Intergenerational debate-The Facts !


Ms Becky Prebble, a Senior Analyst at the Treasury, for the motion

Dr Simon Chapple, a Senior Research Fellow in the Dunedin Multi-disciplinary Health and Development Research Unit, University of Otago, against the motion

The intergenerational debate from the Government Economics Network hosted by the Retirement Policy and Research Centre at Auckland University on Friday July 10 was a success, deserving a larger audience. I always look around the room at these and similar functions looking for people like Fran Sullivan, Matthew Hooton, Brian Fallow, Peter Lyons and Bernard Hickey, who grab the spotlight as media commentators and writers on topics like NZ Superannuation etc. , but rarely front such gatherings. I wonder why? Perhaps I missed them in the audience. Mary Holm and Rob Stock were present, and deserve a pat on the back.

Both Becky and Simon did sterling work, though I scored more substance to the arguments of Geoff but Becky was quick and presented with style. Vicky looked at the impacts of Housing, Resource Management Act, and Superannuation, the size of the Baby Boomer cohort, Taxation, and a lack of Capital gains to justify the proposition. Simon said the argument could not be substantiated, mentioned David Thompsons 1991 work on a similar theme, emphasizing in his view social inequality occurs within generations and not between. He produced a lot of material on Human Capital, Human Rights, Income@ employment issues, all benchmarked against John Rawls Political Theory “Veil of Ignorance ” , concluding the younger generations overall were benefiting from the accumulation of many society changes, not just an economic context.

The seminar was well managed by Susan St John, run to time, and appeared to hold the audience interest.

Kaspanz only direct input was to make the point at question time, that Sharon Buckland’s MA Thesis on the topic “Not the Retiring Sort” favored the Geoff viewpoint, that projections based on past behavior completely ignore the “adjustment factor” every generation makes and this is a key element which needs more recognition. When considering the Housing issue, the Auckland factor is skewing and distorting the discussion. Care needs to be taken when considering statement’s like “younger people are being priced out of the market”. What markets are we talking about the stand alone house, the apartment market; condominiums@ terrace style housing, inner city living or fringe suburbs, the pricing average differs remarkably and the demand/supply elements differ markedly both within Auckland, and regionally.

Posted by Alec Waugh

One thought on “Intergenerational debate-The Facts !”

  1. The crux of the debate was whether current policies favour Baby Boomers. Personally I agree with Becky: they most certainly do. Baby Boomers had a nanny state and so much of their costs were paid for by social programmes. And beyond doubt, they still do. Simon brought in all sorts of persuasive arguments that were about improved life prospects for the younger generation, but none of them were about policy. I think Becky (being a very reasonable Treasury person) conceded far too much. I look forward to a more brazen Becky who concedes nothing and takes no prisoners.

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