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Government Waste Galore

Next Magazine (2014.05.22, A004, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) In it last Annual Report, the Audit Commission notes that there “has been a significant rise in government spending (from $233 billion in 2005-06 to $381 billion in 2012-13 (an increase of 64%)” and describe the “significant increase in scope, complexity and coverageContinue reading>

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Healthy budget healthy people

Next Magazine (2014.04.17, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Criticisms of Financial Secretary John Tsang’s Working Group on Long Term Fiscal Planning in the month since it was released have been rather odd. On the one hand there are those, particularly in the English language media, who criticized the working group asContinue reading>

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Dark days in Hong Kong

Next Magazine (2014.04.03, A002, Second Opinion, Bill Stacey) Amidst festivities for the Rugby 7’s and a flash storm on Saturday that brought night to the city in the middle of the day, it would have been easy to miss the international “Earth Hour” at 8:30pm that night. At that hour inContinue reading>

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A make work scheme for foreign lawyers

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.12.19)   Hong Kong’s competition law came into effect on 18 January 2013. Commissioners were appointed from 1 May 2013 and heads of the judicial Competition Tribunal from 1 August. As these appointments take place, it is increasingly clear what the competition law is allContinue reading>

Intervention Begets Apathy

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.11.14) Hong Kong people are generous as evidenced by our 7,592 tax-exempt charities. In the last fiscal year they donated $9.45billion to tax-deductible charitable organizations. These figures however go no-where near reflecting Hong Kong people’s civic spirit. Many donations are not reported to the InlandContinue reading>

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End Business Welfare

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.10.03) Hong Kong risks being transformed. With the 2013-14 budget, total government spending has become entrenched at over 21% of GDP. Forward estimates from the government have spending peaking in 2015-16 at 21.6% when a special provision is made for health care reform. However, withContinue reading>

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Heed HSBC’s Lessons

Next Magazine (Second opinion A004, 2013.09.05) Hong Kong is blessed with venerable institutions that date back to its early days as a colony, but have survived and prospered in the modern world by adapting to changes. These changes and adaptations sometimes happen consciously with a deliberate plan, but they areContinue reading>

The cornerstone of our rights

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.07.25) Property rights are a cornerstone of our free market system. Although we have an unusual system of leasehold, rather than freehold property, for most of our history leaseholders have had substantive rights over the land and improved space above land that they have occupied.Continue reading>

Give us gridlock

Next Magazine (Second opinion A002, 2013.06.13)   It is now apparent that we have constitutional arrangements in Hong Kong that make it extremely difficult to legislate. The electoral system biases towards small parties, making working parliamentary majorities impossible to form. In the battle for a quota, locking in firm votesContinue reading>