Confidence in the guardians of 21st century commerce really matters. If consumer confidence is misplaced, it can have disastrous consequences. We saw this only too clearly with the losses to retail investors from the collapse of the finance company sector during the GFC. Had the former Securities Commission been awake to the risks the finance companies posed, those losses would have been much less than the estimated $3 billion suffered by investors.Poor decision-making by regulators can also be harmful if... Read more
Amy is a part-time Research Assistant at The New Zealand Initiative, focusing primarily on our regulatory governance project. She joined us from Australia, where she completed a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Western Australia, majoring in Political Science & International Relations and Law & Society.
Who Guards the Guards? Regulatory Governance in New Zealand (2018)
In its 2017 Annual Report, the Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank refers to itself as “a unique governance body in the public sector”.But unique is not necessarily synonymous with good.Nearly three decades ago, Parliament amended the Reserve Bank Act. It enacted two significant changes to the Bank’s governance. It vested most of the Bank's powers in the Governor. It also reconstituted the Board as a watchdog to guard the public interest and protect the Bank’s independence.As the Productivity... Read more
New Zealand, you’ve done it again. You’ve one-upped Australia, and not even on purpose this time. While you’ve been experiencing a relatively respectable and sane election campaign, the Australian Parliament has been plagued by so many political upsets I can barely keep up. To be honest, I’ve been avoiding telling people that I’m from Australia just to save myself the looks of incredulity and suspicion. Of course, the major parties have trotted out their fair share of ill-considered policies. Read more
“Who will guard the guards themselves?” Plato asked in the Republic in 380BC. More than two millennia later, well-armed regulatory agencies, instead of armies, wield many of the powers of the state. But the question remains as relevant today as it was in ancient Greece. Whether it is the Commerce Commission, the Financial Markets Authority, or the Overseas Investment Office, the arsenals of our regulators are fully-loaded. They have powers to compel, powers to prohibit and powers to prescribe. Read more
There is not much in this world that people agree on. But one philosophy we at the Initiative hope remains uncontroversial is that improving access to quality education will create a better New Zealand.The main obstacle? New Zealand is in denial about the pervasiveness of school failure. Failure has become the status quo in some schools, and our ignorance to this is in turn failing New Zealand’s students. Read more