Public policy seminars

The Motu Public Policy Seminar series provides a forum for informed debate on important public policy issues. 

Our seminars are accessible to a wide audience, and are attended by people from diverse backgrounds who want to stay informed on economic, social and public policy research. The seminars are presented by the Motu Senior Fellows and Affiliates, as well as other top visiting academics from within New Zealand or around the world.

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The seminars are free to the public, and there is no need to register to attend. More information about previous seminars, including slides and associated papers, is available at the Past Public Policy Seminars page.

You can sign up here to receive email invitations to either our Wellington or Auckland seminars.

Housing, the ‘Great Income Tax Experiment’ and the intergenerational consequences of the lease

Speaker: Andrew Coleman is an economist who works at Otago University and is an ex Senior Fellow at Motu.

12.30-2pm, Wednesday 12 April 2017, Royal Society of New Zealand, 11 Turnbull Street, Thorndon

New Zealand currently has one of the most distortionary tax environments for housing markets of any country in the OECD. Prior to 1989, owner-occupied housing and savings placed in sanctioned retirement funds were taxed on an expenditure basis, whereas other assets were taxed on an income basis. This meant there was a large tax wedge between the taxation of housing and retirement funds, on one hand, and other assets on the other. After 1989, the wedge between retirement assets and other assets was closed but a large wedge between retirement funds and owner-occupied housing was opened. For the last quarter of a century, NZ’s tax environment has imposed costs on current and future generations of young people because of the way it taxes housing and other assets. This presentation will review the way New Zealand’s tax system alters the incentives to purchase property. Its purpose is to provide a wider perspective on the relationships between tax and housing markets.

BIO: Andrew Coleman is an economist who works part-time as a lecturer in the Economics Department at the University of Otago, and part-time as a policy analyst in Wellington, most recently at the New Zealand Treasury and Motu Economic and Public Policy Research. In 2010 he was a member of New Zealand's Saving Working Group. Andrew currently researches inter-generational economic issues, with a particular focus on New Zealand Superannuation, housing, and taxation. In recent work, he develops dynamic heterogeneous agent models to analyse the relationships between taxes, and urban land markets. His current work is focused on how the tax system affects the way transport infrastructure is capitalised into land values. He is also using Otago University's 1000Minds software to investigate what New Zealanders want from government pension programmes.

This seminar is held in association with National Science Challenge 11: Building Better Homes, Towns and Cities

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Previous Seminars

You can find audio files and slides from previous Public Policy Seminars here.


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Our Public Policy Seminar Series is generously sponsored by The Treasury and Statistics New Zealand.