Posts by Stephen R

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run, in reply to Kevin McCready,

    Follow me on twitter if you're serious about this.

    Does the irony meter of anyone else trigger on this sentence? Or is it just me?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: The long road to Hit and Run,

    If an electorate MP leaves parliament closer than x months from an election, they don't have to run a bye-election because there would be not much point - they'd hardly get a result before the actual election.

    That would of course, mean that National lost some of it's majority, but luckily, a Labour MP (David Cunliffe) quit as well to maintain the power balance...

    WTF?

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Cracker: We're Going on a Bat Hunt,

    That was a pretty cool post, thanks Damian.

    I think the Bat detectors sound awesome

    I wonder if they'd be at all useful anywhere near Wellington...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to David Hood,

    As I understand it, in Japan the less vulnerable party in an accident is normally held responsible, so in general cars are held responsible for accidents with cycles, and cycles are held responsible for accidents with pedestrians.

    When I visited Kyoto/Osaka last year, there were shared pedestrian/cycle/car ways down malls and side-streets with no defined footpaths or lanes. The general attitude seemed to match your understanding, in so far as cyclists gave way to pedestrians, and cars gave way to cyclists, while at the same time a general politeness meant that pedestrians would leave room for cyclists to get past when the pavement allowed it, and both pedestrians and cycles would let cars past.

    The cyclists were in general going only slightly faster than the pedestrians (There were lots of cycles on pavement, but I don't remember seeing any doing faster than 1.5 times average walking speed) and the cars were likewise ambling along at walking speed in the shared zones.

    Because the relative speeds were so close, it was relatively easy to make eye contact and negotiate right-of-way; I don't know how much it works because people are just polite about the whole thing, and would be embarrassed to be seen as blocking the way unnecessarily.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    One of the reasons that reducing the number of cyclists is said to increase the risk to them on the road is that car drivers need to see cyclists reasonably often to remember to leave room for them on the road.

    More cyclists == more reminders == more considerate driving.

    I wonder if the same is true for shared footpaths/cycle ways? Frequently encountering cyclists reminds the pedestrians not to wander quite as randomly...

    On shared pedestrian/cycle paths, I'm always twitchy around small children, who can change direction really quickly and don't always look. That requires keeping my speed slow enough (and leaving enough room to dodge) that I can stop if I have to. That speed is considerably below what most cyclists can manage without trying too hard, so I'm not sure shared pedestrian/cycleways are without drawbacks for bike-commutes.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Media Media Media,

    If a lot of the point of the ratings is to be able to price advertising, then including RadioNZ doesn't help them since RadioNZ doesn't sell advertising.

    Being able to say "Most listened to station-that-will-take-your-advertising-dollars" is less attractive than being able to say "most listened to station".

    From a RadioNZ point of view, being able to get someone to give them some numbers so they can track it over time is worth something and I don't know that they care about being able to brag to advertisers; I'd bet that being able to say to the Gummint that they have better listener numbers than the commercial stations is useful come time to argue about budgets.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling,

    As a cyclist, sometimes ringing my bell causes the pedestrians in front of me to walk in random directions as they look over their shoulder to see what that noise is (for some reason, turning their head to the left tends to make them walk to the left into my path.)

    What I do try to make a point of doing is thanking them as I roll past. Maybe it will make them happier to share in the future.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Fear of Cycling, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Oddly enough, I’m just back in the door having been reminded that my bete noire is the black BMW.

    Black BMWs give me the shits when I'm driving, but on the bike, white taxis are scarier - they tend to take their corners closer to the edge of the road (lower side-ways-G for their passengers?) without regard for whether they're in the cycle lane when they're doing it.

    From William Blake:

    Many of us are pedestrians, cyclists and motorists at one time or another, why do we adopt intolerant and aggressive positions when we know exactly how and why others are behaving

    Speaking for myself, I'm a lot more considerate of cyclists as a driver and a pedestrian since I started biking. Perhaps yet another example of how the general population and I don't share views on certain topics...

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Superannuation: Back to the Future, in reply to Moz,

    Those are entirely valid arguments, but I suspect you have forgotten that you are talking about the income tax system. The problems you identify are not new. So the question is not "are there reasons not to have one" but is "where would the government get money if we don't tax income?"

    Or are you suggesting that once people are eligible for super they should be exempt from income tax?

    I'm sorry, I was addressing someone earlier in the thread (Andre?) who said that Super should be means tested. I have no problems treating it as Income for tax purposes, but saying "you already have investments, you don't get super" is a different kettle of fish, even if practically, taxing it will lead to effectively paying more in tax than someone gets in Super if their income is large enough. The same would be true of most versions of the UBI, but one of the positives of a UBI is that you don't need to spend money checking if people "deserve" a UBI, you just tax their total income and it all works out in the wash.

    I know that for early childhood childcare subsidies, trying to means-test it lead to the sorts of problems I raised.

    My comment was more generally against "means testing" as always being the right choice without checking the side-effects, rather than specifically arguing that retirees deserve to get treated differently.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Superannuation: Back to the Future,

    I think there are a couple of arguments against means-testing;

    One, there'll be a cohort of people who are going to spend time and effort figuring out how to hide their assets (or even just spend enough money that they don't have any assets) to come in under the means testing limit. Encouraging people just over the asset limit to spend up big just before they retire seems a bit counter-intuitive.

    Two, the administrative costs in figuring out who should get the money and who shouldn't is a significant cost, not just for the government department, but for every single person who has to jump through hoops to prove their income (or lack thereof). This also tends to favour people with enough education to work the system really well, and penalise the people who don't have the confidence or experience to deal well with bureaucracies.

    I'm not saying that it's a conclusive argument, but it should be taken into account when deciding whether it's a good idea or not.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 249 posts Report Reply

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