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Issue 26 July 2008
Bidding for Beckham The next frontier in government policy?
Should a city council be in the business of paying David Beckham to play soccer? What was the government thinking when it offered New Line Cinema a tax break worth NZ$300-400 million to shoot the Lord of the Rings trilogy in New Zealand? Johannes Van Biesebroeck ponders these and related issues.
It's all in the name
In late 2006, Australia's Coles group embarked on a $910 million strategy that involved bringing its store brands under one name. The strategy was a disaster, and was abandoned in Easter 2007 with costs already in the hundreds of millions. Nicholas Plimmer ponders the lessons from this debacle.
Water - at any price
The cost of urban water services and how they should be charged to urban consumers is a particularly sensitive issue - and it's an issue that the current review of local authority rating and funding (the rates inquiry) will almost certainly be grappling with. One symptom of this sensitivity is the debate over water meters and their apparent user-pays implications. But, as Chris Hunt points out, the strong emotions aroused in such debate tend to distract from the real issue: choosing the best funding base for the sustainable management and delivery of urban water services.
Can we rely on participants in private-equity placements to self-regulate? Or does the lack of regulatory control on issuers and purchasers lead to abusive behaviour? Hamish Anderson finds that, on the whole, self-regulation appears to work. It can also provide richer information on firm quality to all market participants.
Growing global: the multinationalisation of New Zealand agriculture
What is the source of New Zealand's comparative advantage in agriculture, and from where can growth in agriculture-sector returns be expected? Our distance from markets, the growing concerns over ‘food miles', risks from climate change, rising land values, competitive pressures from lower-wage countries, and failure to secure breakthroughs in agriculture-trade liberalisation all present challenges to growth. An important response of the New Zealand agriculture sector to these challenges has been ‘multinationalisation' - the increasing international diversification of supply by New Zealand primary producers and processors through ownership and other means. Richard Meade explains.
Mortgage markets after the sub-prime crisis
On 19 June 2008, members of the Australia-New Zealand Shadow Financial Regulatory Committee (ANZSFRC) met in Wellington to consider the future for mortgage markets and their associated securitised products in the wake of the sub-prime crisis. The following Statement summarises the results of their deliberations.
Observing the unobservable
A common problem in finance and economics is that many models developed for practical purposes depend on parameters that are unobservable, thus severely limiting their usefulness in the very situations for which they were ostensibly designed. Glenn Boyle discusses how, in some situations, this problem can be overcome - and provides an illustration from commercial real estate.