As the dust settles after last week’s budget (or should that be on last week’s budget), it has been hard to find any commentators who thought it was “transformational”. Those who might be identified as Left-leaning didn’t break into raptures; some who claim to be independent (Duncan Garner, for example) were critical (“what should have been a triumph became a nightmare”); and on the right a headline over a Matthew Hooton essay (“Well-being just Wellington BS”) was fairly typical.
Of course, there were some like Audrey Young in the NZ Herald who thought it was a “marketing triumph for Ardern and Robertson so far”, although she sensibly applied a caveat that slow growth “could nix feel-good factor of the well-being Budget”.
Across the Tasman, commentary on the NZ budget was highly laudatory, particularly from those pundits who were still red-faced from predicting a Labour shoo-in at the Federal election. Continue reading “Bhutan was into well-being long before NZ – and the bureaucrats could be an obstacle here” →
Ireland has appointed the head of New Zealand’s Treasury department, Gabriel Makhlouf, as the next governor of its central bank. He succeeds Philip Lane, who is moving to Frankfurt to join the executive board of the European Central Bank as its chief economist.
Confirming Makhlouf’s appointment to the Central Bank of Ireland, Irish finance minister Paschal Donohoe said:
“Gabriel has demonstrated his broad and detailed knowledge of economics, financial markets, monetary policy and fiscal policy, and has the experience of leading a large and complex public service organisation of 10,000 people.”
Before heading New Zealand’s treasury, Makhlouf was chair of the OECD committee on fiscal affairs, the world’s leading tax rule-making body.
According to the Financial Times, this is a priority area for Ireland in light of moves to overhaul global corporate tax rules.
In this country, in its report on the appointment, Stuff said Makhlouf is credited with introducing well-being measures into government Budgets. Continue reading “Makhlouf gets credit for his promotion of well-being – but what has happened to Treasury’s well-being?” →
Finance Minister Grant Robertson sounded bullish about the NZ economy this week.
That’s a good sign as New Zealanders await his second budget.
He has already told us he is looking beyond traditional measures—such as GDP—to a wider set of indicators of success. The development of budget priorities, he insists, represents a new way of thinking about how NZ’s success is measured.
Robertson set out his five priorities for Budget 2019 as:
– Creating opportunities for productive businesses, regions, iwi and others to transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy;
– Supporting a thriving nation in the digital age through innovation, social and economic opportunities;
– Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities;
– Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing, including addressing family violence;
– Supporting mental wellbeing for all New Zealanders, with a special focus on under 24-year-olds. Continue reading “It looks like fairness has been foregone and we should focus on a fiscal fillip to our well-being” →
Finance Minister Grant Robertson has headed for Washington for the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank, as well as for talks with other finance ministers and senior US government officials.
Despite the darkening cloud on the global economy Robertson is gung-ho about the state of the NZ economy, although he concedes that, as an outward-facing export nation,
“ … NZ is not immune to this global uncertainty, and we have to bear that in mind as we transition to a more productive, sustainable, and inclusive economy”.
In Parliament before his departure for Washington he cited reports which indicate the NZ economy continues to out-perform its international peers. Continue reading “Budget surpluses are Robertson’s aim but well-being pressures will test his prowess” →
As the Labour caucus suns itself at Martinborough, and members savour one or two of the local products, it may seem like a golden summer for the party.
PM Jacinda Ardern is just back from Europe where some of New Zealand’s finest journalists modestly recorded how she bedazzled the elites.
And although some commentators on the Left, notably Chris Trotter, have rather carpingly been critical of Ardern because there is little to show for the “transformation” which the PM promised New Zealanders, caucus members are unshaken in their conviction transformation will happen.
Never mind the own goals scored by Clare Curran and Meka Whaitiri, not to mention Iain Lee-Galloway on the Karel Sroubek affair, or Phil Twyford with his KiwiBuild fiasco: the Ardern government will soon be tackling education reform, introducing a capital gains tax to make the system “fairer”, and giving trade unions greater powers in wage bargaining. Continue reading “The Martinborough message to ministers must be ‘lift your game’” →
The government is reported to be planning a “world-first well-being” budget in 2019. It won’t be some “light, fluffy happiness index”, but will be based, says Finance Minister Grant Robertson, on indicators and measures of well-being which can be tracked.
It sounds a great idea. The government sees it as running in tandem with the current measurement of GDP growth, which according to Robertson is a good, long-run measure of economic activity. But he reckons GDP doesn’t represent what New Zealanders regard as success. He believes success should be measured not just through financial capital (by GDP), but through natural capital, human capital and social capital.
The government’s enthusiasm for tracking “well-being” is apparently matched in the departments tasked with undertaking the research, particularly Treasury and Statistics. Continue reading “Well-being index may show we have little to bleat about – except productivity, perhaps” →