Category Archives: Regulation & Taxation

The Context of Light-handed Regulation

Introduction to a Fabian Society series on Light-handed Regulation, Wellington.10 September 2012 This is the first of five presentations on light-handed regulation. Its critics sometimes call it “light-headed” regulation, referring to the simple mindedness of the idea, or “light-fingered” regulation, referring to the way a goodly number used it to line their own pockets at…
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Fairness and Community

Presentation to ‘Spirited Conversations’, Nelson, July 25, 2012. At a public meeting of the Tax Working Group, whose recommendations were the basis of the 2010 tax changes when GST was raised to the benefit of those on higher incomes, a member of the public raised the question of the role of fairness in their thinking….
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Convention Centres and Public Subsidy

Listener: 26 May, 2010. Keywords: Business & Finance; Governance; Regulation & Taxation; The row that has erupted over the proposed SkyCity convention centre in Auckland involves gambling, but there are deeper fiscal issues. But this is not a column about gambling, even though a study I was involved with found that pokies were the most…
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Problems with Experts

PROBLEMS WITH EXPERTS New Zealand Books, Winter 2012, p.9. Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; The New Zealand Economy: An Introduction by Ralph Lattimore & Shamubeel Eaqub (AUP) 170pp. $34.99. ISBN: 978-1-869404-89-5 The New Zealand Tax System: New Zealand Taxes in Comparative Perspective by Rob Salmond (Institute of Policy Studies) 129pp. $30.00. ISBN: 978-1-877347-45-0…
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Don’t Privatise Without Regulation

Listener: 14 April, 2012. Keywords: Business & Finance; Regulation & Taxation; Last year, this column argued for the mixed-ownership model of some state-owned enterprises as a means of deepening the capital market for private savers. Even then, it argued that not all partial privatisations were sensible. It depends on the market structure and the way…
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New Zealand Should Tax Financial Transactions

Listener: 17 Match, 2012. Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; Eminent economist James Tobin in 1972 suggested a financial transaction tax on spot-market currency conversions. Many others have supported him. That includes people who don’t like money and think of a financial transaction tax as a sin tax. (Tobin certainly did not. He was…
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A Canterbury Earthquake Levy Would Be Prudent

Listener: 3 March 2012. Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; Forecasts for the New Zealand economy have been wound back since last year. Given the deteriorating state of the world economy, they will probably be wound back even further. And that’s going to make it even harder for the Government to meet its election…
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Dealing with No Ordinary Commodity: Alcohol

Global Alcohol Policy Conference: Thailand, 14-16 February as Honorary Research Fellow at SHORE, Massey University. Keywords: Health; Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy; The theme of this presentation is that alcohol is no ordinary commodity; economic policy has to think about it differently. The alcoholic beverages industry, of course, produces jobs and profits for investors, just like any…
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Regulation and Leaky Buildings

Chapter 3: “The Leaky buildings Crisis: Understanding the Issues Keywords: Regulation & Taxation; Introduction[1] The first commercial transaction in New Zealand involved Maori exchanging with the Endeavour’s seamen fish for tapa cloth. (Not nails; despite their iconic appearance in a host of images; the ship’s officers offered them, but the neolithic Maori did not yet…
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The Too Hard Basket

THE TOO HARD BASKET Listener: 19 January, 2012. Keywords: Environment & Resources; Distributional Economics;  Macroeconomics & Money; Political Economy & History;  Regulation & Taxation;  Social Policy; Every government has issues it hopes will go away. They don’t. Here are some for our one. Our Emissions Trading Scheme is looking like a dog’s breakfast, and/or something…
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Loose Regulations Sink Economies – and Buildings

Listener: 14 October, 2011. Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; I have been preoccupied by leaky building syndrome, which may have damaged up to 110,000 dwellings as well as costing considerable domestic stress and even lives. Commercial and public buildings have suffered, too. There were many causes of the disaster but it illustrates the…
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Reaping the Past

This article by John McCrone, features writer of “The Christchurch Press”, was published on 20 August in the Mainlander Section of “The Press”. It was also published by “The Dominion Post” on the same day under the title ‘Legacy of Rogernomics: Less Red Tape But More Heartache and Financial Disasters’. It is republished here because…
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Christchurch Earthquake Tax

Listener: 9 May, 2011 Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; John Key has shown considerable ability responding to the moods of the New Zealand public. That’s why I’m astonished by his rejection of an earthquake levy, involving a relatively small tax on income over 10 or more years to pay off the costs incurred…
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The Benefits and Costs Of Gambling: Some Policy Implications

Commissioned Report: April 2010 Keywords: Health; Regulation & Taxation; Social Policy; Executive Summary The following is not the usual executive summary. Rather it draws out the policy implications of the known costs and benefits of gambling, thereby summarising the main report, which consists of two parts. Appendix I is a general account about how economists…
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Tax and Equity

PSA Journal, March 2010. Keywords: Distributional Economics; Regulation & Taxation; In my Commercialisation of New Zealand there is a chapter on ‘the abandoning of equity’, of how under Rogernomics social fairness went steadily down in the policy priorities. The report on tax reform by the Victoria University of Wellington Tax Working Group (TWG) confirms the…
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