Wednesday , April 21 2021
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Tag Archives: pandemic

The cost of a rolling omnishambles

The travel bubble with Australia has not brought room for others to come into the MIQ system from overseas. Instead, spaces are being decommissioned. Why? The system is leaky. The government cannot afford to let riskier people into those spaces, because the system can't handle them. My column in Insights last week went through the problem.Maintaining quarantine-free travel with Australia is important. Expanding the bubble to include other Covid-free places like Taiwan and the Pacific Islands...

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Conversations: covid and (separately) nonprofits

 I did a few fun video conversations last week.  This is a conversation with Ryan Bourne, Megan McArdle, and Alex Tabarrok on economics and the year of covid. Direct link if the above embed doesn't work. The conversation  is occasioned by the publication of Ryan's excellent book Economics in One Virus.  I am often asked for recommendations of general readable economics books. (i.e. no equations.) This is a gem. Then I had a nice conversation with Mike...

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Morning roundup

The morning's worthies, from the accumulated browser tabs:A Manhattan Institute roundup, from last January, on the problems with rent control. What would be a fair price on iPredict for a contract paying $1 if Labour brings in rent controls. $0.60? Higher? Otago's tallying of the border system failures as at 30 March. Add to it this week's case of a border worker who caught it, and had somehow managed to miss vaccination appointments due to personal reasons. Minister Hipkins could issue a...

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Afternoon roundup

The browser tabs, there are so many.I'm quoted in the Dom on the 1 April minimum wage increases. I hadn't gone through MBIE's advice before. MBIE's review has a decent summary of the literature, provides the necessary warnings about substantial real minimum wage increases in the current environment. Alas. The analyst would had to have known that the advice would be ignored, but be darned if the advice wasn't going to be provided anyway.If iPredict still existed, what would be the fair price...

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Important vaccination stats to keep in mind

Thomas Lumley runs the numbers on herd immunity and vaccination:Cutting transmission by 90% would need nearly everyone to be vaccinated. What if only 50% were vaccinated? Well, suppose someone with the virus would have passed it on to two people, but one of them is vaccinated. Instead of two new cases, we get one new case. Or, in a super-spreader event, suppose they would have passed it on to 10 people, but half of them of them are vaccinated. Instead of 10 cases, we get maybe four or five...

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Vaccination priorities

Chris Hipkins announced some of the government's prioritisation for the coming vaccination campaign. I don't quite get it, given the situation here differs considerably from the situation abroad.Here and abroad, there's been priority on those at most risk.But who's at most risk differs.Here, it's people working in the border system, and the government has been entirely correct to prioritise those workers and their families. That absolutely makes sense. They're also prioritising South...

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Good News! Vaccines!

Justin Giovannetti's piece at The Spinoff last week was more than a bit of a worry, because it reflected exactly what I'd been hearing around Wellington as well. Lots of officials weren't seeing vaccination as any way out of the border restrictions. Rather, risk of new variants meant border restrictions would be with us for a lot longer.He wrote:Hipkins’s best-case scenario sees, in early 2022, a world not radically different from where we are now. “A series of ongoing incremental changes”,...

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Goodman on single payer

With the current focus on "equity" and "disadvantage," even in the midst of a pandemic, one might yearn for the simplicity of a government run system. Surely if health care were free at the point of delivery, paid for by taxes, all the inequities of health care would disappear, no? (Sure we might all get bad health care, but we'd all get the same health care, no?) No. John Goodman has a nice Forbes article explaining why and giving the evidence from UK and Canada. Bottom...

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Reader mailbag: quarantine edition

This morning's Inbox comes with a plea that I advocate for self-isolation, rather than MIQ, for visitors coming in from Australia - doing so would vastly increase MIQ capacity, enabling a lot of visitors from actually-risky places to take up scarce slots in MIQ, and enabling more family reunification. My correspondent is in that latter situation. I've copied my reply below, lightly edited. I'm getting more than a little frustrated by the state of the border. Thanks for your kind words. You...

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Border Costs

Cecile Meier walks us through some of the costs of a border system that has neither been able to safely scale up to meet need, nor able to find any reasonable way of prioritising entry into those scarce MIQ spaces.When Zane Gillbee hugged his family goodbye in South Africa before moving to Wellington, his daughter Lyla was still a baby and his son Callum a happy seven-year-old.Lyla is now a potty-trained, walking, talking two-and-a-half-year-old and Gillbee has missed it all.Callum, who is...

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