A newsletter from the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies


Upcoming IGPS Event: “Planetary limits: How academics are responding to the global ecological crisis” with Professor Robert McLachlan, Rutherford House, RHMZ03 (Mezzanine), 5pm to 6 pm, 17 August 2022

Robert McLachlan is Distinguished Professor in Applied Mathematics at Massey University. He writes on climate and environmental issues at planetaryecology.org.

"The challenges posed by humanity's ever-increasing material and energy use and its impacts on planetary systems – most notably climate and biodiversity – are hardly new or unknown. They have been intensely studied in many disciplines for decades. But as we enter a new phase characterised by widespread and obvious impacts and continue rushing headlong into a minefield studded with points of no return, many academics around the world have concluded that current approaches are woefully insufficient and that something new is needed.”

Venue: Rutherford House, RMZ03 (Mezzanine), 5.00:pm to 6.00 pm, Wednesday 17 August, 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), 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),political party funding (Max Rashbrooke and Lisa Marriott), the wage share (Bill Rosenberg and Geoff Bertram), open government activities in NZ, Australia and PNG (Keitha Booth), Chinese living in Aotearoa (Bev Hong), 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!


“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 function of universities and the role of academics has changed fundamentally over the past 50 years. As a student, academic, politician and Vice-Chancellor, Steve has experienced these changes – some positive, some not so much – first-hand. Steve held a discussion with Linda Clark, former journalist, Victoria University law graduate and now partner at Dentons Kensington Swan, on the 20th of July 2022 at Victoria University of Wellington.

A link to a recording of this discussion can be found here:



Senior associates Andrew Ecclestone & Len Cook engage on “a very dangerous regime” threatened by the Data and Statistics Bill

The briefing on the Data and Statistics Bill that Andrew Ecclestone has written with the NZ Council for Civil Liberties colleagues has been published on the NZCCL website:


Andrew notes that as usual with anything having the word ‘statistics’ in its title, many people have switched off. But they shouldn’t, in his opinion, because it creates a very dangerous regime where the Government Statistician can delegate their powers of data collection and sharing to any person in the public sector (including contractors). IGPS senior associate Len Cook and Victoria University’s Sir Geoffrey Palmer pointed this out in a RNZ piece:


If passed in its current form, the new law would mean that NZSIS and Police - amongst the rest of the public sector - could access to data held by government departments without having to use their normal warrant powers. Even if the Statistician’s powers aren’t delegated to them, Part 5 of the Bill will enable the Statistician to let them have access to the data for ‘research’ purposes, a term which is undefined in the Bill.

NZCCL recommends the Bill be withdrawn, but short of that, stripping out access to data for ‘research’ and instead developing separate legislation along the lines of the Australian Data Availability and Transparency Act 2022, which creates a commissioner and advisory board for oversight.


Masashi Yui and Kirsten Jensen welcomed as new senior associates by the IGPS

Kirsten is a Treasury economist. Her research interests include the value of public expenditure, public policy decision making and public finance institutional design.  She is researching the societal wellbeing consequences of public expenditure to inform strategic and long term public finance policy choices and trade-offs. She is interested in the societal value and wellbeing impacts of public spending, across transfer payments, health, education and other spending. She asks what difference public spending makes, i.e. “what is the value of public spending?” and whether it is worth it.

Kirsten draws on more than 30 years public policy and public finance experience. The teams she led delivered five New Zealand budgets and took Public Finance Act amendments through the House.  Value for money is an enduring theme, as is her interest in improving public sector systems, public policy advice and capability. She is Danish and brings her Scandinavian culture of talking together about difficult issues to build common understanding and agreement. Kirsten is also Director on the Board of the international Society for Benefit-Cost Analysis


Masashi Yui is a researcher on comparative public administration, with particular interests in the relationship between politics and public administration.

Masashi is originally from Japan. He is currently based in Wellington after living in Singapore and Thailand. Masashi’s research interest is comparative public administration in the area of looking at the intersection of politics and public administration, including administrative reforms, rewards for high public office, politicians–bureaucrat relations, and crisis governance. His publications appeared in Policy Quarterly, Public Sector, and Global Encyclopaedia of Public Administration, Public Policy, and Governance.

He recently completed his PhD at the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington with a thesis on ‘An Exploration of the Relationship between Government Type and Bureaucratic Structural Reorganisation in New Zealand, 1957–2017’.


Senior associate Murray Petrie on Green Budgeting

On 21 July, Murray gave a presentation in Parliament Buildings on green budgeting to the 16th Biennial Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committee event. The event was attended in person and remotely by more than 50 members of PACs, plus support staff, and Auditors General, from NZ, every Australian state plus the federal government, and eight or so South Pacific island countries.

The title of  his presentation was ‘Government accountability for environmental stewardship – how can fiscal policy and the annual budget cycle be scrutinized to encourage environmental wellbeing.’


The IGPS’s Mike Joy can be found on an interesting podcast on long-term environmental challenges

This podcast is an interview with Mike Joy on long-term planetary challenges: