September 2012 Archive

thanks for visiting my blog. I have RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury from being a Type A, driven Mom of five. Who likes to play computer games. I’ll be taking a break while I re-assess my workplace and steal Whaloil’s blog designer. Thanks for visiting.

Yours,
Monique Angel. A kiwi in California:

I don’t know about the adage of the camera making one gain 50 pounds but there’s definitely a loss of 50 IQ points. Oh well, I guess that only brings me back to 100 ūüėõ

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New Zealand Social Welfare spokespersons, Jacinda Ardern(labour)¬† and Holly Walker (Green) have come out saying Bennett’s latest press release is a cynical ploy and the latest in a series of announcements that seek to stigmatize beneficiaries.
They are right of course. I have just enough working knowledge of politics to know that all announcements are withheld to either maximise political leverage or to act as a distraction. Sometimes the pollies also like to be looking productive.
My guess is Bennett’s announcement is an attempted smack-down of the increasing call to extend the in-work tax credit to beneficiaries thereby making it the “In and Out of work credit”. It won’t happen of course as Act, United Future and the Maori Party will oppose it but National can’t afford to lose to much support given the Children’s Commission is about to have the scythe taken to it.
here is the press release:
http://www.voxy.co.nz/politics/investment-approach-refocuses-entire-welfare-system/5/134530

Notice the political spin in the heading:
Investment approach refocuses entire welfare system.
That there is a box of fluffies in one soundbite. Very positive wording and talk of “investments” and “refocusing”.
1: No mention of the paranoia every women on the benefit will feel at the release of these figures. If you’re a sole parent you’ve been hung out to dry. This is the eternal problem with National. Their broad-brush punitive measures that affect society’s perception and worth of all women started under Richardson. Ruth Richardson ripped the benefit system apart and provided no training opportunities to a legion of women who had left their useless husbands in the massive social changes in the ’90’s. Fair enough require certain things fron beneficiaries such as their children making Wellchild checks. But real women who want real work want to hear about what job training or opportunities they will have to get work, not what a pack of thieving trolls they are, which is essentially the message underlying such a press release.¬†

2: Where is the comparison with another branch of the welfare system? Say, the cost of retirement? I don’t begrudge superanuitants at all but I know a political ploy when I see it and it would be a cold day in hell before National releases the costs of keeping a pensioner.
Bennett is like a curates egg, or “some parts bad and some parts good”. I don’t disagree with her announcements around parent being required to find early childhood education for their 3 year old’s but it’s dangerous to villify sole parents with such a press release.

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I remember watching the horror of 9-11 unfold on New Zealand TV screens.  For those that were too young to remember:
On the night of 9-10, 2001, the world went to bed an adolescent teenager. Despite war raging in distant parts of the globe, many of my generation believed that with a measure of hope and judicious displays of might by Superpowers; world peace was feasible, if not imminent.
I say this as someone who was at that stage acquainted with the names of locations such as Vietnam, Cambodia, Chechnya and Bosnia.
¬†Once the horror started unfolding, live footage was broadcasted to TV’s around the world; Extraordinary, unprecedented horror. Think Nightmare in Times Square instead of Nightmare on Elm St.
Many in New Zealand missed the live footage at 3.30am and woke to the silent desolation of a global rape of innocence.
I was one of a Warehouse flat in Wakefield St, Wellington. New Zealand. We flatmates were all up at 3.00 am: Workaholics, bohemians, booze-hounds (me) and assorted travelers alike. We saw it all. The impact of the planes. The smouldering skyscrapers. Hundreds of suiciding human commas launching themselves from buildings.
They launched knowing the alternative was to die by fire. They launched in the vain hope a net would catch them. The US had previously withstood so much. Surely some of them would be caught. They weren’t. 2753 souls lost.
Finally we saw the collapse of the Towers and along with it, the collapse of the previous world order.

I’m not going to write anything mawkish about 9-11. Instead I’m posting a few images of myself
enjoying a taste of what middle class America has to offer. What it has to offer despite the existance of it’s many enemies.
Rocking out with my frock out, as it were:

A local Country club. San Francisco bay Area, California.

The American flag.
There are elements of society who seek to denigrate all that is American. Be skeptical of those that talk negatively about America’s incessant thirst for oil. It’s not necessarily untrue but mostly it is envy. Destructive envy of the Green variety. Kennedy Graham, UN public servant type propaganda. In my experience America is beautiful, kind, competitive and proud.
I remember well, the distaste towards America in the 2000’s over the invasion of Iraq; puportedly to find weapons of mass destruction that were proven not to exist. Can you blame Bush? The Al Queda fuckwits were bound to be hiding somewhere. Iraq wasn’t a bad first guess.
However, certain factions would have you believe that America should have turned the other cheek.
There are skyscrapers in San Francisco that I wander past regularly, You can see into the offices in the ground floors. In every office you can see cards. Childish cards where children have wished their parents who work in these offices Happy Birthdays, Happy Mothers Day and Fathers Day. Finally I understood. The Twin towers would have been filled with these childish cards. Cards that were destroyed along with the authors parents. Evil caused the destruction of the Twin Towers. Evil that was on the loose in World War Two and Vietnam.
And there will always be idiots that say you shouldn’t confront evil.¬†
I say: “Thank god I’m just an American Housewife and can spend time in a Country Club instead of contemplating these Matters of State.

  

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From Scoop:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1209/S00138/crown-offer-accepted-by-ngai-tuhoe-settlement-negotiators.htm
Crown Offer Accepted by Ngai Tuhoe Settlement Negotiators
“After consultation with iwi members, Te Kotahi a Tuhoe have accepted the Crown‚Äôs offer to settle the historical claims of Ngai Tuhoe, Minister for Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Christopher Finlayson and NgńĀi Tuhoe Chief negotiator Tamati Kruger announced today.”

With the passing of this legislation, Te Urewera will be removed from Crown Ownership and be governed by a separate legal entity comprised of Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees:

“Te Urewera will have its own legislation and exist as a separate legal identity. It will be governed by Crown and Ngai Tuhoe nominees acting on its behalf. NgńĀi Tuhoe will have an increasing role in management over time, with the Department of Conservation also retaining its role. The Department of Conservation will work with Ngai Tuhoe to enhance Te Urewera as a place of outstanding natural, recreational and cultural value.”

“The offer includes redress valued at approximately $170 million, inclusive of Tuhoe‚Äôs share in the Central North Island forestry on-account settlement in 2008.The offer also includes the implementation of the social Services Management Plan announced last month, under which government agencies will work with Tuhoe to ensure better delivery of social services such as housing, education and health to its communities”.

My commentary.
  Fantastic. This is a real step forward for New Zealand and will nullify the voices of the silly bastards like Winston Peters.
That we still pay credence to Peters is extraordinary. He doesn’t even have a proper Maori name.¬† Sure he looks the part but everyone gets a little brown when they get older so if you squinted, you might well think he was a tipsy english rest-home escapee.
And Hone “house nigga” Harawira should not be able to make any political mileage from this announcement. (Hone just recently called Maori MP’s “house niggers”, for being stopped by the PM from attending Hone’s latest Dissent Hui.) Sorry, I mean the water, fire and air hui.
OWNERSHIP:
Ownership is the key element in many of the “Treaty grievances” that the Waitangi Tribunal seeks to redress. This is why Turia walked fom Labour in 2004.
The writing was on the wall when Clark legislated for Crown ownership of the Seabed and Foreshore in 2003.
In retrospect it is amazing how Clark was lauded for her foreign affairs prowess (or sucking up to other nation’s socialist political parties), but how hobbled she was in NZ’s domestic affairs.
Again that goes back to Peters. Clark and Cullen had seen the Seabed and Foreshore debate looming and were investigating the public domain concept that Peter Dunne had put forward. Winston got wind and threatened to walk.
In order to settle the matter of the “customary title” that Maori were seeking, ownership of the Seabed and Foreshore was then divested in the Crown. As I understand it, this was like saying to Maori – “ha ha, you can’t have it:
1. “You can’t have it in name”. Even though it is clear in the Treaty of Waitangi that Maori was intended to retain ownership of their traditional grounds. Not the whole of NZ by any means but specific tracts of land that were clearly identifiable with tradition and culture passed down through the generations.
2. “You can’t have the foreshore and seabed, culturally or¬† spiritually”. The spiritual attachment to the land will be broken by linking it to British sovereignty.
So Turia walked from Labour to form the Maori party with Sharples. The rest is now history.
Divesting Te Urewera in a vehicle giving joint ownership to Maori is good for New Zealand because:
1. Ownership is key to Maori; the Treaty pipeline was always going to be blocked until the major questions of ownership were settled. Don’t forget: management and access remains unchanged; the ownership is almost intangible in this regard but very important for the reasons outlined above.
2. Ownership gives an incentive for branding and adding value. Te Urewera has the potential to be a cultural and tourism draw card. This may have a very positive effect on the local economy.
PITFALLS
 1. I doubt that Ngai tuhoe and the Department of Conservation who will have significant input, will have an easy marriage. The philosophical differences are vast.
2. Local iwi have been remarkably unsuccessful in kicking out the gangs in other areas where ownership has been divested in Maori. This will have to be addressed. 

Te Urewera.

The total cost of the settlement is $170 million. Interestingly the government has also announced the signing of the contract for the new PPP (public private partnership) prison at Wiri.
“Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the PPP structure of the prison deal meant a saving of $170 million for the government.”
 What a coincidence.

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Louisa Wall, MP for Maurewa, has pushed her marriage equality bill to a first reading and is now remaining current in the news:
 http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/education/7641487/Call-to-lower-school-age-to-four
 
 Good girl for keeping the balls in the air. In some ways this is not difficult for Wall . She has the potential to be a media darling with the likes of TV personalities Patrick Gower and John Campbell who both loath conventional politics and conventional politicians. But there is a lesson to be learned from her. Straight chicks in parliament take note: Get out there on the controversial issues. Have the ideas and push them through despite the misogynist culture in Parliament.
This applies particularly within National. National women get told exactly what they can and cannot say by the Board and the Prime Ministers office. This culture will have to be changed from the inside out by the women so that National can resonate more with the Latte Liberals.

¬†With regards to Louisa’s proposal:
“The move would see 4-year-olds included on school rolls and would take early childhood education away from private operators and into public hands. The compulsory school age is six, although most schools take children at five.”
First the good:
Four year old’s cope well with school type preschool education. I can remember some raised eyebrows when I booked my oldest son to start at a private preschool¬† at the age of two. He started at 9am, finished at 3pm and he thrived. He was able to burn off all that energy and be part of a classroom setting. A classroom setting is important for all ages because there is so much learning done by observing ones’ peers. My son was up to attending five days by the age of four and I would adjust the number of days depending on the needs of the other children and how much time we needed together.
¬†There is no one type of preschool education that suits every family. Mine have always gone to a mix of private preschools and parent co-operatives. I believe that it is important to view yourself as your child’s primary teacher; my family loved our time in our local PlayCentre co-operative.
Brickbats for Wall:
1: I absolutely concede that one woman can have an opinion on what might help another woman, no matter how different her situation might be.
 But childless women politicians are tits when it comes to the welfare or education of children. God forbid one should suggest that is the case Рlook at the furor over the Arden/Barry childless snipe.
¬†Why? Women are not expected to know about male reproductive affairs, but somehow it is the height of political incorrectness to suggest that Ardern and Wall might not be the experts on children’s affairs.
It’s not a criticism, it’s just pointing out the bleeding obvious.
Once upon a time I had no real working knowledge of children. I dare say that will be the case again when the nest empties, leaving me, my husband and my xbox360. Some women struggle even after having kids Рwhy else would there be such a need for food in schools and reading recovery. Being a carer is specialist knowledge.  
2: Who is going to pay for the policy change?
Anyone who has ever delved into the arcane studies of preschool education knows that there is¬† a world of difference between a four year old and a new entrant. (Year zero, in NZ primary school speak) If you put a four year old into a classroom with six year old’s, the differences are far more than the similarities. The number of four year old’s that are not toilet trained would indicate that the practicalities of Wall’s proposals haven’t been well thought out. It’s not just a matter of banging up an extra classroom for four year olds in each school. You would need to set up a new school culture.
It would be bleeding expensive. And it’s unnecessary. Four year old’s are still learning basic life skills such as wiping their bums and taking turns. This is the domain of parents not the unions.
This is my main objection:
 Why the bloody heck should taxpayers fork out for the massive infrastructure and personal changes that the introduction of a policy like this would demand. The private sector is excellent in providing for late Early Childhood Education. Louisa should modify her idea to allow for vouchers to be provided to all four year olds to take to an ECE provider of their choice. I can imagine that would go down like a ton of the proverbial but a voucher system would be the only cost effective way to get our four year olds into formal learning.
I’ll address how successful our school age start policies are: ¬†
In most countries around the world, the accepted age for formal education to be effective isn’t until six. In the United States, children start in the year they turn five, all on the same date in August. In New Zealand, kids straggle into school on the day they turn five. In the States, those born between September and December are now seen as disadvantaged so they have introduced Transitional Kindergarten to bridge this gap. Theoretically we are ahead in this regard. ¬†
 The benefits of transitioning through an ECE until the age of five:
It’s helpful for four year olds to have that experience of getting to be the oldest in the early childhood center They help younger kids and gain the confidence to foot it with the big bunga second years in the primary school playground.
What about Mum’s? That last year before school is an absolute treasure. I am counting down to the fifth birthday for my third sendoff of a child to school. My third boy has just turned four and I love watching him turn from a dependent three year old into a cheeky comedian.
And if you’re ever going to see yourself as a Yummy Mummy, it is in care of a four year old. Forget about oozing sex appeal when you’re pregnant or carting an infant, or the staggeringly impractical twins. You’re nothing but an accessory for your child to cling on to until they have learned basic life skills.
When your kids hit four you’ve regained your confidence and have eyes in the back of your head. It’s feasible¬† you get to stroll casually down the street with your child in tow and looking like an attractive member of the human race. Female and sexy, even.You want as much time with your older preschooler as possible.

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I dropped my boys off at school as normal today. Passed a patrol car just before the school and it wasn’t there on my return home. I suspect this was the car that stopped a suspect that then shot the officer who shot back in return. Both are in hospital in critical condition. Have embedded the footage from NBC Bay Area. Mostly from a mediawatch POV. NBC mobilized extraordinarily quickly and have provided very useful updates given two of my sons are in school within a mile or two of the shootings. The footage is being anchored live on TV but is thankfully free of NZ’s TV3 Patrick Gower/ Campbell type of posturing on the internet while the drama is unfolding.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

I have been advised there is no danger to my children.

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