Friday, 28 August 2015

Paula Rebstock jack of all trades, master of none.

Have you heard of Paula Rebstock? She is a handpicked National Party clone. The Nats have paid her hundreds of thousands of dollars to enquire into and recommend ‘Neoliberal’ answers to New Zealand’s woes and run down social services and even the railways.
Paula is an Auckland-based economist and company director and is currently deputy chairwoman of the New Zealand Railways Corporation and chair of the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman Commission and the Probation Expert Panel. Amongst many directorship roles and memberships, she is also the Financial Performance Auditor for Nga Puhi Trust Board, the Lead Reviewer for the Review of the Crown Law Office, Ministries of MPIA, MWA, CLO, DOL, DOC and ERO. She was formerly Chair of the Commerce Commission and a Director of the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology. 
Here is what Chris Trotter said about her in a blog:
“I MUST CONFESS to being unimpressed by Paula Rebstock. The only time I have ever encountered her in the flesh was at a seminar organised by the Child Poverty Action Group’s Susan St John. Ms Rebstock mumbled through a page or two of deadly-dull bureaucratese, failed to answer a couple of questions, and left. This lacklustre performance confirmed my view of Ms Rebstock as, ideologically-speaking, a safe pair of hands. Her review of New Zealand’s welfare system is as bloodless a piece of neoliberal “analysis” as any right-wing government could hope for – and its ramifications are still reverberating through beneficiary households across New Zealand.
Chris has hit the nail on the head…but he is not the only one with doubts about Rebstock’s one tracked neoliberalist’ mind-set. Metiria Turei Co-Leader of the Green Party had this to say back in April 2015 just after Anne Tolley the strange new Minister of Social Development took over from another Paula…Paula Bennett. Here is what Metiria had to say:
The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
“Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.
So when Social Development Minister Anne Tolley announced a high level review of CYF last week, my first thought was “It’s about time! I’ve been asking for this to happen for years.”
But on looking at the composition of the Minister’s Expert Review Panel and its terms of reference, my momentary elation rapidly turned to dire concern about what the review will recommend.
The Review Panel will be chaired not by someone with a background in child protection or youth justice issues, but by Paula Rebstock, an economist with a reputation as a privatiser and cost-cutter.
Yes, that’s the same Paula Rebstock who chaired the Welfare Working Group which completely ignored the best interests of children and young people and even went so far as making recommendations, adopted by the National Government, which increased the risk of abuse and neglect.
The other Review Panel members are the Commissioner of Police, the head of a Scottish charity, the Māori Party’s former Chief of Staff, and a Professor of Psychology. That there’s no-one there at all with a background of grassroots work with at-risk kids in New Zealand does not bode well  
Now as strange as it might sound but when you couple the various members of Rebstock’s team no one can be found who has an understanding or practical knowledge of CYF. But beat this: The Minister Anne Tolley calls these wacky bunch, experts, can you believe that?
Mike Bush CYF expert?

Paula Rebstock, economist and consultant: Mike Bush, the Commissioner of Police, Helen Leahy, the Maori Party’s ex-Chief of Staff, Duncan Dunlop the head of a SCOTTISH charity and a Psychology Professor Ritchie Poulton equals a balance group of experts then you would need your head read…just think about it; This group of National Party dependants will give the Government the answer it want’s; which is the introduction of privatisation for parts if not all of the CYF…and there has already word around that it could go to SERCO, beat that for supidity…Tolley has ready publicly stated [along with the PM] that she would be comfortable with SERCO.
Chris Trotter ended his blog with these comments:
“If Ms Rebstock really wanted to be rid of the burden of delivering reports which offer no better solutions than ever more draconian sanctions for the delinquent behaviour of an underclass entirely lacking the wherewithal to be anything other than a social disaster, then she would write a report that demanded for children, young persons and their families the dignity of work; the security of a well-appointed and affordable dwelling; a comprehensive mental health service for those whose minds are damaged; and a CYF agency in full possession of the staff and the resources needed to fulfil its legal and moral obligations to this nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
In other words, Ms Rebstock and her fellow review panelists You’ll forgive me if I don’t hold my breath.
Metiria Turei ended her blog with the following comments
 “Turning to the terms of reference, I didn’t have to read far for my concerns to be heightened. The second bullet point of the Review Panel’s scope reads:
·        The core role and purpose of Child, Youth and Family; and opportunities for a stronger focus on this, including through outsourcing some services (my emphasis)
The terms of reference also talk about the “… development of an investment approach for Child, Youth and Family…” That’s management-speak for CYF targeting funding into areas that will save them the most money in future, rather than into areas that will keep the most kids safe.
There is no opportunity for public submissions to the Review Panel, and no requirement that it consults with anyone working on the ground with at-risk children. Even worse, there is no requirement that the Review Panel address the well-established links between child poverty and child abuse and neglect.
This review has all the hallmarks of Government having a predetermined intent to take CYF down a path of privatisation, outsourcing and cost-cutting; and establishing a Review Panel that will deliver the recommendations it needs to justify doing that – just as happened with the Welfare Working Group.
That is a recipe for corporate profiteering and continued or worsening fragmentation and dysfunction in the delivery of CYF services.
Our nation’s most vulnerable children and young people deserve better.
So there it is: Another plan to privatise yet another government activity: The neoliberal agenda rolls on in New Zealand, profit will now be built into every activity, corners will be cut and the ten percent will get richer while the rest will fall even further behind. The egalitarian society that we once had is now well and truly gone…its self-interest and money that now counts. Key and others before him [Douglas, Richardson, etc.] have contaminated our society to such an extent that caring about others and willingly sharing the wealth of the nation is a thing of the past.
We are now well on the way to becoming a little America in the South Pacific. Yet even after these words I can still see a little light at the end of the tunnel, hope remains because, it’s just possible that Key will head off to his Hawaii mansion and become an US Citizen…but only after he has changed the flag as his lasting legacy to the nation, when in fact he has already given us his legacy…poverty, lower wages, Paula Bennett and Rebstock…private prisons and the biggest debt the nation has ever had, so much for neoliberalism etc.   

Will SERCO save CYF from collaspe

 …ever since Douglas and Richardson smashed the social fabric of New Zealand’s society, we’ve gone backwards. Neoliberalism is driving the country into poverty…unless you are one of the top 10% you are doomed to an ever decreasing decline into the depth of poverty…yes you! be you middle class or otherwise…but not for long.

CYF report 2015.

The PM has gone public to dampen down the negative feedback from Judge Andrew Becroft on how CYF looks after those in its care: Of course he had to this so as to set the scene for privatising the CYF service; the Minister [Anne Tolley] has already suggested that SERCO would be suitable to complete this role on behalf of the state.

The Government has been cutting funding to CYF since they took office in 2008 and they have used this same tactic to reduce spending in the social arena until they reach the point of collapse…they have successfully used this method to privatise prisons and sell off half of our power companies.

This government is doing exactly what Roger Douglas did in 1984; buying into the usual clap trap that neoliberalism is the way to go. But the PM and his neoliberal friends lack the guts to say that this is their real goal.

The answer is so obvious that even an idiot can see where the answer lays: Fund the department properly…ever since Douglas and Richardson smashed the social fabric of New Zealand’s society, we’ve gone backwards. Neoliberalism is driving the country into poverty…unless you are one of the top 10% you are doomed to an ever decreasing decline into the depth of poverty…yes you! be you middle class or otherwise…but not for long.
A couple of neoliberal twits Key and Bennett.
This from Radio NZ:

The Principal Youth Court Judge believes there is a "staggering and profoundly concerning link" between children who have been in care and crime.
Justice and education advocates have said their sectors need more collaboration with the state welfare arm, after a critical report on Child, Youth and Family (CYF) by the Children's Commissioner.
Principal Judge Andrew Becroft said the report was a vital piece of work.

He said the Youth Court dealt with the most damaged, dysfunctional and disordered young people in New Zealand, and the overwhelming majority of them had a care and protection background.
In his job, he comes across thoughtful young people, but from their perspective, the care and protection they have received has been atrocious.
"We know that, as night follows day, the inevitable path of those for whom care and protection is not done well is the Youth Court."

Judge Becroft said he was in a Youth Court recently where a boy was not obeying his bail.
"I said, 'why can't you, why can't you stay still in this place,' and he said, 'you know, I've been moved by the Government through CYFS over fifty times, fifty different homes, now you ask me to stay still'."
Judge Becroft said it sounded simplistic, but what the report highlighted was the need to do the care and protection work better.

"So that we're not left, for instance, with, as I understand it, 83 percent of prison inmates under 20 have a care and protection record with Child, Youth and Family.
"There's really a staggering and profoundly concerning link between care and protection issues and adverse life outcomes, shall we say, in the criminal justice system."

Susanne Jungersen is the principal of Porirua College. In her job, she comes across young people without a stable environment to go home to, and some find the place they leave in the morning is not the one they go back to after school.
Ms Jungersen said the uncertainty often led them to not want to commit, and hindered their schooling.
"In a general sense, they also are quite street-smart and have a bit of a sour view about the adult world that can lead them to become angry at school sometimes or to find school a difficult routine to follow."
Ms Jungersen said the CYF service was incredibly stretched and it did not have the resources to work with.
She said things could be improved if schools had better relationships with their local CYF office, and it would make more sense for education and welfare worked more closely.

"I do wish we had a better relationship, it would be very sensible if we sat down and did an education and welfare care plan together, that would make a lot of sense, that doesn't happen for the most part."
Post-Primary Teachers Association (PPTA) president Angela Roberts said her organisation had long pushed for schools to act as hubs, so other agencies such as health or welfare, can easily connect with children.
She said children going through state care were often very transient, and often schools were not aware students were in care.
"It's quite possible that schools aren't even aware of the really vulnerable circumstances that they're carrying on their shoulders when they walk through the school gate.
"So being able to resource schools to have the time to be able to connect with the other professionals that are involved in the child's life would be really welcome."
'Government has to get it right'
The Government has said there may be changes for Child, Youth and Family, but not until an independent panel it has appointed reports its findings, which are expected at the end of the year.
The Prime Minister acknowledged there was a strong link between children who had been in state care and crime, and said the Government as a whole needed to do a better job.
John Key said Judge Becroft's points were fair.
"There are too many young people who are so badly damaged from the environment they come from, and we need to do a better job as the State, actually, to try and look after them.
"That's part of the reason that Child, Youth and Family has such a significant review being undertaken."
The Labour Party said the Government must get things right for children in state care or risk more young people going into a life of crime and filling up the country's prisons.
Labour's Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis said Judge Becroft's comments did not come as a surprise and there was a massive problem with the state care system.
"The first thing that needs to happen, of course, in the lives of kids is that they need to be raised in a loving, caring, environment. Now if parents aren't doing that and they go into CYF care, well then the CYFS people need to actually be loving, caring, and supportive as well. Too many of our kids are basically just dumped and left," Mr Davis said.
Mr Davis said lessons must be learnt from the Children's Commissioner's report.
New Zealand First social development spokesperson Darroch Ball said the link between state care and crime was an "absolute failure" of the Government.
"We can't keep accepting that that's the path for these children. When, they end up in the court system, that's the end result.
"We need to start looking at the causes for that and really investing and supporting and resourcing those kids."

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Kathryn Ryan makes Matthew Hooton suffer!

Kathryn Ryan loses her cool:
Kathryn Ryan

From the Left and from the Right is a weekly political discussion hosted by Radio New Zealand’s Kathryn Ryan between 11am and 11.30am on a Monday.

The [so-called] left is represented by Mike Williams an ex-Labour Party President. He is a sort of ‘wishy-washy’ middle of the road party man who anyone in my opinion would have difficulty calling left. In fact he is right of centre but just not as far right as for example John Key. He is a sort of ‘New Zealand version of a Blairite New Way’ wee-chap looking for a home.  

And for the right Matthew Hooton, an ex-staffer of a National Party Minister [Bill English I think], A apologist for the Nats and PR man for who-ever pays the most. He was mentioned in Nicky Hagar’s book Dirty Politics as the guy who gave out Hagar’s address to a Hong Kong blogger connected to those involved in the PM’s ‘Black Op’s team.

More about each of them:

Kathryn Ryan

Grew up in the South Island is now based in Wellington.
She has a BA degree in History and Education, a post-graduate diploma in journalism, and has also completed university study in business and economics.
A journalist for twenty years, Kathryn began in print, and joined Radio New Zealand in 1999.
She spent six years reporting on Parliament in Radio New Zealand's Press Gallery office, the last three as Radio New Zealand's political editor.
She became host of Nine to Noon in May 2006.
Kathryn has covered the last seven general elections in various roles, including co-hosting Radio New Zealand's election night programmes.
Kathryn has traveled widely throughout New Zealand and visited around 20 countries in Europe, Asia and the Pacific, as well as the United States and Antarctica.
Her interests include reading, movies, good food and wine, the great outdoors, tramping and sea swimming. [From Radio NZ web site]
Mike Williams, Mad Left?   Matthew Hooton, crazy Right?

Kenneth Michael "Mike" Williams (born 1949)
Is a former president of the New Zealand Labour Party.
Williams has been an information technology consultant and was a director (until December 2008) of Genesis Energy, the New Zealand Transport Agency, and GNS Science.
He is currently Chief Executive of the anti-P Stellar Trust, a charity which campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers of methamphetamine. Williams unsuccessfully stood for several local government positions in the 2010 Auckland local elections. These were the Henderson-Massey Local Board, the Waitakere Licensing Trust, and the Waitemata District Health Board.  [From Wikipedia]

Matthew Hooton:
This Personal Statement by Matthew Hooton says it all:
1 September 2014 For Immediate Release
“This morning I made comments on Radio New Zealand’s Nine to Noon programme about an attempt by staff in the Prime Minister’s Office to interfere in the appointment of my company, which, following a government procurement process was carrying out work for the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA)’s Christchurch Central Development Unit (CCDU) in July 2012,” Matthew Hooton said.
“My company’s work with CCDU continued until mid-2013 and involved, among other things, researching the knowledge of and interest in Christchurch by investors in Auckland, Australia and beyond.
“I stand by all the statements I made on Nine to Noon including that the contact made by the Prime Minister’s Office to CERA was outside the State Sector Act.
“I am very disappointed the prime minister has chosen not to get himself properly briefed on this matter before making disparaging comments about me to the parliamentary press gallery.
“Despite all this, my support for the National Party is built deep into my DNA. As recently as last week I participated in a fundraiser for the Parnell National Party and have allowed my daughter’s image to be used on National Party campaign material.
"I will be voting National for the party vote and, as advised for the prime minister, for the Act Party candidate in Epsom, David Seymour, and I hope National is able to form a government with its support partners Act, United Future and the Maori Party.”

The reference above is a half hour programme broadcast on Monday the 10th of August 2015; it is well worth listening to; because it clearly demonstrates that Radio New Zealand staff, at least some of the time, act like real journalists. Matthew Hooton has a go at Professor Jane Kelsey over her opposition to the TPPA… Kathryn Ryan at long last was provoked by Hooton’s rude behaviour and her putting him in his place was brilliant.