New Zealand regulators often have to work with out-of-date legislation, quality checks are under strain, and regulatory workers need better training and development.


The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to investigate ways to improve the delivery of public services in New Zealand.


What is very big, diverse and full of promise - but underperforming? No, we’re not referring to the Auckland Blues. Rather, it is New Zealand’s services sector – representing around 70% of New Zealand’s GDP, deeply intertwined with our primary and manufacturing industries and, like the Blues, full of individual stars, but collectively off the pace in terms of meeting its performance potential.


The UK came out of recession with more people in work, producing less than in 2008. On the other side of the world, New Zealand also has stagnating productivity. But nobody’s quite sure why. So are fears of a global low-growth trap justified?


Patrick Nolan gives an overview of current and proposed research work on understanding and improving New Zealand’s productivity performance.


Although productivity growth is picking up, New Zealand still has a large productivity gap compared to other OECD countries.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) research, published by the Productivity Commission, shows that New Zealand’s broad policy settings should generate GDP per capita 20% above the OECD average, but we are actually more than 20% below average. Closing this gap would dramatically lift incomes and wellbeing for New Zealanders.


From silos to systems: Some observations from across the ditch.
Speech to the Regulatory Reform conference, Canberra.


Opinion piece originally published in the NBR.