Welcome to the July newsletter for The Policy Observatory. This month we have a new report out on land use policy, by The Policy Observatory’s David Hall. We also profile the latest Briefing Papers, and a correction to a broken link in last month’s newsletter.

New report on integrated landscape approach

Dr David Hall, Senior Researcher at The Policy Observatory released on 18th June a new discussion paper, The Interwoven World Te Ao I Whiria: Towards an integrated landscape approach in Aotearoa New Zealand. He calls for a disruption to siloed thinking around land use, advocating for different land uses to be intertwined in ways that complement the land, its inhabitants and adjacent land uses. He was also interviewed on RNZ’s Nine To Noon about these themes, particularly in relation to the costly clean-up of forestry debris at Tolaga Bay on the East Coast.

In a similar vein, David also wrote an op-ed for the Dominion Post on continuous cover forestry as an alternative to clear-fell forestry, with its negative environmental side-effects. This idea was further picked up in an editorial by The Press as a desirable approach for more sustainable forestry practices.

Briefing Papers

The Briefing Papers website hosts papers on a range of policy topics. You can subscribe to new posts using an RSS feed, or have them sent to your mailbox.

Overcoming the pest plant threat. By Len Gillman.

AUT Professor of Biogeography Len Gillman writes about how New Zealand’s biodiversity is under threat from pest plants. He identifies a range of policy changes that are needed to arrest this decline, including funding, legislative change, and changes in priorities and approaches.


A choice of master. By Paul Buchanan.

New Zealand uncoupled its trade and security relationship some decades ago. It has expanded trade with non-traditional partners while re-establishing security ties with traditional Anglophone allies. But what if a conflict were to arise between competing trade and security partners such as the USA and China? Security expert Paul Buchanan predicts there will be consequences from rejecting either of these great powers.


Last month’s hyperlink to Geoff Bertram’s paper was incorrect. Here it is correctly linked:

The 2018 budget: Politics & economics. By Geoff Bertram.

Economist Geoff Bertram writes a Keynesian critique of budget 2018. First, he points out that fiscal priorities are political, not economic, using the budget allocation for the America’s Cup as an example. He then gives a Keynesian analysis of imbalances in the economy: when an economy’s balance of payments are persistently in deficit, as New Zealand’s are, running a government surplus has the effect of pushing up private sector debt. The current fiscal strategy of running surpluses may make for a strong government balance sheet, but this is not the same as economic strength for the nation.


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