An online calculator that invites the public to help solve the country’s long-term financial challenges was launched yesterday by Victoria University’s Chair of Public Finance Professor Norman Gemmell.
According to Professor Gemmel, due to an ageing population and rising demand for services such as New Zealand Superannuation, the Government will have to make policy changes to ensure how much it spends and how much it receives in tax revenue does not reach unsustainable levels – and he is inviting you to have your say on what should be done via the Long-Term Fiscal Calculator.
“The pressures facing the fiscal position over the long-term mean that some adjustments are going to be required,” says Professor Gemmell. “This calculator lets people choose which options they think are best.
“For example, you can choose to spend more on health or education but, at the same time, the calculator forces you to think about the trade-offs involved with this.
“It gives people more information about the range of options we have, and allows them to say, ‘How, if I was going to balance the books, would I do it?’”
Users’ choices will be averaged out to paint an overall picture of which policy changes most people would like the Government to make.
The calculator is the first of many online tools to be made available on New Zealand Public Finance, a website designed to create a hub of public finance research and policy debate.
“The website will bring together research and data that will be useful for academics, analysts and policy makers. But it’s also aimed at the general public and at stimulating debate and discussion on a whole range of public finance questions around public spending, tax rates and saving schemes like Kiwisaver.”
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