Australia fix your roads

On the one hand it’s great for people like me that there are vast roads of days of sand and corrugations. It was tough at first but ultimately I was skimming through the sand pit that is the NT part of the great central road. Some of the road has not been graded for months, …

Global official aid falls – NZ languishes at the back

Pathetic. Official development aid worldwide actually fell by 8.4%, in real terms, last year. This meant a drop from 0.31% to 0.28% of OECD member’s GNI, rather than rising up towards the 0.7% of GNI agreed to at the Gleneagles G8 and UN Millennium + 5 summits in 2005. Much of the change was because …

China: all but wheat, sugar and rice

Wheat, sugar and rice, along with “certain paper products” those are the items that will remain subject to tarrifs when we export them to China. They represent about 4% of our exports to China, so not a bad outcome. All three grains are subject to some pretty serious subsidization and quota-driven distortions in the world …

Blogging for $35 billion – Expensive Tankers

So you lose a $35 billion deal to a competitor that you have been keeping away from your major customer for years. What do you do? Well if you are Boeing, the customer is the US Government (Airforce), the competitor is Airbus and the product is refueling tankers, then you start a blog. and launch …

Ham-fisted intervention in markets is dull thinking

Score one for protectionism, and minus several ranks of the economic freedom index for New Zealand, after the Government intervenes to prevent a Canadian fund from buying into Auckland airport. When the market drops by 2% after a new protectionist law is created it should be obvious to everyone the impact of ham-fisted interventionist Government …

Guaranteeing Safety on the roads

A timely topic as we head out on the annual Christmas travel-fest. It’s dangerous on those roads, and we all need to do something about it. The NZ Government has come up with their list of measures to reduce fatalities on the road: Increased demerit penalties for crossing stop lights Increased demerit penalties for faster …

Anti Free trade: BNZ and USA

Why is it so complicated to wire money from the USA to NZ? I know the US laws are convoluted, but BNZ certainly isn’t helping reduce barriers to free trade with these instructions: Dear Mr Wiggs Thank you for your enquiry about transferring funds from the United States to Bank of New Zealand. In order …

Why not charge $40 for a pack of cigarettes

Via Freakanomics, it seems that for men US$222, and for woman US$94, is the true cost of a packet of cigarettes, when you add in the net preent value of the damage to your health and lifespan. The public sector economist in me says that you should¬† step in when there is a big disparity …

Blame the invisible man

Part of the blame for the underinvestment by Telecom, and under0-reaction by the NZ Government has to go on the National Party’s Maurice Williamson: A rare written question from National Party communications spokesman Maurice Williamson to Communications Minister David Cunliffe in May… …asked Mr Cunliffe how New Zealand’s {broadband} ranking compared with its position in …

US State – enforcing Iraq postings

The US State Department (foreign service) is enforcing postings in Iraq – there is no turning them down it seems, else you lose your job. That’s scary for 250 or so people who will be informed on Monday, and have just 10 days to reply. The only excuses allowed are medical it seems. I know …