Good comments

March 31st, 2010 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

On most blogs the actual posts tend to be quite reasonable and well argued, and it is the comments that can sometimes go off the track and get hysterical.

But I’m pleased to report the opposite has happened on . Carmel Sepuloni did a somewhat off the track post claiming:

says that beneficiaries are more likely to murder children

I thought this would set off a round of abuse of Todd, but in fact many of the comments were quite thoughtful, such as:

Rebecca:
Carmel I agree it was incredibly distasteful however, in many ways, while awkwardly put, Todd is right.

The bulk of the physical child abuse, neglect and maltreatment statistics comes out of the quarters of the lower socio-economic groups, most of whom are predominantly on benefits.

Lindsay Mitchell posted a useful link to some CYFS stats which “establishes that there is a statistical association between the two factors examined: benefit receipt and CYPFS notifications”.

Todd himself pops up and posts a draft of Hansard, with what he actually said:

And Lindsay again provides a useful point:

You have to understand that ‘are more likely to’ can co-exist with ‘most don’t’. For argument’s sake;

8 out of 100 beneficiaries abuse their children.
2 out of 100 non-beneficiaries abuse their children.

Therefore beneficiaries are 4 times more likely to abuse their children BUT most don’t.

However, inasmuch as child murder usually occurs at the extreme end of abuse, it is more likely to happen when the parent or other caregiver is a beneficiary.

So stop taking offence and start asking whether there is a link between welfare and child abuse.

Of course not all comments were high quality:

Olwyn said:

Furthermore, we did not have people regularly beating kids to death before we took up neo-conservative economic policies

Blame the neo-cons!

But overall I found the comments thread quite a useful wee debate. Someone also pointed out the difference between correlation and causation.

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25 Responses to “Good comments”

  1. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    There are age and gender differences between non-beneficeries and beneficeries that probably explains a lot of the differences especially when quibbling over 6 per 100.

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  2. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    “You have to understand that ‘are more likely to’ can co-exist with ‘most don’t’.”

    ^^^That is excellent.

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  3. Philonz (91 comments) says:

    The link probably isn’t with benefits but with poverty/income.

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  4. Rachael Rich (204 comments) says:

    Rebecca is a very valuable addition to the comments there, Olwyn – not so much. And now Jum, who used to infect Colin Espiners blog, has popped up. Definately from the tinfoil hat wearing brigade that one.

    I like reading lefty blogs to get a bit of their perspective, but really, what planet are they all on!

    Also, the election is in 18 months time, get over losing the last one, stop going on how you are going to win next time. Leave the campaigning for 3 months before the election. It is all getting a bit too pathetic.

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  5. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    …Though it would be interesting to know whether McClay was REALLY “pointing out a correllation” when he made the original comment. Perhaps some keen trooper will dig up the Hansard for that.

    It would not surprise me one bit if he really was just bemoaning how “dole bludgers are keeping us down” in that way the right loves to hear (come on, am I wrong?) as Sepuloni seems to be saying he was.

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  6. RRM (9,435 comments) says:

    [Todd McClay]: “It is a privilege to be a parent….it is not a right.”

    Interesting! I wonder if this is the view of the National Party?

    I thought my partner and I were free to breed, if we so chose. Maybe that was just under the left, liberal, hand-wringing gummint of the past…

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  7. peanut (139 comments) says:

    What a load of rubbish.

    Poverty is a parallel to the shocking statistics of child abuse, but not necessarily a causitive factor, which these “statistics” suggest. Abuse occurs across all socio-economic groups, but it is only the physical harm that we hear about and get upset over.

    Why do you think there is such a high rate of suicide and depression in this country? Abuse is not just physical, it is emotional as well. Is it just children of beneficiaries that commot suicide and suffer depression?-dont think so

    Children who suffer emotional and physical abuse are so severely damaged, that they learn this behavior is the norm. Abuse is taught by parents and passed on to children, who pass it on to their children, and this happens across all social spectrums. People who abuse drugs and alcohol, use it to self medicate their grieving souls.

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  8. Russell Brown (403 comments) says:

    Someone also pointed out the difference between correlation and causation.

    Which seems to have eluded you in writing this post, David. Really.

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  9. slightlyrighty (2,496 comments) says:

    RRM.

    To be a parent, responsible for the nurtureing and upbringing of a person, is a position that should be regarded as a privilege. That change in mindset could well be that catalyst that saves the next potential Nia Glassie

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  10. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Which seems to have eluded you in writing this post, David. Really.

    Care to expand that comment? Or are you only here to take a shit?

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  11. Swiftman the infidel (329 comments) says:

    Hey Wussell,

    Let’s pretend that race isn’t a factor. Let’s also pretend they weren’t eating each other 150 years ago.

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  12. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Peanut – feeble attempt at a misdirect. Address the issue at hand, if you can.

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  13. peanut (139 comments) says:

    Put it away,

    And you are the auditor for this blog, are you?

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  14. Put it away (2,888 comments) says:

    Feeble attempt at misdirect number two. Adress the issue at hand, if you can.

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  15. Bevan (3,965 comments) says:

    Bugger! I missed the obvious throw away line! Let me try again…

    Which seems to have eluded you in writing this post, David. Really.

    Another example where ‘not all comments were high quality’…

    I know, too late.

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  16. Pete George (22,781 comments) says:

    Being a parent isn’t a privilege, it’s a fundamental function of any animal. Try promoting “being a parent is a privilege” as a form of sex education/family planning and see how far you get.

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  17. mpledger (429 comments) says:

    It’s not surprising that their is an association between CYPS notification and benefits receipt. You can only be referred from one govt department to another if you actually visit one in the first place.

    e.g. An abused woman (and her children i.e. known to CYPS) would need to get a benefit arranged if they need to hide from her ex.
    A women who brings her children with her to get her dbp sorted might get referred to CYPS if a kid has a black eye.

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  18. RightNow (6,647 comments) says:

    The problem doesn’t get fixed by saying nice things about those represented highest in the statistics.
    Typical attitude of ‘give them some welfare’ versus ‘give them the means to better themselves’ that is so highly prevalent among the (sometimes genuinely) good intentioned who perpetuate the cycle. Generally as effective as buying an alcoholic a beer.

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  19. black paul (124 comments) says:

    David I’m glad you’re finally having a look at the quality of other blogs and comparing them to your own troll farm. Have you figured out what they do differently to you yet?

    [DPF: Yep they tell people who troll to fuck off as I should in this instance]

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  20. black paul (124 comments) says:

    Yes, that’s it David. They tell the people who want to engage politely to “fuck off” and they let the racists, sexists, and xenophobes run wild and abuse everyone else. You’re catching on fast.

    [DPF: Oh I see. You want me to censor people because you disapprove of what they say as you call it racist or sexist. Sorry - wrong blog. But hey go start your own one.

    I censor comments that are grossly offensive or deliberate trolling - and even then only if someone points them out to me. I do not read all the comments as there are too many of them and I have a FT job as well as blogging.]

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  21. black paul (124 comments) says:

    I didn’t say I wanted you to do anything in particular David, I wouldn’t do that on your blog. I’m just pointing out that blogs like red alert don’t get a decent standard of commentary by accident. You have your own methods of policing your blog and you end up with the results you have – lots of comments, many of them abusive, many incoherent, some of them interesting.

    [DPF: Red Alert has around 30 editors/posters who do it as part of their job. I get more visits and more comments than any other blog, and am a sole author. I would be unable to earn an income if I spent all day moderating the blog]

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  22. RightNow (6,647 comments) says:

    black paul, another whiner about how other blogs moderate their comments and kiwiblog should do the same. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it. But you will, and you’ll keep talking about the ‘troll farm’ (I’m surprised the irony hasn’t hit you in the head regarding that one yet) and lament the bigoted opinions of the regular commenters. Try and stay away, see if you can. It’s easier than quitting smoking, just do it.

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  23. JiveKitty (869 comments) says:

    Anyone know the abuse statistics for people who aren’t beneficiaries, but have a similar level of income to those who do? I notice Carmel Sepuloni didn’t provide them, which implies that she either doesn’t know or they don’t support her contention that this is a smear of beneficiaries and was in poor taste. Regardless, she should get the facts before engaging with her sense of outrage. Because if beneficiaries are more likely to commit child abuse, they are more likely to commit child abuse. It is a fact. It might be unpleasant, but bringing it up is not in poor taste or unfair. However, if those in a similar income bracket are just as likely as, or more likely than, beneficiaries to commit child abuse then she has a fair point that it is a smear (provided the statistics can be compared: sizes of the different groups may change the levels of significance, etc, I think? I really need to go back and check my stats books). Nonetheless, she has not made this point or even attempted to make it.

    What McClay said also didn’t tar all beneficiaries with the brush of child abuse, which makes her outrage even stupider. He said that beneficiaries were more likely to murder children: statistically, they are. This does not mean all beneficiaries will, or even that they have the inclination. It does not even imply it. It just means that statistics say beneficiaries are more likely to murder children than those in the non-beneficiary population.

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  24. black paul (124 comments) says:

    Sorry RightNow, didn’t realise I wasn’t allowed to comment here.

    And you’re wrong, I never said David should moderate or do anything else.

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  25. peanut (139 comments) says:

    Put it away,

    How am I redirecting the issue when I state the facts. You are like the people that were convinced the world was flat.

    Grow up and look at the real issues, or are you an abusive parent too.

    You dont have to physically abuse to cause your children irreparable harm.

    And btw, I am addressing the issue at hand—–child abuse, and its not poverty that causes it. Poverty comes when the adults are child abuse sufferers and cant work because they have so much pain and depression, you arrogent dickhead.

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