Monday, August 31, 2009

New Zealand News

I love New Zealand. I moved here eight years ago and it was one of the best decisions of my life.

However, TV news is pretty bad . Two things that get me:

1. A half hour news program has 10-15 minutes of sports coverage. Rugby is the hot topic, even high school rugby gets in-depth coverage. Cricket is a close second.
2. If there is any sports related news, some scandal or even a high school rugby fight, it is presented not as sports new, but as regular news, eating into the ACTUAL regular news.

It is almost like the producers and writers are little kids who can't help but talk about the stuff they love, happily putting aside more important news, like shootings or catastrophes.

The only positive that I can say is that it is better than US news, which pretty much dumbs down information to the point where it's actually taking information away when you watch it.

Treating Maori like everyone else

This is an interesting quote from wikipedia on the state of Maori (for those not from New Zealand, Maori are the native population):

"Despite significant social and economic advances during the 20th century, Māori tend to appear in the lower percentiles in most health and education statistics and in labour-force participation, and feature disproportionately highly in criminal and imprisonment statistics."

A few things of note here - one, if you treat a sub-set of the population like they are different from everyone else and as if they always need government social help, they are going to continue to act like they do. You can't expect welfare to correct a poverty problem. At best, it's a stop-gap to make sure people don't starve.

There has also been a recent controversy over Auckland city council seats where Maori would automatically get seats on the Auckland super city council when all the "cities" of Auckland merge into one. This is the perfect example of treating the Maori like they need handouts from the government. If I were Maori, I would be dead set against it - it's a handout and an obvious one. It's an insult to Maori and tells them they don't have a clue about getting elected to seats in the first place. I find it amazing that Maori leaders are so up an arms and demanding that the seats be given freely. It is a victim's attitude.

The more that we treat Maori differently, the more we have Maori parties (we don't have an "Asian Party" for example, despite them being a significant minority), the more we make an issue of the differences between Maori and others in New Zealand, the longer the trends in health, education and employment will continue.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Anti-smacking referendum results

New Zealand recently had a referendum on hitting children, the notorious "Smacking" referendum, which, unfortunately cost nearly $9 M and did absolutely nothing.

The question on the referendum was "Should a smack, as part of good parental correction, be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"
- yes

Well - how can you vote against good parenting? You can't. A normal person would say "No" to this, which was by far the vast result as seen in this "Stuff" article. Nearly 90% said "no" in fact.

That doesn't mean that people are pro-smacking, not at all. It means that the question was loaded and there was no way to answer it sensibly.

Say I answered "yes" - that means that I just said that an aspect of good parenting was illegal.

Who the hell worded this question? What kind of morons are they hiring for the phrasing? I can't believe it got by an editor.

This isn't the only issue with the smacking law, it's meaningless anyway. Child abuse has always been illegal - it hasn't stopped abusive parents in the past!

I'm disappointed that the law was made and that a referendum that cost so much went through (seriously - they could have given the money to me - I would have done something with it - promise), and not only that, it isn't going to change the law anyway, since the referendum doesn't have that power. The prime minister said no to a law change.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kiwiwriter's collection has arrived in the post

I've been involved with Kiwiwriters since its founding. My participation lately has waned, but every once in a while, I throw out an idea, usually just for the name of a challenge (the zing thing, the collection challenge).

The Collection Challenge finished months ago, but there was lots of work after that to organize a printed book (fantastic work from Cassie and Kerryn by the way) and getting the PDF file together, the introduction and the cover designed etc... It eventually went on sale at lulu, a self publishing site.

Cassie Hart, Kerryn Angell and guest judge Philippa Ballantine went to work and the end result was "The Challenge Collection", which I ordered as soon as possible and got in the mail recently (while I was on holiday actually, so I had to wait another week!).

While you can buy it, you can also download the collection for free. Check it out here.

I bought two copies - one for myself and another for putting into the Wellington City Library.