Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Comment Moderation

Currently I have comments moderation set to "off". Frankly, unlike my nemesis, I can't be stuffed monitoring comments, and don't care what they say anyway.

I do make this point, tho: if you are going to make frequent comments, choose a name for yourself. You don't have to log into blogger, or have a blogger account, but it's bloody confusing for several people posting under the name "Anonymous". I don't mind occasional anonymous comments, but if you're going to frequently post here, distinguish yourself from the other anonymous posters.

State of the Nation(al)

I admit to a sense of unease on Saturday afternoon, when, nursing the effects of a fairly erratic spell of short-pitched bowling from the opposition, I heard that Gerry Brownlee was going to fight to keep the deputy leadership of the National Party.

John Key put his name into the leadership ring soon after Don Brash’s resignation. English, who has harboured leadership ambitions since entering Parliament in 1990, had good reason to think that he could give it another pitch. With Simon Power, Judith Collins, and Katherine Rich hovering in the background as possible deputies, it had the makings of a long and protracted shit-fight. I was, frankly, appalled to hear Judith Collins publicly commenting on the leadership and deputy leadership contest during the afternoon.

One of the dubious luxuries of the National Party—one of the legacies of Michelle Boag—is that National has a wide group of potential leaders. By contrast, Helen Clark’s leadership has been secure for the last seven years by virtue of the fact there is nobody capable of leading Labour if Clark falls under a bus. Nineteen of Labour’s first twenty list candidates at the last election have trade union backgrounds. Nine of its first eleven list candidates—effectively the face of the party—are former university lecturers or school teachers. One of the remaining ministers, Parekura Horomia, is a former public servant. The only one of Labour’s First XI at the last election with any private sector experience, Dover Samuels, is little more than a token brown face.

Further, Helen Clark cements her claim by hiring, at the taxpayers’ expense, large numbers of comparatively very highly-paid advisers. Heather Simpson easily earns over $300,000 as H1’s chief of staff. One of the advisers in the PM’s office was recently bragging that when he transferred from one government department to the PM’s office, he doubled his salary to $190,000. As the pledge card saga demonstrated, Labour’s campaign strategy was effectively governed by H2.

Helen Clark has had one potential rival in the last seven years in Phil Goff. She has managed to neuter his power by systematically expunging from the party anybody who is not from a union, public service, teaching, or rainbow background. She also holds Goff at bay by making sure he is overseas for two thirds of his time, first as Foreign Minister, and later as Trade Minister.

So here I was on Saturday afternoon, annoyed that Gerry Brownlee, Judith Collins, and Bill English would engage in a public scrap over the deputy leadership. I could foresee that playing out for a couple of weeks, and then finally resolve itself and die down before Brian Connell re-emerged on the scene to plant a particularly large steaming turd on the dining table and reignite a public storm that had nothing to do with getting rid of the filthy socialists.

I was almost prompted to call various current and former party officials and ask them why the fuck we can’t just be like the Labour Party, and have nobody of any talent, other than the Leader, in the team. Or at least shout at the talent reminding them that public squabbles over the deputy leadership do no bloody good.

The deputy leadership is not the precursor to the party leadership. It is not the celebrated second prize in the beauty contest. The great deputy leaders of National’s past may have had ambitions for the top job—but they have all reached the inevitable conclusion that they will never be Prime Minister. Don McKinnon and Wyatt Creech stand out as supportive, loyal lieutenants to Bolger and Shipley respectively who managed to put aside their desires to reside at Premier House. They focused on caucus management and policy development. The deputy needs to engender absolute trust and confidence of the caucus. Geoffrey Palmer was the master of providing legislative detail to the Lange-Douglas leadership of the fourth Labour Government: he didn’t particularly want to be Prime Minister, and failed dismally when he had reached the post. To his credit, Michael Cullen has been an outstanding deputy to Helen Clark. In doing so, however, he has spayed any chance of taking the top job himself.

So turning specifically to the Nats, I’ll take a look at some of the leadership and deputy leadership aspirants, and what they might bring to an ideal National front bench in the future:

John Key. The Golden Boy. The only possible successor. Outstanding speaker, tightly honed political instinct, National could not have manufactured a finer leader if they tried. He pisses Labour off because he is successful. Labour has already snidely referred to him as a multi-millionaire (with Cullen even going so far as to call him a traitor to his working class roots—a peculiar statement for a man who entered the labour movement after attending Christ’s College and then immersing himself in an academic career. Cullen and Clark, of course, are both multi-millionaires in their own rights, after twenty-five years of parliamentary service.). Key’s response—that if all the Labour Party can attack is somebody who aspired to greatness and achieved it, then that shows precisely why they shouldn’t be in Government—was priceless. Key has already brought a sense of optimism and aspiration to the leadership in his first speech. I suspect he will spend a lot of time in low income New Zealand showing how socialism neglects the very vulnerable people it pledges to support. My one piece of advice to him is to be bold. Don’t try and out-smarm Cullen. When the first reaction is to smirk, reach for indignation. Get pissed off at how Labour is ruining this country, while showing how much hope there is if we make a change.

Bill English. Had significant caucus support for the leadership, but just wasn’t cutting it in public. The Herald poll last week, which saw Key with 17% of Auckland voters preference for preferred Prime Minister, was the final nail in English’s coffin. In many ways, English should have inherited the social and economic conservative mantle from Jim Bolger. English has been National’s best performer in the House over the last two years, and his Cabinet experience gives him an unrivalled mastery of political and bureaucratic processes. The 2002 defeat was by no means English’s fault—that was the inevitable consequence of nine years of Government prior, and Bolger’s conservative reluctance to renew the Party. The Nats were never going to recover by 2002; in hindsight—although many of us thought it at the time—English should have left Shipley to take the Party into the 2002 election. Hard for him to accept that he won’t be leader again in the foreseeable future, but a commitment to fronting as deputy leader will put many of his skills to exceptional use. Paired with John Key, with a commitment to supporting him, he will make an outstanding contribution to the next National Cabinet. English will get Finance, and will master it as he has all his portfolios in opposition and government.

Gerry Brownlee has surprised me with how well he has performed as deputy leader. Gerry has done very well in the House, against Cullen’s formidable debating expertise. He has been unreservedly loyal to Don Brash. He has won the respect of caucus. Over time, he has refined his management skills, and is a solid operator. He has shown maturity in stepping aside, and realises that a long term as a government minister beats a short one as deputy leader of the opposition any day of the week. If Gerry keeps State Services, he should focus entirely on making dramatic cuts to the size of the core public service, which has ballooned in the last seven years with no increase in state delivery. Far too many bureaucrats chase their own tails creating unnecessary work for themselves. A 20% reduction in the core state sector would be a bloody good start.

Katherine Rich. Currently Economic Development spokesperson, where the Nats have a mind-boggling twelve associate portfolios in that role. Bloody overkill for a portfolio that has only been established to monitor Labour’s stupendous waste under the guise of “economic development”. The Ministry of Economic Development is a bureaucratic monolith. One of the best early means of achieving economic development is to scrap the department entirely, and force the bureaucrats to find productive employment.

Simon Power. Smart, engaging guy. Has leadership potential in the next ten years. Needs Cabinet experience, but has the abilities to make serious impact. Doing very well in law and order, but there’s not actually much scope for structural reform in that portfolio. Should probably get his teeth stuck into labour, industrial relations, and ACC, where he can make a serious difference.

Judith Collins. Hasn’t performed particularly well in the last year, with some lacklustre presentations at Party gatherings. Very strong personality who doesn’t tolerate bullshit. Can be a bit of a ball-breaker, and made an unfortunate comment about David Benson-Pope in the House earlier in the year. Channeled in the right direction, she should be a power-house in the Party. If she can get her shit together next year, she will be a key part of the dream team at the next election. Collins is a natural reformer, and is doing a lot of good work around minimising welfare dependency. I want to hear her come out and advocate time limits on unemployment, mandatory parenting, drug check, criminal screening, housing, health, and school attendance requirements to provide minimum standards of care for children of long-term beneficiaries, and plans to identify and actively manage at-risk children.

Tony Ryall. Needs to focus on the massive waste in public health. Has performed very well in the House, landing serious hits against Hodgson. Needs to formulate a plan to get rid of at least half of the health bureaucracy, rationalisation of public health services, and reframe public expectations as to what the public health system can deliver. This is the major inconvenient truth of Government: Labour has always recognized that public health spending is limited, but refuses to say so publicly. The outrageous consequence—that health expenditure has risen more than fifty percent as a proportion of GDP in the last seven years—with no increase in health outcomes, has led to massive waste in public health. Ryall needs to front the public education campaign. Many public expectations of what the public health system can provide have never actually been provided, and are not ever affordable. Unless Government has the balls to clearly articulate what it can deliver in public health, and focuses on what it can deliver, the taxpayer will continue to flush vast sums of money on health activities that achieve no result.

Don Brash. Would be a bloody shame to see this guy go completely. The only serious portfolio left for him where he can make a major difference, is education, vacated by English. Brash has the ability to pick through the crap and deliver strong, sound policy here. The public education sector has also enlarged to unsustainable levels in the last seven years, to the extent that young school-leavers are encouraged to become journalists and professional photographers, only to find there is no work for them at the end of the process. Brash has the unrivalled authority to set clear standards in the tertiary education system, and weed out the politically correct shite that passes itself off for university teaching. With Brash applying himself to the tertiary education sector, he can hand over to Allan Peachey the task of setting standards in the compulsory school sector.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Nicky Hager is right! Give that boy a gong!

Nicky Hager's publication of Don Brash's private emails is evidence of very shocking actions, indeed.

Don Brash's email collection includes what Scoop has termed the "smoking gun". The email clearly shows that a couple of Exclusive Brethren members were at a breakfast function attended by 300 other people, at which Don Brash and John Key were present. That should be a shock to us all. It clearly undermines democracy to think that the Exclusive Brethren can eat breakfast with non-members of their church.

The email also clearly demonstrates that the Exclusive Brethren sent an email. I am mortified that they use this technology.

The email further shows that some members of the church don't like the Labour Party, and that they wanted to help to get rid of it. I think we should pass laws making it illegal to work against the Labour Government.

The email shows that the Brethren planned a pro-Brash campaign. It is utterly disgraceful that the Brethren subsequently changed tack, and actually created an anti-Green campaign instead.

Clearly the socialists, including Labour Cabinet Ministers and Labour officials had no involvement in union-organised anti-National campaigns that swallowed up vast amounts of union funding during the election. We know that there was no discussion between Government and Unions with regards to the unions' active campaign, because that oh-so-balanced chappie, Nicky Hager, hasn't published a book about union-Labour Party collusion

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Step on up, John!

Your turn now, buddy.

Time to kick some socialist arse.

The pinkos shat their pants when Don Brash became leader three years ago. John Key's imminent elevation will fast-track the demise of the Labour Party.

As we all know, the Labour Party doesn't have any internal politicking or machinations; every member is squeaky-clean, there is no conniving, no manipulation, no special interest groups, no fringe organisations with any influence over the Labour Party, no large donors making anonymous or "arms-length" transactions, no special dealing...

You pinkos must wake up every morning with a constant sense of wonder as to how moral and proper your democratic party organisation is.

Don Brash is a very good man, who brought National to the brink of a historic win in 2005. If Labour hadn't corruptly misappropriated public funds to outspend everybody else in the election campaign, Don Brash would be Prime Minister right now. He has more personal integrity in one strand of his combover than every Labour caucus member who has served as an MP in the last twenty years.

Fascinating how the Labour Party can dish the worst kind of political smear in recent history against a man they consistently had confidence in to run the New Zealand economy for 14 years, and the most you pinkos can do is gloat about doing him in.

I'm not surprised that Don Brash is quitting politics. The Labour Party carried out an act of political assassination using the filthiest tactics.

I'm reminded how Muldoon's personal destruction of both Colin Moyle and Bill Rowling directly led to the election of David Lange to Parliament, and the leadership respectively.

Bring on John Key. Fuckers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

IP's Greatest Hits Volume II

Personal communications can be pretty damning affairs. They become even more so with the power of email, and the subsequent inability to control distribution of the information.

In recent times, I have emailed friends and associates making suggestions which, if they became public, could ruin my future political career. In light of this, I make the following confessions:

  • I am currently having a bet with Wellington friends on the exact date of Fidel Castro’s death. How it works is, every person in the group pledges a dollar for every day that Castro survives his terminal cancer. When the Cuban monster finally does shuffle off his mortal coil, we will have an exceptionally long lunch with the proceeds of the pool. The prize pool has now exceeded the $500 limit set by the gambling commission. Technically, we are now in breach of New Zealand gambling legislation.
  • I emailed an American friend last month with an invitation to tactically nuke Castro’s funeral. In attendance will be all sorts of international socialists, tyrants, and miscellaneous shit-stirrers: Venezuela’s Chavez, Iran’s Ahmadinejad, Britain’s Gordon Brown and George Galloway, France’s Segolene Royal, Canada’s Bill Graham, Chile’s Michelle Bachelet, Bolivia’s Evo Morales, and Norway’s Tarja Halonen, along with the despotic leaders of half of Africa’s failed states. It will basically be a world forum for filthy pinkos, of which only Hillary Clinton and Russell Brown, who’s too cheap to pay his own airfare, will be excluded. One tactical nuke over Havana would achieve an enormous amount of international good.
  • As a solution to global warming, I have advocated to Chinese and Indian friends, a surprise nuking of China and India. My argument is that the world has twice its sustainable world population; Europe is declining in population, and there are plenty of Chinese and Indians on the planet outside of China and India, and that since Africa is dying of AIDS anyway, getting rid of India and China will promote global harmony on an ecologically sustainable basis.
  • I have emailed Arab friends suggesting that nuking the middle east will resolve conflict there. Egypt is fairly stable, and I don’t want to get rid of Israel, because Israeli girls are hot, so it is, on reflection, better to use chemical weapons or neutron bomb technology on the Middle East, excluding Israel and Egypt.
  • I have offered financial and/or alcoholic rewards to people willing to shoot the following persons, in no particular order:
  • Trevor Mallard
  • Pete Hodgson
  • Michael Cullen
  • Judith Tizard
  • Brian Connell again
  • Jeanette Fitzsimons
  • Nick Smith
  • My Boss
  • Winston Peters
  • Nicky Hager
  • Brian Rudman
  • Mike Williams
  • Steve Maharey
  • Oliver Driver
  • David Benson-Pope
  • I have also offered inducements to other people to stab, punch, or poke-in-the-eye a broad range of bloggers and commentators.
  • I have speculated to friends and associates who do not sponsor me for movember, that there is a direct link between their tight-fistedness and a higher chances that they will develop prostate cancer.
  • I have emailed hot chicks with specific instructions on how to dump their boyfriends. When I was in the third form, I bribed a skinny kid to vote me Class Captain with a cream donut. I won the election by one vote.
  • I have emailed our HR person with suggested reviews of our corporate hiring policy, including discriminating against socialists, vegetarians, and cat-lovers.
In the interests of political transparency, it is now vital for Helen Clark and Nicky Hager to release all her private emails, which will similarly disclose her criminal activities.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Now this is cool...

Just bloody do it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

That New Collossus

I’ll put it on record that I detest that cretin Trevor Mallard. As Minister of State Services, he has presided over the ballooning of the state sector. As Minister of Education, he has made New Zealand’s compulsory education sector a place of public ridicule. As Minister of Economic Development, he watches over massive slush funds to mediocre socialist cronies who can’t otherwise foot it in free enterprise, so that he can proclaim some kind of perceived wisdom of “economic transformation”. It’s a catch-phrase that has excited some of the Labour Party focus groups, but there’s not really any substance to it.

Yet I am a fair-minded person. In the sport portfolio, Mallard, in no small way aided by the fortunes of economic prosperity and ballooning government surpluses, has pushed a lot of money into sport. The results have been mixed, at best. But he has come up with our money, and got the photo opportunities. Politically, he’s been very effective.

And now we get to this stadium thing.

In 1995, as a Wellingtonian, I was edgy, at best, about Mayor Fran Wilde’s plan for the Wellington Stadium. The original cost, of $70 million, was just never likely to be contained. I really didn’t like the idea of a rugby stadium being promoted as multi-purpose—the pitch requirements for a rugby stadium, where the closely-packed spectators need to be close to the action in a ninety-minute game, are very different from a five-day test match, where the spectators lounge about for seven hours, enjoying the sun and the atmosphere, and fleeting moments of cricketing brilliance. A test cricket ground really needs to be much larger than a rugby ground: the Basin Reserve is still the finest cricket ground in the country, and even early on, nobody was silly enough to promote the proposed Cake Tin as a test cricket venue.

Those reservations aside, the Wellington Stadium is that city’s greatest asset. Sure, more people flow through Te Papa’s doors, but only the Stadium creates that intense, booze-fuelled entertainment atmosphere that makes Wellington the place to be on a Super 14 night, and will carry the bar and restaurant trade through for the subsequent few days.

Let’s look at the issues. If we assume that New Zealand needs a national stadium, the only choices are Eden Park or the Waterfront. North Harbour and Western Springs simply aren’t on the table, and they never will be.

Location. Eden Park is not a spectacular venue. I happen to live nearby, and I make sure that I’m either out of town or at the game when a big match is on. Even a half-filled Eden Park causes a traffic nightmare for the whole day. It’s a relatively minor sacrifice on the scheme of things, and is pretty much confined to Mt Eden and Kingsland residents, but it’s fair to say it’s not ideal to have a national stadium in a prime suburban area. Wellington has shown that an inner-city stadium close to public transport infrastructure is far superior to Athletic Park for rugby.

Tradition. Eden Park has been the prime rugby venue in New Zealand for eighty years. Many historic rugby games have been played there. That’s all true. The same was said of Athletic Park in 1995. Athletic Park was a dedicated rugby venue; Eden Park has never been. Despite all the nostalgia, Eden Park suffers because it has to accommodate the needs of cricket; it does neither particularly well. Eden Park has one nice fa├žade; unless you’ve got a decent corporate box, chances are you will be uncomfortable at the Park.

Timing. Trevor Mallard is rail-roading the issue through without adequate public consultation. That’s a valid criticism. He absolutely is rail-roading it through, and he’s hijacked the process with a degree of shamelessness that only Mallard could manage. To be fair to him, tho’, the real question is what further public consultation would achieve. Already with two weeks of talks, Auckland City Council has shown that it can’t achieve consensus on anything. The Auckland region has had years to come up with decent and sound plan for Auckland roading, and is still found wanting. Mallard doesn’t have the backing of Auckland rugby or the Council; the former have a major vested interest in Eden Park; the latter are too bloody stupid to grasp the torch at the right end.

Economic and Construction Risks. Cost of construction at the Waterfront will be substantially more than at Eden Park. This is one of the critical issues. Mallard says the Waterfront option will cost taxpayers $500 million; it will probably be twice that.

Economic Viability. Mallard is promoting the Waterfront Stadium as a key part of Labour’s “economic transformation” agenda. Frankly, that argument is hogwash. Even at the most conservative cost estimate of half a billion dollars, the Waterfront Stadium would need to be run to capacity every week for the whole year to be make an economic return. That simply isn’t going to happen. Having said that, ploughing $300 million into Eden Park won’t extract any economic return, either. Stadiums as a whole simply aren’t economic investments. Nor, for that matter, is public transport. There are so-called externalities: the Auckland Viaduct has delivered “atmospheric” gains to Auckland far above the cost of construction, but there’s nothing to say that the Waterfront Stadium will transform the Ports area in a similar way. It is clear that Eden Park delivers minimal externalities to Kingsland, and that there is very little entertainment infrastructure around Wellington’s Stadium, almost seven years after opening. Typically, spectators head off to Courtenay Place after a game. It is likely that after a game at the Waterfront, crowds will head over to the Viaduct.

Feasibility of Construction. Critics claim that the Waterfront Stadium can never be built on time. Similar critics made similar claims about preparedness of Stadium Australia for the Olympics, and, for that matter, the ability of every Olympic host to be ready for the Games. While costs have always ballooned, every Olympic venue has always been ready when Games have opened. There is always a mad rush at the end, but when a national spirit is harnessed to achieve a national goal, it can be achieved.

Don Brash has reasonably floated the risks associated with the project. It is the biggest public works development since Think Big. It is potentially a political nightmare. What is clear is that the only way the Waterfront can be achieved is if somebody with Mallard’s skills rams the concept through, and if very clear risk mitigation measures are put in place. Fletcher Construction have been handed the Stadium on a plate. It’s Mallard’s job to hold them to account. It is the first visionary step from a Labour Minister in seven years. The Waterfront option will be hideously expensive for the taxpayer. But it really is the only option for a truly National Stadium.

It took the force of personality of Fran Wilde to pull together Wellington over six years; we don't have that time now. If Mallard can pull it off, I might even choose not to spit on him next time I see him. Just bloody well do it, and make sure you do it bloody well.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Other Inconvenient Truth

When I was a member of Victoria University’s Academic Board, I had the particular experience of sitting next to Religious Studies Professor Paul Morris at Board meetings. He had the very typically academic capacity to coherently use such words as “exegetic”, “detraditionalisation”, and spoke of “ethical moods”. He had the admirable scholastic ability to talk at length on any subject, and make simple topics sound very complex indeed. He would lean forward and gesticulate, as if making a very profound statement, and then say: “On the other hand…”, and completely contradict himself. Academics adored him for his little knowing smirks, at weighty analyses without conclusions, to assure them that if they had followed his unnecessarily verbose and complex reasoning, they too were worthy. In short, he was a pain in the bloody arse.

Morris has since graduated to becoming the prototypical ring-in on ethical and religious issues. Hence, when the Labour Party needed somebody to lecture them on the Exclusive Brethren at their conference, they called in Professor Morris. Morris gave them what they wanted: the Exclusive Brethren are evil, they do strange things, and according to Morris, they aren’t even Christians. Christians, the learned Morris believes, are closely attuned to Socialism.

Paul Morris offers his opinion on everything, whether invited or not. That celebrated bastion of intellectual credibility, the Marsden Fund, paid Morris a very healthy sum so that the Religious Studies specialist could write a very esteemed work on the New Right in New Zealand from 1984-1999. Morris, who has no qualifications in economics or political science, has top billing for the book on VUW’s Religious Studies website, above an evidently much less religiously relevant text published by the department, a directory of “Interfaith and Ecumenical Activity in New Zealand”.

But I digress. Morris’ seminar at Labour’s Conference prefaced the announcement of a Christian wing within the Labour Party. Putting aside her devout atheism and her refusal to acknowledge the importance of Christianity to large tracts of New Zealand society, Helen Clark has embraced the concept. Clearly now that Labour is dredging the polling abyss at 36% of the vote, there might just be electoral advantage in presenting itself as the morally compassionate party.

It is hard to refute Morris’ view, that the redistribution of wealth in society is something that Jesus would have favoured. After all, Christ did speak at length about the plight of the impoverished and disadvantaged. But it is another step entirely to draw the conclusion that welfare dependency is compassionate.

Yet Paul Morris' world view doesn't actually extend beyond the ivory rises of Kelburn Parade in Wellington.

A relative of mine got involved with a chick from Wellington’s most disadvantaged suburb of Cannons’ Creek. If you haven’t heard of Cannons’ Creek, it’s in Porirua East. People in Porirua West invent all sorts of new names for their comparatively prosperous lifestyles, just to distinguish themselves from the perennial misery of Cannons’ Creek. Outside of South Auckland, Cannons’ Creek has the worst educational achievement, the worst standards of housing and healthcare, the highest rates of teenage pregnancy, and violent and petty crime in the country. Pick any negative social statistic, and Cannons’ Creek rates alongside Otahuhu, Otara and Mangere.

Bear with me here, because it gets a little bit complicated. This relative of mine, and his partner, were the caregivers of her nephew and niece for a year. They were aged eleven and nine. They had different fathers, but the same mother. The mother had three further children to a third father, who was living with her while receiving the unemployment benefit and dealing marijuana, but took to beating the bejeezus out of his two defacto step-children. The father then impregnated the mother’s best friend, and while that best friend was pregnant, took care of the youngest baby so that she could receive the DPB until she gave birth. He then had three further children by the first mother. The mother then required that her two eldest children, in the care of their aunt and my relative, be returned to her when she realised that not having them had an impact on her benefit.

This woman has had eight children by three different fathers, none of whom are named on the children’s birth certificates. The children are subjected to domestic violence, are rarely present at school, live in third-world housing conditions, and receive little nutritional encouragement.

They do, however, have plenty of family around them. Six of their mothers’ siblings live in the same street, in a row of state houses. Of the seven adults, not one of them has achieved any formal educational qualification. They have over sixty first cousins. Not one of their parents’ generation has ever held a full-time job. Of the four living generations of that family in that Cannons Creek street, not one of them has ever been exposed to paid employment. This fourth generation of welfare-dependent children may well be born with the same genetic opportunities as a child from Khandallah or Remuera, but forty years’ of welfare dependency means that these children will grow up without knowing anybody who works, let alone takes full responsibility for their personal actions.

The precise numbers of hard-core, welfare-dependent New Zealanders is still relatively small. The Kahui families are not the norm. They comprise less than two percent of the population. Yet they contribute massively disproportionately to New Zealand’s negative social statistics: 95% of New Zealand’s violent offenders are aged between 15-25. 95% of those offenders are welfare-dependent, with substance abuse, poor housing, no educational achievement, short life expectancy, poor health standards and poor nutrition all being common themes. They tend to most often victimise each other. But not always.

The social cost is astronomical. Encouraging small clusters of the most socially disadvantaged New Zealanders to continue to see welfare dependency as their only life option is anything but compassionate. It is not the children’s fault that they were born into deprivation. It is frankly not their parents’ fault that the socialist state has told them, and their parents before them, that their welfare-based lifestyle choices are morally neutral. After forty years of a so-called benevolent welfare state, the options for the least advantaged in New Zealand have become singular.

Putting aside Labour’s electoral need for a societal underdog, creating a culture of envy towards those who prosper and do actually have lifestyle options, it’s hard to see how anybody can alleviate extreme poverty by advocating further welfare dependency. It simply doesn’t make moral sense to encourage people who cannot afford to have their present children to have more children. It doesn’t make moral sense to remove people from the economic consequences of their personal decisions. It makes even less moral sense to do that when the personal decision involves the creation of another human being who will inevitably be born into social misery.

Liberals don’t like the idea of society making moral decisions on behalf of people, yet liberal socialists advocate taking economic responsibility away from those who are welfare-dependent. The only practical solution, as I see it, is far greater intervention in the lives of the most socially destitute, to ensure that poverty shrinks, rather than grows.

But let’s get to specifics. What would help end the cycle of welfare dependency in New Zealand among the hard-core Kahuis of South Auckland and Cannons Creek? Here are a few steps, to be applied to the most vulnerable families:

  1. Every child receiving welfare must have their father named on their birth certificates. Liberal socialists will shriek such all sorts of hysterical things about mothers being raped, but you can’t set public policy around very rare events.
  2. No welfare entitlements to the father of children living with mothers on the DPB.
  3. Fathers not entitled to leave New Zealand while children living with a dependent DPB beneficiary.
  4. Requirement that all children must attend school. Non-attendance would lead to the benefit being cancelled.
  5. All children must receive medical check-ups at least every six months, to check on the nutritional and general health status of the child.
  6. Random alcohol and drug checks of welfare parents.
  7. No violent offenders permitted to live in the same home as children.
  8. A maximum six months of entitlement to the unemployment benefit in any five year period, and a maximum of two years’ entitlement to the DPB for any person in their lifetime.
  9. Frequent, random checks of homes of welfare dependent children.

The economic costs of those steps would be very high in the short term. The social cost of not doing it is even higher, now and in the long term. It’s the compassionate thing to do.