Final Bryce Wilkinson

Dr Bryce Wilkinson

Senior Fellow

Bryce is a Senior Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative, and also the Director of the Wellington-based economic consultancy firm Capital Economics. Prior to setting this up in 1997 he was a Director of, and shareholder in, First NZ Capital. Before moving into investment banking in 1985, he worked in the New Zealand Treasury, reaching the position of Director. Bryce holds a PhD in economics from the University of Canterbury and was a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University. He is a Fellow of the Law and Economics Association of New Zealand.

Bryce is available for comment on fiscal issues, our poverty, inequality and welfare research. He also has a strong background in public policy analysis including monetary policy, capital markets research and microeconomic advisory work.

Latest reports:
KiwiBuild: Twyford's Tar Baby (2019)
Fit for Purpose? Are Kiwis getting the government they pay for? (2018)
Recipe for disaster: Building policy on shaky ground (2018)
Welfare, Work and Wellbeing: From Benefits to Better Lives (2017)
The Inequality Paradox: Why inequality Matters Even Though it has Barely Changed (2016)
Poorly Understood: The State of Poverty in New Zealand (2016)
Reducing Unnecessary Regulatory Costs (2015)
A Matter of Balance: Regulating Safety (2015)
Investing for success: Social Impact Bonds and the future of public services (2015)

Phone: +64 4 472 5986


Recent Work


Government Waste is a Taxing Matter

Yesterday, the government released the Tax Working Group’s interim report. As foreshadowed, the Group was coy about what it will recommend in December. The government on the other hand is clearly eager to see the Group make the case for new taxes. Almost as a matter of regret the background material mentioned the past removal of sales tax, excess retention tax, land tax, estate duty, stamp duty, gift duty, and cheque duty. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
21 September, 2018
Fit for Purpose cover

Fit for Purpose? Are Kiwis getting the government they pay for?

This report looks at how good a job government is doing with all the tasks entrusted to it. The issue is important because government has come to command much of our resources.Taxes in New Zealand have risen four times faster than incomes in the 20th century. Taxes now take more of our income than in almost any country outside Europe. We have become a high tax country.We, the public, need the government to spend our tax money well.Government is a... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
18 September, 2018
Budget day

"Government spending going to waste"

Bryce Wilkinson finds in his new report Fit for Purpose? Are Kiwis getting the government they pay for? one in three dollars the Government spends is not resulting in any measurable outcome.Bryce tells Mike Hosking education funding often gets spent in what it says are the wrong places."To have all of those years of schooling and have such inadequate progress, the question has to be asked what more can be done, or how can it be done better." Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Newstalk ZB - Mike Hosking Breakfast
18 September, 2018

Assessing government’s fitness for purpose in New Zealand

New Zealanders have come to rely a great deal on government. The proportion of national income taken by taxes more than quadrupled in the 20th century and the number of Parliamentary Acts increased 50-fold. How good a job is it doing? Could it achieve more with the same resources, or do as well with fewer? I am assessing this issue in a report the New Zealand Initiative will release in mid-September. To examine the issue should not be controversial. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
31 August, 2018
Ink and feather

In praise of tax as love (with apologies to William Shakespeare)

My Insights article, Low Tax Fantasy, on 27 July rebutted the claims that New Zealand was a low-tax country by global standards and that tax is love. The article struck a chord with a number of readers, one of whom said it reminded her of one of Shakespeare’s sonnets about love. With apologies to that most sage of bards, here is an unfaithful rendition of the sonnet she had in mind.Let me not to the marriage of true mindsAdmit impediments. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
16 August, 2018

Low tax fantasy

This Sunday Bridget Williams Books is holding a panel discussion on the infantile proposition that tax is love. Really? Who fantasises about paying more tax?Unlike love, tax is force. In 1993, Charles Adams, a US tax lawyer qualified in history and philosophy, published a history of taxation, for good and evil, across civilisations.As he observed, the essence of a tax is taking money, property, or services by government without paying for it.Love does not feature in this history, episodes of... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
27 July, 2018
economy newspaper1

The lack of interest in the public interest

Late last month Housing New Zealand was widely condemned for being overzealous about amphetamine contamination.A report by the chief scientist had concluded that tenants were being evicted and state houses de-contaminated when there was no clear scientific evidence of a threat to human health.Some media articles asked how this could happen. How could perhaps $100 million be spent, people evicted and houses left vacant by Housing New Zealand alone for no good reason?Having studied the analytical basis for government spending... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
The National Business Review
29 June, 2018

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