Thanks Toad for being faster on the draw than I am today.

Oh, and Bomber replied too, here.

Cactus Kate:
It was with mounting horror that I read your post today, and realised you had taken phrases out of context, from the comments made by myself and some other solo mothers, some 3 years ago. Nothing any of us (g.bloggers, who as Toad has said, do not represent Green Party policy, but speak for ourselves as individuals, or commenters, many of whom were not green members to my knowledge) said was advocating the kind of responses that you suggested.

I personally have resolved some of my financial issues by shifting the domicile of my teenagers back into their father’s responsibility, due to a major illness I am experiencing. He now acknowledges that child support, while he grumbled about it, is nowhere near as expensive as feeding teenagers 24/7, not to mention living with their tastes in music and clothes. FWIW, he did get taken by IRD and given a good shaking, and had to pay up for telling porkies about his salary and various other assets to IRD. Not that I saw any of it, he owed it to MSD via IRD.

In general, women I know, and know of, on the DPB are now worse off than they were before 2008. Not just because of the change of government, but because of the recession, and a bunch of futures speculation in food crops on the NYSE that led to global food price rises in most of the staple foods. CPI increases over the past 3 years have not been incorporated into benefits. Many more people are relying on Special Benefits to cover basic costs, as the ceiling for base benefit levels has been exceeded by price increases in every cost sector.

It’s not just teenage mums, or young women straight out of uni falling pregnant and going on the DPB. We’ve had this little thing called ‘the Christchurch earthquakes’ happen in NZ, which has changed the playing field for a lot of women. The combined Women’s Refuges of Christchurch have lost half of their available accommodation due to quake damage, and as domestic violence levels have soared in the city, they have been shipping families around the country to Refuges in other provinces where there is capacity available. Approximately 20,000 households have been displaced in Christchurch; a lot of marriages have broken up under the strain of watching the family home (the only asset a lot of working class NZ families ever own, their only retirement capital) turn into a broken pile of crap that the CERA, the insurance corporations and the EQC are now arguing over liabilities for.

Please don’t use my arguments to justify your narrow bigotry and repetition of mother-bashing myths about welfare consumers.
Quite a lot of men who look ‘ok’ in their twenties, a ‘good catch’ in their 30’s, can turn out to be the worst kind of hell to be married to when they start hitting the mothers of their children when the economy turns sour & money troubles begin. For a lot of those mothers, walking away and living the rest of one’s life on less than one is accustomed to is a damn sight more viable than sitting still and being beaten whenever he gets the bills in the mail.

Do not presume to assume that everyone who ends up on the DPB started out with nothing to their name; you’re a lawyer, you’ll have met some of the pond-scum lawyers who advise men how to defraud their ex-partners and children so they can set up with a clean slate (financially) with a new partner and family.

And on behalf of those women who were/are young solo mothers, sterilising young mothers is as brutal a solution as the social welfare policies of the 60’s, when young women who became unmarried mothers were forced to adopt out their babies at barely six weeks old. It certainly solved problems for older, infertile couples who wanted children to adopt, but it did nothing for the mental state of the mothers, or for the children.
By the same token, telling a 25-year-old solo mother that she has just experienced her one chance to have offspring, ‘tough luck he ran out on her & we’re going to neuter her so that she never has a chance to form a stable relationship’, is cruel and lacking in compassion.
For this to be advanced as a serious policy to deal with the welfare budget is disingenuous indeed, given that superannuation is by far the biggest cost in MSD. It will continue to be so until the baby boomer generation have shuffled off, then we’re going to be right back where we started, with a population and skills shortage.

I suggest you learn to think of policy happening in cycles that are longer than the 3 years between elections. Like, say, the eighteen years it takes to bring a baby to young adulthood, with all the attendant feeding, clothing, educating and housing that it requires.
There’s quite a lot of reasonable social policy around that topic, that timeframe – it can be found in the Ministries of Health, Education, Social Development, and even within MED, if you look at the demographic projections closely enough. Not to mention Family Court policy within Ministry of Justice.

Where I do agree with you is that men need to take responsibility; for their offspring, their attitudes, their drinking and their raping. It’s only a problem in a minority of cases, or else we wouldn’t be having this argument, you too would be a survivor of domestic violence.

There are very good reasons why some women don’t want their rapists name on their child’s birth certificate. An abusive man is not someone you want having any legal right to take your child. Don’t believe every sob story an attractive single, apparently childless man tells you after a few drinks, the Courts don’t allow such birth certification easily, and some women have had to go to great lengths to prevent any legal claim on the person of their child.

Family Courts are not biased towards women, if anything more men succeed in Court to gain custody and access provisions that suit them. There is no law in NZ to require a father to spend time with his offspring, something custody negotiations often fail to take into account. What looks good on paper is not necessarily going to happen in practice.

Something entertaining

June 28, 2011

Gig poster, shd b up all over town!

Some friends of mine, some of whom are greenies, and some of whom are Greenies, are in a little band called the Klezmer Rebs. These days they’re scattered all over the place, but they’ll be playing at the launch of a new compilation CD soon in Wellington. Thought I’d post this straight away so I don’t forget (my brain being a bit like that these days…).

So here’s the goods:

Friday 15 July 2011 @ 9pm
The Garden Club
13 Dixon Street, Wellington
Entry $15 or $20 including the CD

…The night will feature performances from:

Niko Ne Zna (Balkan Brass Band with special guest ‘The Gypsy Master’)
Sam Manzanza and the Afro-Beat Band
Klezmer Rebs (Jewish Klezmer band)
Los Jineteros (Live Reggaeton band)
Carlos Navae Trio (Salsa)
Zamba Bem (Brazilian Dance)
Navjeevan (Indian Bhangra drumming)
Frankie Fresh and DJOE
And more….

‘The Overseas Experiment’ proudly presents this compilation of locally produced music in traditional and contemporary ‘world music’ styles. This album features songs from Wellington-based musicians from a wide variety of ethnic and musical traditions. Proceeds from CD sales will go directly to the artists and a small portion will be used for an ongoing project to develop musical opportunities for refugee and recent migrant background youth in Wellington.

The Compilation CD will be officially released and available for sale at this event.

I admit to having lifted all of that text from the event page on FB, but then again I was specifically asked if I could give it a push, so there y’are, no copyright infringement there, officer!

Slutwalk review

June 26, 2011

Ok, so anyone looking would have noticed that I haven’t said anything so far about this global phenomenon. FWIW, the arguments that american feminists have amongst themselves are not my problem, so I’m not gonna recap on that, google it yourself or check out the Handmirror, Julie’s done a reasonable recap here, and so has Luddite Journo.
And in the vein of my ever-increasing updates to this post, here’s Jane Clifton’s take on the story at The Listener, which was published on 2 July, before the marches took place, but will live behind the subscriber firewall until 18 July, 2011. Soz, but I figgured linking it was better than forgetting to go back once the two weeks had elapsed. [Or you could go looking for the print copy, which was still on sale last Thursday, but is prolly all gone back to the distributors by now, despite holding this week’s TV & radio programming details…]
Latest Listener (July 4) has Diana Wichtel’s TV review focussing on Slutwalk reporting in the media, not bad. Not behind the firewall, either.

I went on the march after a few of us had voiced some misgivings, but basically the issue is too important not to get involved in, whatever the minor differences of style and analysis we have between our various organisations.

MJ Scannell and Pollyanne Pena did a good job for people who haven’t ever done this before. It’s so long since I was on my first Reclaim the Night organising collective that I have to stretch to remember how much I sucked; thankfully for all concerned, I wasn’t a major part of that group, and lots of people helped me to come up to speed, which is a favour I return practically every time I get involved in running a march. There are lots of things to know how to do, and there are some obstructive bureaucrats who try to stop us every time.

There were great speakers, our own Green Party Candidate standing in Mana electorate, Jan Logie, being one of them. Brooklynne Kennedy, co-convenor of the Young Greens also spoke, and so did Natalie Gousmett who some in green circles may know, speaking for Rape Crisis.
Other speakers represented the Wellington Young Feminists Collective, Young Labour, and the NZ Prostitutes Collective, whose speaker reminded us that it’s eight years since the legislation passed decriminalising prostitution, and that nobody ever ‘deserves to be raped’, whatever their relationship to their rapist, whatever their sexual history, whatever is worn, wherever it is.
There were hundreds of marchers; young, old, men, women, gay, straight, everything in between as well. The recent ‘Queer the Night’ march in Wellington to highlight homophobic violence had a flow-on effect to Slutwalk here, with many young members (and some not-so-young) of the GLBTI community coming out to march against sexual violence crimes.

The main media outlets have focussed on simple things like the word ‘slut’ and ‘skimpy clothing’ images.
If they had honestly reported the speeches, they’d have heard MJ Scannell plead for media to stop using language that blames victims of rape, that implies that the sex was somehow consensual, that says ‘s/he must have asked for it’, that perpetuates the myriad of rape myths that are current in our society.
For those reasons alone, I’m not linking to any ‘mainstream media outlets’ websites – again, you can go google it yourself or search TV3, TVNZ, stuff and nzherald websites using the ‘slutwalk aotearoa’ search term.

Update:
Jan Logie’s excellent speech is online here at her blog.
And also Brooklynne Kennedy’s speech is here.

Now some pictures!

The crowd was thickly spread across the dryer parts of Waitangi Park, the starting point.


MJ Scannell speaking to the crowd in Civic Square


Jan Logie in mid-speech, with hovering press photographer.


Brooklynne Kennedy, bravely challenging the crowd on transphobia and rape issues.


Nicole Skews from the Wellington Young Feminists Collective

And in the ever-increasing updates, here’s a post by

Concerned Citizens launched their fundraising exhibition at their temporary gallery space in Garrett St, Te Aro, last night.
A good crowd attended the opening, with viewing beginning at 4.30pm, accompanied by mulled wine, homebrew beer, and a choice of non-alcoholic hot and cold drinks.

After a formal welcome and Karakia by Moana Winitana around 7pm, Food not Bombs crew served snacks, and a little later Frances Mountier from October 15th Solidarity spoke for a few minutes about the background to the raids. She then introduced Nicky Hager, who gave an informative talk on the wider issues around the TSA and the Operation 8 raids, with time for some questions afterwards.

At 8pm, Abi King-Jones introduced a showing of “Operation 8: Deep in the forest”, which a large crowd stayed to watch. The movie is also showing on general release at cinema theatres around the country at present. View the trailer here: Operation 8

The exhibition is open until Sunday evening, 11am-8pm each day, with all works for sale by silent auction. More information at Concerned Citizens

early on in the exhibition viewing

early on in the exhibition viewing

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager in full flight, watched by Frances Mountier

Investigative journalist Nicky Hager in full flight, watched by Frances Mountier

UPDATE:
From the Concerned Citizens Collective –

Hi everyone!

Just wanted to let you all know that as we realise more and more the scope of opening the auction up to global bidders via the internet, it would be AMAZING if you could tell ANYONE IN THE WORLD that’s interested in

A. Supporting a struggle against human rights abuses in New Zealand, and the rest of the world

and/or

B. Buying amazing art from up and coming and established New Zealand artists

that they NEED to go to www.concernedcitizens.co.nz and place their bids NOW! All works can be viewed on the website. BIDDING WILL CLOSE AT 8PM SHARP!
If everything works out, there will be a live video feed of the bidding war at Garrett Street from 6-8pm tonight, and the auction will be led by prominent Springbok tour protest organiser John Minto and alleged “terrorist” Valerie Morse. There will be bus launching! There will be George W Bush look-alikes!

In addition, PLEASE let anyone you know in Wellington that is also interested in A and/or B, tell them that between 4 and 8pm today, there will be a bidding war party at the Garrett Street exhibition space, with leading bids projected, John and Val’s spectacular visual display of the running total of funds raised. Come and hang out and bring as much as you like to drink/eat and partake in the festivities! There will be mulled wine and home brew but we’re worried it may run out before the auction closes.

Thank you so much everyone for your support!

To promote an Art Gallery exhibition which opens tomorrow, a group called Concerned Citizens is planning a re-creation of a claim used in the Pascoe Affadavit to arrest one of the accused in Operation 8.
So they’ve built a catapault, and will test launching bus-shaped items at an actor standing in for George Bush, outside Parliament tomorrow around noon.

Media release here: Scoop.

Testing the bus-catapault in Glover Park today

Testing the bus-catapault in Glover Park today

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