Posts by Bart Janssen

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money", in reply to David Hood,

    Yeah and I'm by no means suggesting folks shouldn't test your hypothesis and the analysis behind it. We all miss stuff that can make a beautiful hypothesis fail.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money",

    While I appreciate the value of testing David's analysis, especially given that some of the way money moves around in banks and in housing markets is somewhat arcane, I also find myself somewhat bemused by the discussions.

    Yes it's possible David's analysis misses something.

    But it is also pretty clear that David's analysis and the accompanying hypothesis is a very good fit for all the current observations.

    Any hypothesis explaining rising house valuations needs to explain some of the other observations. And yes some of those data are not strong.

    There is considerable reporting of Real estate activity offshore, very enthusiastic real estate activity all of which costs real estate companies money and that strongly suggests there is value in it for the real estate companies.

    There is data suggesting a significant number of empty houses.

    There is a complete lack of activity outside Auckland.

    There appears to have been very little impact on prices from the construction of large apartment blocks.

    And yes there is a lot of anecdotal reporting of houses being bought by offshore buyers.

    All that together suggests that the market is not simply responding to a lack of supply but is instead responding to an increase in external buyers with external money.

    What bemuses me is that people seem weirdly resistant to that idea. I honestly don't see anything surprising in the idea that offshore money would want to buy housing in New Zealand. As an explanation for the price rises it actually seems more logical to me than the constant insistence that supply is limited when it doesn't take much driving around Auckland to see huge new increases in supply.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: House prices and the "Magic Money",

    Who benefits?

    Why are the government(s) willing to allow those who benefit to continue to benefit?

    Who is harmed?

    Why are the government(s) willing to allow those who are harmed to continue to be harmed?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Land of the brave little kids,

    I'll echo Rob's experience in the US. We were on a good healthcare insurance scheme in the US (University post-doc counts as staff for insurance).

    When I fell and damaged my ankle the surgery was with all the bells and whistles as good a care as anyone could hope for. But when I had to go to see my "GP" it was a six week waiting list! I could see a nurse if I was willing to sit and wait in the queue.

    There seems to be two parts to this, firstly as Rob points out the US is big, and rich, and has the best medical research anywhere and is capable of providing amazing high level treatment. And again Rob is right, sheer size means that for any disease or ailment there is a specialist hospital somewhere in the country with experts who live, breath and sleep just the one disease. Like Starship is for kids.

    But there is a murkier side as well. Most healthcare is paid for by insurance. Insurance companies run for profit, they cut costs, they exclude coverage where possible. Which is what you expect.

    But there is a much darker side to having insurance companies pay for everything. The price of everything is sky high. Every single part of a treatment is charged, even the can of coke you drink while waiting. And the price is inflated enormously - because it's OK to rip off and insurance company even for a can of coke at 5 times normal price.

    In NZ there is a sense that everyone is sharing the cost and that affects the way most of the medical community charge as well.

    Our public health system is struggling with user pays and efficiency drives and cost rationalisation and it is leading us to a system like the US where costs are enormous and IF you have insurance you are OK. But without any the advantages of the US system.

    But don't worry - you got a tax cut so it's all OK.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Deep Dream: Looking at clouds,

    the program is quick to recognize a “dog.”

    So does this mean Deep Dream knows you are a dog on the internet?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Too much to swallow on the TPP, in reply to Sacha,

    That means less for everything else if government increases its subsidy, or higher user charges if it doesn’t.

    There is of course an alternative. Raise taxes so that New Zealanders as a country can pay US Pharma companies.

    It would be interesting if we had a real journalist in the country who could follow the money. NZ taxes will now going to US pharma companies as a result of a trade deal negotiated by politicians who were elected in part as a result of electoral donations from … ????

    Fortunately journalism was killed off before this corrupt government took over.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Too much to swallow on the TPP, in reply to Rob Salmond,

    because doing so involves prioritising the needs of consumers over the needs of exporters

    You mean prioritising the needs of all New Zealanders (consumers) over the needs of the rich businessmen (exporters).

    Trade barriers in almost every form benefit the rich over the poor in both directions.

    Note I also think the TPP is a disaster but that’s because it doesn’t actually provide free trade.

    And while your noting history maybe you should highlight Labour’s role in starting this debacle and tell us why we should think the same people who started us down the road to the TPP should now be trusted to stop it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Too much to swallow on the TPP,

    First, New Zealand has no credible bargaining chips on free trade. When we ask another country to make a concession, and they ask “or you’ll do what?,” we have no answer. That’s because New Zealand unilaterally dismantled most of its tariffs and other trade barriers in the 1990s, without asking for anything in return. Who was the author of such a self-defeating, masochistic exercise? Why, none other than MFAT’s trade negotiations surpemo of the time, one Tim Groser.

    Now, thanks to Groser and friends, we show up at these negotiations with a long list of things we need, and nothing to trade for them.

    So your logic is: we should not have done what was morally correct then because nobody else was bothering to do it.

    So by the same logic you support National's current climate change policy.

    Or are you simply playing politics.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Well, Read Women, in reply to B Jones,

    No, the orcish ladeez were great. The “pass me another elf, this one’s split” jokes were a little de trop, however.

    Fair call.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Well, Read Women, in reply to B Jones,

    Except for Grunts. That is a book I never should have read.

    Teh orcish ladeez were not developed well enuff 4 youse?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3783 posts Report Reply

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