Posts by Don Christie

  • Hard News: Budget 2017: How do we get…,

    Wait for the clamour of UBI to really kick in. That's the "Uber" subsidy of non-tax paying corporate dreams.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Hard News: Hep C: When doctors do the…,

    [edit - others have made this point far more eloquently. Teach me to read from the bottom up]

    But for every drug that is successful there are many that fail completely and somehow these companies have to cover that cost.

    Sadly the pharma companies have got themselves into positions of effective monopolies. By being very big and by having overly generous IP protection from our governments. This means that they spend less on R&D and more on marketing than would be considered the norm. Simply put, they are gouging.

    R&D also tends to focus on creating new versions of existing drugs rather than on ground breaking new cures. This article only scratches the surface, but you get the idea (with added John Oliver):

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Hard News: Hep C: When doctors do the…,

    Wow, an example of where zone locking actually kills people. Also, "high quality" trade agreements will make this sort of work around illegal.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Hard News: Trump's Dummkopfs,

    So much...

    On healthcare, Clinton's proposals in 2008 were far more radical than Obama's. The latter famously borrowed Mitt Romney's healthcare reform policy.

    Social policy wise Clinton is more radical than Obama. International affairs, far more hawkish. One may be scarier than the other to NZ, or people who live in the Middle East.

    But taking the piss out of voters who have lost 10s of 1000s of jobs in the last few years (Ohio) is not going to win elections.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Hard News: Obscuring the News,

    I'm pretty sure that the mould is a miraculous representation of the newly canonised St. Theresa. Have a closer look at the screen shot.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Cracker: Breaking the Silence, in reply to Damian Christie,

    I’d be quite happy being ruled by a benevolent wise council of elders.

    That could work.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    The idea of a consumption tax to change consumer behaviour is not new. I do find it strange that when I have suggested removing GST form certain common items I get told how impossible that is by many on this platform because we have such a "simple" tax system and that must be "a good thing". Only our "simple" tax system is extraordinarily unfair on the least well off sections of our society. Thanks Rogernomics.


    The obvious policy approach, assuming we are agreed there is a consumption issue, is to tax the undesired consumption whilst at the same time compensating those most impacted by that consumption tax with additional income.

    In NZ the latter could be achieved by increasing Working for Families payments, child allowances and benefits. That way people can decide to use the "additional" income to purchase different sources of energy...or not.

    This is basic economics. Paid for out of the tax collected. Not every new tax has to be a net gain for the exchequer.

    Finally, my understanding of the "sugar" problem is that it is more of a "sugar + salt" problem and our fizzy drink and fast food providers have been cynically upping the amounts of both, knowing full well they are killing us, to make us want to eat and drink more of their produce. Just like the tobacco companies.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Polity: Global behemoths and tax,

    If they do anything to lower shareholder value, they can be taken to court by the shareholders.

    Really? As a shareholder, director and manager I will call bullshit on this and similar claims. Companies create and destroy shareholder value every day. Nobody would take an executive position anywhere if this insanity prevailed. does reinforce an observation of the comments on this thread. The depth of learned helplessness is quite astounding. We can do stuff, even in NZ and it doesn't require international agreements or even local law changes, though those would be nice.

    I have three ideas:

    1. Ensure the government procurement rule around allowing economic impact assessment is fully enabled. Make sure the +tive economic impact of local business is fully recognised.

    2. Have a public enquiry and get big pharma, Apple, Google, Amazon and Microsoft up on the stand.

    3. Change some laws.

    Tax is a complex and emotional thing and as a business it can feel very debilitating and overwhelming. But regardless of your position of who should pay it and how much they should pay, local companies tend to employ local people who pay local taxes. Use them.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Polity: Global behemoths and tax,

    Thanks for the article Rob. I did think Labour's response was a bit tepid. The whole "let's wait for the OECD to sort it out" is, frankly, nuts.

    I don't know about the oil sector. The pharma sector drives me nuts (see also TPP and IP and monopolies). Yay we beat up on the banks and they now pay fair taxes. I *do* know a lot about the digital / IT sector.

    Matt Nippart and John Campbell have done a great job. But they are reporting on company returns available in NZ. The figures they quote are still massively understating the issue and the anti-competitive situation local (anywhere in the world) businesses face.

    The vast majority of NZ $s going to Microsoft, Google, Amazon and all are simply not reported in NZ. When any ministry pays for Google Apps the money doesn't touch the sides. It goes straight overseas. Same for all sites that use Google Analytics, Ad words and so on. Ditto for AWS (by the way, you *do* know our health data is being shipped to AWS, right?). Between them both companies employ less than 2 handfuls of people here.

    The point is not whether NZ should use these products and businesses but how to value and reflect the economic impact of that use. The government, which controls over 30% of our GDP, is in the box seat to make this evaluation whenever the make a purchase.

    So, if we want to see behavioural change, across the business community, we need to ask our own government to look seriously at the economic impact of how they spend.

    As David Farrar and others on other blogs were always very fond of saying..."it's our money".

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Hard News: Cheers,

    Have a great break Russell. And thanks for everything.

    Looking back at the launch of *this* incarnation of your site (9 years ago), I see it worked on a Nokia 770. Which made me very happy at the time :-)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

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