Category Archives: Governance

Another Redisorganisation

Why is the Government proposing public-sector mergers for so little apparent benefit? Listener: 1 May, 2010. Keywords: Governance; At a certain point in the political cycle, governments start following officials’ agendas that make no political sense but meet some administrative need. All policy changes upset the people whose interests are harmed. These changes often reflect…
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Understanding the Fiscal Imperatives

Paper for Towards a Value Driven Public Sector Summit, 15 July, 2009.   Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy;   Before talking about the fiscal imperatives in the narrow sense, I want to make a couple of general remarks about the rhetoric of policy. .   The first is that the need…
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The Future Of Auckland.

Presentation to Auckland Regional Council: 29 October. 2008. Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Governance; Growth & Innovation; Aucklanders sometimes talk about wanting to have a ‘world class city’. Since any city can be world class in its class, that is not a very ambitious goal. The issue is in which class does Auckland want to be?…
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Submission to the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance

23 April, 2008   Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Governance;   Introduction   The purpose of this note is to bring together various writings of mine about some analytic tools, which the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance may find helpful. There are no specific recommendations other than I commend the use of these tools were relevant….
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Place Your Votes

Now is your chance to choose strong local governance. Listener: 6 October, 2007. Keywords: Governance; Political Economy & History; Why are you voting in this month’s local body elections? I’m voting because I believe in the principle of “subsidiarity”, that decisions should be taken at the lowest effective level. That is why I often support…
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Shaping the Way We Play: an Economist’s View

The 11th Annual Public Sector Finance Forum. 11 September, 2007     Keywords: Governance; Regulation & Taxation; Statistics;    In my paper yesterday, I argued that we too frequently misuse data for rhetorical and political purposes. Today’s paper is an extension of that theme, but it focuses on a less conscious process, while providing an…
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Decommercialising Advanced Studies

Keywords:  Education;  Governance; Growth & Innovation;   The judges of a singing contest, dissatisfied with the first diva, awarded the prize to the second without having heard her. The favouring of commercialisation in the late 1980s and early 1990s had a similar empirical base. We have now heard the second diva, and while she has…
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The Relevance Of Commercialism to Government Agencies

Paper for “Corporate Governance in the Public Sector 2007 Conference”, Wednesday 19 February, Wellington. [1]   Keywords: Governance;   By the 1980s the traditional regulation of New Zealand’s private and public sectors had become increasingly obsolete. The story of the shift to ‘more-market’ and the privatisation of some of the public sector is well known….
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Changing Expectations

MMP has reduced policy extremism, but more consensus politics are needed to solve our big economic questions   Listener: 21 October, 2006.   Keywords: Environment & Resources; Governance;  The rise in personality politics is an unexpected consequence of MMP. Certainly there are other factors, including a change in the US political debate (recall the attacks…
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The Future Of the Nation-state in a Globalised World

Presentation to a Leadership New Zealand seminar, 18 May 2006.

Keywords: Globalisation & Trade; Governance;

I am working on a book, The Globalisation of Nations, sponsored by the Marsden Fund. As the title suggests I am concerned with both the process of globalisation and how that affects the nation-state. Today I begin by giving a brief overview of the economics of globalisation, but my main focus will be about its impact on the nation-state.

Improving the Electoral System

This is a submission to the select committee considering the Electoral (Reduction in Number of Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill

Keywords: Political Economy & History;

1. I wish to make a submission on the Electoral (Reduction in Number of Members of Parliament) Amendment Bill. I do so because my book The Whimpering of the State: Policy After MMP, raised some matters which are pertinent to the deliberations of the committee.

Can We Improve the New Zealand Health System?

Keywords: Governance; Health;

Discussions on the effectiveness of the health system need to separate out the funding from the provision. The Labour Government has poured a lot of money into the public health system in recent years (the boost actually began earlier under the National-NZF coalition government in 1996), and it has been disappointed by the results. It has concluded that there is something wrong on the providing side.

Undermining Governance

Small countries like New Zealand have a comparative advantage in good government.

Listener: 25 March, 2006.

Keywords: Governance;

At the end of the 1970s, we had to decide whether to have a high or low dam on the Clutha River. The Labour Opposition took a firm position. On the same day, its environment spokesperson said the party favoured the low dam, while the energy spokesperson said the party’s policy was for the high one. Mike Moore impishly explained that the plan was to make the dam high on one side and low on the other.

Waste Not, Want Not: It’s Harder Than It Seems.

This was prepared as a Listener economics column on the assumption that National would propose fiscally prudent tax cuts, based on their cutting ‘waste’ (they mean ‘programs’). However, when National announced the size of its cuts, I canned the column for another. It wont be used, because its ‘news’ significance will have gone after the election, although no doubt I shall cannibalise some of it. I am putting it on the website for the record.

Keywords: Governance; Regulation & Taxation;

Other articles on the 2005 Election Tax Debate

Politicians “are talking as though it will be easy to cut enough fat from the state to pay for tax cuts – it won’t be. Believe me I’ve been there and I have done that. The combination of the State Enterprises Act, the Public Finance Act and the State Sector Act, which I helped to design and implement, brought remarkable improvements in the effectiveness of public organisations and lower costs. I wrote a textbook about it. But those systems have not been used vigorously for a while and some slack has got into the system. We can get better value for money but it has to be done with a scalpel not an axe. … Designing tax cuts is child’s play. It is on the expenditure side where all the problems are and where skill and experience are needed.” (Graham Scott)

Three Short Book Reviews: for the 2003 listener Books Of the Year.

Listener: 20 December 2003.

Keywords: Environment & Resources; Governance; Macroeconomics & Money;

TREASURY: The New Zealand Treasury 1840-2000, by Malcolm McKinnon (AUP, $50).

THE GREAT UNRAVELLING: Losing our way in the new century, by Paul Krugman (Viking, $35).

THE LOST WORLD OF THE MOA: Prehistoric life of New Zealand, by Trevor Worthy and Richard Holdaway (Canterbury University Press, $169.50).

Treasury: the New Zealand Treasury 1840-2000, Malcolm Mckinnon

This is a much longer version of a review published in New Zealand Economic Papers, 37(1), December 2003 295-302.

Keywords: Governance; History of Ideas, Methodology & Philosophy; Political Economy & History;

Treasury Secretary from 1986 to 1993, Graham Scott, got it quite wrong when he said shortly after the 1987 election, ‘I’m interested in getting back to the old money-bags role, what Treasury did in the nineteenth century – the core of the finance ministry is its old functions. That’s our knitting.’ Historian Malcolm McKinnon is too polite to point out this is another example of an ahistorical economist misrepresenting the past. Except by his writing a history of the Treasury.