Sunday, November 20, 2011

Electoral System Referendum

Just writing down a few predictions about the referendum between MMP FPP STV SM PV.

1. I think MMP will probably win the first question

2. I think FPP will win the second question

3. I think STV will come the closest to beating FPP (despite the 'vote for change' campaign targeting SM)

4. I think that, if MMP wins the first question and there is a review, the 5% threshold will be reduced to 3 or 4%, and will generally be more proportional than the current MMP system

5. I think there will be MMP supporters who vote for FPP in the second question, despite that being their least preferred option, because they think it has the least risk of beating MMP in a second referendum

6. I think that, If MMP loses the first question, and FPP wins the second question, that FPP supporters will run a much larger and more expensive campaign in 2014, and come close to winning.

If it's not clear, I am an MMP / PR supporter. I intend to vote for MMP and for STV, because STV is the next best (proportional) option after MMP, and because it has the best chance of beating FPP.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Economy vs Election Results 1935-2008

So, Labour gets in when the economy is good, and National gets in when the economy is bad. How surprising.

Also, if Key stays in until growth reaches 4%, that graph will be perfectly striped ;)

Saturday, October 29, 2011

NZ Post-Earthquake Demographics

5 days ago, Stats NZ released the first population data about a time after the Canterbury earthquakes in Feb 2011. Note that it is for June, just 4 months after the quake, and that things could have changed significantly between June and now. Here I make a few observations:

  • Only 10,600 people migrated out of Christchurch (net). This in only 2.9% or 1 in 35. (it is 12,200 compared to what would be expected without the earthquakes - 3.1% or 1 in 31)
  • It was mainly young people who left, 0-14 year olds decreased 7%, and 15-39 year olds decreased 3.8% in Christchurch City, older groups actually increased (whether by natural increase or inward migration).
  • Using the net migration trend over the previous 4 years as a base, out of the people who left Christchurch because of the earthquake, it looks like only 28% max settled elsewhere in the South Island. 29% max moved to the North Island, and 43% min moved overseas.
  • The natural increase and 'normal' migration to the South Island over a year was almost exactly canceled out by people leaving the South Island because of the earthquakes. The total population of the South Island in June 2011 was the same as a year before.
  • Since the people leaving shakey town were young, the median South Islander is now 3 1/2 years older than the median North Islander, compared to 3 years in June 2010. (the median North Islander normally ages 2 months/year, but earthquake migrants actually cancelled this out for a year)
Now for a couple of things not specifically related to the earthquake:
  • Out of 43 "Territorial Authorities" in the North Island, between 2006 and 2010, 30 grew in population, Horowhenua held steady, and 12 declined. This is basically a steady overall growth plus a gradual migration from the countryside to the cities.
  • Out of the 23 in the South Island, all of them grew except Gore. The overall growth is slightly higher, and the urban migration is more even, so it's not as noticeable.
  • In the North Island, when you take into consideration only the 0-14 year olds, only 9 Territorial Authorities grew, 1 held steady, and 33 declined. This shows a bit about the nature of the population growth.
  • In the North Island excluding Auckland, there is an overall growth in population and decline in 0-14 year olds.
In this image, the dark green areas are territorial authorities with declining populations (2006-2010), the light green have growing population but declining numbers of 0-14 year olds, gray areas have steady numbers of 0-14 year olds, orange has numbers of 0-14 year olds growing at less than 1% pa, and red areas have greater than 1% pa growth in 0-14 year olds.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Silver Fern vs NZ Blue Ensign at RWC 2011

When you fly the Silver Fern flag, here is a list of the RWC 2011 teams you could be referring to:
  • NZ All Blacks

When you fly the NZ national flag - the NZ Blue Ensign - here is a list of RWC 2011 teams you could be referring to, who have players or coaches from New Zealand:
  • NZ All Blacks
  • Manu Samoa
  • Flying Fijians
  • Tongan Sea Eagles
  • Japanese Cherry Blossoms
  • England national rugby union team
  • Wales national rugby union team
  • Canadian Canucks
  • Australian Wallabies
  • Romanian Oaks
  • Ireland national rugby union team
  • USA Eagles

In fact, there are only 8 teams you are NOT supporting when you fly the NZ Blue Ensign: Scotland, France, Italy, Georgia, South Africa, Namibia, Argentina, Russia.

This is (one reason) why people use the Silver Fern flag at the RWC and not the NZ flag. It doesn't mean they have adopted a different flag for New Zealand - just for a rugby team.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fashion Police Bill 2.0

Someone else (Political Dumpground) has already written something so similar to my own feelings on this, that I won't bother writing my own piece.

The main area of difference is that I think the first bill, banning fashion crimes in the town formerly known as Wanganui, and the new bill, banning fashion crimes in buildings the govt owns or rents on your behalf, probably DO in fact have the potential to permit the govt of the day to commit "serious breaches of freedom of expression". This is mainly due to the inevitable discrepancy between "organizations who have no other purpose than conspiracy to commit crime" and all groups that may fall under the scope of the law.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

MMP Scottish Style: Why do Scots Call 44% a Majority?

Last thursday, 5 May, Scotland elected 129 MSPs. Scottish elections use MMP - the same system as we are familiar with in New Zealand - but not the same MMP. In the Scottish election, the SNP won a 53.5% majority of seats with 44% of the vote. (representing 47.2% of party votes for the 5 elected parties and 1 elected independent, 47.7% of the party votes for just the 5 parties which got over 4% and 50.1% of the party votes for just the 4 parties which got over 5%)

Coming soon: An analysis of the Scottish election under various subtly different types of MMP.

Some summary: (detail to come later)

System (variations of MMP)
Used in
Lib Dem
D'Hondt, No Overhang, no exclusion, Regions
Same only with St Laguë
St Laguë, Overhang, 5% exclusion, no Regions
New Zealand

D'Hondt, No Overhang, no exclusion, only 4 RegionsScotland*
St Laguë, Overhang, Scandinavian exclusion**, no RegionsMy Ideal System
Exact Proportion to Votes

* - This is if each Region was merged with one of its neibours, i.e. Region 1: Highlands & Islands plus North East, Region 2: Mid & Fife plus Central, Region 3: Glasgow plus West, Region 4: Lothian plus South

** - where the first quotient is 1.4 in stead of 1. The following quotients remain at 3, 5, 7 etc.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two Music Video

The quality of this is just impressive. I already agreed with the message, but to come up with all those succinct yet poetic soundbites? I don't know how they do it. A definite improvement over the first one (which i also think is good), though they used the "hair of the dog" line in both videos.

Also liked the "Hayek splosives" line, and the court/inquiry theme.

Found at Not PC

Monday, April 25, 2011

ANZAC Day Blog Posts

Some ANZAC day perspectives on national defense:

Not PC

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Kiwiblog Spindoctoring on the Offenders' Levy

In response to this piece at Kiwiblog:

To summarize the situation, this offenders' levy is a $50 fee charged to all convicted offenders at time of sentencing. National introduced it (it was in their 2008 campaign) and considers it a significant and worthwhile source of new income for their victim support scheme, while Labour considers it a "gimmick" which will not raise significant new income because of the cost of collecting it. From here, it is one big argument about the numbers.

From Simon Power's announcement:
The levy is collected after reparation and before fines, and is in addition to any sentence or court order.
This is the main point that i feel Kiwiblog has willfully ignored. How many of the 55% of offenders from which the levy has been collected have outstanding fines? In my view, any money raised from such people is not new income and should not be included in the figures when working out whether the levy raises enough to cover it's own set-up and administration costs. Rather, since the offender has not earned an extra $50 anywhere, it will mean he will pay $50 less off his fines. It is simply a transfer of funds from the account to which the fines are due into the levy account.

It is the same smoke and mirrors as when Kiwiblog says things like "The government has saved $X Million in spending cuts and redirected them into higher priority areas." This is looking at a spending reshuffle and trying to sell it as a spending cut, which it is not. With the offenders' levy, DPF is looking at (specifically in the case of offenders with outstanding fines) a spending reshuffle, and trying to sell it as a revenue increase, which it is not.

Discussion on the numbers coming soon. [EDIT: or maybe not]

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Re Goff's "firing squads" comment - It wasn't that bad

Kiwiblog and Whaleoil often have interesting things to say, which i appreciate when i read. Other times, they are partisan beyond sense. One example i can't ignore:

This is all about a quote from Phil Goff (source: here)
I saw the army out in the street and I thought court mar­tial, fir­ing squads you just can’t believe how low a small minor­ity of peo­ple can get,”
Which imo means the idea crossed his mind, a normal human instinct in such a situation. DPF even admits to having this reaction here. Note what Phil Goff did not say - anything about considering such a measure, or even actively thinking about it. There is really nothing he said that DPF didn't, so it is odd that DPF said the following: (also here)
"Interesting that Phil Goff on radio said that army should shoot looters. Wonder how his caucus feel about his law and order policy?"
Now this looks like a quick joke at Goff's expense, especially considering it was only on twitter. Although it does misrepresent what was said, it's not an accusation. This is in contrast to Whaleoil's post (here) where he says:

I won­der per­haps if he will ask Phil Goff he sim­i­larly regrets his com­ments made on BFM on 28 Feb­ru­ary where he said:

I saw the army out in the street. I thought, okay, court mar­tial, fir­ing squad. You just can’t believe how low a small minor­ity of peo­ple can get. You know, to exploit people’s mis­ery in this way is just beyond forgiveness.

As you can see that is a whole mag­ni­tude worse than any­thing Judith Collins sug­gested, which was a long prison sen­tence. Phil Goff mean­while was con­sid­er­ing fir­ing squads.

The media really needs to ask Phil Goff what he meant by think­ing of fir­ing squads. I mean seri­ously they do. “Beyond for­give­ness” and “court mar­tial, fir­ing squads” for looters!

Will Grant Robert­son ask Phil to retract?

Now this also misrepresents what Goff said, although the actual quote and context was provided, and is an accusation. This is what i mean by "partisan beyond sense." DPF involves himself in this accusation by linking to it with the statement here:
"Talking of due process though, Whale Oil has a quote from a senior politician calling for looters to get court-martialed and a firing sqaud. Go check it out – you may be surprised with who the politician is."
Whaleoil then continues his behaviour here. An extract:
"It is clear that he isn’t jok­ing. And even if he was he shouldn’t have been."
I don't think Phil Goff was joking either when he suggested firing squads - his comment was never a suggestion!

I don't find it enjoyable to read such false accusations all in the name of partisanship. Stick to something i do enjoy - partisan critique of Labour's actual policies.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Borders and administration and Australia

This is an interesting point. Basically blaming copyright law for what's happening to Borders in Australia. Haven't decided whether i think it's right yet, but it's interesting. Not sure how applicable it is to NZ though, although Borders is under administration in NZ and everyones complaining about vouchers losing their value.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Updated: Elections in Tunisia and Egypt

AFP report Reuters Interview Constitution CNN report

[UPDATE: Tunisia had their first ever free elections on October 23, 2011. This was 10 months after the beginning of the revolution and 9 months after the departure of the former dictator. Elections in Egypt start on 28/11/11, 10 months after the beginning of their revolution and 9½ months after the departure of the former dictator - and just 2 days after NZ's own election. | 01/11/11]

It has been a month now since Ben Ali was removed and escaped, with the Tunisian constitution requiring "the obligation to call for elections within 45 to 60 days".

There is still no date for an election, though there is a "proposal" to have an election in mid July - 4 months late, and some want to extend it even further. In the meantime, the caretaker government is still keeping a tight grip on the judiciary, which wants to be independent, and the main labour union is still calling the situation "explosive."

Meanwhile in Egypt, there still not been so much as a mention of planning elections, but only a request that the people respect the police again. Thousands of Egyptians were in a still electric Tahrir Square yesterday, vowing to stay there until, as one protester put it, "Egypt is ruled by a civil government, not a military one."

Many people have been celebrating "victory" in Egypt recently, but this victory is still many months away, and even then it is not guaranteed. This is not the time for people in those countries to go home or become complacent.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Economics of the Queensland Flood

Seen here:
The Government will also save A$1 billion by deferring work on road projects in Queensland and other states, releasing skilled labour for rebuilding.
This is something normally only seen on libertarian and Austrian blogs, so i was quite surprised and pleased to see it coming from Julia Gillard.

It is a recognition that government spending crowds out and has a negative effect on other activity(though arguably not always a net negative effect). Because of this, a billion dollars of government spending is being deferred, specifically work in areas which use a lot of the same resources - in order to crowd out the rebuilding less.

There's seemingly only one step left before they think about government spending crowding out the private sector, and the implications that "stimulus" government spending does more harm than good, and that government projects in general - including broadband network spending -come at a higher cost to the country than is currently accepted, and that in many cases these projects are simply not worth it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

People who don't know the difference between "contribute" and "facilitate"

Auckland Airport could contribute nearly a fifth of national gross domestic product

And how do they justify that statement?

The Market Economics study, commissioned by Auckland Airport, said [...] The airport was projected to generate and facilitate 14-19 per cent of national GDP
Well, all that means is that 14-19% of businesses will use *something* that gets flown in or out via the airport. Hardly surprising. The journo makes it sound like 1/6 of GDP will be made just operating the airport.

The whole study appears to be an exercise in vanity, and the article appears to be a repeated press release with nothing of substance.

On a lighter note, things look promising for Tunisia. I just hope they can work through things peacefully and resist the desire to get revenge. Congratulations particularly to the new secretary of state for the youth.