Catching up the blagosphere

Just catching up a bit this monday, but there is a very good quickie from I/S over at NRT on how staying together for the kids can be worse than divorce.

One with a gun or twenty with clubs

Would you prefer to have twenty people bash you to death with clubs, or one shoot you until you died? Either way you’re still hurting and dying. This principle is why I really don’t get people who say it’s okay to take away people’s rights so long as we do it by referendum- whether it’s the Māori seats, a child’s right not to be hit in an abusive manner under a defense of correction, the right of any two people to marry regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation- whatever.

The point is there is no difference between a totalitarian regime imposing a specific injustice because of the word of Dear Leader, and 50+% of us deciding to rob some portion of the rest of human rights. In matters of protections from abuse or entitlements to civil rights, the people who will actually be affected should also agree they aren’t needed before we start talking about a referendum at all.

And, to the current specific case before us with the upcoming referendum: seeing we don’t enfranchise kids, perhaps we should be even more careful about taking away their legal protections over some populist whip-up with no real weight of argument behind it. Let’s be neither the twenty with clubs nor the one with the gun, when we could instead so easily be a society of parents and other caregivers who realise that “corrective” violence, even when it starts off not hurting, just isn’t worth it. ๐Ÿ™‚

(Cross-posted from G.Blog)

Vote Yes

For those truckers who don’t follow me on G.Blog, here’s a cross-post:

Just a reminder to everyone who supported Sue Bradford’s Bill to repeal ยง59 of the crimes act and extend full protection from assault to children- there is a referendum coming up that is designed to undermine that decision, even though it passed overwhelmingly and attitudes (not only to abuse of children, but also to physical discipline of children) have already changed dramatically since the implementation of the new law.

There’s a great non-partisan campaign to support the current law on at The site is very rigorous and straightforward in its facts, doesn’t overreach, and has excellent talking points for the current policy and why it needs extra time to be successful. In short, their main thrust accords with the Party’s reasoning for supporting the bill in the first place: It draws a line in the sand and uses that to motivate slow change towards a society where physical discipline is largely abandoned and unnecessary.

If you can get out and help spread the word that people supporting our current, sensible laws regarding assault against children, please do so. Their recommendations for supporting the “Yes” campaign are here1, and you can find resources for grassroots campaigning here.

1 Basically, they recommend writing your local MP and keeping up with news from the campaign.

Motherhood issues

The Standard has a good post on how well we’re doing in providing for mothers in New Zealand. (note: The Standard is a partisan blog for the Labour movement, so the post is not politically neutral) Steve notes that New Zealand is ranked the 4th best place to be a mother by the report, (Sweden, Noway, and Iceland take out the top three spots in that order, and Niger is worst) and we’re rated as the second best place to be a woman in general. (Sweden beats us again) The report is fascinating reading, and shows that while New Zealand is doing incredibly compared to other countries in key indicators of female welfare, we have a lot of room for improvement, and we should be worried about backsliding in some areas such as female representation.

Worth noting is that in terms of children we fall down all the way to 20th. While New Zealand has a long history of being on the forefront of women’s rights, we haven’t yet afforded the same respect to children, and it shows in more than the recent s59 debate, which largely ignored the issue of children themselves and focused on parents. Continue reading

Why Women Have Lots of Opportunities

Uh, sorry, I mean Why Men Earn More. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s a fascinating read. In the spirit of full disclosure, the author of this article, Warren Farrell, is actually the disenchanted feminist I mentioned back in my primer to men’s rights. He’s certainly on my watch list for future reading. I say it’s a fascinating read- that doesn’t, however, mean I entirely agree with it. In fact there are some prominent assumptions he makes that just don’t check out.

He’s absolutely right to point out that that women have some excellent employment opportunities. There are a lot of fields, such as administrative support, teaching, linguistics, translation, psychology, speech analysis, transcription, etc… where women dominate the field, or earn more on average than men in comparable conditions, and that making women aware of these choices actually empowers them to consider what they want in a career and pick out something where they feel confident of success. Continue reading

The Elephant in the room

So, we’ve kinda got this big fat animal in the room and nobody has really had the courage to speak up about the fact that it’s there, because hey, we like to think we can ignore elephants and they can just go away.

But it won’t go away. We like to talk about our support of parents- I know I can’t resist cute little kids, and I really do want parents to have the best information and resources we can give them to raise their kids… but not qualifying that with anything is ignoring our elephant again. Global population is nudging seven billion people, with no signs of deceleration. And New Zealand is one of the nations that has quite impressive demands on the world’s resources, not to mention the fact that we’re still committing to trade to develop nations like China, and to lift poor pacific and african nations out of poverty. Continue reading

So, a pregnant man.

Scoring brief press attention in newspaper media over the weekend (yay that they covered it, boo that it was essentially a “look at how odd this is!” story) is the fact that Thomas Beatie is the world’s first pregnant man.

Thomas is a transman, and was born as Tracey. Due to issues with the way men process hormones, it’s likely that this is the only way that a man will ever be pregnant. I have no idea how familiar people reading here will be with transgender issues, so please, take some time to read up, if you need to. The short and simple of it is that transgenderism, broadly speaking, refers to individuals who do not conform to the gender they’ve been assigned by society or their body. Continue reading

A tip o’ the hat

Time for some blog pimping. ๐Ÿ˜‰

The ladies at The Hand Mirror continue to be awesome and insightful. I’d like to quickly plug the ex-expat again, for her wonderful post that gives a balanced account of her experience with her father as primary parent, and her regret that his choice is marginalised in society. Any woman who supports better recognition of fatherhood- no matter what type- is onto a good thing in my book.

The institutional discrimination in demographics that she points out has also been blogged by Idiot/Savant of No Right Turn. He also has a great discussion of the Kingmaker Debate which I blogged about below. Really neat comments.

Referenda and Human Rights

So recently I stumbled across a site advocated binding citizen-initiated referenda. This is an issue I’m really conflicted over. Basically, they want multiple referenda each year that the government is required to follow on contentious issues- so most of the issues that are today considered a conscience vote, where MPs do not have to vote along party lines, would instead be put to referendum.

On the one hand, I believe that in terms of experimenting with economic policy and social initiatives, public opinion is a very useful guide, and overwhelming public opinion should be respected. This is part of why a proportional system like MMP is so important to New Zealand politics- it ensures that the values represented by the various parties are as close to proportionally weighted in parliament as they are in wider society. It is also excellent that the select committee process is so much more important under MMP, and that citizens have the opportunity to point out flaws in legislation that MPs may have missed, or are simply more evident to specialists in a particular field. This wider consultation benefits everyone. Continue reading

And the breast puns bounced off…

So, Labour is finally updating its workplace laws, after a hundred years, to include policy on the very incident that spawned their party: adequate breaks.

The much more interesting news, however, is that they’re protecting the right to breastfeed. Excellent news for mothers returning from maternity leave, but still intending to breastfeed their children, and continues Labour’s trend in New Zealand of being one of the better parties for women’s rights. This is the wedge that will essentially move motherhood into a worker’s rights issue, which is truly excellent. Continue reading