James Cook arrived in New Zealand accompanied by an impressive Tahitian chief and priest. Eurocentrically writing Tupaia out of our history distorts it and loses valuable lessons.Read More
Data from the newly released augmented 2018 Population Census seems to be OK in quality terms. But there are some irritating gaps – and perhaps deeper problems..Read More
A British Lord Chancellor, Lord Hailsham, described parliamentary democracy as an ‘elected dictatorship’. Recent events illustrate how right he was.Read More
New Zealand is a less egalitarian society today than it was when I was growing up in the 1950s.Read More
Elements of our Public Finance Act are world class, as a recent conference reported. But other parts need to be overhauled.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
The kerfuffle over the budget leaks precipitated a public exposure of a simmering concern about the quality of Treasury’s work.
Before the substantive issue which this column is about – whether there has been a deterioration in the economic advice given to the government – a paragraph about the budget leaks.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
Shirley Smith would say that in her childhood she was known as the daughter of (later Sir) David Smith, then she was known as the wife of Bill Sutch and later as the mother of Helen Sutch. Throughout her life she struggled to be a person in her own right.Read More
If the Government is serious about redirecting policy towards wellbeing, it is going to have to do a lot more than making the odd statement in the budget.Read More
The Chatham Islands are a world we have left behind.Read More
Can we consume limited resources forever? Is economic growth just a Ponzi scheme in which we borrow from the future? Is economic growth as we know it coming to an end?Read More
Two weeks out from the Budget, it's a good time to remember what is the means of economic management and what are the true endsRead More
The government has promised a ‘wellbeing budget’. No one seems to know what that means. We can set out some preliminary economic understandings.Read More
While Chris Lee’s “The Billion Dollar Bonfire: How Allan Hubbard and the Government Destroyed South Canterbury Finance” traces the rise and fall of the finance company, it also provides valuable insights into how the financial system works – or doesnt.Read More
Traditionally Capital Gains Tax (CGT) has been politically untouchable. What does the handling of the issue tell us about the government’s political skills?Read More