Govt unveils its guide to housing policies and investment – but check out who gets partnerships and who gets relationships

Border controls have been eased in two government announcements over the past day or so.  Megan Woods, meanwhile, has been busy issuing statements variously as minister of Housing, of Research, Science and Innovation, and of Energy and Resources.

As Housing Minister she drew attention to the Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will guide government policies and investments in tackling the housing crisis.

But she announced yet another government initiative – the National Māori Housing Strategy – which is grounded in the government’s highly political interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, an interpretation which has given rise to a spate of race-based “partnerships”.

The place of non-Maori in the Ardern government’s policy-making pecking order is plain from the language in Woods’ press statement:

“The housing crisis we inherited is a challenge the Government can’t tackle on its own.

“We need to pursue meaningful partnerships with iwi and Māori as Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners to make progress.

“We also need to cement resilient relationships with community housing providers and other non-government organisations, local government, the private sector, and communities.”

It’s a “partnership” with Maori and “relationships” with everybody else. Continue reading “Govt unveils its guide to housing policies and investment – but check out who gets partnerships and who gets relationships”

Another reason for providing more housing: innovation (an impressive amount of it, anyway) begins at home

The Government in July launched a new approach to industry policy,aimed at growing more innovative industries in New Zealand and lifting the productivity of our key sectors.

The rationale was that New Zealand has a strong economic foundation but productivity has continued to fall behind our main competitors.

To take advantage of the opportunities of the technological revolution the Government announced Industry Transformation Plans would  be developed for key sectors.

Industry Transformation Plans were to be sector-led and government-supported, involving partnership between government and the private sector.

According to the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment website – 

The Government is committed to working with its partners to grow more innovative industries. Boosting productivity, including redirecting investment towards more productive sectors, is crucial if New Zealand is to lift the standard of living of all Kiwis, and this will be a key initiative for achieving this.

The initial priority sectors for developing Industry Transformation Plans are agritech, digital technologies, food and beverage, and forestry and wood processing. Over time, this could be expanded into other areas such as creative industries, tourism, aerospace, health technologies and renewable energy.

The fellow in charge, ministerially, is Phil Twyford, who took over from David Parker as Minister of Economic Development during a cabinet reshuffle in June. Continue reading “Another reason for providing more housing: innovation (an impressive amount of it, anyway) begins at home”

Where does world trade go under Trump (and after)

As trade barriers go up between the US and China, the media seems to be both less certain and less critical in its view of President Trump’s policy. Simon Nixon in The Times says that Trump’s brinksmanship is either a masterstroke or a reckless bluff. Respected financial commentator Gillian Tett in the FT senses that executives are coming round to the view that Trump-style roughhousing may be the only way to deal with Chinese trade practices in areas like protection of intellectual property.

Few are willing to cheer on Trump’s strategy.  Of course this may be because he doesn’t have one.  He has done very well just by calling the flaws in the old policy (you know: no need worry about China’s growing power because they are becoming just like us). Perhaps now he is simply jumping from one tactical expedient to another.

But it may be that he has an idea that US – Chinese strategic rivalry should be a more significant element in international relations.  He might envisage something on the lines of the old US – USSR relationship – trade in commodities and basic manufactures while clamping down on co-operation and investment in higher technologies – trying to preserve US predominance in high tech, software, AI, education and research, engineering and intellectual property.

Continue reading “Where does world trade go under Trump (and after)”

Lessons from a Nobel Prize winner on the role of government in innovation

New York University professor Paul Romer, who shared this year’s Nobel Prize for economics, documented, quantified and confirmed the assumption that innovation leads to economic growth.

In its announcement, of the award, the Nobel Prize committee said Romer and William Nordhaus “have designed methods for addressing some of our time’s most basic and pressing questions about how we create long-term sustained and sustainable economic growth.”

Romer’s work has focused on confronting the rapid pace of technological change by showing how knowledge can function as a driver of long-term economic growth.

It’s great to have this affirmed because politicians inevitably bang on about the great boost to economic growth they are generating when they announce they are pumping more public money into science, research and innovation.

But as this article in Fortune points out, Romer did more.
Continue reading “Lessons from a Nobel Prize winner on the role of government in innovation”