Category Archives: Social Policy

A Proposal for an Earnings-Related Redundancy Insurance Protection.

1          Summary 1.1       This short paper sets out a scheme for reduding the shock of lost income from redundancy. 2          Preliminaries: Dealing with a Private Market Failure 2.1       This proposal arises because the private market has not been able to provide adequate income protection for those who become unemployed from redundancy. In particular…
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The Sources Of House Price Inflation.

Building more houses is not going to reduce house prices much (although it will help more people to be decently housed). The inflation driver is financial speculation based on leveraged borrowing. Until that is addressed, house prices will continue to boom. Policies based on theories which do not fit the facts are not going to…
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What Happened to Egalitarian New Zealand?

Bob Scott Lecture Series on Inequality, 25 June 2019. (See also Have We Abandoned the Egalitarian Society?) What I want to do this evening is examine egalitarianism. In particular, New Zealand is a less egalitarian society today than it was when I was growing up in the 1950s. Why? How? The structure of the paper…
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Obituary: Ian Francis Shirley

Ian Shirley (28 February 1940 – 20 January 2019) This obituary was first published in “The Policy Observatory” which Ian founded New Zealand’s progressive causes have been driven by a strong sense of social justice. Ian Shirley was one of the nation’s strongest drivers. He was born in Kaiapoi and spent his early years in…
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Poverty and the Statistician

Presentation to the Wellington Statistics Group, 10 December, 2018 This year’s Child Poverty Reduction Act (CPRA) marks a major innovation in social policy. Politicians – here and overseas – have promised to eliminate child poverty at some date in the future. They never have and by the time the target date is reached the promisers…
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Correction to submission to Parliamentary Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill.

In my original submission on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill, I had a separate discussion proposing adding a section to the part of the bill which modifies the Oranga Tamariki Act (and will be eventually be separated out) requiring that in all activities involving a child, the best interests of the child should be paramount….
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Submission to the Social Services and Community Select Committee on the Child Poverty Reduction Bill

Note that some of the original submission proved redundant. For ease of presentation they have been removed. An explanation of what happened is set out here. (I have not changed the numbering.) Introduction My name is Brian Easton. I have a doctorate of science from the University of Canterbury and hold other qualifications in economics,…
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Housing Prices Relative to Consumer Prices: An Analysis

This report was published by the AUT Policy Observatory. It’s abstract is This is an update of a note I wrote in April 2007. It uses a longer housing price series that starts in 1962 (instead of 1980) and finishes in 2016 (instead of 2007). It shows that while historically housing prices have risen a little faster than consumer prices, the…
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Two Dollars A Day, Is All They Pay, For Helping With Povertay

The 2015 Budget did not deal with children’s poverty  but it did put a down payment.  (This is based on a presentation to a Child Poverty Action Group Post-budget Breakfast.) The budget begins by identifying five ‘fiscal priorities’. Three are about the fiscal deficit and the track of the fiscal debt, one is about ACC…
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Should Environmentalists Care About Poverty?

Can an environmentalist focus solely on sustainability or are they drawn into wider issues such has how fairly the material product of the economy is distributed? Perhaps heightened by the leadership contest in the Green Party, there appears to be a debate going on about where environmentalism fits into the political spectrum. I am not…
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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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Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds Admit Impediments

How much should the state be involved in determining who are in a marriage relationship? Pundit: 12 December, 2014. Keywords: Social Policy; The recently released Child Poverty Action Group’s (CPAG) report on the Complexities of Relationship in the Welfare System and the Consequences for Children tells some ugly stories. Benefit entitlement can depend upon the…
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PENALISING THE POOR

Sloppy analysis is dividing us into the deserving and undeserving   Pundit: 3 November, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   Being no expert on domestic violence, I looked at the Glenn inquiry’s The People’s Report to see what it had to say about causes. I had expected a summary of the research literature…
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HOW SUSTAINABLE IS NEW ZEALAND?

One of the biggest issues missed during the election campaign was the sustainability of National’s economic, environmental and even social policies. So what do you do if the government’s not thinking long-term?   Pundit: 29 September, 2014.   Keywords: Environment & Resources;  Macroeconomics & Money; Political Economy & History; Social Policy;   Behavioural economics is…
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Our Children, Our Choice: Priorities for Policy: A CPAG publication

Contribution to Wellington launch, 9 September, 2014.     Keywords: Social Policy;   This year is the fortieth anniversary of the recognition that by far the largest group of the poor in New Zealand are children and their parents (and guardians). Previously the conventional wisdom had thought it was beneficiaries who were the poor but…
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Chips with Everything

Chips with Everything It is a fallacy to claim the poor just need financial advice to improve their lot.   Listener: 10 April, 2014.   Keywords: Distributional Economics; Social Policy;   I was working on a standard-of-living case and was shown figures prepared by an approved budget advisory service for Meg and her daughter Stacey…
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