FAQ

Please note: the 2012 LongTermNZ workshop is now over. If you are interested in the ongoing LongTermNZ project please email us at longtermnz@mcguinnessinstitute.org.

How were participants chosen?

We looked for attendees from each of the eight universities, with particular interests in macroeconomics, finance, public policy and/or communication. This required a 90 hour commitment from the evening of Sunday 9th December to Thursday 13th December.

What did it cost?

All costs, including registration for the Affording our Future conference, workshop registration, travel, accommodation, and food were covered for the participants from 9-13 December.

What was the output?

The output was an eight page booklet – 2012 Youth Statement on New Zealand’s Long-Term Fiscal Position – which workshop participants presented to invited guests on the afternoon of Thursday 13 December 2012.

What was the purpose of the workshop?

LongTermNZ was a space where 20-somethings were able to express their concerns about New Zealand’s long-term fiscal future. Young New Zealanders have the most to gain (or lose) from long-term decision making, and should be actively involved in this process. The 2012 Youth Statement on New Zealand’s Long-Term Fiscal Position has taken current trends and analysed the expected future impact of these trends. It has asked what kind of society New Zealand will be in 40 years, in terms of demographics, economy, and values – and has presented a range of options aimed at addressing fiscal imbalances and intergenerational equity. Most importantly, it has aimed to communicate these ideas to other young New Zealanders who also have a vested interest in our future.

What is fiscal policy?

“Fiscal” means government spending or taxation. So fiscal policy just means policy in relation to government spending or tax. The operation of fiscal policy is governed by the Public Finance Act 1989 (PFA)

What is the long-term fiscal statement?

The Treasury is required to produce a statement on the long-term fiscal position of the government at least every four years. The Statement contains projections of the possible path of government spending and revenue over at least the next 40 years, assuming that we make no changes to our current policies. It also sets out options for addressing gaps between spending and revenue.

Two statements have been published to date: the Treasury’s last statement, Challenges and Choices: New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Statement, was published on 29 October 2009; the first statement, New Zealand’s Long-term Fiscal Position, was released in June 2006.

The next Statement on the Long-Term Fiscal Position will be published in July 2013. This workshop and the resulting publication aim to contribute to the discussion.

Why is the Statement on the Long-Term Fiscal Position important?

Like most developed countries, New Zealand’s population is ageing. In the future there will be more older people relative to younger people. This means that certain areas of government spending, particularly health and New Zealand Super, will become more expensive over time.

Like households, governments need to balance their budgets over time. So with expected rises in the costs of health and New Zealand Super, we need to decide how to respond. Should we offset these costs with spending reductions in other areas? Should we increase taxes to meet these expenses? Or should we reconsider who pays for some services? Currently, the government – in other words the taxpayer – pays the lion’s share, but this is not set in stone and there are other options. Is it fairer to expect people to fund more of their own costs? What contribution could businesses make?

The Treasury’s Statement on the Long-Term Fiscal Position teases out these options and assesses their consequences. It does not provide any recommendations – the decisions are for all New Zealanders. The Youth Statement on the Long-Term Fiscal Position will feed into this process, providing a point of view from 27 young New Zealanders.

Who is facilitating this one-day workshop?

LongTermNZ is an initiative of the McGuinness Institute. The Institute is a non-partisan think tank working towards a sustainable future by contributing strategic foresight through evidence-based research and policy analysis. For information about the McGuinness Institute, see our website or our FAQ page.

Other questions?

If you have any further questions you can contact us here.