Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mike Butler: Work risk grossly exaggerated


A current work safely television advertisement campaign claims that last year there were 23,000 deaths and serious injuries in New Zealand when the actual figure is 450.

Wellington risk specialist Ian Harrison smelt a rat when he saw the adverts so reviewed the evidence to find that the claims were grossly exaggerated. He filed a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority

The campaign coincides with Health and Safety at Work Act coming into force, and appears to be designed to garner public support for a campaign to reduce key health and safety indicators by 10 percent by 2016 and by 25 percent by 2020.

A public push-back has begun against draconian penalties for safety infringements and increased costs of doing business, which appear grossly disproportionate to the likely benefits.

A total of 44 workplace fatalities were reported to Worksafe New Zealand in 2015.

The authoritative source on serious injuries is the Statistics Department's series “Serious non-fatal work-related claims”, with figures from 2014 the latest available. There were 397 injuries.

As this series is fairly stable we can be reasonably sure that the 2015 death and serious injury figure was about 450. So where did the 23,000 deaths and serious injuries come from? There are two possibilities: The workplace serious harm notification series, and ACC entitlement claim data.

Workplace serious harm notifications totalled 3384 In 2015, with 24,000 notifications in the five years to 2015.

ACC entitlement claim data, according data published annually by Statistics NZ, there were 28,000 “claims involving entitlement payments for work-related injuries” in 2014.

It appears the purpose of the Work Safe advertising blitz is to reduce the number of claims to ACC.

If also appears that the “23,000 deaths and serious injuries every year in NZ” claim was chosen as the message for the blitz because the message “last year 23,000 New Zealanders had a week or more off work after a workplace accident, and made a claim on ACC” was not very compelling.

Harrison said there is no substantive support for the claim in the television advertisement that New Zealand’s rate is twice that of Australia’s. He noted that international comparisons were unreliable partly because New Zealand’s definition of a workplace accidental death is broader than many of the comparators.

He compared the goals set by Government to reduce workplace fatality and serious injury rates by 10 percent by 2016 and 25 percent by 2020 with current rates to find that the fatal work-related injury goal has already been achieved, that we are heading towards achieving the serious non-fatal work-related injury goal, and that although the “work-related injury with more than a week away from work” may have been achieved although it is more problematic with issues relating to claim management.

Comparing goals with latest data:
1. For the age-standardised rate of fatal work-related injuries per 100,000 person years at risk, the 2016 and 2020 targets are 2.5 and 2.1 respectively. For the three-year period 2012-14, the Statistics NZ outcome was 2.2 fatalities per 100,000.

2. For the age-standardised rate of serious non-fatal work-related injuries, the 2016 and 2020 targets are 14.5 and 12.1 respectively. The latest, 2014, figure was 16.2.

3. For the rate of work-related injuries with more than a week away from work, the target is 8.41 per 1000 full-time equivalent employees. The Working Safer report shows that the claim rate fell from 12 per 1000 FTEs in 2003 to under 7.9 by 2010, a fall of 34 percent. The rate has plateaued since then.
There is no sign of a cost-benefit analysis. The Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment appears averse to weighing costs and benefits, preferring the “at all costs” approach with someone other than the government carrying the costs.

The elephant in the room regarding our generous no-fault accident compensation scheme in which we all pay for individual injuries is that the socialist pot of gold will always attract a mountain of claims – which is what the scary adverts are trying to reduce.

See

The Work Safe NZ/ACC television advertisements - a review of the evidence. http://www.tailrisk.co.nz/documents/Accident.pdf

Mole News


Secrets of the Maori heavens revealed
A curator of Waikato Museum’s Matariki show says it’s a chance to reveal some of the trove of information he has gathered about Maori astronomy.

Waikato University Associate Professor Rangi Matamua has delved into the manuscript written early last century by his great-grandfather which names more 1000 stars and the Tuhoe understanding of them.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: Where the benefit babies are born


Every year I track how many benefit babies there are relative to the total births. Being a 'benefit baby' means relying on a parent or caregiver's benefit by the the end of their birth year. Most will become reliant nearer to their birth date rather than first birthday. Many will go on to experience long-term deprivation.

This year I asked for a  breakdown by Work and Income Service Centre. That was provided.
Then I asked the Ministry of Health for District Health Board birth data for 2015. They very quickly obliged without an OIA. Credit to them.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Karl du Fresne: Agenda-driven reformers untroubled by human consequences


The American economist Milton Friedman once said that it’s a great mistake to judge things by their intentions rather than by their results. Unfortunately it’s a mistake repeatedly made by agenda-driven reformers on a mission to create the perfect society. A Radio New Zealand Spectrum programme brought one such instance to public attention earlier this month.

Until 2007, intellectually disabled people in New Zealand were exempted from minimum wage laws. This meant they could be employed doing menial work in facilities known as sheltered workshops.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bryan Leyland: Things you know that ain't so - sea levels are rising


Things you know that ain't so - the sea level is rising rapidly and this will continue to increase

We are constantly being told by the Royal Society of New Zealand and others that the sea level is rising more and more rapidly and we must be prepared for a rise of something like 1 m over the next 100 years or so – 10 mm per year. This is a serious matter because many Councils are now restricting building close to the sea and putting restrictions on existing houses that have substantially reduced their value.


There is no scientific foundation for this belief. It is based on the output of computer models that, so far, have been shown to consistently overestimate the rate of sea level rise.

Anthony Willy: Straws in the wind


Readers will be well familiar with the blame mentality on which some Maori people thrive and the depressing slide into racial separatism associated with it which has been gaining momentum over the past few years; connived at by the Wellington bureaucracy and encouraged by The Waitangi Tribunal and a series of pronouncements from our highest Court many of which are unnecessary to the issue before them and seem to be made on the basis of what some of the Judges would have decided if the facts had been other than those before the court. 

Maori lobby interests such as the Iwi Leaders Group, a self-appointed collection of individuals handsomely funded out of the public purse by way of past treaty settlements and purporting to speak on behalf of all people of Maori descent (but do not) have become increasingly bold in their demands. 

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Mole News Archive


From the NZCPR archives by Dr Muriel Newman
Race-based Water Rights a Step Closer
Water is being targeted by the Maori elite as the next resource to control. The influential Iwi Leaders Group is pushing ahead with their demand for a proprietary right to freshwater. They want a preferential allocation – in perpetuity – that can be commercialised. They say it’s their right under the Treaty of Waitangi. But it’s not – it’s just another attempted money grab and unfortunately our political leaders are allowing them to get away with it.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Richard Rahn from the Cato Institute: Tracing Pathways to Success and Failure


Why is Hong Kong rich, Cuba very poor, and Puerto Rico struggling? Back in 1955, the islands of Puerto Rico, Cuba and Hong Kong had roughly the same real per capita income. They each took very different economic paths. 

Now, some 60 years later, Hong Kong is even richer than the United States on a per capita income basis. Cuba is an economic disaster, having gone from the richest Caribbean nation to the poorest, next to Haiti. And Puerto Rico finds itself flirting with bankruptcy, with a per capita income much higher than Cuba’s but only roughly half that of Hong Kong. Incomes have increased approximately 22-fold in Hong Kong, 11-fold in Puerto Rico, and only fourfold at best in Cuba, in a little over a half-century.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Matt Ridley from the UK: The exoneration of dietary fat


Britain’s obesity tsar, Susan Jebb, says that it is not fair to blame fat people for their failure to lose weight. Genetically predisposed, many people cannot realistically lose weight by eating less, especially when the food industry tempts them with snacks. Meanwhile, George Osborne is slapping a tax on sugar to tackle obesity.

The new obsession with sugar definitely makes more sense than the low-fat sermons we have heard for decades. And the prevailing idea in the public-health industry that you get fat simply by eating more calories than you burn is misleading to say the least. While of course that’s true, it says nothing about what causes appetite to exceed need by the tiny amount each day that can turn you obese.

Brian Gaynor: Banks long shadow over NZ economy


One of the most important developments in recent decades has been the growing dominance of the trading banks in New Zealand and other countries.

These banks completely dominate the lending sector, have been primarily responsible for the housing market boom and are becoming more and more prominent in KiwiSaver, which is also supporting the housing market through its first home withdrawal scheme.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Mike Butler: Waitara leaseholders pressured


A further step in a long-running dispute over leasehold land at Waitara, 16km from New Plymouth, was made last night when the New Plymouth District Council voted unanimously in favour of a proposed local bill.

That bill would give 76 hectares of land to Taranaki tribe Te Atiawa and give Waitara leaseholders the right to buy the land under their homes.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Mike Butler: Maori council seats vote petition


Maori wards could be set up on every district council in New Zealand without requiring a public vote, according to a Maori Party petition, which is the latest battle in a 20-year push to get separate voting into local government.

Co-leader Te Ururoa Flavell will present a petition to Parliament at the urging of New Plymouth mayor Andrew Judd, who championed a Maori ward in his city - a move blocked by a public vote last year.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Viv Forbes: Carbon Delusions and Defective Models


The relentless war on carbon is justified by the false assumption that global temperature is controlled by human production of two carbon-bearing “Greenhouse Gases”. 

The scary forecasts of runaway heating are based on complicated but narrowly-focussed carbon-centric computerised Global Circulation Models built for the UN IPCC. These models omit many significant climate factors and rely heavily on dodgy temperature records and unproven assumptions about two trace natural gases in the atmosphere.

Matt Ridley from the UK: Green costs are killing heavy industry in Britain


Before Redcar and Port Talbot, remember Lynemouth, where Britain’s last large aluminium smelter closed in 2012. In aluminium, as in steel, China is now by far the largest producer, smelting five times as much as any other continent, let alone country.

The chief reason aluminium left (though a small plant survives at Lochaber) was the sky-high electricity prices paid in Britain: electrolysis is how you make aluminium. For extra-large industrial users, British electricity prices are the highest in Europe, twice the average, and far higher than in Asia and America.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Theodore Dalrymple: Trawling the trolls



I am no respecter of persons, particularly politicians, but even politicians are human -- more or less -- and are therefore deserving of some kind of elementary courtesy. 

When, shortly after my arrival in Australia to spend April at CIS, I read a Guardian article reporting the Treasurer's remarks on state taxation, I read with mild dismay, but not surprise, the readers' on-line responses; for example the following:

Friday, April 8, 2016

Lindsay Mitchell: CYF overhaul - crux of the matter overlooked again


Another voluminous  report into CYF; a long-winded ministerial response; multiple cabinet papers and a proposed radical overhaul promised

But when will the system that turns children into careless accidents or meal tickets be radically overhauled?

Because until then, none of these other investigations and re-inventions will matter a damn.

Brian Gaynor: ‘Free market’ failings fuel the Trump movement


Robert B. Reich’s book Saving Capitalism is an excellent read for those wanting a better understanding of the Donald Trump phenomenon. It also highlights why the traditional political order has been disrupted in many other countries and why New Zealand could also have a “Trump experience”.

Reich, who was Secretary of Labor in the Clinton Administration, is a strong supporter of capitalism but he believes that its rules are strongly skewed in favour of a number of elites and against the majority of ordinary citizens.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Mike Butler: Two Ministers and a kura


A stoush between a retired principal and the government over the provision of a new primary school for the Hastings suburb of Havelock North stepped up a notch at the weekend with the National Party MP for Tukituki blaming the Labour Party.

Frustrated by a continued lack of response from both Tukituki MP Craig Foss and Education Minister Hekia Parata, the retired principal, Malcolm Dixon, yesterday launched a website www.schoolforhavelocknorth.co.nz to fight for the new primary school that was promised in 2010.

Karl du Fresne: 'Did anyone get that on camera?' Yes they did, and we could all see who was at fault


Protesters, eh? I’ve been one myself, so I’m not entirely hostile to the idea of marching in the street and waving banners. But sometimes protesters push their luck.

Consider what happened last week in Wanganui, where a car driven by National MP Chester Borrows allegedly drove over the foot of a woman protesting against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Barend Vlaardingerbroek: ‘People of the Book’, ‘People of No Book’, and the ‘clash of civilisations’


I think Islam hates us. There's a tremendous hatred… There is an unbelievable hatred of us.” – Donald Trump, 9 March

Islamist extremists certainly hate us. But exactly who is ‘us’? The ‘Christian West’ would be a common answer especially in the US, but it’s not a very satisfactory answer – there was little ‘Christian’ about the twin towers and even less ‘Western’ about the victims of the Lahore atrocity last week.