Why milk is so costly – don’t overlook the biofuels business and its hunger for cattle tucker

August 9, 2011

It looks like our caucus has the price of milk on its agenda today.

We will be asked to approve a select committee inquiry to examine why the price is so high.

But maybe we should be looking at the effects of biofuels developments on food prices instead.

A recent report from the UN has highlighted the role biofuels are playing in pushing up food prices.

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All becomes clear when you know the missing diver found far away in Clive is an economist

January 14, 2011

It’s been a funny old business, the disappearance of that diver around Titahi Bay who finished up alive and well in Hawke’s Bay .

Nah, it obviously had nothing to do with the tides. He got to the Hawke’s Bay, we may suppose, over land.

But meanwhile a major search effort was under way for him in the bloody sea.

And then you learn that the bugger who disappeared on one side of the North Island and turned up on the other side is an economist.

Economists notoriously get it wrong when they tell us where we are going and how long it will take to get there.

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Let’s see if a $3000 vacuum cleaner can present an appropriate intellectual challenge for Paul Henry

June 9, 2010

What can a $3000 vacuum cleaner do that can’t be done by cheaper vacuum cleaners?

Alf would like to think such a super gadget not only can suck up every bit of dust in your house, but can grind coffee, send e-mails, play your favourite DVDs, massage your feet and roast a lump of lamb for good measure.

He raises the issue on learning of the warning being sounded by a widow who felt pressured into buying a $3000 vacuum cleaner.

Joy Peffers, 70, of Lower Hutt, bought the vacuum cleaner about two weeks ago, after a saleswoman came to her house in the guise of delivering a thank-you gift for completing a phone survey.

Now her family is preparing to lay a complaint with the Commerce Commission, saying the company – Living Longer New Zealand – pressured her into the sale.

Alf is bound to say the gadget has a wonderfully enticing name – it’s an Envirotect vacuum cleaner.
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A balanced view of overseas investment

July 24, 2009

Them Labour buggers just don’t get it.

We Kiwis don’t save enough to provide the investment we need to lift our game, economically.

Moreover, because we don’t save enough, New Zealanders keep building up current account deficits.

There are not many options for funding these deficits. We can borrow from foreigners (further building up our hefty overseas debt) or we can sell assets.
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Paula gets probation – but for how long?

April 2, 2009

Gotta hand it to Crusher Collins.

She probably spotted that Big Business was uncomfortable with the way Paula Rebstock ran the Commerce Commission. Rebstock made it tough for the buggers – so much so, it seems they leaned on their mates in the Government to have her put in her place.

And so she quit.

Tough goes down well with Crusher. Someone who can piss off Big Business is bound to be able to shake up a bunch of public servants.
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Our Gerry-built power future

February 24, 2009

Gerry Brownlee – splendid fellow – is earning his keep as Energy and Resources Minister by thinking long and hard about his portfolio, and about our increasingly tatty electricity network.

He is resisting the urge to draw hasty conclusions, but he’s smart enough to be thinking about finding someone else to help him think.

And so – says a media statement today – he’s considering a Ministerial Working Party to reshape the regulatory functions of the electricity industry.

About time. Personally, Alf wouldn’t have buggered around and would have pulled the plug on the Electricity Commission by now.

But back to Brownlee, who made his announcement in a speech to the national power conference in Auckland.

Fair to say, the power stayed on for long enough for him to read the speech from start to finish. Read the rest of this entry »