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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

Suffering from the Dagg Effect?

Travelling to New Zealand will be a tremendous shock to the system, a couple of my peers tried to convince me before I left home in Zurich. It was - but not for the reasons everyone told me. The travelling was super smooth. Changing planes in one of the eastern hubs was a piece of cake and and for the first time in years, I read a book straight from beginning to end (The have and the have nots by... Read more

Natanael Rother
Insights Newsletter
17 August, 2018

Treasury and opportunity costs

Treasury is the heart of economic expertise in government. But it is more than that. Lots of Ministries have economists on staff – even Chief Economists. Treasury’s unique role is to run a straight economic ruler over policy initiatives proposed by other Ministries and to provide advice to its Minister about which government policies pass muster, and which do not. Government has limited resources and it is important that every dollar go where it can do the most good. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
3 August, 2018
Project Localism launch

Project Localism

For six years, the Initiative has been arguing the case for localism. Pointing out that New Zealand is one of the most centralised countries in the world, we have called for a radical shift of political and fiscal power from the centre to communities. When we started our campaign for localism, it was a fringe idea. At best, people thought it was unrealistic. At worst, they thought we were crazy to propose giving more power and money to councils. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
20 July, 2018
Wellington lambton quay

Creatures of habit

People have always said, we are creatures of habit. Every day we wake up at the same time, have the same breakfast, go to the same workplace, eat out at the same restaurants and order the same meals. We are so predictable that our smartphones can even alert us when to leave for work and when to head to the restaurant for dinner without us setting any notifications. Thanks Google. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
20 July, 2018

On the path to localism

This week saw the beginning of not one but two separate studies into local government.Speaking at Local Government New Zealand’s annual conference in Christchurch, Finance Minister Grant Robertson announced a Productivity Commission inquiry into local government funding and finance. At the same conference, LGNZ and my own organisation, The New Zealand Initiative, launched ‘Project Localism’ which proposes a radical recalibration of power between central and local government.Perhaps it was just coincidental that both these studies were announced within minutes of... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
20 July, 2018
New Zealand flag

Media Release: Bringing government back to the people

Wellington (15 July 2018): Instead of relying on central government to decide what is good for our communities it is time to empower councils and communities themselves to make such decisions, Local Government New Zealand and The New Zealand Initiative say.LGNZ and the Initiative have today presented their Localism project. Together, they call for devolution and decentralisation in the way New Zealand is run.Releasing a joint position statement this afternoon, LGNZ President Dave Cull said New Zealand needs to restore... Read more

Media Release
15 July, 2018
Coal wagon

An assault on our senses

A couple of years ago we got the lads together and set off on a South Island road trip. It was a great opportunity to get away from the rat race and show some of my North Island mates around the South Island. Beers, banter, and beaut scenery. On day three we pulled into Westport. “What’s that smell?”, asked one of the blokes. Bemused, I responded to my North Island friend, “Coal, mate. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
22 June, 2018

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