The Dim-Post

April 30, 2010

Surely not

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 1:53 pm

I can’t believe any government Minister would walk into the old ‘make the accusation, wait for the denial then present the proof’ trap but I guess Paula Bennett is the least unlikely to fall for it.

UPDATE: Turns out TV3 did not have ’email documentation’, they had a couple of Facebook messages between Fuller and one of her friends in which Fuller claimed she had been offered compensation. After meeting with Paula Bennett Fuller wrote:

Things went really well she wasn’t that scary… I dropped the tears a few times and she felt sorry for me – wont put me back in the media and get me hurt again and willing to talk settlement. I’ve got a tough choice to make have two days to come up with what I want as a payment I don’t want to sound greedy but its hard to put price on what iv been through

Fuller has said that the messages were untrue and a joke. Doesn’t really sound that way does it? Sounds like one of the criteria for payment was confidentiality and someone has explained to Fuller that she won’t get any money if she publically admits to a settlement.

The meetings between Bennett and Fuller were initiated by the Privacy Commissioner – I don’t have a problem with them mediating a cash settlement (if that’s what has happened): Fuller is the wronged party here, after all.

UPDATE II: My other theory is that Bennett didn’t explicity offer Fuller cash (Bennett: ‘Why don’t you tell us what you want out of all of this and I’ll see what I can do.’ Fuller: ‘You mean like a cash settlement?’ Bennett: ‘If you think that’s fair. Have a think about it and let me know, and I’ll make sure that the horrible media leaves you alone.’)

April 29, 2010

But will they step to the wu?

Filed under: finance — danylmc @ 7:20 pm

Stephen Franks is sceptical about the new financial markets super-regulator announced this week:

But most of the stuff on the FMA is the political equivalent of corporate changes of letterhead and livery, until proved otherwise. Sometimes it signifies a genuine transformation. More often it is instead of genuine change. We won’t know till we see the detail.

I think the presence or absence of ‘Plane’ Jane Diplock, arguably our worst performing civil servant of the decade will be an indicator of the efficacy of the new organisation. Also, I told myself that next time I posted something in the finance category I’d link to this:

Speaking of drugs

Filed under: drugs — danylmc @ 8:05 am

On the one hand, tobacco excise is a regressive tax. On the other hand . . .

About a quarter of Indonesian boys aged 13 to 15 are already hooked on cigarettes that sell for about $1 a pack or as little as a few cents apiece, according to WHO. A video on YouTube last month prompted outrage when a 4-year-old Indonesian boy was shown blowing smoke rings and flicking a cigarette. His parents say he’s been smoking up to a pack a day since he was 2.

According to a 2008 study on tobacco revenue in Indonesia, smokers spend more than 10 percent of their household income on cigarettes; that’s three times more than they spend on education-related expenses such as school fees and books.

As of today cigarettes in New Zealand will set you back about $17 a packet. That’s a lot of cash for kids to steal out of Dad’s coin jar. I imagine the ban on smoking in bars prevents a lot of older teens from acquiring the habit. That’s a lot of people who won’t spend their lives addicted to an expensive and deadly drug: Oh nanny state! Is there no limit to your evil?

Meanwhile, The Press has a story about the government’s ‘War on P’ turning into a game of whackamole:

Young people are getting hooked on a new form of heroin as dealers find drugs to fill the gap left by record seizures of P.

Christchurch police, health professionals and drug counsellors have noticed a rise in the past year in the number of young people using the new form of the drug, known among users as “spotting”, a name derived from the way it is taken.

Detective Sergeant Dorothy McPhail, of the Christchurch organised-crime unit, said the drug was a “new form of homebake heroin in liquid form sold in dots on sheets of tinfoil”.

The drug is then smoked off the foil.

“It seems to be a younger group that is using it. That seems to be the trend. It is something new that we have come across,” she said.

The Canterbury District Health Board’s community alcohol and drug service clinical head, David Stoner, said more young people were becoming addicted to opiates.

It’s an unhappy fact of life that a lot of young people want to abuse drugs. The status quo is that they abuse drugs that are legal for historic reasons (alcohol, tobacco) or that are easy and profitable for criminal organisations to manufacture (methamphetamine, heroin). If only there was some blindingly obvious solution to this problem.

Serious Question

Filed under: drugs — danylmc @ 7:53 am

Does anyone know what the popularity and subsequent outlawing of BZP based party pills had on youth drinking patterns and outcomes?

She’s just a sort of bigoted woman who says she used to be Labour

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 6:55 am

Gordon Brown’s gaffe after speaking to a former (now very much so) Labour supporter is all over the UK news; the whole interview is interesting, illustrating how traditional working class voters who historically voted Labour are now motivated by identity politics, not class politics. They may support left-wing economic policies, but culturally they have nothing in common with Labour and everything in common with the Conservatives: fear of youth and immigrants, hatred of beneficiaries etc; they’re on low incomes and no longer unionised, they have many views that Labour MPs find repulsive.

Obviously the same pattern repeats itself in New Zealand: Ministers like Collins and Bennett are an especially powerful tool for National in capturing what used to be the working class. Labour has no one that can even speak to this demographic. I think Goff’s counting on a resurgent Winston Peters to win many of these voters back in 2011.

April 28, 2010

Can the government’s drug policy get more schizophrenic?

Filed under: Politics — danylmc @ 7:34 pm

Via Stuff:

In a shock move, the Government has this evening taken Parliament into extraordinary urgency to pass a bill increasing tobacco excise tax by more than 33 percent over two years.

Tax on roll-your-own tobacco will also increase by 50 per cent over two years.

The Government expects the bill will be passed into law tonight with the price increases taking immediate effect.

“The move will put the price of cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco up enough to save hundreds of lives,” said Associate Minister of Health Tariana Turia.

What will next week bring? Vitamin C as a class A drug? Ketamine in the drinking water? Anything could happen! It’s exciting!

My guess is there’s some other form of regulation or excise coming up in the budget, and they’re passing this seperately so that English’s masterpiece isn’t referred to as ‘the calvinist/nanny state/whatever budget’ (I wouldn’t be suprised to see an excise tax on RTDs – maybe that’s it?)

April 27, 2010

Join the dots

Filed under: general news — danylmc @ 8:57 pm

Three seemingly unrelated stories published on Stuff today:

Government rejects liquor tax hike

Law Commission president Sir Geoffrey Palmer said alcohol was being sold at “pocket-money prices”.

“A can of beer or an RTD can be bought for one or two dollars in many retail outlets. This is less than we pay for bottled water,” Sir Geoffrey said.

“One of the consequences of alcohol being promoted and sold at pocket-money prices is that we risk losing sight of its status as a legal drug, capable of causing serious harm to others.”

Undercover cops bust huge cannabis growing ring

A massive undercover cannabis operation netting more than 250 suspects on 750 charges will break the cornerstone of the industry, police say.

Police this morning swooped on 35 businesses and numerous residential addresses throughout the country as search warrants were executed as part of ‘Operation Lime’.

The two year operation targeted businesses and individuals responsible for the commercial sale of equipment used in the growing of cannabis.

Those arrested have appeared in district courts around the country today, police said.

Police Minister Judith Collins has tonight congratulated police.

Mrs Collins said today’s arrests would send a strong message to those who tried to produce drugs in New Zealand that they would be caught.

“The message to those who manufacture and sell drugs in our community is that the Government and the police are determined to shut down your activities, and will use every tool at their disposal to do so,” she said.

Sir Douglas ‘richer than the Queen’

Sir Douglas Myers may have cashed up from brewing years ago, but the wealthiest Britain-based Kiwi is now even richer than the Queen of England.

Sir Douglas, who now spends much of his time in London, had his fortune valued at £332 million ($713m) in the latest Sunday Times Rich List, making him the 203rd richest person in Britain, a rise of 12 places over 2009.

Part of a brewing dynasty, Sir Douglas sold his stake in Lion Nathan to Japan’s Kirin Breweries in 1998 and is now semi-retired.

He was knighted in the latest New Year Honours.

This must be what DPF’s dreams look like

Filed under: music — danylmc @ 11:29 am

The new M.I.A. video. Not safe for work, unless you work at Curia:

Brief film review and extended rant

Filed under: movies — danylmc @ 10:21 am

We watched The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo last night. I’ve read Larsson’s book and thought it was good, but not great. I attribute his success to the global financial crisis and a reading public that appreciated a thriller in which socialist heroes destroy rich capitalists who are secretly all nazis and sex-murderers.

And I thought the movie was okay, but I was aware of how much plot and character development was missing in order to compress it all into the two and a half hour film, even though the original source material was already pretty superficial. I’d like to have watched a nine hour miniseries that really fills out the world of the novel and develops the characters and their relationships.

Film studios aren’t interested in projects like that – they can’t show them in movie theatres, so they can’t have red carpet events and get free publicity for their product. But they don’t make any money from showing movies like this  in the theatre, they make their profits from (a) teenage oriented blockbusters, and (b) DVD and TV sales – and they can charge a lot more for a miniseries than they can for a single disk film. Hopefully the market realities of the industry will push them towards longer, TV series style projects over time.

April 26, 2010

In conclusion, furthur research is needed in this area

Filed under: economics — danylmc @ 5:30 pm

Via The Herald:

A population professor has come up with a novel idea to cope with New Zealand’s ageing population – pay a higher pension to those who have children.

Professor Natalie Jackson, the new director of Waikato University’s Population Studies Centre, says the welfare state is “a great pyramid scheme” based on a pyramid-shaped population with only a few old people at the top supported by growing numbers of young people at the bottom.

“Just like a pyramid scheme, you have to have a continuous supply of new people coming in to support the numbers of old people,” she said yesterday.

“Once you add in falling fertility since the 1960s, the age structure tips upside down … so eventually the welfare state will have to change dramatically.”

There’s an obvious flaw here: what if I have a bunch of kids, they all go to university, get expensive qualifications and then leave the country, as most of our graduates are like to do? They’ve been a net loss on the nation’s books, but under this proposed scheme I’d get paid an extra pension for them. Maybe you’d change the system so that only resident children would contribute towards a pension – so kids wouldn’t go on their OE because Dad might have to sell the batch. Doesn’t such a system discriminate against the infertile? Would I lose the pension if my children lost their jobs and became beneficiaries, and thus no longer contributed to the state accounts? What if they die?

If a slow-witted half-wit such as myself can spot these problems then why is this idea being floated publically by a university professor running a research centre? Sounds like a good subject for a Marsden grant.

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