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Schools challenge 2018

The Treasury is giving year 12 and 13 students all over the country the chance to address important public policy issues facing the country.

The competition aims to:

  • stimulate discussion and fresh debate on the Treasury's core work
  • give students an opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of a Treasury analyst looking at real-world policy making, and
  • encourage students to take an interest in economics and public policy as a career option.

Participating teams or individuals are tasked with producing either an essay (no more than 2000 words), A3 poster presentation, or a video presentation (up to 5 minutes) on the designated topic. The overall winning team and individual will be brought to the Treasury for a prize-giving event attended by Treasury and Victoria University staff, as well as being given the chance to see how the Treasury works on a day-to-day basis. Entrants will be assessed on their understanding of the issue and the originality and practicality of their analysis.

Contacts

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General enquiries

Email: schoolschallenge@treasury.govt.nz

Media enquiries

Ross Aaltonen: ross.aaltonen@treasury.govt.nz

The task

A fairer tax system

In the 2018 Treasury Schools Challenge we would like you to either: write a 2000 word essay (maximum), prepare an A3 sized poster presentation or create a video presentation of up to five minutes.

Your essay or presentation should take on the role of an analyst developing a briefing to the Tax Working Group.

In your briefing you are required to present three policy changes that would promote a fairer tax system in New Zealand, explaining why you are presenting those changes. You may wish to consider how your recommendations relate to tikanga Māori.

When presenting your recommended policy changes, consider what it means to have a fair tax system, how this relates to other objectives for the tax system and what policies have been adopted in other countries to achieve this.

As in previous years, there are no ‘right’ answers to this challenge. We are looking for new insights into the tax system and policy advice, not the ‘right’ answers. We encourage bold, creative and diverse thinking and don't be afraid to consider the longer term. You do not need to study economics or finance to participate in this challenge.

To register for the 2018 Schools Challenge, please fill out the registration form and email to schoolschallenge@treasury.govt.nz by 5pm 16 April 2018.

All entries must be accompanied by either an individual entry form, or a team entry form. See related content to download these.

All entries must be emailed to schoolschallenge@treasury.govt.nz by 16 May 2018.

For all video entries, we will email you a link where you can upload your presentations.

Timeline

16 March 2018 - Competition launch
16 April 2018 - Competition registrations close
16 May 2018 - All entries due
1 June 2018 - Winners announced
14 June 2018 - Prize-giving

Assessment criteria

There is no single "right" answer for this task. The challenge is designed to test:

  • your interpretation of what it means to have a fair tax system
  • your analytical skill and creativity in exploring policy options to promote a fairer tax system in New Zealand.

Your entry will be evaluated against the following high-level criteria:

  • Understanding of the opportunities - 20%
  • Developing options and recommendations - 50%
  • Presentation of ideas - 30%

A further breakdown of what the judges will be seeking is as follows:

Understanding the opportunities - 20%

Have you demonstrated:

  • Knowledge of the objectives of the New Zealand tax system?
  • An interpretation of what it means to have a fair tax system?
  • An understanding of tikanga Māori?
  • An understanding of tax policies adopted in other countries?

Developing policy options and recommendations - 50%

  • Do the policy options and recommendations make sense in light of the other objectives for the tax system?
  • Have you demonstrated an understanding of the way in which your selected policy options might interact with tikanga Māori?
  • Have you identified policies adopted by other countries and how they may be adopted or modified to fit a New Zealand context?
  • Are the recommendations justified?
  • Have you demonstrated creative and original thinking?

Presentation of ideas - 30%

  • Are the ideas presented as a briefing to the Tax Working Group?
  • Are the ideas presented clearly?
  • Are the ideas persuasively argued?
  • How accurate are the spelling/grammar/punctuation?
  • Did you keep to the word limit, time limit, and other guidelines?
  • Have you referenced ideas that are not your own?

Challenge prizes

The Treasury will provide a panel of “Markers” who will assess the entries. Prizes will be awarded in the following categories:

  • Best Individual Written Essay
  • Best Individual A3 Presentation
  • Best Individual Video Presentation
  • Best Team Essay
  • Best Team A3 Presentation
  • Best Team Video Presentation

The following prizes will be provided by Victoria University of Wellington and the Treasury to the winners:

  • Each member of the overall winning team (up to three members) will receive a $500 electronics voucher and a scholarship valued at $2,000 to study at Victoria University.
  • Each member of the best in class teams (up to three members per team) will receive a $500 electronics voucher and a scholarship valued at $1,000 to study at Victoria University.
  • The overall winning individual will win a $500 electronics voucher and a scholarship valued at $2,000 to study at Victoria University. 
  • The  remaining two best in class individuals will receive a $500 electronics voucher and a scholarship valued at $1,000 to study at Victoria University.

*The scholarships are available for members of the place-getting teams and individuals if and when they become fully enrolled at Victoria University.

The conditions of the scholarship are:

  • The student must be enrolled in a full-time programme of study at Victoria University for 2019 or 2020.
  • They must have attained University Entrance and the Guaranteed Entry Score for the programme they have chosen to study and be fully enrolled by the due dates. See Victoria University's website for admission and other enrolment requirements www.victoria.ac.nz
  • The scholarship may be held in conjunction with a Victoria Excellence or Victoria Achiever Scholarship or other fees scholarship.
  • The scholarship can be put towards tuition fees, accommodation costs in a Victoria University hall of residence only, or course-related costs (receipts must be presented).

Resources

This page will be periodically updated, as more resources become available through the Tax Working Group website.

Tax Working Group - This website provides information on the New Zealand tax system, including its objectives and the challenges, risks and opportunities it will face in the future.

Budget 2017 at a glance - The Treasury produced this document as part of Budget 2017. Page 6 provides an overview of tax rates in New Zealand, as well as core government revenue and expenses for the 2016/17 year.

PREFU 2017 basics- The Treasury produced this document as part of the 2017 Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update (PREFU). Page 10 shows how tax revenue and expenditure in New Zealand has changed over the last 10 years.

Tikanga Māori: Living by Māori values - this book has a preview available. It explores tikanga Māori and its application in a modern context.

OECD - Tax policy reforms - This document provides information on tax changes across different countries in 2016, and shows tax policy trends over time.

OECD - Tax - The OECD website provides a number of resources on tax policies adopted by different countries across the world, including documents and data relating to taxing personal income, corporate profits and goods and services.

OECD - Tax data charts - This OECD resource shows how taxes as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compare in different countries.

Videos

What does the future of tax look like?

What is the purpose of tax?

Are we taxing the right things?

Can tax make housing more affordable?

What tax issues matter most to you?

Terms and conditions

The following are the terms and conditions that must be met for a valid entry. All entrants accept these terms and conditions when they submit their entry form. Please read these terms and conditions carefully.

Entries

  1. Entries are open to teams, or individual students from New Zealand secondary schools (as specified by the Ministry of Education) that have registered for the Schools Challenge.
  2. Schools must register for the Schools Challenge by 16 April 2018 via email to schoolschallenge@treasury.govt.nz using the registration form available on this website.
  3. Entries are limited to ten entries per registered school.
  4. Team members and individual entrants must be currently enrolled in a New Zealand secondary school in Year 12 or 13.
  5. Teams must not exceed three students.
  6. Essay and poster entries must be received via email to schoolschallenge@treasury.govt.nz. Video entries must be received via secure file transfer in accordance with instructions to be provided by the Treasury.
  7. Entries must be received by 5.00pm 16 May 2018.
  8. Incomplete entries will not be accepted.
  9. Entries are not open to immediate relatives of employees of the Treasury.
  10. Team members may be substituted if one or more members is no longer able to participate in the competition for any reason. Details of substitute team members must be submitted to the Treasury. Substitute team members will be bound by these terms and condition.

Use of entries and information

  1. The Treasury may publish, share, refer to, or otherwise use any essay, poster or video entry without the prior permission of the teams or individuals that submitted it.
  2. All entrants agree to participate in any un-paid media/promotional programme (eg, press, TV interviews, etc), as required by the Treasury.
  3. Personal information such as names and contact details collected through the challenge will be stored securely by the Treasury and used for the purposes of the current or future schools challenges, and may be shared with sponsors in relation to schools challenges or challenge prizes.

Judging

  1. In each of the individual and team categories the best essay, poster and video entries (ie, best in class) will be selected by the judges for final judging. The best overall entries will then be selected by the judges from the best in class finalists. 
  2. The judges’ decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  3. Entrants shall not contact judges for direct feedback on the judging process or results.

Prizes and prizegiving

  1. The winners will be announced following judging of the entries. First place prizes will be awarded to the best overall individual and best overall team entry. Runner up prizes will be awarded to the best in class individual and team entries that do not win the first place prizes.
  2. The first placed individual and each member of the first placed team (up to three members) will be awarded a $500 electronics voucher and receive a scholarship valued at $2,000 to study at Victoria University of Wellington. Each runner up individual and each member of the runner up teams (up to three members per team) will receive a $500 electronics voucher and a scholarship valued at $1,000 to study at Victoria University of Wellington. 
  3. The scholarship will be awarded if and when the student is enrolled in a full-time programme of study at Victoria University of Wellington in 2019 or 2020. They must have attained University Entrance and the Guaranteed Entry Score for the programme they have chosen to study and be fully enrolled by the due dates (see www.victoria.ac.nz for admission and other enrolment requirements). The scholarship may be held in conjunction with a Victoria Excellence or Victoria Achiever Scholarship or other fees scholarship. The scholarship can be put towards tuition fees, accommodation costs in a Victoria University hall of residence only, or course-related costs (receipts must be presented).
  4. The winning individual and team will be invited to a prize giving, and to spend a day, at the Treasury on 14 June 2018. The Treasury will cover all reasonable costs of travel to and from Wellington for the winning individual and a teacher from their school and the winning team and a teacher from their school.

General

  1. Any entrant failing to comply with these terms and conditions may be disqualified from the competition.
  2. The Treasury reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions or issue binding rulings on any matter not included in these terms and conditions. Such decisions shall be final.
Last updated: 
Monday, 19 March 2018