Category Archives: Regulation & Taxation

Thinking About The Property Rights In Resource Decisions As Well As Transaction Costs.

The Fast-Track Approvals Bill enables cabinet ministers to circumvent key environmental planning and protection processes for infrastructure projects. Its difficulties have been well canvassed. This column suggests a different way of thinking about the proposal. I am going to explore the Bill from the perspective of its proponents with their focus on short-term material output…
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Do We Take Regulatory Impact Statements Seriously?

The Sorry Story of Earthquake-Prone Buildings. The Treasury requires that when new or amended legislation is proposed, a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) be provided – ‘a high-level summary of the problem being addressed, the options and their associated costs and benefits, the consultation undertaken, and the proposed arrangements for implementation and review’. In its hurry…
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Trading Red Tape

Whatever the damage, especially to the British economy, Brexit has done us a service by illustrating the complexity of trade. Brexit is the only example we have of two closely integrated sophisticated economies severing trading ties. The European Union and Britain still do not have tariffs or import quotas between them – the stuff of…
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UNFINISHED BUSINESS

Paper to the Fabian Society, 12 October, 2016   While we continue to chew over the carcass of the Fourth Labour Government – the Lange-Douglas one – we pay little attention to the subsequent Fifth Labour Government. Yet the Clark-Cullen one is greatly shaping the current Labour Opposition and the current National Government. It will,…
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Policy by Panic

In too many areas the government is avoiding taking policy decisions. When it has to its panic measures are knee-jerk and quick-fix. Just nine years ago, John Key, then leader of the opposition, spoke to the Auckland branch of the New Zealand Contractors Federation about housing affordability which he described then as a ‘crisis reached…
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What Is The Problem With A Universal Minimum Income?

They involve tax rates horrendously high or the minimum incomes so low that the UMI is not a viable means of eliminating poverty. The notion of a universal minimum income has had a long gestation. Some say it originated with a proposal for a ‘social dividend’ by Lady Rhys Williams as far back as 1942…
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Trading Water Resource Consents

‘Iwi leaders and the Government have agreed on a deadline to sort out Maori interests in fresh water by Waitangi Day 2016.’ (News: 5 February 2015) Law and economics recognises three distinct aspects of property rights. There is the ability to use the property, the ability to transform it into something else, and the ability…
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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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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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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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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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Son of Think Big

New technologies and light-handed regulation are a recipe for disaster.   Listener: 16 March , 2013.   Keywords: Business & Finance; Regulation & Taxation;   The leaky-building debacle involved homes and commercial and public buildings being built with new technologies that the builders were not competent to use, coupled with weak supervision and regulation. The…
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Writings on Earthquakes (Index)

This index, first compiled in January 2013 and subsequently updated, is a list of article on the website which have a substantial content about earthquakes and other natural calamities. They were not a focus until the Canterbury Earthquakes, which I began writing about as “Listener” columns to illustrate general issues. However, they are acquiring a…
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