Pacific Islands Public Policy project

The School of Government initiated the Pacific Islands Public Policy project to advance public policy capability on selected issues that concern the region.



The project will focus on current policy practices, and on how these can be improved through dialogue with a range of partners in the academic, public and private sectors, and civil society, within both New Zealand and the small island states of the Pacific.

There are numerous public policy issues confronting Pacific societies. Some relate to the operation of institutions (parliamentary practice, public sector scope, size and performance), and the scope of local government and mechanisms for intergovernmental relations). Others focus on fostering economic growth (policy articulation in agriculture, tourism, fishing, mining, etc.), trade relations essential to improving access to regional and global markets. Equally important are policies relating to health and education outcomes, and in the transport, infrastructure and communications sectors.

A myriad other issues demand the attention of Pacific governments: water supply and waste management options; mechanisms to enhance accountability and transparency; infrastructural development, land tenure, titling and leasing arrangements; options for regional integration; and urbanization issues, including forward planning, managing migration, and raising revenue. Despite limited resources and capability, governments have to provide the total range of services across sparsely populated islands.

The "Pacific Islands Public Policy Project" will focus on the policy practices that PICs engage in when addressing such issues.

Project activities

The project's first activities include: Consultation at VUW (15 December 2011): Pacific Islands Public Policy Briefing in partnership with the Centre for Citizenship Education. This online event brought together a small group of academics, public servants and practitioners, having an interest in Pacific Island affairs, to discuss the parameters and possibilities of the project. A report is available from Case-Study meeting at VUW (12-13 July 2012): MP's and their constituents. This meeting focused on the relationship between Members of Parliament and members of their constituencies; civics and civil education; and the role of the media in public policy processes. The eSeminar report is available here. Case-Study meeting at VUW (27-28 September 2012): Public Policy in the Pacific Islands. This meeting will focus on the constraints that policy leaders face, particularly in securing policy implementation in the fields of intergovernmental relations and urbanization.

Case-Study meeting on Public Policy leadership (1-2 November 2012). This meeting will bring together leaders of policy practice from Pacific states to engage with a set of core questions about current practices and constraints on leadership of public policy.

ICT project on Pacific Islands Public Policy. Knowledge management is a particular challenge for policy practitioners in the Pacific Islands. This on-going aspect of the programme involves developing an understanding of the constraints on knowledge management and how these can be eased through appropriate use of ICTs. This project is currently exploring options including Zotero and WSIS knowledge communities.

For additional information

For additional information or to register your interest, email or contact Associate Professor Graham Hassall.