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Democracy with fewer elections

As a German living in New Zealand, I have the rare privilege of following not one but two election campaigns this year. Both of them are fought under the obscure MMP electoral system, and both of them are culminating on the same weekend.New Zealand will go to the polls on Saturday 23 September, Germany a day later. And I am still wondering how to survive the next half a year in perma-election mode.Democracy would be great were it not for... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
17 February, 2017
blue piggy on the grass 1

Sharing New Zealand's progress

It is more likely for a dog to compile an inventory of sausages than for a politician to build up financial reserves. At least that is how one former German finance minister, the late Franz Josef Strauss, once described the constant temptations for fiscal policy. Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
The National Business Review
10 February, 2017
pohutukawa trees

What should it take to become a Kiwi?

I am married to an immigrant. It is not something I often need to confront. Sure, there are the annual visits by my much-loved mother-in-law, but you don’t need to wed a foreigner to enjoy that privilege. And as a young English lawyer, my wife seemed to assimilate easily enough with the locals. She quickly became one of us. Yet shortly before Christmas my beloved’s alien origins took centre-stage. Literally. Read more

Roger Partridge
Insights Newsletter
10 February, 2017
Parliament

Time for another tax switch?

National’s 2010 budget provided substantial tax cuts. But it also implemented an important tax switch at the same time. The government increased the GST while simultaneously cutting income taxes and increasing benefits to compensate. It is perhaps time to consider doing it again.Oliver Hartwich’s column in this week’s NBR argued that growing government surpluses should be divided between tax cuts, debt repayment, and investment in infrastructure. So it is worth thinking through what tax changes would make the most sense in... Read more

Dr Eric Crampton
Insights Newsletter
10 February, 2017
Forest

Constitutional experimentalism

One of the most refreshing developments in New Zealand politics is the sudden appearance of Gareth Morgan’s Opportunities Party. No matter whether you love or loathe Morgan, it is uplifting to have a party that defines itself as an ideas and policy movement.Having said that, not every novel idea necessarily makes much sense. A case in point is the Opportunities Party’s proposal to grant “the right of our endemic ecosystems to exist and thrive” in a written constitution.As if the... Read more

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Insights Newsletter
10 February, 2017
Housing1

We need an apples-for-houses comparison on immigration

Let’s engage in an absurd exercise. Do immigrants, just in coming to New Zealand, make apples more expensive? The answer is no in the grand scheme of things. Sure, if a group of apple-loving foreigners was big enough, demand would exceed supply, and the price would rise in the short-term. But that price rise would attract producers and sellers, supply would pick up to match demand, and pretty soon the price spike would subside. Read more

Jason Krupp
Interest.co.nz
7 February, 2017

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