Call for Superannuitants to help the Young and the Poor

Gareth Morgan has announced that he will initiate a $3m investment into addressing the unmet health needs for children from low income families.

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Do wealthy New Zealanders really need Government Welfare?

Some of you may have seen on Facebook or in the mainstream media the campaign we ran over the last week. For those who have not, you can see it here. Gareth has just turned 65 and is now able to receive the New Zealand Superannuation. The purpose of the exercise was to show how we are spending billions on welfare for pensioners like Gareth and Winston Peters, all the while having some of the highest rates of child poverty in the developed world.

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Housing affordability - How can we claw our way back?

"It's affordable for now and we don't tend to deal with things until they are well and truly broken,". Economist Shamubeel Eaqub.

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A Hundred Days to reveal this is no Transformational Government

This week we published our assessment of the Labour-led coalition’s first 100 days of policy plans and pronouncements. To be clear our assessment is strictly about whether the policies announced are substantive, will likely deliver what their promotors assert, and will progress the state of well-being of New Zealanders. It’s important to differentiate policy substance from any popular public appeal that a policy, a policy announcement or indeed the mana of the messenger – might engender. With policy, what matters is

  • the stated objective,
  • whether the detail of the policy plan supports that objective,
  • and finally whether the implementation of the policy does or does not enable the policy to be effective.

Of course the devil is always in the detail, hyping up a policy is a far cry from delivering the declared effect.

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100 Day Progress: 3 out of 10

3 out of 10.

For all the bluster and praise the media have lavished on the new Government, our summation of the 100 days is it deserves 3 out of 10.

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Making sense of the US stock market. Reason to worry?

Stockmarket palpitations are always great for low level headlines from daily media. The latest has been no exception with headlines screaming really dumb tags such as “Dow drop is a record”. It’s click bait in the extreme and a commentary on just how superficial coverage by popular media is.

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Voters deserve clarity over cannabis reform.

The new Labour bill for cannabis reform is another in a growing list of policy that has failed to live up to its pre-election billing.  Asked in an election debate whether Labour would legalise cannabis for medicinal use, for pain relief or extending life, Jacinda Ardern responded unequivocally; “absolutely yes.”. Labour continued to campaign pre-election as the party that would "make medicinal cannabis available for people with terminal illnesses or in chronic pain".

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The Myth of the Lazy Poor

I always think twice before diving into the weird and wonderful world that is the comments thread on Stuff, but after a recent article that linked the increase in food parcel deliveries to growing inequality in NZ I felt compelled. My optimism that perhaps the notion of 300,000 kids living in poverty in NZ would stir an outpouring of support quickly turned to disappointment as it became clear a number of busy commenters had left their compassion somewhere far away from their keyboards.

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Rising rents – another symptom of tax break on housing

Stories of the impending rental crisis in Wellington have reached fever pitch in recent weeks. A perfect storm of mismatched supply and demand, short-sighted Government policy ( such as the tertiary policy driving more students into the city), and the overarching inability to fix our tax system has led to a situation where rents are predicted to rise around 20% relative to this time last year.

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The Contamination of our Public Service by Partisan Politics

That one of the causes of the deteriorating quality of policy-making is of the politicians own making should come as no surprise – and it is confirmed by the latest survey of what New Zealand’s public servants think of their political masters. In short, the view is that policy is so compromised by political bias and prejudice as to render it increasingly ineffective in terms of serving the public interest. That’s right – policy best-practice is the victim of political regimes of the modern era having changed the rules to enable their political expediency to rule. One of its strongest manifestations is the role of political staff appointed in Ministers offices that run interference to prevent the public service doing its job. Secondly, Ministers are increasingly unwilling to take free and frank, politically neutral advice. That too was a resounding finding of the survey.

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