Budget day4

Be Worried (But About the Right Things)

Oil prices rising, the Kiwi dollar falling: these are the economic issues dominating our domestic headlines. It is understandable that New Zealanders follow such developments with eagerness. They directly feel the effects at the petrol pump and on their next international holiday. However, as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reminded us this week, the world economy is undergoing fundamental shifts – and these transformations could dwarf the things we fret about. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
12 October, 2018
Electric car

An Effective ETS Is the Pink Slip for Other Subsidies

Minister for Climate Change James Shaw this week announced that a package of incentives to buy electrical vehicles will arrive soon. The package will join other climate change measures, including a recent proposal to tighten up New Zealand’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS). The principal benefit of an ETS is the discovery of least-cost ways to abate emissions. A 2013 OECD study showed it can cost 17 times more to abate a tonne of carbon by using government subsidies than by... Read more

Matt Burgess
Insights Newsletter
12 October, 2018
Sculpture

Len Lye Lessons

This week, a beloved piece of public art was destroyed. On a warm spring day in Wellington (yes Aucklanders, you read that right), a young man decided to climb the expensive Len Lye sculpture on the waterfront until it snapped.No doubt this is a terrible waste of taxpayers’ money. But the young man’s excuse for vandalising the sculpture is even more infuriating. In interviews later, he admitted he was showing off and wanted to perform for the crowd. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
12 October, 2018
Immigration arrivals

New Zealand First’s values

It does not happen too often that politicians do what I want them to do. It is even stranger when this almost makes me change my mind. New Zealand First’s Respecting New Zealand Values Bill has achieved this remarkable feat. When I received my permanent resident visa three years ago, I wrote an NBR column about the experience. What irritated me at the time were two things. First, that I received it with no sort of welcome letter. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
5 October, 2018
Greenhouse emissions

On virtue signalling and virtue

It would take a humbug not to feel proud seeing our Prime Minister on the world stage last week. Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to grant women the vote, her appearance was a profound affirmation of New Zealand’s openness, diversity and inclusiveness. And in contrast to the political bombast that dominates world news, hearing Jacinda Ardern espouse humanist values like fairness and kindness – along with strength – to describe... Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
5 October, 2018
Canadian Passport

Schrödinger’s Canadians

Erwin Schrödinger never actually put cats into boxes that might or might not kill them, depending on a radioactive isotope’s random decay. It was only a thought experiment designed to show that the unseen cat could simultaneously be considered both dead and alive, until the box was opened. But what should we make of the interesting box the Canadian government has built for the children of Canadians living abroad? Whether inspired by Kafka, Joseph Heller, or Erwin Schrödinger, Canada’s bureaucracy... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
5 October, 2018
Sisyphus

Celebrating Sisyphean Labours

Today we offer thanks and praise to those undertaking the most thankless of bureaucratic tasks, forever rolling good policy advice uphill only to watch it roll back down again, seemingly ignored. The country would be far worse in the absence of their labours. This week, MBIE released its advice about the coming ban on new offshore petroleum exploration permits. The government did not make it easy for MBIE to do the work. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
28 September, 2018
Retirement young

The Frugalist Revolution

It is a sure sign I am getting old. At age 43, I am still working and I do not think it is a problem. If I shared the attitude held by a growing number of much younger people, I would have retired three years ago. Yes, you read that right: Retired. At 40. Like so many other movements, the frugalist movement started in America. Also known as FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early), it has since gained followers worldwide. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
28 September, 2018
School student

Showing Up Is Half The Battle

Students who skip school are more likely to experience adverse life outcomes. This is a fact. But it is not the complete story. Research from the Ministry of Education has found that school truancy is a strong predictor of domestic violence, criminal behaviour, substance abuse, suicidal risk and unemployment. The statistics and research are not reassuring. Unfortunately, we don’t know whether truancy is the cause of adverse life outcomes or just another adverse life outcome caused by unobserved background characteristics... Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
28 September, 2018
Brexit 1

Brexit: an experiment in game theory

The hills were not alive with the sound of music last Thursday. That is when British Prime Minister Theresa May met with the European Union’s 27 other national leaders in the Austrian city of Salzburg.Promoted as an informal summit to allow the two Brexit sides to overcome their schisms, the summit only reinforced them. But maybe that was the whole point.The longer the Brexit negotiations drama goes on, the more observers might wonder what kind of game is being played here. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Newsroom
25 September, 2018

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