Category Archives: Business & Finance

The Future Structure of the New Zealand Economy

I was asked by a Spanish journalist the following two questions (particular with attention to a historical perspective): How likely do you see (if at all) a transition from an economy based on primary products towards an economy where digital services exports might play an important part? I would also like to ask about the…
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Notes on ‘Rentier Capitalism’

I have been dipping into Brett Christophers’ Rentier Capitalism: Who Owns the Economy and Who Pays for It? Economists should be warned that his use of the term ‘rentier’ is ‘heterodox’ (his term). I have no difficulty with Humpty-Dumpty’s ‘When I use a word, it means just what I choose it to mean – neither…
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The Sources Of House Price Inflation.

Building more houses is not going to reduce house prices much (although it will help more people to be decently housed). The inflation driver is financial speculation based on leveraged borrowing. Until that is addressed, house prices will continue to boom. Policies based on theories which do not fit the facts are not going to…
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The Economics Of Information And The Newspaper Merger

The economics of information shows that whatever happens, the solution our ailing newspapers to the digital revolution will not be a perfect one.  An important notion in economic analysis is of a ‘public good’ (which may be a service). Not THE public good (a.k.a. the ‘common good’), which is shared and beneficial for all or…
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Have We a Housing Policy?

The government has let the housing market deteriorate with measures which are insufficient, late and ineffective. As a first step we need to identify the underlying problems.  The Prime Minister’s announcement that there is nothing new about homelessness is both an example of his strengths in reassuring the public that there is never really a…
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Bubble and Pop.

The history of New Zealand is speculation on farm land which stokes up debt, with disastrous consequences when the bubble bursts. The New Zealand industry is going through another one.  During the Great War, farm land prices boomed. When farm product prices collapsed in 1920, farmers walked off their land. It was not that the…
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Do The ISDS Provisions In The TPPA Reduce Our Sovereignty?

The short answer is all trade reduces sovereignty to some extent. The TPPA is no exception, but its effect is probably small.  Allow that we had to give away something, such as increased copyright extensions, for better access for our exports; the real issue for us in the TPPA is that it reduces ‘sovereignty’. To…
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A Return To ‘Think Big’?

The strange economic assessment of the proposed extension to Wellington Airport’s runway reduces to a plea for subsidies from tax and ratepayers. I am sometimes asked to assist voluntary groups with a critique of a commissioned economic assessment of a development project. I decline because of the high standard required from me – one which…
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The TPP, Sovereignty and Copyright

While TPP – any trade deal – compromises sovereignty it does not mean we cannot respond constructively to unsatisfactory aspects such as those involving intellectual property.  The stupidest thing said about the TPP deal – thus far – is the claim that it does not reduce New Zealand’s sovereignty. Of course it does. Agreeing to…
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Regional Development Policy?

The Northland by-election demonstrates we do not have a regional development policy. Should we? What might it look like? The government’s announcement that it would be upgrading ten one-way bridges in Northland was a response inspired by the forthcoming by-election. Whatever the politics, it well illustrated the feeble state of regional development policy in New…
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BLOWING BUBBLES

If New Zealand is heading for a housing market implosion, watch what you borrow.   Listener: 24 June, 2014.   Keywords: Business & Finance; Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation;   When commentator Jesse Colombo in business journal Forbes said New Zealand had a housing and credit bubble, Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce shot the…
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IS NEW ZEALAND A BUBBLE ECONOMY?

Wellington branch, NZ Shareholders Association, 10 June 2014 Keywords: Business & Finance; Macroeconomics & Money; My topic tonight is New Zealand as a bubble economy. But I need to start with a listener warning. I am an economist, not a financial adviser – registered or unregistered. Economic theory tells us something about the context of…
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State Leadership in New Zealand’s Economic Development

Public Sector Conference: 5-6 September, 2013 Published in Foreign Control Watchdog 134, January 2014: p.46-50   Keywords: Business & Finance; Globalisation & Trade; Governance;  Political Economy & History;   If you look at the top ten companies on the New Zealand share market, you will find that half were once owned by the government or…
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Where My History Research Is At: A Business Background

These are some notes I prepared for a session on 15 August 2013 to students doing a Bachelor of Applied Management (Business Heritage, Culture and Sustainability section) of the Christchurch, Northland, Otago and Waikato Polytechs.     Keywords: Business & Finance; Political Economy & History;   To begin provocatively. Last week the government announced a…
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Competitive Advantage

Carefully designed changes to the electricity-generation industry could make it work better.   Listener: 25 May, 2013   Keywords: Business & Finance; Regulation & Taxation;   Discussions on what to do about electricity have been so political and self-interested that almost all the public economic analysis has been puerile. So let’s begin with some basics….
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