Photo Of The Day

Bandit's Roost, located in the notorious Mulberry Bend fifty-seven years after "Petition to Have the Five Points Opened," in 1831. Picture by Jacob Riis, 1888.

Bandit’s Roost, located in the notorious Mulberry Bend fifty-seven years after “Petition to Have the Five Points Opened,” in 1831. Picture by Jacob Riis, 1888.

How the Other Half Lived

Round Mulberry Bend …

In the old-timey days of New York’s Lower-East Side ‘down near what is now Federal Plaza, Mulberry Street used to bend leading you directly into the depths of the Five Points. Well-to-do city folk considered “the bend” to be the cut off, or point of no return as it were since beyond that elbow in the street a man might expect to lose much more than a pitiful rookerful of change.

During the mid-to-late 1800s, New York City was rocked by an epidemic of gang violence. Crime was especially rampant in Manhattan neighbourhoods like Five Points, Hell’s Kitchen, the Fourth Ward and the Bowery, where back alleys and tenements became infested with thieves, hustlers and street thugs. These groups trafficked in everything from robbery and prostitution to murder, and their names could strike fear into the hearts of even the most crime-hardened city dwellers. From river pirates to knife-wielding adolescents, get the facts on seven of 19th century New York’s most notorious street gangs.
There was ‘an unparalleled era of wickedness” in the last 25 years of the 19th Century, as ragtag street gangs matured into organized criminal enterprises. One was based in the teeming Five Points neighbourhood on Mulberry Bend — the same area that later became the Mafia’s haunt on Mulberry Street.

At Five Points’ “height,” only certain areas of London’s East End vied with it in the western world for sheer population density, disease, infant and child mortality, unemployment, prostitution, violent crime, and other classic ills of the urban destitute.

Five Points is alleged to have sustained the highest murder rate of any slum in the world. According to an old New York urban legend, the Old Brewery, an overcrowded tenement on Cross Street housing 1,000 poor, is said to have had a murder a night for 15 years, until its demolition in 1852.

Read more »

More good news


via ODT

The number of people on a main benefit has fallen below 280,000 for the first time since 2008.

Social Development Minister Anne Tolley says it dropped by 4369, or 1.5 percent, in the year to March.

That took the total number of people receiving a main benefit down to 279,891. Read more »

How the EPMU and declining media hurt my home town

I went on a road trip down memory lane last weekend to show my daughter where I grew up. Our family home was across the road from a walkway that led to Kawerau Central School, which was my primary school. We visited my old home, which was neat as a pin in a street that had a number of neglected homes in need of repair.

My old family home in Kawerau PHOTO-Whaleoil.co.nz

My old family home in Kawerau

I wanted to show my daughter my old school but was puzzled as to why the walkway was blocked off. When we tried to access the school from another street we realised the sad truth: it was gone.


Original Filename: Central_Demolition_1.jpg

In 2011 the remaining three primary schools in Kawerau were merged into one and the intermediate-aged students were merged with Kawerau College, which was renamed Tarawera High School. They did this because they were losing 60+ students a year from each school. So, what happened to this once prosperous and vibrant town of my childhood?

Read more »

Rockstar economy: Hey Mr DJ, put another record on

Things are going really quite badly for the Labour Party. The economy is doing fine.

The New Zealand economy is forecast to grow by three percent this year, despite weaker dairy prices.

The New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) says it expects annual GDP growth to recover to around three percent in 2016, and it will average 2.5 percent for the following years.

The NZIER says growth picked up late last year thanks to strong population growth, construction and tourism.

It predicts they will be “the key driving forces behind solid growth for the next few years”.

But the NZIER’s senior economist Christina Leung is warning that: “The current volatility in global financial markets is a reminder of how quickly sentiment can change. Financial markets are adjusting to the realisation that the Federal Reserve will gradually normalise interest rates in the world’s largest economy. This has raised fears about the durability of the recovery in the global economy”.

The NZIER says that despite the pick-up in economic activity, inflation in New Zealand remains very weak. This is due in large part to lower petrol prices.

“However, lower petrol prices have also reduced costs for households and businesses and encouraged spending. The decline in petrol prices from a year ago represents a $200 annual boost to each household’s wallets. Although wage growth is subdued, it is still outpacing consumer price inflation, resulting in real wage growth for many households.”

Economic growth and real wage growth due to increased spending power. Hands up those who think Matt McCarten is bashing his head on his desk yelling, “How long can this last?”  Read more »

Oh look, how inconvenient for Labour

Last year Andrew Little was stating that Labour’s focus was going to be on “jobs, jobs, jobs”. Grant Robertson is talking about the “Future of Work” and Andrew Little echoed that by talking about the rise of the robots…and nasty car washes.

Carmel Sepuloni thinks the statistics are wrong and calls for the government to be more transparent on job figures.

Grant Robertson even predicted that unemployment was going to balloon:

At the Select Committee Bill English appeared bewildered as to why unemployment is at 6%, higher than Australia, the US or the UK. He had no explanation as to why he has been unable to get unemployment any lower than the 5.6% recorded last year. With unemployment set to head towards 7% in the coming year, it is reckless that the government still has no plan to address this.

Apparently the government isn’t doing enough on jobs…and employment.

But wait…   Read more »

Terrible news for Labour: New Zealand’s feeling gooooood

Turns out all the talk of New Zealand going to hell in a handcart by the left and supported and amplified by the Media Party is falling on deaf ears.

New Zealanders will end the year brimming with confidence, according to three indicators out in the past few days.

First, the ANZ Business Outlook showed business confidence rising to an eight-month high in December.

The ANZ Job Ads series lifted a further 2% in November, the third monthly rise in a row and the first time that had occurred since early 2014.

And yesterday, the Westpac McDermott Miller consumer confidence index ended the year on 110.7 points and a level just below the long-term average of 111.5.

The All Blacks won the World Cup.  Summer is here.  We’re all thinking about the bach, the beach, the boat.  And we’re feelin’ goooood.   Read more »

More good news: Pasifika employment is up


The number of Pacific people employed increased by 9.6 per cent in the year to September 2015, according to the latest Labour Market Factsheets for Māori and Pacific peoples released by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today. Read more »

More good news: unemployment expected to be steady into 2017 election

This takes away Labour’s major policy plank and they’ll have to find another one.

Business leaders and economists are signalling there will be no drop in unemployment for the next two years.

At the start of November figures from Statistics New Zealand showed unemployment hit 6 per cent in the September quarter, the highest level in 18 months, following a surprise drop in the workforce.

On Tuesday the Reserve Bank’s quarterly survey of expectations, which gathers economic predictions from economists and business and industry leaders, showed no relief is in sight.

The survey showed participants expect unemployment to be 6.18 per cent in 12 months and 6.01 per cent in two years.   Read more »

Remember Labour going apeshit over a 0.1% change in unemployment rate? This is why

Labour went completely off the scale over the unemployment rate, when it moved just 0.1%.

They were obviously expecting it to be much worse, but because Andrew Little’s whole direction for Labour is “jobs, jobs, jobs” they had to run with it.

There weren’t any big bang policy announcements, but Labour leader Andrew Little has come out firing as the party tries to well and truly shake off the demons of last year’s election defeat.

In an impassioned speech to round out Labour’s annual conference in Palmerston North today, Mr Little set out in the broadest possible terms what his party’s priorities will be heading into 2017 – at one point sending his water glass flying off the lectern in the process.

He’s put jobs at the top of his agenda, saying getting more Kiwis into higher skilled, better paid jobs is necessary to build a stronger economy.

The Government needs to do more and to that end, Mr Little says a future Labour government will change the rules so companies promising to create jobs have a better chance of winning government contracts – a rehash of what previous Labour leaders have said they’ll do.    Read more »

Unemployment increases by 0.1%, Labour goes ballistic. Labour Leader support drops by 2%, Labour says that’s just fine..

Labour are so desperate for traction…on anything…that they will chase any passing bus like a retarded dog.

Opposition parties have seized on a rise in the unemployment rate to accuse the Government of running out of ideas.

But Finance Minister Bill English says he is happy enough with where the economy is heading and isn’t worrying about one figure.

New Zealand’s jobless rate rose in the third quarter from 5.9 percent to 6 percent as employment unexpectedly fell, according to figures released today.

“Today’s figures are a damning indictment of National. For the first time since 2012 the number of people in work has fallen by 11,000,” said Labour’s Grant Robertson.

“The 151,000 people out of work are a symbol of seven long years of wasted opportunities.”    Read more »