‘Insights’ is the weekly newsletter of The New Zealand Initiative. Every Friday it provides comment pieces on domestic and global policy issues and the state of the world as such. It is a newsletter serious enough for a think tank – and lighthearted enough for an enjoyable Friday afternoon read. Please subscribe to ‘Insights’ by visiting the website of The New Zealand Initiative:

Affordable housing is more than a motherhood statement

In considering housing and planning reforms, we need to understand why New Zealand’s housing market is failing to adjust to increases in demand. This is the core question. Once we have found the answer, we will be able to design policies that will restore housing affordability. [...]

End the Dotcom sideshow

No doubt Herr Dotcom has real entertainment value, and his case confounds the view that there’s nothing comical about us Germans. But New Zealand would be better off dedicating its attention to real policy issues and sending Dotcom back into cyberspace. [...]

Plain packaging not so plain

It is hard to foresee which effect will be stronger: a reduced demand from plain packaging or an increased demand from the policy’s unintended effects on price. [...]

Don’t join the currency wars

A curious coalition of exporters, newspaper commentators, Labour, the Green Party, and New Zealand First wants the RBNZ to relinquish its traditional focus on inflation. Instead, they want the central bank to intervene and curb the rising exchange rate of the kiwi dollar. [...]

Migration destination New Zealand

No doubt New Zealand is an attractive country – even those Europeans who knew little else about New Zealand knew that. But are we doing enough to attract the best migrants to our country? Or are we happy for them to migrate to Canada, the United States, Asia or Australia instead? [...]

Something rotten in the state of Denmark

Countries such as New Zealand should study the European experience closely. You cannot become prosperous by redistributing wealth. Any successful society needs a strong private sector. And you also need it to pay for the services delivered by the state. [...]

An economist’s physics envy

If economics wants to be as successful as the natural sciences, it should perhaps rethink using their language and methods. Seeing economics as a discipline that has more to do with history, politics and psychology than with mathematics may be the first step. [...]

The wrong population question

Building roads, rails, schools and houses may not be as intellectually stimulating as discussing population growth, but it is what Australians should really be doing instead of debating whether they want a bigger Australia. [...]

Radical solutions to world debt crisis

Having unsuccessfully followed textbook advice on dealing with the global financial crisis, it is high time to explore alternative ways of dealing with the root causes of the crisis. Whether politicians have the courage to touch Tanzi’s radical solutions is a different question. [...]

Beating Australia on FDI

It’s not enough for New Zealand to compete with Australia in the battle for Olympic gold. We now have to beat the Australians in the battle for foreign investment to grow the Kiwi economy. Thanks to Gillard and Abbott, New Zealand’s chances are better than ever. [...]