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Speaker: My People

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  • Jacqui Dunn,

    Fantastic post, thank you, Jackie.

    Generalizations do sometimes have their place, but it always seems that if a "face" or "faces" are put to the "them" of the "us and them", it becomes impossible to carry on generalizing. This is especially so when a negative generalization is taking place....easy to do if they're a faceless, nameless mob (Puleeze, spare me the details! All these people are bad, full-stop) but if one provides context and story, the wind goes very fast out of windbags.

    Chin up, Petra. You sound like a wonderful mother.

    EDIT: More fast fingers happening. Much faster than my muddled brain comes up with. Snap to several posters! Prob. much better put too.

    Deepest, darkest Avondale… • Since Jul 2010 • 585 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I think Cresswell's point was far more to do with the fact that he was a recidivist criminal than the colour of his skin or socio economic group.

    No it wasn't Cresswell didn't know that. My original point was that Cresswell had depicted a wave of random street violence -- when every one of the examples he listed was a matter of violence between people who knew each other, and (from memory) all but one took place in or about a private dwelling.

    He seemed unable to grasp that his evil underclass provided the human victims of the assaults, as well as the perpetrators. It genuinely didn't seem to occur to him.

    which was clearly incorrect... I'd hardly describe someone who has previously killed someone he was stalking, and stabbed 3 others, as quite and god fearing, and the suggestion he wasn't out on bail or parole while correct was misleading considering his history.

    It's not "my description", it's exactly what was reported at the time. I can hardly be responsible for that.

    We have now also discovered that he has a history of the most serious relationship violence, which was the point of my original post.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    It's also interesting to me that these studies always emphasise the demographics of the perpetrators but totally overlook the demographics of the victims. There's a pretty obvious subtext at work there.

    Demographics of perps is consistently collected by the police. Victims - I don't know if police collect it at all (victim support probably does?), but if they do, it'd be inconsistent so not much use for a statistical study.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Thanks Jackie. Not the first time you've made me teary. Your kindy sound so much like mine, in which my child is one of the only two white children, the rest predominantly PI, and numerous occasions spent with these people (birthdays, kindergarten trips, casual conversations during dropoffs) have led me to no basic stereotypes on good parenting at all.

    I guess FletcherB might have a point about the people we don't see, although I do actually see them because I live in the 'hood. So far as I can tell, no difference. I can't tell the beneficiaries just by looking at them, or seeing how their kids are. One bunch of noisy boozers seemed like easy targets for generalization, but I came out early one morning to see them all kitted up for the work. Another annoying bunch, boy racers, predominantly white, who make a racket most nights, turn out to all have jobs, and furthermore their constant presence at night has actually made the street safer, upon reflection. There's no vandalism or car theft around here. Haven't heard of any burglaries either. Too many people too close together.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Just want to say something before I head out the door, now that I've collected myself a bit. (You really opened a bit of a floodgate for me, Jackie - guess I've been brewing for a damned good cry, and your post was a catalyst I found myself unable to deny).

    Anyway, aside from the self-pity that I posted earlier, I guess my real point is that if I feel this way, then so do many beneficiaries around the country - in Mangere and beyond. There must be so many who feel disenfranchised, isolated, 'put down', unworthy. They may have lost their sense of self, and wonder, too, where they *fit* in the wider community and in the job market. But this does not mean that they are useless, that they are a burden, that they are bad parents or bad people. They are simply people doing what they can with what they have, and they carry on - even if sometimes they look a bit rough around the edges and carry their heads low. They are real, and they and their children have value.

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Also, I'm a major recipient of benefits, via ACC for my son. Doesn't incline me to stab anyone - quite the opposite, it made me more sympathetic to people who aren't lucky enough to get that help.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    Perhaps the "bad parents" (from any area, but particularly ones where money is especially tight) are less inclined send their kids to pre-school?

    Oh god, yes. And if they are sending their kdis, it's because CYFs are involved, and require them to be here. However. Cresswell et al don't talk about just any beneficiaries, they talk about all beneficiaries. And that was my point. There is a culture of talking about dole bludgers etc as if they were not real people. As if people who cannot get a job, or whose husband/wife dies, or who find themselves sick and unable to cope - as if these people were all criminals. Were not human beings worthy of our love and care and compassion, and understanding, and friendship. I'm not interested in welfare bashing because the people who are doing it are making lazy and specious arguments based on nothing better than empty statistics that they haven't bothered to analyse indepth.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • mic weevil,

    my 2c:

    I spent the first 8 months of this year on the dole - not for the lifestyle (rock'n'roll though it was, scrounging to cover expenses) - trying to find a job in the field I'm qualified for.

    after settling for a much less interesting, less well-paid, more time-consuming job I'd have to say my parenting abilities have suffered for it. I've gone from having lots of time to spend with my youngling (2.5 yrs) to not enough.

    the other day she said to me "you work all the time. sad" this made me tear up. how many awesome parents out there are bad-mouthing beneficiaries while working 60+ hour weeks away from their kids, I wonder? (not to diss you if you are in this situation, 'tis the world we've made)...

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    At the end of the day, weakening the welfare state, regardless of its merits or not, is false economy. What anti-welfarists might save in taxes, they'd probably lose in increased spending on personal security - Somalia, anyone? Unless they're provided with the tools and know-how to climb the social ladder, the likely outcomes are either starvation, or survival at any cost.

    And from personal experience, unemployment, even under-employment, can cause tensions within families. Especially when materialism and cheapskate-ism collide head on.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    Don Brash disagrees with you, DeepRed (though this of course is no surprise to anyone at all): The best economy, according to the Don, is the one that is structured to keep wealth (and education and health care) where it should rightly be: in the hands of rich white men.


    [E]conomic reform could lead to “more health care, better education, [and] a cleaner environment”.

    Oh, yeah. How does that work, then?

    "It is critical to re-establish the mindset that markets, not governments, create wealth best.”

    Wealth for who? ...need I really ask.

    Some of the standout reforms he calls for include:

    Labour market reform should include reducing the minimum wage to 1999 ratios and extending the 90-day probationary period for employees to a year.

    “Ambitious” welfare reform should be undertaken to reduce the number of people of working age receiving welfare benefits.

    The retirement age should increase “progressively” to lower the future costs of New Zealand Superannuation.

    Universal subsidies for doctor’s visits and prescriptions should be abolished and instead be related to income status or health of the individual.

    Subsidies for Early Childhood Education introduced since 2005 should be reversed.

    Fee caps on University fees should be removed and market-based interest rates reintroduced for student loans.

    All Government owned businesses which operate in a market where competition is actual or feasible should be sold.

    The New Zealand Superannuation Fund should be wound up and assets used to pay off Government debt.

    Mining on sensitive Crown-owned land should be permitted as long as it is supported by cost-benefit analysis.

    Restrictions on foreign investment should be loosened.

    It's enough to make a beneficiary feel downright violent!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    while working 60+ hour weeks

    Including weekends, which is why the kids don't recognise you and the wife is having an affair/wanting a divorce/depressed. (take yer pick).

    Job sharing. I'm all for it. If someone is working 60+ hours a week, then employ two people (where possible) instead.

    Hmm, I might be a "commie" after all...

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Don Brash disagrees with you

    Got relatively close to being PM a while ago. That's a list of new right talking points, scary.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • mic weevil,

    "Got relatively close to being PM a while ago"

    and if that smiley Key guy would just kindly step aside those same talking points would be National party policy by lunchtime...

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 52 posts Report Reply

  • dyan campbell,

    Excellent post Jackie.

    At the end of the day, weakening the welfare state, regardless of its merits or not, is false economy. What anti-welfarists might save in taxes, they'd probably lose in increased spending on personal security

    This is particularly true, and having seen the rise and rise of the gated community in my country (Canada) I can tell you this is depressingly true.

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 595 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    and if that smiley Key guy would just kindly step aside those same talking points would be National party policy by lunchtime

    Or if he can just win them the next election. I, and many others I suspect, am far from convinced that National are not using the first term to soften up the electorate before the second term unleashes "National of old" politics upon us. We already know that flogging off SOEs will be firmly on the agenda for a second term and we've seen a number of un-cuddly policies appear already this term, championed by the likes of Paula "got mine, screw youse" Bennet, Tony "education is bad for the taxpayer" Ryall, and Gerry "mine the world" Brownlee.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Ross Mason,

    The State in my opinion should build an altar to people like you who care for other people. Because, at the end of the day, you matter more than you will ever know.

    So...we are doing the right thing by having child care centres so that parents (both...?) can go out to work and be acceptable contributors to society.

    Wouldn't it be better to spend the money on meaningful support for parents who decide to take parental leave (and maternity leave - usually unpaid if I recall but your job is secure!!! Yeah R.) so that the kids get a parental start to life?

    Gosh. Take a bit of the stress off the familly wouldn't it.


    Parent: Right Hand of god. Angel.

    Upper Hutt • Since Jun 2007 • 1590 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    If only they could just get around that little "minimum wage" inconvenience altogether, we'd all be rich.

    There's definitely something quite sick about libertarians. Stuff the elderly and infirm; stuff the young and their mums; screw the workers - they only hold back the generation of wealth for those who deserve it most; family time? get over yourself! ...but we'll totally blame you if your kid screws up because you didn't *discipline* them enough, and it's your own fault that you couldn't afford an English nanny...etc.

    They're so mean, and so short sighted (for all their bellyaching about a "better future". Wish they'd sacrifice a couple of generations from their own demographic for a change!)

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    while working 60+ hour weeks away from their kids, I wonder? (not to diss you if you are in this situation, 'tis the world we've made)

    Yes, this situation is really bumming me out at the moment. I keep telling myself it's temporary, that normal working hours are just around the corner. The real downside of self-employment - there's lots of great free time, but there's also stupidly long hours at other times. I've been until-midnighting for about 8 solid weeks now. Pretty much doing 2 full time jobs.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    I was talking, Ross, about people like Petra, and others who are part of the PAS community, who take care of others when no-one else will. Don't ask me about childcare centres. Please. I will probably upset someone. I accept that many parents need to work to support their families. And it would be nice if while they did that, their extended whanau were able to help with the childcare - as, I might add, is the case with most of my families. But for many people that isn't possible, and we have to accept that, for some women, and men, work outside the home is what keeps them sane. I would like to see a discussion, nationally, about how we can better support people who wish to stay home with their children, without punishing them financially. To give an example, one of our dad's is on benefit of some sort. He raises three of his children, and is his mother's caregiver. This is a man who is ex mongrel mob, and I can't help but think that if he were able to be suitably recompensed for his care of his mother, and for bringing up three beautiful children (which they are - well mannered, and very articulate) then his life would be easier.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Gosh. Take a bit of the stress off the familly wouldn't it.

    Not convinced about that, Ross. Constant childcare is pretty wearying and isolating for a lot of people. Going to work, at least part time, is a real mental health godsend for some. Then the time they do spend with their kids is high quality, and they've got more money. Working is not all about paying the State their tax, you know.

    But if work is not available, I agree, people should be able to make ends meet. They should be able to choose not to work for a fairly long period at the birth of each child, without any kind of recrimination.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Petra,

    nm, my muddled thinking again - too hurried while the dinner cooks!

    Rotorua • Since Mar 2007 • 317 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Thanks so much Jackie (and Russell for asking Jackie to write this post). I will never criticise single parents and beneficiaries, having been one for periods of my life. It's not only that you have to count every cent and plan every expense from tomorrow's bus fares to tomorrow's school trip, or that you face pity or marginalisation in a society full of comfortable couples and nice nuclear families, or accusatory looks or media headlines for being a 'bludger', or that it is lonely because no one else has that passion for your children like you do, and you worry what will happen if you get sick.

    It's the basic lack of security. You can't plan. There is always the threat of a disaster around the corner that could wreck your already fragile existence. Or politicians out there plotting ways to cut your meagre income and make your life even more stressful. There is so much labelling and denial of humanity.That WINZ era under Christine Rankin was one of the worst, when everyone going through the door was whisked into a side room and grilled about benefit fraud, as if they were assumed to be not only bludgers, but criminals as well.

    And I was lucky as I was middle class and had lots of great support from family and friends.

    A society that really valued children wouldn't be so cruel to those trying to raise them alone.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Isabel Hitchings,

    I'd love to live in a world where parents are equally supported whether they choose to be in paid work fultime, parttime or not at all and where caring for young, elderly, ill or disabled family members and friends was considered as high status a vocation as, say, investment banking.

    Christchurch • Since Jul 2007 • 719 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    You and me both, Isabel Hitchings...

    "A society that really valued children wouldnt be so cruel to those trying to raise them alone."

    Agreed, Hilary Stace. Indeed, a society that really valued *children* would put them foremost.

    The 2 matters go together, Isabel & Hilary's comments.

    Our society seems to value most the rich, the glittery, celeb 'culture' & the mean minds that control which ways society goes - or, at least, it does buggerall about showing discontent. At the moment.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Great work Jackie, long may your words echo.

    A society that really valued children wouldn't be so cruel to those trying to raise them alone.

    Indeed, a society that really valued *children* would put them foremost.

    That reminds me of a Gene 'Demon' Simmons (of all people) quote.

    Kids should never be allowed, much less forced, to leave the nest until and unless they can fly - or, preferably, soar

    A quite natural philosophy in many cultures, but in NZ or perhaps the new world (US?, Aus, Can?) it seems distinctly alien. Is it in anyway related to the impact of the pioneer days/ depression relative to the length of countries' modern histories? What elevated concepts such as harshness and hardness to the forefront of our social inventory and what compels them to retain this position?

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

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