Final Oliver Hartwich

Dr Oliver Hartwich

Executive Director

Oliver is the Executive Director of The New Zealand Initiative. Before joining the Initiative, he was a Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney, the Chief Economist at Policy Exchange in London, and an advisor in the UK House of Lords. Oliver holds a Master’s degree in Economics and Business administration and a PhD in Law from Bochum University in Germany.

Oliver is available to comment on all of the Initiative’s research areas.

Latest reports:
Go Swiss: Learnings from The New Zealand Initiative's visit to Switzerland (2017)
Manifesto 2017: What the next New Zealand Government should do (2017)
Why Europe Failed (2015)

Phone: +64 4 499 0790

Email: oliver.hartwich@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work

NZcoins

Will the Living Standards Framework replace budgetary analysis?

According to Oscar Wilde’s play, Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), “a cynic is a man who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing.”This quip has since migrated to refer to the economics profession.It tells us much about how economics is perceived. Not just as an overly technical, mathematical and calculating exercise but also as an amoral, or even immoral and downright cynical way of looking at the world.Nothing seems to confirm such prejudices more than the way economists... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
17 April, 2018
Taranaki oil

Drilling further into the Government's hole

When you are in a hole, stop drilling. That must have been the Government’s motivation for stopping oil and gas exploration. To say that the past weeks were not quite ideal from the coalition’s viewpoint would be an understatement. The Radio NZ saga, the farce over Russian spies and dubious events around the Provincial Growth Fund did not make it look like the most competent of administrations. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
13 April, 2018
Agreement

The Reserve Bank in Wonderland

Humpty Dumpty would have fun with the Policy Targets Agreement (PTA) between Finance Minister Grant Robertson and the new governor of the Reserve Bank, Adrian Orr:“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
3 April, 2018
reserve bank

Changing the monetary guards

This week, the Reserve Bank finally got a new Governor. Adrian Orr, formerly chief executive of the Super Fund, replaced caretaker-governor Grant Spencer.So first of all, congratulations to Adrian Orr who gave up the best-remunerated job in the public sector to serve as the Reserve Bank’s Governor for the next five years. With his financial experience in both public and private sector, he is the most obvious person the Minister of Finance could have chosen.But beyond this changing of the... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
29 March, 2018
Parliament

A question of optics

Few countries run as much on informal relationships as New Zealand. It is both due to our small size and our aversion to hierarchies. But that makes it even more important to adhere to good governance practices. Which is why Shane Jones’ spat with Air New Zealand is so damaging. In any other country, a rogue Minister commenting on the board and management of the national airline would be a minor annoyance. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
23 March, 2018
Trump building

Trump and other hypocrites

US President Donald Trump’s new protectionism is populist, wrong and dangerous. Sadly, that does not mean that his loudest opponents can automatically claim the moral high ground.Since David Ricardo explained in 1817 why countries trading with each other are always better off without trade restrictions, the economics profession has been in favour of free trade.History has since provided plenty of examples to support Ricardo’s theory.Neither theory nor practice prevented Trump’s attack on trade over the past weeks. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
16 March, 2018
Future

Stop predicting the future (and go back to work)

If there is one lesson from our species’ past, it is that we are not very good at thinking about the future. This is irrespective of our personal inclination toward optimism or pessimism. It has little to with our political leanings. And it is independent of upbringing and education.The problem with forecasting the future lies in the human habit of linear thinking. It is deeply engrained within us. When we think of tomorrow, we imagine an amplified version of today. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
9 March, 2018
German flag

Accidental success is not a strategy

The excitement around the new Labour-NZ First-Green Government and National’s leadership change makes it easy to forget there is a fifth party in Parliament, too. But at last we learnt earlier this week how ACT wants to revive its fortunes.The Fairfax press reported that ACT’s leader (well, sole MP) David Seymour had just travelled to Germany for some post-election inspiration. What Seymour discovered in Berlin was the story of the German Free Democrat Party (FDP).In last year’s election, the FDP... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
2 March, 2018
Building house

Oliver Hartwich discusses KiwiBuild

The Government's flagship policy to deliver low-cost homes to first time buyers could be a fail on the affordability front, according to its own ministry officials. Documents released under the Official Information Act reveal KiwiBuild apartments and houses to be priced up to $600,000 in Auckland could still be well out of reach of their target market. Mark Sainsbury speaks to Oliver Hartwich about KiwiBuild. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Mark Sainsbury - RadioLIVE
26 February, 2018
economy newspaper1

Unlocking regional development

For cynics, it would be easy to denounce the government’s provincial growth programme as a slush fund. However, I am not cynical about the government’s intentions. Its genuine aim is to close the gap between New Zealand’s growth areas and those other parts of the country once unflatteringly labelled “zombie towns.” Good on it.Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones are due to launch the fund in Gisborne today.Meant to kickstart economic activity in the regions,... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
23 February, 2018
Parliament

A passionate politician

Almost a century ago, the great sociologist Max Weber defined the ideal politician in his lecture Politics as a Vocation. As Bill English just announced his retirement from politics, we may well measure his record by Weberian standards. English entered Parliament twenty-seven years ago. Staying in any one job for such a time span is unusual these days. In the tough world of politics, it is an eternity – particularly considering his time in high offices. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
16 February, 2018
Cash

Financial crisis 4.0

The Global Financial Crisis now seems such a distant memory, it is easy to think of it as an historical episode. But this week’s stock market troubles are a timely reminder that the world economy is not in a healthy state. In a sense, the ‘flash crash’ that started on Wall Street was just a partial correction of recent exaggerations. In part fuelled by expectations of President Trump’s tax reform, US stocks had rallied. Now some of that exuberance disappeared again. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
9 February, 2018

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates