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Tag Archives: complete nonsense

Regional naming rights

Appellation d'origine contrôlée rules make some kind of sense when they prevent what might otherwise amount to false advertising because the geographic name is so intertwined with the product. It does seem to be getting a bit out of hand.The European Commission recently granted exclusive use of the term 'halloumi' within Europe to cheesemakers from Cyprus, using the intellectual property rights system called "geographical indications".The move to register halloumi follows behind the recent...

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Reader Mailbag: the proposed forestry legislation

Back in April, BusinessDesk warned about some pending legislation around logging; I went through some of it then at Newsroom:BusinessDesk last week reported that Jones is considering levies on log exports to fund some kind of “re-setting” of local industry, or a variety of regulations to ensure domestic lumber processors have their needs met before logs are exported.The story noted how local lumber processors are struggling to compete with processors elsewhere when international prices for...

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Ice Cream Makes You Happy

An excellent response to a stupid complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority, a ludicrous ruling from the ASA, and a milquetoast response from the manufacturer. First, the stupid complaint about an ad outside a dairy noting "Ice Cream Makes U Happy".  I wonder if E Fowler has ever tasted ice cream. And wouldn't kids who've walked a kilometre from school to the dairy deserve an ice cream?The ASA upheld the complaint. Absolutely absurd, inside-the-asylum stuff: A majority of the...

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Public health, externality, and vaccination

Paternalism is contentious. Arguments for state action to protect us from ourselves are fraught. I come down pretty heavily on the anti-paternalism side of the argument, but I've heard respectable defences of paternalism. But policy around vaccination is hardly paternalistic. There's a clear market failure that could be pointed to in any sound Regulatory Impact Statement.In a place with relatively high vaccination rates, the primary benefit from your getting vaccinated goes to other...

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On the merits of perspective

Me, over in Stuff, with a few helpful numbers that can provide perspective. Perspective is important. If you know a few basic figures about the size of the country, the economy, and government spending, you'll have a better nose for detecting and dismissing nonsense claims.  I lead off with the silly claims about the volume of litter: That extrapolation generated big big numbers – 10 billion littered cigarette butts around the country, almost 395 million litres of littered disposable...

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Does Market Economics understand either Markets or Economics?

Over in our Insights newsletter, I go through a bit more of the background materials on the government's National Policy Statement on sensitive soils.  I OIAed the supporting cabinet paper, which MPI released after the Ombudsman's office gave them a very helpful hurry-up. Thanks Ombudsman's office!The rest of MPI's materials are here.And last week, Treasury passed along their advice on this stuff (another OIA request). I expect it'll be up on their proactive release site in due course;...

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Rubbish statistics

I caught this rubbish floating around last week - new figures purporting to represent the amount of littering that goes on in New Zealand.Here's the infographic that Keep New Zealand Beautiful put up to go with their report. The numbers didn't make any damned sense on the face of it.  Headlines talked about there being ten billion littered cigarette butts around the country. But anyone with a passing familiarity with any of the relevant numbers should have been sceptical. To a first...

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GDP isn’t just adding up all the nice things

People keep wanting GDP to be something it isn't.The only thing that GDP is is a measure of the final value of goods and services that trade in markets. That's it.There are all kinds of good things that are not in GDP.High among those good things is the value of household production that does not trade in markets.This is standard fodder in principles and intermediate-level coursework. If you have a two-parent household, with one working outside the home for wages and the other working inside...

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Abolish coroners

Edgeler nails this one. Abolish coroners https://t.co/BgPdDb2mDv — Graeme Edgeler (@GraemeEdgeler) July 30, 2019 Recall that coroners in NZ operate under crappy legislation that invites them to speculate about measures that might prevent identical cases in future, but putting zero weight on practicability or cost-effectiveness or sanity.NZ coroners have made a lot of nutty calls based on this. I'd put together a list a few years ago: Search Google NZ for "Coroner recommends" and you'll...

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Is this subsidiarity?

Subsidiarity is the principle that different levels of government should handle the tasks for which they are best suited.  If you think about it with a bit of public economics in mind, you can see it as siting policy and regulation at the level that best internalises whatever externalities are at play. It makes little sense for central government to decide on whether a stop sign, traffic light, or roundabout is the best traffic management option in some local neighbourhood; local...

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