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Matt Burgess

Research Fellow

Matt Burgess is a Research Fellow. He was Senior Economic Advisor to the Minister of Finance, Chief Executive of iPredict, and a Senior Associate at consultants Charles River Associates.

He has a Master of Commerce in economics with first class honours from the University of Canterbury and a Bachelor of Commerce in economics and mathematics.

Latest reports:
Research Note - When the facts change: How the ICCC saved New Zealand from a policy disaster (2019)
Switched on! Achieving a green, affordable and reliable energy future (2019)


Phone: +64 4 494 9100


Recent Work


Job application

Dear Minister of Finance, I am writing to apply for the position of Lead Economic Advisor to the Government, a position held by The Treasury since the 1940s. Please find enclosed my CV with references. I feel I can really add value in this role. I am a fast learner, a team player, and I have strong skills in Microsoft Excel with more than 18 months of experience. Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
26 July, 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

Matt Burgess discusses the Government's 100% renewables policy on TVNZ Breakfast

The Interim Climate Change Committee (ICCC) will present its report to Government on transitioning New Zealand to 100% renewable electricity by 2035 this month.Research Fellow Matt Burgess is the author of our recent research report Switched On! Achieving a green, affordable and reliable energy future. He says that New Zealand is well placed to increase the share of renewable electricity from its current level of 83% to 95% over the next 20 years even without further government intervention.However, the report... Read more

Matt Burgess
TVNZ Breakfast
1 May, 2019

If you want to cut emissions, make polluters pay

When governments want to reduce emissions, they have a choice between using policy or price. Policy includes rules – for example, 100% of electricity must be generated from renewables – as well as incentive payments, such as electric vehicle subsidies. Alternatively, governments can price carbon using cap-and-trade, or tax carbon directly. The fact that emissions occur in millions of places in the economy strongly affects the relative performance of policy and price. Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
29 March, 2019
Cover Switched on2

Switched on! Achieving a green, affordable and reliable energy future

The coalition government has committed New Zealand to a goal of generating 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2035.Renewables already account for 83% of our electricity, and on current trends will generate up to 97% of our electricity in 2035 without any help from policy changes.However, as Matt Burgess shows in this report, the last 3% through to 100% renewables share will be tremendously expensive, and could raise greenhouse gas emissions.New Zealand’s electricity is secure, affordable and among... Read more

Matt Burgess
28 March, 2019

Destroying the town to save it

Question: What costs three moon programs, puts nobody in space, and makes no difference to emissions? Answer: Energiewende (or energy turnaround), Angela Merkel’s plan to cut Germany’s emissions. Energiewende aims to make Germany the first industrial economy to fully run on renewable energy. The cost so far: 29,000 wind turbines and 1.6 million solar panels for the bargain price of €500 billion. Yes, half a trillion euro. Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
23 November, 2018
Electric car

An Effective ETS Is the Pink Slip for Other Subsidies

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw this week announced that a package of incentives to buy electrical vehicles will arrive soon. The package will join other climate change measures, including a recent proposal to tighten up New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The principal benefit of an ETS is the discovery of least-cost ways to abate emissions. A 2013 OECD study showed it can cost 17 times more to abate a tonne of carbon by using government subsidies than by... Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
12 October, 2018

Give me the route not the destination

“Siri, give me directions to the airport.” After a long couple of days of meetings in Auckland it was time to head home. The reply from my smartphone was immediate. “What time do you call this?” Wait, what? “Siri. Give me directions. To the airport.” “Matt, economic growth is one of five important drivers of living standards. Let’s finish that report you’ve been working on.” This new Living Standards Framework upgrade for Siri, based on work by the experts in... Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
7 September, 2018

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