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World2

They say time is relative... Distance is too

Last week feels like it was a year ago. And the past week has made the world feel a little smaller. Last night, the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada from 2006 through 2015, addressed members and guests of the Initiative at our annual retreat. We found that Laureen, Prime Minister Harper’s wife, had lived in Christchurch as a young woman. Streets and buildings that stood as backdrop in news scenes playing in international media, for the second... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
22 March, 2019
Vaccination

When superstition beats science

“A regional outbreak of an infectious disease requires emergency mass vaccinations of about 125,000 people.” What sounds like a report from the distant past or a developing country happened only this week, in New Zealand. Measles is back. Over the past few days, the Canterbury District Health Board confirmed 27 cases of measles. Considering that measles takes about two weeks to incubate, the disease is likely to further spread. It could take several weeks until the outbreak is under control. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
15 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
Family

Faking a wellbeing focus?

The government is hyping Budget 2019 as a world-leading “Wellbeing Budget”. The December 2018 Budget Policy Statement proclaims the government’s key focus on improving the wellbeing and living standards of New Zealanders. Do the public have any real evidence of any substance behind such froth? It appears not. Government policies can be expected to improve overall community wellbeing if an authoritative analysis demonstrates that the benefits will exceed the costs to those affected, in some overall sense. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
8 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
People crowd

As Kiwi as pavlova

“Few ways are guaranteed to make yourself unpopular in New Zealand: try claiming that pavlova was an Australian invention; hating the All Blacks; or maybe expressing sympathy for local government.” This is the opening paragraph in our new publication #localismNZ: Bringing power to the people. We launched it yesterday at a joint symposium with Local Government New Zealand. However, we may have been too quick to assume that New Zealanders are passionately opposed to local government. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
1 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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