The Blog

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…

Polling: housing vs poverty vs inequality

Previous polling data about what’s on the public’s mind has often run together poverty and inequality, and sometimes even conflated them with housing. So what happens when you split the three issues out, as polling firm UMR has helpfully done for the last six months and summarised below? Well, when you ask people what they…

TOP’s Democracy Reset: good principles, rushed execution

Gareth’s Morgan’s The Opportunities Party (TOP) yesterday announced its ‘Democracy Reset‘, tapping into the growing public sense that democracy isn’t working the way it should. And it’s right to identify concentrated power within Cabinet, falling voter turnout and vested interests as key threats to the system. But while it has some good ideas, it doesn’t…

A modest proposal to aid voting on DHB elections

Local Government New Zealand’s Mike Reid has an interesting piece in the latest Policy Quarterly about local council turnout. (Short version: it’s low largely because councils don’t have many powers, and this is set to get worse as central government reforms strip even more power from them.) One of the other factors behind low turnout,…

On Gareth Morgan’s ‘new’ tax, and the UBI gone

Gareth Morgan’s The Opportunities Party yesterday (re)announced its first policy, Morgan’s long-standing plan for a comprehensive capital income tax. In effect, the policy argues that all forms of wealth generate – or should generate – income, just like savings accumulate interest, and that that income should be taxed, just like interest is. Most controversially, the…