Posts by st ephen

  • Speaker: Confessions of an Uber Driver…,

    I had a look at one taxi business when I was helping to extract someone from a financial hole they found themselves in. That company operated like a franchise - you bought the taxi, bought a license from them, paid for all the other licenses/vetting + training + installing the RT system and EFTPos and uniform and signage etc. Plus petrol, tyres, maintenance, insurance etc. And you paid them a flat monthly fee regardless of how many jobs you got, plus a proportion of each fare. In return, they guaranteed two jobs a day for the first month and...well, that's it really. They also negotiated some fixed-fare rates that cut into the drivers' margins.
    As soon as it looked like he might be able to make some money they just sold more franchises in the area and fed them what little work there was. He couldn't on-sell his license as the company already had a stack of them ready to sell, and in the end he had to sell the car (still owes money on it) because it got older than was acceptable. He ended up relief driving: no cost revenue-sharing - 70 hours per week at what worked out to be < $4 per hour.
    I think the company sees it less as exploitation, and more as providing a hobby for the lonely.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    And any time you’d like to speak to someone who actually works in one of the communities that these measures are aimed at, you just let me know.
    Yes, I find it nauseating when Carrick Graham, Katherine Rich, Cameron Salter and the execs at Pepsico trot out the "won't someone think of the poor brown folks" line, but it isn't much better coming from smart urban lefties. I'd rather listen to people like Robert Beaglehole (who has had a guts-full of pulling rotten teeth out of young mouths), endocrinologists (who are sick of sending people off to have feet amputated), and public health researchers (whose actual field of expertise is looking into what works and what doesn't - at a population level, rather than anecdata).

    Coke etc have spent billions convincing us that their product is a dietary staple. It isn't - it's a "sometimes" food. Our parents' generation got by just fine without it, and so did all the generations before them. Even if it ends up that most of us can only afford it for birthdays and Christmas, and the drinks aisle in the supermarket shrinks down to the size of the cake decorating section, that's not such a terrible outcome. (Yeah, yeah - I know. It's the Fun Police. Whatever next - taxing tobacco? Banning P?).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: Talking past each other:…, in reply to Joshua Arbury,

    No, I think the key point is that ideology-driven 'research' will always cherry pick evidence that suits its case and ignore evidence that doesn't. Bad public health scientists can be guilty of this, but it is ridiculous to expect a right-wing think tank to do anything but.
    So it's essentially a waste of time engaging with them on technical details. Might as well get straight to the point - they do not believe in a public health system because they can afford health insurance and private health care and don't want to subsidise other people. And in a globalised post-industrial world where wealth generates wealth, they no longer need poor local people to work in their factories or buy their products.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Approved by lunchtime, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    One day we'll have evidence-based legislation

    Nah - according to John Key, scientists are like lawyers - you can always find one who will give the counter-view. So we're stuck with legislation-based evidence for the foreseeable future.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: ‘Kiwimeter’ is a methodological…, in reply to Moz,

    Perhaps it's more that people who hate everything about prostitution might also hate having anything to do with a mailed out survey on the topic, but will nevertheless answer questions politely when talking to the nice man on the phone. Likewise people who think prostitution is a complete non-issue may lack motivation to fill in a form and mail it in. A phone survey might stand a better chance of capturing which of those two groups is larger, even if the overall response rate is lower.

    I think my beef is perhaps that the issues I want to get a handle on are thought to come from a sense of frustration, disillusionment and disengagement. An opt-in online survey with a small response rate doesn't seem like a good way of finding out what the disengaged are thinking.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: ‘Kiwimeter’ is a methodological…, in reply to st ephen,

    Sorry, that reads as more snarky than intended. I was going for light-hearted cynicism, given that every profession can be accused of the same sort of thing.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: ‘Kiwimeter’ is a methodological…, in reply to Andrew Robertson,

    you can have a very representative sample with a 12.1% response rate

    Purely by chance though, no? And only if it turns out that "willingness to fill in an on-line survey" is not correlated with the things you're trying to measure. I'd have thought that "willingness to fill in a survey to see how you rank on the Kiwimeter" is highly positively correlated with the beliefs of the sort of people who feel intensely proud to be Kiwis.
    I guess I hear the other side all the time - "these methods are accepted and widely applied (Wagon-Circling, 2011) and the response rate is typical for this type of survey (Gravy and Train, 2012)".

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: ‘Kiwimeter’ is a methodological…,

    I saw the Kiwimeter survey on facebook, so I naturally assumed it was going to tell me that my "Kiwi IQ" was in the top 4% of the world and by the way - here is some more click-bait that might appeal to your narcissism. It didn't work on Firefox so I didn't persevere.
    I guess all surveys are self-selecting to some extent, but I still have an issue with the sort of things I come across at work. My response is always the same: "Put your graphs and statistical models away. You got a 12.1% response rate. All we know is that those people are the freaks, the outliers. Stop pretending that this is now "evidence" for "evidence-based policy".

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The flagging referendum,

    Am I alone in reading loaded language here?

    Not subtle, was it. " Don't forget that our current flag was designed by some crusty old English toff - Admiral Sir Albert Hastings Markham, KCB?" Why is the name of the flag's designer suddenly relevant?
    Plus all that other stuff about how this is the time to decide which flag we'll stand for into the future, it's a unique opportunity, we could never possibly be given another chance.

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

  • Polity: Leaving only footprints, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yes, I've been fell walking (and scrambling) in the UK. And done some pub-to-pub walking. It's fantastic. But my view is that "tramping" is a particular word used in NZ to describe a particular recreational activity that is psychologically and physically different - if only because the environment, facilities and population density are different. Walking the Tongariro Crossing with a line of literally hundreds of people stretching into the distance feels much more like fell walking than tramping. Hunting and fishing also seem like quite different activities compared with the idea of tramping described in the Te Ara article (once you get past the use of 'trampers' to refer to people travelling for trade, food-gathering and warfare).

    dunedin • Since Jul 2008 • 242 posts Report Reply

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