Tax2

Government Waste is a Taxing Matter

Yesterday, the government released the Tax Working Group’s interim report. As foreshadowed, the Group was coy about what it will recommend in December. The government on the other hand is clearly eager to see the Group make the case for new taxes. Almost as a matter of regret the background material mentioned the past removal of sales tax, excess retention tax, land tax, estate duty, stamp duty, gift duty, and cheque duty. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
21 September, 2018
Classroom Chairs2

NCEA Review – Big Opportunities or Big Mistake?

As every law student learns, a rescuer owes a duty of care to a victim not to worsen the victim’s plight. The same principle applies in medical ethics. A doctor’s first duty is to do no harm. Based on the submissions on the government’s NCEA review, this duty is something Education Minister Chris Hipkins would do well to heed. The review aims to rescue our failing NCEA assessment framework. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
21 September, 2018
Rich

Crazy Rich Ministries

You can’t get more lavish than washing down some white gold caviar with Moet champagne while partying on top of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. That’s how the rich and famous celebrated in Crazy Rich Asians, the latest blockbuster to hit theatres. Well, you might. Especially, if you were one of the delegates at the Ministry of Justice summit in Porirua, or at either of the Ministry of Education summits in Auckland or Christchurch. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
21 September, 2018
Truth

Dissecting the 21st century’s Great Untruths

It had to take an evolutionary psychologist and a lawyer to dissect (some of) the craziness of modern society and polity. Jonathan Haidt and Greg Lukianoff’s new book The Coddling of the American Mind is required reading for anyone wishing to understand 21st century politics, not just in the US but globally. At first sight, the book is about good intentions, bad parenting, and the education system. It shows how young people are being damaged by an emotional ‘safety first’ culture. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
14 September, 2018
Acid rain

The Acid Test

Nutrient load is too high in too many New Zealand lakes and rivers. Cleaning up the mess featured prominently in last year’s election. Getting the job done requires looking at what works. On that front, New Zealand has learned from America’s abolition of acid rain. During the 1980s, sulphur dioxide emissions from American electricity generation plants made rain acidic, with damage to lakes building up over time. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
14 September, 2018
Snow

Welcome to my safe space

I recently read an article that distressed me so deeply I feel it needed a trigger warning. The article reported that millennials are more likely to support socialism. In fact, the piece was written by our executive director for this very newsletter. Of course I was offended by such a smear, I am after all part of the snowflake generation. As Oliver has already written, Lukianoff and Haidt are right in arguing that this snowflake culture is likely to set... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
14 September, 2018
EU Parliament

The EU’s reverse Annie Hall problem

In his latest 'Spotlight on Europe' column for Newsroom, Dr Oliver Hartwich explains just how undemocratic the European Union is, while at the same time it keeps trying to tell its members to be democratic.“I’d never join a club that would accept me as a member,” says Woody Allen’s character in Annie Hall. With the European Union, it is the other way around: The EU would reject new members as anti-democratic as itself.Nowhere is the EU’s democratic deficit more visible... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Newsroom
11 September, 2018
Economist2

Can’t get no satisfaction

Every two years, Treasury surveys stakeholders about Treasury’s performance. The 2015 survey was up on Treasury’s website about two months after it was completed. The 2017 survey was completed last August but still had not shown up on Treasury’s website a year later.I had a pretty good idea why they were sitting on it. The parts of the report I had had the chance to see were not laudatory.This week, Treasury responded to my OIA request for a copy of... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
7 September, 2018
Power

How to get politics close to the people?

The only two certainties in life are death and taxes. So goes the quote attributed to American politician Benjamin Franklin (or Christopher Bullock or Edward Ward, depending on which source you trust most). But whoever said it – it is still true. Taxes are a certainty. But how they are collected and spent is not. This is what this piece is about. I shall focus on the institutional aspect of this topic: What system ensures governments are spending on what... Read more

Natanael Rother
Insights Newsletter
7 September, 2018
Siri

Give me the route not the destination

“Siri, give me directions to the airport.” After a long couple of days of meetings in Auckland it was time to head home. The reply from my smartphone was immediate. “What time do you call this?” Wait, what? “Siri. Give me directions. To the airport.” “Matt, economic growth is one of five important drivers of living standards. Let’s finish that report you’ve been working on.” This new Living Standards Framework upgrade for Siri, based on work by the experts in... Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
7 September, 2018

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