Institute for Governance and Policy Studies

Previous Events & News 2017









The most recent events are at the top:

4th December - Magic Weapons: China's political influence activities under Xi Jinping
This presentation examined China's foreign political influence activities under Xi Jinping, using New Zealand as a case study. New Zealand’s relationship with China is of interest, because the Chinese government regards New Zealand as an exemplar of how it would like its relations to be with other states. In 2013, China’s New Zealand ambassador described the two countries’ relationship as “a model to other Western countries”. And after Premier Li Keqiang visited New Zealand in 2017, a Chinese diplomat favourably compared New Zealand-China relations to the level of closeness China had with Albania in the early 1960s. The presentation considers the potential impact of China’s expanded political influence activities in New Zealand and how any effects could be mitigated.
Speaker: Professor Anne-Marie Brady, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand Global Fellow; Wilson Center, Washington, DC, USA

31st October - Challenging Inequalities? Critical reflections on the social impacts of ageing research AND The Impact of Rurality, Disadvantage and Population Turnover on Social Isolation and Loneliness


Tom Scharf’s initial research on ageing in deprived urban communities in the early 2000s, and more recently in old age social exclusion has been very influential in public policy and professional practice. It has also underpinned a series of collaborations with Manchester City Council, with Age-Friendly Manchester now regarded as an international model for urban local authorities. This work provided a foundation for establishing the Campaign to End Loneliness, which now has a supporter network of over 1400 groups and individuals.
Vanessa Burholt’s international research focuses on older people’s attachment to people and places and she has published over 50 papers and book chapters on rurality, loneliness, support networks, intergenerational relationships, ethnicity and migration. She was Principal Investigator for the South Wales arm of Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (Wales) and has recently completed work on Dementia and imagination: connecting communities and developing well-being through socially engaged visual arts practice.

Speakers: Thomas Scharf is Professor of Social Gerontology in the Institute of Health & Society at Newcastle University and leads the ‘Economic and Social Impacts of Ageing’ theme in the University’s Institute for Ageing. Vanessa Burholt is Professor of Gerontology and Director of the Centre for Innovative Ageing (CIA) in the College of Human and Health Sciences at Swansea University; and Director of the pan-Wales Centre for Ageing and Dementia Research (CADR).

In association with Family Centre Social Policy Research Unit, the NZ Association of Gerontology and the Research Centre for Maori Health and Development at Massey University.

27th October - The New Government in New Zealand: Political and policy iimplications
A panel of experts will give their perspectives on the political and policy implications of the new Labour Government, and answer questions.

Panel of speakers:

Prof Paul Dalziel, Professor of Economics, Lincoln University

Stacey Kirk, political reporter, Fairfax Media

Deborah Morris Travers, former NZ First MP & former Green Party Chief of Staff

Laura O'Connell Rapira, (Te Atiawa, Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa) Director of Campaigns, Action Station

Dr Verna Smith, School of Government, VUW

Chair: Prof Jonathan Boston


25th October - On Fixing Democracy
Deliberative democracy is usually thought to be a set of small-scale practices which engage citizens directly in public decision making, irrelevant to large-scale questions of democratic systems and states.
This talk outlines the deliberative systems approach and show how it can help illuminate pressing large scale issues in democracy, including the relationship between democracy, bureaucracy, and power relations more generally. It identifies a set of issues which call for rather different fixes than those traditionally associated with deliberative theory. The talk illustrates with examples drawn from three cases: the Scottish independence campaign of 2014; the Irish marriage equality campaign of 2016; and ongoing efforts to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian constitution.
Speaker: John Parkinson is Professor of Politics at Griffith University, Brisbane. His published work includes Deliberating in the Real World (Oxford 2006), Democracy and Public Space (Oxford 2012) and, with Jane Mansbridge (Harvard) Deliberative Systems (Cambridge 2012). He is currently working on an ARC-funded project called Sparking a National Conversation. Originally a Wellingtonian, John has held appointments at the Universities of York and Warwick (UK), where he taught public policy and democratic theory.
20th October - The Case for New Climate Change Adaptation Funding Instruments

Adapting to climate change during the 21st century poses unprecedented technical, administrative and political challenges for which new governance arrangements, planning frameworks and funding instruments will be required. In particular, there are strong efficiency and equity grounds for New Zealand establishing a new funding mechanism (or mechanisms) to help cover the costs of adapting to sea level rise. Such a mechanism would serve as an anticipatory governance device. It would be designed primarily to minimize changing natural hazard risk by facilitating managed retreat and related climate-proofing activities. It would thus complement the role of EQC, which is a post-disaster risk-sharing mechanism. The seminar will outline the case for a new adaptation fund and explore how it might be designed, funded and administered.

Speakers: Jonathan Boston, Professor of Public Policy at School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington; Judy Lawrence, Senior Research Fellow at NZ Climate Change Research Institute at Victoria University of Wellington and co-chair of the government's Climate Change Adaptation Technical Working Group.


4th October - 2017 Sir Frank Holmes Memorial Lecture

Disruption: Big Changes in Asia-Pacific Economic Integration

For several decades strong trade growth in the Asia-Pacific helped lift millions out of poverty in emerging markets and changed the way developed countries did business. These patterns are now being disrupted by new ways of trading, slower growth, major demographic changes, and technological disruption. Middle classes are on the rise in East Asia and may be on the decline in the West. A rising tide of anti-globalisation in some countries is raising a lot of difficult questions. Dr Alan Bollard speaks from his experiences in the region as Executive Director of the APEC organisation for the last five years.
bollardSpeaker: Dr Alan Bollard is the Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat based in Singapore, the body that promotes trade, investment and sustainable economic growth in the Asia-Pacific.  Dr Bollard advances APEC’s agenda by executing APEC’s work programmes as mandated by Leaders and Ministers.
Prior to joining APEC, Dr Bollard was the Governor of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from 2002 to 2012. In that position, he was responsible for monetary policy and bank regulations, helping steer New Zealand through the global financial crisis.
From 1998 to 2002, Dr Bollard was the Secretary to the New Zealand Treasury.  As the government’s principal economic adviser, he managed the Crown’s finances and helped guide economic policy. He has served as New Zealand’s Alternate Governor to the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.  From 1994 – 2008, he was the Chairman of the New Zealand Commerce Commission.  Prior to this from 1987 to 1994 he was Director of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research.
Dr Bollard has helped rebuild the famous MONIAC hydraulic model of the British economy.  He has also designed a computer simulation game called OIKONOMOS where you play at being Minister of Finance.  He wrote a best-selling account of the GFC called “Crisis: One Central Bank Governor and the Global Financial Collapse”.  He has published a novel entitled ‘The Rough Mechanical’ and a biography of famous economist Bill Phillips in 2016.
He is married to venture capitalist Jenny Morel and has 2 sons.  Dr Bollard has a PhD in Economics from the University of Auckland.  He has since been awarded several honorary doctorate degrees.  In 2012 he was honoured as a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit.
29th September - Post-Election Forum

What are the implications of the 2017 general election for New Zealand politics, public policy and public management?

The panel was chaired by Professor Jonathan Boston, School of Government.

Speakers: Dr Bryce Edwards, political commentator; Colin James, political commentator; Alex Tarrant, political journalist; Dr Verna Smith, School of Government, VUW; Dr Fiona Barker, School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations, VUW
20th June - Bridges Both Ways: Transforming the openness of New Zealand government

This was the launch of Bridges Both Ways, an IGPS report on the options for making New Zealand's government profoundly more open. New Zealand has a reputation as a relatively open country, but faces growing concerns about its transparency, integrity and opportunities for democratic participation. It is also failing to respond to the demands for responsiveness and deep engagement that citizens expect in the 21st century. This report canvasses a range of options that could transform the openness of the country's political systems.

Speakers: Max Rashbrooke is a research associate at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, and the author and editor of several books, notably Wealth and New Zealand (Bridget Williams Books, 2015); Associate Professor Michael Macaulay, Associate Dean, Professional Education, VUW; Janine McGruddy, Chief Executive, Transparency International
26th May - 2017 Budget Panel Discussion

Contributors to the panel discussion were:

Arthur Grimes is a Senior Fellow at Motu Economic and Public Policy Research, and an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University of Wellington, where he has recently been appointed to the Chair of Wellbeing and Public Policy. He is currently President of the NZ Association of Economists and is a former Board Chairman and Chief Economist of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

Lisa Marriott is an Associate Professor of Taxation in the School of Accounting and Commercial Law at Victoria University of Wellington.  Lisa’s research interests include social justice and inequality, and the behavioural impacts of taxation.  
Patrick Nolan joined the Productivity Commission as a Principal Advisor in the Economics and Research team in February 2014. He previously served as Chief Economist of Reform, a cross-party British think tank, and worked for the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and the New Zealand Treasury.
Bill Rosenberg has been Economist and Director of Policy at the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions since 2009 and is a regular commentator in the media.

19th May - Our Deadly Nitrogen Addiction
The human population has reached a level far in excess of the ability of the planet to sustain it long-term through using synthetic nitrogen. The ‘green revolution’ was driven by a massive increase in fossil energy in food production; this one-off subsidy from the past is close to its end as the easy energy pickings diminish. To be able to feed the burgeoning population without fossil fuels and keep greenhouse gas emissions at a safe level will require removing livestock from human food and reducing transporting and processing food.  This change will have many human and ecological health benefits.
The talk is based a soon to be published chapter in the Land and Food Annual 2017 Massey University Press

Speaker: Mike Joy BSc, MSc (1st class hons), PhD in Ecology is a Senior Lecturer in Ecology and Environmental Science at the Ecology group-Institute of Agriculture and Environment Massey University Palmerston North.  He researches and teaches freshwater ecology, especially freshwater fish ecology and distribution, ecological modelling bioassessment and environmental science.  He has and continues to supervise many Masters and PhD students doing research into freshwater ecology, with topics from native fish ecology to farmers’ attitudes to sustainability.

Mike has published many papers in scientific journals, many international as well as articles and op-eds for newspapers and magazines.  He has authored many reports for Regional Councils and ministry for the environment, and has developed a number of bioassessment tools and associated software used by many North Island Regional Councils. 

Mike is an outspoken advocate for environmental protection in New Zealand and has received a number of awards including an Ecology in Action award from the NZ ecological Society, an Old Blue award from Forest and Bird, he was named 2009 Environmental New Zealander of the year by North and South magazine, Manawatu Evening Standard 2012 person of the year, in 2013 he received the Tertiary Education Union NZ Award of Excellence for Academic Freedom and contribution to Public Education, the 2013 Charles Fleming Award for environmental work from the Royal Society of New Zealand and in 2015 the Morgan Foundation inaugural River Voice Award.


12th May - Greening the Future: A social investments approach to environmental problems
The logic of social investment has gained significant traction in New Zealand’s policy landscape. Yet the problem it aims to address – the incurring of long-run costs through failures to intervene in the short-term – is familiar to environmental economics. What can social investment logics offer to contemporary environmental policy, and what is the relevance of the shift from the social to environmental context?

Speaker: David Hall has a D.Phil in Politics from the University of Oxford and currently holds the role of Senior Researcher at The Policy Observatory, AUT. His recent policy work focuses on tree planting in New Zealand in the context of climate change.


5th May - Going GLOBAL: Pathways for New Zealand's transition to a low carbon economy

A panel discussion of the Vivid Economics report produced for the cross-party GLOBE parliamentarians' group.
Vivid Economics was commissioned by a cross-party group of 35 MPs to produce scenarios for New Zealand's transition to a low carbon economy. This report breaks new ground in being both a cross-party initiative, and an independent economy-wide analysis. It was launched at the Beehive in March in the presence of the Minister for Climate Change Issues, Hon Paula Bennett.  This is an opportunity to discuss the report and its implications with a panel of experts.
Panel discussants: Kennedy Graham, MP and Chair of GLOBE; Catherine Leining, MOTU; John Carnegie, BusinessNZ; Paul Young, GenerationZero. Chaired by Marjan van den Belt, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Sustainability), VUW

28 April - Imagine That!

A thought experiment to construct descriptive underpinnings for normative frameworks of progress and development

Normative frameworks that seek to define the "good life" often suffer from weak descriptive underpinnings, which might be why policies built on those frameworks often fail to achieve their objectives; the puppeteers know not the puppets they attempt to string! I address this descriptive shortcoming by undertaking a thought experiment: imagine a few thousand Martians dropped on earth to observe, describe, and analyse human lives. The Martian observers have human-like observational powers but their memories are wiped clean at the start.  As a result they have no way of evaluating what they first encounter but must engage in careful observation and build up their understanding of human lives gradually. What would they observe?  What would they make of their observations?  How would they evaluate the varied configurations of human lives across the globe? What sort of definition of progress and development would emerge from this Martian thought experiment? The talk will cover the vast landscape of human lives and offer answers to these questions.


Speaker: Dr Jaikishan Desai is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington and contributes to teaching in courses on development policy, policy research methods, and the interplay of state, economy, and society. He has a PhD in economics and an MSc in biostatistics and prior to joining Victoria University worked in international development for almost 20 years.
12th April - Should a Universal Basic Income be Part of the New Zealand Political Project?
Drawing on material from his book, The New Zealand Project, Max Harris makes the case for a universal basic income (UBI) pilot in New Zealand.  He examines the arguments for and against a UBI, using a values-based framework; explains why piloting a UBI is justified and valuable; and recounts the lessons we can take from Finland's experience so far with developing its UBI pilot.

Speaker: Max Harris is author of The New Zealand Project (Bridget Williams Books, 2017).  He is an Examination Fellow and PhD student at All Souls College, Oxford.  He has worked as a clerk to Chief Justice Elias at the Supreme Court of New Zealand and as a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme's Executive Office in New York.


31st March - Investing in People and the Planet
In a world threatened by ecological disaster, global inequality and human tragedy, how can we make a difference?  The bank we select, the pension fund and insurance that we choose, the investments that we support, and the voice that we raise to shape Government investments and financial behaviour, can begin to make the changes that are needed when joined with the efforts of others.  This presentation shows why and how.

Speaker: Robert Howell’s primary interest is working to understand the links between ecological degradation, financial systems, and ethics.  He has a particular focus on ethical investment, economic reform, and shareholder activism.  He set up the Council for Socially Responsible Investment (2003-2012) and co-founded the establishment the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility based in Canberra in 2013. He has a background as a CEO, management consultant, and contract university teacher, with competencies in strategic visioning, governance, organisational design, and business ethics. He has a MA in philosophy, a postgraduate diploma in health management, and a PhD in community health planning and management.  He is one of the authors of Right Relationship Building a Whole Earth Economy, and one of a team of authors from Sustainable Aotearoa New Zealand in their publication, Strong Sustainability for New Zealand Principles and Scenarios.


Symposium on Improving Intergenerational Governance

23rd March 2017 at Parliament's Banquet Hall

Humanity faces daunting long-term risks and challenges – climate change, failed states, mass migration, the loss of biodiversity, major natural disasters, the social ramifications of the fourth industrial revolution and the fiscal implications of population ageing, to name but a few. In recent years, the international community has agreed on a series of important long-term goals, most notably in 2015 via the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Management.

But how are such goals to be met? Moreover, in a world dominated by short-term pressures, a relentless 24-hour media cycle, and tweeting presidents, how can democracies ensure that long-term issues receive the attention they deserve? How can governments be incentivized to safeguard the interests of future generations? How can public institutions be designed so that societies have  good governance, not merely for today but also for tomorrow? Or, to put it differently, how can the quality of intergenerational governance be improved?

Victoria University of Wellington is committed to the goal of advancing better government, locally and globally. The symposium at Parliament on 23 March is one of a series of events designed to contribute to this objective. Hosted by the Deputy Prime Minister, Hon Paula Bennett, it brought together local and international researchers, senior public servants and private sector representatives to explore the challenges of governing well for the future. The symposium concluded with the launch of two books by Professor Jonathan Boston.

Speakers and presentations:

  • Hon Paula Bennett, Deputy Prime Minister - Welcome and opening
  • Professor Wendy Larner, Provost, Victoria Univeresity of Wellington - The role of universities in safeguarding the future
  • Professor Jonathan Boston, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington - Embedding the future in the present: An agenda for reform
  • Andrew Kibblewhite, Chief Executive, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet - The challenges for the public sector
  • Vicky Robertson, Chief Executive, Ministry for the Environment - E rua tau kai - two seasons of plenty: Creating long-term sustainability
  • Professor Petra Tschakert, Centenary Professor in Rural Development, University of Western Australia - Achieving sustainable development: The challenges of climate change, poverty and inequality
  • Panel 1
    • Andrew Coleman, University of Otago - The intergenerational consequences
    • Professor Wendy Larner, Victoria University of Wellington - Governing through inclusion
    • Sir Geoffrey Palmer, Victoria University of Wellington - Improving intergenerational governance
    • Professor Rawinia Higgins, Victoria University of Wellington - Protecting cultural capital
    • Associate Professor Marjan van den Belt, Victoria University of Wellington - Sustainable development on a finite planet
9th March - Housing an Ageing Population
Also in association with the Association for Gerontology and the Health and Ageing Research Team, Massey University.
Current housing issues in Wales and New Zealand are very similar. Both countries are experienc-ing a shortage of housing in main centres which has been referred to as a ‘housing crisis’. Both governments are developing policy responses to create more housing. With the age-ing of the population, the growing numbers of older people affected by housing issues, and the importance of housing and the housing environment for health and wellbeing, the needs of older people must be considered in these developments. Wales is leading New Zealand in this context. The Welsh Government has pledged to build an additional 20,000 affordable homes a year, end ‘Right to Buy’, and introduce a new ‘Rent to Own’ model of social housing. They will also consider other steps that might be taken to im-prove supply including addressing the particular issue of supply of housing for older peo-ple. Professor Phillips will discuss the findings outlined by the Housing an Ageing Pop-ulation Group’s Policy Report and contribute to discussions of how they can apply to the New Zealand context.
Speaker: Professor Judith Phillips, Chair of the Welsh Government Expert Group on Housing an Ageing Population. Chair: Dr Judith Davey, IGPS Senior Associate.
24th February - Exclusive Book Launch: Petroleum Development and Environmental Conflict in Aotearoa New Zealand

Speaker: Dr Terrence Loomis,holds a BA from Hamline University in Minnesota, an MA (1st Hons) in Social Anthropology from Auckland University, a PhD in Economic Anthropology from the University of Adelaide, and an Economic Development Finance Professional (EDFP) certificate from the National Development Council of America.  He has over 15 years research and development consulting experience in the US, Canada, Australia, the Pacific and New Zealand.  He was Director of Economic Development for the Mdewakanton Dakota tribe of Prairie Island, Minnesota for four years. Between 1997-2000 he was Foundation Professor of Development Studies in the School of Maori and Pacific Development at Waikato University, before becoming a senior policy advisor with the New Zealand government. 


21st February - Hero or Traitor? The Ethics of Blowing the Whistle
Transparency International presents a panel discussion around the topic of whistle-blowing at work.

Speakers: Rebecca Rolls, Investigations General Manager, Serious Fraud Office; John Perham, Board Chairman, Crimestoppers; Michael Macaulay, Director of IGPS. Chaired by Lyn McMorron, Executive Director, Financial Services Federation


20th February - Turning the Corner? Challenges and Opportunities for Pakistan's Democracy
Aasiya Riaz speaks about the challenges for a comparatively recent and still growing democracy both domestically and internationally.

Speaker: Aasiya Riaz, Joint Director at PILDAT, leads PILDAT’s projects and activities, a leading Pakistani think tank she co-founded in 2001. She has over 15 years of experience of providing thought leadership in governance and democracy, policy, communication and management while she promotes strengthening democratic and political institutions under the overall ambit of rule of law. Trained in the field of Media and Political Communication at the London School of Economics, UK, Aasiya has also worked with the mainstream press and electronic media in Pakistan as a political analyst. She was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy, USA, as well as a distinguished fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at the Stanford University, USA. Aasiya regularly appears on national and international media for political analysis and commentaries while she is invited to lecture at Pakistan’s premium public policy institutions as well as many national and international think tanks and universities.

17th February - UK's Climate Change Commission - a model for New Zealand?
The Rt Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, talks about the role and achievements of the UK's independent Commission and the prospects for climate change post Brexit and post the US presidential election.

Speaker: The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben, was the longest serving Secretary of State for the Environment the UK has ever had (1993-97). His sixteen years of top-level ministerial experience also include Secretary of State for Agriculture, Fisheries & Food, Minister for London, Employment Minister and Paymaster General in HM Treasury. He has consistently championed an identity between environmental concerns and business sense. To that end, he set up and now runs Sancroft, a Corporate Responsibility consultancy working with bluechip companies around the world on environmental, social and ethical issues. Lord Deben is Chairman of the Committee on Climate Change, Valpak Limited, and the Association of Professional Financial Advisers.


Human Rights and Prison Practice in Europe Today
Professor Dunkel presents on human rights and prison practice in Europe.

Speaker: Professor em Dr Frieder Dunkel,is the previous President of the European Society of Criminology (ESC) and a previous Dean of Law (1994-95) and Vice-Rector (2010-2013) of the University of Greifswald in northeast Germany. He taught criminology, penology, juvenile justice, criminal procedure and criminal law and has undertaken many research projects. These include international comparative projects on imprisonment, on juvenile justice systems and on restorative justice in European countries.


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