About

This website began hosting a series of Briefing Papers from early in 2014. The papers are focussed on assessing the state of the country as the basis for public discussion and debate. A group of writers has been assembled to write short briefing papers based on extensive research programmes and presented in a form that can be easily understood by the public at large.

The Briefing papers are aimed at providing the public with an overview of critical issues facing New Zealand society in the 21st century. The goal is to promote informed discussion and debate, so crucial to economic and social development, with the central question being:

how is the public


interest being served?

The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government. It is a key factor in assessing jobs and the cost of living, educational opportunities, housing options and the way in which the policy makers of today are protecting the interests of future generations.

In order to address these questions, the Briefing Papers are designed to examine the underlying assumptions on which policy options are based and what interests, public or private, are being served. As Herbert Gans once suggested, this means both understanding and assessing, who benefits?

 

The Papers

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Filling the land tax void

Ranjana Gupta

The tax system plays multiple roles. In addition to being a fundamental instrument to raise revenues that finances government expenditure, it also acts as an instrument to achieve the economic and social aims of government, and redistributes income on a socially acceptable basis.   Classical economist Adam Smith developed the
 
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COP21 and the race to stay below 1.5°C

Julie Anne Genter

The outcome of the COP21 climate talks in Paris last December was important and encouraging. It was the 21st annual United Nations meeting to discuss climate change and agree on what countries will do to avert the worst. A great deal of work went into preparing this meeting, as did
 
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Trade unions and the climate change fight

Julie Douglas & Peter McGhee

We [unions] have to stop running away from the climate crisis, stop leaving it to the environmentalist, and look at it. Let ourselves absorb the fact that the industrial revolution that led to our society’s prosperity is now destabilizing the natural systems on which all of life depends – Naomi
 
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Squandering New Zealand’s water

Dame Anne Salmond

Across New Zealand, people from many different backgrounds have a deep and passionate connection with their waterways. From children who grow up swimming and playing in and beside streams, rivers and lakes, to those who fish for whitebait, eels or trout; from iwi with powerful connections with ancestral waterways, to
 
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Hooked: Race for South Pacific tuna

Michael Field

Amidst the romance of creating one of the world’s largest marine protected area – New Zealand’s 620,000 square kilometre Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary – there is an overlooked unpleasant fact. Te Ohu Kaimoana chairman Jamie Tuuta pointed to it on a chart showing the sanctuary surrounded on three sides by heavy
 
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Expanding ACC to cover sickness

Grant Duncan

In December 2017, we will mark the 50th anniversary of the Royal Commission report Compensation for Personal Injury in New Zealand, commonly known as the Woodhouse Report after its chair, the late Sir Owen. This pioneering report led to New Zealand’s unique universal 24-hour accident compensation and rehabilitation scheme, the
 
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Love, honour and provoke

Sally Simmonds

 As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. St. Paul in Ephesians 5:22   My mother has long maintained that women provoke men to violence against them in the home by not honouring the ‘obey’ portion of their vows. Most people,
 
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Recent Trends in Public Spending

Brian Easton

Despite the public’s desire for more government spending there has been little increase in the aggregate level of government spending relative to GDP over the last 20 years. There was a slight rise immediately after the GFC, because GDP stagnated. Government spending as a percent of GDP is now lower
 
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Timing is Everything

Cameron Preston

I was asked give a Canterbury perspective on whether I expected government services to be cut to fund tax cuts in 2017. The answer is not as straight forward as the question. In May 2011, only three months after the Christchurch Earthquake – our biggest natural disaster – the government announced
 
 

Contact

If you, as members of the public, have issues that you would like to see addressed then contact us.
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