Housing money2

Financial innovation beats Kiwibuild

The Government has copped much criticism lately for its Kiwibuild policy, including from our chair Roger Partridge writing in Insights two weeks ago. So it is only fair to praise Housing Minister Phil Twyford when he deserves it. This week’s announcement of a new government infrastructure partnership north of Auckland is indeed praiseworthy. Crown Infrastructure Partners, Fulton Hogan, and Auckland Council have teamed up to deliver $91 million worth of new residential infrastructure at Wainui. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
16 November, 2018
America Flag

The end game of identity politics

The American mid-term elections were brutal. Indeed, no liberal democracy may have ever witnessed an electoral campaign so characterised by lies, racism and hate. Just how did America become so divided? When it comes to the blame game, globalisation is a fashionable culprit. The deindustrialisation of middle America, as US jobs were exported to Asia, caused unemployment and poverty among America’s working classes. The resulting economic stagnation provided the perfect incubator for Trump’s jingoism and patriotic nationalism. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
16 November, 2018
Tree

The One-Trillion Tree Empire

New Zealand was never home to a great empire for one simple reason. We don’t have enough trees. Historians have often credited Rome’s massive deforestation of the Mediterranean to its success as an empire. During Rome’s five centuries of power, it used wood and coal for everything from housing to fuel to its massive military. At one point, the Roman Empire had a population of 56.8 million people. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
16 November, 2018
Trump 1

Towards Trump 2020

Few outcomes of the US midterm elections could have been predicted with certainty. Except that President Trump would call the result a “tremendous success” no matter what. And he did just that. If losing control of the House of Representatives is such a tremendous success, one might wonder what keeping it would have been. Semantics aside, the President has a point. From his perspective, it could have been a lot worse. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
9 November, 2018
Boy reading

Education under the x-ray

When you break a bone, being told that an X-ray confirms the break is little relief. You already know there is a problem, but what you really want to know is how to fix it. Last week Unicef released a study that found New Zealand has one of the most unequal education systems in the world. The report included measures on Early Childhood Education attendance and the size of the gap in reading scores. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
9 November, 2018
Horse

Better horses

Winston Peters’ tax credit for pretty horses fights the wrong battle when it comes to improving New Zealand’s bloodstock. New Zealand has no obvious problem with ugly horses. Maybe farmers keep the ugly horses hidden so townies out for a drive don’t see them, but it seems unlikely. I have yet to see an ugly horse here. They’re all beautiful in their own way. But we do seem to have, dare I say it, cowardly horses. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
9 November, 2018
KiwiBuild2

KiwiBuild lottery will not restore the great Kiwi dream

Auckland’s first KiwiBuild winners could hardly keep the smiles off their faces. And who could blame them? Yet there is a flaw at the heart of Housing Minister Phil Twyford’s KiwiBuild policy. At around seven times Auckland’s median household incomes, no one can seriously argue that a house costing $650,000 is affordable. On internationally recognised measures, KiwiBuild houses would need to be sold at a 50% discount to meet the affordability tag. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
2 November, 2018
Cannabis

Setting the question

Supporting a regulated market for cannabis hardly requires you to think cannabis is a good thing. It rather recognises that illegal markets are risky with their own harms, and that American states that have liberalised have generally seen good outcomes. Regulated legal markets bring the protection of the Fair Trading Act and the Consumer Guarantees Act. Criminal profits transform into government excise earnings. Labour’s agreement with the Greens promised a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at or... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
2 November, 2018
Halloween

Tricks and treats

Today is 2 November, and for conservative Christians among us that means All Souls. For the rest, it is just day two after Halloween. Halloween is a strange feast in our calendar. Nobody knows what is celebrated and why. But that, I would argue, makes it the perfect candidate for New Zealand’s next public holiday. We need more nonsensical feasts to guide us through the year. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
2 November, 2018

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