BIG NEWS: 12/01/2011 - 01/01/2012

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Why can’t WINZ do the budgeting for beneficiaries?

Green MP Jan Logie has highlighted that many families cannot get food grants off WINZ unless they reduce their costs, increase their income or get budgeting advice. I understand that if a third grant is applied for, budgeting advice must first happen before they get it.

The issue here is that WINZ can actually do their own budgets for beneficiaries, instead of referring people on to other budgeting agencies who have long waiting lists. Legally, WINZ case managers can do draft budgets to see if there is a need, and meet that need on the spot by either a special needs grant or other temporary assistance.

The trouble is that many WINZ Case Managers don’t know how to do a draft budget, and the ones that can are unwilling to do so.

To merely say “get budgeting advice” or “reduce your costs” is just lazy stuff from Case Managers who have an obligation to assist needy beneficiaries.

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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Nice pic

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Friday, December 16, 2011

Some amazing social media stats


source All labels are clickable and lead to new stats.

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Labour and the Maori vote

Now that David Shearer is Labour leader, one of his top priorities is to win back the Maori vote. Labour has five Maori MPs. Only one holds a general seat, she is fairly new -and one is brand new.

Recent strategies include putting Maori too low on their list (Mahuta-Coyle, Davis) and selecting non Maori in general seats. So really, Labour has to do better than to rely on one or two Maori seats primarily held by long-term MPs with the odd token Maori selection in a general seat.

How about doing what National has done - select good Maori candidates in safe general seats, instead of having them contesting Maori in seats that they have no show. For example, it was a mistake putting Deborah Mahuta-Coyle against Simon Bridges in Tauranga as her main competition was the NZ First vote. Tauranga was second only to Epsom as Labour's worst electorate performance. Also NZ First got 14.9% party vote, Labour got 15%, whereas Nationals party vote in Tauranga was almost the same as in 2008 - more than 54%.

In terms of winning the party vote for Maori, Labour will have to reverse the increase in party vote in the Maori seats to National Greens and NZ First, get more people to vote in rural areas and promote the Maori electoral option.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Conservative Party official thinks deaf people should not be MPs

post has been updated

Kevin Campbell is the campaign manager for the Conservative Party. Prior to the election he was very happy in using Facebook to promote the party and most comments were of a political nature. But after the election he appears to have closed ranks after something he posted that many found offensive. Incidentally I was told by a Conservative Party candidate that they were not to use social media during the campaign.

Campbell questioned whether new Green MP Mojo Mathers, who is the world’s fifth profoundly deaf MP, should even be an MP as she didn’t have all her “faculties” - and only people who have all their faculties should be MPs. In other words, because she is deaf, she is unsuitable as an MP. Mathers became an MP after special votes were counted and I think she is perfectly suitable to be an effective MP.

I was one of many who pulled him up on this. Just after I did this, my comment was deleted, I was defriended, and Campbell changed his profile picture. He has now taken the post and all its 30 -odd comments down after he reiterated that there was nothing wrong with what he said, adding that because Mathers was also a Green MP she, by definition can’t be effective.

If this is reflective of the attitudes of the Conservative Party, I`m appalled. While Campbell may comment how he wishes in a free and democratic society, he should be expected to be taken to task if he publicly promotes opinion that most find unacceptable rather than wimping out and deleting stuff after an outcry.

update Just to let you know that Kevin Campbell has since e-mailed Mojo Mathers a personal apology which she has accepted.

update2 NZ Herald has the story here, which (of course) doesn't mention any blogs as the source.

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Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Why charter schools won’t lift student achievement

Stuff reports
Prime Minister John Key is defending the introduction of charter schools under a deal with ACT despite National never campaigning on it, saying "that's MMP for you, isn't it?"
No, it’s not. National didn’t need Act to govern. It chose to govern with Act and incorporate charter schools under a deal. I wonder if that was discussed at the “cup of tea”? I guess Key is a little annoyed that Supplementary Member is not going to be our electoral system and we have spent millions on a referendum to get no change.

However, under Supplementary Member, Banks would have still been in parliament, and National would not have needed Act to govern either, but could choose to. I think National probably would have governed with Act under Supplementary Member, so to say “That’s MMP for you” is disingenuous.

What we need to do is lift student achievement. The choices are charter schools and National Standards, both of which are opposed by the education sector. Why?

They don’t lift student achievement. National and Act want to lift student achievement in charter schools but what will happen is that charter schools will select brighter students – perhaps from the highest decile schools in the area, or the higher performing students in low decile schools - to attend their schools, as they get extra funding for current rates of achievement, hardly benefiting the poor and struggling students who miss out.

Neither will it benefit the brighter students at these charter schools, as they are already achievers at the schools they currently attend.

But the Government will be able to say what a success charter schools are, while the lower performing students who charter schools were designed to assist remain in the low decile schools and end up failing NCEA level 1.

I`m really glad my kids go to a high decile school.

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Sunday, December 04, 2011

What the Labour Party list 2011 should have been

I think this list is a much better list than we had going into the election. It would have given Labour three new list MPs, and three quality MPs who lost their jobs would not have. I have stopped at Number 40 and assumed that Labour's vote would have been higher had this been the list. I`m sure most of you agree it is a much better list, taking into account those who were likely to win their seats. Of the top half, nearly a third are women, nearly a third are Maori - and a fifth aren't even current MPs.


1. David Shearer
2. Grant Robertson
3. David Parker
4. David Cunliffe
5. Clayton Cosgrove
6. Jacinda Ardern
7. Kelvin Davis
8. Shane Jones
9. Parekura Horomoia
10. Andrew Little
11. Stuart Nash
12. Moana Mackey
13. Nanaia Mahuta
14. Deborah Mahuta-Coyle
15. Jordan Carter
16. Sue Moroney
17. Trevor Mallard
18. Phil Goff
19. Annette King
20. Damien O'Connor
21. Maryan Street
22. Carmel Sepuloni
23. Charles Chauvel
24. Su’a William Sio
25. Clare Curran
26. David Clark
27. Chris Hipkins
28. Rick Barker
29. Brendan Burns
30. Ruth Dyson
31. Phil Twyford
32. Carol Beaumont
33. Michael Wood
34. Darien Fenton
35. Stephanie Chadwick
36. Rajen Prasad
37. Raymond Huo
38. Iain Lees-Galloway
39. Josie Pagani
40. Kris Faafoi

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