The Whimpering Of the State: Policy After MMP

Auckland University Press, 1999. 269pp.

The policy process has changed dramatically following the introduction of MMP. Fascinated by the theatre of politics, we too easily ignore the major changes in policy approaches and outcomes. Today, without an assured parliamentary majority the government has to consult over its policies rather than impose them. Along with the increasing recognition that the policies of the past have failed, the policy blitzkrieg has almost ceased and commercialisation is being shelved.

The Whimpering of the State looks at the first three MMP years with the same lively, broad -ranging and informed approach as Easton’s successful The Commercialisation of New Zealand, which described the winner-takes-all regime before 1996. Again there are case studies: health, education, science, the arts, taxation. retirement policy, and infrastructure. Policy possibilities are explored. Yet, as the title of the book suggests, any releif from the ending of Rogernomics is offset be a realistic pessimism arising from a shrewd analysis of the continuing deficiencies in New Zealand’s political and social structure. Although written for the general public, this book will also be read by politicians, policy analysts and students, and will shape policy thinking in the MMP era. Publisher’s Blurb



1. Policy Under MMP
Cutting Off the King’s Head
2. Moving Towards MMP
3. The Loose Canon and the Tight Prior
4. The Economic Failure
In Stormy Seas
5. The Politics of Retirement Incomes
Different Strokes
Richard Thaler’s Savings Principles
Selfish Generations
6. Taxation (and Government Spending)
Government Spending and Growth Rates
7. The Public Service
Does Professionalism Matter? (NZIPA paper)
Does Professionalism Matter? (Listener Column)
Two Styles of Management
8. The Social Basis for an Economy
Nationbuilding and the Textured Society
9. The Commercialisation of Democracy
10. The Health Post-Election Briefings
The Hospital Balance Sheet Crisis

11. Health
The New Zealand Health Reforms in Context
The Seven Percent Solution

12. Core Education
Why Economists Dont Understand Education … but still try to run it
Education Factories
13. Tertiary Education
14. Science Policy
15. The Arts
16. The Ownership of Water
17. Roading
18. Telecommunications

19. The Political Future
20. A New Microeconomic Paradigm
Metrology and the Economy
The Economic Context of the ministry of consumer affairs

Epilogue: Culture and Reform