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  • Robert MacCulloch

The headline today in a bunch of news outlets is that Auckland is the world's most "liveable city" which just goes to show ... that such rankings are meaningless nonsense. Shame on the Economists "Intelligence" Unit (EIU) for publishing this kind of stuff. Auckland's housing affordability crisis, traffic congestion, weak infrastructure and sewerage-pouring-into-the-harbour-when-there's-heavy-rain notwithstanding, the EIU has apparently chosen to give the city the top ranking because the virus is not on the loose in it. Well, they shouldn't confuse a country's response to the pandemic with how well a particular city is functioning.

The world's leading urban economist, Ed Glaeser, also made a comment on such "liveability" rankings when he visited us in Auckland a few years ago. He argued that cities should be vibrant, exciting places. Hubs of innovation and entrepreneurship. They should be places to exchange ideas and feed off other people's thoughts, energy and inspiration. The purpose of a city is not to come and relax and stare at the view all day long and marvel at how "liveable" it is. New York is an edgy, happening place, as is London. Isn't that what we want in a city? If you want peace, tranquility and to be in a lovely environment, go live in the Bay of Islands or move to Otago (!)

For sources, see:

  • Robert MacCulloch

As expected (and due to its staff being unelected so not accountable to the public in the same way as our Members of Parliament) the RBNZ is slapping down yesterday's critique that it is speaking to issues unrelated to its remit. The NBR article is here:

The pertinent parts include the following: the Assistant Governor "does not accept MacCulloch’s criticism [although] he does acknowledge the Bank has changed the way it communicates, saying it is now trying to talk to a wider range of stakeholders. He said previously, the Bank’s communication had been technical, academic & focused on a small group of stakeholders who spoke that language. It understood now, though, it needed to broaden its audience, engage with others, listen & learn from that engagement, as well as communicating to them what the bank was doing .... Is there a risk financial markets will take the wrong message from what the bank says? Hawkesby admitted that was a risk but one the central bank was willing to take as part of that longer-term journey of communicating with broader audiences. 'That’s why we have a broader range of people, staff from the Reserve Bank, out talking. I think that just gets financial markets, the broader economy, the public ... used to that approach'.”



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Robert MacCulloch