NZcoins

Time for clarity on Labour’s labour policy

Well, now we know what is likely to happen with taxes under a Labour government. National’s promised inflation-indexing of the lower income bracket tax thresholds will be gone, we will likely have some kind of water tax, but big changes like capital gains taxes are off the table until after a report from a Tax Working Group and the 2020 election. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Interest
18 September, 2017
Rec fishing

New Zealand's inshore fisheries - a game of chicken

With some exceptions, there is a distinct lack of co-operation among the various interests in New Zealand’s inshore fisheries. The lack of co-operation worsens as competition increases for limited fisheries resources. This is largely due to each interest asserting its rights of access to the resources prevail over others. There is no easy solution to this standoff. It is a classic game-theory problem known as the game of chicken, which was first popularised in the movie, Rebel Without a Cause. Read more

Dr Randall Bess
The National Business Review
15 September, 2017
Vote

It's good to be flexible

Elections are not quite the advance auctions of stolen goods that H.L. Mencken warned about. When the electorate is very lucky, elected governments break the worst promises they had to make to win election – or at least bend them. Labour’s industrial relations policy is a great example of a policy promise best left unfulfilled. Campaigning on the policy might attract a few votes. But delivering on it could be rather damaging, both for the overall economy and for the... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
15 September, 2017
Graduation cap1

In the mood for policy change

Approval ratings of more than three quarters are almost unheard of in politics. Most politicians would be satisfied with far less. So you can imagine our excitement when we saw the results of the New Zealand Herald’s ‘Mood of the Boardroom’ survey. It polled leading business people on a range of issues – including two that are close to our hearts at the Initiative. And it revealed overwhelming support for the Initiative’s ideas. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
15 September, 2017
Australia brick

What a difference a sea makes

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

Insights Newsletter
15 September, 2017
apple on book1

The power of ideas

The popularity of John Maynard Keynes is as cyclical as the business cycles he wanted to abolish. But beyond his macroeconomics, Keynes left us a fine observation on the power of ideas.In the closing chapter of his General Theory, Keynes wrote that “the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
8 September, 2017
blue piggy on the grass 1

When a hole is not a hole

“There’s a hole in your budget, dear Labour, dear Labour, there’s a hole in your budget, dear Labour, a hole.” It is a pity that Finance Minister Steven Joyce did not sing his Monday press conference. It would have been an appropriate start to a week of political theatre. Joyce’s claim that there was an $11.7 billion hole in Labour’s fiscal plan was a bold and provocative interpretation of Labour’s spending plans. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
8 September, 2017
NZcoins

Proper process for Labour's Working Group on Tax Policy

In 1936 the much-quoted US journalist HL Mencken wrote“government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods”. So here we are in 2017, preparing to vote in yet another government spending auction of someone else’s money. But whose money is it to be? Probably all the major parties chant in unison at this point: “Not yours, dear voter; of course not.” Then whose? Well, Labour seems to have the most... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
8 September, 2017
Parliament

The Outside of the Asylum

We just don’t know how lucky we are to live in New Zealand. In Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, John Watson decided that the world had gone mad when he found instructions on the side of a packet of toothpicks. So Watson built a wall around his property, decorated the outside of it for the inmates, and declared his home to be the Outside of the Asylum. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
8 September, 2017
Vote

NZ election: Jacinda from Hamilton is eerily familiar to Kevin from Brisbane

A country is going to the polls. The economy is doing well. Fiscal forecasts show substantial budget surpluses. Government is led by an experienced politician. So, what election outcome would one expect?Well, in the case of Australia, this combination of circumstances did not stop John Howard from losing office in 2007. When New Zealand goes to the polls on September 23, we will see if Prime Minister Bill English meets the same fate.To international observers, the New Zealand election 2017... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The Australian Financial Review
7 September, 2017
Parliament

Economically Speaking: It's about greater productivity - Stupid

Imagine if no one had to pay for anything. Wouldn’t that be nice?Imagine if everything were free. Free food, housing, health care, education, transport, television, broad band, you name it.Imagine if government gave everyone enough money to live on, and then topped it up a bit so we could have some fun. No strings attached.OK, OK, John Lennon’s haunting and utopian song went over the top. It imagined a world with no possessions, just one big commune of sharing. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
National Business Review
1 September, 2017

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