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  • John Ballingall
  • Deputy Chief Executive


  • Email: john [dot] ballingall [at] nzier [dot] org [dot] nz
  • DDI: 04 470 1804
  • Mobile: 021 606 477


John has been NZIER’s Deputy Chief Executive since November 2008. He previously worked for NZIER between 2001 and 2005.

John has advised a wide range of public and private sector clients on regulatory and policy issues related to trade, agriculture, water allocation, infrastructure, tourism and transport. He also works with government agencies to assess and improve the quality of their policy advice. John has appeared as an independent expert witness in a number of Environment Court cases that have focused on assessing the costs and benefits of proposed regulatory changes.

From February 2005 to October 2008, John was the Deputy Director of the Economic Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT). His responsibilities there included providing analytical support for MFAT’s trade negotiators, estimating the costs and benefits of various trade agreements, advising businesses on food miles and sustainability, and liaising with the OECD Secretariat.

John has a strong client focus and is driven to add certainty to his customers’ decision making. He understands the complexity of modern business and policy problems and the time constraints that senior managers operate under. He ensures that the reports that he is involved in provide practical and clearly-explained guidance, making life as easy as possible for the end user. John prides himself on his after-sales service and on building relationships that allow NZIER to be a ‘trusted adviser’.

Recent Projects

Quality of policy advice benchmarking

A number of our public sector clients seek independent reviews of their policy advice, as part of their quality assurance and improvement processes. John and two other colleagues review samples of policy advice against a tested framework to identify strengths and weaknesses of advice and judge its fitness-for-purpose.

This work has helped policy agencies raise the quality of their output.

Costs and benefits of the mutual recognition of imputation and franking credits

John and a colleague teamed up with an Australian economics consultancy to examine the costs and benefits of removing the double taxation of trans-Tasman dividend payments by New Zealand and Australian firms. This double taxation has been a long-standing barrier to trans-Tasman investment and broader economic integration.

The report, available here, was the first effort to quantify the economic benefits of the mutual recognition of imputation and franking credits, rather than focusing solely on the fiscal costs. It was used by the client to contribute to discussions on the future of trans-Tasman economic integration under the Single Economic Market.

Economic contribution of the New Zealand dairy sector

John led a team that used a variety of data sources and measures to show how the dairy sector contributes to the New Zealand economy. Using NZIER’s Computable General Equilibrium model of the New Zealand economy, the project looked at how changes in payout prices flow through the economy well beyond the farmgate. It also looked at the regional employment and revenue generated by the dairy sector.

The report available here was used by Fonterra and DairyNZ in their discussions with stakeholders. Similar reports have been written for other sectors, including mining, air transport and the wine industry.

Trade liberalisation and regional economic integration in the Asia-Pacific region

John has written numerous reports looking at how trade liberalisation and regional integration might deliver economic benefits for countries including New Zealand. The reports have been a mix of empirical analysis using the GTAP CGE model, the provision of best practice guidelines, interviews with firms in the Asia-Pacific region and detailed examination of the texts of free trade agreements. All were presented in business- or policy-friendly formats.

These reports have informed domestic and international trade negotiators as they consider the optimal approach to pursuing regional trade liberalisation. They have provided robust numerical estimates of the gains from liberalisation, which are influential in helping officials and politicians to demonstrate the national and industry level benefits from tree trade agreements and deeper regional integration activities.

Net Economic Benefit of the aquaculture sector

John and a colleague developed a custom-made economy wide model to show the links between the salmon, mussels and oyster sectors and the wider economy. Scenarios were then developed to show how the Net Economic Benefit of the aquaculture sector would increase out to 2025.

The modelling and report allowed the client to show its potential value to the New Zealand economy, and to quantify the benefits of options for sector reform. This allowed them to engage effectively with government officials and other stakeholders in discussions around funding and strategy.
Similar reports have been completed for a wide variety of other sectors and to evaluate the economic impacts of proposed infrastructure projects.

Economic impacts of the Emissions Trading Scheme and 2020 emissions targets

John led a series of projects for the Ministry for the Environment (MfE) to examine the industry and regional effects of an Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) for New Zealand, and of different 2020 emissions reductions targets. This work involved outlining the theoretical basis for an ETS, and modelling various design options for an ETS.

This series of reports, available here, informed policy makers during the design phase of the ETS. They showed that there would be significant negative impacts on some parts of the New Zealand economy unless the design included some degree of protection for trade-exposed, emissions-intensive sectors; and that the costs of the ETS would be higher if affordable emissions-reduction technology was not available, and if other countries did not implement carbon pricing.

They also informed negotiators ahead of the Copenhagen meeting of the UNFCCC about the extent of the trade-offs between accepting more stringent targets and supporting economic growth.


B.Appl.Econ | M.Appl.Econ (both from Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand)