Happy New Year and welcome to the first newsletter for The Policy Observatory in 2018. We have news about new reports and Briefing Papers, and events we are co-hosting.

Local government reform

Local government expert Dr Mike Reid has written a new report for The Policy Observatory called Saving local democracy: An agenda for the new government. Mike argues that central government policy on local government needs urgent reform to reverse anti-democratic policies of the previous government. He advocates for the return of decision-making about local issues to local communities. You can read Mike’s report here:


Rethinking tax and benefit reform

Unitec economist Keith Rankin has written a report for The Policy Observatory that outlines an alternative approach to public accounting, which puts the concept of public equity at its centre. Keith is well known for his work in the field of Universal Basic Income (UBI); in this report he differentiates public equity and public equity dividends from a UBI.


Housing matters event

In partnership with Beacon and Community Housing Aotearoa, The Policy Observatory is hosting the event “Housing Matters: Delivering good medium density community housing” on Thursday 1 March 2018, 1.45pm-5.00pm, in The Wave Room (WG308), AUT City Campus, followed by drinks and networking.

This Housing Matters event combines presentations with panel and discussion sessions to explore the potential for medium density housing to provide quality, affordable and sustainable housing and liveable communities. Tickets and speaker information are available here.

Impact Investing event

In partnership with Ākina Foundation, The Policy Observatory is hosting an inaugural event for New Zealand’s Impact Investing Network (IIN) on Wednesday, 7 March 2018 from 6pm-8:30pm in The Wave Room (WG308), AUT City Campus. This event, “Leading Change: Investing in the Future of Aotearoa”, will offer a practical, dialogue-based forum that allows participants to reflect on ideas, share experiences, and learn from the insights of others. Tickets are $10 with drinks and canapés provided. Bookings can be made here.

Briefing Papers

The Briefing Papers website has re-started for 2018 with topical papers on biculturalism and fresh water ownership. We profile these and a couple of papers published since our December newsletter was compiled:

Rebooting biculturalism in Aotearoa-New Zealand By Georgina Stewart

The bicultural historical relationship between Māori and Pākehā has been a love affair as well as a power struggle. In this paper, AUT Associate Professor Georgina Stewart looks at the need to refocus on biculturalism and its place in a country that holds dear the ideas of equity, diversity and inclusiveness, and the fundamental Kiwi philosophy of giving someone a ‘fair go’.


Who owns the wai? By Keri Mills

There is disagreement over who owns freshwater in New Zealand – everyone, no one, or certain rights holders? The Policy Observatory’s Keri Mills backgrounds the water rights issue, why it matters and what questions need answering if this issue is to be resolved.


Immigration reform spotlight: Fairness, economic development and the Working Holiday Scheme By Oksana Opara

Immigration was a key issue in the 2017 election campaign, with pledges made by some of the parties now in government to reduce it. But it will be hard for the government to reduce immigration numbers without touching the Working Holiday Scheme category, which brings large and increasing numbers of overseas visitors to our shores. AUT’s Oksana Opara outlines the issues:


New Zealand media ownership: History and obfuscation By Wayne Hope

In 2017 two huge media merger proposals were reviewed and rejected by the Commerce Commission. The proposals are part of a history of increasingly concentrated media power in New Zealand that has received less attention than it should. AUT Professor Wayne Hope outlines the policy history that got New Zealand to this point of ownership concentration and financialisation, and says unwinding these changes will not be easy.


Call for Briefing Papers for 2018

The Briefing Papers are aimed at providing the public with an overview of critical issues facing New Zealand society in the 21st century. The goal is to promote the informed discussion and debate that is crucial to economic and social development. The central question motivating all Briefing Papers is “How is the public interest being served?”

If you are doing policy relevant research and would like to write a briefing paper on your topic of interest, please contact us at briefingpapers@aut.ac.nz

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