Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Afternoon roundup

I got tabs, they're multiplying. Let's deal to that.

  • The NZ Govt covid testing strategy is being rewritten. I didn't know we still had one. There's no surveillance testing. There's no wastewater test results that might give some kind of handle on whether things are peaking. I don't see much strategy at all.

  • Science has a hard time keeping up with the data. Nature reports results of a large trial on RATs. Plus side: they seem pretty accurate. Downside: data's all from the first half of 2021, on a variant that's no longer prevalent, with little sense of whether the results hold with Omicron. Omicron seems to express in saliva before nasal passages, and the RATs generally take nasal swabs. Remember how, when I used to think there was some point in trying to help get to better policy on Covid, I'd rabbit on about trialling different testing methods side-by-side in MIQ as horseraces? We could totally have known, right now, relative performance of a bucket of different RATs against both swab and saliva PCR, for Omicron. Government is just so hopeless. 

  • I didn't watch any of the $4m+ public information campaign promoting the government's 3-waters programme.

  • The only thing I've been watching on 3 Waters Reforms are whether the amalgamated entities be entirely separate from Council balance sheets for debt issuance, and whether they'll be under a commercial regulator that ensures they have strong incentive to lay out lots of pipe. Recommendation 5 here gives the balance sheet separation, potentially reinforced at 44, and certainly at 47. That matters. If you don't have that, then the entities can't issue debt that doesn't come back to a risk on Council main balance sheets. But I'm not seeing a price setting methodology yet. Basically: follow the weighted-cost-of-capital kind of method used for the lines companies, which encourages putting up more lines because that's what lets you get more revenue. The first order problem currently is not-enough-pipes. 

  • Catching Covid isn't inevitable. We've been having our own personal lockdown, watching Covid sheet through places that we'd pulled the kids from the prior week. 

  • At what point will we get a Commerce Commission Market Study into competition in medical service provision? The Medical Cartel is not being particularly opaque in denying entry to potential competitors. Read this one. Read the testimonial from the President of the Neurological Society about the neurosurgeon who the Cartel figures isn't good enough for New Zealand.

  • Ilya Somin pleads that America should admit refugees from Ukraine and from Russia. New Zealand should too. 

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