Category Archives: Environment & Resources

The Ownership, Management, and Regulation Of Water (and Wastewater)

Presentation to the Annual Conference of the Rural Sector of Local Government New Zealand: July 1, 1998, Dunedin.

Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;

My conclusion is a simple one. There is no simple answer to the question of the ownership, management, and regulation of water and wastewater supply and services: there is no one answer which suits every locality, circumstance, and system. It is easy for extremists to claim everything should be privatised, while other extremists as equally shrilly argue they should be kept in local government control. It soon becomes evident that the practicalities of the general circumstances rule out any extremist argument, while the choice between the middle options depends on the local circumstances. This presentation details the argument that leads to the conclusion.

Is the Rma Sustainable?: the Politics Of the Coase Theorem.

Planning Quarterly June 1998, p.5-8, A revised version of a keynote address to the 1998 NZPI Annual Conference, Dunedin.

Keywords: Taxation & Regulation

The Resource Management Act (RMA) is based upon numerous, often conflicting, notions. Among them was an economic analysis which derives from a theorem first proposed by Ronald Coase who received an economics prize in honour of Alfred Nobel, for this and other key insights which are the foundation of the modern subject of law and economics. The Coase theorem was important in many of the reforms of the 1980s, including the RMA. I will explain why this powerful theorem is important, how it relates to resource management and the RMA, and then I will reverse its use to obtain insights on recent attempts to reform the RMA and draw some conclusions about the role of planning.

Future Shocks

Some Private Forecasters Are Predicting A Major Energy Shortage in Less Than A Decade
Listener: 30 November, 1996.

Keywords: Environment & Resources;

Forecasting electricity is far from easy, as Electricity Supply and Demand to 2015 from the University of Canterbury Centre for Advanced Engineering makes clear. There are so many uncertainties: economic growth, the degree of energy conservation, the weather which affects the hydro lakes, what capacity will be built, the size of the Maui field supply of gas, and so on. Yet it seems there may well be a major energy shortfall after 2003 (and possibly earlier if there is a dry year which fails to fill the lakes). This is not just a one-off year of power cuts in a cold winter. The forecasters expect an ongoing shortage.

Whose Heritage?

The Progressive Greens Suggest An Approach to Managing Conservation
Listener: 23 March, 1996.

Keywords: Environment & Resources;

This year I thought I would occasionally write columns about specific policies of political parties which are unlikely to get elected to parliament, but whose policy deserves wider consideration. The first example is a proposal of the Progressive Greens, who seek “more-market” solutions to environmental problems. Thus they have thought more than most about how we should manage the conservation estate of national parks, forests parks, scenic reserves and other conservation areas, arguing that it should not be under direct ministerial control.

The Maori Geothermal Claim: a Pakeha Economist’s Perspective

Paper to be presented to the Waitangi Tribunal to assist an inquiry into various Maori claims concerning geothermal resources (Wai 153). September 1993?

Keywords: Environment & Resources; Maori; Political Economy & History;

1. Introduction and Disclaimer


1.1 As the title emphasises, this paper is no more than an attempt by a Pakeha economist to canvas some issues associated with the Maori claim to geothermal resources.

Fishing and the Chatham Islands

AFFIDAVIT in the High Court of New Zealand BETWEEN Te Iwi Moriori Trust Board (First Plaintiff) Moriori Tchakat Henu Association of Rekohu Incorporated (Second Plaintiff) and The Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Commission (Defendant) (September 1993)

Keywords: Business & Finance; Environment & Resources; Maori; Statistics;

I, Brian Henry Easton, economist and social statistician of Wellington do swear

1. Following the obtaining of degrees in mathematics and economics I have practised for over 25 years in universities in New Zealand and overseas, in research institutions, and latterly as a private researcher and consultant. A copy of my short C. V. is attached. I have taught, researched, and written in many areas related to this case, including the economics of development.

2. I have been asked by the plaintiffs to assess the significance of the fishing industry to the Chatham Islands (Rekohu).

3. My basic conclusion is that the future of the Chatham Islands is vitally dependent upon its fishing industry, more so than any other region. I also indicate how a population based rule is especially against the interests of a region as dependent upon fishing as these islands.

Tikanga and Te Oneroa-o-tohe

Listener 20 May 1991, republished in in J. Gilbert, G. Jones, T. Vitalis, & R. Walker Introduction to Management in New Zealand (1992) p.77.

Keywords: Environment & Resources; Maori;

I was recently involved in a claim to the Waitangi Tribunal by the five Muriwhenua iwi, in the far north, for the return of their rangatiratanga over Te Oneroa-O-Tohe or, as Pakeha call it, Ninety Mile Beach. In the course of preparing my evidence I was struck by the depletion of kaimoana – offshore fish and shellfish – over the period of European involvement. We are so familiar with the destruction of fish, forest, bird and soil in the last 150 years that it is only rarely that we are made to confront the issue as to why it happened.

Evidence Of Brian Easton with Respect to Te Oneroa-o-tohe

This is a slightly revised version of the evidence submitted to the Waitangi Tribunal. As well as a number of minor ammendments read to the Tribunal, paragraph 4.4 has been substantially ammended and paragraph 3.21-4 has been added. 26 March 1991.)

Keywords: Environment & Resources; Maori;

1. Introduction and Disclaimer

1.1 My name is Brian Easton. By profession I am an economist and social statistician.

1.2 I have been asked by Counsel for the Muriwhenua Iwi to assist the Waitangi Tribunal by providing some guidance on the economic issues related to their claims about Te Oneroa-o Tohe (Ninety Mile Beach), and on other claims they have made in the area of the Aupouri Peninsula, based on breaches of the principles of the Tiriti o Waitangi, which they say have occurred.

The Maori Broadcasting Claim: a Pakeha Economist’s Perspective

Paper presented to the Waitangi Tribuna to assist an inquiry into a claim by the New Zealand Maori Council and Nga Kaiwhakapumau I Te Reo relating to broadcasting (Wai 150), October 1990, at the Waiwhetu Marae.

Keywords: Environment & Resources: Maori; Political Economy & History;

Introduction and Disclaimer

1.1 As the title of this paper emphasises that it is no more than an attempt by a Pakeha economist to write an account of the Maori claim to the radio spectrum and related broadcasting issues.

The Green Maori

Listener 14 May 1990.

Keywords: Environment & Resources; Maori; Political Economy & History;

THE PAKEHA asked the Maori, “Do you claim all the airspace?”

“We claim rangatiratanga of all the space between Papa and Rangi,”

“Even that which the Russian sputniks go through?”

“Yes, The Maori recognise no boundaries. Even for the realm of Tangaroa. Perhaps if the Maori had been negotiating the Law of the Sea, the outcome would have been different.”

The Pakeha looked at the Maori with amazement, concluding if I judge his expression right, that the rangatira – despite his American PhD – was not quite with it. The claim over expanses over which the Maori had no statutory authority and no means of policing seemed ludicrous.

The very same week the New Zealand Government signed an international declaration which prohibited driftnet fishing in waters well outside our 320km limit and far beyond any realm our navy could plausibly police, Yet no one, Pakeha or Maori, concluded the agreement was ludicrous or the Prime Minister who sponsored it – and also has an American doctorate – was not quite with it.

Population and the Economy

In Warwick Neville and James O’Neill (1979) The Population of New Zealand: Interdisciplinary Perspectives, pages 259-280.   Keywords: Environment & Resources;  Growth & Innovation;   Introduction   Population studies and economic studies are each vast subject areas, and there is not space to discuss all the issues. This chapter attempts to survey some of the…
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