Auckland highway

Challenges stack up for super minister

In the new cabinet, Phil Twyford stands out as the minister with the most challenging mandate. Combining housing and transport in one person has created a superminister in charge of all aspects of urban development.If Mr Twyford succeeds, he will not only bolster Labour’s chances of re-election. He will also shape the face of the country for decades to come.At the risk of oversimplification, New Zealand’s urban growth model at best has been a model to accommodate growth, not facilitate it. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
17 November, 2017
data electronics

Analog Regulation, Digital World

New Zealand has always had to run a little faster than everyone else just to keep up.Too small to rely on its own internal markets, and too distant to profit from tight integration with larger neighbours, New Zealand has had to compete by being nimble. And so it has developed some of the world’s best policy settings.New Zealand is consistently at or near the top of the rankings for overall economic freedom and ease of doing business.But where the internet’s... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
10 November, 2017
technology

Analog Regulation, Digital World

Which moves faster: technology, or the regulation that tries to keep up with it? New Zealand’s ability to adapt to new technology depends on whether our regulations can keep pace. We have always faced the twin tyrannies of size and distance. We are small and remote.  If our rules hold back adoption of new technology, we can add a third tyranny to the list: being out of date. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
10 November, 2017
exam pencil

Why NCEA would be a good place for paternalism

My dad just refitted his small cottage kitchen. He is over 6ft tall, so wanted the worktops raised 6 inches, precluding his need to bend. However, his circumstances may change. Aside from his possible shrinking, he might one day want to sell the house, or even welcome a ‘lady-friend’ who is less than 6ft tall. Needless to say, after acknowledging the trade-offs, a worktop compromise has been made. Read more

Briar Lipson
Insights Newsletter
10 November, 2017
ParliamentBeehive

Our very own House of Cards

As House of Cards is ending in sad circumstances, the TV series has a real-life successor. It is the New Zealand House of Representatives. The theatre on our 52nd Parliament’s opening day was highly entertaining. And it made for better TV than any fictional stories about US Presidents ever could. The plot was genius: An opposition pretending it had a majority in the House due to absences on the government benches. To be clear, it was a legitimate try. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
10 November, 2017
savings

Magical thinking doesn't lift wages

During the election campaign, newly sworn-in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern named climate change as the challenge of her generation. If it is, lifting labour productivity is a close second.Productivity growth has been low over the past decade and a half. Therefore, growth in real wages has also been modest. If future generations are to share New Zealand’s enviable prosperity, that must change.The first response to this challenge from Ms Ardern’s government has been a promise to lift the minimum wage... Read more

Roger Partridge
The National Business Review
3 November, 2017
Switzerland night

Swiss lessons in subsidiarity

To put it mildly, the three parties forming the new government are diverse. Their philosophies do not always overlap. Their electorates have little in common. Their histories are not without tension.Yet there is one area on which Labour, NZ First and the Greens are not only in alignment. It is also an issue which differentiates them from National.I am talking about subsidiarity.Subsidiarity means that problems should be solved at the lowest possible level. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
3 November, 2017
soda

A burger a day...

Idiocy comes in many forms. Some people choose not to vaccinate their children.   Others think it better to extract multiple teeth from school children rather than have them drink fluoridated water. In some American states disturbed fantasists may openly carry loaded assault rifles in public, near schools and playgrounds.In New Zealand, our latest idiocy is to deny gravely ill children and their stressed parents the succour and respite of special accommodation and rest at the hospital. Read more

Richard Baker
Insights Newsletter
3 November, 2017
apple on book1

Libertarian experimentation

Why did the libertarian chicken cross the road?None of your business! Am I being detained?With jokes like these, it really is a mystery why libertarians do not have more friends.Indeed, a recent Washington Post article even included ‘befriend a libertarian’ in a compilation of ideas on how to fix American democracy.Sure, that piece was written by a libertarian. But in an age of deep political divisions in the United States, and creeping talk of anti-immigrant sentiment on home soil, maybe... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
3 November, 2017
Ladder1

Building on the success of others

National’s supporters on the right could have been forgiven for expecting a lot after the 2008 election. After three terms of Helen Clark’s Labour government, and National’s opposition to Labour’s policies, they had a right to.But John Key built three successive majority coalitions by disappointing his supporters on the right. Rather than abolish Working for Families, National made only small tweaks to the programme it had derided in opposition as welfare for the wealthy. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
The National Business Review
27 October, 2017
Reserve Bank of NZ

Monetary window-dressing

Judging by its coalition agreements, the new Government’s unofficial motto is not to do everything differently but to do a lot of things better.But not every change is for the better. Sometimes, even well-intentioned changes are just window-dressing. The review of the Reserve Bank’s policy targets is the best example.Under its mandate, the Reserve Bank has one primary role: to keep prices stable. This so-called ‘inflation targeting’ was introduced in 1989. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
27 October, 2017
Education

Our ambitious plan for education

Our newly sworn-in Government has about 1000 days to deliver on its campaign promises.Fixing the education system will take more time. Too many fundamental aspects are in need of reform.So it was encouraging to read in the coalition agreement about a planned 30-year strategic plan for education.The long term outlook should enable strategic prioritisation of incremental and transformational changes.And so working backwards we should outline the kind of system The New Zealand Initiative envisions 30 years from now.We want a... Read more

Martine Udahemuka
Insights Newsletter
27 October, 2017

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