To improve New Zealand’s living standards and wellbeing… productivity matters.


Current inquiries

News

Unlocking the door to the global productivity frontier

Focus innovation funding to build world class firms

4 December 2020

The New Zealand Productivity Commission today released its draft report on frontier firms. The perfo...

Take on board

Podcast: Board composition and decision making

18 November 2020

How can the composition of boards lift the performance of firms?

Productivity Commission Principal ...

Boards

Webcast: How can we lift the performance of boards?

11 November 2020

Our recent webcast with the Institute of Directors discussed insights from our New Zealand boards an...

We're hiring

Are you a talented Director looking for your next challenge?

27 October 2020

Help raise the quality of analysis about the things that matter to New Zealanders!

The New Zealand ...

Mount Cook - frontier

Boards need to help “lift the eyes” of firms

4 September 2020

The Productivity Commission has today published two reports New Zealand boards and frontier firms an...

Dr Bill Rosenberg

Dr Bill Rosenberg appointed as new Commissioner

18 August 2020

Dr Bill Rosenberg has been appointed as a Commissioner of the New Zealand Productivity Commission.

ProdCom August 2020 Newsletter

ProdCom newsletter

18 August 2020

Our August newsletter is out today!

Container ship leaving Port Chalmers, Dunedin

David Skilling's report on helping Kiwi firms reach the prod...

28 May 2020

The Productivity Commission has today published a report that highlights the importance of New Zeala...

Frontier firms inquiry

From surviving to thriving post COVID-19

6 May 2020

In 1975, as New Zealand was reeling from an energy shortage and Britain’s entry into the European Ec...

Milk testing

Helping Kiwi firms reach the productivity frontier: call for...

29 April 2020

The Productivity Commission today published an issues paper for its inquiry into lifting the perform...

Coronavirus

New Pandemic-economics blog

22 April 2020

The Commission has today launched a Pandemic-economics blog to share ideas and discuss policy respon...

Final report

Technological change and the future of work

14 April 2020

The Commission has today released its final report for the Technological change and future of work i...

March newsletter

ProdCom Newsletter

19 March 2020

Our March newsletter is out today!

New job old job signpost

30 million job changes

18 March 2020

The Commission today released research into 30 million job changes that took place in New Zealand ov...

Robots

1 001 New Zealanders' attitudes to tech

9 March 2020

Are New Zealanders afraid of robots and AI? One question that arose during our Technological change ...

Virus

The latest on COVID-19

1 March 2020

Get the latest health updates, information and advice on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) on the Ministr...

Government insights report

Insights into local government

19 February 2020

The Productivity Commission has been asked to look into areas of local government performance by suc...

Draft report 5

Encouraging technology adoption by firms

31 January 2020

The Commission has today released its draft report on Technology adoption by firms for the Technolog...

Draft report 4

Preparing young learners for the future of work

22 January 2020

The Commission has been asked to examine technological change and its impact on the future of work.

Frontier firms

Inquiry into New Zealand’s most productive firms confirmed

13 January 2020

The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to identify policies and interventions that cou...

Report

Training New Zealand’s workforce

20 December 2019

The Commission today released its draft report on Training New Zealand's workforce.

NZ

Funding local government

12 December 2019

So you want to be elected to your local district council? Judging by the placards employed for the r...

Final report

Targeted solutions needed to relieve funding pressures on co...

12 December 2019

The New Zealand Productivity Commission today released its final report on local government funding ...

Draft report 2

Productivity Commission suggests improved income security to...

21 November 2019

New Zealand is stuck with low wages because of low productivity and low technology adoption.

Transitioning to a low-emissions economy

NZ has a new Zero Carbon Act

11 November 2019

The passing of the Climate Change Response (Zero Carbon) Amendment Bill last week commits the Govern...

Gail Pacheco wins top AUT award

26 October 2019

AUT has bestowed its top award on an economist hailed for her research, scholarship and application ...

New Zealand city

New report highlights major changes in where Kiwis live and ...

17 October 2019

Research released today by the Productivity Commission shows how New Zealanders have experienced big...

Technology and productivity over time

Time to prepare for the future of work, but not time to wast...

12 September 2019

Technology adoption supports higher productivity growth, higher income growth and increased resource...

Newsletter

ProdCom News August 2019

30 August 2019

Get up to speed with the latest ProdCom news in our August newsletter...

We're hiring

Help achieve New Zealand's productivity potential

21 August 2019

We are looking for an experienced principal/senior researcher for a position within our Economics an...

Government response to low emissions

Government responds to Commission's low-emissions economy re...

5 August 2019

Climate Change Minister James Shaw has released the Government’s Climate Action Plan in response to ...

Local government funding

Local Government funding: Not broken but will need help

17 July 2019

The New Zealand Productivity Commission today released its draft report on local government funding ...

New Commissioners

New Commissioners appointed

17 July 2019

We welcome two new Commissioners to the Productivity Commission Board: Andrew Sweet and Gail Pacheco...

Productivity by the numbers

Poor productivity hurts living standards

12 June 2019

Research released today by the Productivity Commission highlights the cost of New Zealand’s poor pro...

Newsletter

ProdComm News - May 2019

29 May 2019

Get up to speed with the latest ProdCom news with our May newsletter...

New FutureworkNZ blog

15 May 2019

Ideas and debates supporting the Technological change and future of work inquiry.

Issues paper release - Technological change and the future o...

18 April 2019

Today we release our issues paper and invite you to participate in our inquiry into Technological ch...

Issues paper

Inquiry update - Local government funding and financing

15 April 2019

Thanks to all our submitters and those who have met with us to provide information and feedback on o...

Just what is this digital economy?

11 March 2019

The way to grow our already burgeoning digital economy is to find and support innovative local entre...

Figure 1

Labour market trends: what we know…

9 March 2019

How a country’s labour market performs has a huge bearing on its overall productivity and wellbeing.

Technology’s impact on the future of work to be examined

28 February 2019

The Government has asked the Productivity Commission to examine and report on Technological change, ...

StatsNZ

Release of latest annual productivity statistics

27 February 2019

Last week, Stats NZ released its latest annual set of productivity statistics.

Newsletter

ProdComm News: February 2019

14 February 2019

Get up to speed with the latest from the Commission with our February newsletter.

State Services Commission

SSC inquiry into the use of external security consultants

18 December 2018

The State Services Commission has conducted an inquiry into the use of external security consultants...

Engagement for Local government funding and financing inquir...

12 December 2018

Consultation and engagement for our Local government funding and financing inquiry is underway.

Sally Garden joins the Commission

3 December 2018

We are delighted that Sally Garden joins the Commission today as a Principal Advisor.

Local government funding and financing: public views sought

6 November 2018

The Productivity Commission today published an issues paper for its inquiry into local government fu...

Submitter's views to our Low-emissions economy inquiry

1 November 2018

Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in our Low-emissions economy inquiry.

Technological change and productivity

15 February 2018

Can technologies be as disruptive to models of production as earlier industrial revolutions?

Blog

Terrible luck: lockdowns on learning and youth job prospects

23 September 2020 | Jenesa Jeram

What is bad luck? Bad luck is spilling spaghetti sauce down your shirt right before an important mee...

I’d wear a CovidCard. The question is, should you?

4 August 2020 | Judy Kavanagh

I’m OK with wearing a CovidCard. But are you? There’s no point me doing it alone.

CovidCard carrying Kiwis?

22 July 2020 | Dave Heatley

New Zealand’s COVID Tracer app is “on track to achieve nothing”, according to Sam Morgan.

Is COVID-19 becoming less deadly?

15 July 2020 | Dave Heatley

New COVID-19 cases are soaring in the US. I would naturally expect the number of deaths to be soarin...

Level with me

2 July 2020 | Nik Green

Much of the public debate about the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has focused on the extent to w...

The small numbers problem: distinguishing good luck from goo...

1 July 2020 | Dave Heatley

Zero community transmission. Just a handful of active cases, all in quarantine. New Zealand is in an...

How will the pandemic end?

25 June 2020 | Dave Heatley

Elimination. Border incursions. An outbreak. A lockdown, which takes us back to elimination.

Preparing for further outbreaks – have we got the right app?

11 June 2020 | Dave Heatley

Alert level 1! Like you no doubt, I am breathing a sigh of relief. But no one can guarantee that New...

Resilience for the future of work

2 June 2020 | Judy Kavanagh

As the metaphorical ink was drying on the Commission’s technological change and the future of work f...

Why we need more tech: the COVID-19 edition

29 May 2020 | Nik Green

One of the key findings from the Commission’s recent Technological change and the future of work inq...

Full service or self-service?

27 May 2020 | Ron Crawford

In normal times, New Zealand’s labour market works well. Compared to many other countries, unemploym...

Hoping for the good things in the hustle

25 May 2020 | Nik Green

It is said that ‘good things happen to those who hustle’.

Don’t stand so close to me

21 May 2020 | Nik Green

One of the big goals of some urban policymakers in recent years has been achieving greater populatio...

Local government infrastructure financing meets COVID-19

20 May 2020 | Ron Crawford

Last October, New Zealand communities elected their local government councillors and mayors.

What’s the risk?

19 May 2020 | Dave Heatley and Judy Kavanagh

Eighty-four percent of New Zealanders were concerned about the chances that they or someone close to...

The future of work? Over-prepared for yesterday’s threat, an...

15 May 2020 | Dave Heatley

Are humans destined to be over-prepared for yesterday’s existential threat, and under-prepared for t...

Law in order?

14 May 2020 | Nik Green

Governments around the world have restricted the activities of their citizens in the fight against C...

Lockdown: the effect on children’s learning and wellbeing

12 May 2020 | Ron Crawford

Lockdown hasn’t seemed too bad.

The pause that depresses

11 May 2020 | Murray Sherwin

The die is cast.

Transparency… for ordinary times and for dramatic times

8 May 2020 | Nik Green

In times of crisis, it is said, speed is of the essence. And the dramatic consequences of the COVID-...

Re-opening the trans-Tasman border

6 May 2020 | Dave Heatley

“Shut the borders” is a natural first reaction to an external threat.

A stoat trappers’ guide to elimination

5 May 2020 | Dave Heatley

New Zealanders have a lot of experience with islands and unwanted organisms – keeping them away, lea...

Taking account of the visible… and the hidden

4 May 2020 | Nik Green

A peculiar fixation of economists is looking for the unseen or unnoticed effects of an event.

Prepay or prepare to flex?

30 April 2020 | Nik Green

As we (hopefully) exit from the constraints imposed to control the COVID-19 virus, it’s worth thinki...

A mountaineer’s guide to policy headroom

23 April 2020 | Dave Heatley

Over the last few weeks’, you might have felt like the country was making its way along a ridge betw...

How are we trackin’?

22 April 2020 | Dave Heatley

Let me introduce you to RPE, a “quick & dirty” estimate of the effective reproduction number of COVI...

Is this the future of work?

14 April 2020 | Nik Green

Like us, most of you will be at home, keeping to your bubbles, isolating from others and maybe worki...

Can Kiwis be better chameleons?

25 February 2020 | John MacCormick

To succeed in an unpredictable and changing world, adaptability is the key. Let’s be chameleons. Tec...

Last post (almost)

13 February 2020 | Nik Green

This is our penultimate post on the FutureworkNZ blog. We’ve really enjoyed the process of testing o...

Decisions, decisions…

5 February 2020 | Nik Green

In my last post, I talked about how the rough and tumble of reallocation led to productivity growth,...

It’s all in the mix

3 February 2020 | Nik Green

In our first four draft reports, the Commission focused on questions like:

Is technology progress a...

Debunking fallacies – couldn’t say it better myself

30 January 2020 | John MacCormick

Our technological change and the future of work inquiry has turned the hose on some burning platform...

Guest post: The Internet should be for all New Zealanders, s...

27 January 2020 | InternetNZ

The fact you’re reading this article online is a good indicator you are “digitally included” - meani...

So long, farewell…

24 January 2020 | Amelia Sharman

… auf Wiedersehen, adieu! Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu. . .

I dropped maths at school – what happened?

23 January 2020 | Amelia Sharman

In my final year of school, I completely dropped maths and science – resulting in a conference with ...

Educating New Zealand’s future workforce

22 January 2020 | Judy Kavanagh

Do you remember your first day at school? The education I received was for a very different world th...

New Year’s resolutions

7 January 2020 | Amelia Sharman

The first week back at work after the new year is the most popular time to look for a new job.

Will there still be Santa?

20 December 2019 | Amelia Sharman

I’ve got some bad news about Santa Claus. The North Pole may be far, but it’s not too far to avoid t...

Where are all the part-time students?

19 December 2019 | John MacCormick

You’d think that with low unemployment and ever-improving technology for distance education, the pro...

From sewing machinist to software programmer

16 December 2019 | Amelia Sharman

I’m sure you’ve heard some version of this popular prediction – about two-thirds of children enterin...

Occupational drift

12 December 2019 | Amelia Sharman

New research by Dave Maré from Motu Economic and Public Policy Research for the Commission investiga...

Is NZ short of equity capital?

11 December 2019 | Dave Heatley

Low business investment is a problem for tech adoption.  Interest rates don’t provide a convincing e...

Why aren’t NZ businesses investing?

9 December 2019 | Dave Heatley

Crazily low interest rates but NZ businesses are not investing. Why not?

It’s an important question...

Generalist to specialist

5 December 2019 | Amelia Sharman

Both my parents are pretty handy – and they seem to have the right tools for most jobs in the garage...

Bite-sized learning

3 December 2019 | Amelia Sharman

There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to micro-credentials, those bits of bite-sized learning c...

Policies for dynamic labour markets and productivity growth

28 November 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

If you’re at risk of losing your job, your best protection is to have lots of other good job opportu...

Getting the chop

25 November 2019 | Dave Heatley

I’ve been made redundant. There, I’ve said it. Admittedly, it happened a long time ago. In 1986 I st...

Get more people to push – or fix the engine?

21 November 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

The Commission’s second draft report Employment, labour markets and income, for the Technological ch...

Redundancy pay – a redundant policy tool?

20 November 2019 | John MacCormick

Redundancy pay is a rather primitive form of insurance or “income smoothing”. It’s an old technology...

Redundancy pay – who and what is it good for?

18 November 2019 | John MacCormick

Redundancy (or severance) pay is an old technology to protect people from the risks and costs of job...

Measuring wellbeing – lessons from the Boer War

13 November 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

‘There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies and statistics’.

Migration and the labour market

11 November 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Trans-Tasman migration and arrivals from other countries have bigger effects on New Zealand’s popula...

There’s someone for everything

7 November 2019 | Amelia Sharman

There’s a great new ad campaign running for Trade Me at the moment based on the slogan, ‘there’s som...

How dynamic is the New Zealand labour market?

4 November 2019 | Tim Maddock

Two new Productivity Commission reports tell us that the New Zealand labour market is characterised ...

How many jobs do your skills prepare you for?

31 October 2019 | Amelia Sharman

When I was applying for jobs in London, an amazing place – although my economist colleagues just cal...

How effective are ALMPs?

30 October 2019 | Tim Maddock

The success of an Active Labour Market Policy (ALMP) will depend a lot on the type of programme and ...

More people and more jobs has changed New Zealand

24 October 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

48% growth in employment over 40 years! This is a remarkable success story for New Zealand’s labour ...

Low spending on ALMPs is not a good reason to increase it

21 October 2019 | Tim Maddock

Based on OECD comparisons, New Zealand’s overall spending on Active Labour Market Policies (ALMPs) a...

Forty years of change in the jobs Kiwis do and the places th...

17 October 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Over the last 40 years, New Zealanders – and people in other countries – have experienced big change...

Will Dalek chilly bins conquer the last mile?

16 October 2019 | John MacCormick

In Berkeley, California last week I met the Kiwibots – a tribe of 4-wheeled robots about the size of...

Into the Frey

14 October 2019 | Nik Green

If you’ve read anything about technological change and the future of work – or even if you’ve just G...

When is a policy that helps people be in work not an ALMP?

9 October 2019 | Tim Maddock

Answer: When it’s a childcare subsidy available to other low-income households.

The confidence of youth

3 October 2019 | Amelia Sharman

Young people have a strong belief that technology will shape their future but what types of skills a...

Culturally diverse AI could enrich children’s learning

2 October 2019 | Amelia Sharman

I love the bold and colourful marae at Te Papa Tongarewa. The space is made up of a marae ātea (plac...

Biased algorithms – a good or bad thing?

2 October 2019 | Dave Heatley

Fears of social problems accompany any new technology. Not just new problems, as technology can re-i...

Guest post: Secondary school students on work in 2030

30 September 2019 | Pat Cody

What do secondary school students think work will look like in 2030? Flying cars, genetically modifi...

Left off the map – again!

26 September 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

This is a slide from Professor Richard Baldwin’s presentation about his new book The Globotics Uphea...

Too much (investment) screen time?

23 September 2019 | Nik Green

Is this the reason why New Zealand doesn’t feature more prominently on global business and investmen...

The gig on women’s earnings

19 September 2019 | John MacCormick and Judy Kavanagh

Does gig work on digital platforms have a gender pay gap? The more flexible work options enabled by ...

How important is human capital to productivity?

18 September 2019 | Amelia Sharman

Have you ever done a MOOC? After completing four separate degrees and ten years at university, you w...

How to insure against a workless future

16 September 2019 | Anthony Hall and Dr Nicholas Agar

There are two “expert” messages about the impact of the digital revolution on work that are hard to ...

New Zealand, technology and productivity

12 September 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

The first of the Productivity Commission’s reports on technological change and the future of work is...

Shocks to the system

11 September 2019 | Nik Green

As a small country that’s far away from most of the world, it’s not surprising that many have worrie...

The nuts and bolts of automation

9 September 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Many, many things affect whether a firm will adopt a technology, and whether this adoption will be s...

Making digital inclusion ‘go viral’

5 September 2019 | Amelia Sharman

Can you ‘infect’ someone with digital skills? It may sound like an odd question but let me explain…
...

Digital inclusion: What do we know from people who don’t use...

4 September 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Forty-five percent of people who don’t use the internet say they have no interest in the internet or...

Looking beyond access to solve the digital divide

2 September 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Why is the Productivity Commission interested in the digital divide? Our terms of reference ask us h...

We have better metrics than the labour income share. Let’s u...

28 August 2019 | Dave Heatley

A decline in the labour income share (LIS) is not definitive evidence of capital replacing human lab...

From Richard Pearse to the koru club

26 August 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

There’s a long lag between invention and any labour market effects from the mass adoption of technol...

Robots and frozen vegetables

22 August 2019 | Dave Heatley

Freezing 500 tonnes of vegetables a day, most days of the year. That makes for a significant manufac...

Why hang on to old tech?

21 August 2019 | Amelia Sharman

As the opening chords of Country Calendar play, feel-good nostalgia for rural New Zealand washes ove...

When tech does things humans never could

15 August 2019 | Nik Green

Technological progress need not eliminate jobs; automation can allow new and expanded worthwhile act...

It doesn’t pay to lose your job!

14 August 2019 | Tim Maddock

How well does NZ support people who face job loss?  

I feel fortunate. In my working life – 3 ½ yea...

Technological change and the future of love

12 August 2019 | John MacCormick

Online matchmaking has radically changed the way people search for love.

Is tech change really accelerating?

7 August 2019 | Tim Maddock

Accelerating or decelerating? Just about all the media commentary about the future of work says that...

Climate change policy, technological change and the future o...

6 August 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

It’s always a big day for the Productivity Commission when the Government announces its response to ...

Can robots help fund more attractive places to live?

1 August 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Robots are going to take our jobs, right?  Well, maybe. The available evidence provides conflicting ...

Why do the Danes like tech?

31 July 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Denmark is a lot like us. A small country and with an open economy and lots of fiords and sounds.

Moon landings, automation fears and commissions of inquiry

26 July 2019 | Dave Heatley

The 50th anniversary of the moon landings got me thinking about 1960s tech and work.

The perils of straight-line forecasting

24 July 2019 | Dave Heatley

Skills scarcity is great. At least when it’s your skills in demand.

Who should invest their money between workers’ ears?

22 July 2019 | John MacCormick

Training is an investment in “embodied human capital” – assets stored in workers’ heads.

Blocking agri-tech doesn’t mean we can block its undesired e...

18 July 2019 | Dave Heatley

New tech. A traditional local industry.

What to do when forecasts diverge?

17 July 2019 | Dave Heatley

The nice thing about forecasts is that you have so many to choose from.

Can tech-enabled flexible work close the gender pay gap?

15 July 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

The converging roles of men and women are among the grandest advances in society and the economy in ...

What makes a job a good job?

11 July 2019 | John MacCormick

There’s an old joke about an economist searching for their keys under a street lamp.

There’s no place like home

10 July 2019 | Tim Maddock

Why don’t people move as often as economists expect? 

Some regions in New Zealand have much higher ...

The demand for statisticians and Easter bunnies

8 July 2019 | Dave Heatley

The right job in the wrong place. For many, that’s the reality of job search in New Zealand’s less p...

Could AI be the answer to our productivity woes?

3 July 2019 | Judy Kavanagh

Regardless of the technology hype, we’re in a productivity slump worldwide.

Reading past the job-loss headlines

27 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

“Machines take jobs” cry the headlines. A journalist friend once said the media only publish two sto...

Is the post-2012 acceleration in automation tech sustainable...

26 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Can automation tech keep improving at the current rate? 

First, how good is today’s AI-enabled soft...

Which technologies drive concern over the future of work?

24 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Biotech. Nanotech. Cleantech. Gene tech. Cloud computing tech. Successive waves of technological cha...

The future of volunteering

20 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

I only know one economist joke. A plane carrying economists plummets towards the ground after its en...

Guest post: Land use and the future of work

17 June 2019 | Phil McDermott

Flexible land-use planning complements a complex, dynamic and unpredictable employment environment. ...

Career is a verb, not a noun

17 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

career (v) move swiftly and in an uncontrolled way.

Scenarios and choosing a future

14 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Can New Zealand choose its own future of work? The submissions and feedback the inquiry has received...

Pick a path

13 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Technology is an irresistible force, emerging from inventors and relentlessly changing the nature of...

Is the price right?

11 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Prices affect firm decisions. Government policy affects prices, and in doing so indirectly affects t...

The mothers of invention

10 June 2019 | Dave Heatley

Necessity is the mother of invention if camping without tent pegs, according to Kinley Salmon in his...

Girl bosses and skills to beat job-killing robots

5 June 2019 | John MacCormick

GirlBoss NZ urges us to take a strong gender perspective in our inquiry.

Are ‘dumped’ workers pressured into ‘rebound’ jobs in NZ?

30 May 2019 | Tim Maddock

Are fast rates of re-employment always a good thing? New Zealand’s incidence of long-term unemployme...

The gig economy – flexible but tricky to measure

27 May 2019 | Tim Maddock

It is hard to find a discussion about the future of work without some reference to the emergence of ...

Is the future of work happening now?

20 May 2019 | Nik Green

Many people worry about the impact of new and emerging technologies like robots and artificial intel...

Don’t believe the hype

17 May 2019 | Dave Heatley

Predicting technology is the first step towards predicting the labour market impacts of technology. ...

Offshoring US manufacturing to China – it changed politics, ...

15 May 2019 | Dave Heatley

The US–China trade war is in the news again.

Job loss predictions – easy to make, hard to trust

13 May 2019 | Dave Heatley

This graphic caught my eye. It accompanies the article Robots and Us in today’s Otago Daily Times.

In the press