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Open mike 25/03/2015

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, March 25th, 2015 - 197 comments
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openmikeOpen mike is your post.

For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose. The usual rules of good behaviour apply (see the Policy).

Step up to the mike …

197 comments on “Open mike 25/03/2015 ”

  1. Paul 1

    Who knew about Mike Sabin before the general election?
    John Key?
    Mark Osborne?
    The Northland branch of the National Party?

    Or is that a secret as well?

    • Atiawa 1.1

      Thats a $69 million question?

    • BLiP 1.2

      Yes its a secret but it seems fairly obvious every police officer in Northland would have known plus a bunch of the legal fraternity along with various court officials and so maybe even a few in the media too. If the local sect of the National Ltd™ Cult of John Key didn’t know before the election you would have to wonder why not. At a guess, some of them probably knew but kept it to themselves until after the election when the rest of them would have found out. If that holds, the result of the uninformed having been played for suckers by the informed could explain the lack of cohesion within that branch and why its by-election campaign was so slow to wind up and get organised ???

      Others who would have known before the election would include, IMHO, which ever government Minister the police informed as part of the “no surprises” policy. You can bet your bottom dollar that the Minister would have been scurrying into John Key’s office very shortly after the meeting so, yeah, John Key would have known. Not surprisingly, John Key has been performing an intricate semantic samba on the issue. He has refused to answer questions about when exactly he knew Sabin was being investigated but stated clearly that the first he knew – or, at least “my office knew” – of Sabin’s “family issues” was “late January” —> https://youtu.be/Hff0FXb4CSQ

      ^^^ Just guessing.

      • rawshark-yeshe 1.2.1

        and that’s not including prior to the 2011 general election .. according to NBR who haven’t been sued about it yet …

      • the lone haranguer 1.2.2

        Politicians in power will always hide behind the “we couldnt say anything as the Police were investigating and we didnt want to interfere in the police investigation” line or the other option “s/hes inocent until proven guilty so we werent going to judge her/him till the police and courts had done their work” line.

        As an observer, I found it interesting that Helen Clark backed Taito Philip Fields until he decided that he didnt support Govt policy (over the smacking deal from memory).

        Well thats my recall on the events in any case. I have no doubt others could remind me of similar Nat lead stories too.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.2.2.1

          As an observer, I found it interesting that Helen Clark backed Taito Philip Fields until he decided that he didnt support Govt policy (over the smacking deal from memory).

          That’s not how it happened. Labour got rid of Field as soon as it became obvious that he’d been lying about the whole deal.

      • North 1.2.3

        It’s huge fun yakking to a Northland cop about the by-election and Sabin…….lots of coy averting of the eyes. So everyone knows ‘something’. And everyone is affected by that ‘something’ they know.

        One thing that comes across loud and clear is that Sabin was always considered a dog. Particularly because all the expensive police training he received re illicit drug culture, impact etc he ran away with and jumped on the ‘consultant’ gravy train. Made himself heaps of putea apparently. With the result that in times of limited resources Northland’s allocation in that area, viz. specialist training, was applied for the benefit not of the NZ Police as a law enforcement agency but for the benefit of one man. Now ain’t that sooooo TheHeistKey ?

        Was music to my ears to hear a senior Northland cop whose morals and guts I respect very much, say this – “Well…..I’ve always voted National….but frankly I don’t know”. This after much dancing around the matter of which we must not speak…..

        If the disconcert is that high up the ladder then Joyce really has done a piss job. Not assisted of course by “plonker” talk from “YouGottaLetMeWin”Key. Oh God the merriment !

    • mary_a 1.3

      @ Paul (1) – they all did I’d say, given their close association with Sabin. To say otherwise, that they didn’t know anything, is stretching the imagination too far! More porkies.

      And yes it’s been kept a secret. Well for now that is. However when the lid is lifted, not only on the “prominent NZer’s” alleged activities, but also of Natsy cover ups etc, the fallout will be something else! Could see the Natsy rats running for shelter!

    • Murray Rawshark 1.4

      I’d say all of the above. It needs a suspension of disbelief to consider any other answer.

  2. mickysavage 2

    Winston is toying with Osborne on National Radio. I presume Joyce is in the same room with Osborne holding up cue cards but it appears that at least some of them are upside down …

  3. Northsider 3

    The Roast Busters non-investigation is a scandal.

    I see very little coverage of fall out to the IPPA report.

    Can anyone tell me what the Police are doing now?

    Has the Labour Party taken a stance on it?

    • Tracey 3.1

      It’s just sexual violence against the vulnerable Northsider… nothing to see here… the police say they are changing (again) and that was then and this is now… oh and the black caps won…

      I think that probably summarises NZ’s attitude to sexual violence.

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Stuff reporting that “The Syrian People feel Abandoned”. There’s a sense of helplessness about the reporting, and yet despite the accompanying photo of a YPG fighter, they somehow forgot to mention that elections were held in Rojava on March 13th.

    • GregJ 4.1

      Thanks for the link OAB. This needs much wider coverage. This is where NZ could be directing some of our humanitarian aid, training and political support – not to supporting a corrupt and broken Iraqi Government riven by sectarianism.

  5. weka 5

    The campaign to stop the West Australianian govt from closing 150 Aboriginal communities heats up with more protests and media action. The proposed closures are economical driven and racist to the core. The man pretending to lead Australia calls the people living there a “lifestyle choice” that shouldn’t be endlessly supported by the state. He also implies that Aboriginal people should be assimilated.

    “People in support of the #sosblakaustralia campaign have been encouraged to post a photo holding their message of support accompanied by the hashtag.”

    https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/galleries/online-campaign-against-closure-aboriginal-communities-gains-support

    • Rosie 5.1

      Thank you weka. The Aboriginal people have had to endure oppression and control in varying forms since the arrival of white people and now it’s in the form of that idiot Abbot.
      So much struggle.

      • weka 5.1.1

        This doesn’t happen to me very often but when I read Abbot’s statement something in me went into a blind rage. There is no understanding how someone in his position could say such a thing other than the fact that he thinks Aboriginal people are not real people.

        I can’t believe they are still doing this shit.

        • Tracey 5.1.1.1

          Slipping it into the public arena before a semi final in the world cricket cup… classic right wing CT…

        • Rosie 5.1.1.2

          I’m not surprised by your reaction weka. Abbot has said some disgustingly provocative things. I actually thought I was hearing things when I heard about this on RNZ.

          It’s only four decades ago that Aboriginal children, the stolen generation, were still being removed from their families and sent to live with white people in an attempt to assimilate a culture into the dominant one and it was only in 1967 they got the right to vote.

          It seems to be too short a time for the entrenched racism in white Australian society to dissolve and Abbot, with his cultural view seems to have a memory bridge to these times. He’s a throwback to the age of persecution and oppression.

  6. Lanthanide 6

    To the surprise of no-one, a US think-tank has shown that tax cuts that benefit the bottom 90% of the population “provide a measurable economic stimulus”, while taxcuts to the top 10% “have a ‘weak to negligible impact'”.

    http://fivethirtyeight.com/datalab/tax-cuts-home-prices-and-bankruptcy/

    • DoublePlusGood 6.1

      Pretty much exactly why we should ditch GST and increase the top tax rates to compensate.

      • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1

        Just ditch GST, and have the Reserve Bank credit the Treasury’s accounts to compensate. That will bring employment, spending growth and private sector debt reduction to the NZ economy.

        • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1

          No, still have to reduce the money in the economy which means that the taxes on the rich need to be increased.

          • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.1.1.1

            What you mean by reducing money in the economy is that you want to reduce private sector incomes, profits and household savings. Why would you want to do that? What in NZ’s situation makes you think that there is too much money moving through the economy right now? The 250,000 unemployed and underemployed? That figure alone suggests underspending into our economy by $2B to $3B.

            • Draco T Bastard 6.1.1.1.1.1

              What you mean by reducing money in the economy is that you want to reduce private sector incomes, profits and household savings.

              Incomes above about 2x the average wage are way out of whack and profits, as Steve Keen has proved, are a dead-weight loss to the economy.

              What in NZ’s situation makes you think that there is too much money moving through the economy right now?

              The problem is that there’s a huge accumulation of money in the hands of the rich and it’s not moving through the economy causing that unemployment. Instead it’s going into higher house prices.

              There is much that needs changing about our monetary system:

              1. We need to recognise that the source of wealth is our nation itself
              2. Due to this only the government should create money
              3. That money should be created bearing no interest and
              4. That taxes are there to reduce money in the economy and are not income for the government

              Real Monetary Reform

              • Colonial Rawshark

                Incomes above about 2x the average wage are way out of whack and profits, as Steve Keen has proved, are a dead-weight loss to the economy.

                Sorry mate, as a small business owner who lives off fairly modest profits, and my many patients who are owner operators or contractors who have to live off their profits, I’ve got to say that your understanding of Keen’s comments need to be refined further.

                The problem is that there’s a huge accumulation of money in the hands of the rich and it’s not moving through the economy causing that unemployment. Instead it’s going into higher house prices.

                I agree, but higher income taxes on the richest people in the country won’t resolve any of that as they don’t pay income tax.

                There is much that needs changing about our monetary system:

                1. We need to recognise that the source of wealth is our nation itself
                2. Due to this only the government should create money
                3. That money should be created bearing no interest and
                4. That taxes are there to reduce money in the economy and are not income for the government

                Largely agree with you on most points (I will say that taxes have many purposes including helping the government steer private sector focus on to the economic sectors and project types that it wants and away from others).

                I’d also say that you would have to consider what to do with the ability to create “money like things” eg credit, and also how you would fund working capital and loans for SME projects. Government is not good for that.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  Sorry mate, as a small business owner who lives off fairly modest profits,

                  Profits are what’s left over after expenses including living expenses. Most people call them savings rather than profits but they’re the same thing.

                  I agree, but higher income taxes on the richest people in the country won’t resolve any of that as they don’t pay income tax.

                  High income taxes on excessive incomes serve to keep wages and salaries down as you’ve pointed out before. We also need capital taxes.

                  (I will say that taxes have many purposes including helping the government steer private sector focus on to the economic sectors and project types that it wants and away from others).

                  The government should keep out of the private sector altogether except in providing 0% interest loans. If the government wants something done then it simply does it itself.

                  I’d also say that you would have to consider what to do with the ability to create “money like things” eg credit, and also how you would fund working capital and loans for SME projects. Government is not good for that.

                  There would be no credit or “money like things” . The only option would be to use government created money. As for funding SMEs the government is absolutely brilliant for that using a few rules and 0% interest.

                  • Colonial Rawshark

                    Again I agree with most of what you say but there are severe problems with some of it. The government is not brilliant at funding SMEs because government workers don’t understand specific SME projects and endeavours. You called profits and savings the same thing, but that is not the IRD definition, and anyways you called profits (=savings) a dead loss to the economy. But of course every household naturally wants to save.

                    And the government can’t keep out of the private sector altogether as it can’t build everything the nation needs by itself, because Wellington simply doesn’t have the engineering or technical expertise and there is no time to build it up.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      The government is not brilliant at funding SMEs because government workers don’t understand specific SME projects and endeavours.

                      And the government can’t keep out of the private sector altogether as it can’t build everything the nation needs by itself, because Wellington simply doesn’t have the engineering or technical expertise and there is no time to build it up.

                      /facepalm

                      How do the private sector companies get that expertise? Can the government do that as well?

                      You called profits and savings the same thing, but that is not the IRD definition, and anyways you called profits (=savings) a dead loss to the economy.

                      Doesn’t really matter what the IRD definition is as it’s a question of what they are. Savings and profits are what’s left over after necessary expenses and, as they’re put aside, aren’t spent back into the economy thus becoming a loss to the economy.

                      Let me be clear. Minor savings, such as saving to buy a computer, aren’t really a problem as they’ll be spent back into the economy fairly quickly. Savings that merely sit there doing nothing and will do that indefinitely are an outright loss to the economy.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      /facepalm

                      How do the private sector companies get that expertise? Can the government do that as well?

                      Are you determined to be a dick? Companies like Intel, BMW and Boeing developed their expertise through entrepreneurial activity over generations. And no, the government can’t do that, especially not in multiple major disciplines at the same time, and especially not before the end of oil in 20 years.

                      Savings that merely sit there doing nothing and will do that indefinitely are an outright loss to the economy.

                      You may think that a family’s ability to save for the future and to save for retirement is some kind of “dead loss” to the economy, but I see it as a necessary and understandable activity.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      Companies like Intel, BMW and Boeing developed their expertise through entrepreneurial activity over generations.

                      To some degree. Of course, it was the US government doing the basic research that allowed them to do that applied research and the US government also does a lot of applied research as well as well as funding it.

                      And no, the government can’t do that, especially not in multiple major disciplines at the same time, and especially not before the end of oil in 20 years.

                      Actually, the government can do that and has, in fact, already done so. It’s how we got telecommunications, power and the DSIR. There is, quite literally, nothing stopping the government from doing the same again except that the privatisers want the profit that comes from massive government subsides for doing what the government could do all by itself and with less hassle and cost.

                      The end of oil in 20 years, if NZ can get it even for that long, won’t be as major problem for us as it will be for large parts of the rest of the world because of our already large supply of renewable energy.

                      Are you determined to be a dick?

                      It’s not that I’m determined to be a dick but that you’re determined to continue to believe that we can’t do what we obviously can do in which case I treat you as an ignoramus that needs a good kick in the arse.

                      You may think that a family’s ability to save for the future and to save for retirement is some kind of “dead loss” to the economy, but I see it as a necessary and understandable activity.

                      We have a retirement scheme. It’s even quite a good one. Basically, people don’t, and shouldn’t, need to save for the retirement because the society will still be there.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “We have a retirement scheme. It’s even quite a good one. Basically, people don’t, and shouldn’t, need to save for the retirement because the society will still be there.”

                      Nice to have a bitof savings over than that which retirement schemes offers. So you can perhaps travel overseas for a holiday or remodel ones bedroom.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      It’s not that I’m determined to be a dick but that you’re determined to continue to believe that we can’t do what we obviously can do in which case I treat you as an ignoramus that needs a good kick in the arse.

                      As far as I can tell, you’ve never worked in a high tech enterprise developing and operationalising new science and technology.

                      You also keep making the classic error of thinking that what is possible in theory is ever going to be done in practice. It’s not. Especially not in the next 20-25 year timeframe where constraints are going to be very tight indeed.

                      The difference between your model of thinking and my model of thinking was clarified in our respective positions in semiconductor fabrication. NZ will need to be able to develop and build its own microcontrollers in future. Using the cheap, well understood 90nm process of ten years ago would be perfect. Or just license cheap as chips older ARM processor designs on some established process. You however insist on NZ developing from scratch bleeding edge knowledge.

                      A waste of time that we don’t have, money that we don’t have, expertise that we don’t have, to gain technology boondoggles that we don’t need.

                    • Draco T Bastard

                      @The Contrarian

                      Nice to have a bitof savings over than that which retirement schemes offers. So you can perhaps travel overseas for a holiday or remodel ones bedroom.

                      Or we change the super scheme so that you can do that any ways. Either way, the money to do so comes from everyone else.

                      @ CV

                      Using the cheap, well understood 90nm process of ten years ago would be perfect.

                      The process is the same for 32nm as for 90nm.

                      You however insist on NZ developing from scratch bleeding edge knowledge.

                      One of the amazing things about that basic research that the US government does/funds that I mentioned is that it’s publicly available. That alone means that we won’t be starting from scratch. Then there’s the fact that we do have scientists and even businesses that are already on the forefront of technology development. Simply, there’s no starting from scratch here.

                      The problem is the lack of infrastructure to manufacture the technology and the government can most definitely build that. The same as the US government built the first fabrication plants in Silicon Valley and, as the US government does, also fund significant R&D.

                      The way to stop our best and brightest from leaving is to ensure that there’s a job here that they’re interested in doing and that means doing something other than just producing bigger farms.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The process is the same for 32nm as for 90nm.

                      You’re an idiot. I mean, process engineeringly challenged.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Can’t see even the most generous super payments covering overseas holidays there bud.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The way to stop our best and brightest from leaving is to ensure that there’s a job here that they’re interested in doing and that means doing something other than just producing bigger farms.

                      Absolutely. No argument there. But the idea that most of these jobs are going to be government jobs in public sector organisations with no significant private sector involvement is where I disagree with you.

              • infused

                Doesn’t matter when the rest of the world is printing money.

                • Draco T Bastard

                  The entire world is always printing money with very little control through the auspices of the private banking system.

      • Rosie 6.1.2

        Yep Double+Good, GST has to go. Given that many of us struggle to match our cost of living to our income and that GST is a grossly unfair burden on the households of middle and low incomes, imo, I don’t understand why there isn’t more talk about it.

        The only reference I observed to it in the 2014 election was NZ First billboards that said “remove GST off rates”

        Labour should really acknowledge that their implementation of GST has hurt the financial well being of so many, for so many years and now it’s time to end the experiment. It was an 80’s thing, one of those bad bad 80’s things.

        The ordinary person holds up the wealthy person with their unequal tax contribution. Time to turn the tables and impose a CGT, FTT and yes, increase top icome tax rates, and make it much fairer on everyone.

        • Colonial Rawshark 6.1.2.1

          The Anderson’s Bay Peninsula Branch of the Labour Party is considering a policy remit which will transform GST from being a regressive tax and into a sales tax for high cost goods and services.

          • Rosie 6.1.2.1.1

            That is most excellent CR. I don’t have an issue with a sales tax for high cost goods and services, and said as much in a previous GST discussion here on TS.

            Its GST on life’s necessities food, fuel, communications, power and gas supply, medicines, dentistry and healthcare, rates and all the things we need to support our living that is the problem.

            Go ahead and tax services such as cosmetic surgery and purchases like luxury brand jewellery etc. Such things are not essential.

            Onya Anderson’s Bay Peninsula Branch!

    • Tracey 6.2

      OMG!!!!!!! Does Blinglish have a denial up his sleeve for this?

  7. adam 7

    The bad language aside. I think this health video does a good job explaining the points, about vaccination.

    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2015/01/watch-2-magicians-destroy-anti-vaccine-movement-90-seconds.html

    • McFlock 7.1

      Oh dear.
      This song springs to mind…

    • weka 7.2

      “I think this health video does a good job explaining the points, about vaccination. ”

      Not really, and it does a very crap job at addressing why people choose not to vaccinate or are unsure. The video isn’t a health video, it’s a promotional video from a subset of the population with an agenda who will use disinformation to sway the debate (sound familiar?).

      1. no, I haven’t actually heard that 1 in 110 children vaccinated get autism. Nice strawman though (autism isn’t the only reason people are concerned about vaccination, and people’s concerns about autism weren’t linked to all vaccines).

      2. vaccination walls aren’t 100% effective.

      3. decreases in diptheria epidemics and complications are in part due to increases in standard of living i.e. not solely due to vaccination.

      4. there are huge (massive) differences in the risks associated with different illnesses. Comparing influenza in 2015 with diptheria in 1920 is a pretty fucking disingenuous argument.

      5. telling parents that a one in 110 risk of autism is not as bad as all these other scarey illness that kill people but we’re not going to even mention the level of risk associated with those things, but hey there is no risk of autism anyway, is a bizzarre, confusing message designed to make people feel stupid. It’s just outright scaremongering and all that does is confuse people.

      6. the scaremongering approach is anti-informed consent. Any parent thinking critically about vaccination and that watches that video with any kind of intelligence applied is going to go what? Which begs the question of what the video is actually for (my theory, it’s propaganda designed to remove choice).

      The video is a pretty good example of how the pro-science side is dishonest about its alleged objective stance though.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1

        That last sentence is pretty dishonest. If you’re pro-science that means you’re pro-peer review. The reason to have peer-review is that people aren’t objective.

        I say “It’s the best thing we’ve got”, and you hear “it’s infallible”, then pretend that’s what I said.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          Nope, that’s not what I’m saying and that’s not what I meant by the sentence with the word dishonest in it.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1.1

            What alleged objective stance, then?

            There are plenty of essays “on the science side” of the subject that challenge it explicitly.

            In the 20th century, it came to be accepted that personal traits will always influence scientific observation but that they can nonetheless be cultivated to yield reliable knowledge.

            Whither Kahneman? Or Popper?

            • weka 7.2.1.1.1.1

              One of the arguments run by the provaccination people is that science is the only valid view on the matter, and that argument usually goes hand in hand with the idea that science is the only body of knoweldge that gives us objective understanding and that objective understanding is king.

              I didn’t say what you inferred at 7.2.1, or 7.2.1.1.1 (and I suggest that you check things out with me rather than making assumptions that take us down paths that are basically distractions).

              Your refutation doesn’t apply because I wasn’t making a claim that science thinks its objective in the way you are talking about. I was pointing out that people who use the ideas in my first paragraph but then do that shit that Penn and Teller are doing are hypocrites (they also remind me of parts of the anti-vaccination lobby).

              Now, are you going to parse everything I just said, or are you going to address the points I actually raised in response to adam posting the video?

              • McFlock

                One of the arguments run by the provaccination people is that science is the only valid view on the matter,

                Well, it might be more accurate to say that nobody has yet presented a better view on the matter, AFAIK.

                and that argument usually goes hand in hand with the idea that science is the only body of knoweldge that gives us objective understanding

                see above

                and that objective understanding is king.

                see above.

                I was pointing out that people who use the ideas in my first paragraph but then do that shit that Penn and Teller are doing are hypocrites

                Maybe not. The grounds they use for making their own decisions are not necessarily the methods required to get some people to make a sensible decision if those people refuse to make that decision on a “valid” basis.

                Frankly, as long as one takes the view that throwing balls at skittles behind a perspex wall is broadly illustrative rather than a precise simulation of vaccine efficacy, your list of points is all a bit meh.

                • weka

                  yeah, nah, it’s deliberatly misleading. It’s classic pro-vax fundamentalism. It basically assumes that people who are concerned about vaccination are stupid (they’re not any more stupid than pro-vax people) and can be ridiculed into thinking like they should.

                  “Well, it might be more accurate to say that nobody has yet presented a better view on the matter, AFAIK.”

                  The ethics of the situation can’t be worked through by science. Nor can the social issues that are core for many people and why this has turned into a war that is stalemated. Thinking it’s solely about science is one of the main reasons that pro-vaxers just don’t get it and have to resort to name calling and misleading people (the science on its own isn’t enough).

                  • McFlock

                    What false thing would people naturally believe to be true (or vice versa) based on that Penn&Teller bit, for it to be misleading?

                    Regardless of what ethical conundra result from the eradication of diseases in the human population, the choices need to be based on fact. AFAIK nobody has discovered a better way of identifying facts relating to vaccines than the scientific method.

                    • weka

                      I’ve already addressed that in my original comment.

                      “Regardless of what ethical conundra result from the eradication of diseases in the human population, the choices need to be based on fact. AFAIK nobody has discovered a better way of identifying facts relating to vaccines than the scientific method.”

                      You’re the one claiming that science is the be all and end all of the vaccination debate. I’m pointing out that there are additional concerns.

                    • McFlock

                      So you seriously think that people will assume 100% vaccine effectiveness based on two comedians throwing balls at skittles?

                      If anything, that’s an argument for using comedy routines so that people who do not make rational decisions based on vaccine efficacy will still make the evidence-based choice, even if for non-evidence-based reasons.

                      I’m not claiming that science is the be all and end all of the vaccination debate. I’m merely saying that I haven’t seen any additional concerns that stand up to even cursory comparison with the real world, and you sure haven’t gone into any ethical issues as to why I should or should not get the flu jab tomorrow.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Don’t get the flu jab tomorrow because there is no evidence that the flu jab you get tomorrow will help prevent any days off work sick with the flu. And anecdotally, might even cause flu symptoms strong enough to require you to take time off work sick.

                    • McFlock

                      You have demonstrated repeatedly that you have no idea what scientific evidence is, or how to understand it when it’s handed to you giftwrapped with a bow.

                      So excuse me if I ignore your medical advice.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      ”Don’t get the flu jab tomorrow because there is no evidence that the flu jab you get tomorrow will help prevent any days off work sick with the flu”

                      I wonder if DHBs with higher uptake of the flu vaccine programme are recording fewer sick days.
                      Last year the average uptake in DHBs was 61% ranging between 76% (Tairawhiti) and 44% (West coast); in 2010 DHB average was 45%
                      Data is the top link:

                      https://www.google.co.nz/webhp?sourceid=chrome-instant&rlz=1C1CHWA_enNZ632NZ633&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8#q=influenza%20vaccine%20dhb%20workforce%202014

                    • weka

                      McFlock,

                      I said “One of the arguments run by the provaccination people is that science is the only valid view on the matter”

                      You said “Well, it might be more accurate to say that nobody has yet presented a better view on the matter, AFAIK.”

                      Which is a clear implication that you were focussed on the your idea that science is the way, instead of taking the trouble to engage with what I was talking about.

                      I’m not willing to go down another major track that ends in a cul de sac because you want to make assumptions about my comment instead of engaging. It’s boring and pointless and it pisses of too many people here.

                      btw, I have zero interest in whether you have a flu jab or not, but your comment tells me that you still pretty much don’t get the issues around why people choose to not vaccinate. Hint, it’s not about what you want to do with your health.

                    • McFlock

                      So you caricature a position, I remove some of the grosser micharacterisation, and that’s an excuse for another caricature.

                      I seem to recall you stating repeatedly that there are valid reasons to not vaccinate. I don’t seem to recall you actually stating what those reasons are. Apparently they are not related to healthcare, but are related to ethics. Maybe if you clearly expressed what one of those ethical reasons was (rather than merely providing “hints”) we’d get somewhere.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                I agree* with your remarks about the video. That’s why I didn’t challenge them.

                *mostly.

      • TheContrarian 7.2.2

        I like how your final sentence basically admits you are on the anti-science side by contrasting your position with the pro-science side

        • weka 7.2.2.1

          No, it doesn’t, you just made that up. I’m actually neither, so fuck off with your reductionism unless you can come up with something useful to say (try looking at the whole post, try asking people what they mean. Unless of course you just want to entrench the debate into another round of useless I’m right you’re wrong duality).

          • TheContrarian 7.2.2.1.1

            Why would anyone not be pro-science?

            • weka 7.2.2.1.1.1

              because pro-science in this context means fundamentalism that excludes other bodies of knowledge. Myself I think science is a bloody useful tool/set of tools, but is pretty hit and miss as a world view.

              • TheContrarian

                If science is your fundamentalist world view you are doing it wrong. Science is means of understanding the world around us – it is not a a world view and I never suggested it was.

                • weka

                  Saying that not being pro-science = being anti-science is something I associate with the fundamentalists. As I pointed out, I am neither, yet you seem to believe that if I am not pro-science there is something wrong.

                  “If science is your fundamentalist world view you are doing it wrong.”

                  Quite, and yet it happens a lot in these conversations.

            • Colonial Rawshark 7.2.2.1.1.2

              Why would anyone not be pro-science?

              Simple, because science cannot solve the important problems facing our civilisation, is able to address only a small fraction of the questions people have about themselves and their existence, and today, is primarily a tool for advancing corporate wealth and power, making life worse not better for most people.

              • TheContrarian

                “Simple, because science cannot solve the important problems facing our civilisation”

                Which problems?

                “is able to address only a small fraction of the questions people have about themselves and their existence”

                Science is not supposed to address your own contemplation of self.

                “[science] is primarily a tool for advancing corporate wealth and power, making life worse not better for most people.”

                That’s an ethics issue, not a science issue. Science is ethically neutral.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  That’s an ethics issue, not a science issue. Science is ethically neutral.

                  Now, back in the real world of actual practice…

                  • TheContrarian

                    “Actual practice”?

                    Science can be used, as in the vast majority of cases, for many ethical and functional purposes. It’s practical applications conform to the ethics of those using it.

                    Science, in itself, is ethically neutral.

                    Which important problems facing our civilisation is science unable to solve?

                    • weka

                      If science is ethically neutral, then it has no place in the vaccination debate apart from providing evidence. i.e. use the science for your argument, but you can’t claim that science says vaccination is good, non-vaccination is bad (which is one of less rational approaches I see taken).

                      “Which important problems facing our civilisation is science unable to solve?”

                      Global warming would be the easiest answer to that. Or poverty. Or racism. Or ….

              • Chooky

                +100 CR…science is but a tool

                • TheContrarian

                  Exactly and as such is ethically neutral. Like all tools it can be used for good or bad but has no ethical underpinning itself except that which we assign it.

                  • Adele

                    Kiaora TheContrarian

                    I disagree. Science is a tool underpinned by a scientist. Scientists are not blank slates. They come with opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. Science can never be completely neutral or objective as by nature, scientists are subjective creatures.

                    Ironically, it is science that is pulling apart the scientific method.

                    • TheContrarian

                      ” Science is a tool underpinned by a scientist”

                      a hammer is a tool underpinned by the builder

                      a car is a tool underpinned by the driver

                      a scalpel is a tool underpinned by the surgeon

                      a lathe is a tool underpinned by the craftsman

                      People come with opinions, viewpoints and perspectives. Tools are completely neutral and objective as by nature, people are subjective creatures.

                      The application of a tool used wrongly or incorrectly, subjectively, can be repeated and shown as false as proven by dozens of people being able to replicate similar experiments which all agree and disagree with the subjectivity of a single person.

                      Which is why we have consensus – when people from all subjective disciples can recreate the same experiment and come to the same result. Regardless of ones subjectivity.

                      See: Gravity, evolution, chemistry and climate change for further information

                    • That’s not ironic, it’s how it’s supposed to work. Science relies on constant scepticism and constant challenges to accepted knowledge. The subjectivity of the humans in the process is rendered irrelevant by the use of the scientific method. Test, test, and test again.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Tools and technology are completely neutral – nah that’s bogus. Or maybe you actually believe – guns don’t actually kill people.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The subjectivity of the humans in the process is rendered irrelevant by the use of the scientific method. Test, test, and test again.

                      Again, great in the textbooks, it never happens in practice. Not if you want your next grant, that is.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Again, great in the textbooks, it never happens in practice. Not if you want your next grant, that is.”

                      Heard the same argument used to support anti-climate change and anti-evolution rhetoric. It’s a bullshit argument.

                      “Tools and technology are completely neutral – nah that’s bogus”

                      I said science, as a tool, is ethically neutral. It is a tool used to explore, test and predict the world around us. It is ethically neutral.

                      And no, guns don’t kill people. But a proliferation of readily accessible firearms in a community ravaged by desperation, drug abuse, poverty and a loss of community cohesion do. Guns themselves are not the problem – the societal values which pervade nations with extreme gun violence, like the US for example, which lionise gun ownership and use as a societal and political norm are extremely problematic. But I am sure your divert, dodge and appeal to sloganeering, complete misunderstanding of science – what it is, how it works and what it does, is true also. Probably

                    • Jebus, two daft comments there, CV. First up, tools are neutral. So are all inanimate objects. It’s just their nature.

                      Secondly, scientists who bend results get found out. Their claimed outcomes must be capable of reproduction. If not, well, they’re not actually proven. So they’re worthless. That’s kinda the point at which the mystic water shite falls apart.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      TRP, I love how you have taken those ivory tower textbooks to heart to create that imaginary world, but please learn that’s not how “science” works in real life!

                      First up, tools are neutral. So are all inanimate objects. It’s just their nature.

                      That’s a stupid fucking comment. To believe what you wrote, you must believe that either the technology just appeared fully formed by itself free from all moral relevancy, or that human morality, intention and purpose does not play a role in crafting those tools in the first place.

                    • Nope, I just believe inanimate objects are inanimate. Coz, I’m not, you know, insane.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      As I said, you must believe that tools and technology just appear fully formed out of a morally neutral void in space, free from human intention and human purpose. Which is of course, stupid.

                    • Nope. I know how things are made. But once made, they remain inanimate objects. They have no ability to reason or to make moral judgements, because they are, um, inanimate objects.

                    • freedom

                      “They have no ability to reason or to make moral judgements”
                      there have been times I swear the workshop tools had planned to revolt 😉

                    • Yep! My laptop is well aware that 5 minutes before deadline is a great time to wind me up with a message along the lines of ‘this program has stopped working …’.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      LOL I never said tools or technology “make moral judgements” like sentient creatures you silly billy.

                      I said they are (often) not morally neutral, and in their very formation and fabrication are not free from human intention or morality.

                    • Yeah, nah. You don’t even seem to realise what your own words mean nor that you contradict yourself in the same sentence. Humans have a moral dimension. Objects don’t.

                      The point being that, despite the frailties of scientists, the scientific method is designed to eliminate human influence. Scientists who allow their prejudices or commercial needs to influence what they claim to be the outcomes of their experiments soon get found out. Ask Lord Monckton or the git who claimed a link between MMR and autism.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Science is ethically neutral. The study of the nuclear force lead to nuclear weapon but can (and will no doubt) lead to fusion power.

                      One is good, the other not so good. The science doesn’t care which – it is totally dependent on the humans involved, not the science.

                      But C “Take us back to the pre-internet, halcyon days of the fax machine” V would rather do away with the lot.

              • DoublePlusGood

                That’s really cynical of you. Scientific research has answered a vast range of questions about humans and our existance, as well as the wider universe around us. In fact, it’s the best way to ask questions, not just answer them. Indeed, science is the only reason we know about many serious issues facing our civilisation. Such as global warming – if we had not developed a way of determining atmospheric CO2, we would have no idea why it was suddenly getting hotter. With better understanding can come better awareness, and the potential for answers. Science shows why humanity cannot continue doing things as it has. Nothing else has that potential to provide understanding and develop answers – unless people would prefer to just make shit up and hope astrology and divining will solve all humanity’s problems?
                The scientific method can be corrupted by anyone of course, but the fault there lies not with science, but human failings. And scientists will root out those promulgating fraudulent science soon enough – look at the criticism of testing in the medicines industry, debunking of quack practises, the list is endless. Science is a really good flashlight in a dark room.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  n fact, it’s the best way to ask questions, not just answer them. Indeed, science is the only reason we know about many serious issues facing our civilisation. Such as global warming – if we had not developed a way of determining atmospheric CO2, we would have no idea why it was suddenly getting hotter.

                  Science and technology, net net, is enabling human destruction of the world far faster than it can even be used to measure and quantify that destruction.

                  That’s what I’m getting at. Science and technology is today primarily a tool of human greed, corporate profiteering and the security/war machine. Public science and public technology today is only a tiny fraction of overall spending on science and technology. Is some worthwhile work done on behalf of the public? Sure. But its a tiny fraction. And the neolibs have been cutting it back every year.

                  The scientific method is handy for occasional use of course, but hopeless for resolving the true problems facing humanity. Or put another way, every major problem our country now faces could have been resolved with the level of scientific and technological know how of a quarter century ago.

                  • DoublePlusGood

                    You’d best give up all the scientific method has discovered then, if you’re going to have that attitude. Sanitation is definitely not useful. Nor construction techniques. Or medicines. No internet for you. Since science is so shit and all.

                    And you appear to have missed a large amount of technological development in the last 25 years. Increased viability of solar and wind power, from technology such as photovoltaics. New refrigerants that are not ozone depleting and have vastly reduced global warming potential. Fleshing out the development of the PCR. Improved ability to brew up all manner of things in vats. Mapping the Human Genome. Understanding the genetic basis for many diseases. Epigenetics. Improvements in birth control. Improvements in recycling technology. Improvements in decontaminating pollutants. Electric vehicles. Nutrient enriched foods. The list goes on, and that’s really without considering the advances likely from things that don’t immediately seem like they will bring change, but instead their importance is realised over time.
                    So throw it all in the bin, apparently. The scientific method apparently does nothing; there’s no way could find an answer to what to eat for diner, let alone solve a problem. Let’s ignore that it is fundamentally all about solving problems through rigorous evaluation of evidence, phth, that’s just tedious and boring and has never worked.

                    Really, I think your problem here is actually with capitalism, but you’re blaming science out of some personal bias. If we can sort out capitalism (and human greed generally), science will be our best way of figuring out how to clean up the bloody mess. Indeed, the only way. You aren’t going to drop CO2 back below 300 ppm without someone doing some science somewhere. Crystal healing ain’t gonna do it.

                    • TheContrarian

                      Thanks DPGood.

                      “The scientific method is handy for occasional use of course, but hopeless for resolving the true problems facing humanity. Or put another way, every major problem our country now faces could have been resolved with the level of scientific and technological know how of a quarter century ago”

                      Just wow.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Oh DPG don’t get all twisted up in a knot now. I did say that the scientific method has occasional uses. And yes, I use refrigeration and Android devices too. Pretty handy.

                      As for mapping the human genome, electric vehicles and epigenetics. Great. We have more toys to play with now and more corporate funded research centres and post docs. And lets ignore that “epigenetics” and “electric vehicles” were things that our great grandparents knew about, albeit in their own framing.

                      I note that you did not disagree with my main point – that net net, science and technology is enabling destruction of the world at a far higher rate and in different ways than it can even measure.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Just wow.

                      You better believe it mate. Because 20 or 25 years on, human civilisation is far closer to screwing both itself and the ecosystem permanently than ever before. And even more science and technology ain’t the answer (other than to lengthen the game of pretend and extend a bit more).

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You aren’t going to drop CO2 back below 300 ppm without someone doing some science somewhere. Crystal healing ain’t gonna do it.

                      How much more scientific knowledge does concreting up the furnaces of coal fired power stations require? Oh none of course.

                      But that’s the unwritten assumption right? You don’t want a simple certain cheap solution, you want a highly technical, expensive and uncertain one?

                      Crystal healing ain’t gonna do it

                      Traditional healing is far less carbon and energy intensive than conventional industrial modern medicine. So in fact, it is an integral part of the future answer to fossil fuel depletion.

                    • TheContrarian

                      “Traditional healing is far less carbon and energy intensive than conventional industrial modern medicine. So in fact, it is an integral part of the future answer to fossil fuel depletion.”

                      That sucks because conventional medicine actually works and crystals don’t…remember this comment I made to you? Regarding this very topic? Here it is again:

                      Yeah because science has totally failed to improve our life span, eradicate disease, and provide a better life for the sick and in-firmed. Yeah lets forget the eradication of smallpox, transplant technology, polio vaccines, extension of life-span, that being diagnosed with HIV is no longer the death sentence it was, 3-printing of limbs and organs, microscopic surgery, greater understanding of diet, research into stem-cells, research into being able to transplant pig organs into humans, hand transplants, rebuilding peoples faces, greater understanding of locked in syndrome, pacemakers, anesthesia, studying into using LSD and other alkaloids for PTSD, early detections of melanoma, breast cancer and bowl cancer drastically improving the survival rates of those afflicted, vaccinations, early childhood care, recognition of previously swept under the carpet mental disorders so people afflicted can now have better lives, Stephen Hawkings fucking chair.

                      You give me one fucking example of your magical thinking providing anything like the above. I fucking dare you.

                    • Bill

                      Some loose, highly subjective and yet conclusive thoughts on all this stramash…;-)

                      Science. Better than augury.

                      People. Unintelligent yet cunning life form that variously bases action on both augury and science.

                      Scientific method. Pretty good.

                      Application of science. Unintelligent yet cunning life form that variously bases action on both augury (market indices in the stead of chicken entails these days) and science.

                      Economists. The high priests of 21st C. un-science.

                      Profit margin. Both the driver and dead weight behind the (non)-development and (non)-application of scientific knowledge.

                      Vaccination. Effective and scientifically sound method for preventing terrible human conditions.

                      Vaccination Programmes See both people and profit margin above.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      You give me one fucking example of your magical thinking providing anything like the above. I fucking dare you.

                      LOL you really are a religious zealot.

                      Let me clue you in. I, or others like me, will be continuing to fix spines by hand, long after it is no longer possible to have spinal surgeries done and long after modern pain medications become unavailable.

                      In general terms then what that means is that traditional healing methods are going to be more available, for longer, than complex technological systems which rely on large inputs of oil and massive organisational and logistical systems to keep running.

                      Don’t mistake western scientific method or the entrenched scientific establishment for human ingenuity. The latter has been around for far longer.

                      You think that reconstructive maxillofacial surgery is a damn fine creation of western civilisation? So do I. But I’m not going to kid myself that its something that benefits more than 0.1% of the world’s population. Similar goes for 3D printing of organs, using LSD for PTSD, further understanding locked in syndrome, or all the (often harmful) official dietary advice that has been issued to the public.

                      And finally, that’s the point. The benefits of science, technology and engineering are declining in reach and relevance while the costs to communities and the ecosystem are steadily increasing.

                      Deal with it.

                    • TheContrarian

                      So nothing?
                      You have nothing?

                      Deal with it

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      The tech toy advocate wants to hold a morality competition based on the winner showing off the best tech toys.

                      What a genius.

                    • TheContrarian

                      So still nothing?

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      LOL

                    • TheContrarian

                      Yeah, you got nothing. For all your traditional remedy talk you have got absolutely nothing that holds a candle to the advancements medical science has provided.

                      You’re fucking hopeless.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      I’m glad you are so confident of your superiority, in fact I congratulate you on it.

                    • McFlock

                      there has to be some sort of alternative therapy that benefits >0.1% of the population.

                      Something like willow bark which turned out to have aspirin in it. Although aspirin is conventional medicine now, there must be something that sounds nutty but actually has demonstrable benefits. Even just on the law of averages, one has to exist, surely.

                      edit: btw, 0.1% of the world’s population is ~7.5 million people. Not a bad strike rate for any treatment.

                    • TheContrarian

                      It’s not my superiority – it is the superiority of medical science against your more ‘traditional’ approach.

                      And since I have given a small list of recent advancements of medical science and challenged you to do the same in response, something you have rather epically failed to do so I believe my confidence is well deserved in this instance.

                      But we are all ears. I for one would love to see homeopathy is working towards a vaccine for malaria (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malaria_vaccine) or how traditional medicines helped HIV victims live out decades rather than years (http://www.aidsmeds.com/articles/life_expectancy_1667_24239.shtml).

                      We all wait in anticipation….

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      your type of knowledge is the only valid knowledge in the world? Cool. Enjoy it, I’m happy for you.

                    • It’s not ‘my’ knowledge – it’s the vast majority of evidence and predictive power which is repeatable, falsifiable an shown to be true under almost all if not every, circumstance.

                      Why don’t you show some evidence to support your positions? That all I have asked and you shown nothing. I have a least shown supportive reasons for my position – you have failed to show anything.

      • adam 7.2.3

        Weka – Did we watch the same video?

        Allegory aside – I thought it was pretty straight forward.

        Did you miss when Teller said “if” about autism – I think he said “if” about 5 times, if memory servers.

        Who partakes in scaremongering on a regular basis. Google “Vaccines kill” or “Vaccines work of Satan” and you will get a collection of Bat-crazy arguments. My favourite being a conspiracy to give everyone chips, via the ebola vaccine – Gotta have a giggle at that one.

        Look vaccines may not be a panacea – but together with healthy life styles, plumbing, good food and antibiotics. It’s a pretty good mix, to keep people alive.

        • Lanthanide 7.2.3.1

          “to keep people alive.”

          To keep communities alive, as well as specific individuals.

        • weka 7.2.3.2

          Hi adam,

          Of course I didn’t miss what P and T said on autism, that’s why I commented on the uselessness of the message and the strawman. How can you have not understood that from my comment? (I’d seriously like to know).

          Yes there is scaremongering on both sides (except I think both sides are as bad as each other. Comparing flu to polio? Really?). But not all people who have concerns about vaccination are scientifically illiterate, nor stupid, and the pro-vaccination lobby presenting them as such just polarises the issue further.

          “Look vaccines may not be a panacea – but together with healthy life styles, plumbing, good food and antibiotics. It’s a pretty good mix, to keep people alive”

          Sure, but why use such a disingenuous, sensationalist and misleading video to promote that?

          • TheContrarian 7.2.3.2.1

            “Comparing flu to polio? Really?”

            You do realise that the flu killed some 20 – 25 million people during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, 1 – 4 million during the Asian Flu pandemic of the 1950’s, 1 million during the 1960’s pandemic and result in 3 – 5 million case of serious illness in non-pandemic years with a morality rate per year of anywhere between 250,000 and 500,000 people annually.

            Polio killed ~403 people 2013. A number drastically reduced from numbers in the millions due to ” the pro-vaccination lobby ” which consists of the insurmountable efforts of the overwhelmingly vast majority of medical practitioners and medical organisations worldwide.

            So a very valid comparison.

            “Sure, but why use such a disingenuous, sensationalist and misleading video to promote that?”

            Because the almost total body of academic literature, the vast collection of data and studies appears to not have made a dent in the minds of the anti-vaxxers so mockery is the only plausible response given evidence seems to have failed.

            • weka 7.2.3.2.1.1

              Is there a vaccine available in NZ for the next Spanish-flu like pandemic? Was I instead obviously referring to seasonal influenza that all of us are exposed to each year? Do you believe that influenza vaccinations work in the same way at a public health level as polio or diptheria vaccines?

              Your example is either completely abstract or disingenuous. Or it supports my original point that pro-vaxers use misinformation and fear mongering to promote their agenda.

              And thanks for confirming that you personally think that all people who don’t think like you deserve ridicule. Looks pretty fundamentalist to me.

        • Murray Rawshark 7.2.3.3

          They could use vaccination to put whole submarines inside us. Remember Fantastic Voyage? Who’d want a submarine inside their children?

      • GregJ 7.2.4

        no, I haven’t actually heard that 1 in 110 children vaccinated get autism. Nice strawman though (autism isn’t the only reason people are concerned about vaccination, and people’s concerns about autism weren’t linked to all vaccines).

        The 1998 article by Andrew Wakefield in The Lancet (subsequently withdrawn by The Lancet when shown to have been based on totally fraudulent research) started the whole MMR vaccine controversy by lending support to the later discredited claim that colitis and autism spectrum disorders were linked to the vaccine. It was major source used by anti-vaccination campaigners and very widely reported in the media for 5-6 years in the early 2000s. It was a major pillar of the anti-vaccination movement.

        I wish my grandmother was alive to talk to people about diseases like Diphtheria, Polio, Measles and the dreadful long-term effects of those diseases. She contracted Diphtheria in the 1920’s and it lead to life long complications with her heart and her vision (thankfully she lived to a good age despite those problems), she watched a brother die of polio and friends who were permanently affected by measles and other diseases. She was a passionate advocate of vaccination and would have given short-shrift to the anti-vaccination lobby. She might have used “scaremongering” to make sure her grand children and great grand children were all vaccinated but it was “scaremongering” based in real life experience of those diseases.

        • weka 7.2.4.1

          Is the Lancet article the source of the 1 in 110 figure? Are you sure, because Penn and Teller implied all vaccinations, not MMR.

          People choosing to not vaccinate, and organising around that predates Wakefield by a very long time.

          • northshoredoc 7.2.4.1.1

            “People choosing to not vaccinate, and organising around that predates Wakefield by a very long time.”

            Yes, however, there was a very significant upsurge in non vaccination and associated anti vaccination propaganda on the back of the lies that Wakefield published the result of which we are still having to deal with in the form of Measles outbreaks and continued quoting of his fabricated research by those who accuse vaccination of all kinds of ills.

            • weka 7.2.4.1.1.1

              Not sure what that has to do with this conversation except my general point that both sides are as bad as each other (and the pro-vax people can take some responsibility for the situation post-Wakefield), and that the video linked above is just another example of that.

              • northshoredoc

                Er…. what do you mean by both sides are as bad as each other ?

                There is a side that is backed by scientific evidence and a side that is not backed by scientific evidence.

                • weka

                  I’m talking about behaviour. I made some pretty clear statements in my original comment, don’t really feel like repeating myself if you are not going to address those.

                  • northshoredoc

                    Well in terms of behaviour we’ll have to agree to disagree as the vast amount of pro vaccination information that any person will be subjected to will be from their GP or the MoH in NZ.

                    I have provided links to those sites/ that information in the past, to suggest that is information/behaviour is of an analagous yet opposite standard to that provided by the anti vaccine lobby is IMO unfair and incorrect.

                    On a side note you may be interested in reading this article

                    http://theconversation.com/infections-of-the-mind-why-anti-vaxxers-just-know-theyre-right-38926

                    ….by a Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropologist which is an interesting yet different slant on human thinking on this issue.

                    • weka

                      “I have provided links to those sites/ that information in the past, to suggest that is information/behaviour is of an analagous yet opposite standard to that provided by the anti vaccine lobby is IMO unfair and incorrect.”

                      Just as well I didn’t say that then. I’m getting tired of people misrepresenting what I am saying. Look at my original comment and see if there is anything wrong with it.

                      Thanks for the article link. The naive science vs academic science concept is useful. However the article fails to explain why the author thinks that anti-vaxxers are indulging in naive science (he merely asserts this is true). His implications about why anti-vaxxers fall into naive science probably wouldn’t stand up across the board (they might work for some). He’s also wrong about vitalism. It’s used sucessfully by medical practice in many cultures across a very very long period of time. That modern western science has trouble measuring it, is really a problem for the scienceheads not the rest of humanity (although it would be very helpful to all of life if science got to grips with vitalism and it was integrated appropriately into practice).

                      I thought his example of blood lettting was funny given that in the west it’s been scientists who’ve practiced it. I followed the link to the anthropology abstract but without seeing the whole thing, it didn’t quite make sense eg that other cultures without western physicians accepted bloodletting doesn’t mean that one of the reasons it was accepted in Europe wasn’t because of the dominant authority of doctors.

                    • Grant

                      Thanks for the linked article nsd. Reading it was like experiencing a cool breeze passing through a room full of stuffy air. The comments section is as informative and entertaining as the article itself. I’ve forwarded it to people I thought would appreciate it.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  There is a side that is backed by scientific evidence and a side that is not backed by scientific evidence.

                  Most of that “scientific evidence” is useless at helping individuals choose whether to have a specific vaccination or not. Patients are not being informed and thus cannot give informed consent. And this attitude of we know better, just trust us at our word that the benefits far outweigh the risks and the unknowns, has not proven to be reliable many many times.

          • GregJ 7.2.4.1.2

            Is the Lancet article the source of the 1 in 110 figure? Are you sure, because Penn and Teller implied all vaccinations, not MMR.

            Direct causal link. Wakefield’s argument was that increasing rates of autism were directly linked to the MMR vaccination. This then got conflated to all vaccines by the anti-vaccine lobby (yes that lobby existed before Wakefield but Wakefield gave a “scientific” basis for the view which previously was pretty flaky and based on a poor understanding of vaccination & immunisation). The 1 in 110 was quoted by P&T (in a video from 2010) because the rate of autism had moved to 1 in 110 in the US by 2009-2010 and was being used by the anti-vaccination lobby at that time (including by celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy & Wakefield himself – even though his research had by then been discredited).

            • Colonial Rawshark 7.2.4.1.2.1

              The simple fact of the matter is that most vaccinations have less than a 1/1000 chance of saving your life in the modern age. People should be told that. You are far, far more likely to die of a vehicle accident or hospital acquired infection. Of course there are certain high risk groups for whom vaccinations are more worthwhile – usually those living in poverty or in bad substandard housing.

              • DoublePlusGood

                1) Citation needed
                2) And what of serious harm? I got a typhoid jab, among others, before going away because typhoid could have a serious impact on my quality of life, not because it was likely to kill me. Whether vaccination is worthwhile is based on more than just how many fatalities it causes vs the risk of the vaccine doing the same.

                • Colonial Rawshark

                  I run with fatalities because that is the clearest, strongest bottom line metric. I would also consider permanent partial or full disablement as important metrics.

                  The inconvenience of missing a few days holiday or a few days work or a few days of school because of the flu or whatever else, I count out as trivial.

                  1) Citation needed

                  Why is it needed? It’s the obvious truth.

                  • McFlock

                    Are you including the fatalities of delayed medical care because of the stresses on the health system of a flu epidemic?
                    Are you including the possibility that they infect someone else who dies?

                    Or are you just looking at the immediate personal benefit in an environment that requires collective action to actually give that benefit?

                    Nice of you to trivialise days of illness and pain, though. Didn’t know pain was trivial.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Are you including the fatalities of delayed medical care because of the stresses on the health system of a flu epidemic?

                      Where is the empirical evidence that last years flu vaccination (which is different to the year before and is different to this years) had any effect whatsoever on reducing hospital admissions?

                      Last I saw, research out of the UK said that the flu vaccination made fuck all marginal difference in reducing days of sick and hospital admissions.

                      Nice of you to trivialise days of illness and pain, though. Didn’t know pain was trivial.

                      Chronic long term or life long pain is of course more significant and would likely count as a permanent impairment.

                    • McFlock

                      Same place as you got your 1/1000.

                      Last I saw, research out of the UK said that the flu vaccination made fuck all marginal difference in reducing days of sick and hospital admissions.

                      Really? I do seem to recall a discussion about it, and it turned out you couldn’t read that, either. You went on about half a day less per patient, and didn’t apply that to the number of patients admitted and the resulting pressure on the health system, or something like that. But you’re welcome to dig out your evidence so we can laugh at you again.

                      Chronic long term or life long pain is of course more significant and would likely count as a permanent impairment.

                      🙄
                      And yet when the length of pain is measured in days, you call it “trivial”.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      Trivial for the purposes of justifying vaccination, yes. Vaccination to my mind is justified on the basis of life saving or limb saving benefits, not more trivial effects.

                      Really? I do seem to recall a discussion about it, and it turned out you couldn’t read that, either. You went on about half a day less per patient, and didn’t apply that to the number of patients admitted and the resulting pressure on the health system, or something like that. But you’re welcome to dig out your evidence so we can laugh at you again.

                      No need mate, go take your fucking shots. They’re free for you so enjoy them. And enjoy your fractional day less in hospital or whatever.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      And for those who enjoy thinking for themselves and are truly interested in whether or not they should have the flu vaccination:

                      The preventive effect of parenteral inactivated influenza vaccine on healthy adults is small: at least 40 people would need vaccination to avoid one ILI case (95% confidence interval (CI) 26 to 128) and 71 people would need vaccination to prevent one case of influenza (95% CI 64 to 80). Vaccination shows no appreciable effect on working days lost or hospitalisation.

                      The protection against ILI that is given by the administration of inactivated influenza vaccine to pregnant women is uncertain or at least very limited; the effect on their newborns is not statistically significant.

                      The effectiveness of live aerosol vaccines on healthy adults is similar to inactivated vaccines: 46 people (95% CI 29 to 115) would need immunisation to avoid one ILI case.

                      http://www.cochrane.org/CD001269/ARI_vaccines-to-prevent-influenza-in-healthy-adults

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      At least the British Medical Journal is more open minded than McFlock on the issue of not having the flu vaccination, publishing this op-ed:

                      For each healthy adult, a Cochrane review found that vaccination saved an average of just 0.04 days off work and concluded that no evidence supported it as a routine public health measure.5 And among over 65s, Cochrane reviews found only poor quality data and were unable to draw conclusions of any benefit, thus recommending more trials.6…

                      …And a review of flu vaccination trials for healthcare workers who looked after older people in long term residential care found no meaningful difference in the number of cases of laboratory confirmed flu, admissions to hospital, or deaths from respiratory infections in residents.11

                      Treating children is one thing; treating adults like children is quite another. The Department of Health wants trusts to achieve a 75% uptake in flu vaccination for staff,1 when it would be better off ensuring that resources are used where they can do some good. I would have the vaccination if a high quality trial showed that it was worth it for me or my patients. But flu vaccination is offered millions of times every year at huge opportunity cost; given so much uncertainty, this policy is impossible to justify.

                      http://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6182

                      But McFlock, what the fuck do you care, run along and get your flu shots like a good little lad.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      And here, the prestigious CIDRAP team say to keep getting the flu vaccination because its the best we have at the moment…even though the bottom line is that the evidence is very sketchy and there is no evidence whatsoever that forcing the flu vaccination on healthcare workers helps prevent their patients getting the flu.

                      If after reading this, you are inspired to get the flu vaccination because it is that fantastic, then go for gold. I for one was not.

                      But it’s a vaccination! It must be good, right?

                      http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/news-perspective/2013/09/analysis-finds-limited-evidence-hcw-flu-vaccination

                    • McFlock

                      Vaccination to my mind is justified on the basis of life saving or limb saving benefits, not more trivial effects.

                      lol
                      So you’d rather people take paracetamol and other painkillers for days rather than a shot that even your own sources say “No evidence of association between influenza vaccination and serious adverse events was found in the comparative studies considered in the review. ”

                      re: cochrane: lol – personal benefit is a bit more than your 1:1000, eh. Lucky you checked.

                      re:the BMJ opinion piece – I note you suddenly started caring about protection for others (when a narrow example of it suited your beliefs), but you might want to read some of the responses too, rather than just cherry-picking opinions that you like. And of course that comment about no effect on the safety of patients is contradicted by your following article, which discusses the differences between the Cochrane you linked to and another meta-analysis (that you somehow failed to look at) which measured influenza-like illness deaths at 0.8% to 8%, and overall patient mortality reduction by 29%.

                      To recap, your measure of personal risk was way off, so you’re trying to distract us from that by bringing in the debate of whether and by how much healthcare-worker vaccinations protect patients.

                      New day, same bullshit from the antivaxxer who doesn’t understand what he reads and doesn’t read what he disagrees with.

                    • Colonial Rawshark

                      re: cochrane: lol – personal benefit is a bit more than your 1:1000, eh. Lucky you checked.

                      Please pay attention McFlock. I excluded trivial benefits of the flu vaccination (for instance the vaccination has not been shown to prevent days of work or hospitalisation), whereas you have to rely on them.

                      But whatever. Get your flu shot. I’m not stopping you.

                      to and another meta-analysis (that you somehow failed to look at) which measured influenza-like illness deaths at 0.8% to 8%, and overall patient mortality reduction by 29%.

                      LOL you would have to be a true acolyte to actually believe that almost 1/3 reduction in death from all causes statistic. According to that number, you should probably get the flu vaccination to prevent death from vehicle accidents, heart attacks, strokes and cancer.

                      But whatever. Go for it. Get your flu vaccination mate. I ain’t stopping you.

                    • McFlock

                      🙄

                      Nah, you didn’t stop me.
                      My concern is that your lame pretensions of medical knowledge might end up killing people, while you happily freeload off everyone else’s immunisation coverage.

                      For example, I’m not sure how many patients of healthcare workers in retirement homes are at risk of vehicle accidents. But being weakened by an ILI could certainly increase mortality in a wide number of conditions those people are likely to suffer from, even if I’d expect the interval around the 29% to be quite wide. Which might have occurred to you after a moment of reflection, rather than simply laughing at a result you don’t agree with.

                      If you’d bothered to read the piece by the “prestigious” (when you agree with them) CIDRAP team, you’d know that sciencing involves reconciling both results. Not picking one over the other.

                  • DoublePlusGood

                    Hah, “I think my argument is so powerful I don’t need to explain it”.
                    More sorcery than an Act on Campus acolyte.

            • weka 7.2.4.1.2.2

              GregJ,

              Direct causal link. Wakefield’s argument was that increasing rates of autism were directly linked to the MMR vaccination. This then got conflated to all vaccines by the anti-vaccine lobby (yes that lobby existed before Wakefield but Wakefield gave a “scientific” basis for the view which previously was pretty flaky and based on a poor understanding of vaccination & immunisation). The 1 in 110 was quoted by P&T (in a video from 2010) because the rate of autism had moved to 1 in 110 in the US by 2009-2010 and was being used by the anti-vaccination lobby at that time (including by celebrities such as Jenny McCarthy & Wakefield himself – even though his research had by then been discredited).

              Can you please find a citation for that claim? I’ve had a quick look (including a Jenny McCarthy link) and I can’t see where there is a mass claim by anti-vaxxers that 1 in 110 children vaccinated get autism (which is what the video claimed).

              (yes that lobby existed before Wakefield but Wakefield gave a “scientific” basis for the view which previously was pretty flaky and based on a poor understanding of vaccination & immunisation).

              I didn’t say lobby though, and I’d appreciate it if people were more careful in their reading of comments and considering what people might mean.

        • Colonial Rawshark 7.2.4.2

          I wish my grandmother was alive to talk to people about diseases like Diphtheria, Polio, Measles and the dreadful long-term effects of those diseases.

          Talk about the risks and benefits of vaccinations in the modern age please, not for the social and environmental circumstances of a century ago.

      • Ergo Robertina 7.2.5

        Thank you weka for addressing this in your usual thoughtful manner.
        ”The video is a pretty good example of how the pro-science side is dishonest about its alleged objective stance though.”
        Precisely.
        I think the bullying and shouting approach has superficial appeal to people who lack insight – but it isn’t going to persuade anyone to change their mind. Why anyone would think it has merit as a persuasive tool is beyond me.

        • GregJ 7.2.5.1

          You do realise that the video is from a TV show – Bullshit!?

          Perhaps this on one the Vatican is more to your taste.

          • Ergo Robertina 7.2.5.1.1

            Yep, I did realise that. Didn’t find it funny, just shouty and stupid; it was posted here with a suggestion it could be used for persuading parents to vaccinate.
            As for the Vatican link, the style isn’t my cup of tea; better choice of target, though.

          • weka 7.2.5.1.2

            “You do realise that the video is from a TV show – Bullshit!?”

            No, I didn’t. Because the video was linked in a comment from a pro-vax commenter who said it was a useful health video and explanation of why vaccination is good. That link went to a doctor’s website. My whole point is that the video is not a good way to convince people to vaccinate (as ER points out, bullying and shouting is poor strategy).

  8. AsleepWhileWalking 8

    The worst international crisis since the Cuban missile crisis

    The original source for this video can be found here. The link has a list of bullet points from Professor Cohen’s speech: http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/20/4761

    The video, which has been edited to fit the 15-minute format of YouTube, shows Professor Cohen making a number of key points:

    The possibility of premeditated war with Russia is real. Outside of October 1962, this was never a possibility during Soviet times.
    Putin started as a pro-Western leader, he wanted partnership with the US, provided helping hand after 9/11 and saved many American lives in Afghanistan. In return he got more NATO expansion and unilateral abolition of the existing missile treaty upon which all Russian security was based.
    Since November 2013, Putin has became not aggressive but reactive. For this he has been criticized by some in Moscow as an appeaser.
    The Kiev regime is not a democratic one, but an ultra-nationalistic one and Poroshenko is a diminishing president.
    Unless the Kiev regime changes its approach to Russia or unless the West stops supporting Kiev unconditionally, we are drifting toward war with Russia.

    • GregJ 8.1

      You might like to take an alternative view on Stephen Cohen assertions.

      Cohen was originally an old school socialist (Marxist) historian who has kind of morphed into a neo-Russian nationalist. He disliked Yeltsin and wrote a piece in Newsweek in February 2008 entitled “The Savior” which asserted Putin was the man who “ended Russia’s collapse at home and re-asserted its independence abroad.

      He’s quite keen on talking about Russia’s “traditional zones of national security” but doesn’t talk about Ukraine’s (and Georgia’s) traditional zones of national security i.e. their own sovereign territories. This is all quite Cold War era arguments – as the article I linked to asserts “on one hand he accuses Washington of resuming the Cold War and on the other, justifies Russian interests with a Cold War era argument.”

  9. esoteric pineapples 9

    The sort of people the New Zealand Army will be helping:

    “We analyzed satellite imagery and found evidence of a systematic and sustained campaign of arson and demolition that lasted over two months after the end of the siege of Amerli… [we] confirmed destruction in 30 out of 35 villages. Most of the damage was caused by arson and intentional demolition inflicted after ISIS had fled the area.” – Human Rights Watch

    After Liberation Came Destruction: Iraqi Shiite Militias Accused of Looting, Burning Sunni Villages

    A new report finds Shiite militias in Iraq have burned down entire Sunni villages after liberating them from control of the Islamic State.

    democracynow.org

  10. veutoviper 10

    Parliament Question TIme – A MUST WATCH today?

    Question 2 – Darroch Ball, NZ First

    DARROCH BALL to the Minister for Social Development: Does she stand by her statement, “Every child has the right to be safe from abuse and neglect and these guidelines will help us build a stronger culture of child protection across New Zealand where the safety and security of children is paramount.”?

  11. Pasupial 11

    It’s rare that I have a good word to say about the Dunedin Labour MPs (if you don’t count; “not as vile as Woodhouse”), so it’s important that I acknowledge when they do something right:

    The level of support for the petition calling on jobs to be retained at Invermay had been overwhelming across New Zealand and not just in the South, Dr Clark said.

    ”Across New Zealand, sheep breeders have supported it. Across Southland and Otago, residents, business owners and local councils have banded together to promote the petition,” he said.

    The petition follows last week’s report from Auditor-general Lyn Provost saying AgResearch needed to update its business case for restructuring – which AgResearch said it had already begun.

    ”If they are good to their word, they are re-examining the case and that opens up the possibility of keeping the facility and the staff … at Mosgiel.” …

    The petition would not prompt a review over restructuring, [AgResearch chief executive] Dr Richardson said.

    The updating of the business case would not prompt a rethink over jobs being moved from Invermay, he said.

    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/dunedin/337175/fight-invermay-goes

    The select committee’s recommendations (should they not simply disregard the petition) are likely to be ignored by Joyce and Richardson. However, in terms of; stimulating public discussion and community awareness of regional issues, it has already been a success.

    • Bearded Git 11.1

      +1 Pasupial.

      That is an excellent pic and resonating issue. The pic and article appeared on page 3 today (I bought a hard copy of the ODT as usual) and really made it look like Labour had its act together. What the hell’s going on?

  12. once again – jim mora on nat-rad delights in prohibitionist lies -esp. that one that claims pot is so much stronger now..

    ..i emailed him..

    http://whoar.co.nz/2015/comment-the-ppot-prohibitionist-lies-peddled-by-jim-mora/

  13. Clemgeopin 13

    Breaking news: On Radio Live

    Duncan Garner has just revealed that about now (after 5pm, he said) Paddy Gower is going to make a ‘Bomb Shell’ type of news about the Northland election.

    Here is the link:
    http://www.radiolive.co.nz/ListenOnline.aspx

    • radio live is a form of ad-shouting aural-hell…

      ..the big news is that tv3 has a poll 2nite showing peters holding a substantial lead over osborne/national..

      • Clemgeopin 13.1.1

        Winston was interviewed. Then Garner said, connection with Gower has been cut off. Some connectivity problems, he said! Bomb Shell? What bomb shell! Has Fizzled out for now!

  14. Clemgeopin 14

    Joyce admits that National are dogs. Underdogs. Poll on tv3 tonight.

  15. Clemgeopin 15

    I thought may be it was to do with Sabin.

  16. joe90 16

    Pitchforks!.

    “This gap between the 1 percent and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist,” says the investor. “Historically, these kinds of gaps get closed in one of three ways: by revolution, higher taxes or wars. None are on my bucket list.”

    http://blog.ted.com/justice-capitalism-and-progress-paul-tudor-jones-ii-at-ted2015/

  17. Chooky 17

    “In June 2014, 56 international human rights and free media organizations signed a letter addressed to US Attorney General Eric Holder calling upon the US government to end all criminal investigations into Assange’s actions as editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, and to cease harassing the organization for publishing materials in the public interest.”

    ‘Western ISIS adventurism, Israel behind Hamas – new Assange revelations’

    http://rt.com/news/243445-assange-west-islamists-us/

    “Meddling of Western countries in the Middle East led to creation of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), an Islamist group that is currently gaining a massive following across the wider Middle East and Africa, Assange said.

    “The IS is a direct result of the adventurism of the West,” Assange said.

    He says the “adventurism” of Western countries has already destroyed the Libyan and Syrian society and now is “destroying Iraq for oil and other geopolitical reasons.”

    Many people know that arms are being transported to Syria, that there are attempts to reduce Iranian influence in postwar Iraq by supporting the Sunnis, he said. But “what we don’t know is that in recent years Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey have increased their power and managed to gain certain independence form the US.”

    As a result, Washington ceased to be “the only geopolitical actor” pushing developments in the Middle East, believes Assange.”

    • Bill 17.1

      That’s a stupid headline rt have used.

      There is no ‘revelation’, just some-one’s analysis, opinion and conclusions.

      • Chooky 17.1.1

        yes I guess a loose use of the word “revelations”…”personal revelations” rather than hard core WikiLeaks leaked text revelations….but it is keeping the Assange pot on the boil…ie he is down but not out…he is still fighting

        btw…what is the status of WikiLeaks without Assange?…has it fizzled?…in which case the rape accusations ( but not charges laid ) have done their work to shut up WikiLeaks)

  18. felix 18

    Today in the house, the Speaker silenced Phil Twyford for saying the words “Mike Sabin and the police investigation”.

    Twyford started to explain (I think) that the fact of a police investigation is neither controversial nor suppressed, but is a simple matter of public record.

    But the Speaker responded by saying ‘My gaff, my rules’ and that was that.

    Seems a bit weird that a parliamentarian, a representative of the people of NZ, is being prohibited from discussing matters of public record in a general debate in parliament.

    Any lawyerists around who can shed some light on how this works?

    It’s toward the end of this clip, from about 4:35 : http://www.inthehouse.co.nz/video/36335

    • Lanthanide 18.1

      I’m no lawyerist, but seems to me that the speaker does indeed set and enforce the rules of the debating chamber, for good or ill.

      • felix 18.1.1

        Even as far as curtailing the free speech of MPs?

        • Murray Rawshark 18.1.1.1

          MPs do not have free speech. For example, they are not allowed to give correct descriptions of each other, as this falls under the use of unparliamentary language. On the other hand, the speaker seems to vastly exceed his powers in favour of protecting FJK.

          • felix 18.1.1.1.1

            I know there are certain words and phrases they aren’t allowed to use, but outside of matters sub-judice I didn’t realise there were topics, issues, and subjects that are off-limits in and of themselves.

            • Murray Rawshark 18.1.1.1.1.1

              I wasn’t aware that there were topics which were both a matter of public record and forbidden to be mentioned either. I can only hope that some village takes its idiot back and we get a reasonable facsimile of a speaker.

              • felix

                “I wasn’t aware that there were topics which were both a matter of public record and forbidden to be mentioned either.”

                Certainly seems to be the case in regards to the police investigation into Mike Sabin.

                Carter seems to be ruling that no-one can even mention that the police were investigating Mike Sabin, which as far as I can tell is not subject to any kind of suppression order, and was widely reported in the media.

            • Lanthanide 18.1.1.1.1.2

              Since the speaker has authority in the house, and can eject MPs for whatever reason they like, then I suppose that’s the case.

              I wonder what the official process would be for a serially mis-behaving speaker. I presume the house would simply pass a motion to declare the position vacant and elect a new one.

      • TheContrarian 18.1.2

        “lawyerist”?

        I think the correct term is “law talking guy”.

    • outofbed 18.2

      Can i say [Best if you do not – MS] and http://laudafinem.com/ in the same sentence ?

      • te reo putake 18.2.1

        No, you can’t. Apart from pointing to a serial fantasist, and grade A misogynist, your link goes to somewhere where there is an potential breach of the suppression order (potential in the sense of whether LF’s ‘facts’ can be trusted, which is debatable). LF may claim to know why Sabin resigned, but all they offer is half arsed speculation, which is best ignored.

        • Murray Rawshark 18.2.1.1

          Lauda Finem may well be all the things you say, but my opinion is that they hit the mark on this one.

      • lprent 18.2.2

        In my view, anything that LF say tends to be complete crap. Sometimes they have a few facts that are ok. But usually when I have checked what they have said they are simply lying or they are busy misquoting someone out of context.

        But their logical processes especially when it comes to legal processes and principles – urrgh. Well what can one say. They seem to have some mental defects when it comes to cause and effect. They just make up their own legal interpretations usually with inappropriate latin phrases. They quote bits of statutes and cases while carefully ignoring the surrounding context. It is so scattered that when you dig into any bit of it for a while, you have to conclude that they are doing it deliberately.

        There is a site around somewhere they says that the bods running the site are con artists. If they aren’t, then they are hellishly good actors at playing that part.

  19. Michael 20

    Here’s something interesting I found from a progressive US think tank:
    http://www.epi.org/publication/raising-income-taxes/

    “Recent research implies a revenue-maximizing top effective federal income tax rate of roughly 68.7 percent. This is nearly twice the top 35 percent effective marginal ordinary income tax rate that prevailed at the end of 2012, and 27.5 percentage points higher than the 41.2 percent rate in 2013.2 This would mean a top statutory income tax rate of 66.1 percent, 26.5 percentage points above the prevailing 39.6 percent top statutory rate.”

    “Analyses of top tax rate changes since World War II show that higher rates have no statistically significant impact on factors driving economic growth—private saving, investment levels, labor participation rates, and labor productivity—nor on overall economic growth rates.”

    “Historically, decreases in top marginal tax rates have widened inequality of both pre- and post-tax income. This has been interpreted by some economists as marginal rate reductions providing a higher payoff to rent-seeking (i.e., using influence to “bargain” a higher share of income at the expense of other workers).”

    “The overall decline in progressivity is most striking within the top income percentile: The effective tax rate for the top hundredth of a percentile (i.e., 99.99–100 percent of filers by income) has fallen by more than half, from 71.4 percent in 1960 to 34.7 percent in 2004, versus a decline for the 99.5–99.9 percentiles from 41.4 percent in 1960 to 33.0 percent in 2004 (Piketty and Saez 2007).”

    I thought this was all very interesting. A top federal US income tax rate of 68.7% would be ‘revenue-maximising’ and would end up decreasing inequality both before and after tax, meaning higher taxes at the top cause wage rises for the working and middle classes. Also remember that states levy income taxes in addition to the federal rate with an avg top rate of around 5%, and as high as 13.3% in California. So that would mean the total optimal top rate is around 73.7%. (82% in California!) Currently total top rates are around 47% for the average state and 55% in California.

    It would be interesting to see an analysis similar to this done in NZ.

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