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New Zealand

Missing benefits of the high dollar

As the New Zealand dollar reached an all-time high against the British pound and keeps rising against the US dollar, the euro and other major currencies, New Zealand manufacturers are renewing their complaints about the damaging effects of our strong currency. However, currency movements usually produce losers and winners. Just as domestic exporters suffer from a rising kiwi dollar, domestic importers benefit from increased international purchasing power. [...]

A house is a home

In most markets, we are used to products becoming cheaper and better over time. Why should housing be any different? Perhaps we should think more about houses as homes, not primarily as a financial investment. Now that’s a radical thought. [...]

WoFs, frogs, and broken windows

The purpose of vehicle testing is safety – not creating employment. But as one of my favourite German proverbs goes: “If you want to drain a pond, you shouldn’t ask the frogs for permission.” [...]

TPP welcome, but no panacea

An extended TPP may have a positive effect on FDI – and New Zealand certainly needs to improve its FDI performance. But we should not expect the TPP to be a game-changer. Instead, we need to focus more on welcoming international investors, whether from TPP member countries or not. [...]

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. [...]

True colours

As I was watching Wellington Phoenix beat Sydney FC 2-0, I wasn’t sure which was stranger: seeing legendary Italian striker Alessandro Del Piero play football in New Zealand, or supporting a team dressed in black and yellow? I grew up supporting my local team, FC Schalke 04, the legendary “Royal Blues” from the West German mining town of Gelsenkirchen. To us Schalkers, the yellow-black colours of arch-rivals Borussia Dortmund are a worse provocation than a red rag to a bull. [...]

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. [...]

Ferne Nachbarn

Neuseeland und Australien, das ist eine Geschichte von zwei ungleichen Brüdern. Als ehemalige britische Kolonien in der geografischen Isolation des Südpazifik – so könnte man annehmen – müsste sie das gemeinsame Schicksal zusammengeschweisst haben. Tatsächlich jedoch sind beide Länder damit ganz unterschiedlich umgegangen. Während sich Neuseeland immer noch britisch gibt, haben sich die Australier eher an Amerika ausgerichtet. Und das sind nicht die einzigen Unterschiede. [...]

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. [...]