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To the Government's credit

If politicians could make companies more productive and innovative by decree, they would have done so a long time ago. That did not stop the previous government from actively trying to steer companies’ research and development activities. In 2008, it abolished R&D tax credits and introduced innovation growth grants administered by Callaghan Innovation in their place. As widely expected, the new Government axed these grants in last week’s Budget and wants to revert to a tax credit system. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
25 May, 2018
Birthday

Invitation to Karl Marx’s 200th Birthday Bonanza

The candles have barely dimmed since his last birthday and we’re already celebrating Karl Marx’s 200th birthday, capitalism’s arch-critic. Over the past couple of centuries, capitalism has come to dominate a large part of the Western world. If Marx knew, he would be rolling over in his grave. Or would he? Because our new version of capitalism goes hand in hand with Marx’s famous dictum “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”. Read more

Joel Hernandez
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
Budget 2018

Better fiscal futures

The two most exciting items in this year’s budget barely even made it into the budget tables. Both point toward better fiscal futures.First up, Hon James Shaw announced that the government will this year start work on a new independent fiscal council.Last year’s election was dominated by whether there was a $12 billion hole in Labour’s proposed spending programme. That debate was always going to be sterile. Any coalition would pick up some of the policies and drop others. Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
18 May, 2018
Flags

The price of diplomacy is worth paying

Government spending decisions can be popular or unpopular; they can be justified and unjustified. We all like to criticise the government for unjustified spending to increase its popularity.Conversely, we should then also be prepared to defend government’s unpopular spending decisions where we believe them to be justified.The boost to New Zealand’s diplomatic capacity is just such a decision.Foreign Minister Winston Peters would not have expected the extra $190 million for Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) over the next... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
18 May, 2018

Media release: New Zealand Initiative welcomes new fiscal watchdog

Wellington (17 May 2018): The New Zealand Initiative applauds today’s Budget 2018 announcement of an independent fiscal institution.  Associate Finance Minister James Shaw announced a new independent body to assess government forecasts and cost political party election promises. Consultation would commence in August.  We proposed a fiscal council in our 2014 report Guarding the Public Purse: Faster Growth, Greater Fiscal Discipline. We suggested it to be an Office of Parliament, as is Australia’s Parliamentary Budget Office. Read more

Media release
17 May, 2018
New Zealand globe

Small was beautiful in 1908, gross is great today

Government was vastly smaller in 1908 than now. The tax-and spend state was vastly smaller, but so was the regulatory state.In 1907-8 central government taxation was around $780 per capita in today’s dollars, 6.3% of GDP. In the year ended March 2017 it was around $17,800 per capita, 29.6% of GDP.The rise of the intrusive redistributive state largely explains the change. Spending on Statistics New Zealand’s measure of “collective consumption” was only 5.1% of GDP in the year ended March 2017. Read more

Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Insights Newsletter
11 May, 2018
Baked beans

Baked bean market 'broken' (or at least half-baked)

“Local competition” is among factors cited by dairy owners for wildly varying prices for every-day grocery items like baked beans.The issue came to light in a leaked email from a dairy-owner in the lower North Island to her partner. Instead of reducing prices in response to dwindling sales of baked beans, the email proposed to increase prices across the dairy’s entire range to recoup lost sales margin. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
11 May, 2018
Germany2

An assault on representative democracy

Otto Wels. That is the name that came to my mind when I read through the Electoral (Integrity) Amendment Bill. It is the proposed law that would allow party leaders to undermine representative democracy and enforce an imperative mandate over their MPs.Colloquially known as the Waka Jumping Bill, it sounds almost as harmless as the Law to Remedy the Distress of People and Reich, the infamous Enabling Act of 1933. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
11 May, 2018

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