windy road

Breaking from the beaten path

There was a dirt road north of our old farm in Manitoba. Grass grew on the hump between the wheel tracks. Ruts the width of a truck’s axles would get worn into the road. That was all well enough if you were driving the truck, but not so great if you needed to take a car down the track. The axles didn’t fit the tired old ruts.This week’s debate around the Initiative’s report on building successful schools reminded me of... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
24 February, 2017
apple on book1

A goal we can all agree on

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

Amy Thomasson
Insights Newsletter
24 February, 2017
economy newspaper1

If only we listened to the experts

Economist and commentator Shamubeel Eaqub recently wrote an impassioned column, urging experts to bridge the communication gap lest the disaster of majoritarian rule ensue.Undercutting his piece was the message that if experts just used smaller words, or spoke slower, disasters like the Global Financial Crisis and Brexit could have been avoided.With all due respect to Mr Eaqub, who I know on a first name basis, a great dollop of humility might be a better tonic. Read more

Jason Krupp
Insights Newsletter
24 February, 2017
apple on book1

Media Release: Bold ideas needed for managing school underperformance

 In the US and the UK there is more experimentation to help under-performing schools than is permitted in New Zealand, says a report from The New Zealand Initiative. “We need political courage to innovate and find fresh solutions to improve student outcomes. New Zealand students languish in poorly performing schools for too long,” says the New Zealand Initiative.The Initiative’s latest report, Fair and Frank: Global insights for managing school performance, examines how school systems in the UK and US address and manage... Read more

Media Release
20 February, 2017
Vote

Democracy with fewer elections

As a German living in New Zealand, I have the rare privilege of following not one but two election campaigns this year. Both of them are fought under the obscure MMP electoral system, and both of them are culminating on the same weekend.New Zealand will go to the polls on Saturday 23 September, Germany a day later. And I am still wondering how to survive the next half a year in perma-election mode.Democracy would be great were it not for... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
17 February, 2017
algebra1

Learning from failure

Last week The Herald premiered Under the Bridge, a three-part documentary about life in Papakura High School: a low decile school plagued with a reputation for persistent poor performance.Despite increasing government support, the school’s achievement statistics remained among the lowest in the country and its student roll continued to decline as students and teachers lost hope.The Herald followed the journey of the new principal brought in to fix the school in 2016.Papakura’s story is not unique. The Initiative’s 2015 analysis of school performance reviews found that... Read more

Martine Udahemuka
Insights Newsletter
17 February, 2017
newspaper headlines

Productivity costs of reading news

You probably shouldn’t tell your boss you are reading this.If the Initiative’s newsletter regularly gets you worked up, agitated or argumentative then you might be better off comforting yourself by looking at cat pictures.You see, it turns out that the regular consumption of political news might be leading to reduced productivity in the workplace. Full disclosure: I read the article while at work. The point of the piece is that in these turbulent political times, we’re all reading a lot more... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
17 February, 2017
blue piggy on the grass 1

Sharing New Zealand's progress

It is more likely for a dog to compile an inventory of sausages than for a politician to build up financial reserves. At least that is how one former German finance minister, the late Franz Josef Strauss, once described the constant temptations for fiscal policy. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
10 February, 2017
pohutukawa trees

What should it take to become a Kiwi?

I am married to an immigrant. It is not something I often need to confront. Sure, there are the annual visits by my much-loved mother-in-law, but you don’t need to wed a foreigner to enjoy that privilege. And as a young English lawyer, my wife seemed to assimilate easily enough with the locals. She quickly became one of us. Yet shortly before Christmas my beloved’s alien origins took centre-stage. Literally. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
10 February, 2017
Parliament

Time for another tax switch?

National’s 2010 budget provided substantial tax cuts. But it also implemented an important tax switch at the same time. The government increased the GST while simultaneously cutting income taxes and increasing benefits to compensate. It is perhaps time to consider doing it again.Oliver Hartwich’s column in this week’s NBR argued that growing government surpluses should be divided between tax cuts, debt repayment, and investment in infrastructure. So it is worth thinking through what tax changes would make the most sense in... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
10 February, 2017

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