Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • 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 • 4090 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 • 4090 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 • 4090 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 • 4090 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 • 4090 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 • 4090 posts Report Reply

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

    Will no one think of the lawyers.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Steve Barnes,

    but who pays? the offender or the victim?

    And that's very much the core of a number of folks objection to a tax.

    The answer is yes the consumer pays but it has also had a huge impact on the producers. Tobacco companies have shrunk hugely over the last two decades, those that remain have shifted their markets to countries without tobacco taxes and diversified.

    So both ends of the chain were affected.

    It would be nice if there was a way of only affecting the producer but I haven't seen a method that works anywhere with any product. The only thing I've seen work consistently across multiple products and multiple markets is taxation/duty/excise with a large dose of marketing control (ie limit advertising).

    It isn't perfect, it affects some groups more than others and in some cases it's really hard to balance that, not impossible but hard.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Rebecca Gray,

    You know I’d say that “experimenting with your diet to see what makes you feel better” is one instance in which it’s perfectly valid to make calls based on a n=1 sample.

    I don't disagree that you should be free to experiment with yourself. I just wish they'd do the reverse test as well. So if removing X from the diet is associated with feeling Y going away then if later on you add X back then Y should come back as well.

    That said it's really easy to fool yourself when examining data from an experiment where n is nice and big and everything else is controlled in the lab (observer bias). The potential for fooling yourself where n = 1 and you are both the observer and the data is significant :).

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Rob Stowell,

    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.

    Me neither. There are some pretty strong but very specific examples of foods (not drugs) affecting mental state. But beyond that there seems to be a general mumbled consensus that it's possible and plausible but we just don't know.

    We are starting to learn that our gut has senses, there is good evidence for a direct satiety sense in the upper intestine that seems to have a direct line to the brain. How that interacts with the gut microbiome and how that can be affected by general diet doesn't seem to be clear.

    To return to the original subject of sugar there does seems to be some pretty deep suspicion in that field that sugars, specifically fructose (which is half of white sugar and most of high-fructose corn syrup) causes some big changes in gut biome diversity and loss of diversity. But the field is just too new to be able to say "this bacteria should be 2% or you will get X".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4090 posts Report Reply

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