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Opinion & Commentary


Opinion and Commentary contains media articles written by CIS researchers.  Communications Manager: Karla Pincott 0411 759 934

  • Kiwis put ETS on the shelf

    15 Dec 2011 | The Australian Financial Review

    New Zealand’s realistic policy approach, combined with its almost defunct carbon market, should be a real wake-up call for Australia to reconsider its ill-fated Carbon Tax Scheme. Read More

  • Land of the long white cloud faces bad weather

    24 Nov 2011 | The Age

    SINCE 2008, New Zealand has been led by former investment banker John Key's National Party. The party campaigned on growing New Zealand's economy and encouraging individual enterprise. However, three years... Read More

  • Kiwis facing a critical choice

    24 Nov 2011 | Australian Financial Review

    New Zealand must overcome challenging economic conditions, writes Luke Malpass Read More

  • Spending Spree wasted decade of prosperity

    18 Nov 2011 | The National Business Review

    NZ’s decade long spending binge was prosperity wasted. Read More

  • Stop pricing young workers out of the labour force

    10 Jun 2011 | The Dominion Post

    Minimum wages hurt employment prospects for the people they're intended to help. Read More

  • The Don reignites the war of ideas

    13 May 2011 | Spectator

    Dr Don Brash’s return to politics will breathe new life into New Zealand’s political debate, start a healthy battle of ideas and finally see the important policies debated. Read More

  • Brash’s ‘extremist’ policies seen as sensible in Australia

    03 May 2011 | The Dominion Post

    Don Brash’s economic policies are closer to Julia Gillard’s in Australia, a country whose standard of living is significantly higher than New Zealand’s. Read More

  • New Zealand's risky re-regulation path

    Luke Malpass | 03 Nov 2010 | Business Spectator

    The recent rise of wrong-headed economic populism in New Zealand brings the threat of protectionism in an economy that is already woefully stagnant. Read More

  • New Zealand’s great regression

    Luke Malpass | 20 Oct 2010 | The American, Journal of the American Enterprise Institute

    New Zealand was once a beacon to the Western world for classical liberal reform. No longer. Where did it all go wrong? Read More

  • Australians hung-over post election

    Luke Malpass | 29 Aug 2010 | Sunday Star Times

    New Zealander politicians can draw a couple of lessons from the Australian election, says Luke Malpass in the Sunday Star Times, 29 August 2010. Read More

  • Aussie election offers Key a warning

    Luke Malpass | 27 Aug 2010 | The National Business Review

    There is a grave warning for John Key's National Party in the result of the Australia federal election, says Luke Malpass in The National Business Review, 27 August 2010. Read More

  • Failing to deliver on policy promises came back to bite

    Luke Malpass | 06 Jul 2010 | The Dominion Post

    What are the lessons New Zealand politicians can learn from Kevin Rudd’s sudden fall from grace, asks Luke Malpass in the Dominion Post 6 July 2010. Read More

  • The spectacular descent of Kevin Rudd

    Luke Malpass | 25 Jun 2010 | The National Business Review

    The central lesson in Rudd’s demise is that at some point, the polls have to take back seat to the policy. Read More

  • Little John shows Kevin how it's done

    Luke Malpass | 04 Jun 2010 | The Australian

    Soon after John Key was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in late 2008, he visited Kevin Rudd. The Australian Prime Minister was at the height of his popularity, soaring in the polls, saving Australia... Read More

  • Policy debate isn’t helped when the Left descends into hatred

    Luke Malpass | 14 May 2010 | The Dominion Post

    The abuse of Peter Saunders conceals more serious welfare questions in New Zealand. Read More

  • KiwiRail - a costly indulgence?

    Luke Malpass | 11 May 2010 | The New Zealand Herald

    Auckland and Wellington commuters may have to pay for local rail – despite KiwiRail’s billion-dollar investment so far. Read More

  • MMP struggles in Germany, now it struggles here

    Luke Malpass | 26 Mar 2010 | The National Business Review

    MMP in Germany suffers the same problems as MMP in New Zealand and New Zealand should learn from this. Read More

  • Question time on whether NZ needs to reinstate an upper house

    Luke Malpass | 24 Mar 2010 | The Dominion Post

    Voters in New Zealand will decide the fate of MMP next year. But what about options not on the ballot paper? Read More

  • New Zealand misses the reform boat

    Luke Malpass | 26 Feb 2010 | The Wall Street Journal

    Instead of using his mandate to push forward with liberalisation, Prime Minister John Key is losing his way Read More

  • The high price of subsidies

    Luke Malpass | 14 Feb 2010 | Sunday Star-Times

    Like virtually all industry assistance schemes, the feel-good factor of the New Zealand government’s subsidy to the makers of Avatar outweighs any economic benefit. Read More

  • Labour should not take its eyes off the target

    Stephen Kirchner | 21 Dec 2009 | The Dominion Post

    Twenty years after introducing inflation targeting in 1989 and revolutionising central bank governance that was to sweep the world during the 1990s, Labour is back in opposition and rejected the monetary... Read More

  • Hostility to aspiration and the tall poppy syndrome hold New Zealand back

    Luke Malpass | 13 Dec 2009 | The Sunday Star Times

    In last week’s Sunday Star Times, Rod Oram dubiously claims the 2025 Taskforce's analysis is inaccurate, lazy and shallow, and dismisses the chairman’s credentials and the report’s findings. Read More

  • Kiwi monetary muddle

    Stephen Kirchner | 23 Nov 2009 | The Wall Street Journal

    The falling U.S. dollar is sparking a dangerous debate about the New Zealand central bank's role. Read More

  • Smartest Kiwis nest in our warmer climate

    Luke Malpass | 14 Nov 2009 | The Newcastle Herald

    For the half a million Kiwis living in Australia, the New Zealand government’s goal of reaching Australia’s living standards by 2025 will come as a welcome tonic, if only for the sake of their relatives... Read More

  • Life’s joys get a little lost down holes of health-cost analyses

    Eric Crampton | 21 Oct 2009 | The Canberra Times

    Any time we make a decision that lets us enjoy a bit of fun but with some risk to our health, that decision is considered irrational and cannot generate any real enjoyment. Read More

  • ‘Healthist’ doomsayers are spoiling all our fun

    Eric Crampton | 16 Oct 2009 | The New Zealand Herald

    The hidden cost of healthist cost reports is the slow erosion of liberty that ensues when we take them at face value. By conflating the costs that risk-takers impose on themselves with the costs they impose... Read More

  • No light at end of tunnel for KiwiRail

    Luke Malpass | 11 Sep 2009 | The National Business Review

    Since KiwiRail was renationalised in 2008, it has become clear that the previous government’s justifications for purchasing a hugely expensive, loss-making asset were driven more by ideology and political... Read More

  • KiwiRail mired in Labour ideology

    Luke Malpass | 10 Sep 2009 | The Dominion Post

    On election night, Helen Clark expressed hope that all her government’s gains would not go up in a ‘bonfire of right-wing ideology.’ Curiously, few have dared question the Clark government’s ideological... Read More

  • Want a centre-right government in New Zealand? Move to Australia

    Luke Malpass | 14 Aug 2009 | NZCPR

    It is ironic that National’s Budget mirrored the Australian Labor Party’s budget a few weeks earlier. To rephrase one of the great political one-liners of the last decade in New Zealand: John Key and... Read More

  • NZ tries harder for foreign cash

    Stephen Kirchner | 31 Jul 2009 | The Age

    Rugby is not the only arena in which Australia is losing out to New Zealand. Australia also faces increased competition from across the Tasman in the race to secure scarce global capital. In sharp contrast... Read More

  • Incentivising welfare

    John Humphreys | 12 Jun 2009 | NZ Centre for Political Research

    The Key government campaigned on reforming welfare, but as the recession bites deeper we shall see if John Key and Paula Bennett are serious or not. Read More

  • Kiwi Crunch Time

    Luke Malpass | 26 May 2009 | Wall Street Journal Asia

    NZ Prime Minister John Key often talks about his desire to grow New Zealand out of the global economic recession, rather than bail the country out through huge spending packages. This puts him at odds... Read More

  • NZ should stay put on UN Indigenous declaration

    Sara Hudson | 13 Apr 2009 | NZCPR

    Recently Prime Minister John Key was caught musing over whether New Zealand should follow Australia’s lead and sign up to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). Let us all hope... Read More

  • The recession will be a good time to reform welfare

    Luke Malpass | 01 Apr 2009

    If there was any doubt that welfare in New Zealand needed reforming, a recent picture told a thousand words. It was of a mother of a mongrel mob member, herself on the Invalid’s Benefit attempting to... Read More

  • Should Keynes have a seat at the G20 table

    Stephen Kirchner | 28 Mar 2009 | NZ Business Roundtable

    If the leaders of the G20 nations and the International Monetary Fund are to be believed, activist fiscal policy is essential to save the global economy from an even deeper and more protracted downturn.... Read More

  • Is the new National-led government up to the task of remaking New Zealand?

    Luke Malpass | 27 Nov 2008 | Remaking New Zealand

    Once the dust from the financial crisis settles, there is a lot of work to be done in New Zealand. But what the country needs and what is electorally popular are two different things. The newly elected... Read More

  • Welfare is killing Kiwis softly

    Jeremy Sammut | 18 Sep 2008 | The Dominion Post

    If you believe the editorial in the most recent edition of the New Zealand Medical Journal, a toxic combination of bad social and economic policies is responsible for killing thousands of New Zealanders... Read More

  • Is New Zealand saving itself to death?

    Phil Rennie | 07 May 2008 | The Dominion Post

    How important are savings to economic growth? Would you gamble billions of dollars on the answer? This is the challenge facing the New Zealand government after the launch of a radical new savings plan... Read More

  • Kiwisaver or KiwiSucker?

    Phil Rennie | 07 May 2008 | The Wall Street Journal Asia

    You’d have to be an idiot not to join KiwiSaver, according to most financial advisors. In effect the government is paying you thousands of dollars to join, and soon employers will have to contribute... Read More

  • Supersize my economy

    Phil Rennie | 11 Apr 2008 | The National Business Review

    Everyone knows that Australians are richer than New Zealanders, with wages a third higher on average. Almost everyone agrees this is a bad thing, but the hard part is working out what exactly to do about... Read More

  • Don’t choke on your cornflakes but Australians are much richer than New Zealanders

    Phil Rennie | 10 Dec 2007 | The New Zealand Herald

    Why are Australians so much richer than New Zealanders? It’s almost an embarrassing question to ask because we don’t like admitting superiority to the Aussies at anything, be it sport or economic policy. Read More

  • Australians are no bigger and no smarter than New Zealanders, but seriously better off

    Phil Rennie | 08 Dec 2007 | The Australian Financial Review

    Kiwis have become used to finishing behind Australia in sporting contests, but the most serious gap between the two countries is the level of wealth. Thanks to 16 years of uninterrupted growth, Australians... Read More

  • Why is Australia so much richer than New Zealand?

    | 07 Dec 2007 | The Press

    Why are Australians so much richer than New Zealanders? It’s almost an embarrassing question to ask because we don’t like admitting superiority to the Aussies at anything, be it sport or economic policy. Read More

  • Why Australia is much richer than NZ

    | 07 Dec 2007 | The Business Spectator

    Why are Australians so much richer than New Zealanders? It’s almost an embarrassing question to ask because kiwis don’t like admitting superiority to Aussies at anything, be it sport or economic policy. Read More

  • Time for Politicians to treat our money more carefully

    | 17 May 2007 | The Press

    This week’s budget will be the biggest spend-up in New Zealand’s history. Even in the days of Muldoon there was nothing to rival the $54 billion spend-up that Dr Michael Cullen will unveil on Thursday. Read More

  • A breather before bingeing

    Phil Rennie | 17 May 2007 | The New Zealand Herald

    Finance Minister Dr Cullen is in an enviable position, despite his protestations of poverty. Every year he receives billions of dollars in bonus tax that he did not expect. Most treasurers around the world... Read More

  • Hey, Big Spender

    | 12 Apr 2007 | The Salient

    Does the Government actually do any good? This might sound like a strange question, but it’s one that New Zealanders don’t ask often enough. Read More

  • People should be able to opt out of welfare entitlements in return for tax reductions

    Peter Saunders | 28 Mar 2007 | The Dominion Post

    In 1970, taxes consumed one-fifth of everything New Zealand produced. Today taxes absorb one-third of it. If things go on like this, the government will be soaking up half of everything we produce by the... Read More

  • Who's paying all their tax?

    Phil Rennie | 14 Sep 2006 | The Dominion Post

    Nobody likes paying tax, but for a large number of people it’s now an inconvenience they don’t have to bother with. Read More

  • Our beneficiary nation

    | 15 Mar 2006 | The Dominion Post

    Am I the only one who feels uncomfortable at the latest Working for Families ad on TV, where the middle class family (complete with iPods and cellphones) are exhorted to claim their entitlement? Read More

  • Bad manners to blame politicians

    Phil Rennie | 15 Feb 2006 | The New Zealand

    As an exuberant child of the 1980s I had many excuses for my misbehaviours and public rudeness. But I never thought to blame David Lange or Roger Douglas. Read More

  • Growth needs basic rules

    Wolfgang Kasper | 28 Jun 2002 | The New Zealand Herald

    The New Zealand economy is one of the freest in the world. This still holds true despite its freedom rating having slipped somewhat since the bold economic reforms that ended a decade ago. Read More

  • Time to care for ourselves: Instead of a welfare state, it would be cheaper and more efficient if we each made our own arrangements

    Peter Saunders | 26 Mar 2002 | The New Zealand Herald

    The welfare state has developed over a hundred years.  In this time, increasing numbers of people have become dependent upon it, not just as consumers but also as producers and managers of its services. ... Read More

  • Lessons from across the Tasman where policy strength has brought economic growth

    | 30 Nov -0001 | The National Business Review

    A new political leader is promising some radical ideas. Massive tax cuts, reduced government spending (compared to his rival at least), work for the dole and a 90 day trial period for new workers are all... Read More