Posts by Rob Stowell

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  • Hard News: Forgetting what we didn't know,

    That Deborah, Nicky and Andrea Vance think it does is interesting but not decisive.

    No. You'd have to look at the reasons they give. Deborah is very clear. You might also take into account that our trust regime was being questioned by other countries' tax depts and our own IRD.
    Having done your homework - do you think we qualify as a tax haven? Or were we simply the unwitting dupes of clever Panamanian lawyers?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Forgetting what we didn't know,

    Thanks Deborah. That was beautifully clear and useful!

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    Not sure what to make of this talk about mental health and nutrition.
    But I'm pretty sure I've read about sugar having a big effect on gut microbiome. Probably nothing like antibiotics, but far more constant in most of our diets.
    Autism and food choice: our lad is expanding his taste well at the moment - pubescent boy, always hungry helps. It's a great relief - he loves carbs, although he's always liked salad - because his diet has been quite limited at times.
    Not much love for greenery, though we have got him eating green beans just via entertainment (a game where we would scream if he ate a bean. Luckily that hasn't been needed for a couple of years.
    The oddest dietary thing has been around his passion for Huntley and Palmers cream crackers with marg and vegemite. Still a major favourite and backstop. But he won't eat them - gets quite upset - if they are at all broken (this has also improved lately.) My sense is the shape is important in a way that effects the taste and emotion, a sort of synesthesia.
    At times he's been a little pattern obsessed and lined food up neatly, but it's a passing thing. His reaction to a broken cracker has endured.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    Can I please be anti-oodles-of-sugar-in-way-too-many-foods and anti-marketing-sugar-to-kids and pro trying out putting a tax on it without somehow hating on people who might be a bit rounded?
    Cos I'm a bit over-weight myself. And so are people I love dearly. And I'm really against punishing poverty.
    And I think taxing sugar makes sense. More to the point because I don't know much about it: isn't ignoring not just the advice but the *pleas* of public health professionals a bit daft?
    What if every cent was doubled or trebled and put back into (let's say) winz benefits and wff?

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A cog in the Mediaworks machine,

    Bugger the schadenfreude. Whoop! One down.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…,

    There are health issues with high levels of sugar consumption beyond obesity. It seems likely there's a link between high comsumption of sugar and some mental health problems, for example.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Tim Darlington,

    Better to posit a highly unlikely genetic explanation for obesity than to admit you spent decades making things worse, I guess.

    Maybe you've read the book, and followed all the arguments, and are pointing to an obvious hole. Or maybe you've followed Robyn's work for decades, and found it seriously defective in this regard.
    Or maybe you're just insulting someone more-or-less gratuitously.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: How the years flew by ..., in reply to llew40,

    we have had a taxation system that has for well over a decade now had a deeply entrenched bias towards property investment

    Yes. It's ridiculous we don't tax capital gains just like other income. And it will take all the remedies we can throw at it - not any one on its own - to turn things around.
    But there's another wheel to the cycle - how in NZ it's both an effect and a major cause of wealth inequality.
    "Investors" are the wealthy. Leveraging other property, or simply looking for a place to park excess money, property offers more security, and higher returns than anything else. And you don't need a dodgy law-firm and a office-full of tax accountants to discover a safe, legal tax haven.
    So money pours in, and big money is made. A massive amount of that is a paper gain to one-house owner-occupiers. But while they are the majority, they mostly don't realise that gain. Investors tend to - either by selling or leveraging it.
    So they become wealthier. And buy more. And wealthier. They can afford to pay more and more for new houses.
    Fewer and fewer people on ordinary wages can afford a house; they are stuck renting; wages are stagnant; they have less and less disposable income. Small business suffers. So does the productive economy - as more people have less disposable income- making it even less attractive as an investment for those with money to invest.
    More and more of the rent goes back into the property market, pushing prices - and ultimately rent - up further.
    No-one in politics seems to be serious about changing the rules and breaking the cycle :(
    (As Russell alluded - some of the same effect is seen in farming, with capital gains having been more significant than production in terms of wealth creation.)
    Picketty would have a field-day looking at NZ.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Cui bono?,

    Thanks Emma. Still gets me angry - because shame and humiliation and endless pointless cruel hoop-jumping are just what you need when you've lost a job or have a chronic illness.
    We used to get regularly asked for medical corroboration our boy still had Down Syndrome. It was funny but also a bit ... depressing.
    Now we're facing the costs and hurdles getting an enduring power of attorney (he is also ASD). Two lawyers and a court hearing, I believe ...

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Take: The Panama Papers,

    Call it the Smart Social Democrats versus Silly Labour.

    Mirroring my thoughts exactly. This hits a nerve and it should be in the news for months. It's a natural for social democrats. But it's not about NZ's reputation or JK (if he's damaged thats jus a bonus).
    It's the bleeping basic principle! Those with more should contribute more.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1860 posts Report Reply

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