More snow forecast for later - Tactical Ninja
Aug. 16th, 2011
09:41 am - More snow forecast for later
Today I am wearing a unitard. At work. With socks that come up over my knees, a big woolly jersey and the hood off my sheepskin jacket. There are other clothes, but they are incidental to my efficient closing of all the potential gaps. Life may be interesting come toilet time, but right now I'm toasty.
Last night the snow turned to sleet in the middle of a giant thunderstorm, and then the slush on the ground froze to ice. Walking around outside was treacherous this morning. I contemplated my snowboard boots for walking down the hill to the train but they're designed for snow, not ice, and aren't any grippier than anything else I own. So I pfaffed about for a bit until some rich people with usually-pointless 4-wheel drives went past and broke up the ice on the road, then brought my car in. Turns out that below the level of Ngaio, there's nothing untoward on the ground. Meanwhile, our lawn and roof and the bonnet of my car are all covered in snow. Yep, the pile on the bonnet was still attached when I got into town.
It's supposed to last until Thursday. At which point I will have two more sleeps and then I'll be heading into 30 degrees plus in Hong Kong. It has added Dr Wheel. I might be a little excited by hotness with extra hotness on top, although packing for 30 degrees when it's in the minuses and snowing is proving interesting. Of course I'll need my shell jacket and snowboard pants, right?
First, I'm constantly discovering new things about being able to see without corrective lenses that make me very happy. My life has daily joys because of this. Second, we played on a playground that seemed designed more for adults than children and it made me contemplate the fact that property ownership means that should I desire, I could turn my apartment into a giant jungle gym.. Third, it was almost us among those people who got stuck on the Rimutakas when they closed the road - we must have been only about 20-30 minutes shy of it, since there were still cars coming the other way when we got turned back. We would have been ok - we had blankets, food, drink and plenty of body heat to share - but our adventure was adventure enough thanks.
I have discovered an adagio-type thing I can do without risking injuring my eyes. It involves rolling a contact juggling ball slowly from my neck down my front to my feet and back. It's harder than it sounds - try it. Bits of me hurt because of this!
And finally, our *cough* esteemed Prime Minister announced National's plan to further marginalise young people. You know how they want to bring back youth rates so that teenagers will be paid less than older people (even though they don't get cheaper rent or food)? You know how those 1,000 18 year old DPB parents are bleeding the country dry? You know how out of 13500 unemployed 16-17 year olds, only 1500 get a benefit? You know how they are increasing the age of eligibility for a driver's licence so if you're 16 you won't be able to drive to a job (or training for that matter)? You know how Young People These Days are pretty much everyone's whipping kid?
Apparently we'll save money by making their lives tougher. Only according to that article up there, we won't. We'll be paying $25million more a year for the impression that the government is doing something about the situation they've set us up to believe is a problem.
In Criminology I learned that the youth crime rate hasn't increased in 25 years. Yet the media would have us believe that current youth are more criminal that Youth of Yore. Youth unemployment is always higher than the average, because in a recession the less experienced workers get laid off first, and discrimination against young people when employing is, for some reason, still accepted despite it being illegal. When I was running the youth course, McDonalds preferred 15-year-olds because there's no minimum wage below 16 and they could get away with paying crap wages, and young people desperate for a job will accept conditions that older people will not. And yet we are seeing an increasing rhetoric that young people are unemployed due to some personal failing.
And so, the government wants to force the lazy little buggers into job training. This is nothing new, it's always been the case that people under 17 had to be enrolled in training to get a benefit (except under exceptional circumstances). Now, it doesn't matter what the circumstances are, and the government is going to change the law so that teenagers can be specifically targeted as the guinea-pigs for foodstamps, micromanagement, privacy invasion and harrassment.
Why teenagers, if teenagers aren't as much of a problem as the government makes out?
Simple. If you're 17 you are not old enough to vote.
Our government wants to be voted in. Realistically, I doubt the 'youth vote' would be enough to vote them out - the 18-25 age group is the one usually mentioned when the question of who doesn't vote comes up. However, by attacking a group that is a) already marginalised, b) has no real voice in mainstream media, c) has no economic power and d) cannot legally vote, they've covered their arses nicely.
And all those people who got their free education before user pays was brought in, were teenagers before apprenticeships were canned, could find those unskilled jobs straight out of high school that are now taken by older people who desperately need work, and if they really couldn't find a job could get a benefit that was actually enough to live on (before Jenny Shipley slashed the unemployment benefit by a third in 1991) - those people are the people who can vote, who will support this and think it's great.
Because when they were young, things were so much harder and they did just fine. Young people these days are just lazy, all 1500 of them slacking off on a benefit while we pay for them to live the high life with the tax on our 6-figure income. Or that 1000 on the DPB - how dare they utilise their legal right to have sex? They should totally be punished for that. And Paula Bennett, who used the training allowance while on the DPB to get an education and then cut the same allowance off for others once in power, is insisting that children do better if their mothers do well. So, um, now those teen parents are being forced into whatever training the government in conjunction with training providers thinks they should do. You can bet your sweet patootie that won't be the degree programme that Paula got eh?
So what are they trying to achieve? Apart from scapegoating young people that is? I'd be curious to know - because we currently have 150,000-ish unemployed people in this country (remember, only 2,500 of them seem to be teenagers on a benefit) and while forcing teenagers into training sounds flash, I'm struggling to see how this will create jobs for them to go into when they've trained. And if there aren't jobs for them to go into, exactly what happens to those people? And how, exactly, does spending millions more a year forcing a tiny percentage of our unemployed population to train for jobs that don't exist, save us money and increase employment?
Maybe the private training industry is going to grow to meet the demand, so when someone finishes a course they can get a job teaching it to the next lot of coerced teenagers!
Argh. Just argh.
I have a teenage son. He's 16. If he sticks with school he'll finish when he's 17. He'll then have the option of going to uni or getting a job. Normally I'd suggest he get a job, because I think he'll get more from uni in a few years' time and he's still not sure what he wants to do. I dislike the setup where young people start their career with a debt of tens of thousands of dollars and leaving it for later helps with that too. Also, he won't be eligible for student support because of my income - which counts until he's 25, more or less forcing me to support him till then. Uni is not a good economic choice - yet, I can't see there being a whole lot of starter jobs out there by the time he finishes school either. So the above really bothers me in a very personal way.
Fuck National and their shortsighted, arse backwards policies. Please vote them out, they have no clue.