My great grand-father was born in Odessa, Ukraine, in 1873, before fleeing to NZ, so the conflict has a personal interest. Whilst living in London, I used to see a bit of the Russian oligarchs as they moved about, including Roman Abramovich in Hyde Park and in Jaks Restaurant on Walton St, Chelsea. Meanwhile Boris Berezovsky, another one, had his office in Down Street just around the corner from my flat in Shepherd Market, off Piccadilly. Traces of polonium were found there.
Who would've thought it? Today over 12,000 cases of Covid in NZ? That's around 2,400 per million of our population. And numbers have been doubling the past several days. The "Our World in Data" source below, which compares Covid cases per million, was last updated several days ago. On today's numbers, it looks like NZ now has one of the highest case load numbers in the world. We're in the top 20 out of over 200 countries. Should numbers double again we could hit the top 10. F
The Herald has reported on PM Ardern's shirt-fronting of President Putin over Ukraine. She's "called in the Russian ambassador to send a very clear message around NZ's position on what's happening". "Ukraine's sovereignty & territorial integrity must be upheld and what's happening now directly undermines that", Ardern said. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnstone & US President Biden are also not taking any nonsense, invoking a sanctions package on long gone assets. Seems they've n
As part of its Official Cash Rate announcement yesterday, the Reserve Bank released a statement headed "More Tightening Needed", which includes the line: "Headline CPI inflation is well above the Reserve Bank’s target range, but will return towards the 2 percent midpoint over coming years" (emphasis added). The "coming years" are from late 2022 to "mid-2023". It seems that the Bank has a far superior knowledge to anyone else on the planet as to what the virus "will" do, what
Finance Minister Robertson today confirmed a reshuffle of the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee. There was a galaxy of local talent from which to choose. It was ignored. Shame on you, Grant Robertson. Funnily enough, I've barely ever heard of the folks who sit on the Reserve Bank's Monetary Policy Committee. By contrast, a whole bunch of the members of the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee are very well known to me, from Huw Pill who I used to see during visi
Here's my NBR article today, https://www.nbr.co.nz/node/233210. At present it is their number one most popular read! Whilst many of the headlines in our mainstream media still heavily feature medical experts, much attention overseas is being paid to the future economic impact of the pandemic. How the virus is affecting the prosperity of different nations and, in particular, their leading cities, has become a topic of intense interest. The implications for NZ are stark. Where
Below is my Opinion Piece in the NZ Herald today - there's a lot of misinformation being peddled about Unemployment Insurance at present - so wanted to set the record straight since its long been a field of mine in economics: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/robert-macculloch-dont-buy-the-baloney-about-unemployment-insurance/5C2IEBKG2SLOWKETEF4ST5ZNRQ/ Who would've thought it? Left and right alike have turned on the Government's unemployment insurance (UI) proposals. Right
The news this past week featured the Auckland Grammar School headmaster, Tim O'Connor, who has said it's ridiculous that the school's been blocked from collecting a shipment of Rapid Antigen Tests that have arrived in the country. He says the rapid tests would mean they could check students at school - rather than immediately sending them home if they have a runny nose. In spite of the tests being highly accurate and approved by health authorities throughout the world, NZ's H
The Reserve Bank is undergoing a "transformation" and not unlike Meta (the new name for Facebook) the spin-artists have been at work. Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg is being mocked by critics for his updated company values, using terms like “build awesome things” & “live in the future”. He's introduced the phrase, “Meta, Metamates, Me”, in a nod to the naval adage, “ship, shipmates, self”, meaning to put ship & crew ahead of oneself, the UK Times reports. Meanwhile at the RBNZ, a n
The news is being dominated by the huge hit that the Auckland hospitality industry is taking from the virus, especially in the Central Business District. New data has just revealed a 30% drop in year-on-year revenues. Proprietors say that Omicron is scaring customers away and that the Government's COVID-19 modelling is only making it worse.
Newshub quote Cafe Hanoi manager Krishna Botica as saying, "We're looking at four closures, bankruptcies. We're going to be annihilated
Much attention has recently been given to NZ's high inflation rate, which now lies around 6%. Our Central Bank never saw it coming. How come? The RBNZ got confused about the nature of the shock caused by the pandemic, probably because so few competent economists work there now. The shock lowered demand, mainly for services, which largely rely on face-to-face interactions, especially during the lockdowns, which was deflationary. However much of that demand quickly bounced back
The Wellington economics fraternity has been taken aback by a job advertisement placed by the NZ Treasury as part of its international search for a "Senior Analyst". I was alerted to the ad by Sir Roderick Deane. It says that the "analyst" is expected to "operate at the forefront of economic thought and policy to enhance the wellbeing of all New Zealanders". At the same time, the Treasury states that "We are seeking a well-rounded candidate - an economics background is not es
If you look closely at what new National Party Leader Chris Luxon has been saying, many of his lines on policies appear to bear an uncannily close resemblance to NZ Initiative ones. For example, on education, this is how he's been quoted, "The education system needs to dump 'child-centred' education in favour of 'teacher-structured' learning if NZ is to turn around its declining educational achievement relative to other countries, says National party leader Christopher Luxon"
Newshub ran as their leading headline yesterday, "Epidemiologist Rod Jackson says New Zealand's Omicron response is set to be 'better than anybody else'. I think we're going to do better than anybody else, just as we've done better than anybody else to date with all the previous variants," Jackson is reported as saying. The pandemic has led to frequent comparisons between NZ’s approach versus others, with many asserting ours is superior. That idea runs counter to contemporary
Here's a story to wind up ardent Labour supporters. Several years ago I wrote an article that ended up in NZ Economic Papers on health-care reform. It was written jointly with former Finance Minister Sir Roger Douglas. Part of that reform involves giving people more choice as to who is their health-care provider. In many countries with universal health-care systems (like in NZ) people can still choose their provider (unlike in NZ) so the public funding follows the consumer. B
The last few days have featured prominent news headlines about Finance Minister Grant Robertson's proposals to introduce an Unemployment Insurance (UI) scheme, paying a percentage of previous wages for a period of up to about six months. Such schemes form the bedrock of the welfare state in most civilized countries, including the United States. Almost to the day when National Party leader, Chris Luxon, stated at their party conference he wanted the Nats to be seen as a party