Saturday, October 19, 2013

Another hypocrisy regarding the Len Brown affair...

...and there has been so many.

In Wellington the centre right Mayoral candidate was smeared for issuing a public invitation to a painted lady to join him in the shower. He was subsequently cast as a misogynist, a "sexist relic".

  “These incidents show the true nature of the man,” says Denise Ritchie. “It’ll be up to Wellington voters to decide if a sexist relic from a bygone era is suited for the role of our capital city’s future mayor.”

Despite being apparently happily married and supported by his wife, a forthright, calls-a-spade-a-spade type, the feminist led campaign against John Morrison possibly/probably cost him the election. He was leading Wade-Brown until the liberal Green/female vote ramped up. Post election Deborah Coddington wrote,
Relax Wellington women, Mayor Celia's back. John Morrison, the man who wanted to shower with a body-painted young girl, won't be the capital's ambassador.
I can't believe so-called sophisticates found it hard to choose between incumbent Celia Wade-Brown and Morrison, the "sexist relic from a bygone age".

Contrast that to Auckland where the centre left Mayoral candidate didn't just eye the object of his lust (what man or woman  hasn't?) No need for me to canvas the rest.

But the absence of feminist outrage against Brown has been stunning. A man who used his power and position to exploit a young woman would ordinarily be a prime target. Yes, Chuang was using the Mayor too and I'm not playing the violin for her. But it is breathtaking how much the left will stomach to keep their man.

Me? I don't care whether he stays or goes. And the right team aren't looking too flash either. What winds me up is the staggering  hypocrisy and moral twistedness political scandals throw up every time.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Free market myths

The latest fashionable wisdom is that the free market doesn't work. The GFC is proof. Power prices are proof. The price of fish is proof. Unaffordable housing is proof. Etc etc.

Except we've never had a free market. One of the major reasons being government intervention. And it appears that people who used to champion the free market are amongst those who now say it doesn't work.

So I was attracted to this short list of myths about the free market.

Falsehood: The free market creates scarcity and higher prices.
  • Reality: In any economic system the quantity of a good will typically not be enough to satisfy demand when the price is zero. In a free market, in which people trade their legitimate claims to those resources, prices will tend to rise or fall to the level where the quantity supplied equals the quantity demanded, and in that way prices help us to cope with scarcity.
Falsehood: The free market means the government gives businesses special privileges.
  • Reality: The free market is free precisely because it denies special legal privileges to any person or group.
Falsehood: The free market requires that all valuable resources be privately owned and traded on markets.
  • Reality: Sometimes the alternatives to individual ownership just work better, such as when we "exchange" favors with family, acquaintances, and sometimes with strangers without the need for formal markets and market prices.
Falsehood: The free market is pro-war.
  • Reality: War and the government interventions that inevitably accompany it restrict markets and free association, make it more costly for most people to buy and sell, reduce the purchasing power of households and businesses, and disrupt the peace that is necessary for a thriving free market.
Falsehood: The free market is always efficient.
  • Reality: The real world is populated by real people who don't have complete information, who may have bad information and who may just make mistakes. An "ideal" economic system is not one in which no one ever makes a mistake; it is one in which the mistakes that people inevitably make are corrected as effectively as possible.
 Hat tip NCPA

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Super crisis averted

NZ hits one million adults with obesity
That's what the Daily Blog claims, predictably followed by nagging over the looming costs to the public health system.

Here's the source, the Ministry of Health Annual Report for 2013:

In 2011/12 about 28 percent of adults aged 15 years and over were obese, which is about one million adults (Ministry of Health 2012c). A further 35 percent of adults were overweight but not obese. About 10 percent of children aged 2–14 years were obese in 2011/12, and a further 21 percent were overweight but not obese (Ministry of Health 2012d).

So just over a third of adults aren't overweight.

That's it then. Superannuation crisis averted. That's what John Key knows. That's why the scheme is apparently sustainable. Most of the ageing population will meet a self-inflicted early demise.

Seriously, if people want to eat themselves into an early grave that's their choice. If food equals happiness or satisfaction or comfort then so be it.

What right has the state to decide that quantity of life is the ultimate goal for everybody?

More data transparency and accessibility

More praise from me for the Minister of Social Development's initiatives to improve the accessibility and transparency of benefit data.

The new format benefit factsheets have just been released. This was necessitated by the change in benefit categories. What impresses me however is 1/ the publication of numerous data spreadsheets showing regional, territorial authority, Auckland board etc information. Some of this has been available previously but to gather it into a table required hours of work trawling through individual factsheets. The Ministry has just made my job much easier. And 2/ the new factsheets have estimated back-data which will enable trends to be tracked from 2008. As well the historic data enabling tracking back to 1999 has been retained.

To use a hackneyed sporting term , this government, by setting public service goals and  making the data that measures their success more transparent and accessible, has actually 'backed itself.'

Naturally, I have to end with the observation that they can and must go further (before I get it in the neck from small government individualists.)