Frustration

The rot at treasury started years ago

If the Canterbury earthquakes taught us anything, it’s that the immediate response to a disaster is a very different thing from the rebuilding that has to follow.Disaster response is about triage, the good-enough, and avoiding substantial further harm. The rebuild is different. It takes a fair bit of thought about what the place should look like, and a long-term strategy to get there. In the best case, the long-term vision has always been in place and all that needs to... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Spinoff
7 June, 2019
China flag

Kudos to Winston Peters

Winston Peters’ comments on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre were candid. Where Western politicians have turned not upsetting China over its human rights record into an art form, the Foreign Minister left diplomatic niceties behind. In an interview with Magic Talk radio on Tuesday, the Foreign Minister was blunt. “Thirty years ago, about 10,000 people – we don’t know how many – lost their lives when Chinese army’s guns were turned on them, which is very, very... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
7 June, 2019
Speed limit

Buckle up for the speed-limit debate

New Zealand has to slow down. At least, that was the overall message from the NZ Transport Agency’s Mega Maps data released this week. According to the online interactive tool assessing road trip risks, 95 percent of the country's 100 km/h roads should have a lower speed limit – with two-thirds of them slowing down to 60 km/h. “We need to hit speed hard”, said Niclas Johansson, NZTA's acting director of safety and environment. Read more

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Insights Newsletter
7 June, 2019
Britain

More inspiration from barmy Britain

Readers of the NBR may have seen my column last week, “The great Brexit delusion”. For reasons that may not appear obvious, I comment in the column on proposals from the British government to curb the number of calories in restaurant meals and takeaway food. Apparently, Britain’s bureaucrats seized on the idea of regulating ready-to-go meals as a weapon in the battle against obesity. The proposals provoked such a backlash they have had to be scrapped. But it got me thinking. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
7 June, 2019
Traffic4

The time is ripe for road pricing in New Zealand

“With a little ingenuity, it is possible to devise methods of charging for the use of the city streets that are capable of adjusting the charge in close conformity with variations in costs and traffic conditions,” wrote William Vickrey, Nobel Laureate and the father of road pricing theory, in 1963. Little did he know that it would take more than 50 years for the technology to catch up to his vision. Read more

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Logistics and Transport NZ, The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport
5 June, 2019
Family2

Closing the loop depends on delivering wellbeing

There are a lot of promising initiatives in the coalition Government's first "Wellbeing" Budget. But delivering on that promise requires closing a currently open loop in the wellbeing policy process. We need evaluation to help us tell which of the Government's initiatives have proven most successful, and Budget 2019 delivered far less than we might have hoped for on that front. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The Dominion Post
31 May, 2019
Classroom student5

The misshapen horse of NCEA

The saying goes that a camel is like a horse designed by a committee. Of course, the analogy does not actually work to denigrate the work of committees – camels are highly adapted to desert life – but, still, the image of a misshapen horse holds meaning, and relevance to NCEA. Read more

Briar Lipson
Education Central
31 May, 2019
Windmill new

The power of quantifying emissions policies

It has been four weeks since the Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) delivered to Minister James Shaw its analysis of the government’s 100% renewable electricity policy. If reports from a conference presentation given by the committee’s chair in April are correct, the results are not kind to the government’s commitment. The ICCC’s analysis seems to suggest the policy will substantially increase the retail price of electricity – by 14% for households and by 39% for industry. Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
31 May, 2019
Checkout

A penny for your thoughts

Once upon a time, the pursuit of happiness was a personal duty. Not anymore. We now have politicians ready to nudge us in the right direction. Earlier this month, a group of British MPs made a formal proposal to charge shoppers an extra penny to use self-checkout machines. This policy, so they promised, would “counteract potential damage caused by a lack of everyday contact between people”. Read more

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Insights Newsletter
31 May, 2019
Budget 2022

Delivering Wellbeing

The Wellbeing Budget came in the government’s proclaimed year of delivery. But whether this budget will deliver the wellbeing outcomes everyone has been led to expect is a bit up in the air. While the wellbeing policy process highlighted by Minister Robertson emphasises the importance of evidence-driven policy, and of policy evaluation, Budget 2019 was far weaker on evaluation than we might have hoped. Policy evaluation matters. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
31 May, 2019

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