of $60 a week…

      Am I getting that right, Milt?

      • Psycho Milt 7.3.1

        I said nothing beyond the fairly obvious point that the author’s conclusion about what this graph demonstrates is unjustified. It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say.

        However, that’s of little relevance to the policy’s weakness of being open to attack for the incentive effect on children being raised on benefits – it tells us nothing about that, contrary to the author’s claims.

        • geoff 7.3.1.1

          Why would the incentive to breed only effect the beneficiary population and not the rest of the population? Surely the incentive effect would have an equal effect on non-beneficiaries and we would see a rise in the overall population rate, which we do not.

          Why not just admit that you don’t like people who are on benefits? It would save us all a great deal of typing.

          This sort of policy is always going to come under spurious attack from bigotry on the right. That doesn’t mean the policy is flawed, it means the bigots are.

          • Lanthanide 7.3.1.1.1

            geoff, you can come up with whatever justifications you like for why the policy does or does not encourage specific segments of the population to have or not have babies, but the simple fact is, as Psycho Milt is pointing out, the data you are relying on is for the entire population, not any specific segment of the population.

            The graph simply does not support the claim you are making.

            You may still make that claim based on other evidence, logical deductions, suppositions, whatever you like, but the graph does not (by itself) support what you are saying.

            • geoff 7.3.1.1.1.1

              Be specific Lanth, which particular claim that I am making? That I said the graph shows the policy won’t create a tsunami of bene breeders?

              Perhaps I should have used less florid language, perhaps I should have not used the kind of rhetoric that the tories themselves are using in their attempts to smear this policy.

              Perhaps I should have instead said “The graph makes clear that those who claim that the Labour policy will create a significant increase in the fertility rate are talking complete and utter nonsense.”

              Would that have satisfied the pedant in you? :roll:

        • Frank Macskasy 7.3.1.2

          I agree; ” It does seem to provide evidence that paying people to have children didn’t significantly affect the overall population fertility rate in Australia, and I’d expect the same outcome here, as you say. “

          I think you’ve sussed that bit nicely.

          By the way, despite not agreeing with you on many issues, I unreservedly apologize for referring to you in the past as a Right Wing Nut Job. Your views are more diverse to merit such a simple label.

          We will have to debate each issue on it’s merits.

  8. Mr Tank 8

    5k a baby was the lump sum in Oz. Yes it did lead to some poor and/or too young people having babies, I know as I knew some of them. It was an example of the typically thick headed blunt instrument approach of the likes of John Howard. Labour’s $60 a week is a helping hand not an invitation to intergenerational stupidity. It’s a wonderful policy that will mean a lot to many of us. I look forward to more of Davo’s clever and compassionate policy making and politicking. Go hard comrade!

  9. Philj 9

    Xox
    I enjoy the rationality of some thought. We should have kids to pay taxes in the future! Hahaha

  10. vto 10

    Cut the superannuation to those on over 50k per year.

    Greedy wankers.

  11. Ad 11

    Oddly I don’t mind if there’s a bit of a lift in fertility, because of this policy. Most of New Zealand’s regions are depopulating.

  12. bad12 12

    i was more than happy with David Cunliffe’s announcement of ‘Best Start’, the breeding for money whine from the wing-nuts has been more than answered by the graph attached to this post,

    As a committed Socialist i had initial disquiet about how far up into the income levels ‘Best Start reached after all Socialism would demand that those with the least receive the most help,

    Such disquiet has been put to rest by the unveiling of the actual ‘nuts and bolts’ of the ‘Best Start’ program, the system of ‘claw-backs’ involved ensures that those with earnings below $50,000 annually will benefit the most,

    For a better explanation of how such ‘claw-backs’ will work the Herald online has an entirely innapropriately headlined article: ‘Labour’s baby bonus may produce less work, more babies:economist says’,

    In answer to such a piece of fatuous bullshit that ‘Best Start’ will produce less work, said to be the quote of an ‘economist’, if anyone moves from the work-force in order to have a baby and considering that She would have had to be producing something in a job of work that was ‘necessary’ then any reasoning person would have to assume that someone else previously not in employment would of necessity have to be hired albeit on a temporary basis to do that job of work,

    Considering the carefully targeted nature of ‘Best Start’ benefitting those with the least the most i have to give a round of applause to David Cunliffe and Labour for a great start to this election year…

  13. fisiani 13

    Labour will just try to bribe voters with a $60 baby bonus. Cash in hand. Not vouchers for baby food or baby shoes just cash in hand. A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope. Another typical Labour bribe. Throw my money and other peoples money at voters and expect them to tick Labour. How does that help a single child? The borrowed money puts up interest rates and that shoots up mortgage rates and rents.
    Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.

    • felix 13.1

      “A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.”

      “National are happy to target spending “

      Really? I’m relieved to learn that when National “targeted” 1.8 BILLION dollars of my money to the wealthiest people in the South Island, none of it was spent on gambling drinking smoking and drugs.

      Phew.

      :roll:

    • Hayden 13.2

      A fair chunk of the $60 will obviously end up on the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the dope.

      Citation needed.

      • fisiani 13.2.1

        The sun rises in the East. The Pope is a Catholic. Citation needed?

        • Hayden 13.2.1.1

          So you don’t have one then? About how many new parents are currently splurging on “the pokies, the booze, the fags and the the (sic) dope”?

          Hardly surprising.

    • Chooky 13.3

      @fisiani re: “Notice how National do not fritter away public money. National are happy to target spending whilst Labour just throw money away.”…..This is bullshit !

      Labour should AXE the super toll motorways proposed by John Key ( no one wants them except John Key and his ‘ Chosen’ cronyist Capitalist mates….to line their pockets

      …eg from what I have heard at least one of these motorways is proposed to be constructed by an Australian company ….AXE them !

      …….. and and put the money into:

      1.) free university education for young New Zealanders up to and including PhD level ( these young people are NZ’s future!)

      2.)…..reinstating Continuing Education around the country( a great way for adults..from school leavers to 90 year olds….from Maori to Pakeha….from country to city….from new- comer immigrants to generational NZers to learn new skills and meet people…. and make life -long friends)

      ( John Key’s NACT axed Continuing Education!….. and gave the $90 million dollars directly to private schools… SHAME ON THEM!)

      3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)

      ( Hear that Winston….no dirty deals with the Key NACT desperate Banksters…as John Armstrong suggests!)

      4) pour money into our starved STATE SCHOOLS ( better pay for All teachers not just John Key’s Ponzi few bullshit so called ‘excellent’ Principals)…Bring back the State School Inspectorate with very little extra cost ….Make all NZ schools genuinely run and funded by the State! ….not done on the cheap by unqualified, struggling and stressed parents

      ….Teaching is a Profession like Law and Medicine …..TREAT EDUCATION and TEACHERS with the RESPECT they deserve.!!!!!…this will raise education attainment levels to world class as in Finland)

      These policies would be a huge vote winner for Labour/Greens from young New Zealanders ( our future) and their parents….as well as every other New Zealander who values education and social cohesion.

      New Zealand has a proud record in Education which has been undermined by monetarism , Neo Liberal economics and John Key and his mates who would split it, undermine teachers and unions ……and privatise it a la USA charter school businesses and religious organisations…..This is not the New Zealand way! Hands off our New Zealand State Secular education system for ALL New Zealanders! ( the unions should be fighting for this)..

      • KJT 13.3.1

        “3)…..Free polytech education, apprenticeships and internships ( we owe it to our young to look after them and help them into employment…before allowing in workers from overseas)”

        Plus 10. About bloody time someone on here mentioned that tertiary education is not just learning 10000 new words and an arrogant attitude, at university.

    • miravox 13.4

      That’s the funniest bit of rubbish I’ve read all day, fisiani. I bow to your awesome evidence-free shill skills.

    • Chooky 13.5

      Note fisciani’s use of the words and concepts ‘TARGET’ and ‘WASTE’ when applying them to Labour or the Greens policies

      fisiani’s NACT friends TARGET :

      …. their own wallets ……and Trusts and Bank Balances and Property aquisitions, developments, speculations, companies …..and businesses (now they want to get into the education ‘business’)

      …..with New Zealanders hard earned cash and assets.

      ….They are spending our NZ birthright and bankrupting our New Zealand financially and morally

      for fisciani’s NACT friends WASTE :

      ……is spending any State money on New Zealand babies , children , youth, Mothers , families , the elderly …in education, health care, social welfare , employment and retirement

      In Government and NACT they are the weasels , stoats and ferrets …..without compassion, ruthless , determined and plundering…..they should be exposed and thrown out !

    • bad12 13.6

      fisiani, i refrain from calling most ‘wing-nuts’ that appear here on the Standard ‘Dick-Head’, but, your comment is just that, the words of a dickhead without a single shred of evidenc to back up such stupid assertions,

      National not frittering away public monies, that’s a pretty sad pathetic f**king joke with Slippery the Prime Minister being quoted in news reports today that 1 billion dollars of the proceeds of the sell off of State assets will be spent this year,

      National cannot yet say exactly how they intend to ‘blow’ that 1 billion dollars presumably because in the face of David Cunliffe and Labour’s ‘Best Start’ policy they only decided as early as last night to use the proceeds of the asset sales as,(in your words), an election bribe…

  14. Pete 14

    For a more in-depth analysis on the Austalian baby bonus and fertility rates, this article will help (pdf).

    The results from the logistic regression model (Table 2) show that the effect of the changes which coincided with the introduction of the Baby Bonus has almost certainly been very small: the coefficient is very small in magnitude and not significantly different from zero. (p.228)

    Parr, N., & Guest, R. (2011). The contribution of increases in family benefits to Australia’s early 21st-century fertility increase: An empirical analysis. Demographic Research, 25, 215-244. doi: 10.4054

    • miravox 14.1

      Thanks Pete, spot on.

      Quite a bit of talk about delayed fertility of educated, professional women and national economic prosperity in the conclusion. This seems to fit with international trends.

    • geoff 14.2

      Pete, you’re a fucking treasure.

      • Pete 14.2.1

        I aim to please :)

      • KJT 14.2.2

        Well, as you would expect, extra money for parents changes the timing of having children, not how many.

        I would have thought RWNJ’s would like “breeders” getting having children out the way, before, their “prime” earning/contributing to RWNJ’s fortunes, years.

  15. geoff 15

    And here’s a 2013 article from that old tory, John Howard, lamenting that the baby bonus was being reduced.

    http://www.watoday.com.au/wa-news/wheres-the-national-aspiration-howard-20130516-2jo0m.html

    As part of a response to a question about benefits to middle class in terms of the economy he said he was critical of the decision to reduce the baby bonus.

    Just shows how rabid the right are in NZ when they make John Howard look like a raving socialist in comparison.

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    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • White Ribbon day should last all year
    White Ribbon Day is an opportunity for all men to stand up and affirm to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence towards women, says Labour’s Associate Justice Spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  “Violence towards women is rampant across all sectors...
    Labour
  • Report confirms John Key abused power of PM’s Office
    Today's Inspector General of Intelligence and Security's (IGIS) report confirms that the Prime Minister's office engaged in a serious abuse of power, says the Green Party.The IGIS report looked at the release of an Official Information Act request to disgraced...
    Greens
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • IGIS report a damning indictment on former spy boss
    The report by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security into the release of classified documents is a sad and damning indictment on former spy boss Warren Tucker, Labour’s MP for Mount Roskill and former leader Phil Goff says.  “This report upholds...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • South Auckland disadvantaged by new decile rankings
    New decile rankings have South Auckland schools at scores that show they are much more disadvantaged than the national average, says Labour’s Associate Auckland  Issues spokesperson Louisa Wall.  “As a measurement of disadvantage it is alarming that the average score...
    Labour
  • Sexism, rape culture and power
    Our discourse around sexual violence is complicated. All too often perpetrators are described as ‘monsters’, so when someone you know tells you the lovely man that you really like sexually abused them it’s hard to believe, because they’re not a...
    Greens
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • Time for an economy that works for all New Zealanders
    New Labour Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says the challenge for the National Government is to support an economy that delivers good, sustainable jobs paying decent wages. “It’s time the economy delivered for all New Zealanders, not just the fortunate few....
    Labour
  • New faces, wise heads in bold Labour line up
    Labour Leader Andrew Little today announced a bold new caucus line up which brings forward new talent and draws on the party’s depth of experience....
    Labour
  • Plan for mega factory farm ruffles feathers
    Not long ago I wrote about the proposal to build a mega factory farm in the small township of Patumahoe that would confine over 300, 000 hens to colony cages. This week the resource consent hearing for the proposed factory...
    Greens
  • National opens door further to Chinese property speculators
    National has further opened the door to Chinese property speculators with the registration of a third Chinese bank here that will make it easier for Chinese investors to invest in New Zealand properties, the Green Party said today."As well, former...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • National restarts logging in West Coast forests
    “Dead wood also contributes by providing nutrients to soils, supporting the agents of wood decay such as fungi and invertebrates and it is a key habitat for the regeneration of some trees.” Annual Report 2013/14, page 29. The National Government has...
    Greens
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • Lab plan the beginning of slippery slope?
    It’s time for new Health Minister Jonathan Coleman to show his hand on plans to privatise lab services which doctors are warning could put patients’ lives at risk, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Clinicians have sent the Government some...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • A-G called on to look into flagship ‘cost-saving’ programme
    New health Minister Jonathan Coleman has some serious questions to answer following a decision to wind up the Government’s flagship health savings provider HBL just a fortnight after giving it the green light to implement its plans, Labour’s Health spokesperson...
    Labour
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Prime Minister’s warped view of history
    Students who sat NCEA level 3 history exams last week might be very worried to hear the Prime Minister tell a Radio Station that New Zealand was one of the few countries that was settled peacefully by Europeans. Those students who wrote...
    Greens
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Climate of fear needs addressing
    It is hugely concerning that community and volunteer groups feel they are being gagged from speaking out against the Government, Labour’s Community and Voluntary Sector Spokesperson Louisa Wall says.  A Victoria University survey of 93 sector groups has found 50...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • Mandatory code of conduct needed for supermarkets
    Labour has drafted legislation to establish a mandatory code of conduct for supermarkets to ensure New Zealand suppliers are not affected by anti-competitive behaviour. “Even though the Commerce Commission found no technical breaches of the law through some of Countdown’s...
    Labour
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • National softening public up for 7th successive deficit
    Finance Minister Bill English is softening the public up for an announcement that National is going to fail in even its very limited goal of achieving a budget surplus, the Green Party said today."No finance minister in a generation has...
    Greens
  • When the teflon is stripped away…
    . . To re-cap something I wrote on 13 September, regarding a hard-hitting interview between “The Nation’s” Lisa Owen and John Key; For possibly the first time since Stephen Sackur interviewed Key on Hard Talk in May, 2011, this [...
    The Daily Blog
  • My Select Committee submission against the “terrorist fighters” bill
    This morning I gave this “oral submission” to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee opposing the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill.  It is a pity only Greens are against the Bill. It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Pixies in the Garden? Making money
    In 2009, John Key said “there aren’t little pixies at the bottom of the garden printing cash” (John Armstrong, Colin Espiner). He was wrong of course. Just about every country has its own pixie-in-chief, though not at the bottom of the...
    The Daily Blog
  • AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE – Government must allow further scrut...
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    The Daily Blog
  • Tension inside the Blue Tent – questions that should be asked
    With Andrew Little on fire taking a straight shooting no crap approach to Key’s dead eyed duplicity, the tensions inside the Blue Tent of National are at risk of erupting again. When the TeamKey brand falters, National’s factions sharpen their knives....
    The Daily Blog
  • FiveAA Australia: Is NZ’s PM a Liar? + Kim Dotcom Says He’s Broke
    5AA’s Peter Godfrey and Selwyn Manning.In this week’s Across The Ditch bulletin on FiveAA.com.au Selwyn Manning and Peter Godfrey discuss how allegations of dirty politics continue to dog the Prime Minister John Key’s third term in government. Also, internet tycoon...
    The Daily Blog
  • Cam’s ‘Slightly Left of Centre’ sock puppet threatens Key in public
    What did Judith Collins say about payback? Looks like Slater has taken that lesson to heart as he uses his sock puppet over at Slightly Left of Centre to drop threats and hints that he has recorded conversations with Key that has...
    The Daily Blog
  • Justice System Changes Must Ensure No More Roastings In Court
    On Monday there was good news for rape survivors and this blog was supposed to be about the success of our advocacy, and it is about that success, but today’s events have brought into stark focus the real-world importance of...
    The Daily Blog
  • Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Electio...
    Jeremy Wells’ Mike Hosking rant on Radio Hauraki: Today, Key Post Election...
    The Daily Blog
  • Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key
    So Cam texted Key before the report came out despite Key claiming no contact? Top 5 Texts from Cam to Key 5 – I still have all the photos 4 – Yes my shapeshifting Lizard Master Overlord 3 – Max isn’t talking to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Hold on – did NZ just have a coup?
    Ummmmm. Wait a minute here. Just so that we all understand what’s been revealed. The Prime Minister’s Office used the Secret Intelligence Service to falsify classified information to smear the Leader of the Opposition via a far right hate blogger...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Sue Bradford speaking tour
          With the generous support of the Hobgoblin Network and several other donors, I’m going to be speaking soon at four meetings around the country: ‘A major left wing think tank?  Is it time for a transformational left...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why Key must resign
    Remember when John Armstrong from the NZ Herald called for the resignation of David Cunliffe because Cunliffe couldn’t remember an 11 year old letter in reference to a $100 000 bottle of wine that never existed? Why isn’t the Herald now...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Why the Judith Collins report is a whitewash
    “I am not a Monster”, hissed Judith Collins The report into Collins is a whitewash. The difference between an independent inquiry like the IGIS report that connected the PMs Office with using edited Secret Intelligence Service information to smear a...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Seasons Greetings from Ferguson
    Seasons Greetings from Ferguson...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Using State Spies to attack political opponents – why the SIS are gaining...
    National will only be able to get away with what is being revealed by the IGIS report into the Secret Intelligence Service if we, the people of NZ, let them. And. We. Should. Not. Let. Them. State spies editing intelligence to...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Anti-Choice Myth-Busting
    Voice for Life issued a press release last week claiming that those of us campaigning for the decriminalisation of abortion in NZ are, among other things, using Nazi propaganda tactics (sigh…) to lie to you about the illegal status of abortion...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Judith Collins – the Gift that keeps Giving to the Opposition?
    . . From a news report; Ms Collins resigned before the election after being accused of working with the Whale Oil blog after emails were released suggesting she was “gunning” for former director of the Serious Fraud Office, Adam Feeley,...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • Annette King? Annette King?? Surely not Annette King!
    I’m not often surprised at the goings on in the Labour Party but I was gobsmacked to see Andrew Little has appointed Annette King as Deputy Leader of the parliamentary Labour Party. I had idly assumed the role would go to Adhern...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • New Shadow Cabinet – Little does more in 6 days than Goff, Shearer & ...
    New Zealanders do not respect intelligence, they respect confidence. Cunliffe beat Key in the debates, but it didn’t matter because NZers don’t respect the debate, they respect the tone. Our anti-intellecuatlism runs deeper than most with our reverse-egalitarianism. The chip...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves
      This weeks Waatea news column – The myths white people tell themselves...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • The irony of backlash to petrol stations charging workers for stolen petrol
    You have to laugh at NZers sometimes. you really do. The outrage that has been sparked by news that workers at petrol stations are charged for stolen petrol is one of those perfect examples of a delicious irony most NZers...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • A Dishonest “Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill”
    Wouldn’t you think a Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill would actually mention “terrorist fighters” in its text? The Bill, as released yesterday, does not. It’s simply another generalised counter-terrorism exercise giving extra surveillance powers to the Security Intelligence Service and enabling...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • How biased are the media? A Patrick Gower case study
    . . . Isn’t it interesting that Patrick Gower – who made his partisan feelings crystal clear on Twitter on 29 May with this extraordinary outburst;  “Lalia Harré – you make me feel sick by how you are rorting MMP...
    The Daily Blog
  • No charges laid over piggeries investigations
    No charges laid over piggeries investigations 28 November 2014 The Ministry for Primary Industries did not have sufficient evidence to lay charges following two animal welfare investigations into incidents at piggeries earlier this year. The investigations...
    Scoop politics
  • Deep Sea Drilling in Rising Seas
    The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's report on the effects of rising sea levels and climate change adds another argument against this Government's expansion of fossil fuel exploration....
    Scoop politics
  • Slower population growth in the long term
    New Zealand's population will likely grow by 1.4–1.8 percent a year during 2014–16, but growth will be lower in the long term, Statistics New Zealand said today....
    Scoop politics
  • Big Buddy on the Glenn Inquiry People’s Blueprint
    November 28, 2014 The inclusion of robust screening as a tool to prevent child abuse, highlighted in the Glenn Inquiry’s People’s Blueprint, is welcomed by Big Buddy CEO Richard Aston. “It’s heartening to see this high-calibre report come out...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint for tackling Family Violence
    The recently Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence (DCAFV) is pleased to support the fundamental changes in the way our legal system deals with family violence that the report calls for. We need to do more to support victims, and ensure...
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint – Both Good News and a Wake-Up Call
    The Patron of the Glenn Inquiry, Dame Catherine Tizard, says there is some good news in The People’s Blueprint, after the shocking picture painted six months ago in The People’s Report....
    Scoop politics
  • Glenn Inquiry Funder Keeps His Promise
    The founder and funder of the Glenn Inquiry, Sir Owen Glenn, said today he has kept the promise he made when he set up the independent inquiry in 2012. “I set up the Glenn Inquiry because it was clear to...
    Scoop politics
  • Support for Blue Print call for a stand-alone agency
    Human Rights Commissioner lead on family violence, Dr Jackie Blue welcomes the Glenn Inquiry, ‘The People’s Blue Print’, which places at its heart that being safe and free from violence is a fundamental human right....
    Scoop politics
  • People’s Blueprint Offers Solutions to Family Violence
    New Zealand has a fresh opportunity to reduce child abuse and family violence and save and restore lives under a powerful new model for combating the problem proposed by the Glenn Inquiry....
    Scoop politics
  • Submission: Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    My three key areas of concern relate to: • The duration of visual surveillance warrants; • The controls around warrantless surveillance powers; • Clarifying the continuation of controls around access to Passenger Name Record (PNR) data under...
    Scoop politics
  • The case is clear for climate action that supports health
    The need for rapid action on climate change in New Zealand in order to protect health is clear, according to a group of climate and health experts. Countries elsewhere in the world are already taking significant action, while New Zealand...
    Scoop politics
  • EDUCANZ Debate Ignores Teachers
    The legislation for the creation of the new EDUCANZ to replace the former Teachers’ Council body is now undergoing its second reading. Without warning, it was promoted to the top the queue this week....
    Scoop politics
  • Phillip Smith en-route back to New Zealand.
    Police confirm that Phillip Smith has been deported from Brazil and is en-route back to New Zealand....
    Scoop politics
  • Scaremongering and Showing Contempt for Democracy
    The government has been accused of fabricating an increased risk to New Zealand security to justify new invasive powers in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill. And its decision to allow just 48 hours for public submissions on the Bill...
    Scoop politics
  • Legislation “a travesty of democratic process”
    Peace Movement Aotearoa today called on the government to put the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill on hold - pending a comprehensive review of existing legislation - in a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee,...
    Scoop politics
  • Bill needs amending to better protect human rights
    The Human Rights Commission submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee this afternoon on the Countering Terrorist Fighters Bill makes specific recommendations relating to passport denial; increasing safeguards around visual...
    Scoop politics
  • NZ’s gender equality issues in international forum
    New Zealand faces similar gender equality issues and opportunities to those of its neighbouring countries, according to the latest international conference on women’s empowerment....
    Scoop politics
  • Countering human trafficking is an ongoing challenge for NZ
    At first glance, it is difficult to believe that human trafficking is an offence that is taking place in New Zealand. It is a harsh reminder that the rule of law sometimes does not reach far enough....
    Scoop politics
  • Government must allow further scrutiny of bill
    As the New Zealand government seeks to rush new through new anti-terror legislation, Amnesty International is raising grave concerns over the speed at which the Bill is being rushed through Parliament and is calling for an extension to the consultation...
    Scoop politics
  • Calling on anti-violence activists to step up
    Māori Party co-leaders believe every individual, whānau, hapū and iwi can help stop the high level of family violence that exists in our country....
    Scoop politics
  • More effective social services inquiry update Nov 2014
    The Productivity Commission’s More effective social services inquiry aims to shed light on how commissioning and contracting influence the quality and effectiveness of social services, and to suggest actions government agencies and others could take...
    Scoop politics
  • Keith Locke presentation on Countering Foreign Fighters Bill
    It’s a pleasure to be able to talk to members of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee again, and remember my 12 years on your committee. However, I don’t wish my submission today to be taken as endorsement of...
    Scoop politics
  • Significant issues for NZ in sea level rise report
    Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) has recognised findings of Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright’s report released today on the impact of rising seas as significant for coastal areas of New Zealand, aligning well with work the...
    Scoop politics
  • White Ribbon Campaign Shocked at Fatal Stabbing
    The White Ribbon Campaign extends its condolences to the family of a women fatally stabbed in Auckland's North Shore....
    Scoop politics
  • One Plan signing is “historic moment” for the environment
    The signing of the Horizon Regional Council’s One Plan after a decade of debate, legal action and controversy is being hailed by Fish & Game as a landmark in the battle to protect the nation’s water quality. Horizons councillors approved...
    Scoop politics
  • Look at the Road, Not the Speedo
    Responding to the Fairfax article that police will be issuing tickets over the summer to anyone driving 1km/h or more over the speed limit, Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director Jordan Williams says:...
    Scoop politics
  • Worker immunity critical to safety in Meat Industry
    The Meat Workers Union has today urged the Select Committee hearing submissions on the Health & Safety Reform bill to strengthen provisions that protect the rights of workers to be involved and speak out, saying that it’s becoming increasingly...
    Scoop politics
  • PCE report brings home impacts of climate change
    Youth climate organisation Generation Zero has welcomed the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment's ' Changing Climate and Rising Seas ' report and says it demonstrates climate change will affect all of us....
    Scoop politics
  • Law Society urges reduction of terrorist fighter bill powers
    The New Zealand Law Society says powers proposed in the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill should be reduced to ensure they are strictly limited to countering the threats that have arisen....
    Scoop politics
  • Sea level rise won’t only affect infrastructure
    The independent conservation organisation Forest & Bird is asking the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment (PCE) to widen the focus of her next report on climate change-driven sea level rise....
    Scoop politics
  • Changing climate and rising seas: Understanding the science
    During my seven years as Commissioner, I have consistently said that climate change is the biggest environmental issue we face. This investigation has provided an opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of what is causing climate change and one of...
    Scoop politics
  • Council refuses to take part in farcical submissions process
    The New Zealand Council for Civil Liberties refuses to take part in the submissions process around the Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill....
    Scoop politics
  • Laws of War to Be Debated at Wellington Event
    The political and human consequences of war and civil unrest are widely covered in themedia but International Humanitarian Law (IHL), the body of law which exists to protect all parties to armed conflict, rarely gets attention....
    Scoop politics
  • Forum Compact Development Partner Peer Review of New Zealand
    Following the completion of the first leg of the review of New Zealand’s development cooperation in the Pacific, the Forum Compact Review Team is now visiting Kiribati to assess the effectiveness of New Zealand’s assistance in the small island developing...
    Scoop politics
  • YWCA Auckland award for long-time women’s role model
    New Zealand’s first female Governor General and Mayor of Auckland has been granted a Lifetime Achievement Award by YWCA Auckland, for her services to the Auckland community and acting as a role model for Kiwi women nationwide....
    Scoop politics
  • Government Urged Not To Miss Cosmetics Win For Animals
    Animal advocacy organisation SAFE is urging the Government not to let animals down and vote for an amendment to the Animal Welfare Bill. The amendment would ban cosmetics testing on animals forever. The Bill had it’s second reading in Parliament...
    Scoop politics
  • Police pursuit results in serious injury of innocent man
    A report released today by the Independent Police Conduct Authority has found Police failed to comply with policy during a pursuit in Auckland in 2013 which left an innocent man with serious injuries....
    Scoop politics
  • US Warning against GMO threat
    An international warning about the impact of GMOs has been released. It comes just as Parliament's Primary Production Committee is to hear the response of the Ministry of Primary Industries to the 1700 signature "Freeze on GMO" petition that...
    Scoop politics
  • Fish & Game wants more than lip service from agriculture
    Fish & Game wants to know how the government will ensure the agriculture sector protects the environment after the Primary Industries Minister warned primary sector leaders that environmental sustainability is no longer a “nice to have.”...
    Scoop politics
  • Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 27 November 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Countering Terrorist Fighters Legislation Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Thursday, 27 November 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Contract
    Television New Zealand (TVNZ) recently announced that internal production of its iconic Māori programmes ‘Waka Huia’ and ‘Marae Investigates’ would cease and that it would outsource the production of these programmes for the duration of...
    Scoop politics
  • Ngā Aho Whakaari Questions TMP Handling of TVNZ Contract
    Television New Zealand (TVNZ) recently announced that internal production of its iconic Māori programmes ‘Waka Huia’ and ‘Marae Investigates’ would cease and that it would outsource the production of these programmes for the duration of...
    Scoop politics
  • Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence And Security
    Statements from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (x2) 1. In response to questions about particular contents of the report: Ms Gwyn said that - as she had said yesterday when releasing the report - the report, including the factual...
    Scoop politics
  • Office of the Inspector-General of Intelligence And Security
    Statements from the Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security (x2) 1. In response to questions about particular contents of the report: Ms Gwyn said that - as she had said yesterday when releasing the report - the report, including the factual...
    Scoop politics
  • Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 13 February 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • Health (Protection) Amendment Bill
    Public submissions are being invited on this bill. The closing date for submissions is Friday, 13 February 2014....
    Scoop politics
  • SIS Scandal Leaves Key Unscathed
    Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party...
    Scoop politics
  • SIS Scandal Leaves Key Unscathed
    Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party...
    Scoop politics
  • Lawyer jailed for fraud against loyal clients
    John David Milne (79) has been sentenced to eight years and one month of imprisonment today in the Christchurch District Court following a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) prosecution....
    Scoop politics
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