Protectionism favours few, costs many

June 19, 2011

Unions and some of Dunedin’s citizen’s are agitating for KiwiRail to buy new wagons from Hillside Workshop.

Roger Kerr explains what’s wrong with that:

Here we are seeing the same old protectionist fallacy. Assuming KiwiRail has got its numbers right, building rolling stock here at higher cost would mean its customers would face higher prices across the board. They would grow less and create fewer jobs.

Many of the customers would be in the export sector. The badly needed rebalancing of the economy would be hampered. And of course KiwiRail would be an even bigger drain on taxpayers.

More than 20 years after the painful but necessary reforms of the late 1980s and early 90s some people still haven’t got the message – protection favours few and costs many.

This is a lesson Candians have yet to learn too. Dan Gardner writes about Canada’s failure to make the most of its potential for increased food production:

Canadian consumers pay far more for dairy and poultry products than they would in a free market. Supply management also makes it difficult or impossible for producers to achieve the economies of scale needed to drive costs down. Perhaps worst of all, it impedes trade liberalization.

“Our government will also continue to open new markets for Canadian business in order to create good jobs for Canadian workers,” the Conservatives promised in the Speech from the Throne. That’s good. Canada is a trading nation and the steady expansion of free trade is very much in our interest. But then came this: “In all international forums and bilateral negotiations, our government will continue to stand up for Canadian farmers and industries by defending supply management.”

And what’s the affect of supply management?

Who pays? Consumers who often don’t know they are. Who benefits? A small number of farmers who are highly organized and concentrated in certain ridings. Politicians who swear to defend the status quo get the gratitude of the former without incurring the wrath of the latter — while any politician who dares to even consider change gets no gratitude and lots of wrath.

“Look at us,” Larry Martin suggests, “and look at New Zealand, sitting out there in the middle of the ocean, not close to anything.” In the world of food, New Zealand is a “superpower.” And yet, thanks to daring reforms in the 1980s, New Zealand’s farmers owe almost none of their income to government support. “You think, ‘if we could do even half of what they have done wouldn’t we be in great shape?’”

Yes, those “failed” polices of the 80s made our economy freer and are one of the major reasons we’re getting the benefits from increased demand for commodities.

Instead of producing things the world doesn’t want or need at considerable cost to the domestic economy through subsidies, we’re following market signals to produce what the world wants to buy.

Hillside  workers should stop wasting their energy trying to return to the bad old days of protectionism. Instead, they should concentrate on developing the flexibility to produce what someone wants to buy at a price they’re prepared to pay.

KiwiRail is already costing the country too much, we can’t afford to add to those costs by subsidising Hillside.

Hat tip: Offsetting Behaviour & Something Should Go Here who both discuss Gardner’s piece.


Did you see the one about

March 20, 2011

Americans call it experience not failure -  Peter Kerr calls for a change in thinking in New Zealand.

Some perspective –  Adolf at No Minister on what kills how many.

There’s glory for you! - Andrew Geddis at Pundit on a legal and literary mixup.

Party manifestos to be displayed in plain packets with government health warnings – Newsbiscuit on new rules for public protection. While there you might also enjoy Pay study shows women now 88% as good as men - a satirical take on pay equity.

Doesn’t work if you’re self employed though –  Something Should Go here Maybe Later on meetings as an alternative to work. While there you should see the footprint of my car will raise a smile.

And congratulations to the Hand Mirror on three years of Hand Mirrorness.


Did you see the one about . . .

October 17, 2010

Undo, cut, tape . . . wait that’s not right - old technology meets new at Something Should Go Here.

Graham Lay on New Zealand English – guest post at  Quote Unquote

My shoes don’t eat meat – Laughy Kate on vegan footwear.

The recession made us poorer - Macdoctor puts the blame where it ought to be.

Silver Ferns turn into golden ferns - RivettingKate Taylor shares her excitement.

Who is punching above their weight - Eye To The Long Run does the numbers on the Australian & New Zealand medal tally.

An alternative to Breakfast - the fifth of Keeping Stock’s daily posts for those missing Paul Henry.

If real wars were like trade wars -Cafe Hayek  shows how silly it all is (Hat Tip Anti Dismal). 

Who should pay for university - Anti Dismal on student loans.


Did you see the one about . . .

September 18, 2010

An email from Matt McCarten - Whale Oil received a thank you from Matt.

It’s not all doom and gloom despite the earthquake and SCF collapse - Beranrd Hickey finds 10 reasons to be cheerful.

Proof: Wellington council wardens are ticketing against council policy – Big News cuaght them at it.

Science explained Something Should Go Here Maybe Later, who’s made a welcome return to blogging, illustrates the differences between biologists.

Milestone for Beattie’s Book Blog – post 10,000 in a little under four years 1311 visitors for the day by lunchtime on the day the post was written.


And then there was one

July 2, 2010

First there was the NZ Blogosphere ranking which is now being done quarterly.

Then there was the Halfdone Rankings but Something Should Go Here has gone.

Now there’s just one monthly ranking: Open Parachute’s NZ Blogs Sitemeter ranking.


Did you see the one about . . .

June 6, 2010

Bring your own basil (and garlic and fresh vegetables) – Brian Edwards on pizza problems.

I’m in love (again!) - Lindsay Perigo has a close encounter of an All Black kind.

An interview with Hone Harawira - Dim Post goes where no blogger has gone before.

Sayonara second class meat  Cactus Kate converts to Japanese beef.

Quote of the day - Anti Dismal sees what entrepreneurs see.

Emissions Tradings goings on - Keeping Stock reminds us what Winston was like.

None so blind - Macdoctor diagnoses a problem in Labour’s caucus.

Police crackdown on speedsters to enter new phase - Zen Tiger at NZ Conservative gets satirical. He’s also asking for people to give a taste of New Zealand to help an overseas reader.

May 10 NZ blogs Sitemeter rankings at Open Parachut and  May Half Done NZ blog stats at Something Should Go Here apropos of which in Further on BOT Kiwiblog suggests a ratings site which uses a bot (whatever that it) to scan blogs and collect the data needed for rankings.


Sometime’s a cigar is only a cigar

May 14, 2010

An MP who had been upset by something John Key had done was at a meeting with him.

The Prime Minister, knowing he wasn’t in his MP’s good books, made a self-depreciating joke about it.

It was exactly the sort of joke he made about not being welcome at a Tuhoe dinner.

Part of his charm is his ability to laugh at himself and I’ve heard him make similar, self depreciating jokes several times.

I am certain that was all he was doing in this instance.

Not everyone sees it that way.

Over at Tumeke! Bomber and Tim think he was referring to cannibalism.  Deborah thinks it was ignorant and offensive.

On the other hand Kiwiblog says his own sense of humour is one reason he’d never be an MP;  Keeping Stock thinks people should lighten up and  was inspired to make a contribution to New Zealand Music Month. Something Should Go Here thinks it was a good joke.

Macdoctor thinks it was a clever but that would mean John was being deliberately offensive and I’m sure he wasn’t.

It was a joke, directed at himself and while I can see how some people might find offensive meaning in it I have no doubt that wasn’t his intent.

Sometimes a cigar is only a cigar but people will always be able to make something else of it.


Did you see the one about . . .

May 8, 2010

A new literary genre - Quote Unquote on reading matter for the more mature.

Feliciy Ferret - Quote Unquote disects a media rodent  – prompting Cactus Kate to Bow to the Master.

I guess we’ll never know then - Something Should Go Here on the worst thing about censorship

Return of the Wowser - Bowalley Road diagnoses the alcohol problem.

RIP Fair Go - Brian Edwards has good reason to be in mourning.

Last Words Nana – Craft is the new black on living, and laughing, until tomorrow.


Did you see the one about . . .

April 5, 2010

Think tank + teach tank = sea change - John Ansell reckons it’s time for the right to use the power of emotion. While you’re there you might find how to say my hovercraft is full of eels in 76 languages entertaining, if not useful.

Foreign investment explained - the Visible Hand in economics fights feelings with facts. He also has an excelent example of price discrimination.

Organ Markets - Offsetting Behaviour on letting donors come before non-donors.

Inglorious grammar - Something Should Go Here laughs at grammar Nazis.

Academic writing in one lesson - Anti Dismal has a wonderful Calvin & Hobbes cartoon.

Cut funding better results - Cactus Kate finds under funding leads to success.

Nigel Cox on C.K. Stead followed by the prologue and the last post  - Quote Unquote has a tale of literary revenge.

Question time in the House of Lords. Seriously - Dim Post finds real Hanard transcripts imitating satire. He’s also had a horrible thought prompted by the end of daylight saving.

Fish for freedom - Phillip D at SOLO shows how a goldfish seller got stung.


ClustrMaps

March 6, 2010

It’s a year since I discovered ClustrMaps which records visitor locations and numbers.

An email last night advised me that the record for the past 12 months is being archived and a fresh map started.

If this didn’t happen the map would turn into a giant red blob.

For the record, here’s where visitors have come from in the last year:

UPDATE: on the subject of visitors Something Should Go Here has the February blog stats. His vary quite markedly from the sitemeter rankings at Open Parachute and Tim Selwyn’s blogosphere rankings at Tumeke!


Did you see the one about

February 28, 2010

If homeopathy beats science  at Forthesakeofscience – Hat Tip: Grant Jacobs at Sciblogs

For control freaks - Quote Unquote has a couple of remote controls which might save a relationship.

Safety at Work - Something Should Go Here with a sign every workplace needs.

Judges could discourage dopey court lies - Stephen Franks has a sensible suggestion.

More Naps - Offsetting Behaviour on how long you should nap for and how siestas help memory.

Full Cream Fifties - Opposable Thumb on  cholesterol’s influence on music.

Let’s get some perspective on mining – Whaleoil puts the numbers into pictures.

Key to Victory - Liberation has a series of posts analysing the 2008 election.


Did you see the one about . . .

February 23, 2010

Unemployment - Something Goes Here has a cracker cartoon from Garrick Tremain.

A rural joke - Quote Unquote on sounds you hear on most farms (Though not Rob’s father’s).

Warning food is a choking hazard – Opinionated Mummy on the danger of warnings against danger.

How I became a Science teacher from Alison Campbell at Sciblogs and on a similar theme: Career Day – Rivetting Kate Taylor on how she got into journalism.

So good I stole it – Adolf at No Minister  and Dos and don’ts for cuddle class - Kiwiblog  illustrates in-flight etiquette.

Come take my stuff – Roar Prawn warns that technology can tell too much.

Top 10 at 10 Interest.co.nz has some funny cartoons among the serious stuff.

How not to define social sciences at Anti Dismal  . 

Exaggerating the benefits of Community Education at The Visable Hand In Economics and apropos of this Really big numbers at Off Setting Behaviour.


Did you see the one about . . .

February 17, 2010

Lessons in healthcare from Edinburgh Zoo - Theodore Dalrymple at Pyjamas Media (hat tip: Skeptical Doctor).

Looking at Ohariu {5} Vote Splitting - one of a series of posts at BK Drinkwater which show why Peter Dunne should retire gracefully before the next election. Links to the previous posts in the series are at the bottom of the post.

Getting people off benefits - Big News asks: “”how many people come off benefits because they go to prison?”.

Youth rates and Youth Rates Revisited Offsetting Behaviour shows why youth rates cost young people jobs. Kiwiblog has related posts A 10 year high in unemployment  and  Youth rates and youth unemployment.

On Travelling With A Toddler - Bernard Darnton at Not PC serves as a warning to others.

Another Labour Party Bureaucracy and Be happy – that’s an order and Staff Morale - a selection from the series of visual humour at Something Should Go Here.

The Wage Gap - Gooner shows the sorry stas at No Minister.

The Courts must be hellish busy - Lindsay Mitchell has the sorry stats on recidivism.

An interesting course - Kiwblog on law studies at Auckland.

How Not To Run A country - Anti-Dismal on the internet in Iran.

Reflections on media, name suppression etc - Inquiring Mind asks why we should take it any more.

Lactose Intolerant - Macdoctor on homeopathy.

Technology dystopia or utopia - The Visible Hand on technology and labour.


Did you see the one about . . .

January 27, 2010

Productivity and wages -  Antidismal follows up his earlier post – Econ 101 and the minimum wage.

The average worker should not be paying even 33% – Kiwiblog on tax creep

A Little Bit of Fun – how to Mathematically park your car. Aimee Whitcroft at Sciblogs on how much space you need to parallel park.

Why the public should not be so worried about asset sales - John Carran at the Rates Blog.

Economic weather report – 24.2% of NZ born graduates live overseas – highest in OECD - Bernard Hickey at Rates Blog.

Comic game theory and living arrangements - the Visible Hand shows sharing a house doesn’t mean sharing standards.

Inadequate - Kismet farm finds bra manufacturers have boobed.

You should see the pot selection - Something Should Go Here finds something unexpected at the supermarket.


Things to do when summer’s not summery

January 10, 2010

Scrubone has a post on Bio-Optic Organised Knowledge which might be useful on cold summer days.

It reminded me of the medieval helpdesk:

(That video is based on the orginial Norwegian one which you can find with English sub titles here).


NZ a square peg in round ETS hole

November 24, 2009

New Zealand’s problem is that we’re different.

Primary production and industries based on it are our bigeest export earners; almost all our forestry is from exotic species; we have relatively little heavy industry and the bulk of our power is already from renewable sources.

The Kyoto Protocol wasn’t designed for countries like us.

The heavy reliance on primary production is much more common in developing countries. But around half our emissions come from animals and there is little, short of reducing stock numbers, we can do to reduce them immediately. Research is being undertaken to reduce emissions from livestock but practical, affordable solutions may be years away.

The rules requiring new trees to be replanted where old ones were felled was aimed at protecting rain forests and indigenous species. It seems no-one considered that a clause aimed at protecting indigenous trees shouldn’t apply to exotic timber species in a country where they grow as well as they do here.

Our private vehicle ownership is high by world standards but that reflects our relatively small, widespread population which means that public transport is neither practical nor affordable in many places.

New Zealand is a square peg and we were ill served by the negotiators who tried to fit us into the round ETS hole.

I have a lot of confidence in Tim Groser who will be working on our behalf at the Copenhagen summit.

But I thought the whole thing was a dog’s breakfast from the start and my concerns are even greater now that there are questions over manipulation of climate change data.

Over at Sciblogs Aimee Witcroft raises the possibility the leaked emails have been doctored and points to a Guardian story  on the issue. It quotes Prof Bob Watson, the chief scientific advisor at Britain’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs who said,

“Evidence for climate change is irrefutable. The world’s leading scientists overwhelmingly agree what we’re experiencing is not down to natural variation.”

 Also at Sciblogs Gareth Renowden isn’t convinced by the leaked material.

For a contrary view see:  Ian Wishart,  Adolf at No Minister,  Roarprawn, Whaleoil,  Not PC, Poneke,  Mr Tips at NZ Conservative, Thoughts from 40 South, and Something Should Go Here  who says: 

I’ll say it a thousand times, climate change activism is about politics, not science.


Did you see the one about . . .

September 2, 2009

Governance not management  at Stephen Franks including the key compenents of a successful board.

Incentives matter: famine file  at Anti Dismal which illustrates the importance of private property.

Raising good kids at Not PC – taking a positive approach to parenting.

Comment of the week  at No Minister – a look back at Labour’s legacy sourced from a comment at Kiwiblog.

It can be over so quick at rivettingKate Taylor – sudden death and responsible babysitting.

Hands up if you fell for . . . at Monkey with Tpyewriter – looking at the havok didn’t happen.

Capping Incomes at Something Should Go Here – one for the doesn’t learn from history file.

New Zealand Professionals – Fillipinos of London at Cactus Kate – observations and advice on a successful OE.

Cheesecake and trim latte at goNZoFreakpower – the dilemna diet indulgence.

Nanny States at Macdoctor – a three point checklist for differentiating between nanny & necessary.

The Brussels Gestapo at Frenemy – Germans see the light on lightbulbs.


Still worth a look

August 27, 2009

Sometimes a post gets started and then gathers dust in the drafts’ file.

I must have begun a Did you see the one about . . . post  earlier this month then got distracted.

However, these are still worth a look:

If God was process oriented at Something Should Go Here . . . which illustrates why sometimes things get done and sometimes they just get discussed.

Kerching at Frenemy which introduces a new and very useful verb.

Annual party food post at In A Strange Land – yum!


Shame

August 4, 2009

Former MP and Minister outside cabinet Phillip Field has been found guilty  of 26 charges.

Field, former MP for Mangere, was found guilty of 11 of 12 charges of bribery and corruption as an MP after the Crown said he had Thai nationals carry out work on his properties in return for immigration assistance between November 2002 and October 2005.

He was also found guilty of 15 of 23 charges of wilfully attempting to obstruct or pervert the course of justice. The charges related to his evidence to an inquiry into the work on his homes.

Crown Prosecutor Simon Moore is correct when he says:

“This has been a really important case, and bribery and corruption strikes very much at the heart of who we are as a people.”

The case is a nasty blot on our democratic fabric not just because Field is the first person found guilty of corruption as an MP but because of the way then Prime Minister Helen Clark and her Labour colleagues sought to protect him and hobble the Ingram Inquiry into allegations against him.

Kiwiblog has done an excellent post detailing what happened and when, concluding with:

Long before the Police investigation, the Labour Party should have denounced Field. Instead Clark, Cullen and the rest of the Labour Party defended him. That is why these convictions are their shame.

This would also be a good time for all MPs to come together and declare this should never happen again, and support an Independent Commission against Corruption that can investigate abuses of office by parliamentarians, senior officials and agencies.

The call for an Independent Commission against Corruption is seconded by Whaleoil.

Keeping Stock says:

And sadly, we can no longer claim to be a country where our politics are free from corruption. That will be Taito Phillip Field’s legacy to New Zealand, and to the Pasifika people he purported to represent.

Roarprawn asks:   He is the first but will he be the last?

No  Minister says (and shows): A good day for Tui.

Oswald Bastable says: Official – there is corruption in NZ politics.

PM of NZ notes: Only guilty of trying to help.

UPDATE: Fairfacts Media posts on The Guilty Party.

                  Macdoctor posts on Dishonour.

                 Dim Post says The Only Thing Taito Phillip Field is Guilty of is Corruption.

                Something Should Go Here highlights the Gobsmackingly Dishonest Quote of the Day.

UPdate 2:

              Monkeywithtypewriter posts In Praise of Ingram.

             Stephen Franks writes Reflections on Field’s Corruption.


Saturday’s smiles

July 18, 2009

A blonde police officer stopped a blonde driver and asked for her licence.

The driver searched through her handbag but couldn’t find it.

“What does it look like?” she asked.

“It’s rectangular and has your photo on it,” the cop replied.

The driver scrabbled through her handbag again, pulled out her mirror, peered into it, handed it to the cop saying, “Yes, that’s me, here it is.”

 The cop looked at it for a moment then said, “Oh sorry I didn’t realise you’re a police officer too.”

(Choice inspired by this at Smething Should Go Here).


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