I told a lie to claim benefits. Now I am an MP and I want to tell you why : Guardian.

Good on you Metiria Turei and no people should not falsely claim benefit but many do to survive and all cases some be looked at on their merit.

Fraud for greed should be pounced on, but fraud to live should be different. These people need help and the Society in which they live is not producing that help. It may be that they need help to run their life better so that fraud is not the manner to exist.

Punish the true fraudsters not those just wishing to live.

Society does look down on fraudsters and in many cases rightly so., but many in that Society are also fraudsters. How many try to avoid paying tax or should I say minimize our tax payments, for there are some legal ways to do so, such as ISAs.

But some of the biggest fraudsters are those who appear to have plenty to live on. Some have been MPs in the UK by fiddling expenses, some are Corporations who use many ways to minimize their tax liability many of them being legal, but for a few some that are not.

But why does it appear the person in the street is more likely to be charged than the Corporations, is it because they are easier targets, while Corporations can afford to bring in legal experts to argue when they are suspected of fraud.

Surely all should be equal in the eyes of the law and all should be prosecuted if fraud is suspected and the punishment fit the crime taking into account the circumstances.

The reality of needing to claim benefits also needs to looked at, as for some the need to claim benefits is a necessity not a luxury, as even with benefits they will never be anyway near a luxury status.

All in Government and also the press need to reflect on this and then and only then will the stigma of claiming benefits be lifted and also will the public view of persons on benefits.

The majority on benefits do need these benefits and the fraudsters and certainly so called scroungers are the very few, especially the latter. But are real people who need benefits newsworthy, unless there is a dramatic story more than likely leading to loss of life. The occasional benefit scrounger story is so more apparently newsworthy, so what does this say about ourselves and our so called Society.


A homeless person in the centre of Auckland.
A homeless person in the centre of Auckland. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images

Last weekend I revealed a lie, a lie that I decided to talk about because of the situation we as a society find ourselves in.

I am the co-leader of the Green party of Aotearoa New Zealand – the third biggest political party in our small democracy. We are two months from our general election, and we’re in a tight tussle to change the government.

Over the weekend, at our party’s AGM, we launched an incomes policy which would create the most significant changes to New Zealand’s welfare system in a generation. It’s a comprehensive piece of work that…

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My son’s autism meant he was refused New Zealand residency – so we’re leaving | Dimitri Leemans | Opinion | The Guardian

Autism New Zealand Health policy Health Belgium

Source: My son’s autism meant he was refused New Zealand residency – so we’re leaving | Dimitri Leemans | Opinion | The Guardian

11,000 disabled children lose welfare benefit – National – NZ Herald News

An 8-year-old Manurewa boy is one of 11,000 disabled children to lose a welfare benefit, even though his asthma is so bad that he missed one in every four school days last year.More than 11,000 disabled…

Source: 11,000 disabled children lose welfare benefit – National – NZ Herald News

The Spotting of a Rare White Whale Is Good News for the Species’ Comeback

Original post from Take Part

‘…………..By Taylor Hill is TakePart’s associate environment and wildlife editor.

(Photo: Courtesy New Zealand Department of Conservation)
(Photo: Courtesy New Zealand Department of Conservation)

A rare white whale swimming between New Zealand’s North and South Islands put the exclamation point on the country’s annual whale survey this week, with researchers recording more of the marine mammals in the region than ever before.

The white humpback was seen traveling through Cook Strait—the channel between the two islands—with another whale last week as researchers were wrapping up their annual whale count survey.

Ted Perano, one of six ex-whalers on the New Zealand Department of Conservation’s survey team, was the first to spot the near mythical creature from a lookout point near the Tory Channel entrance.

A survey team on a boat reported to the location to get an accurate identification on the whale; then they realized they had pulled up along a white humpback.

“I thought, ‘Wow that whale is white, that is amazing!’ ” said the team’s boat skipper, John Gibbs, in a statement.

The whale appears to resemble Australia’s famous white whale, nicknamed “Migaloo” (aboriginal for “white fella”), which has been spotted almost every year since 1991 off the Queensland coast.

The whale spotted off New Zealand had markings and a distinctive dorsal fin shape that matched those found on Migaloo.

Nadine Bott, the humpback whale survey leader for the Department of Conservation, said white humpbacks are extremely rare; only four have ever been recorded in the world.

2012 Footage of Migaloo off Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.

The other three are one spotted off Norway in 2012 and Migaloo’s two calves—one of which has been nicknamed “MJ” for Migaloo Jr.

The team was able to obtain a biopsy sample from the whale, which should let the scientists compare its DNA to Migaloo’s.

“We’re 99 percent certain it’s Migaloo,” Bott said.

If it is the same whale, fears of Migaloo’s possible skin cancer issues could be put to rest.Spots reported on Migaloo’s dorsal fin last year were not present on the whale spotted in New Zealand, and the whale’s yellow tint most likely was due to an accumulation of marine algae on its body, researchers said.

The biopsy results should also give scientists a final answer on whether Migaloo—assuming the New Zealand whale is the Australian whale—is an albino or just dealing with a color morph, Bott said.

Aside from the rare sighting, New Zealand’s whale survey included good news for all humpback whales.

So, Why Should You Care? This year’s four-week survey tallied the highest count of humpback whales, with 122 spotted crossing the strait—passing the previous high tally of 106 whales recorded in 2012.

Researchers began counting the whales in 2004 to determine whether New Zealand’s migrating humpback whale population had recovered since commercial whaling was halted in 1964. Bott said the higher survey totals are a promising indication that humpbacks are increasing in the country’s waters.

“It is possible that we are now getting an ‘overflow’ of whales from east Australia—as suggested by seeing Migaloo—which would explain the recent increases, as previously, the New Zealand population was growing at a slower rate,” Bott said. The small population gain, 50 years in the making thanks to whaling protections, “demonstrates the very slow rate of recovery from a long-lived and slow-breeding animal from overharvesting,” Bott said.


Could a2 Milk Solve Lactose Intolerance Symptoms For Some?

Original post from NBC News


A new of brand of milk arrives at some California grocery stores this month as its makers pin their market hopes on a controversial theory that one tiny protein may be the culprit behind some people’s dairy-induced tummy troubles.

The beverage is called a2 Milk — a direct nod to a single protein, called A2, now fueling scientific debate.

Pasteurized and free of growth hormones and antibiotics, a2 Milk already is filling the glasses of folks in New Zealand, Britain and Australia. It doesn’t taste any different or pack any more nutritional punch than the cow’s milk in your refrigerator, say its makers, the a2 Milk Company, based in New Zealand.

But the product does contain the A2 protein. And some research suggests A2 is beneficial for people who feel queasy and bloated after drinking dairy, but who aren’t truly lactose intolerant. In fact, the inclusion of that particular protein makes a2 Milk resemble, chemically speaking, the cow’s milk people were drinking many centuries ago.

The company contends that it’s not lactose that gives some people dairy-related digestive issues — rather, it’s yet another protein called A1 that’s typically present in store-bought milk.


1 emerged thousands of years ago due to a natural genetic mutation within European dairy herds, said Andrew Clarke, chief scientific officer at the a2 Milk Company Other mammals, including female humans (think breast milk), produce milk containing only the A2 protein.

Because that DNA mutation was associated with high-milk producing breeds, A1 spread throughout cows in Europe and the United States. Today, dairy herds in the U.S. and Europe, among others, are generally comprised of cows that carry both the A1 and A2 proteins, though some cows may be purely A1 and others purely A2.

The so-called “old world cows,” namely those in Africa and Asia, continue to produce only the A2 protein, said Clarke. All milk sold by The a2 Milk Company, which developed a DNA test, is certified as being from cows that only produce A2.

During the past two decades, there’s been some research focusing on the health effects of A1 and A2. But it’s within those findings that the story starts to get a little curdled.

Some of this population-based or animal research suggests that consumption of milk with A1 is tied to the development of diabetes and heart disease, among other ills. That assertion sparked a firestorm of interest — and controversy — leading the European Food Safety Authority to release a 2009 report stating “a cause and effect relationship” between consumption of A1 and non-communicable diseases was not established.

The first peer-reviewed, double-blind, randomized human trial examining A1 versus A2 was published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year.

Researchers found those on A2 reported less bloating, less abdominal pain, and firmer stools. However, only a small portion of study’s 36 participants described themselves as being intolerant to milk before the study began. Within that subgroup of eight people, researchers also were able to show differences in bloating, pain, gas and voiding difficulty, said lead author Sebely Pal of Australia’s Curtin University.

But that tiny sample size was “insufficient to show statistical significance,” or to offer conclusive proof, Pal added.

The next step in cracking this scientific riddle: a digestion study that involves recruiting more participants who self-define themselves as being intolerant to milk, Pal said.

At this point in the debate, many nutrition experts say the science is too preliminary to jump on the A2 bandwagon.

“The data (of the human trial) is equivocal and self-reported data always me nervous,” said Greg Miller, chief science officer for the National Dairy Council. “The sample size is small, and I don’t find it compelling in any way.”

“This theory (A1 vs A2) has been around a long time,” adds Madelyn Fernstrom, health and nutrition editor for NBC News and TODAY. “But there’s no real proof that one is better than the other. There needs to be a lot more work done on this.”

However, that little A2 protein isn’t going to hurt you. “I’m all for milk or dairy products, except for raw ones,” Fernstrom said. “I don’t see any harm in giving it a try if you have some issue with digesting dairy. Who knows? It could potentially be easier for you to digest — or not.”

This new brand, a2 Milk, will arrive at some California grocery stores this month. Makers contend its chemical makeup, containing a protein called A2, may allow some people to again drink milk without belly-disrupting symptoms.

While dairy has always been the darling of dietitians, U.S. consumers are drinking less milk in favor of other beverages.

But low-fat or fat-free dairy provides a lot of vital nutrients, including calcium, potassium, vitamin D, and protein. It’s this nutrient profile that too many people are missing, said registered dietitian Bonnie Johnson, a2 Milk’s U.S. Nutrition Director and a 20-year veteran of the dairy industry.

“A lot of people believe they are lactose intolerant but have never been tested, and have stopped drinking milk,” Johnson said. “They may simply be having a hard time with the A1 protein and they’re missing out on some really good nutrition.”

If you are lactose intolerant or have a cow-milk allergy, a2 Milk isn’t for you. That’s because a2 Milk isn’t medicine, it’s milk, and it will sell for $4.50 per half gallon (whole, reduced fat, low fat, and fat-free) at Whole Foods and Ralphs stores in California as well as at some independent California grocers. If a2 Milk catches on, the company hopes to go nationwide.