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Budget 2021

The value of everything

Oscar Wilde once quipped that a cynic was “a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing”. That saying has since migrated to refer to economists. Allegedly, our depraved profession values only money. But for our widespread incompetence we would all be rich. In fact, deep down economics is about value, not cash. Economists do not loaf around in universities and government agencies to get rich. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
5 April, 2019
Bus

In praise of perpetuating role confusion

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says NZ Bus is up to 40 drivers short, with up to 30 cancelled services a day. He now wants the Transport Minister to help improve local bus services. Local National List MP Nicola Willis also wants central government to step in. A sceptic might ask what that means for local government accountability to the local community. The answer is of course that it perpetuates the status quo – inglorious role confusion. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
29 March, 2019
Shake hands2

Should we give Fair Pay Agreements a fair go?

There is a lot to like about New Zealand’s labour laws. At 80.9%, our labour market participation rate is among the highest in the world. This rate compares extremely well with Australia at 77.4% and the OECD average of only 72.1%. Our unemployment rate is also commendably low. At 4.3%, unemployment in New Zealand undercuts Australia’s 5.2% and the European Union’s laggardly 6.8%. Regardless, the coalition government is eager to re-write our industrial relations rule-book by introducing so-called “Fair Pay Agreements”. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
15 March, 2019
Ice cream

Death and taxes… and other family matters

Benjamin Franklyn is famously credited with writing “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes”.That may be true, but a cynic might retort that at least death does not get worse every time governments look for extra funding.So it was with trepidation that I read the Tax Working Group’s recently released Future of Tax report.As I chewed through the 200-plus pages of the report, I muttered to myself: “What future?!”. Read more

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Insights Newsletter
8 March, 2019
New Zealand flag

The mixed success of New Zealand's economic liberalisation

In the mid‐1980s, New Zealand was forced into a major economic restructuring. Those adjustments were particularly significant for the traded goods sector, since export subsidies and import barriers were largely eliminated. Some may see the UK's possible trade restructuring after Brexit as retracing some of New Zealand's steps. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Journal
4 March, 2019
Work

A missed opportunity on productivity

The jury is out for the released Tax Working Group’s “Future of Tax” Report, with the government promising to deliver its verdict in April.Unfortunately, a careful reading of the 200-page document already shows a missed opportunity to address New Zealand’s biggest elephant in the room: slow productivity growth.Worse, the document’s main recommendation of taxing capital gains will do little – if not work against – to fix our low capital stock levels that drive the productivity problem.To be fair, the... Read more

Dr Patrick Carvalho
Insights Newsletter
1 March, 2019

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