Thursday 8 April 2010


The first time I heard of New Zealand was around the second grade. For social studies, we had to do a project on a country. I picked New Zealand and massacred one of our National Geographics.

Then, in late elementary school onwards, New Zealand started making news in Canada for its economic reforms. In 1993, when I was finishing high school, CTV's flagship documentary programme W5 aired a lengthy program on New Zealand's economic reforms and how Canada needed to make similar reforms before being forced to. Roger Douglas's reforms featured prominently if I recall correctly; unfortunately, I can't find any video of it online.
"New Zealand," which drew an audience of 1.6 million, had a huge influence on Canadians. Indeed, politicians used it as justification for slashing social services in the name of debt-reduction. Ralph Klein's Conservative government in Alberta, for example, included transcripts of the program when it sent back rejected grant applications.
Ah, good times.

New Zealand's economic reforms often came up in undergrad, either with other students with the Reform Party on Campus, or while doing intern work for the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. Peter Holle at FCPP highlighted Roger Douglas's reforms; I think a Douglas quote on the need to move quickly in reforms was up on his wall at the time. Frontier had a few pamphlets on the Kiwi reforms; I still have copies.

And so when I interviewed here in 2003, I was more than happy to answer when folks asked why I'd want to move to New Zealand: New Zealand has all the good stuff from Canada but without the worst bits. It's never -40 and the stupidest bits of Canadian policy had here been knocked out by Roger Douglas and Ruth Richardson.

So I'm more than a bit pleased that Sir Roger's a fan:

14 hours ago
Roger Douglas
Roger Douglas 
I read a few economics blogs in addition to some of those already suggested. For NZ issues, you can't do any better than:

I was surprised by the lack of international blogs. There are two international economics blogs I consider a must-read. They are:

Eric Crampton (at offsettingbehaviour) really is a national treasure I think.
14 hours ago
I don't blush easily, but still....

I very much doubt I'd be here at all absent Sir Roger's work, so call it mutual.


  1. Wow this is great, I read the same blogs as Sir Roger. Those are the 3 NZ economics blogs I read, and I also read MR plus a few other US blogs(I found this place by clicking on your name on a comment you made in the Money Illusion). FYI I'm constantly referring people to this blog as NZ's best

  2. The TV documentary you cite was made by Eric Malling and caused a huge stir in Canada.

    He came back in early 1996 to do a follow-up, for which he hired me as a researcher.

    He died very tragically a few years later. This article recalls his extraordinary life:

  3. @David: Check the link in the post above - it's to the same article. I never saw the followup. Would you know if either are still available?