Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: Three Dreams,

    My flying dream is often a frustrating one where I can never quite get enough altitude and end up skimming along just above ground level or worse gaining enough height to make power lines a real issue.

    Also I apparently often fly naked, which is embarrassing when you're flying at knee height through the school.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    that’s not even natural justice


    Maybe it's because I'm a bit jetlagged but this has left me quite depressed and horrified.

    I know those working in our social services can become war weary and cynical. But this policy is just inhumane. When did our society become so uncaring? At what point did we allow this contempt for the social welfare state become so ingrained that we can do this to our own citizens?

    I get that state systems can become inefficient at times and that sometimes a market led process can get better value for our tax dollars. But this level of contempt for the actual people being harmed goes beyond any mere desire to use taxes efficiently.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to BenWilson,

    Which is what Bart said, just longer.

    I think you'll find I was considerably longer winded :).

    Without knowing the details of the testing method it's hard to guess at thresholds.

    Even more worrying, we know nothing about the methods used by the testing companies, sampling regimes, cleaning of equipment between houses, calibration protocols etc. All of which might take a reliable test into the realms of garbage data.

    And as Ian pointed out - if a testing company is also a cleaning company you have the possibility of corruption as well.

    And all with the intent of throwing socially disadvantaged people out of their homes!

    Again - where is our humanity? Is this what we want our government to be doing?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I think having a “cheap” test that’s indicative but includes a relatively high chance of false positives is OK so long as it’s not considered diagnostic.

    Recently there was a change in the advice MDs got regarding testing for prostate cancer. The situation was that a simple (cheap) test was available for an antigen associated with prostate cancer. Like many antibody-based tests it was relatively easy to adjust the sensitivity of the test so that false negative tests were unlikely. The logic was if you had prostate cancer you didn't want to get a test that said you didn't have the cancer.

    But by adjusting the test to limit false negatives it meant there were more false positive results. The logic was that these didn't matter because any positive test could be confirmed or negated by subsequent more accurate tests.

    The problem was that the follow-up test was almost always surgery, which was risky and had a significant chance of harm and even death.

    Even worse it turned out that many of the instances of positive antigen tests resulted from prostate tumours that were not growing and the patient would die of other causes long before the tumour had any effect on health.

    So they stopped doing the test and went back to the much more reliable finger.

    All of which is a long winded way of saying tests have consequences. By testing for meth in a house there are consequences. If the consequences were trivial then having false positive tests would be OK. But the consequences are horrible, people being thrown out of housing and having debt imposed on them that can never be paid back.

    If this were a medical test the advice now would be to stop testing immediately because the harm being done is far greater than any benefit from the test.

    If this was a medical test we'd know exactly what the false positive rate was because lives would be at stake.

    But wait lives ARE at stake.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to David Herkt,

    These drug tests drive me insane… They are nearly completely unregulated as you remark. There are few and very debatable guidelines. There is no effective oversight. There is no real mechanism of complaint.

    Which argues that the drug test is being used as an excuse to throw people out of houses.

    What happened to our humanity?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy., in reply to Sacha,

    Tolley said she was aware of the petition, but had no plans to write off the debt as it would have substantial budgetary implications.

    Good lord. How could it be part of any serious budget? Nobody with any financial acumen believes that money will be repaid, so putting into any budget is just a fancy form of lying about money.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: This. Is. Crazy.,

    We the public chose a government that made it crystal clear that they were planning to gut our social welfare state and health system in order to hand out tax cuts.

    We got the tax cuts and everybody was all smiles.

    Now we have the consequences.

    There is no money to provide the social housing needed. The agencies are using any excuse to throw poor people out on the streets.

    They pile paper debts onto the poor knowing full well those debts can never be repaid but it's OK because it makes their internal budgets look good.

    This is a direct consequence of the public being unwilling to contribute taxes to pay for social welfare.

    It's. Our. Fault.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Is being a tax haven worth it?,

    So I have a question about this. While NZ is clearly operating as a tax haven and that is damaging our reputation worldwide, that can be fixed relatively easily by all accounts. But just what is New Zealand's involvement in the much larger tax havens existing in our Island neighbours?

    We are, quite proudly, a major supporter of the various south pacific island nations. We help them with aid and welcome their people into our nation, especially if they want to pick fruit or play rugby. We provide them with educational support, training their senior civil servants and lawyers and engineers and politicians in our universities. And we have very strong trade links with all of them.

    So if they, as the panama papers show, are acting as tax havens, just how large is the involvement of New Zealand lawyers, law firms etc? Can we really stand back and say gosh look at how naughty they've been but none of that is our fault or responsibility?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: What Sorry Looks Like,

    Self-serving statement on his part.

    And self-serving publication by The Herald. They knew they'd get clicks and they didn't care who they hurt by publishing. So many victims of domestic violence will have been left crying by that column and The Herald profits from that pain.

    For me, if an apology doesn't start with "I'm sorry, I fucked up ... " then it probably isn't an apology.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Is being a tax haven worth it?, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    at Hidden Islands tax rate

    Perhaps a good reason why Key is reluctant to talk about The Cook Islands and their part in the Panama papers.

    But all this is moot because we're talking about it in terms of it discrediting Key and National in the eyes of the public, which just won't happen.

    What is far more relevant is if this disclosure of NZ as a place where shifty businessmen evade taxes starts impacting our trading partners.
    "So you want us to buy your milk powder and meat - well then how about you stop sheltering our tax evaders."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4094 posts Report Reply

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