On this page:
- Asset revaluations, price gouging, and barriers to entry: the state of play in electricity sector non-regulation
- Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence
- Appeal for a New Zealand Risk Assessment
- Making Wellington the Natural Capital: Cats, Rats and Other Predators
- Environmental Policy-Making in New Zealand, 1981-2014
- Increasing Inequality: Causes, Consequences and Responses
Asset Revaluations, Price Gouging, and Barriers to Entry: The state of play in electricity sector [non]-regulation
DATE:Friday 24 May
VENUE: Government Building Lecture Theatre 2 (access via Stout Street)
Dr Geoff Bertram
Abstract: The recent Labour-Greens policy announcement on electricity sector regulation has highlighted several areas of market failure. This paper reviews financial data from the accounts of the generator-retailers, and some simple economic theory, to demonstrate the scale of excess profit-taking relative to the policy benchmarks and general expectations of company conduct that were set at the time when the generation assets of the former ECNZ were divested. Some suggestions are offered for rethinking the policy framework for the sector.
About Geoff Bertram:
Geoff is a Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies. He has published extensively over the past three decades on the evolution of the New Zealand electricity sector.
Education and Poverty: Confronting the Evidence
DATE:Friday 31 May
VENUE: Railway West Wing, Level 5, Room 501
Professor Helen Ladd (Duke University)
Current U.S. policy initiatives to improve the U.S. education system, including No Child Left Behind, test-based evaluation of teachers, and the promotion of competition are misguided because they either deny or set to the side a basic body of evidence documenting that students from disadvantaged households on average perform less well in school than those from more advantaged families. Because these policy initiatives do not directly address the educational challenges experienced by disadvantaged students, they have contributed little—and are not likely to contribute much in the future—to raising overall student achievement or to reducing achievement and educational attainment gaps between advantaged and disadvantaged students. Moreover, such policies have the potential to do serious harm. Addressing the educational challenges faced by children from disadvantaged families will require a broader and bolder approach to education policy than the recent efforts to reform schools.
About Helen Ladd:
Helen F. Ladd is the Edgar Thompson Professor of Public Policy Studies and Professor of Economics at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy. Most of her current research focuses on education policy. She is particularly interested in various aspects school accountability, education finance, teacher labor markets, and school choice. She has written numerous articles on charter schools and other forms of choice in North Carolina, self-governing schools and parental choice in New Zealand, market-based reforms in urban school districts, voucher programs, school reform in post-Apartheid South Africa, and school finance in the Netherlands. With the support of two Fulbright grants, she spent the spring term of 1998 in New Zealand studying this country's education system and the spring term of 2002 doing similar research in South Africa. Most recently, she spent 6 months as a visiting researcher at the University of Amsterdam examining the Netherlands' long experience with parental choice, significant autonomy for individual schools, and weighted student funding. She is the author of many books and articles, including a co-authored book on New Zealand educational reforms of the late 1980s and early 1990s, When Schools Compete: A Cautionary Tale (Brookings, 2000).
Appeal for a New Zealand Risk Assessment
DATE: Monday 10 June
VENUE: Government Building, Lecture Theatre 1 (access via Stout Str)
In early March 2013, 100 distinguished New Zealanders launched an appeal for the New Zealand Parliament to undertake a national risk assessment. Such an assessment, it was argued, should explore the country’s economic security, energy and climate change security, the risk exposure of business and ecological security. This seminar will provide an opportunity to discuss the logic for a national risk assessment and what it might achieve.
Emeritus Professor Sir Alan Mark is one of New Zealand's leading plant ecologists, specialising in the ecology of indigenous ecology of tussock grasslands, alpine lands, wetlands, shrublands, forests and lakeshores. He played a crucial role in opposing the raising of Lake Manapouri in the late 1960s and subsequently was the first Chairperson of the Guardians of Lakes Manapouri and Te Anau. Sir Alan was made a fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1987 and was a member of National Parks and Reserves Authority and later the NZ Conservation Authority. Now retired, he is still actively involved in conservation. He was made a knight for his conservation work in 2010.
Associate Professor Ralph Chapman is the Director of the Environmental Studies Programme in the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington. Prior to his appointment at Victoria University he was a senior official in the Ministry for the Environment. He has published widely on a range of environmental and energy policy issues, not least climate change.
Dr Russell Tregonning is an Orthopaedic Surgeon at Bowen Hospital Wellington and a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the University of Otago School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Wellington. He is the Past President of the NZ Orthopaedic Association and current executive member of OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council.
Louis Chambers graduated from the University of Otago in 2012 with an LLB (First Class Hons) and a BA (Economics, Environmental Management). He has been awarded a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University later in 2013. Louis helped to co-found Generation Zero in 2011 and is currently working full time on climate change for Generation Zero.
Making Wellington the Natural Capital: Cats, Rats and Other Predators
DATE: Friday 14 June
VENUE: Nau Mai Room, Te Puni Kokiri
Dr Gareth Morgan
Gareth Morgan will speak about the controversial Cats to Go campaign, the vision for a Predator Free New Zealand, and how we can all start to make a difference right here in Wellington by working together on 'Enhancing the Halo'.
About Dr Morgan:
Dr Gareth Morgan is an economist, public policy analyst, portfolio investor, football fan, motorcycle adventurer and philanthropist. Through the Morgan Foundation Gareth has instigated a series of books and campaigns on issues of public interest. The "Our Far South" set out to raise New Zealanders' awareness of the importance of the area between Stewart Island and the South Pole. This has led on to Gareth's participation in further conservation projects – Predator Free New Zealand, Million Dollar Mouse, Stewart Island Treasure, and New Zealand's Cleanest River.
Environmental Policy-Making in New Zealand, 1981-2014
DATE: Friday 21 June
VENUE: Railway West Wing, Room 501, (level 5)
Gary Taylor's presentation will focus on environmental policy-making in New Zealand during the period spanning the 1980s to the present day. He will examine how key policy decisions have been made including the major environmental reforms of the late 1980s and the introduction of the Resource Management Act in 1991. Gary will then trace the changes in environmental policy decision-making since the RMA was enacted. He will describe the way current RMA reforms are being pursued by government and contrast that approach with more collaborative initiatives in freshwater policy, the future of the Mackenzie Country and new initiatives in Auckland relating to its Unitary Plan, the Hauraki Gulf and transport funding. Gary's commentary will be from the perspective of a participant in environmental decision-making, in his role as an environmental advocate for the Environmental Defence Society.
About Gary Taylor:
Gary Taylor (MA (Hons), QSO) is the Executive Director and Chairman of the Environmental Defence Society. EDS is a boutique environmental law group that educates, litigates and does innovative thinking about environmental policy and governance. Gary has been an environmental advocate and policy analyst for more than 30 years. He also has extensive experience in the corporate management of organisations, having been the Chairman of the Auckland Area Health Board, the Climate Change and Business Centre (Australia) and the Peoples Centre Health Trust. He has been a director of Watercare Services Ltd, Infrastructure Auckland, Auckland Regional Transport Authority and the Hobsonville Land Company. He has also been a regional and city councillor. Gary brings his extensive experience in environmental policy and corporate governance to his lecture.
Increasing Inequality: Causes, Consequences and Responses
DATE: Thursday 18 July
VENUE: Rydges, 75 Featherston Street, Wellington
COST: $90.00 (incl GST) Register Now
There has been much debate, both internationally and here in New Zealand, over why income inequality has increased across much of the developed world during the past few decades, whether it matters and what, if anything, should be done about it. In late 2010 the Institute of Policy Studies hosted a forum in Wellington on the topic of Does Inequality Matter? This event included contributions from a range of government officials and academics, including Professor Richard Wilkinson, the co-author of The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone. Since this event, the OECD has published a number of significant reports on inequality and various books have been published by leading economists (e.g. Joseph Stiglitz, The Price of Inequality). Here in New Zealand, the Treasury has recently published a paper on inequality issues and Bridget Williams Books will launch a substantial volume in late June, edited by Max Rashbrooke: Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis.
The purpose of the IGPS forum on 18 July 2013 is to provide an opportunity to reflect on the latest research and policy debates. Three main issues will be under the spotlight: 1) the causes and consequences of the rise of income inequality in most OECD countries since the 1980s; 2) how some of the negative social impacts of inequality might be mitigated; and 3) the options for reducing income inequality and which, if any, have merit.
Programme available here
Speakers include (may be subject to change):
Dr Michael Forster (OECD)
Professor Robert Wade (London School of Economics)
Dr Cathy Wylie (New Zealand Council for Educational Research)
Professor Philippa Howden-Chapman (University of Otago)
Dr Tracey McIntosh (University of Auckland)
Professor Paul Dalziel (Lincoln University)
Dr Geoff Bertram (Senior Associate, IPGS)
Speaker Bios available here