Posts by Martin Roberts

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  • Hard News: Gaying Out, in reply to Graeme Edgeler,

    A couple doesn’t have to dissolve their marriage to enter into a civil union with each other. They can just enter into a civil union with each other.

    Could my wife and I enter into a civil union with our flatmate? Having bought a house together, we found ourselves imagining living together for 60 years then being denied access at the hospital.

    The privileges and protections offered by marriages/unions aren't solely relevant to people who are sleeping with each other*, although maybe some more than others. If non-sexual unions take off, would the road to multi-party unions open up? Would we need to develop even more terminology to clue people in to the nature of our relationships?

    * Or are willing to admit it. I have a bad memory of a friend not taking out a protection order because it required her to state that they had 'a relationship in the nature of marriage', and she was ashamed to admit sleeping with the guy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Wanna Route?,

    it's a bit of a bugger that the return trip to the Waitemata side via the SH20 cycleway involves a fairly taxing climb from sea level to Hillsborough Rd.

    Agreed. I always take Onehunga Mall instead, but may try the climb once more with the new bridge crossing to partway up Seacliffe Rd.

    I had grand dreams of riding that way at least weekly, with my new job beside SH20 and a shortened commute that freed up an hour for discretionary cycling. Turns out, to the detriment of my waistline, that however much I love riding it just doesn't happen unless I have an errand to run. Perhaps a weekly treat from the Icebreaker outlet near the airport is in order?

    And if we're recommending favourite shops, I always try Bruce at Adventure Cycles for items out of the ordinary.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Because it is a big deal,

    Perhaps we could clarify some of these questions by moving the government to debit cards? Hopefully the government doesn't actually need the credit, in which case they are getting 'free' credit at the expense of those who get stuck in the rather nasty web.

    Ambiguity resolved + karma points.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Because it is a big deal,

    I will give you the 'reiterated advice' issue.

    We have the same advice at my work, and the accounts clerks sitting behind me routinely expostulate about another infringement. As an IT person I feel that our team has somehow let them down if it is such a big trial for them to process a statement with clearly identified personal items.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Legal Beagle: Because it is a big deal,

    > If the politician puts funds into the account before its due....
    > did any public money get spent?

    Umm. That's don't work.

    Just because interest hasn't been charged yet, doesn't mean money hasn't been spent.

    But if you put down a deposit when you got the credit card, and always maintained a credit balance? Then surely it is just an accounting convenience.

    And if it can so easily boil down to an accounting question, then isn't it a storm in a teacup?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: P is for Potential,

    feadin' fightin and rythmatics

    Hip-hop meets P?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Auckland: where only one man votes,

    My understanding is that Brown won't be able to appoint more than two of the directors, anyhow.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Lies, damn lies, adjectives,

    > Are people employed to maintain the shelter "machine"? Yes.

    If that makes housing productive then I'll argue that cars are also productive assets because they keep mechanics employed. As an entire class of asset that may be true, but as discrete instances they're very definitely not productive.

    I only made that comment because somebody else had asked a question which seemed to imply that generating employment matters. I don't myself see the connection clearly. A machine that makes widgets seems productive to me, but doesn't employ people.

    On the other hand, you also said

    the property held and maintained to facilitate the provision of that service would likely be considered productive inasmuch as it requires upkeep such as cleaning and maintenance

    which seems directly analogous to a house needing maintenance.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Lies, damn lies, adjectives,

    [Education] is clearly productive to the educator, as it generates income, but for the educated it is unproductive as consumption of education requires time that cannot then be used for other things.

    This feels like the heart of the difference between some technical definition of "productive" and the word's meaning in the question implied by the original discussion: "Is investing in the provision of rental housing productive for NZ society?"[1]

    To my thinking, an education is productive for the educated and for society. To invest in buying university course seats and on-selling them for weekly payments to students who could not (or chose not) to buy the course upfront seems like a socially useful possibility with a high likelihood of increasing society's output of useful achievements (material or otherwise, but certainly including economic outputs). This seems directly analogous to rental housing, but the value I am getting at is there whether you pay the course fees directly and at once or indirectly on weekly installments; whether you own the house or rent it.

    [1] There is also an element of proportionality in the question of whether to change the tax regime, but it was hard to phrase without obscuring the point about how "productive" was used. For the record, I think that we invest in housing beyond the optimal level, but I don't think all rental housing is unproductive and am intrigued by a possible terminology gap which is distorting the public discussion.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

  • OnPoint: Lies, damn lies, adjectives,

    Putting on my "common man" hat, I am going to throw my lot in with Keir. Adequate housing provides the consumable good of shelter which is a necessary input to generate productive labour capacity. If you don't believe me, try living in a shanty over winter.

    So I reckon a house is productive like, say, and education. If that isn't "productive" in your terminology, then there is presumably another word which applies and renders the prevalent productive/unproductive dichotomy meaningless since it doesn't span the relevant options.

    You can certainly buy more house than is productive, but that is a separate question.

    Are people employed to maintain the shelter "machine"? Yes.

    Do I consume shelter? Yes. Maybe not the house, but the shelter. There's a limit to how many can be sheltered in any single house, and any night's shelter is either consumed or lost.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 92 posts Report Reply

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