Economy

Muddling Over Methane

New Zealand has got itself into a right proper muddle over methane emissions and their impact on climate change. A simple change to the proposed legislation would sort it out.

The proposed Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill treats biogenic methane emissions differently from all other carbon emissions. The latter are to be measured net so that emissions from fossil fuels can be offset by carbon stored in trees. However, methane from livestock is measured gross.

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How Important Is Local Knowledge?

Many foreign appointments to leading public agencies have proved disappointing. Is that inevitable?

The discussion on the quality of economic advice, which we reported last week, has spilled over into a discussion about whether so many senior appointments should be of non-New Zealanders. Recall I discussed the failure to develop career paths within the New Zealand public service.

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Inequality and Mental Health

It may be that higher levels of inequality have increased the incidence of poor mental wellbeing in the community. A recent book suggests a causal mechanism from one to the other.

International research shows that there is a socioeconomic status (or class) gradient, in which those with low SES experience higher morbidity from respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, ulcers, rheumatoid disorders, a number of cancers, psychiatric diseases, dementia and so on.

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How to Reduce Accountability: Downgrade the Chief Archivist!

espite its manifesto promise to make the Chief Archivist an officer of Parliament, the government has not yet announced its decision. It is taking so long there must be a problem. Let’s guess an outcome if the officials have their way.

One of the major issues which face a democratic nation is the challenge of keeping its bureaucracy accountable and responsive to the public. Over the years a variety of arrangements have developed with this objective.

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