Welcome to the August newsletter for The Policy Observatory. This month we preview two report launches in September and a new piece of writing by Policy Observatory researcher Keri Mills.

The Moriori Myth

Keri Mills’ Briefing Paper, The Moriori myth and why it’s still with us, was picked up by The Spinoff and Newshub, and has been widely shared on social media. Keri’s piece was written in response to the use of the Moriori story to justify colonisation: if Māori wiped out a pre-existing civilisation, then how can they complain about being colonised themselves? Keri explains what historians understand happened, and then suggests reasons for the myth still being widely believed. Her paper is framed by an interview that Don Brash did with Kim Hill last December, but it resonates with the more recent public issue of racism being promoted under the guise of free speech. You can read her piece here:


New Media And Local Journalism - September Report Launch

In the wake of claims about the power of digital platforms such as Google and Facebook, and their impact on traditional (or legacy) media, AUT researcher Merja Myllylahti has looked into the relationship between platforms and legacy media. She has analysed data on traffic numbers and the way that legacy media companies are using new media. She confirms some common assumptions, but her research also reveals some less obvious results. Merja surveys the policy responses from governments and regulators around the Western world, and asks what is being done to protect local journalism in New Zealand.

Merja’s paper will be launched on Thursday 6th September, in conjunction with the Journalism, Media and Democracy (JMAD) conference at AUT. Note: you do not need to attend the conference to attend the report launch.

Report launch: Google, Facebook and New Zealand news media: Should authorities tackle ‘platform power’ to aid the sustainability of local journalism? By Merja Myllylahti

Level 7 foyer, WF building, 42 Wakefield Street Auckland CBD, 5.45pm-6.30pm

Rsvp report launch to policyobservatory@aut.ac.nz

JMAD conference details including registrations are here:


New Report On Child Poverty With The Workshop

Researcher Dr Jess Berentson-Shaw of The Workshop has written a report for The Policy Observatory on how best to promote narratives about child poverty that will lead to positive policy change. Her report explores the role of feelings, values and beliefs in people’s understanding of issues such as poverty, and recommends that narratives need to convey the message that family poverty occurs in the context of a complex ecosystem. While a lot of research goes into finding solutions for child poverty, Jess argues that we also need to consider how to communicate effectively the reality of poverty to the public, as this will increase the likelihood that solutions are supported by politicians.

Jess’s report will be launched in September and she will be speaking about it at the Child Poverty Action Group’s Welfare Summit in Wellington on September 12th. Information about that event, including registrations, can be found on the CPAG website: https://www.cpag.org.nz/12-september-cpag-summit-rethinking-the-welfare/

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