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
Local Government & Resource Management
Political decision-making in New Zealand is among the world’s most centralised. This is not necessarily a problem, but poor incentives combined with little local power can lead to weak local government performance. Local government has jurisdiction over a relatively small range of activities. At the same time, it is subject to expensive central regulatory mandates.
Our research investigates the role of local government in both New Zealand and abroad. What helps local government work well? How can appropriate incentive structures align council interests with those of the country as a whole? Can we have local governments that encourage growth rather than constantly be at loggerheads with central government over the pace of consenting?