Monday 19 April 2021

Afternoon roundup

The afternoon's worthies:

  • Rowan Simpson on venture capital in NZ. In a world awash in capital, is it even plausible that capital is the main constraint preventing successful NZ startups?
  • Fiji goes into lockdown. When I advocate for Green Zones with the Covid-free Islands, I'll often get correspondence from folks wishing that Fiji be included in such considerations. On the other side, I hear a lot of worries about porous borders for those with private jets. How well the Fijian government gets this outbreak under control could provide useful information. 
  • Anyone who writes about problems at the border will get a lot of correspondence from people stuck in desperate situations. Folks here who haven't seen their wife and kids for over a year and who've had no hope at all that they'd be able to bring their families over. It's been grim. And, finally, it looks like there might be some action on it. Henry Cook reports that families of healthcare workers and of those here on temporary visas will be able to apply to get in. Look at the Facebook thread on this video of the 14 April Immigration briefing from Minister Faafoi. I wonder whether the government was worried it might start losing nurses and medical staff to Australia, which has made it easier for families to get in from abroad. 
  • Export education is close to ruined. Says Universities NZ Chief Exec Chris Whelan, "If borders are not open by the start of next year we may as well never open." This should be manageable. You'd think that if we're mostly vaccinated by the end of the year, we could start admitting students who had been vaccinated and who are coming from places with low Covid rates. The UK has gotten its biweekly case count below 500 per million population. You'd think that the Universities themselves could run quarantine for those students, following protocols including daily testing. I'm pessimistic the government will allow it though.
  • Why am I pessimistic? MIQ is a shambles; the government doesn't trust itself to expand MIQ capacity; the Ministry of Health refuses simple obvious moves to increase safety. They can't even get border workers vaccinated and the data system for tracking vaccination is still in progress. The government seems unable to deal with it and incapable of imagining that anyone else could do a better job. And because the government has successfully demonstrated how risky the border is, even the Green Zone with Australia is viewed with suspicion: only 49% of Kiwis supported it; 28% opposed. See also Richard Harmon on it
  • It also doesn't help that Immigration NZ is "racist and stupid." Where I've argued that chefs and migrants from places with underrepresented cuisines should have priority in visas, Immigration NZ wants to deport the chef at Besos Latinos Ceviche Bar, because apparently he's stealing a Kiwi's job or some such nonsense. Vogons. Xenophobic Vogons. 
  • Jo Moir thinks officials shouldn't play along at Select Committee when Labour tries to run down the clock with patsy questions. I agree. But I wonder. CEs and DCEs are responsible to Peter Hughes. If things run this way, we might infer that Hughes wants it to run that way. Embarrassing failures of the public sector can then be dealt with quietly behind the scenes, eventually, rather than being disclosed to Parliament. 
  • The Commerce Commission has reminded smaller companies not to engage in anticompetitive conduct. There's a tool for whistleblowers to use. I wonder if there's anyone who's been suffering from cartel-like anticompetitive use of occupational licensing restrictions who might wish to lodge a complaint. 

No comments:

Post a Comment