The Dismal Science

Plastic bags

Michael Reddell Aug 13, 2018

There is a reason why we do not let primary school children make policy or vote.  They are children, precious and growing but prone to all the enthusiasms of children, easily influenced, and not responsible (as taxpayers or anything else) for their expressed preferences.   And yet, as the Prime Minister was reported, it seemed that the fact that lots … Read More

Bag Ban: read the appendix

Eric Crampton Aug 13, 2018

The Ministry for the Environment’s consultation document on banning plastic bags is out. The key table, or at least the most interesting table, is in the appendix. It shows, from a Danish study, the number of times a reusable shopping bag would have to be reused to have less environmental impact than current disposable bags. Source: Ministry for … Read More

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Net-zero carbon emissions: a “massive economic boost”?

Michael Reddell Aug 06, 2018

James Shaw, co-leader of the Green Party and Minister for Climate Change (surely Minister against it?), tells us he is working his way through 15000 submissions on the recent climate change consultation document.  I’ve done a couple of posts here on the document, and on the NZIER modelling used extensively in it, and I’ve chided both the Minister … Read More

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Alcohol in pregnancy stats

Eric Crampton Aug 01, 2018

Radio New Zealand reports on a new iteration of the Growing Up in New Zealand study looking at maternal alcohol use during pregnancy. I have been unable to find the cited study, so we’ll go with RNZ’s reporting for now: The lead researcher of a new study that has found nearly a quarter of women drink alcohol during the … Read More

Tobacco harm reduction

Eric Crampton Jul 24, 2018

It’s great that the Ministry of Health’s latest Health and Independence Report points to the benefits of vaping. But there’s still work to do here.  The report notes that smoking is most prevalent in poorer communities and that while smoking rates have been declining, there’s no way that current trends get the government to its preferred <5% smoking rates … Read More

Alcohol harms and the NZ reforms

Eric Crampton Jun 12, 2018

Man, I shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up. The Science Media Centre pointed me to reporting on some new work look at what’s happened consequent to National’s Sale & Supply of Alcohol Act 2012. It always felt like a spot where some really good work could be done. Different locales implemented different district licensing plans at different times, so … Read More

Why are we gifting so much to farmers?

Michael Reddell May 29, 2018

Despite announcing yesterday a plan that aims to eradicate Mycoplasma bovis from New Zealand, there was no sign of the pro-active release of any background papers or analysis. We don’t have copies of the relevant Cabinet papers, or the relevant advice from The Treasury or MPI. Not that long ago, the incoming government talked of its commitment to open government, … Read More

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Regulatory Catch-22?

Eric Crampton May 25, 2018

Last month’s court decision, and subsequent MoH position statement, mean that heat-not-burn tobacco products are legal to sell in New Zealand.  But the MoH position statement said that other tobacco control regulations will apply to reduced-risk tobacco and tobacco-derived products, barring the ban on indoor use in workplaces. Therefore, the same SFEA regulatory controls apply to smoked tobacco, heated … Read More