water ocean

Can the water management work of Raffensperger & Milke provide the basis for substantial change in NZ

Peter Jackson took a few liberties with Tolkien’s text for the Lord of the Rings films. Most of them, I didn’t like. But one addition I rather liked came at the start. Frodo complained that Gandalf had arrived late, and Gandalf replied that a wizard is never late – nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Interest.co.nz
25 July, 2017
German flag

The never-ending story of Angela Merkel

Should you be familiar with German children’s literature, you would have encountered a curious character: the illusory giant (Scheinriese).In the works of Michael Ende, best known for his The Never-Ending Story, there is a fearsome giant called Herr Tur Tur. Just as all proper giants, Herr Tur Tur is so big and tall that he can be seen from far away.But there is something rather unusual about the giant Herr Tur Tur. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
21 July, 2017
NZcoins

Things I learned at the Economists’ Conference

If your main exposure to economics is hearing bank economists talk on morning radio, you might not have the most accurate picture of what economists do. Trying to guess what interest rates might do, or telling stories about the latest moves in the stock market, are not really what economics is about.To get a better picture, you could do worse than attend the New Zealand Economics Association’s annual conference. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
21 July, 2017
Parliament

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

“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

Amy Thomasson
Insights Newsletter
21 July, 2017
Vote

Election fought on swinging hyperboles

Andrew Little has drawn a line in the sand. He has condemned the “blowhard” politics of Winston Peters, and has made it clear this election will not be fought on swinging - um - personalities. Good. Because if there is one thing this campaign period could do without, it is hyperbole. If there were any doubt we are indeed in an election year, consider the headline that the ‘Greens threaten to go nuclear’. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
21 July, 2017
One euro coin

Europe's trillion euro problem

Some people fear rising sea levels, asteroids hitting the earth or global pandemics. It is easy to be scared of such threats because one can easily understand them.With other risks, being appropriately scared is much harder. Some problems are just too complicated to cause the fear they deserve. Europe’s Target 2 system falls into this category.Should you now ask yourself “Target what?” you are not alone. Many finance experts, bankers and journalists have never heard of it either – certainly not... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
14 July, 2017
Data

The government vs Mainfreight

To get the disclaimer out of the way, Mainfreight’s founder and chair Bruce Plested is not only a member of the Initiative. Bruce is also someone I admire. He built a billion-dollar logistics business, starting with a single Bedford truck in the 1970s.Just as inspirational, Bruce remains a humble Kiwi, making contributions to the country in numerous ways. Just think of Duffy Books in Homes, providing free books to over 100,000 New Zealand children three times a year. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
14 July, 2017
school books

Why learning to speak is easy, but learning to read is hard

Have you ever wondered why children learn to speak with relative ease, and yet find reading so much harder?This question was answered in the last 30 years by evolutionary psychology. The roots of this discipline are in biology, but it draws also on artificial intelligence, anthropology and archaeology. Within evolutionary psychology, a distinction is made between information patterns which are biologically primary, and those which are biologically secondary. Biologically primary information has facilitated human survival throughout evolution. Read more

Briar Lipson
Insights Newsletter
14 July, 2017
Parliament

Mutton dressed as lamb

Politicians are often accused of trying to pull the wool over the public’s eyes. It isn’t often they try to pull the wool under the public’s feet.Never a party to follow the flock, this week New Zealand First announced an innovative policy that will truly put New Zealand first in the world – banning the use of synthetic carpets in government funded buildings in favour of New Zealand wool.Winston Peters announced during the regional campaign tour "New Zealand First will... Read more

Dr Rachel Hodder
Insights Newsletter
14 July, 2017
CreditsCards

Right and wrong in ComCom proposals

We all know two wrongs don’t make a right. But nor does getting something only half right. At least not when it is also half wrong.And that is precisely how we should view Commerce Minister Jacqui Dean’s announcement last week about proposed changes to the Commerce Act.She was right to rule out broadening s36 of the Commerce Act. But her proposal to grant the Commerce Commission powers to conduct proactive “market studies” is badly mistaken.Let’s start with s36. Read more

Roger Partridge
The National Business Review
7 July, 2017
apple on book1

Beautiful friendships in education

On Wednesday evening, Oliver summed up our event à la Casablanca. Thanking our guest speakers, he rightly said ‘I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship’. Discussing our latest education report, we were joined by Education Minister Nikki Kaye; Post-Primary Teachers’ Association President, Jack Boyle; and Forsyth Barr Managing Director, Neil Paviour-Smith. Speakers commented on the findings and conclusions of the report Amplifying Excellence, the final in a trilogy analysing the performance of New Zealand’s education system. Read more

Martine Udahemuka
Insights Newsletter
7 July, 2017
Sugar1

Jamie Oliver is a bloody disgrace

I thought that having a UK celebrity chef tell us that our kids are too fat and that anyone against a sugar tax deserves a slap would have gone down as well as a sous vide burger. I was wrong. Celebrity chef and sugar tax activist Jamie Oliver reckons it is a ‘bloody disgrace’ no one from National turned up to a conference advocating for a sugar tax. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
7 July, 2017

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