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ROB MacCULLOCH: Who are Newshub's "Highly Regarded Economists" trying to discredit the Nats?


The economics news has been dominated the past couple of weeks by Newshub insisting that the National Party's tax plan doesn't "add up". Here's the headline the outlet has been running, "National's foreign buyer tax costings likely have a roughly $530 million fiscal hole each year, according to several highly regarded economists. It's more bad news for the party which has faced constant questioning and criticism over its tax plan".


However, whilst Newshub is desperate to embarrass the Nats by endlessly scrutinizing their tax proposal, the same level of scrutiny doesn't seem to have been applied to Newshub's own sources. Let's be clear, the critique of National made by these "highly regarded economists" has not been peer-reviewed nor published in a journal and as such has no academic standing. In fact, estimating the effect of a policy change that has never been done before, like removing a foreign buyer ban & putting in a 15% tax on property sales over $2 million, is very hard because there's no precedent & so no data that can be used to show what has happened in the past when such a policy has been introduced.


The econometrics involved in my opinion requires a person to have completed a Masters degree with top honors, or PhD, in economics from a good university. So I looked up the qualifications of one of the folks who Newshub quote as their "highly regarded economist" source who critiqued the Nats proposals - his Linked-In profile says:


University of Otago, Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Marketing, 2001 - 2003


I'm happy to be corrected that this chap has done a high-level econ degree not mentioned on his Linked-In profile, but can Newshub please urgently clarify the background of its sources? After all, its success at embarrassing National hinges on Newshub's sources being more credible than the Party's. On that note, the consulting firm called Castalia that checked over the Nat's numbers includes folks in their Auckland Office like Willem Crowhurst, who has a first class honors degree in economics from the University of Auckland.


Sources:





This piece was first published at Down to Earth Kiwi. Robert MacCulloch worked at the Reserve Bank of NZ, before he travelled to the UK to complete a PhD in Economics at Oxford University. He pursued research interests at London School of Economics and Princeton University, before joining Imperial College London Business School. Robert subsequently returned to his alma mater in NZ.



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71 Comments


Doug M
Doug M
Sep 18, 2023

Perhaps those on the left whether they be politians, economists, or MSM are jealous that they didn't come up with this policy themselves.

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zekewulfe
zekewulfe
Sep 18, 2023

Methinks confusion exists between Accountancy and Economics.

Accountancy is to do with numbers, being more or less, of a given amount of beans... visible or not.

Whereas Economics can be termed as being at the root of all human knowledge and values — and its absence as the root of all evil.


The number of beans have influence, but they are not the guiding principle by which one ought to live one's life.


Our politicians are continually confused between applying no principles to the two disciplines.


As to an intelligence quotient being applied to a degree; A manufactured degree in either discipline would calculate as containing... 3/5ths of 5/8ths of SFA if you have never been able to figure out…


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Tony Harrison
Tony Harrison
Sep 18, 2023

Well, at least he has got a degree........

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zekewulfe
zekewulfe
Sep 18, 2023
Replying to

Being no indication of intellect whatsoever.

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Whatever the actual numbers what a stupid policy from the Nats, It's embarrassing in these times to focus on taxing the sale of our best properties overseas as a source of income to give the squeezed middle income earners a tiny bit of tax relief right before an election. How is that serving the nation?


My opinion of Nicola Willis has gone right down lately. I'm relying on dumb and dumber, Labour to keep putting their foot in their mouth to distract from this and Luxon's complete lack of backbone to speak up on the Maorification of this country.


It's why my vote will be going to ACT to make the the Nats accountable for some real change for NZ'ers!

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Aaron Shanahan
Aaron Shanahan
Sep 18, 2023

To be honest, I'm a bit split on this policy from national. Presumably their figures for this policy being viable are dependant on the foreign house buyer ban being scrapped.

If thats the case, is the hole the really as big as these " so called" rock star economists claim it is?

The part of this policy I really question is the belief that suddenly national want to tax rich people for maybe not just buying a property or 4 here, but this policy fundamentally screams labour light. They've got money, tax their arse offa them. And that to me feeds jealousy, breeds resentment amongst those who do genuinely want to come here and start a business.

The amount…


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Replying to

Absolutely Fabulous. Aaron Top Man. I’m sure I speak for hundreds of people. Keep up the Great Work


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