Well living in Berkeley I never quote got those sorts of questions - though one work mate thought I came from an island off the east coast of Canada (she was entranced that I'd grown up watching Dr Who, and considered it a kids show - it did play at 4pm after all)
The seasons thing does mess them up (and timezones that change with time of year).
I do wish we'd hold halloween in NZ in late April though - we carved pumpkins here last year (expensive and hard to find) - and it was still day light out when the little kids came around - the whole fun of halloween is taking little kids around in the dark to see the scary stuff and meet the neighbours
I'm tempted to give Powell the benefit of the doubt - a family friend was a military aide working for him during that time - from what I've heard he was shafted
I had my bimonthly call from the Democrats this morning on my US phone number (we gave them money when we lived there):
"You do realise I'm in New Zealand right? it's 6am"
(quiet moment while they process this)
"but you have a 510 number ..."
"yes it's in NZ ... you remember all those Vonage ads on TV .... it's an internet phone"
(at this point I steel myself for the usual pitch for sending them some cash)
"well we're just calling up to make sure that you vote ..."
"I'm not allowed to vote, my wife has already voted 3 weeks ago ...." .
(notice I restrained myself and didn't announce that we were actually planning on voting on the 8th)
"she can't vote until the 5th ... she has to go to her polling place on Alcatraz on the 5th ...."
"she voted as an absentee ... she already voted .... for Obama .... please cross us off your list ...."
"oh, OK .... thank you"
and she forgot to ask for money
Yes thank you BB King is much maligned by the comparison
Graham Capill on the other hand would nbe Gary Glitter ....
sigh RG's the only vaguely usefull record store we have here in Dunedin.
As someone who likes owning vinyl and CDs - I don't buy online, don't download and have 50Gb on my iPod I guess I'm going to have to start - guess I'm going to have to wait for Apple to release their iTunes client for linux before I start spending money on music again
Do you mean an equally applied capital gains tax across all investment asset classes?
I'd go for that mostly with a few provisos:
- a tax rebate for capital gains on anything held for some minimum time (3-5 years) so maybe 5-10% less than the top marginal rate (you register the purchase and file with the IRD)
- no tax on someone selling their primary residence and buying another of equal value or higher - claimable once every 3-5 years (but equally if you claimed it when you bought it you can't claim it as a loss either)
- a one time tax holiday on the first N$ ($500Kish) of a primary residence sold over age 55
these are largely the US rules for pre Bush capital gains (IMHO their changes to let you claim the whole of selling a primary residence every 5 years added to the current mess and let a lot of people pull RE money out of the US market - including me when returning to NZ)
They work well because they are relatively simple, almost everything is either short term or long term it doesn't distinguish between types of assets - except that it keeps out of the way of most people's house buying while discouraging property speculation
I should add that there's a chicken and egg sort of issue here - you want to have local high grade investments here to invest in - but a lot them start out as startups - if you don't have lots of companies starting up (and lots of them failing) now you wont have cool stuff to invest in a decade from now
As I've said elsewhere a lot of our companies like our kids - they grow up and leave home for their OE - but it's largely because they have to sell their souls to overseas investors in order to grow
It's all very well decrying the lack of VC investment in NZ (and I do all the time .... we do need more) but you need to realise it's a very different sort of investment - it's risky, in fact MOST investments fail - but if you do it right some pay off big time
What you don't want is the guy who's picking stocks and bonds for your Kiwisaver/Cullen fund/401K/etc picking startup companies to invest in - you need someone running a VC fund who understand the part of the biz they are working in who can make an educated guess as to whether the guy you're giving money to is blowing smoke out his ass or not - and who can provide the other sorts of support a VC company provides to its investments
I've worked for startups supported by both good and bad VCs - there's a world of difference
I think in the interests of diversity it's appropriate for an investment fund to place a small portion of its investments in VC funds that have good track records or are run by people they think will make competent decisions (and also have some of their own money at stake)
I kind of think of it as - the asteroid has hit, nuclear winter is kicking in, the dinosaurs are in denial, they're running around claiming they're OK because they have lawyers - they can afford lots of lawyers - meanwhile the mammals are hiding in the cracks evolving
"I used to think that Michael Palin was the funniest Palin ...."