The Blog

A big idea 3: Let citizens draw up DIY Budgets

Max Rashbrooke is a research associate at Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, and has recently published the report Bridges Both Ways: Transforming the openness of New Zealand government. This article sets out the third of five ‘big ideas’ drawn from the report, with the rest to follow in subsequent weeks….

A big idea 2: Let public vote on council budgets

Max Rashbrooke is a research associate at Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, and has just published the report Bridges Both Ways: Transforming the openness of New Zealand government. This article sets out the second of five ‘big ideas’ drawn from the report, with the rest to follow in subsequent weeks. This article…

A big idea 1: Crowdsource our laws

Max Rashbrooke is a research associate at Victoria University of Wellington’s Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, and has just published the report Bridges Both Ways: Transforming the openness of New Zealand government. This article sets out the first of five ‘big ideas’ drawn from the report, with the rest to follow in subsequent weeks….

Donations to political parties 2011-16

I’ve been looking at donations to New Zealand political parties in recent years, for a variety of reasons. Party funding is one of the perennial topics of politics, mostly because of one pretty fundamental concern, which is that donations can buy influence and access. Modern political parties cost a lot of money to run, and…

Why a referendum on smacking is a terrible idea

New Zealand First has just announced that it wants a referendum – another one, but binding this time – on our anti-smacking laws. I’m not opposed to binding referenda in principle, although I do think they are the bluntest tool in the direct democracy toolbox, so you might think that I’d support this call. I…

Is there much wealth mobility in New Zealand?

There has been lots of coverage yesterday and today of my latest wealth inequality research (carried out with my father and Wilma Molano from Statistics New Zealand), most of it focusing on our findings about the very limited amount of assets that the average person owns. However, we also looked at mobility – that is,…

The UBI vs state jobs

The Financial Times has an interesting piece by Manchester University’s Diane Coyle critiquing the UBI. She makes two points, both based around communal ideas. The first is that people don’t just need income, they need jobs, because going to work is important for one’s identity and levels of social contact; the guarantee of a job is…

The NZSO at 70: promise and puzzles

It was the NZSO’s birthday this week – it turned 70 – and so it threw a big party, in the form of a free concert featuring a kind of ‘greatest hits’ snippets of the last seven decades. So is our national orchestra in good shape, now that it’s a septuagenarian? Mostly, I’d say, it…

Is The Mikado racist?

NZ Opera is currently staging a production of the Gilbert and Sullivan comic opera The Mikado (which I’ve reviewed here). It was written in the 1800s as a satire on British high society, but set in Japan so that the satire could be more biting (they were limits to what you could say directly about…