Welcome to the October newsletter from The Policy Observatory for 2017. We offer some links in this newsletter to new Briefing Papers, and video available from our recent event series on the future of the economy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Briefing Papers 2017

The Briefing Papers website began in 2014 by Emeritus Professor Ian Shirley and continues with a new paper most weeks. We have some analysis of the post-election situation, on how MMP works and whether coalitions of parties across the political aisle could work in New Zealand, as they do in Finland.

How MMP works: Freestyle bargaining By Julienne Molineaux

Described by election law specialist Andres Geddis as ‘must-read’, this Briefing Paper by Policy Observatory director Julienne Molineaux outlines some technicalities of MMP government formation. Written in a question and answer style, it addresses some of the topics discussed in the immediate election aftermath, and highlights the lack of rules around government formation in New Zealand.


Grand Coalitions: Finland and New Zealand By Pii-Tuulia Nikula

The question sometimes gets asked why parties on opposing sides of the aisle - National and Labour (the so-called ‘grand coalition’) or the Greens and National – don’t form governments together. After all, this is commonplace in countries such as Germany and Finland. In this Briefing Paper, Pii-Tuulia Nikula discusses what happens in her native Finland and outlines both the advantages and disadvantages of their coalition experiences.


Limits to growth? By Charles Crothers

AUT professor Charles Crothers looks at the complexities and delicacies of population policies. Auckland’s population is projected to continue growing at a high rate, but what do Aucklanders think?


Varieties of skills regimes: New Zealand in comparative context By Kate Nicholls

New Zealand has high post-secondary education participation but also skills shortages across a number of industries. Developed countries tend to organise their skills training and education in either a more coordinated approach, or a more market approach. In this Briefing paper, AUT political scientist Kate Nicholls looks at skills training in a comparative context and asks which vocational skills pathways are applicable to New Zealand.


Election media research

The Policy Observatory researchers are currently working with staff from the AUT School of Communications on two election 2017 projects. One is an analysis of the media coverage of Metiria Turei’s benefit fraud disclosure while the other is part of a longitudinal study into the diversity of media sources in election stories. Results from these studies will be available in 2018.

Trade panel video

On 13th July 2017, The Policy Observatory hosted a panel discussion to accompany the release of the multi-author discussion paper, ‘No more business-as-usual: Where to now for international trade?’. Chaired by Rod Oram as part of an events series, the discussion involved former trade and climate negotiator Adrian Macey, the Chief Executive of InternetNZ Jordan Carter, and two AUT researchers, Amy Baker Benjamin from the Law School and Carol Neill from the School of Social Sciences and Public Policy. The full video and excerpts can be found at: https://thepolicyobservatory.aut.ac.nz/publications/no-more-business-as-usual

Ann Pettifor’s visit – September 2016

This time last year The Policy Observatory and AUT hosted UK economist Ann Pettifor for her first visit to New Zealand. Ann is a lively speaker who specialises in monetary policy and sovereign debt issues. She predicted the global financial crisis in 2006 and has since argued against austerity, and explained how failures in economic policy contributed to Brexit. We have collated links to some of Ann’s media interviews and talks:


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