Light2

To the Government's credit

If politicians could make companies more productive and innovative by decree, they would have done so a long time ago. That did not stop the previous government from actively trying to steer companies’ research and development activities. In 2008, it abolished R&D tax credits and introduced innovation growth grants administered by Callaghan Innovation in their place. As widely expected, the new Government axed these grants in last week’s Budget and wants to revert to a tax credit system. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
25 May, 2018
Construction1

The extraordinary MBIE-Treasury spat over KiwiBuild

The government plans to build 100,000 ‘affordable’ houses in the next 10 years. How much greater is the housing stock likely to be in 10, 15 or 20 years as a result? That is an analytical question. At its heart is the question of how many dwellings would be built anyway. The future housing stock is only larger to the extent of any difference. Macroeconomic forecasters, including the Treasury, the Reserve Bank and the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research,... Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
25 May, 2018
Kid dish

Outsourcing to the kids

I know that people who aren’t economists manage to raise kids and that it all seems to work out in the end, but I’m not entirely sure how. I have learned that standard practice in the Crampton household diverges a bit from practice elsewhere. So gaze in awe, or horror, at our system for managing the more irksome household chores. Some chores, the kids are happy to do just as part of being happy members of the family – and... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
25 May, 2018
Smoke

A message of hope for smokers

A few weeks ago, I wrote in Insights that public health policy works in mysterious ways.I stand by that statement.As a teaser for The New Zealand Initiative’s latest report Smoke and Vapour: the changing world of tobacco harm reduction, I wrote that there was some frustration that the Labour-led government had not yet expressed a position on e-cigarettes.I also noted that there are a range of other nicotine delivery products available overseas (snus and heat-not-burn) that should be made available... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
Birthday

Invitation to Karl Marx’s 200th Birthday Bonanza

The candles have barely dimmed since his last birthday and we’re already celebrating Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, capitalism’s arch-critic. Over the past couple of centuries, capitalism has come to dominate a large part of the Western world. If Marx knew, he would be rolling over in his grave. Or would he? Because our new version of capitalism goes hand in hand with Marx’s famous dictum “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
Budget 2018

Better fiscal futures

The two most exciting items in this year’s budget barely even made it into the budget tables. Both point toward better fiscal futures.First up, Hon James Shaw announced that the government will this year start work on a new independent fiscal council.Last year’s election was dominated by whether there was a $12 billion hole in Labour’s proposed spending programme. That debate was always going to be sterile. Any coalition would pick up some of the policies and drop others. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
Flags

The price of diplomacy is worth paying

Government spending decisions can be popular or unpopular; they can be justified and unjustified. We all like to criticise the government for unjustified spending to increase its popularity.Conversely, we should then also be prepared to defend government’s unpopular spending decisions where we believe them to be justified.The boost to New Zealand’s diplomatic capacity is just such a decision.Foreign Minister Winston Peters would not have expected the extra $190 million for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) over the next... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
18 May, 2018

Media release: New Zealand Initiative welcomes new fiscal watchdog

Wellington (17 May 2018): The New Zealand Initiative applauds today’s Budget 2018 announcement of an independent fiscal institution.  Associate Finance Minister James Shaw announced a new independent body to assess government forecasts and cost political party election promises. Consultation would commence in August.  We proposed a fiscal council in our 2014 report Guarding the Public Purse: Faster Growth, Greater Fiscal Discipline. We suggested it to be an Office of Parliament, as is Australia’s Parliamentary Budget Office. Read more

Media release
17 May, 2018

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