The Blog

Wealth thresholds: new data

Today we are releasing the second tranche of our wealth inequality data in conjunction with Statistics New Zealand. The data, available at this link, give details of wealth inequality thresholds – that is, the boundaries between wealth deciles (and in some cases percentiles) by both individual and household. Other tabs in the same spreadsheet provides…

SFO charges over NZ First Foundation

The Serious Fraud Office has laid charges against two – currently unnamed – individuals in conjunction with its investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation. This is hardly surprising, given the strong evidence that the foundation was being used to circumvent donation laws, channelling donations to the party without declaring them. Whatever the next steps,…

Wealth inequality 2020: first data

Today we’re publishing the first data from our investigation of the net worth module attached to the 2017-18 Household Economic Survey. This data looks at wealth broken down by five groups: the Poorest 50% (P1-50), the Next 40% (P51-90), the Next 5% (P91-95), the Next 4% (P96-99) and the Wealthiest 1% (P99-100). The data are…

More problems with PPPs

Public-private partnerships – a kind of partial privatisation of public assets – have been in the news again recently, largely for the wrong reasons. A PPP is a scheme in which a private consortium gets a contract to not just build a public amenity but to design, finance, build and maintain for 30 years or…

Greens wealth tax

The Green Party have just announced a wealth tax – 1% annually on net worth above $1 million, and 2% above $2 million – as part of their Poverty Action Plan. I’m very pleased to see this tax announced, as it follows substantially the recommendations made in my paper earlier this year for Tax Justice…

Budget openness survey has mixed news for NZ

Earlier this month the results of the latest Open Budget Survey were released – and they make mixed reading for New Zealand, despite our high overall score. The Open Budget Survey is one of those classic international comparison tools, in which independent observers run the rule over a country’s practices in a particular area –…

Building a bridge across the coronavirus ravine

Yesterday I had the pleasure of appearing in front of the Epidemic Response Committee in a session about the potential economic and social shape of the recovery from coronavirus. My fellow speakers were Rod Drury, Traci Houpapa, Ian Proudfoot, Oliver Hartwich and Ayesha Verrall. The video of the session is here; below is a version,…

More political donations ideas

Political donations are once more back in the news, and the Spinoff has been running a series looking at different ways to clean up this mess. I have two pieces in the series: an account of the history of donation scandals, and how we got here; and two ideas for building a much better system….

A wealth tax for New Zealand

Tax Justice Aotearoa have just published my paper on the case for a net wealth tax in New Zealand. Below is a brief summary of the proposal. The idea A wealth tax would be a small annual levy, perhaps 1% or 2%, paid by individuals on the wealth they have above a certain threshold, perhaps…