Welcome to the July 2017 newsletter from The Policy Observatory.


In July and August The Policy Observatory hosts  The Next Great Transformation, a series of conversations about the future of the New Zealand economy.

Chaired by AUT Adjunct Professor Rod Oram, each event covers a different topic: the future of trade in a world of re-emergent national populism and voter scepticism of big trade deals; the balance between the ‘seed’ economy and the ‘bubble’ economy in New Zealand and how to productively shift that balance; and the opportunities and threats posed by big data for public policy making. Details are on our website; click on the event links below.

  • Thursday July 13th, [ No More Business-as-Usual: Where to Now for International Trade?|https://thepolicyobservatory.aut.ac.nz/events/no-more-business-as-usual-where-to-now-for-international-trade]. This discussion coincides with the release of a multi-authored discussion paper on the future of trade. Are we past the era of flagship free trade deals? How can New Zealand ensure that trade creates long-term prosperity? Panellists include Carol Neill (AUT), Jordan Carter from InternetNZ, former trade diplomat Adrian Macey (Victoria University), and Amy-Baker Benjamin (AUT).
  • Time: 5.30-7pm Location: AUT Conference centre, WA224, City Campus.
  • Thursday July 20th, [ Seeds or Bubbles?: Investing in the Future of Aotearoa New Zealand|https://thepolicyobservatory.aut.ac.nz/events/seeds-or-bubbles-investing-in-the-future-of-aotearoa-new-zealand]. This panel on the seed economy versus the bubble economy features Sir Stephen Tindall (The Warehouse, The Tindall Foundation), Rangimarie Hunia (Whai Maia, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei), Joshua Vial (Enspiral) and Mary Quin (formerly Callahan Innovation).
  • Time: 5.30-7pm Location: AUT Conference centre, WA224, City Campus.
  • Thursday August 3rd, [ I Know What You Did Last Summer: Risks and Opportunities for Big Data|https://thepolicyobservatory.aut.ac.nz/events/i-know-what-you-did-last-summer-risks-and-opportunities-for-big-data], focuses on big data and digital politics. Professor Rhema Vaithianathan (co-director of Centre for Social Data Analytics, AUT), Professor Tahu Kukutai (National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis), Roger Dennis (innovation consultant and Strategic Insights Panel), and Keith Ng (investigative data journalist) will discuss.

Time: 5.30-7pm Location: AUT WG308, City Campus.

REPORTS on child abuse and prevention

We have a substantial new report by social work academic Emily Keddell that critiques one aspect of the recent child protection services reforms: the prevention of child abuse and neglect. The report highlights the tensions between the aims of the review and details of the reforms, and identifies perverse incentives for service deliverers in the non-government sector. This report will interest readers concerned about child welfare policies, the challenges of policy-making, and the government’s social investment approach.

Emily’s report is available on our website:


We also feature two extracts from the report on the Briefing Papers website. These papers provide short, easily-digestible extracts from the report.

*What is a good outcome? Social investment and child abuse prevention by Emily Kedde*ll

This Briefing Paper focuses on the perennially difficult task of how to measure outcomes and the limitations of applying the social investment approach to child protection services.


Reflections on the Child Youth and Family review: On evidence and prevention by Emily Keddell

This paper touches on two issues in the Child Youth and Family Review: the inappropriate control group used to measure outcomes, and why the government’s individualistic approach to child abuse and neglect needs to be placed in wider social contexts.


We interviewed Emily about the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children-Oranga Tamariki, for The Spinoff website:


Election 2017

We are preparing a series of Briefing Papers on election issues prior to the 23rd September election, so if any AUT staff are interested in contributing a briefing or explainer on election-related issues, please email us at policyobservatory@aut.ac.nz

immigration book

The Policy Observatory’s David Hall has edited a book on immigration, Fair Borders? Migration Policy in the Twenty-first Century, published by Bridget Williams Books. The book draws together a broad set of writers to discuss whether New Zealand’s immigration policy offers a 'fair go’ to those just arriving, and to those who arrived a long time ago. This edited collection includes new and diverse perspectives that go beyond the boundaries of popular debate, in which migrants are too often treated as numbers, not people.


David has summarised some of the key thinking behind the book in a Briefing Paper:

Fair Borders?: Migration Policy in the Twentieth Century by David Hall http://briefingpapers.co.nz/fair-borders/


RNZ News. (21 June 2017). ‘Govt ill-prepared for immigration boom – survey’. http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/333483/govt-ill-prepared-for-immigration-boom-survey

RNZ Sunday Morning. (18 June 2017). Mistake to see immigration as problem – researcher. http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/201847923/mistake-to-see-immigration-as-problem-researcher

David Hall. (12 June 2017). With the election looming, a new poll reveals New Zealanders’ views on immigration. https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/12-06-2017/as-we-gear-up-for-an-election-a-new-poll-reveals-nzers-views-on-immigration/

Auckland city

Policy Observatory founder and Emeritus Professor Ian Shirley has a long history of research on Auckland as a city and a region. He has recently written about the Auckland super-city being broken. Another review of governance is not needed, he asserts, as the problems are clear and mostly emanate from Wellington’s lack of willingness to work in partnership with Auckland to address the deficits in the region.



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