Shameful

Written By: - Date published: 5:08 pm, December 15th, 2008 - 79 comments
Categories: education, greens, maori party - Tags: , ,

And so the Maori Party’s sell-out of its own people continues. Hot on the heels of the party’s vote to take money out of the pockets of the poor to pay for tax cuts for the rich, this morning’s Dominion Post reports:

Green Party MP Mitiria Turei has accused the Maori Party of disgraceful behaviour for voting to increase fines to $3000 for parents of children who repeatedly skip school.

Under the new law, passed under urgency at the weekend, parents who do not enrol children at school will also be liable to a fine of $3000.

The Maori Party’s new Te Tai Tonga MP, Rahui Katene, voted with National, on behalf of the Government’s junior coalition partner, when the final third-reading vote was held on Saturday.

Ms Turei said the Maori Party’s vote would impact badly on Maori and Pacific Island families.

“Increasing the fines for truancy for very poor Maori whanau is absolutely disgraceful. Nobody should be voting for it,” she said.

Her plea to the Maori Party to vote against the legislation fell on deaf ears.

The Maori Party knows very well that poverty is a major factor in truancy. Often parents aren’t there for their kids because they’re poor and they’re working several jobs to try and make ends meet. I don’t see anything “mana-enhancing” in victimising these families with punitive fines that will only make the problem worse.

79 comments on “Shameful”

  1. gingercrush 1

    I think it would have been wise to include:

    The Maori Party tried to split the legislation into two parts the truancy fines and national standards but Mrs Tolley rejected the move, which would have given the Maori Party an opportunity to vote against the increased fines while supporting the introduction of new literacy and numeracy standards.

    In essence the Maori party believed in having national standards, but were not in favour of the increase in fines for Truancy. But because both aspects were combined into one bill, the Maori party felt in the end they should support it because of the national standards.

  2. Lew 2

    GC: Indeed, and the assertion Tane seems to be making is that when legislation contains significant measures with which one disagrees, one should default to voting against it, rather than for it. Especially when the legislation will pass anyway.

    L

  3. Tane 3

    GC, the fact Tolley refused to separate them says a lot about the way they’re treating the Maori Party, and the way the Maori Party allows itself to be treated. If a part of a bill is seriously objectionable you shouldn’t vote for it. The MP’s support for this ill-conceived and draconian measure is simply shameful. In fact, the way they’re supporting any legislation rammed through as undemocratically as this is shameful.

    [As for not including every fact in a post, that’s what the comments section is for. If you want to keep your posts short and punchy you’ve got to jettison all but the most basic information. And while it ain’t perfect, short and punchy is what keeps people coming back.]

  4. gingercrush 4

    Yes well we all know how Labour decided to treat the Greens and the Maori Party. Give the Greens a few points but nothing of significance and the Maori party absolutely nothing.

    And I disagree with you because for the Maori Party I feel they felt national standards were more important. I also note that Pita Sharples Associate Minister for Education has said that he will continue to talk to Tolley about the issue of Truancy.

  5. Tane 5

    GC, talking’s what you do before the bill has passed. There’s little point once it’s in law and you’ve already cast your vote in support.

  6. the sprout 6

    Wow, that has to be a new speed record set by the Maori Party for a political party forgetting where they came from and who they represent.

    What’ll they do next, campaign with National for the abolition of the Maori seats?

  7. dave 7

    Tane how many maori will be fined for their kids truancy. Remind me how many parents have been fined for truancy in the past five years? then balance that with the number of Maori that will be helped by quality education standards

    its a no brainer.

  8. Felix 8

    The maori party will be betting on their supporters having forgotten all this in 30 months.

    Funny, I thought they were playing a longer game than this.

  9. PK 9

    I see we are playing the race card here.

    with

    “The Maori Party knows very well that poverty is a major factor in truancy. Often parents aren’t there for their kids because they’re poor and they’re working several jobs to try and make ends meet. I don’t see anything “mana-enhancing’ in victimising these families with punitive fines that will only make the problem worse.”

    Having grown up in a high crime, unemployment, low educational outcomes etc area I can tell you this – the major factor in truancy is parents who do not give a toss, who are on the grog, belt the missus etc. The correlation between truancy and juvenile drugs, crime etc is well documented as is the fact that schemes like this have resulted in substantial reductions in truancy. This is not a Maori issue or a poverty issue.

    I know there are examples where good parents cannot control their kids but these are the exception. The norm in these cases is bad parents who make specific choices that, strangely, their neighbours in similar circumstances don’t make.

  10. Anita 10

    As an aside, it’ll be a good day when the DomPost learns to spell Māori names accurately.

  11. Lew 11

    PK: I see we are playing the race card here.

    The observation that Māori are overrepresented in poverty statistics is a statement of the bleeding obvious, not the `race card’ being played. The māori party campaigned explicitly on representing Māori people, so it’s entirely reasonable to question how their support for this legislation serves their constituency.

    Dave at least makes a crack at it by trying to equivalate the cost of fines versus the benefit of improved education resulting from standards (which is highly questionable, but a matter for debate). Can’t you try to do the same rather than trying to rule issues out of order on spurious rhetorical grounds?

    parents who do not give a toss, who are on the grog, belt the missus etc.

    All consequences, rather than causes, of poverty. You might not realise it, but you agree with Tane.

    Anita: Absolutely. And an even better day when non-specialist-Māori-affairs broadcasters outside Radio NZ National can consistently pronounce them correctly.

    L

  12. burt 12

    Tane

    It’s illegal to not send your kids to school. Perhaps the Maori party think that enforcing the law is a good idea.

    Who knows the Green Party might want to have means tested penalties but they will need to be clear on what they are wanting before we can just assume they have any other agenda besides scoring political points.

    Perhaps you are happy for kids from lower socioeconomic families to achieve less in education than kids from more affluent families, I think something needs to change and if parents can’t afford big fines then they should make sure their kids get to school.

  13. dave 13

    Burt – it is only illegal not to send your kids to school if you kids are six or over – despite most kids starting at age five. The Maori Parry is representing Maori a lot more by voting a for a bill that raises education standards than any lack of representation perceived by voting for the same bill that provides for increased fines – that are hardly ever issued – for parents of truants.

  14. Akldnut 14

    GC “Yes well we all know how Labour decided to treat the Greens and the Maori Party. Give the Greens a few points but nothing of significance and the Maori party absolutely nothing.”

    I seem to remember Labour had a arrangement with the Greens which was honoured and the bill put forward by the Greens was used by Nats as part of their campaign of “Nanny State in entring your homes/ Time for a change” campaign. (Key voted for it)

    I don’t recall an agreement for Labour having to give the MP anyting.

    Dave – Hitting low income families that have wayward children or can’t afford to monitor them with massive fines, isn’t going to fix the problem just compound it!!!
     
    its a no brainer.

  15. dave 15

    As for not including every fact in a post, that’s what the comments section is for. If you want to keep your posts short and punchy you’ve got to jettison all but the most basic information

    No you dont. You just have to write succinctly and choose words carefully.

  16. burt 16

    Aklnnut

    So what’s the answer then Akldnut? If it’s wrong to punish people for breaking the law and if it’s wrong to increase penalties then what do you suggest?

    It seems to me that the entire reason for having state funded education is flawed if we don’t enforce attendance, especially for groups that have the most to gain from receiving it. It’s just political point scoring to say on one hand that we must have equality of access and strive for equality of outcome across all socioeconomic groups if on the other hand we are making excuses for poor attendance based on socioeconomic factors.

    What do we want? Education for all or education for people who don’t find it a pain in the ass to make their kids get to school?

  17. lprent 17

    dave:

    In two paragraphs, what about 50-60 words? Hell even the 100 word blog would have a problem getting a strong opinion through in less.

    The rest was a quotation

  18. Alexandra 18

    This law amendment is designed to show the Key government as action driven. They have no intention of enforcing it and the Maori party knows that. Like the rest of the get tough on….being forced under urgency changes ,they are designed to placate the righr supporters of act & national. It is dishonest law regardless of whether it has a real impact or otherwise. The symbolism is significant. Where is the MP’s principle that they consult their constituants? If they arent given the opportunity to hui over these important matters, what does that say abour the real relationship that exists with their new political partners?
    The MP are in bed with a bad bunch and we all know the rest of the saying.

  19. Felix 19

    burt,

    I agree that it undermines state schooling to a degree to allow truancy to go unchecked but I doubt that increasing the fine will make any difference.

    As others have said, these fines are hardly ever issued as it is.

    It’s also worth remembering that people who can’t afford to pay fines typically pay them off to the courts at a nominal amount per week – with any subsequent fines being simply added to the total – a situation which tends to render the actual amount of a fine largely irrelevant.

    I don’t have any easy answer to the problem but I suspect that increasing the amount of this fine will have close to zero positive or negative effects.

  20. RedLogix 20

    Well once upon a time we used to have truancy officers. I guess the concept would need updating to match modern expectations, but heck, most of the problem would go away if the parents and children concerned KNEW that it was someone’s job to keep tabs on repeat absentees and follow up on them.

    I’m not 100% familiar with the current system, but it does appear to be constructed largely of cracks through which it is very easy to fall.

  21. ianmac 21

    The whole issue should be:
    “Why do some children go truant?”
    Supplementary question,
    ” What can be done to reduce the number of children who are failing at school?”
    3rd question,
    “What can be done to inspire/motivate all children so that they hate missing school?”
    Please explore, bullying, peer pressure, lack of support from home, health issues, intellectual disabilities, overcrowded classrooms, unreal expectations, insufficient expectations, the damaging effect of testing for failure certainty, and English as a second language. And so on.
    How about putting all that money which may soon be spent on pointless testing into providing resources and support for the 20% of Special needs kids? (There is considerable testing done now but it is diagnostic in nature and tailoured to help specific needs.)

  22. Anita 22

    RedLogix,

    The current system has Truancy Officers which are part of the District Truancy Service.

  23. Janet 23

    There’s a pretty thorough coverage of the Education Bill on Russell Brown’s publicaddress.net – thread from posting on Friday morning followed passage of the bill and was still going today – lots of info about the implications of both the fines for truancy and the testing.

  24. Lew 24

    While I think Alexandra’s argument (that the truancy policy is unlikely to be fully enforced) has some merit due to the huge resources required to do so, let’s suppose that it would be.

    The fundamental question is then whether fines will significantly change parents’ behaviour, and if so, in what ways. Most modern liberal justice systems rely very heavily on financial penalties, to the point where they commonly become just another source of debt – just another creditor, if you like – to those who are least able to pay them. I know anecdotally that $400 no warrant/rego fines doesn’t stop people of a certain socio-economic group from habitually driving unwarranted/unregistered cars, that drink-driving fines don’t stop those same people from drink-driving, and that court fines don’t tend to stop them from engaging in whatever activity which merited the fine. This same notional group of people maps pretty closely to the group targeted for truant kids; viz. those who `don’t give a toss, are on the grog and belt the missus’ as PK so eloquently puts it, so I wonder why the government would expect anything different in this case.

    Particularly with such huge fines, it seems to me that if enforced aggressively this will simply just add one more entry to a whole lot of peoples’ debit registers, and incur more costs in collection and even greater hopelessness and financial ruin among those who are often already in despair and financial ruin. That will also change behaviour in other ways – more money servicing debt – court-enforced or otherwise – means less food on the table, or longer hours of work, and more stress and its consequent ills of substance abuse, domestic violence, and so on. And worse yet, some parents will see this penalty as having been caused by their truant child and resort to similarly punitive punishments – though without the ability to levy fines, it seems more likely the belt will be the tool of choice.

    Which will necessitate additional resources devoted to CYFS, and …

    L

  25. John BT 25

    It is unfortunate that currently parents are rarely punished for not making sure that their little ones get to school. Increasing the fines will make no difference. That is really sad.
    I do believe that our politicians have our best interests at heart but at times I despair. The Maori Party know that the biggest problems facing Maori will largely be helped by a decent education. I hope. I am sure that they also know that this law will not be enforced to the extent it should be. It is cosmetic. That is also sad.
    So, the Maori Party should do every thing possible to ensure the mokopuna get to school. Perhaps they could find a really good solution to what is the greatest social problem we face.
    Also, it is not only Maori. Remember folks…… He iwi tahi tatou. The true principle of the Treaty.

  26. burt 26

    Arguably parents who do not do their absolute best to ensure their kids get the best chance they can to be well educated are abusing their children more than people who regularly physically abuse them.

    Plenty of people who have been physically abused have gone on to become fully functional productive members of society – we can’t say the same for people who are allowed to fail in education because the parents couldn’t give a rats ass about the future employment prospects for their kids.

    If it’s good enough to take kids off parents who physically abuse them it’s good enough to take kids off parents who show no concern for their long term best interests.

    Fine them lightly the first time, harder the second and as hard as possible the third and subsequent times. Once the fines get above a certain threshold remove their children from them and cut any welfare benefits they were enjoying because they had children they didn’t want to care for.

  27. dave 27

    I don’t see anything “mana-enhancing’ in victimising these families with punitive fines that will only make the problem worse.

    I didn’t see anything mana enhancing under Labour who did nothing about parents not enrolling their kids at school, let alone in setting decent educations standards. . Neither did the Maori Party, obviously.

  28. Lew 28

    burt: I guess if you consider being a `fully functional productive members of society’ the highest goal, the first part of your argument holds true. The fundamental thing I called into question in the comment above was the punitive approach to this sort of thing, and you’ve done nothing to address its shortcomings. And what you essentially suggest is mandating a much stronger role for the state in childrearing, and based on the idea that the purpose of families is to create `fully functional productive members of society’ above all else. If that isn’t social engineering, I don’t know what is.

    Then, when the dust settles, who looks after those children? Do we make them wards of the state? Bring back borstal? My old man was a state ward, and went to borstal, and it did more to prevent him from becoming a `fully functional productive members of society’ than an alcoholic, abusive father and a broken home ever could.

    L

  29. burt 29

    Lew

    Social engineering is making it illegal to not send your kids to school. Enforcing that is what I’m talking about. Either we have state funded education for the good of all or we don’t.

    However I guess as low socioeconomic families pay little tax they don’t value the precious education resources that are allocated to their children and paid for by others. They would value them if they were given a bill “one days education cost” for each day their child was absent without a valid reason. By having their kids enrolled and not attending they are denying resources for others, others who’s parents are paying more than their share to make it available for all.

  30. George 30

    According to Roger Douglas, that would only take three months to pay off if labour hadn’t taxed the shit out of the NZ public.

  31. pk 31

    Lew seems to think “poverty” is a defense for crime – why!!!!!!!!

    You actually cannot starve or be homeless in this country of ours (FANTASTIC!!) – he argues that criminal behaviour is caused by “poverty” – I quote deliberately – there is no true poverty in NZ – what we have is relative poverty – crime is a result of an approach to life, an attitude – evil sods are evil sods – I saw them when I grew up when other families got on with it even though they were poor.

    There are criminal shits who are criminal because they are criminal – they do not care about anything – they are nasty pieces of work – they exist – I grew up with these guys – Typically, they had a criminal family – they learnt from the tit – I am guessing you are white liberal and educated. I hope I am wrong.

    This is not a racial issue – there is a correlation with the fact that Maori are over represented in the nasty criminal types – it’s not because they are Maori – they are human and do it because we let them. I originally came from Liverpool we do the same and we are all white – no racial bias there

  32. Lew 32

    pk: Don’t make this personal, it’s unseemly.

    Lew seems to think “poverty’ is a defense for crime

    I think nothing of the sort, nor does my comment provide any evidence to that end. However I am more concerned with the causes of crime than I am with the response to it. I’m also quite interested in the definitions of crime, which is a foundational matter to its causes.

    You actually cannot starve or be homeless in this country of ours (FANTASTIC!!) […] there is no true poverty in NZ – what we have is relative poverty

    Half right. I’ve lived in the developing world, and I’ve seen and heard and smelt poverty, and we don’t have it here in those absolute terms. It’s true people can’t really starve in NZ; however people can be and are homeless. But beyond that, relative poverty is really the sort of poverty which matters – just as a one-eyed man in the land of the blind is king, the person with little in the land of plenty is poor. You can’t legitimately argue that because nobody in NZ is living on a bowl of rice a day that there’s no poverty.

    he argues that criminal behaviour is caused by “poverty’ […] crime is a result of an approach to life, an attitude – evil sods are evil sods

    I don’t argue it’s caused by poverty, I argue it’s a consequence of poverty – that is, where poverty is more prevalent, so is crime. Not that poverty is a sufficient condition to criminality, which is why you suggest.

    I saw them when I grew up when other families got on with it even though they were poor.

    As did I.

    There are criminal shits who are criminal because they are criminal

    But what made them criminal? You’re either trying to argue a logical, a genetic or a cultural infinite regression. It’s largely irrelevant which it is, because all three positions are invalid.

    I am guessing you are white liberal and educated.

    I am, yes. I’m the first person from any branch of my extended working-class immigrant family to get a university education. I got me a bloody good one and I’m damned if I won’t use it. Are you going to argue that that disqualifies my comments?

    I hope I am wrong.

    Have a care when speculating further on my origins – I’m not the privileged milksop you seek for this particular smear.

    This is not a racial issue

    I agree. But the post was about the māori party and whether they represent their constituency. Again, you presume that by identifying a demographic reality I imply causation. I don’t.

    L

  33. Lew 33

    burt: Social engineering is making it illegal to not send your kids to school. Enforcing that is what I’m talking about.

    This is a good and useful distinction to make.

    Either we have state funded education for the good of all or we don’t.

    I agree that we should have water and lead the horses to it. Now how do we make the buggers drink? Essentially, it seems like the Nats are trying to argue this as a normative question – what should happen – when there is widespread agreement on what should happen. Nobody credible anywhere in the political spectrum thinks some children should be able to opt out of school. The real question is in the descriptive – why are some children opting out, and what’s the best strategy to prevent them doing so?

    They would value them if they were given a bill “one days education cost’ for each day their child was absent without a valid reason.

    The government has decided that this strategy – punishing the parents – is the way to go. But what use is there in levying yet more costs on a family who likely already doesn’t have enough money?

    By having their kids enrolled and not attending they are denying resources for others, others who’s parents are paying more than their share to make it available for all.

    No. This might be so if schools weren’t working to capacity due to truancy; that is, if teachers had spare time and resources which they weren’t using. But, having been a teacher (though not in NZ) and knowing a few teahcers here I’m quite sure this isn’t the case – surplus resources in time and attention are ploughed back into those students who are present, meaning they get an essentially higher level of education than they otherwise might. So what we have isn’t a zero-sum opportunity cost in resources, as you suggest – it’s a resource transfer from those who opt out to those who opt in.

    L

  34. rave 34

    PK:

    Its typical of those who have escaped the working class as “self-made” men and women to turn around and sneer at the “born losers” and “born criminals” they have left behind.

    Problem is that your sneer gets wiped off your face pretty quickly when your realise your squeezed between those above you who just use you and abuse you, and those below you who far from being born crims and losers are actually resisting a system that would destroy their lives.

    I assume you are one of these insecure righties because any real winner who was making it into the boss class big time wouldnt bother getting worked up attacking the left on this blog.

    The MACTIONALS are taking another shot at keeping the workers down, criminalising them, breaking their solidarity, by offering worse jobs, wages, and blaming all those who do not escape being “victims” by trampling over their class to get up. No wonder Key stood beside the new Minister of Social Development when delivering his Xmas crumbs to the poor. She made it out of poverty into a job where she can minister official charity to the poor. She escapes victimhood by becoming a victimiser. As a person who identifies as Maori, no doubt she is a role model for the Maori Party.

  35. PK 35

    lew I used your name about your arguments and was accurate about your background that’s not personal it’s relevant being personal would have been insulting you saying you are stupid or ignorant or some such which I didn’t – standard arguing tactics of distraction on your part I might add.

    you say crime is a consequence of poverty but poverty is not a cause of crime semantics consequence means produced by a cause you then argue that people are “made’ criminal (“what made them criminal?’, you say) as if they had no choice in the matter they make a choice they are more likely to make that choice if less well off but they still make a choice. Based on your statements you do represent that poverty is a defence for crime.

    The relative poverty argument is rubbish. My very large working class family had poor education, limited income, poor health (lots of early deaths), high unemployment and did not create a single criminal and only one single parent family (whose child went to the Olympics to represent her country). This is not to say these guys are super special I saw similar results from many other families of working class backgrounds. Crime is not a consequence of relative poverty it is a choice.. We have given up on personal responsibility and allow the offset of blame via victim-hood precisely an attitude the maori party wishes to address.

    I was not implying you were a milksop I was hoping you weren’t a white educated liberal. Not meant as an insult more despair on my side that such a cynical evaluation on my part might be accurate – embodied by the “they can’t help it’ brigade attitude held by many white educated liberals it’s tremendously racist (but not understood to be racist by those who hold such an opinion as they know best I am being sarcastic here but with cause) and disliked by the maori party, I might add, rightly so.

    My comment around “this is not a racist issue’ was to re-enforce the inaccuracy of the original post and implicit acceptance of that part of the post by arguments supporting it.

    So yes this is playing the race card by the surprisingly nasty green party (with a bit of assistance by tane) and making bad parents take responsibility for the consequences of their bad parenting via truancy fines isn’t actually a bad thing. Oh they’re not maori they’re bad parents some of whom happen to be maori.

    [lprent: Don’t be a dickhead. With reference to your comments about Lew…
    You were being personal. You were incorrect about his background (ie his family background). You are making major assumptions on the basis of that assumption. Most importantly there are many traits that I look for in the general area of flaming (see policy), including that type of windup and a general ‘I win’ attitude. I tolerate some of that but if you can’t argue without them then go elsewhere. Anticipating – also read the section about the futility of arguing with a sysop.]

  36. Tigger 36

    Forget the Maori Party – how about MPs like Sam Lotu-Iiga? National MPs like him are going to be pilloried when they appear back in their electorates…

  37. vto 37

    It amazes me how often it is claimed that poverty causes this and that. Now Tane has claimed poverty causes truancy.

    Will have to disagree in the vast majority of cases. The most serious poverty is that of attitude. I would suggest that poverty of attitude leads to truancy. And to all those other factors such as crime, etc. and in fact financial poverty itself.

  38. DeeDub 39

    Oh, I SEE, vto…. it’s the poor’s fault they are in poverty because they don’t have a ‘winning attitude’?

    Brilliant.

    That’s like blaming the victim for the rape. Typical right-wing shite.

  39. vto 40

    robinsod, how would you know that is not me lying on the grass already? Political / philosophical ideologies don’t necessarily describe one’s riches or otherwise. Although to assume such is extremely common.

  40. don’t worry deedub I’ve got a plan! We mail every poor person a copy of this:

    Don’t ever say I’m not ambitious for New Zealand…

  41. vto – I know it’s not you because I know who you are.

    [lprent: ‘sod – that is a bloody annoying tactic you’ve picked up.
    I warned you about that a couple of days ago with Tim Ellis.
    Go away for a week and tend to your blog]

  42. vto 43

    dee-dub, common common. wake up and smell the roses.

    Where did I say what you said I said. What I said was that a poverty of attitude is the reason for many things (more so than financial poverty) – including, as I said, truancy in the vast majority of cases. Like robinsod, don’t make all sorts of other assumptions about what I think or don’t think.

  43. From National, ACT and the Maori Party, these fines are the legislative equivalent of “a good hiding”.

    Let’s see what happens when the disobedient little truant lumbers his parents with fines in the thousands.

    How many kids will this new law see beaten or killed by their parents and guardians?

  44. vto 45

    robinsod, interesting.. I have often wondered whether the anonymous posting permitted by this site is breached by those on the ‘inside’ of The Standard. Care to explain?

  45. Tane 46

    vto, social problems arise out of social conditions. The Right refuses to accept this because it reveals what an absolute sham their ideology of unbridled capitalism backed by reactionary criminal justice policies really is.

    This understanding doesn’t mean that problems like truancy and crime are okay, but it means we’ve got an idea of what’s causing them and can start looking at sensible solutions.

  46. DeeDub 47

    vto”…And to all those other factors such as crime, etc. and in fact financial poverty itself.

    There. You said it there. Deny it.

  47. vto 48

    when i say ‘attitude’ i dont mean those power of positive thinking religious fervour type attitudes you can read about in any power of positive thinking book. i mean simple good attitude to life and your fellow manwoman attitude. aint nothing tricky in that.

  48. Tane 49

    vto – the sod is just playing with you, it’s what he does to intimidate righties he finds obnoxious. If you push him you’ll find that 80% of the time he’s all bluster.

    He’s also sailing very close to a ban.

  49. vto 50

    Tane of course you are right but only to a certain extent. Only some social problems arise out of social conditions. Not all, by a long shot. Imo. Which comes first – the crime or the poverty? Sometimes one, sometimes the other. I think in the vast majority of case the crime comes before the poverty. i.e. the attitude is the starting point.

    deedub, I miss your point about my point..

  50. Tigger 51

    I think we’re all missing the point. Clearly the government is going the fine the heck out of the poor to inspire them to work harder to pay those fines and, ultimately, to become rich enough to rip out heritage homes in Parnell and build a McMansion not to mention move a third home to install and all-weather tennis court.

    It’s a brilliant strategy and one I can only hope those smelly poor are grateful for.

  51. DeeDub 52

    vto: “i mean simple good attitude to life and your fellow manwoman attitude. aint nothing tricky in that.”

    Easy to say if you’re warm, comfortable, and have the love of a good family…. the tricky part comes in continuing to have a good attitude to your fellow man/woman when you feel like they have everything and you have nothing….. and they seem to want to keep you there.

    Even you would eventually react that way. If you don’t believe that then you are in denial of your own humanity.

  52. vto 53

    Understand some of that deedub. You hit the nail on the head re “love of a good family”. What you say is similar to my point and I note that what you say has little to do with poverty. The envy aspect, however, is another whole dimension and one only needs to look to say the French Revolution to understand the part it plays.

  53. vto 54

    Anyway, re the point of the post.. 2c says putting up fines will have little or no impact expect to keep those whose kids wag school (and are probably poor) poorer. It is exactly the same as when Labour put up the price of fags as soon as they came into office – achieves little, just makes the poorer poorer. Bunch of dumbos.

  54. Bill 55

    I haven’t read through all the comments before typing this, but why the assumption that education is neutral?

    Education instils ‘proper’ attitudes and ‘appropriate’ knowledge; ie proper and appropriate to a white middle class world view.

    Numerous studies have shown that white middle class kids do far better in our education system than kids of other classes or races. Much of the reason for this is because there is a seamless continuity between the presumptions and prejudices of the educational establishment and the home environment for middle class white kids.

    Others experience a natural and varying degree of alienation. Under achievement ( as measured by the education system) and truancy is a common result of of the non inclusive nature of our education.

    That WC Maori would make up more of the truancy numbers than MC white kids is an obvious and natural state of affairs given the unavoidable bias of our education system.

    It seems to me that either lessons could be learned from this and attempts made to lessen the exclusivity of education or the victims of the underlying bias in our educational system could be blamed and punished.

    I guess the latter option appeals because it is easy. Won’t ever fix anything though.

  55. Ah vto – I know who everyone is but it’s thanks to my photographic memory, google and Cameron Slater’s appalling breaches of security and confidentiality… Though I wouldn’t mind having a look at the standard’s backend for cross-referencing purposes….

    Any chance Lynn?

    [Tane: Sod, too far. Take a couple of days off.

    Update: Appears Lynn’s already banned you for a week. But I’ll allow you to serve your bans concurrently – see you next Tuesday.]

  56. DeeDub 57

    vto:

    It’s not envy if all you seek are the basics of life… we’re not talking about holiday homes in Pacific islands here, mate.

    It’s easier to live with the absence of others love and respect when you have money and things. Try it when you’re broke and there seems no way out……

    …. and then the government starts making things harder for you to ‘encourage’ you to ‘try harder’. Nice stuff.

  57. WTF??? I wasn’t doing anything different to usual. Why does vto get the kid gloves???

    Forget it – see you Friday Next week…

  58. Felix 59

    ‘sod,

    it’s high time you posted at your place anyway.

  59. Ianmac 60

    What amazes me is the endless repetition of the desire to punish for truancy. Must be a reflection of a punitive society.
    For goodness sake as someone said further back (sorry can’t find who);
    “The real question is in the descriptive – why are some children opting out, and what’s the best strategy to prevent them doing so?”
    Hells bells. Everyone talks about the degree of punishment truant officers etc. Most truants are disconnected from school. Find out why and deal to it. If you can’t read/write for example what an agony to be there. Everyone can have a reason to love school and could resent being too sick to go.

  60. Ianmac 61

    And a good place to start is with the schools where they have no truancy. Why not?

  61. Lew 62

    pk: lew I used your name about your arguments and was accurate about your background

    You were accurate to the point of guessing that I was part of the demographic group which makes up 80% of the internet population. Congratulations. You tried to draw a bow from that to other aspects of my background about which you know nothing. I’m not here to play the `my family’s more fucked up than your family’ game, and this comment will contain my final remarks on these matters.

    you say crime is a consequence of poverty but poverty is not a cause of crime semantics consequence means produced by a cause

    The distinction between a direct cause and a consequent risk factor is not semantics. Not everyone who smokes a pack a day dies of lung cancer, but that’s not to say prevalence of lung cancer in a population isn’t a consequence of high smoking rates within that population.

    The relative poverty argument is rubbish. My very large working class family […]

    `Data’ is not the plural of `anecdote’. I’m not saying poverty prevents achievement or causes crime – I’m saying it biases against achievement and for crime. Of course people can buck the demographic trend – but if you correlate relative poverty, achievement and crime, you’ll see that they frequently don’t. I think we agree that this is a bad thing.

    The fundamental disjunction between our two analyses (if we can even call yours as such) is that you’re working on the basis of individual cases – your family, my family, some notional family who could possibly change their circumstances. That’s called cherry-picking. I’m working on the basis of trends across a wide population. What this means is that you seem to think that generalisations I make about trends in a population must necessarily hold true in every case to be valid – that by putting up one or two counter-examples you can disprove my whole argument even though I’m simply arguing that (say) three out of ten cases will fit my generalisation.

    We have given up on personal responsibility and allow the offset of blame via victim-hood precisely an attitude the maori party wishes to address.

    And here we get back to the actual matter of policy: how does fining people who already have too little money help them take responsibility?

    I was not implying you were a milksop I was hoping you weren’t a white educated liberal. Not meant as an insult more despair on my side that such a cynical evaluation on my part might be accurate – embodied by the “they can’t help it’ brigade attitude held by many white educated liberals

    You were implying that I didn’t have any knowledge of crime or poverty, and that because I’m white by blood I have no knowledge of Māori and their needs. You were trying to pull rank on me, saying that you knew better. Unfortunately, you don’t know me, and you don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about when it comes to my family and my upbringing. I won’t speculate about your family, you don’t speculate about mine for the purposes of cheap pointscoring.

    the “they can’t help it’ brigade attitude held by many white educated liberals it’s tremendously racist (but not understood to be racist by those who hold such an opinion as they know best I am being sarcastic here but with cause) and disliked by the maori party, I might add, rightly so.

    As proof to the last point, go back and read some of my comments on this site defending the māori party’s decision to join the government, and my argument that Māori have been told what’s best for them by Pākehā for 160 years now and they shouldn’t be criticised merely for taking some initiative of their own. However, I must make clear that this doesn’t absolve them from any criticism on the grounds of specific policy decisions they make – just because I believe they should keep their own counsel doesn’t mean I think that counsel is necessarily the best for their people, but it’s a recognition that ultimately they’ll be judged by that constituency, not by me.

    making bad parents take responsibility for the consequences of their bad parenting via truancy fines isn’t actually a bad thing.

    The symbolic matters of `tough on crime’ and `personal responsibility’ and `equal opportunity for all’ are secondary here, because we’re talking about an act of parliament, and legislation doesn’t implement aspirational symbolic principles, it enacts policy. Those symbolic matters are motherhood and apple pie – but you can’t just wish them into being. How does the law make them actually happen in reality? Again: how does fining people who already have too little money help them take responsibility?

    L

  62. Bill 63

    Ian mac

    Maybe my comment at 10 03 addresses some of your questions? Briefly, the problem is systemic bias, not the individual.

  63. Lew 64

    vto: The most serious poverty is that of attitude.

    In NZ, where people can’t really starve to death and we have fairly open opportunities, this might be right. But it obscures the real question: what causes poverty of attitude, the feelings of hopelessness and disenchantment and distrust which lead to long-term joblessness, social dysfunction and crime?

    Anyway, re the point of the post.. 2c says putting up fines will have little or no impact expect to keep those whose kids wag school (and are probably poor) poorer.

    We agree.

    Bill: Education instils ‘proper’ attitudes and ‘appropriate’ knowledge; ie proper and appropriate to a white middle class world view.

    Cf. burt’s argument that the purpose of education is to create `fully functional productive members of society’.

    L

  64. Bill 65

    “It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.”

    J. Krishnamurti

  65. noleftie 66

    Did it cross your mind for a second that saying Maori are poor parents whose children won’t attend school and cost their families thousands in fines is grossly insulting? I’m guessing that presuming to know what’s best for Maori is one of those lessons that’s still being absorbed by Labour and its supporters.

  66. randal 67

    bill
    how can one be sick if one has a:
    dream
    goal
    passion
    vision
    car
    hardly davison
    cottage in the south of france
    etc
    ad infinitum
    brm brmm brmm

  67. Zorr 68

    It isn’t about saying that Maori are poor parents. The downfall of their system of family is to be blamed completely on the colonization of New Zealand and the rapid urbanisation of their population. It isn’t about taking a bunch of stickers saying “Bad parent” and going around and slapping them on all Maori. It is about the fact that Maori society has been mostly destroyed and pulled apart by ‘superior’ European values, and so their families suffer and they are ‘outside’ the system in ways that take too long to discuss in this forum.

    To make the point simple enough though. Maori’s aren’t, by default, bad parents. However, they have been set up to fail by current society and poverty just adds to that.

  68. Lew 69

    noleftie: Did it cross your mind for a second that saying Maori are poor parents whose children won’t attend school and cost their families thousands in fines is grossly insulting?

    Demographic reality isn’t insulting. Arguing that Māori are in that situation simply because they lack the right attitude is insulting.

    L

  69. vto 70

    Lew, you are correct of course in that the following question to my original post/question, namely that “poverty of attitude causes etc”, is “what causes that poverty of attitude”. I didn’t attempt to answer that but deedub touched on it, and so have you.

    Poverty of attitude may result from a huge array of factors, including disenchatment, an income too low to adequately survive relatively, poor parenting, insitutional racism, and many other isms. It’s not something I attempted to answer and have no time to as I too am trying to stave off starvation.

  70. Ianmac 71

    Bill: Thanks. I re-read your piece. From what I have seen there is not usually intent to create the systemic focus on an elite group. It is a reality where classes are too big that for survival the middle gets a bigger concentration of attention. (Unless you run an enlightened developmental constructivist approach.)
    What could be done? Class size. In a Private Girls School in Ch Ch the class size at 8 year-old level is 15 very well behaved little girls, each on individual contracts.
    Compare that with a class of 30+ collection of great kids but in there somewhere there would be your 2-3 underachievers and 2-3 gifted. Who might fall through the cracks?
    This could be called a systemic division of opportunity.

  71. PK 72

    Lew – re-reading my postings you’re right they were too personal and shouldn’t have been – apologies

    back on the subject the points I am making are:

    – correlation between bad parents and truancy is huge

    – yes there are exceptions of good parents

    – correlation between juvenile crime and truancy is huge

    – similar schemes (which include support mechanisms ie carrot and stick) have worked but have not worked well with just support mechanisms and no deterrent

    – I was not just using my family as proof rather as an example against the poverty must lead to crime argument – I referred to in my posting and have seen sufficient similar circumstances to see a pattern – I also took the time to read results of several studies – they are all consistent with personal observation

    – your use of consequence was definitely in the ’cause’ category – I now understand your meaning to be “includes likelihood of” but there is a school of thought out there that crime is a result of and thus excused by poverty

    – I’ve been around the court system enough (no jokes please) to be well aware that fines and punishments are adjusted to take in to account ability to pay and that maximum punishments are exactly that and normally the last resort

    – if I take the don’t fine poor people for breaking the law argument to its logical conclusion then there should be no punishment for drink driving if you are poor

    – it isn’t a racial issue

  72. Jasper 73

    Screw truancy. Lets just attack the root cause. Poor parents who have a fuck while hammered.

    Make it mandatory for every female to have the pill, until they have been to pre-parenting classes learning how to raise children. Either with their Natural Father, Succession of Step-Fathers, or as a Solo Mother. Females can’t stop taking the pill until they’ve been to the pre-parenting classes, otherwise they go to gaol for 6 months and don’t pass go.
    Anti-Pregancy hormones can be implanted, and last for up to three years from the age of 15. They get replaced every three years.

    If a child is born, due to the mother ignoring the re-insertion, and if the mother hasn’t attended pre-parenting classes, the bubba is taken off her and given to a family who’s been waiting at the adoption centre.

    However, if the mother is prepared to attend post-parenting classes, a full time, in home caregiver is balloted for 6 months. No stepfathers allowed. Just the natural parents (assuming she knows who the father is)

    This is attacking the root cause of poverty, truancy, and the abuse meted out to the Del Wikias and Nias of NZ.

    Would certainly be cheaper in the long run and stem the societal abuse.

  73. Lew 74

    pk: Lew – re-reading my postings you’re right they were too personal and shouldn’t have been – apologies

    Thank you. Gratefully accepted.

    I think I understand your arguments, and I trust you understand mine. But fundamentally, my objection hasn’t been addressed – why fine people who have no money?

    L

  74. Lew 75

    Jasper: It’s not often I invoke Godwin’s Law on myself, but this merits it.

    The demand that defective people be prevented from propagating equally defective offspring […] represents the most humane act of mankind.

    – Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf

    L

  75. Jasper 76

    Lew.

    In that case, Hitler was talking about the mass genocide in order to stop the defective populace from breeding.

    Having a long term insert pill is not the same thing.

  76. Lew 77

    Jasper: No. Hitler wrote those words more than a decade before the Final Solution was implemented. It refers to his planned eugenics programme of `returning’ the Germans to their `rightful’ status as the master race by preventing `degenerates’ from breeding. This programme, once implemented, progressed mainly by way of the enforced sterilisation of about half a million women.

    Perhaps you should get some historical context before letting your authoritarian lizard-brain loose.

    L

  77. Billy borker 78

    Wonderful news dad4justice was arrested for beating up another women.

  78. Jasper 79

    I stand corrected.

    Enforced Sterilisation – wouldn’t that be different from enforced contraception?

    Methinks it is. At least with enforced contraception it can be reversed.

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