Category Archives: Regulation & Taxation

Fair Means or Foul? Discussions About Tax Reform Are Ignoring Some Crucial Issues.

Listener: 4 April, 2009.   Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;   At a recent conference sponsored by the Centre for Accounting, Governance and Taxation Research, the first two expert speakers each had 25 years’ experience in taxation reform, one in Australia, the other New Zealand. But if they haven’t got it right after a combined 50…
Continue reading this entry »

The Macroeconomic Crisis: Policy Implications

Paper for the 6th Annual Policy Evolution Conference; 16 March, 2009, Wellington (Revised)  Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation;  The International Financial Crisis  I have but a short time for my presentation, so I am going to focus on a single facet of the macroeconomics of social policy, the coming fiscal crisis.  By way…
Continue reading this entry »

Costal Occupancy Charges.

Statement of Evidence of Brian Henry Easton in an Appeal Under The Resource Management Act 1991 between Margaret and  Stephen Thompson Marlborough District Council (Env-2006-WLG-000038)   Keywords: Environment & Resources;  Regulation & Taxation;   Introduction   I.                    My name is Brian Henry Easton. I am an independent scholar with particular expertise in economics, social statistics…
Continue reading this entry »

So You Want Tax Cuts?

Cutting ‘wasteful’ public spending will not be easy.  Listener: 28 June, 2008.  Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation;  The other side of taxation is government spending. Reducing tax levels means government outlays have to be reduced too, if not immediately then eventually when the borrowing is repaid.  So when someone says, “We should cut…
Continue reading this entry »

Financial Ruin

Aftershocks from the liquidity earthquake.  Listener: 14 June, 2008.  Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation;  It is usually assumed that light-handed regulation works where there is a competitive market, with backing legislation, such as the Commerce Act and the Fair Trading Act, and a judicial process that vigorously enforces the law. (A decade ago,…
Continue reading this entry »

Civilised Drinking

Cheers to George Laking: 1912-2008. Listener: 23 February, 2008. Keywords: Health; Regulation & Taxation; Sir George Laking rendered many services to New Zealanders. Perhaps none was as important as his chairing the 1989 government committee that recommended today’s liquor licensing regime. The consumption of liquor has always been a problem, less so in the distant…
Continue reading this entry »

The Current State Of the Public Sector: an Economist’s View

The 11th Annual Public Sector Finance Forum. 10 September, 2007     Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; Statistics;    It has been my lot to be asked to give two papers to this Public Sector Finance Forum. Today’s paper might be called the ‘macroeconomics’ paper, in which I look at the size of…
Continue reading this entry »

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…
Continue reading this entry »

The Current State Of the Public Sector: an Economist’s View

The 11th Annual Public Sector Finance Forum. 10 September, 2007     Keywords: Macroeconomics & Money; Regulation & Taxation; Statistics;    It has been my lot to be asked to give two papers to this Public Sector Finance Forum. Today’s paper might be called the ‘macroeconomics’ paper, in which I look at the size of the…
Continue reading this entry »

Principles Of Economic Targeting

Revised commentary on “Energy Policy, Climate Change and Targets”, by Jonathon Boston. To the Institute of Policy Studies Roundtable on Energy Policy and Climate Change: Tuesday 20 March 2007.   Keywords: Environment & Resources; Regulation & Taxation;  Targeting is a form of indicative planning. What have we learned from past exercises?  First we need a taxonomy,…
Continue reading this entry »

What Are the Tax Cuts About?

Is National pandering to greed or promoting principle?

Listener: 3 September, 2005.

Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;

Other articles on the 2005 Election Tax Debate

In 1957 the Labour Opposition, led by an elderly Walter Nash desperate to have a turn as Prime Minister, ran its election campaign on “Do You Want £100 or not?”, promising to remit up to £100 to each income taxpayer. It was accused of pandering to greed, without any principle. In fact, the National government was offering the same total tax cuts but more directed to the rich and self-employed, whereas Labour has targeted the poor and workers. The cuts were funded by the introduction of PAYE. Without them, taxpayers would have paid double income tax in the first year: PAYE plus the previous year’s income tax.

Let’s Talk About Tax.

Ruth Laugesen, a senior writer for “The Sunday Star Times”, asked me a dozen questions for her article ‘The Truth About Tax’ of 28 August, 2005 (It does not seem to be on the Web). Here follows my full answers to her questions.

Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;

Other articles on the 2005 Election Tax Debate

1. Are New Zealanders paying through the nose when it comes to tax? No. On international measures, the total tax take in New Zealand is not high. I think we are very lucky. We have a reasonable health system, a reasonable education system, a generous minimum retirement income system. They could be better of course, but it is almost a miracle as how good they are, given the little tax we pay.

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)

What the Tax Debate Is Really About

Paper to a lunch meeting of the Diplomatic Club of Wellington, August 2005, Lunch Meeting.

Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;

Other articles on the 2005 Election Tax Debate

When I offered this topic, I planned to talk about the political-philosophical implications of the New Zealand tax debate in an international context. Since then, the two major parties have released their tax proposals, and I owe my audience a commentary on the differences.

In Praise Of Fiscal Sustainability

Tuesday Lecture Series, ‘THE STATE OF THE NATION: Issues for the 2005 Election’, St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society. 12 July 2005.

Later articles on the 2005 Election Tax Debate

Keywords: Regulation & Taxation;

A central election issue is whether promised substantial income tax cuts are affordable – fiscally sustainable? ‘Fiscal’ refers to government revenue and spending and the difference between them – the fiscal deficit. ‘Sustainable’ refers to a fiscal stance which does not get out of control and which does not damage the economy. The answer is ‘yes’, income tax can be affordable but only if there are major cuts in government spending to offset the loss of tax revenue. There is no room for unilateral tax cuts funded by borrowing.