Protection, subsidies incentivise meat cheats

February 11, 2013

The discovery of horse meat in burgers in Ireland has been followed by news that up to 100% of meat in some lasagne came from horses too.

Liberty Scott points out that protection and subsidies incentivise the meat cheats:

This is fraud, and should be treated as such.  However, secondary to this are the market distortions created by the Common Agricultural Policy.  Meat moves freely and tariff free within the EU.  However, the EU imposes strict quotas on beef from outside the EU, such as a limit of 1,200 tonnes a year from New Zealand.  It also imposes a 20% tariff within that quota.  Although it allows outside quota beef in, it must have a tariff of around 100-250%.  All NZ beef imported into the EU must meet strict labelling and traceability conditions, unlike the subsidised EU beef.

 
There are obvious pressures to source cheap beef for low priced products, but the EU Common Agricultural Policy prevents this by propping up inefficient producers in the EU.  The quotas on imports should be abolished immediately, and tariffs abolished, so that beef can be imported at low cost and high quality.  It wont stop fraud happening, but reduces the pressure to substitute real beef for cheap alternatives due to trade protectionism.
EU residents pay higher taxes to subsidise inefficient producers and consumers pay more for food, some of which is of lower quality, because of tariffs and reduced competition.

Horse meat is widely eaten in Europe so it might not be a food safety issue though it does call into question the effectiveness of strict food labelling requirements.

Whether or not it’s a food safety issue though is no excuse for fraudulently labelling horse meat as beef. However, there would be a lot less incentive for this if the EU had freer trade with countries outside its borders.


Who’d work with whom?

November 24, 2011

John Key has proved he can work with some unlikely coalition partners.

He’s managed to provide a strong and stable government with Act to the right or him and the Maori and United Parties to the left.

How would you rate Phil Goff’s chances of keeping together the stack of colation partners he’d have to appease?

They’re not even in negotiation yet and already the Maori Party is unenthusiastic about one of the other parties  which would be in the stack. Deborah Coddington left this comment:

What newsrooms should really be asking the Greens is whether they can work with the Maori Party. I interviewed Tariana Turia today and asked her if she can work with the Greens and her response was astounding. I asked her if she trusted the Greens to return the conservation estate to tangata whenua and her response was an unequivocal, “I don’t believe they would”.

I asked her about the Greens’ policy to put a price on water for irrigation, and the tangata whenua’s very strong relationship with waters and rivers, and what she thought about who that money should be going to, under principles of the Treaty of Waitangi. Her reply: “I’ve always been a bit suspicious of him [Russel Norman]…I don’t think they’re as honest as they make out to be.”

Someone, she said, should be putting these questions to the Greens before Saturday.

Someone should, but will they? See why do the Greens get such an easy ride? Part One for the answer.


In memory of Steve Jobs

October 8, 2011

You dont’ have to be an Apple user to appreciate the contribution Steve Jobs made to the company, communication, technology and business.

You will find better tributes than I could write in Celebrating Crazy  by  Roarprawn, Steve Jobs 1955-2011  by  Not PC and Steve Jobs – he lived by Liberty Scott.

I’ll stick to borrowing someone else’s pictures:


9/11 ten years on

September 11, 2011

It was the morning of September 12th here 10 years ago, but still September 11th in the United States,  when we woke to the sight and sound of planes crashing into the World Trade Centre.

As the day wore on we learned a third plane crashed into the Pentagon and another crashed in  Pennsylvania.

Ten years on we remember the people who died, the people who survived with horrific injuries and the people who acted with heroism to help others.

The best way to honour them is to celebrate freedom and live freely. These are things we usually take for granted and they are concepts the people who led and took part in the attacks and their ilk didn’t and don’t understand.

Keeping Stock posts a documentary on the attacks and the aftermath.

Liberty Scott says 9/11 was an attack on modernity.

Whaleoil reminds us that while most people were running out, people from the emergency services were running in.


Might is wrong in London

August 9, 2011

Attacks from outside or from nature are bad enough but the riots which are spreading across London are from within.

The Guardian reports:

As disturbances entered a third day, the scale of civil disobedience reached unprecedented levels, with incidents in all corners of the capital.

The violence, which began in Tottenham, north London on Saturday spread south and east to Brixton, Streatham, Walthamstow, Edmonton, Enfield, Oxford Circus and Islington on Sunday.

By last night further outbreaks of disorder involving hundreds of hooded yobs had taken place in Hackney, Clapton, East Ham, Lewisham and Clapham Junction. Property and shops were set on fire in Peckham and Croydon . . .

. . . Riot officers, whose numbers had been quadrupled in anticipation of widespread violence, seemed largely powerless to intervene as they were outnumbered.

Other areas including Barking, Brent Cross, Palmers Green, Kilburn and Shepherds Bush were expecting violence as gangs of youths congregated. Shops across the capital closed early amid fears that the riots would spread further. Teams of riot officers were on standby in every borough in London.

West Midlands Police confirmed that extra officers were on patrol after the force became aware of a message circulated on social networking sites suggesting that Birmingham city centre would be targeted.

This isn’t politically motivated action against an evil regime. It’s mindless violence aimed at innocent property owners and people.

The BBC reports:

Metropolitan Police Commander Adrian Hanstock said: “This is not groups of people acting on behalf of communities or with any consent.

“This is individuals who are actually attacking communities, businesses, properties and houses and actually causing a huge amount of upset and criminality.”

The culprits are mostly young and Liberty Scott says they just want some free stuff:

. . . It is not because of the protest of the shooting of Mark Duggan, in a case that is now under investigation.   One can’t remotely claim that those rioting in Tottenham, Hackney, Wood Green, Enfield and now Lewisham are some response to the Police.  Petrol bombing shops, flats and buses, is not about some sort of protest.  There was a peaceful protest on Saturday about it, and Duggan’s family long called for an end to any violence . . .

These are looters, they are amoral, impulsive young men and women who have no conception of the rights of others, who have no respect for the property of others, who couldn’t care less if people lose their livelihoods, businesses or homes.   They are the output of a culture of entitlement that says if you want something you should have it, you don’t need to work or save for it, for either the state will pay for it, or someone will give it to you – or you just take it when you can.  A culture of hedonistic whim worshipping, that says if it feels good it’s ok and it doesn’t matter who or what you destroy or harm in the process – might is right.
 
Might in this case is wrong.
 
It is also a sign of people disconnected from society and the rules, standards and self-discipline required to keep it functioning and to keep people and property safe.

Can’t keep borrowing and hoping

July 21, 2011

Quote of the week from Liberty Scott:

You cannot keep borrowing to pay for consumption now in the hope you can borrow more in the future.

The post, which I recommend reading in full,  is about the European Union. The line quoted has universal application for individuals, businesses and nations.

It highlights one of the flaws of Labour’s tax policy. It’s not balanced by any policy to reduce spending and will require an enormous amount of extra borrowing in the short to medium term.

Borrowing for infrastructure and other investment which will help economic growth isn’t necessarily bad. Borrowing to pay for consumption was part of what Labour did wrong in its last term and they don’t appear to have learned from that mistake.


Did you see the one about . . .

January 30, 2011

My cricket World Cup squad – Imperator Fish mixes politics and sport.

Just one day – Liberty Scott reminds us what we must remember on Holocaust Memorial Day.

Macdoctor compares state of the nation addresses  –  and shows a picture really is worth 1,000 words. He also does the numbers on asset sales in Sell Down.

Crime scene cooking and bags of milk – Around the World on cultural differences of the culinary kind.

Don’t believe the lies – Kiwiblog figures what’s wrong with what Labour’s saying. He also gives a plug for WordCamp NZ.

Let us not march – Dim Post has word clouds from this week’s state of the nation speeches.

Two year Review – Pablo at Kiwipolitico looks back on two years of blogging.

Phil Goff – the beehive – Whaleoil shows how one silly idea could lead to another.


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