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  • Robert MacCulloch

The leaderships of both the National and Labour Parties have sought to distance themselves from the "pro-market" reforms that began in 1984. What were those reforms? Here's a short list of the main ones:


1. International trade was made freer by removing tariffs and licences

2. The Kiwi dollar was floated

3. Goods and Services Tax (or "GST") was introduced

4. Income taxes were cut - the top rate fell from 66% to 33%

5. The Reserve Bank of NZ was made independent

6. Subsidies to farmers were ended

7. A number of government owned enterprises were privatized


How many of these reforms has the National Party sought to reverse? ... ZERO

How many of these reforms has the Labour Party sought to reverse? ... ZERO


So why are the 80's reforms condemned in speeches by politicians who, behind the scenes, privately endorse them?

  • Robert MacCulloch

The winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2000, James Heckman, has given an interview with the Archbridge Institute on the topic of how much schools affect life outcomes:


Interviewer: In your research you discuss the key importance of family structure for social mobility. Why do you feel so strongly about this issue?


Heckman: The family is the source of life and growth. Families build values, encourage (or discourage) their children in school and out. Families, far more than schools, create or inhibit life opportunities. A huge body of evidence shows the powerful role of families in shaping the lives of their children. Dysfunctional families produce dysfunctional children. Schools can only partially compensate for the damage done to the children by dysfunctional families.


Interviewer: Your work on early childhood education is constantly cited as a justification for universal preschool education. Is that a policy you have recommended or what is your main focus and potential solution when you promote the importance of early childhood education?


Heckman: I have never supported universal pre-school. The benefits of public preschool programs are greatest for the most disadvantaged children. More advantaged children generally have encouraging early family lives. The “intervention” that a loving, resourceful family gives to its children has huge benefits that, unfortunately, have never been measured well. Public preschool programs can potentially compensate for the home environments of disadvantaged children. No public preschool program can provide the environments and the parental love and care of a functioning family and the lifetime benefits that ensue.

 

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