Saturday, 22 December 2012

This Government lacks accountability not to mention Ethics!

I was listening to the radio this morning and they commented on something that has been noticeable in it's absence. Namely politicians and good leadership.
John Key leads the lack of accountability brigade with his flippant remarks or fudged replies. His careful covering of his own arse is about where his buck stops.

His second in command Bill English is hazy on how much asset sales are likely to recoup. In fact Bill's guesses are not much to go on. People generally expect a better plan for the economic recovery of their country.

There are no new jobs. None have been created and many job losses are still happening.
I am at a loss on how this improves our country.

When asked to comment on various issues that affect us, the voting public many National MPs are unavailable for comment.What do they get paid to do again? remind me?
 The education minister Hekia PARATA IS A incompetent and willful women who has never taught in a classroom . she wants to privatise education in Christchurch through stealth and partnership schools, Schools are Government run services to educate our population not produce a profit.

Profit is what the government seems to care about . In fact making a buck seems to be ALL this Government cares about. It is a trickle down effect but in this instance it's not money that is trickling down but bad attitudes.

We did not vote in people so they could extort our last dollars. We didn't vote in a Government who will decimate schools, and local councils to make a profit. If you don't believe me just look towards the Post Office.

Once the backbone of every small centre,The Post Office was the hub for both banking and mail services now a shell of the former glory, and the last stamp I brought was a piece of sticky paper with a franked stamp in ink on it. I guess stamp collecting is deemed obsolete too.

The Government has only one agenda for this country and it seems to be to wring out every last cent of profit  or sell it off. There is no leadership of confidence in building something for the state. The State is a dirty word under a National government. State houses, get rid of them. sell them off or demo them and build motorways. A State house was meant to provide security and a permanent home to those unable to afford a deposit on their own home. Now it feels like state housing is despised.

The number of MPs who won't front up for a radio interview is also astounding. Frankly lets make a bigger effort next year and remove this nasty vermin that call itself Government and get some real people who want to provide good governance and real ethical leadership.

What blows me away the most is the money spent on mistakes and errors that adds up to millions of dollars. There are people in New Zealand who are in court for offences of $10.00 shoplifting or half a gram of cannabis or a beneficiary claiming an extra few bucks..This people go on to be made criminals while those in posh offices are screwing up and screwing us over and getting a golden handshake as well.
That is criminal.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Orphanages and a new twist on Oliver

I am a mother , a teacher and a grandmother. I Like children, and I worry about them. I think that children are powerless in society and that when children grow up in dysfunctional homes they are often damaged in ways that can make them in turn not the best of parents. I am not saying anyone is a deliberate bad parent but that some have little understanding of the needs of an infant.

In my childhood I read a lot of books and stories about poor children who lived in orphanages. I guess after two world wars there were large numbers of children that lacked two parents or one fit parent . Grief and loss were accepted with a stoicism that is unseen in our young people today. The book Goodnight Mr Tom was a classic example of abuse and hunger and poverty after the second world war. Thousands of children were also evacuated to safety . Many out of England and to Canada or New Zealand and Australia.

The 60's changed the way the world thought about war and contraception and the me generation, X and Y and it's subsequent offspring, have a sense of entitlement, unheard of too.

 I see, little children in sad homes , hungry, neglected, poor and abused. How do we deal with it. Many blame. Some blame drugs and others race and inexperience. Is there help and adequet support and if you were 3 or 6 or 9 years old where would you go for help? Would you have somewhere to go for help? And would you? Children never tell on their parents, most think all parents are the same. Some are told not to tell or the consequences may be worse treatment!

In our "don't tell" culture, people are labeled narc if they report suspected child abuse. Famlies can conceal abuse and a code of silence surrounded the death of two babies in this country.  Do I have an answer? I am not sure, but I think that our model of keeping the family together although well intended overlooks the child and it's whole environment.

Why don't we take all the children who are at risk out of the dysfunctional families altogether? We know that families are often ALL part of the cycle of abuse. If Nana or Grandad beat mum or dad , I would figure that all the Aunties and Uncles have been treated the same way. Sexual abuse, violence, alcohol and drug problems are connected as is the family.

I wonder if large modern and State run Orphanages or residential homes for kids are needed to supply the stability and security that has been lacking in their lives. The parents are not excluded but the children who are deemed unsafe within their own family need a fresh start and deserve something better . Something a lot better than many of them have been used too. A good breakfast, a warm bed, a bath or shower and a clean and dry towel plus schooling is the most basic needs of a child. Yet many  are missing out. I know this seems against the grain , but maybe purpose built places for children where their own families can visit and learn how to be better parents, budget better, or reduce drug and alcohol use are what is needed.

In other words we value our children and as a country we are not going to allow them to be in cold unsafe and violent homes any more.  I am not suggesting this is going to happen to anyone not already familiar and part of the system already. but CyF's policy of placing children and paying people to care for them is unsatisfactory in my opinion for the young person. Too often they get moved from home to home or placement to placement. I have worked with a young person who had had 51 placements. This is a disservice to this young man who is unlikely to ever feel secure when he can be moved when things don't work out. I go so far as to call it a form of structural and institutional violence. The person being protected- is not.

For this reason I wonder if we need to actually invest real money in creating happy and safe environments  for our young children to grow up as wards of the state , together is a group where children are part of a group , and can form a new kind of family . Paid well qualified and trained staff work round the clock as house parents. I know that there have been problems with this arrangement in the past but I am sure we can do better.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Being heard and Drug Testing Beneficiaries...

On Friday I was able to present my oral submission to the Politicians about the Amendment proposed under the Social Security Act about Drug Testing Beneficiaries. I was given name suppression and the room was cleared because, (i don't really know) but I guess it was because I was disclosing my deep dark personal secret cannabis use.

I wrote a submission outlining my life story as a teacher and how it is difficult to be a law reform activist and remain employed. Also how being on a benefit and having a prior conviction can make employment next to impossible. I certainly feel like I am last choice. Which is a shame, as I have had over  a decade working alongside drug users, as a counsellor and two years working with youth at Odyssey House. I have a unique set of skills.

So when I went to present my submission I was pretty sure of the ground I stood on.
I thought it best to start by asking those on the panel, MPs from all Parties are part of the select committee three questions.
1. Have you ever been long term unemployed?

2. Have you ever been before a court?

3. Have you or your family ever smoked cannabis?

I must say I did not really get any answers.

One lady MP put her hand up for being unemployed I think.

I then said when there are no jobs and the number of being made redundant each week is growing there is a real problem.

I am afraid I did not know the name of the chair but he proudly held up his shiny new I pad and said there are 14,000 jobs on seek and I could get one easily. It may not fit my skills but that did not bother him.

I tried to explain that many people do not have internet or phones or many in Avondale, where I live are immigrants without the required language skills.
His reply was directed at me and that perhaps I should not be too choosy.

I said it does not make sense for me to go off and pick fruit when I am nearly finished a Masters degree in Public Health.
The word dolt! entered my mind when listening to this pompous prick with an I Pad tell me there are 17,000 jobs on seek.

I guess I can only hope that common sense prevails and this lot of DOLTs get voted out.

When you are creating the problem, (jobless) blaming them for being jobless does not bring about change.

What is needed is a proper structure in place to train young people and prepare them for real jobs. Not everyone is going to go to University and the cleaners,cooks and childcare workers are undervalued and underpaid.

To solve any problem I learned from Paolo Friere that you must be able to understand what the problem really is.
The point I wanted to make was why test beneficiaries for using drugs when there are no jobs. I have no issue with drug testing once a person has a contract for a job and that the job requires a level of alertness or safety that drug testing is justified.

It costs over $100.00 to test for substances in a body. Plus most substances, E, alcohol , P and LSD etc have been passed out leaving only cannabis remaining in the system for detection. why waste time and money  when the goal is to create employment and more REAL jobs.

Right now there is extra seasonal work , pre- Christmas but that is not going to last.
I hope they understood me, that it is a pointless exercise, and one that smacks of coercion and bullying to attack the weakest and most vulnerable when a real job at a real living wage is what is needed.