The Panama Canal: mosquitoes, a soft voice and a big stick

A sense of intrigue prompted David Kennedy to visit Panama City – an oasis of wealth and success in Central America.  He was vaguely aware of its economic and historic importance: it is a metropolis of futuristic skyscrapers, an airline hub, a tax haven, a financial hub, a nexus of global trade, and a United States outpost of sorts.  He knew that all these attributes related, in one way or another, to the Panama Canal.

The Wider Economic Benefits of Greater Connectivity

The Oresund bridge between Copenhagen in Denmark and Malmo in Sweden, a truly transformational (€4 billion) transport project that led to economic benefits much greater than would be estimated using standard cost-benefit analysis.
Although something on that scale is unlikely in New Zealand, it does raise the question of whether investing in large transport infrastructure projects could deliver benefits additional to those estimated using the NZ Transport Agency’s Economic Evaluation Manual.

Long-term implications of high net migration

New Zealand has gained around 72,000 more people in the past year according to arrival card data, and we’re feeling the strain of squeezing all these extra people into our cities.  But further analysis of visa data suggests that there are longer-term implications for these high arrival levels that, if left unchecked, could pose a problem for policymakers when we come off the high point in the business cycle.

When’s a lolly scramble not a lolly scramble? When Mr Joyce says so

Steven Joyce’s first budget – and National’s ninth since it took up the government benches in late 2008 – set the tone for the election campaign to come, maintaining a rosy outlook for New Zealand. Although the Minister of Finance refuses to call it a “lolly scramble”, it is undeniable that New Zealand’s solid economic growth performance has left the government with the ability to start writing bigger cheques, announcing increased spending across a range of areas.

A stress-free LTP: spotlight on Southland

Councils nationwide have begun preliminary work scoping out key issues for their 2018 Long-Term Plan – a document that sets out each Council’s intentions for the next decade. The LTP process is an arduous one that puts the focus on localised issues affecting infrastructure, business and community development across all townships and communities within each territorial authority. Southland District provides an interesting case study for teasing out sub-district insights from Infometrics small area profiles.

Ongoing opportunities in the construction sector

The construction sector experienced strong employment growth over the past five years and we expect this strong growth to continue throughout the next few years. Between March 2011 and March 2016, employment in core construction grew by 26%, compared with just 7.5% employment growth across the rest of the economy. Looking at regional data, it’s no surprise where that employment growth in the construction sector has occurred.  Auckland and Canterbury each contributed over 40% of the lift in employment, with the rest of the country responsible for just 15% of the new jobs created.

Searching out opportunities in the Budget for Infometrics clients

Bill English’s eighth Budget was a pretty boring event for policy and economic buffs out there, with an expanding economy ensuring growth in the overall tax take outstrips the lift in spending. National has long since set its ship on course, so the Budget was very much just a little tinkering around the edges. That being said, we did highlight a few issues we see specifically affecting our clients across the construction, transport, and education sectors, as well as in the regions.