Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Ford say mobile phone bans can be counter productive

May 23rd, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Car maker Ford believes that “hyper enforcement” of mobile phone laws could be contributing to more accidents.

In New Zealand, drivers drivers can not use hand-held mobile phone while driving unless it is an emergency situation, but the global leader for Ford’s infotainment interface, Jeff Greenberg, has said the onus should be on car makers to reduce mobile phone-related accidents with smarter technology.

Greenberg said the current strategy of simply banning mobile phones had encouraged motorists to be more discrete.

“You see this regularly with hyper enforcement – people who would normally hold their phone up high to text (gestures phone at eye level), which is still bad by the way, are now holding their phone down near their lap and completely taking their eyes off the road,” he said.

“There can be unintended consequences to being overly vigilant. That’s what our concern is: that whatever policies are adopted, that we really think through the unintended consequences to make sure we don’t make the problem worse.”

A valid point. A better approach would be car manufacturers making it easier for cellphones to pair with the native car systems.


Cash incentives work to reduce smoking

May 23rd, 2015 at 3:13 pm by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Would the promise of an US$800 (NZ$1075) payout motivate you to quit smoking? And if so, what’s the most effective way to dangle that reward?

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania sought to answer those questions, with help from more than 2500 smokers who either worked for the US pharmacy chain CVS Caremark or were their family members or friends.

They found that financial incentives greatly improved the odds of kicking the habit. Compared with a control group that was offered “usual care” – including smoking cessation guides from the American Cancer Society and referrals to local anti-smoking resources – those who also were offered the prospect of a payday were far more likely to be smoke-free six months after their quit dates. The researchers also discovered that the type of incentive offered could make a big difference in a smoker’s chances of success, according to their report published Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The detail being:

People who had their own skin in the game had the greatest odds of success. Among those who were willing to make a US$150 (NZ$201) deposit that they could earn back by remaining smoke-free, the quit rate at six months was 52 per cent. That blew away the 17 per cent quit rate for those didn’t put up any of their own cash. It also bested the 6 per cent quit rate for those in the control group who only got usual care.

So by far the best results come when smokers stand to both gain money if they stop smoking, but also lose their own money if they don’t.

But the researchers said it’s not clear that the skin-in-the-game approach was the best way to go. Though the results were much better, smokers were far less likely to give it a try. Only 14 per cent of the study participants assigned to a deposit-based program were willing to fork over their money. In comparison, 90 per cent of those who didn’t have to shell out agreed to participate in their part of the experiment.

When the researchers took this into account, the success rate for the simple reward systems beat out the success rate for the deposit systems by margin of 16 per cent to 10 per cent. That was a statistically significant difference, the study authors wrote.

It is logical that fewer people are willing to put up their own money. But if they are, then it is more successful. So offering both programmes would seem to be the best thing to do.


General Debate 23 May 2015

May 23rd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Labour preparing for victory

May 22nd, 2015 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Trans-Tasman reported:

Labour leader Andrew Little, who made a good start in the role, has found his poll ratings slipping in recent weeks (with Winston Peters snapping at his heels). He miscued when he contended John Key should stand down a Minister whose brother was reported as facing criminal charges. Bigger problems are to get his team functioning as a policy-making machine, and to stimulate (or discard) those who think they have only to sit it out before they are back in Govt.

Reports of sessions being held for staff to acquaint them how they would operate in Ministerial offices points to a hard-to-shake mindset which underlines the process of rejuvenation has yet to begin. Five of Labour’s MPs have 146 years of service in the House between them.

This must surely be a joke. Labour’s running sessions on preparing for Government just six months after their worst election result in 90 years.


Parliament 22 May 2015

May 22nd, 2015 at 9:27 am by David Farrar

The House is is urgency and is sitting from 9 am to 1 pm, 2 pm to 6 pm and 7 pm to midnight until the following bills are dealt with. It can sit on Saturday also.

The Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill amends the Housing Restructuring and Tenancy Matters Act 1992 to allow the social housing agency (currently the Ministry of Social Development) to enter into more flexible and innovative purchasing arrangements for social housing.

The key purpose of Telecommunications (Development Levy) Amendment Bill is to make additional funding available, through the telecommunications development levy applied to the telecommunications industry, for the Government’s policy of extending the Rural Broadband Initiative and establishing a Mobile Black Spots Fund.

The KiwiSaver Budget Measures Bill proposes to remove the $1,000 KiwiSaver kick-start contribution paid to all new enrollees in the KiwiSaver scheme, effective from 2 pm on 21 May 2015.

The Border Processing (Arrivals and Departures) Levy Bill amends the Biosecurity Act 1993 and the Customs and Excise Act 1996 to introduce levies to fund the direct and indirect costs of activities carried out by the Ministry for Primary Industries and the New Zealand Customs Service relating to the processing of people arriving in and departing from New Zealand.

Support for Children in Hardship Bill is an omnibus Bill introduced under Standing Order 263(a). The Bill strengthens work expectations and increases assistance for parents on a benefit and who have dependent children from 1 April 2016.

To date the Support for Children in Hardship Bill has completed its first reading (109 to 12 – NZ First against) and been referred to the Social Services Committee

The Social Housing Reform (Flexible Purchasing and Remedial Matters) Bill has had its first and second readings (both 63 to 58 with Labour, Greens, NZ First against) and is now at committee stage.


General Debate 22 May 2015

May 22nd, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 21 May 2015

May 21st, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

The ginger liberation front

May 20th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

The Daily Mail reports:

A ginger-haired extremist accused of plotting a copycat Andres Breivik terror attack allegedly wanted to assassinate Prince Charles so Prince Harry would become king, a court has heard.

Loner Mark Colborne, who felt ‘marginalised’ because of hair colour, allegedly planned to ‘take out’ the Prince of Wales with a sniper to allow his youngest son to become heir to the throne.

The court heard how the 37-year-old allegedly dreamt up the terror plot at his home in Southampton, in an apparent bid to transform himself from a ginger-haired victim into a notorious military terrorist.

He didn’t think this through very well. To get a ginga onto the throne, he’d have to take out Charles, William, George and now Charlotte.

Penning his ambitions, he allegedly wrote how he would become a ‘fully-transformed military terrorist’ who would be known for ‘striking at the hearts of the dark-haired, dark-eyed Caucasian race’.

I have bad news for him. He is also a Caucasian.

The Old Bailey heard how, in another entry, Colborne allegedly promised to target the prince ‘for the Aryan people’, adding: ‘If I had the right weapon, military grade sniper rifle, I would take out Prince Charles and a few others for the sake of the Aryan people.

I thought the Ayran supremacists were about killing off non-Caucasians!

In another entry read to the court, he allegedly wrote: ‘I want my legacy to say that I fought a one man war against the capitalist regime.

Also against capitalism!

But Colborne’s plans were foiled when his half-brother Kevin found receipts for chemicals bought on Amazon on the landing floor while decorating in June last year and told his mother, Patricia.

When police were called they found books about poisons and explosives titled ‘Silent Death’, ‘Assorted Nasties’, and ‘The Poor Man’s James Bond’, the court heard.

Detectives also found spray bottles which could be used to squirt cyanide at his victims and a chemical that helped poisons penetrate through the skin, it is claimed. 

An idiot, but one who could have done a lot of harm.


General Debate 20 May 2015

May 20th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 19 May 2015

May 19th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 18 May 2015

May 18th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 17 May 2015

May 17th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 16 May 2015

May 16th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel


May 16th, 2015 at 2:53 am by kiwi in america

The peaceful passing of one of the greatest blues legends of all time was announced inauspiciously on late last night in Las Vegas.

In 2000 I once attended a Mortgage Bankers conference in the US when I was still living in New Zealand. It was a lavish affair made all the more awesome when it was announced that they had hired BB King. He came on stage alone with just a chair and his legendary blues guitar, pulled out of his pocket a scruffy bit of paper from which he read the name of the organisation that had hired him and proceeded to jam for almost 2 hours. It was the most incredible musical event I had ever attended! He kept performing until well into his 80’s.

My favourite was “The Thrill is Gone”. One of the entertainment industry’s mightiest has finally left the stage. May he Rest in Peace.

No tag for this post.

The Hindenburg

May 15th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

Came across this video. Very chilling.

Amazingly not everyone on board died. 35 died and 62 lived.

No tag for this post.

General Debate 15 May 2015

May 15th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 14 May 2015

May 14th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Little gets hysterical

May 13th, 2015 at 2:57 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Labour leader Andrew Little says the Government is guilty of gross deception in the election campaign, accusing it of knowing it could not meet its promised surplus in the current financial year but continuing to promise it.

“I see it for what it is – one of the biggest political deceptions in a lifetime,” he said in a pre-Budget speech to the Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce.

To say this is a hysterical over-reaction would be unfair to hysterical people.

It’s an economic and fiscal forecast that didn’t occur due to (mainly) low inflation and low interest rates. Calling it the biggest political deception of his lifetime is desperate and hysterical.

As some on the left have pointed out, Little is saying the fact the forecast surplus didn’t eventuate is a bigger issue than the fact the Weapons of Mass Destruction which justified the invasion of Iraq did not exist!

Labour seem to have adopted a strategy of having no policies on anything for 18 – 24 months, and just shrilly call John Key a liar as often as possible. I’m not sure this will succeed anymore than their previous strategies – except to make Little fairly unpopular. People want leadership, not whatever they think this is.

Mr Little argued that the economy was suffering from over-reliance on dairy and that the John Key-led Government should have directed investments into a more diverse range of economic activity.

So Andrew thinks it is the job of the Government to direct investment? Does he suggest a law forcing people to sell their cows and plant trees? The Government sets the environment, but does not direct investment. It is alarming he thinks the Government should be.


General Debate 13 May 2015

May 13th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 12 May 2015

May 12th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

General Debate 11 May 2015

May 11th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Blaming the stores for bad food choices doesn’t work

May 10th, 2015 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

The US National Bureau of Economic Research has found:

The poor diets of many consumers are often attributed to limited access to healthy foods.

In this paper, we use detailed data describing the healthfulness of household food purchases and the retail landscapes in which these consumers are making these decisions to study the role of access in explaining why some people in the United States eat more nutritious foods than others.

We first confirm that households with lower income and education purchase less healthful foods. We then measure the spatial variation in the average nutritional quality of available food products across local markets, revealing that healthy foods are less likely to be available in low-income neighborhoods. Though significant, spatial differences in access are small and explain only a fraction of the variation that we observe in the nutritional content of household purchases. Systematic socioeconomic disparities in household purchases persist after controlling for access: even in the same store, more educated households purchase more healthful foods. Consistent with this result, we further find that the nutritional quality of purchases made by households with low levels of income and education respond very little when new stores enter or when existing stores change their product offerings.

Together, our results indicate that policies aimed at improving access to healthy foods in underserved areas will leave most of the socioeconomic disparities in nutritional consumption intact.

So banning certain stores doesn’t work. People who like unhealthy food will still buy it.


General Debate 10 May 2015

May 10th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel

Labour promotes enrol for the dole!

May 9th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Labour is against work for the dole, but they are promoting enrol for the dole!

The Herald reports:

Labour has proposed withholding state support such as tax credits and Working For Families from people who are not enrolled to vote.

The measure could be justified if it lifts New Zealand’s low voter turnout, the party says.


So no welfare payments if you don’t enrol.

Labour has strongly criticised National for linking state support to obligations, including requiring beneficiaries to take pre-employment drug tests, and potentially cutting benefits if parents do not have children in early childhood education.

You don’t need to work for the dole but you do need to enrol they’re saying!

Low voter turnout tends to hurt the left more. In 2011, about 39,000 people were on the electoral roll in Mangere, whose voters favour Labour, compared to 48,000 in National stronghold Epsom.

That difference is not just about enrolment rates. Electorates have roughly the same number of people, but not the same number of adults. Mangere is an area with many more children than Epson, so hence they have less adults living there eligible to enrol.


General Debate 9 May 2015

May 9th, 2015 at 8:00 am by Kokila Patel