Where are all the benefit babies born?

Lindsay Mitchell has been doing some research on where all the benefit babies are being born.

Unsurprisingly bludgers beget bludgers…and its growing.

Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a ‘benefit baby’ means relying on a parent or caregiver’s benefit  by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided. Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

It was then straight forward to place each service centre in a DHB  and calculate the percentage of babies in each district that would be benefit-dependent before their first birthday.

Where the benefit babies are born

Read more »

Cartoon of the Week

Credit:  SonovaMin

Credit: SonovaMin

And yet Charter schools do it on decile 3 funding

As a perfect example of how out of touch unions and the opposition are on education witness this:

School fees and donations are rising at almost 10 times the rate of inflation, new figures reveal.

The latest figures from the Consumer Price Index (CPI) show a rise of 3.7 per cent in what schools are asking parents to pay – more than nine times the overall inflation rate of 0.4 per cent.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) tracks changes in primary and secondary school fees and donations each year.

Labour’s education spokesperson Chris Hipkins said education costs have really “started to bite” in the last year and a half.

“We know that parents are being asked more and more to put their hands in their pockets to help fund the costs of their kids’ education,” he said.

“We’re seeing a transfer of costs from schools onto parents.”

Hipkins said more money should be put into education. Funding shortages had “moved far beyond the days of sausage sizzles and cake stalls”.

Read more »

Media bias on environmental reporting

There are reasons almost every day to believe the media are biased and only really interested in sensationalism, controversy and negativity.

Here is an example.

A few weeks ago The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment released a report that included some criticisms of farming and its effects on rivers.  It was negatively slanted and demanded greater action.  There were a couple of articles that followed that repeated the criticisms and together they got extensive coverage in all media with readers chipping in with negative comments.

Yesterday the Sustainable Dairying Group released a factual report on how things were going down on the farm – progress on making our waterways even cleaner than they are now.  It is useful to remember that a few years ago the OECD tested 90 rivers in its member countries and New Zealand had three rivers in the top four for cleanliness – the Waikato, Waitaki and Clutha – all in intensive dairying areas.

The latest report should have been headlines in every media outlet.  Why?  Because of the vast number of improvements achieved, because of past criticisms that got headlines and because it is a great story of Kiwi effort and innovation.

Here are a few compelling stats:    Read more »

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That’s one way to choke them to death

You win wars by killing large numbers of the enemy.

You also win by destroying their ability to wage war, destroying key infrastructure the enemy uses and wrecking their ability to pay for it all.

Up to $800m (£550m) in cash held by so-called Islamic State (IS) has been destroyed in air strikes, a US military official says.

Maj Gen Peter Gersten, who is based in Baghdad, said the US had repeatedly targeted stores of the group’s funds.

The blow to the group’s financing has contributed to a 90% jump in defections and a drop in new arrivals, he said.

In 2014, the US Treasury called IS “the best-funded terrorist organisation” it had encountered.

In a briefing to reporters, Maj Gen Gersten, the deputy commander for operations and intelligence for the US-led operation against IS, said under 20 air strikes targeting the group’s stores of money had been conducted.

He did not specify how the US knew how much money had been destroyed.   Read more »

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Co-founder of Vox media explains why old media are dying

Joshua Topolsky founded Vox Media to compete with existing mainstream media.

He writes about how media are always looking for the next “new thing” to save their moribund industry and, in the process, deliver ever worsening standards of media.

The media industry now largely thinks its only working business model is to reach as many people as possible, and sell — usually programmatically, but sometimes not — as many advertisements against that audience as it can. If they tell you otherwise, they are lying.

They are also wrong, I believe, in the long run.

And every few months — or let’s say annually — a technology, or idea, or person comes along and the very stupid and slow media industry thinks that New Thing will fix everything. Get them back to the good times. Make those pennies into actual dollars. One year it might be the iPad, the next it might be an “amateur journalist” network, maybe last year it’s You Won’t Believe What Happens Next, maybe next year it’s video (or live video?), maybe it’s bots. Maybe it’s Instant Articles. Maybe it’s your new app.

Certainly it could be a little bit of all of those things. But actually it’s not any of them. You can always get some runway out of the New Thing. You can always get a quick hit that looks like success from the New Thing. But rarely — almost never — is the New Thing what fixes your problem.

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So Little visits our troops in Iraq to see how the people he doesn’t want to be there are doing

You’ve got to love the hypocrisy and sanctimony of Andrew Little.

Invited on a ministerial tour to our troops in Iraq he somehow manages to get the Media party to call it his secret trip. Never mind that it was Gerry Brownlee’s trip or that Mark Mitchell went as well…no, for the Media party it was Andrew Little’s secret trip to Iraq.

Labour leader Andrew Little has made a top secret visit to Iraq to visit New Zealand troops based at Camp Taji and is now questioning whether the two-year term will be extended.

Mr Little has just left Iraq after Camp Taji with Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee and Chief of Defence Force Tim Keating.

Labour opposed the 2015 deployment of troops to help train Iraqi soldiers fight against Islamic State (Isis), but Mr Little said he accepted the invitation from Mr Brownlee because he believed it was important to see first hand the work of the troops and the conditions in which they lived.

Mr Little praised the “skill and professionalism” of the troops he met.   Read more »

Cunliffe’s Panama smear fails to stick as OIO declares “no laws were broken”

Yesterday David Cunliffe tried to smear a property owner; today his smear is in tatters.

The Overseas Investment Office says it is satisfied with the decision to allow a foreign company linked to the Panama Papers scandal to buy New Zealand farmland.

The Government agency, which vets all large or sensitive foreign investments in New Zealand, said it had no evidence that Panama-based company Ceol & Muir had breached any laws through its connection to Panama law firm Mossack Fonseca.

“The Overseas Investment Office [OIO] is satisfied that due process was followed in assessing a consent application by Ceol & Muir,” the agency said this afternoon.

Millions of documents leaked from Mossack Fonseca earlier this month showed that the law firm played a key role in helping the world’s wealthy hide their money and assets in foreign trusts, some of which was linked to criminal activity.   Read more »

And the Greens and other left-wing parties want this to all stop?

The planet is greening, literally, and you’ll never guess what is causing it.

Yep, that awful killer trace gas called carbon dioxide…the very same element the left-wing warmists tell us is killing us all.

But before we get started with the blame game…it is NASA who has released the data.

From a quarter to half of Earth’s vegetated lands has shown significant greening over the last 35 years largely due to rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on April 25.

An international team of 32 authors from 24 institutions in eight countries led the effort, which involved using satellite data from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectrometer and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer instruments to help determine the leaf area index, or amount of leaf cover, over the planet’s vegetated regions. The greening represents an increase in leaves on plants and trees equivalent in area to two times the continental United States.

Green leaves use energy from sunlight through photosynthesis to chemically combine carbon dioxide drawn in from the air with water and nutrients tapped from the ground to produce sugars, which are the main source of food, fiber and fuel for life on Earth. Studies have shown that increased concentrations of carbon dioxide increase photosynthesis, spurring plant growth.   Read more »

Whaleoil General Debate

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