- Matt Nolan over at TVHE rightly points out the rather large problems with the Reserve Bank of New Zealand's justification for its restriction on highly leveraged home loans - the Loan-to-Value Ratio regulation. It's fine to argue that the LVR regulations could reduce systemic risk: that's the RBNZ's job. But it isn't the RBNZ's job to protect potential homebuyers from price fluctuations; it's awfully strange for RBNZ to suggest that they could be providing such a benefit to first-home buyers by making it too hard for them to buy houses. I could as plausibly claim that I'm making everyone better off by banning them from listening to Coldplay because they're not likely to be "cool" for much longer.*
- Fairfax polling shows that Kiwis are pretty happy with the extension of powers to be granted to our spy agency this afternoon. National's likelihood of winning the next election hasn't dropped with any of the fooferah over the last couple of months; if anything, it's slightly up. ACT's chances of winning an electorate seat are down a bit; John Banks's likelihood of being ACT leader on nomination day is down a bit; ACT's predicted vote share is unchanged. ACT might be reading the tea leaves correctly on this one: few GCSB opponents would flip to ACT were ACT to switch its vote. Without a simultaneous change in leadership, it probably wouldn't be enough to bring enough civil libertarians over to get over the 5% threshold. Their main risk is that their support of the GCSB legislation leads to the creation of a liberal party. But, even then, the downside risk for ACT is small: Key is more likely to proffer an electorate seat to ACT than to a liberal party and there's little chance a liberal party would take 5% in 2014 given organisation costs and time.
- Now an older one, but my tabs stay open for a while. The Australian Christian Democrats have highlighted the inequality in incomes between same-sex and opposite-sex couples and promise to stop the oppression of "Mum and Dad taxpayers". Fitzroyalty points out the shoddiness of their numbers (language NSFW), but it's not implausible that same-sex couples would earn more on average than opposite-sex couples: they'd be likely to have both partners working if homosexual couples are less likely to have a child. I'm not sure quite how the Christian Democrats would equalise household incomes on this margin ... maybe banning gay couples from having children, giving more tax benefits to couples with children, then waving their hands about childless heterosexual couples? Another for the "which inequalities matter?" file.
* I don't know when Coldplay peaked. I make it a rule not to listen to any bands whose name are just two random words stuck together. Cold + play, Nickle + back, Silver + chair. Maybe I'm missing some good stuff, but it's a heuristic that's served me well on average. My Spotify starred items are here. No Coldplay, Nickleback, or Silverchair.