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Participants sought for head-scratch on affording the future

Participants sought for head-scratch on affording the future

Aug. 1 (BusinessDesk) - Plans are advancing rapidly for a high level, two-day conference in December in which a panel of experts and commentators will test the Treasury's assumptions about what New Zealand will need to earn to afford its future wishes and desires.

Led by Victoria University, the Treasury-backed conference will bring together the conclusions of some 18 selected economists, journalists, and public policy aficionados, ahead of the Treasury's release next year of its next set of Long Term Fiscal Projections.

The third three yearly release of the document is being built up as a way to engage public debate on New Zealand's future, and the amount of wealth and taxes it will need to generate to meet known and likely future liabilities, such as the cost of superannuation, education, and the health system.

Superannuation has been a hot political topic in recent months as Prime Minister John Key declines to consider raising the age of pension entitlement, despite growing political consensus that an increase from 65 to 67 years of age is necessary to render the scheme affordable.

The conference is roughly modelled on an earlier Victoria University-led attempt to find consensus on public policy, the Tax Policy Working Group.

The chair of that initiative, Dean of Commerce Professor Bob Buckle, will chair the Affording Our Future conference, which will be held in Wellington on Dec. 10 and 11.

A series of working papers will be published ahead of the conference, in October and November.

"The Affording our Future conference will bring together a range of renowned national and international speakers for two days to consider, discuss and test the available evidence about the emerging fiscal challenges that confront our ageing society," said Buckle in a statement.

"It is my expectation that this conference, and the research papers to be considered by the panel … will help identify the range and potential combinations of policy options and trade-offs required to effectively and fairly manage the fiscal challenge before us as a nation."


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