Archive for the ‘New Zealand Economics’ Category
I see there is some talk of compulsory redundancy payments after this sad story.
Now even though it would be nice if those people hadn’t been left high and dry after all their years of commitment, it is important that we try to get an objective idea about the costs associated with the scheme.
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So we all know that Iceland is bankrupt – what is the situation like for New Zealand?
A few of the stories I saw when Iceland first went into massive trouble were here, here, and here. At the time the comparison was so popular that there was a Dom Post article on the risks of New Zealand’s current account.
So tell me – are we heading towards bankruptcy, are we heading towards a bumpy ride, or are we heading towards more “golden weather” :)
In what appears to be becoming a “stand up for the Bank” day, I was surprised to see Steve Pierson at the Standard state that he believes the Reserve Bank cut interest rates too late!
Now, if the Reserve Bank had known exactly what was going to happen in the world and decided to hike rates for the hell of it I would agree – but ex-ante they (like the majority of other people) had no idea what was going to happen.
Yesterday I said that I thought the Bank’s speech on bringing down the price level was ridiculous. Not only is asking for a decline in prices a strange thing for a central bank to do, the mentioning of “oil companies” was slightly off the mark – given that they have slashed prices in the face of falling crude oil (although to be fair the Bank was just asking them to keep going – it was the Dom Post that exaggerated it – or maybe I was being generous!).
Now I am going to defend it.
In an interesting speech by the RBNZ governor Alan Bollard we are told that everyone needs to play their part during the economic crisis. Specifically he stated:
We would hope that the electricity industry does not take advantage of its market position and keep increasing rates, that local authorities realise they need to set rates increases below inflation for a change, that the construction materials industry respond to much weaker demand, that the food industry react to lower international commodity prices with price cuts, that petrol companies keep cutting forecourt prices, that the transport industry pass on fuel price cuts, and that the banks pass on interest rate cuts. Only then will all these firms be playing their proper role in New Zealand’s recovery.
Now, putting the hard word on industries that do not face market pricing (like local councils) is fine – but attacking businesses for setting prices in their own interest – what the hell!
Firms aren’t passing on costs because they aren’t. If they had increased prices as strongly as cost pressures demanded on the way up then the inflation figure would be a lot worse than 5.1!
Think of it this way – if businesses are pricing “too high” they will face a situation where prices are “relative elastic”. Then it is “in their own interest” to cut prices. If they aren’t doing so, then prices aren’t too high, and if the RBNZ is really worried about inflationary pressure they should batter away with their own instrument instead of making arbitrary calls about “sharing the pain”. If there is a competition problem, complain to the commerce commission, otherwise stop trying to create scapegoats because of the fear surrounding a potential policy failure!
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In net terms I am AGAINST the probation policy being put through today. That puts me in a pretty significant minority among my economics peers, oww well it gives us something to talk about. However, I would also add that I am NOT THAT against it – I am only against it in net terms because of value judgments.
Please, explain to me how the current probation policy is different from the one National is going to introduce!
I know about economics, but these subjective terms like “natural justice” do not have a clear meaning to me :( .
I was all ready to rail against the scheme this morning because I thought they were making probation period compulsory – however, now that I can see that isn’t the case I need to find out more about it before I say what I think.
All National’s proposed legislation would do is remove the right to fair process and natural justice
So how exactly does this impact on policy. What are the definitions of “fair process” and “natural justice”. Once I have an idea I’ll talk about the policy, and I’ll compare it and the current scheme to the extremes of “compulsory” and “no probation” – using economics to frame the issue.
Update: I have been informed that the main differences are:
The 90-day provision will apply to any workers employed by businesses with fewer than 20 staff. Workers who are sacked by their employer in their first 90 days on the job will be unable to challenge their dismissal or take a personal grievance case.
Is there anything else?
Kiwiblog has a good run down here.
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