Briefing Papers

Written By: - Date published: 10:30 am, May 16th, 2014 - 11 comments
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Briefing Papers, a new website launched by AUT offers alternative briefing papers for incoming governments. The first is by Brian Easton, on the purpose of Budgets. Easton says that while all the debate is about budgets and economic growth, governments in fact can do little to influence it positively. (They can influene it negatively, as Ruth Richardson and National did in 1990.)

What they can do is focus on quality of output, measures to combat inequality and provide employment, and invest in children.

Worth a read.

11 comments on “Briefing Papers”

  1. karol 1

    Yes, a very good briefing paper by Easton. I particularly liked how he explained the way economic and social policies and practices are interwoven.

    And, I also like the way he characterised the macho posturing around the presentation of the budget and its aftermath.

    I tuned out in the middle of all the saturation media coverage of the budget – as much smoke and mirrors as providing clarity of the governments performance, plans and spin.

  2. Mr Interest 2

    Nice point Karol and Mike Smith, did there economic briefing papers mention this:

    The budget and rosy economic forecasting, what they failed to mention:
    How rosy the post budget economic forecast looks from Nationals point of view, did they mention this basket of little goodies?

    • The melamine & botulism scandal
    • China’s Potential for increased dairy production and purchase of overseas farms.

    So, here we go:
    • The melamine scandal in 2008 in China increased the desire for foreign milk products (also coupled with increasing consumer demand).

    It appears China’s first response to that was to:
    • Change perception by buying foreign owned dairy factories (i.e. overseas companies perceived as safer/also obtain said technologies)
    • Standardization (i.e. increase efficiency and safety)
    • Mega farms (i.e. get rid of the small producer) with standardized processes to increase efficiency.

    Remember this:
    • New Zealand’s arable land is approx 3% that of China
    • New Zealand is only a small player in the dairy market (compare USA)
    • China ranks first in worldwide farm output, primarily, it produces food for 20 percent of the world’s population.
    • Now remember the botulism scare in NZ, what effect did that have? Your only one marketing campaign away from disaster.
    • What did Great Britain do in the 70s/80s ditched us for the European Union.

    So a question, how safe do you feel NZ? I feel like I need 5 eyes

    See the following quotes taken from:’s-dairy-dilemma-the-evolution-and-future-trends-of-china’s-dairy-industry

    Market failures in the 90s and early 2000s set the stage for the 2008 melamine scandal that would drastically restructure China’s dairy production and alter the fate of many of these small producers.
    The scandal drastically damaged Chinese consumers’ confidence in domestic dairy products and created a large opportunity for foreign firms. The Chinese government responded by pushing for further consolidation of the dairy industry and dairy production—actively demanding the creation of large-scale milk production units and sourcing from large farms. Chinese companies responded with different tactics including more overseas investments and vertical integration.
    Increasing demand for milk powder of foreign brands has spurred Chinese’ overseas bulk-buying. Chinese consumer preference for imported products has also encouraged more and more dairy companies to build processing

    Shengyuan, Yili, Yashili and Bright have all built infant formula processing factories in other countries.
    Meanwhile, four foreign brands: Mead Johnson, Danone Dumex, Nestle’s Wyeth and Abbott have taken over 42 percent of China’s infant formula market (all implicated in a price-fixing scandal that the Chinese government cracked down on). This has led domestic dairy producers to urge Chinese consumers to “give up their blind faith in foreign formula brands.” –

  3. Mr Interest 3

    Remember NZ

    Quote from the movie They Live

    Television Host:

    The feeling is definitely there. It’s a new morning in America.(Nooo Zulland).. fresh, vital. The old cynicism is gone. We have faith in our leaders. We’re optimistic as to what becomes of it all. It really boils down to our ability to accept. We don’t need pessimism. There are no limits.

  4. RedLogix 4

    Easton nails it:

    The dominance of such narrow advocates with their unattainable public interest and their all too attainable private ones cannot be the purpose of economic policy in a democracy. Surely that is to advance the economic and social wellbeing of all New Zealanders while ensuring the policies of today are also protecting future generations.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      The power elite are all too willing to eat the futures of their children and grandchildren. Or at least, the futures of others’ children and grandchildren.

  5. Mr Interest 5

    Redlogix and Col V,

    Our Rock Star economy seems more like a Porn Star, with an addiction for gambling, casein and real estate. A Rock Start economy, you would assume, would be built upon industries with low risk.

    Classic risk analysis = probability of occurrence X consequence of occurrence happening

    Its not being insulting to the Dairy industry in NZ, its just lets keep our heads out of the sand. We cant have all our eggs in one basket and pretend the risk is small.

    If the following comes to pass:

    This has led domestic dairy producers to urge Chinese consumers to “give up their blind faith in foreign formula brands.”

    Then combine the recent dealings of a couple of Ministers and you have a real problem

    Tick Tock, Tick Tock

    • Colonial Viper 5.1


      And wait until the nation’s supply of phosphate rock gradually goes away from our dairy farmers.

  6. captain hook 6

    Easton is right. there is no guarantee that any product is ever going to sell and the rate of profit of any enterprise tends towards zero over time.The present predicament for the world is over population and the eventual ramifications on the sustainability of the environment.
    this will have to be faced when it happens.
    no politician has the power to stop the capitalist system in its tracks.
    just remember that there was plenty of stone left after the stone age.

  7. greywarbler 7

    What a great resource and forum AUT is providing (for acronym haters like me it stands for Auckland University of Technology.)

  8. geoff 8

    Easton’s post looks like a response to what Thomas Piketty’s book has said.

    Piketty says without economic growth there is going to be increasing inequality.
    And western economies are all low economic growth and low population growth because they’ve reached maturity.

    So it all just boils down to distribution.

    Which means the only way to have a functioning society is to tax the rich.

    38% isn’t going to cut it in the long term either.

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