• Review of CBA advice to support budget initiatives

    By John Yeabsley, Sarah Hogan and Peter Clough

    Treasury asked NZIER to conduct a review of the advice provided by agencies to support budget initiatives from Budget 2015 to Budget 2018.

    Read our report here.

  • Pharmac economic analysis and savings claims

    By Sarah Hogan

    In the 2017 financial year, PHARMAC claims to have achieved $52 million in savings for New Zealand. PHARMAC further claims that between 2005 and 2016, it saved the District Health Boards nearly $6 billion.

    This short note for Medicines New Zealand, provides an explanation and critique of these claims, and a summary of the economic analysis, negotiating strategies, and decision criteria used by PHARMAC. It also looks at the consequences of PHARMAC’s approach and includes examples that illustrate the trade-offs that are less visible in funding decisions.

    Read it here.

  • Recent project work

    By Bill Kaye-Blake

    Resilient Rural Communities – AgResearch

    Bill contributed community-focused and economic research to this five-year programme. He helped develop a new framework for assessing and describing community resilience. Bill helped edit Heartland Strong, a book that summarised the programme. This book was used by the Ministry for Primary Industries to support the Rural Proofing programme.

    Indicators Working Group – Our Land and Water National Science Challenge

    Bill managed the Indicators Working Group and led most of its research. The group investigated the use of harmonised indicators across government, industry and research to support improved economic and environmental outcomes from the primary sector. The Group determined that there is good information on how to improve the primary sector and existing tools to help people use that information. However, more information, better use of the tools and a centralised source of information could improve the sector.

    Programme performance review – Ministry of Culture and Heritage
    Bill led a performance review of a programme focused on Māori culture. The review described the performance in both its technical aspects but also its relationship with tikanga Māori and rangatiratanga. Bill provided the Ministry with a new understanding of the possibilities for providing the services, which informed its negotiation with the provider.

  • Economic contribution studies

    Eilya frequently leads teams that estimate specific sectors’ contribution to the New Zealand economy, or regions within it. Using NZIER’s Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) models, these projects look at how growth in one sector flows through the economy, generating additional jobs, wages and exports. Such reports have been written for the professional services, dairy, kiwifruit, red meat, and other industries. 

  • Empirical wellbeing approach to Total Impact Reporting for Tāmaki Regeneration Programme, 2019

    Eilya supervised and developed a total impact reporting tool capturing the fiscal, economic and wellbeing outcomes of regional investments in Tāmaki. The tool is consistent with Treasury’s Wellbeing approach and provides estimates of non-monetised values of regional investments.

  • Peter's recent work

    By Peter Wilson

    Expert evidence: Lake Rotorua nutrient management

    We provided expert evidence to the Environment Court as part of its hearing on an appeal against rules designed to manage water quality in the Lake Rotorua catchment. We suggested a framework for thinking about the issue based on environmental economics, while presenting a practical set of proposals drawing on real-world experience of what works, and doesn’t work, when it comes to managing nutrient runoff.

    We are awaiting the Court’s decision.

    Wellbeing economics

    Increasingly, governments are looking to use wellbeing, rather than economic output (GDP) as a measure of economic and social progress. Peter has prepared a number of pieces of analysis on how wellbeing can be applied to develop better social policies, including in areas like immigration and child poverty.

    Are petrol markets working for consumers?

    The Ministry of Employment, Innovation and Employment engaged NZIER, working with Grant Thornton and Cognitus Economic Insight, to study the fuel market in New Zealand.

    Our primary conclusion was that we could not definitely say that fuel prices in New Zealand are reasonable, and we had reason to believe that they might not be. The Ministry agreed with our recommendations and, as a result, the Commerce Commission has been charged with using newly granted investigative powers to undertake a more thorough review of the sector.

    Further material on the study can be found on the Ministry’s website:

    Sugar taxes

    The Ministry of Health commissioned NZIER to undertake a review of the evidence on the effectiveness of sugar taxes in increasing health outcomes.

    We presented a framework for thinking about the issue, including an intervention logic which shows the steps that need to occur for a tax on sugar in drinks to lead to improved health and then looked for evidence that any of the taxes in place resulted in such outcomes. We found that no study based on actual experience with sugar taxes has identified an impact on health outcomes. We concluded that the evidence that sugar taxes improve health is weak.

    Link to report

  • Recent work

    Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

    • National Policy Statement on Urban Development Capacity
    • Energy in New Zealand
    • Energy Quarterly publications

    District Health Boards New Zealand

    • Health Workforce Information Data Collection System
      James designed, developed and implemented a workforce data collection system for District Health Boards to support their strategic workforce initiatives and information requirements.
  • Recent work (prior to joining NZIER)

    Prior to joining NZIER, in an NZTA funded project, Julian led research, in collaboration with academic and professional engineers, into future transport-related technological skills requirements. For a business association, he led an assessment of the retail cards payment system to guide their submissions to the government. For MPI, he assessed the relevance of the aggregation limits regime for fishing quota. He developed a funding model for local government road usage. He has led and contributed to evaluations of public policy delivery programmes. He has produced business cases for local and central government funding applications.

  • Recent projects (prior to joining NZIER)

    A multilateral approach to modelling the New Zealand dollar

    Exchange rates between any two bilateral countries are forecasted using models involving only the two bilateral countries. Prince developed a multilateral approach to exchange rate determination. He modelled the New Zealand dollar by introducing the USD and Euro into existing bilateral exchange rate models. The global significance of these two currencies means that changes to these two currencies impact currencies worldwide. This approach gave better exchange rate forecasts than existing bilateral models.

    Investigating the odds of loan acceptance during and after the GFC

    By looking at the data for a private lending firm in the US, Prince investigated the factors influencing loan application success for US residents during and post-GFC. Using logistic regressions, employment years and debt-to-income ratios were determined as the two key factors in determining loan application success during both time periods.

  • Pacific Cultural Centre feasibility study

    By Todd Krieble

    This report presents the findings of a study to determine the feasibility of establishing a Pacific cultural experience and entertainment centre in Auckland. The study was conducted between August and December 2016 by NZIER with input from the Ministry for Pacific Peoples’ Pacific Cultural Centre Advisory Group.

    Link to report.