New Zealand was never home to a great empire for one simple reason. We don’t have enough trees. Historians have often credited Rome’s massive deforestation of the Mediterranean to its success as an empire. During Rome’s five centuries of power, it used wood and coal for everything from housing to fuel to its massive military. At one point, the Roman Empire had a population of 56.8 million people. Read more
Joel is a Policy Analyst and the latest addition to The New Zealand Initiative. Joel joined the Initiative after completing his Master’s in Economics at Victoria University where his work focused on productivity, labour economics and game theory. Before this, he completed a Bachelor of Science from the University of Otago, majoring in Microbiology.
Currently, Joel is working on education research using data from Statistic’s New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI).
Phone: +64 4 499 0790
At a time when everyone and their grandma is glued to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on their smartphone, what better way to target people during a political campaign than through social media. Read more
Students who skip school are more likely to experience adverse life outcomes. This is a fact. But it is not the complete story. Research from the Ministry of Education has found that school truancy is a strong predictor of domestic violence, criminal behaviour, substance abuse, suicidal risk and unemployment. The statistics and research are not reassuring. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether truancy is the cause of adverse life outcomes or just another adverse life outcome caused by unobserved background characteristics... Read more
You can’t get more lavish than washing down some white gold caviar with Moet champagne while partying on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. That’s how the rich and famous celebrated in Crazy Rich Asians, the latest blockbuster to hit theatres. Well, you might. Especially, if you were one of the delegates at the Ministry of Justice summit in Porirua, or at either of the Ministry of Education summits in Auckland or Christchurch. Read more
Gluttony. The two weeks since Wellington on a Plate (WOAP) began have been glorious gluttony. As Chief Burger Officer (CBO) of The New Zealand Initiative I was tasked with tasting and reviewing a sample of the multitude of burgers for Burger Wellington as well as investigate the burger economy. Across all my years of WOAP and Burger Wellington, this year has been the best, not because of the overall quality of burgers I ate, but because of my experience and... Read more
It’s that time of year again where foodies like me can indulge in Wellington’s best burgers, beer, and if you’re lucky, a degustation or two. Read more
People have always said, we are creatures of habit. Every day we wake up at the same time, have the same breakfast, go to the same workplace, eat out at the same restaurants and order the same meals. We are so predictable that our smartphones can even alert us when to leave for work and when to head to the restaurant for dinner without us setting any notifications. Thanks Google. Read more
You should not compare apples with oranges. But what about schools? As it turns out, comparing schools with schools can be just as problematic. School composition can vary significantly between different deciles and within the same decile. Some of these differences include prior student academic achievement, the student’s parents’ level of education, and the student’s parents’ average income. We know from the vast amounts of education research that these student characteristics (which are outside the control of the school) are... Read more
After missing my chance to meet Scarlett Johansson last year, I was distraught and confused over the weekend as I read the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) findings and conclusion on film subsidies in New Zealand. In three reviews commissioned by MBIE, the reports concluded that without the film subsidies (New Zealand Screen Production Grants), the New Zealand film industry would disappear. I was distraught because my chances of meeting Scar-Jo would fall to almost zero without the... Read more
Choosing the best school for your child is an important decision. The best school, whether it is primary or secondary, can have a big impact on your child’s wellbeing and success in school. At least, that is what we currently believe. So far there has been no evidence to prove this or otherwise. For most parents this decision comes down to where they live, local word of mouth and what they’ve inferred from a school’s decile ranking. Read more
The candles have barely dimmed since his last birthday and we’re already celebrating Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, capitalism’s arch-critic. Over the past couple of centuries, capitalism has come to dominate a large part of the Western world. If Marx knew, he would be rolling over in his grave. Or would he? Because our new version of capitalism goes hand in hand with Marx’s famous dictum “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Read more
Memo to: FSB Spy Class 2018, Moscow (New Zealand posting)From: Chief Instructor DisguiseSubject: DiscoverabilityComrades,For spies it is best not to be discovered. Discovery is never helpful. If people know that you are a spy searching for secrets to pass on to our Supreme Leader Vladimir, they will not be hugely enthusiastic in sharing them with you. Not even in friendly New Zealand.So here is rule number one: At the airport do not declare that you are a spy. Read more
New Zealand is world leading in many aspects, most notably for Sir Edmund Hillary’s triumph on Mt Everest, Ernest Rutherford’s breakthrough in nuclear physics, and women’s suffrage. We can also be proud of leading the world in integrated data, a process that combines data from different sources and displays results in a unified view to users. Statistics New Zealand (SNZ) in 2011 started integrating data from all government agencies in New Zealand in what is now called the Integrated Data... Read more