Category Archives: Social Policy

Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds Admit Impediments How much should the state be involved in determining who are in a marriage relationship?   Pundit: 12 December, 2014.   Keywords: Social Policy;   The recently released Child Poverty Action Group’s (CPAG) report on the Complexities of Relationship in the Welfare System and…
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PENALISING THE POOR

Sloppy analysis is dividing us into the deserving and undeserving   Pundit: 3 November, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   Being no expert on domestic violence, I looked at the Glenn inquiry’s The People’s Report to see what it had to say about causes. I had expected a summary of the research literature…
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HOW SUSTAINABLE IS NEW ZEALAND?

One of the biggest issues missed during the election campaign was the sustainability of National’s economic, environmental and even social policies. So what do you do if the government’s not thinking long-term?   Pundit: 29 September, 2014.   Keywords: Environment & Resources;  Macroeconomics & Money; Political Economy & History; Social Policy;   Behavioural economics is…
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Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy: A CPAG publication

Contribution to Wellington launch, 9 September, 2014.     Keywords: Social Policy;   This year is the fortieth anniversary of the recognition that by far the largest group of the poor in New Zealand are children and their parents (and guardians). Previously the conventional wisdom had thought it was beneficiaries who were the poor but…
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Chips with Everything

Chips with Everything It is a fallacy to claim the poor just need financial advice to improve their lot.   Listener: 10 April, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I was working on a standard-of-living case and was shown figures prepared by an approved budget advisory service for Meg and her daughter Stacey…
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Launch of “But Is it Fair?”

But is it Fair? Faith Communities and Social Justice edited by Neil Darragh and published by Accent Publications (Launched at Connolly Hall, 6.00 4 April, 2014).   Keywords: Political Economy & History;  Social Policy;   I am not sure an economist should be launching this book. While economists are often treated as today’s secular theologians…
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Child Poverty

Listener:  8 February, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I hope Brian Easton (Economy, January 25) is right that child poverty is at last accepted by the conventional wisdom. He made an early contribution to the debate.   However, I fundamentally disagree with him that there has been a lack of quality research….
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Poor Show

Why it has taken so long for child poverty to become part of the conventional wisdom.   Listener: 16th January, 2014   Keywords: Distributional Economics; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Social Policy;   Corso, the Council of Organisations for Relief Services Overseas, decided in 1979 that it was wrong to ignore poverty in New…
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Market Daze

Can the property companies that run rest homes provide effective care?   Listener: 14 November, 2013   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Retirement Policy; Social Policy;   I have had to visit a number of rest homes for the elderly. Such visits can be pretty draining. The one positive is the caring and concerned staff –…
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“Inequality: a New Zealand Crisis’, Max Rashbrooke (ed)

Max Rashbrooke and his contributors have begun a valuable discussion about wealth distribution in New Zealand – but it is no more than a starting point, and one with huge gaps.   Listener:10 October, 2013   Keywords: Distributional Economics;  Social Policy;   In recent years, debates about income inequality in rich countries have become prominent…
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On Capital Gains Tax

It’s time to stop subsidising speculation on housing.   Listener: 19 September, 2013.   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy;   Scared by finance company failure, you decide to invest some of your savings in a rental property. You borrow just enough so the tenant’s payments cover the interest, rates and other outgoings. The return…
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Future Pressures and Caring for the Elderly

How to live with the Treasury’s Long Term Financial Projections.   Listener: 11 August, 2013.   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Retirement Policy; Social Policy;   I was on the external panel advising the team from the Treasury that put together its Long Term Fiscal Projections, required every four years and looking half a century forward. A…
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The Fathers’ Incomes Premium in the Postwar Era

Draft for discussion; this version completed 24 May 2103.   Keywords: Political Economy & History; Social Policy; Statistics;   This note disinters a result I found in the 1970s and subsequently buried in Income Distribution in New Zealand. Years later it may have some relevance to some puzzles I am working on about the changing…
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Seismic Shift

Canterbury earthquake victims might have received quite different help but for a 1990 change in the political landscape. Listener: 15 November,  2012. In 1988, a ministerial paper proposed reforms to New Zealand’s earthquake insurance. It came 44 years after the Government had established the Earthquake and War Damage Commission that would pay out for damages…
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ACC: an Accident Waiting to Happen

Meddling ministers and overzealous case managers are undermining ACC. Listener: 10 November,  2012. Once upon a time, accident victims had to go through a long, complicated legal process to obtain compensation, with the possibility of an arbitrary and unfair outcome. In 1967 a Royal Commission chaired by Owen Woodhouse recommended an alternative that focused on…
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The Poverty Trap

We need a child-focused approach to dealing with poverty. Listener: 13 October, 2012. Around 40 years ago, social scientists estimated that well over half of New Zealand’s poor were children and their parents, and pointed out the lack of sufficient income would stifle the development of these children. To this day, children and their parents…
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Projecting Government Spending

Presentation to a Treasury Workshop on the Long-Term Fiscal Projections; 26 September, 2012. I am writing a history of New Zealand from an economic perspective. The manuscript – 250,000 words and I am only up to the 1970s – includes a number of appendices looking at the data. One is on government spending. The Treasury…
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Leaky Legislation

Listener: 15 September, 2012. Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich coined the expression “iatrogenic medicine” to describe illness generated by the actions of physicians. An example is when the doctors prescribe some medicine, with resultant side effects, which are treated by further medication. The cycle repeats until a specialist reviews the patient’s entire record and stops all…
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