A newsletter from the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies


Institute for Governance and Policy Studies 2022 Upcoming Events Programme

20 July: “What’s the point? Reflections on the changing role of universities from a former student, academic, politician and Vice-Chancellor”. Steve Maharey with Linda Clark

The purpose of universities and the role of academics has changed fundamentally over the past 50 years. As a student, academic, politician and Vice-Chancellor, Steve Maharey has experienced these changes – some positive, some not so much – first-hand. Steve Maharey will be in discussion with Linda Clark, former journalist, Victoria University law graduate and now partner at Dentons Kensington Swan.

Venue: GBLT1, Old Government Building, Lecture Theatre 1, 12:30pm to 1:30pm, Wednesday 20 July, Victoria University of Wellington, Pipitea Campus.


In the pipeline - mooted IGPS events

Events in the pipeline for 2022 (with likely coordinator/presenter in brackets) include: Waste and plastics policy (Hannah Blumhardt), Open Budget Survey 2021 (Derek Gill), the situation of sole parent families (Penny Ehrhardt), The future of rail (Paul Callister), Reserve Bank independence (Chris Eichbaum), effectiveness of Government agencies’ long-term insights briefings (Jonathan Boston), imprisonment trends (Len Cook), the OECD country trust study (Santiago Gonzalez, OECD and Conal Smith), political party funding (Max Rashbrooke and Lisa Marriott), open government activities in NZ, Australia and PNG (Keitha Booth), “Individual liability for state aggression:  Questions of policy and governance” (Kennedy Graham), Chinese living in Aotearoa (Bev Hong), Business Desk’s government public sector project (Nikitin Sallee), hydrogen and global warming (Wallace Rea), Three Waters co-governance (Mike Joy), and social insurance (Michael Fletcher).

Watch this space as the events firm up!


Senior Associate Keitha Booth working on the Taiwan Open Government National Action Plan

The IGPS’s Keitha Booth, who specialises in open government issues and solutions, has been selected to carry out an independent review of the design of the Taiwan Open Government National Action Plan 2021-2024  (https://www.ndc.gov.tw/en/Content_List.aspx?n=0DA7FCB068C7ECF5&upn=819FA8F2A1CE018F )

She is doing this in collaboration with a local researcher from the National Taiwan University whose PhD at the American University in Washington was on Public Participation. While Taiwan is not a member of the Open Government Partnership, their review will be based on the Open Government Partnership's Independent Review methodology ( https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/independent-reporting-mechanism-action-plan-review/ ) and will set the baseline for an implementation report in 2025.

In her role as an Open Government Partnership independent reviewer, Keitha is also reviewing the design of Papua New Guinea's Open Government National Action Plan 2022-2024. She will present findings about these reports and her recent OGP Transitional Results Report on the implementation of New Zealand's Open Government National Action Plan 2028-2021 at an IGPS event later this year.

Links to these reports:

OGP Transitional Results Report - https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/new-zealand-transitional-results-report-2018-2021/

New Zealand's Open Government National Action Plan 2028-2021 - https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/new-zealand-action-plan-2018-2020/



IGPS senior associate Judith Davey’s most recent regular blog addresses the meaning of resilience for older Kiwis

Judith has been writing a fortnightly blog for Age Concern now for a decade. In her most recent blog, she considers the concept of resilience and its meaning for older people. She starts her blog thus: “There has been quite a lot written recently about the capacity of older people to weather major disasters and disruptions in their lives – earthquakes, floods, and pandemics.” She introduces the wonderfully  named concept of ‘gerotranscendence,’ - “a shift from a materialistic and pragmatic view of the world to a more cosmic and transcendent one”. You can find her blog discussing the challenges of resilience here:



Andrew Ecclestone, IGPS senior associate, on improving the “toxic dynamic” between media and government

In a recent stuff article, Andrew Ecclestone (with Simon Wright)  responding to an earlier article by stuff Wellington editor Anna Fifield, suggested “an alternative model for media-government relations that would be more fruitful for our democracy”. The article can be found here:


In a related area, Andrew was also quoted in a Newsroom piece on the latest initiative on proactive publication of official information to emerge from the Public Service Commission. The Newsroom article can be found here:



Senior associate Adrian Macey prominent in discussions on the government’s Emission Reduction Plan

Before the policy’s release, Adrian did a piece for the Mike Hosking breakfast show. He also did an interview on the topic for Newshub on the 16th of May (not archived).

Link to the Breakfast Show recording:



Producing one litre of Canterbury milk uses up to 11,000 litres of water: Mike Joy publishes new academic paper on the giant water footprint for dairy

Mike’s paper quantifies for the first time the water footprint (WF) of milk production Canterbury using a method counting the full grey water component. The grey water component is the amount of water necessary to appropriately dilute the nitrate addition from milk production. For calculation of the full footprint, blue water (irrigation) and green water (rain) are both added to necessary grey water dilution. Previous studies were based on the drinking water standard (DWS) of 11.3 mg/l but the Global WF manual stipulates that the final concentration should meet “prevailing water quality standards” and these are considerably lower than the DWS. The analysis shows that the production of one litre of milk in Canterbury to meet ecosystem health standards requires up to 11,000 litres of water. Looking at the whole Canterbury region, meeting water quality standards would require at least a 12-fold reduction of dairy farming intensity.

Link to Mike Joy's paper:



Budget change to child support pass-through welcomed by Michael Fletcher

Michael Fletcher, an expert on New Zealand’s child support system, welcomed the government’s budget decision to pass child support onto custodial parents in the welfare system, rather than using it to offset the cost of their benefit. Michael was quoted in stuff as saying it was a “great and long overdue move”:

"It’s by no means an answer to child poverty, but for the people - mostly mothers - who are caring for the children it will help and for the payers, instead of paying essentially a tax the money will go to your children. I really don’t see the reason for any delay"

Link to Stuff articles:




“Poorer Kiwis side-lined in rush to help ‘squeezed middle’” states senior associate Max Rashbrooke in his regular stuff column

In his most recent stuff article considering the politics and economics of the 2022 Budget and the associated $350 cost of living payment, senior associate Max Rashbrooke concludes: “So even politically speaking, the exclusion of beneficiary households from the cost-of-living payment seems strange.”

Link to Article:



IGPS Director Simon Chapple busy

As the independent outside expert , IGPS Director Simon Chapple was busy in the last few weeks briefing Parliament’s Finance and Expenditure Select Committee on the May Reserve Bank Monetary Policy Statement, presenting the results of the 2022 IGPS trust survey (the results can be found in the resulting working paper, co-authored with Kate Prickett, Director of the Roy McKenzie Centre for the Study of  Families and Children - https://www.wgtn.ac.nz/igps/publications/working-papers), speaking at the launch of Kantar’s Public Reputation index and being quoted in the New Zealand Herald (paywalled) on the “mind-boggling[ly]” poor democratic process behind the government’s social insurance proposals, which attracted $60 million of implementation spending in the 2022 Budget before public submissions of whether it should be implemented were even read by government.

Link to NZ Herald Article: