Leanz, law and economics in New Zealand

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LEANZ, Law and Economics in New Zealand

Seminars 2016

22 November 2016

The Inequality Paradox: Why Inequality Matters Even Though Its Barely Changed - Bryce Wilkinson

Slides: The Inequality Paradox

Venue: MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Wellington

About the topic: 

New Zealanders are endlessly told that economic inequality is rising with dire consequences. Newspaper articles featuring inequality have risen over 8-fold in recent years. We are told that it has risen faster than in almost any developed country and has cut our rate of economic growth by one third in the last 30 years. Moreover, the growth we have had has not “trickled down”. The New Zealand Initiative’s report casts doubt on the robustness of many such findings and assertions. Yet the degree of hardship in the community and rising house values and costs are matters of real concern.

About the speaker:

Bryce Wilkinson is a former president of LEANZ and is a LEANZ Fellow. He is a Senior Research Fellow with The New Zealand Initiative and a Director of Capital Economics Limited, a Wellington-based economic consultancy firm. This year the New Zealand Initiative has published two reports he has co-authored with Jenesa Jeram: Poorly Understood: The state of poverty in New Zealand, and The Inequality Paradox: Why inequality matters even though it has barely changed.

Blog posts relating to the debate about the inequality topic from Bryce Wilkinson are here:










25 October 2016

Health and Safety at Work Act: Implications of "Grossly Disproportionate"

Slides: HSWA ACT: Implications of "grossly disproportionate"

Venue: Chapman Tripp, Wellington

About the topic:

“Grossly disproportionate” is part of the cost element of “reasonably practicable” in section 22 of the HSWA. Because the costs of dealing with a risk need to be “grossly disproportionate” to the risk before cost can be used as a reason for not taking an action, it is “reasonably practicable” to spend many times the benefit in the pursuit of ameliorating a risk, and still be caught by the HSWA. One might say the test is unreasonable. In any case it values safety well above any other resource, which might have economy-wide implications, and in particular introduces distortions as between roading investments and those in rail, potentially giving road a cost advantage.

About the speaker: 

Murray King is the principal of Murray King and Francis Small Consultancy Ltd, which deals with transport and transport policy issues. Amongst other work, he was one of the joint authors of the National Freight Demand Study in 2014, and of the 2008 equivalent. He has also been a director of Land Transport NZ, a predecessor body to the NZ Transport Agency. Prior to setting up the consultancy in 2000, Murray was a senior executive at Tranz Rail. He holds BA (Hons) and PhD degrees in Geography, and an LLM (Distinction), all from Victoria University of Wellington. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, and of the NZ Institute of Management, and a Companion of the Institution of Engineers NZ. In addition, he is a member of both LEANZ and the NZ Association of Economists.


12 September 2016

Disruptive Technologies and the Electricity Market - Lew Evans

Slides: Disruptive Technology: the case of electricity

Venue: Simpson Grierson Wellington

About the topic:

There are a number of rapidly changing technologies that are inducing pressures for change in the organisation of the electricity market. The seminar will consider these technologies and speculate about their effects and implications for regulation.

About the speaker:

Lewis Evans is Professor (Emeritus) of the School of Economics and Finance, Victoria University. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Wisconsin, and has more than 50 refereed articles in international and local economics journal, and other publications. Awards include the NZIER-Qantas Economist-of-the-Year 1996, Distinguished Fellow of NZ Association of Economists, and Fellow of the Law and Economics Association. His Interests lie in industrial, financial economics, and law and economics. Appointments relating to electricity include, the Electricity Market Surveillance Committee for the period of its existence, and the Government-appointed Electricity Technical Advisory Group 2009. He has consulted on a wide range of economic issues, and is a consultant to NERA Economic Consulting.




2 August 2016
Going Places: Migration, Economics and the Future of New Zealand - Julie Fry

Venue: Bell Gully Wellington, Level 21 ANZ Centre, 171 Featherston Street
5:30 p.m. for refreshments with a 6 p.m. seminar start
Date: Tuesday, 2 August 2016

About the topic:

Migration and the movement of people is one of the critical issues confronting the world’s nations in the twenty-first-century. It is a tough time for optimists. Europe is experiencing its largest inflows of refugees since the Second World War. Countries that were previously welcoming are increasing restrictions even for the most economically-desirable migrants. Migration is an even more contentious topic than usual.
“Going Places” by Julie Fry and Hayden Glass is a book about a small piece of a very large debate: the economic contribution of migration to and from New Zealand. Can immigration, in economic terms, be more than a gap filler for the labour market and help as well with national economic transformation? And does the substantial population of New Zealanders living in other countries help out economically? Building on Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of New Zealand as a place ‘where talent wants to live’, Going Places explores how it can attract skilled, creative and entrepreneurial people born in other countries, and whether its ‘seventeenth region’ – the more than 600,000 New Zealanders living abroad – can be a greater national asset.

About the speaker:

Julie Fry is a consulting economist who divides her time between New York and a family farm near Motueka. She has worked on migration policy issues since the early 1990s, designing programmes and advising agencies including The Treasury, MBIE Te Puni Kōkiri, and HM Treasury in London. Julie has Masters degrees in economics from both the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University, and she received a Nuffield Fellowship to research discrimination issues at the University of Warwick in Coventry.

28 June 2016 - An Insider's Reflections on Merger Clearances - Speaker: David Blacktop

Date:  5.15pm, 28 June 2016 (note earlier start time than usual)

At:  Buddle Findlay, State Insurance Tower, 1 Willis Street, Wellington

About the topic:

The last four years have seen merger clearance activity recover from the low levels experienced immediately post the GFC. In that time, the Commerce Commission has released revised merger guidelines setting out how it thinks about mergers and the process it follows. This presentation will outline some of the issues that the Commission has had to grapple with in the mergers it has considered in that time, and provide some insight on the way the Commission goes about reaching its decisions.

About the speaker:

David Blacktop is Principal Counsel, Competition, at the Commerce Commission. David's team of competition lawyers is responsible for providing legal advice on the Commission's cartel work, as well as all the Commission's other competition work. Prior to joining the Commission, David worked as a competition lawyer in private practice.


22 March 2016 - Tax Evasion and Welfare Fraud in New Zealand - Lisa Marriott

Venue/date: Luke Cunningham Clere, Level 10, 89 The Terrace, Wellington, 22 March 2016

About the topic:

Individuals in New Zealand are likely to receive different treatments in the justice system depending on whether their crime is 'white-collar' or 'blue-collar'.  This presentation will report on some of these differences, using tax evasion and welfare fraud as proxies for white- and blue-collar crime, respectively.  The presentation will also outline the findings from a large scale survey with 3,000 respondents across New Zealand and Australia that captures attitudes towards welfare fraud and tax evasion.

About the speaker:

Lisa Marriott is an Associate Professor of Taxation at Victoria University of Wellington's School of Accounting and Commercial Law.   Lisa's research interests include social justice and inequality, and the behavioural impacts of taxation.  Lisa has publications in a range of refereed journals and is the author of The Politics of Retirement Savings Taxation: A Trans-Tasman Perspective. In 2013 Lisa was awarded a Royal Society of New Zealand Marsden Grant to investigate the different treatments of tax evasion and welfare fraud in the New Zealand justice system. Lisa has worked in industry in the private sector in the United Kingdom and in the New Zealand public sector.  For the past eight years, Lisa has worked in academia.



22 March 2016 - Daniel Kalderimis -  Investor-State Arbitration and the TPP: How the Final Deal Stacks Up

Speaker: Daniel Kalderimis
Date: 22 March 2016
Venue: Chapman Tripp (Auckland)

A copy of the presentation is here

About the topic:

The TPP negotiations have now been concluded and the deal signed. 

One of the thorniest issues in those negotiations was the investment chapter, which provides a mechanism for US and other investors to sue the New Zealand Government for breach of international investment rules.  Why include this mechanism?  How novel is it?  What risks does it present?  How does its drafting stack up? 

Daniel Kalderimis discusses current issues in investor-state claims and offers accessible thoughts on what the TPP investment chapter may mean for New Zealand.

About the speaker:

Daniel Kalderimis is a litigation partner at Chapman Tripp and is a recognised expert in international investment law.  He has appeared as counsel in the only investment treaty case heard in New Zealand.


9 and 11 February 2016 - Prof John Kay -  Why has financial regulation failed?

Speaker: Professor John Kay
Date: 9 (Wellington) and 11 (Auckland) February 2016
Venue: Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (Wellington) and Simpson Grierson (Auckland)

A copy of the presentation is here

About the topic:

Financial regulation failed around the world in 2007-08 not due to regulators "asleep at the wheel", but because of the incentives at play that discouraged pre-emptive action in addition to the influence over regulators by industry and an inequality of arms. There has been little change since. In John Kay's view the guiding purpose of long-term response to the regulatory failure should be to “impose and enforce the obligations of loyalty and prudence, personal and institutional, that go with the management of other people’s money.” 

About the speakerJohn Kay is a visiting Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford. He is a critic of the current structure of the finance sector and proposes reforms to return finance to its core functions. He advocates via his frequent columns in the Financial Times and in his numerous popular books on finance.  He is in New Zealand to promote his latest book “Other People’s Money: Masters of the Universe or Servants of the People?” which has received high praise from the Economist, Financial Times, New York Times and other prominent critics.

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