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More snow forecast for later - Tactical Ninja

Aug. 16th, 2011

09:41 am - More snow forecast for later

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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.

Comments:

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From:tatjna
Date:August 15th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
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DEAR PEOPLE, YOU SHOULD READ THIS LINK.

(thanks)
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From:t_c_da
Date:August 16th, 2011 01:38 am (UTC)
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Maybe a brief read of this wouldn't go amiss, either...
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From:tatjna
Date:August 16th, 2011 08:14 am (UTC)
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About as long as it takes for the current crop of teenagers to become pensioners - ie the ones that have got used to being crapped on their whole life.

Oh wait, that's us.
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From:38
Date:August 15th, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I heard about the snow over there! Isn't that really rare for you to get so much of it? I somehow had the impression that it next to NEVER snows there.

ughhh that political strategy STINKS. I guess as long as you don't vote for them,politicians won't care about you. So much for pretending they're "defending your interests". HA. I could really become a communist sometimes reading about politicians' shenanigans.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 15th, 2011 10:17 pm (UTC)
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It's rare for it to snow this much in Wellington - this is the first time we've had more than a skiff since I've lived here (10 years).

The North Island mainly only gets snow in the central alpine area and our local mountain range (the Tararuas) usually has a cap once or twice a year.

The South Island usually gets a dump or two in winter, and in Dunedin it's pretty regular - that's the city that gets on the news with cars sliding around and whatnot.

But this much snow, all over the country - even Auckland I hear - is almost unheard-of.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:09 pm (UTC)
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Me and Billy have decided to form a political party when we return to NZ. It'll be called "YOU'RE DOING IT WRONG".
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From:tatjna
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:10 pm (UTC)
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Can I be the Minister of Fluffy Things?
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From:whatifitworks
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:17 pm (UTC)
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So, who did vote for these idiots? And what are they getting out of it?
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From:tatjna
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
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A larger percentage of kiwis than voted for any other party. My guess is:

1. People who thought it was time for a change (yes this is considered valid here).

2. People disillusioned with the Labour government's policies that were seen by some as privileging minority groups over Fine Upstanding Kiwis.

3. People who would have voted for them anyway - it's always been a close-run race as our two main parties aren't that far apart.

4. People who bought into the election policy of lowering tax*.

5. The rich.

So in answer to your question, I reckon bigots, rich people, and people who lack critical thinking skills.

* They did in fact lower income tax, which benefitted the well off more than the less well off. Then they raised GST, which increased everyone's outgoings.

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From:whatifitworks
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:29 pm (UTC)
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Not surprising answers (by which I mean I can come up with very similar answers for people who vote Tory in the UK or Canada or Liberal in Australia) but disappointing nevertheless.
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From:clashfan
Date:August 16th, 2011 12:08 am (UTC)
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You can add folks who vote Republican in the US to that list.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:24 pm (UTC)
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Oh, as for what they're getting out of it - if they're rich, they're getting richer. If not, they're getting reassurances that they are worse off because of the recession and not because of crap policy. They get validation for beliefs that the marginalised are in that situation due to some personal failing and therfore tell themselves it won't happen to them. And they get the giant rugby world cup circus.

Bread and circuses - and most of us still do have bread, it's just $5 a loaf when it used to be $3 two years ago.
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From:whatifitworks
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:35 pm (UTC)
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"beliefs that the marginalised are in that situation due to some personal failing"

I think this is almost exactly what David Cameron said yesterday about the rioters dissenters.

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From:bekitty
Date:August 15th, 2011 11:52 pm (UTC)
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The cards are rumoured to be a pilot scheme that will (most likely) be rolled out to all people receiving a work-tested benefit. This includes unemployment benefit, sickness benefit, and two of the three types of DPB that are currently available. It won't include NZ Super or the Invalids' Benefit.

(The three types of DPB are sole parent, woman alone (for sole parents who are over 50, no longer supporting their children and have no other means of support) and caregiver (for someone who is providing full-time care for a person who is not their spouse, and who would otherwise need to be in a hospital).
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From:crsg
Date:August 16th, 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
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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.

The age is 24 now, but I certainly see your point. Things are way easier for me now that I've hit that number - which is ridiculous when you think about it, since I'm still doing exactly the same thing and haven't been financially supported by my family (who couldn't afford to) since I left home when I was 17.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 16th, 2011 03:32 am (UTC)
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It's a weird expectation, that one. If a kid leaves home and gets a job they are supposed to support themselves. If they don't get a job they are paid as if they are supporting themselves after 17. If they decide to study, their parents are expected to support them. For me, this means that if he decides to study, he'll have to live at home till he's 24 because there's no way I could afford to pay his flat rent/expenses if he didn't.

It's kind of discouraging for a parent to know that if my kid wants to study I'm responsible for his upkeep for that much longer - I can see lots of parents discouraging their kids from study because of it, or just leaving them to fend for themselves which is also not ideal.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 16th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
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That's about what I'm thinking. This government might get one more turn but I doubt they'll last any longer than that.
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From:tatjna
Date:August 16th, 2011 08:20 am (UTC)
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The rain is washing away all our snow right now. ;-(
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