Policy Quarterly

Policy Quarterly is a free public policy journal co-produced by the IGPS and the School of Government.

Policy Quarterly (PQ) is targeted at anyone interested in public issues, including public servants, politicians and their staff and a wide variety of professionals, as well as the general public. Its succinct articles and informal style are intended to make the journal accessible to busy non-specialist readers.

Articles from the current issue of PQ are available below, and previous issues are fully searchable through the Victoria University Open Journal System (OJS).

  • All Policy Quarterly back issues are available on the OJS site. Users can simply click the ‘archives’ link to access them.
  • Article PDFs can be viewed and downloaded. Once you have found an article of interest, look for the PDF icon to view the full text.
  • Users can search by author name or keyword. Click the 'search' icon. Article metadata and text is also fully searchable.

PQ15-1, February 2019, Special Issue: Welfare State Reform

Reform of the welfare state is currently one of the most pressing issues in New Zealand policymaking. For as long as it has existed, the welfare state has been controversial. But the current calls for its reform seem to have extra urgency. Accordingly, this special issue of Policy Quarterly is devoted to welfare reform. The contributions are necessarily broad-ranging, partly because so many different values are at play. As is evident from the depth and breadth of these articles, the potential for reform of the welfare state is enormous. Given its equally enormous importance to the well-being of citizens and the good of society, it can only be hoped that policymakers are ready to take up the challenge.

Redesigning the Welfare State: rethinking the indexation of cash and non-cash assistance

Jonathan Boston

Since the beginnings of the welfare state, Aotearoa New Zealand has lacked a principled, comprehensive and consistent system for indexing social assistance to movements in consumer prices and/or wages. This deficiency applies not only to cash transfers but also to in-kind benefits. The absence of a robust and durable indexation regime is no accident. It reflects, among other things, an unwillingness of governments to determine an acceptable minimum standard of living for citizens and then protect, if not enhance, this standard over time. No doubt, the fiscal implications of a more consistent approach to indexation have loomed large in the political calculus. Yet if the current and future governments are to meet ambitious child poverty reduction targets and ensure greater distributional fairness, a new framework for indexation is essential. This article discusses the nature and purpose of indexation, the principles and other considerations that should inform the design of an indexation regime, the policy options available, and how a durable and defensible policy framework might be secured.

Social Security that Works for Families

Michael O'Brien

There have been significant changes in employment and in family structure over the last half century. This article explores some of the social security changes required to develop a welfare system that is both responsive to and reflective of those broader changes and more effective in providing support that is timely, and effective in providing relief from poverty. A range of quite specific changes are proposed.

The Tax-benefit Interface

Patrick Nolan

This article discusses the interaction of the tax and benefit systems (the tax–benefit interface). It shows profiles of combined taxation and benefit abatement (effective marginal tax rate profiles) for two families, before discussing lessons that could be drawn from these profiles for policy. One theme that emerges is the need for simplification. Yet rather than pursuing simplification through grands projets, such as a universal basic income, what is needed is a focus on detailed design issues, such as how tightly programmes respond to fluctuations in hours of work and incomes.

Mandatory Savings: the saviour of New Zealand’s welfare state

Robert MacCulloch

New Zealand faces an impending cost spiral of public spending on healthcare and pensions, as well as ongoing and substantial payments to those out of work. None of the solutions conventionally proffered, such as generating markedly higher productivity growth or levying significantly higher taxes, seems plausible. Mandatory savings accounts, however, offer more promise. Ending unnecessary transfer payments to businesses and wealthy individuals would allow health, out-of-work and retirement savings accounts to be set up and funded for all individuals. This policy change could secure the future welfare needs of low earners, enhancing opportunity, dignity, choice and fair treatment. It would also alleviate fiscal pressures, encourage efficiency gains and reduce wealth inequality.

The Universal Basic Income: should it replace the existing social security system?

Robert Stephens

A universal basic income (UBI) would provide all citizens with a guaranteed income, irrespective of their earnings, age or household status. It would be financed from a flat-rate personal income tax. It would replace the existing work-based social security system with its plethora of benefit types, abatement rates and eligibility rules. However, when the trade-offs between the competing objectives of a tax/benefit scheme are considered, and the variety of individual and family circumstances that need to be addressed, the apparent simplicity of a UBI quickly disappears. The article shows that while the current tax/benefit system represents a ‘welfare mess’, and needs substantial restructuring, a UBI does not necessarily provide an adequate income for poverty relief, nor ensure labour force incentives, at an acceptable fiscal cost.

New Zealand’s Living Standards Framework: what might Amartya Sen say?

David Hall

Amartya Sen’s capability approach is a guiding light for international efforts to improve the measurement of national well-being. This article compares Sen’s nuanced philosophical ideal with the New Zealand Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, which identifies the capability approach as one of various influences. However, the idea of the capability – that is, people’s freedoms to lead the kind of lives they have reason to value – remains an interpretive possibility, rather than a design feature. To give the capability its due importance, policymakers will need to utilise this idea when making sense of the Dashboard’s indicators and instilling policy relevance.

Where There is a Will: encouraging policymakers to value unpaid labour

Jess Berentson-Shaw

Unpaid labour, notably caring labour, is one of the most important and productive sectors of our society. Its inherent and measurable value has been stressed by scholars and practitioners, feminists and those doing unpaid work for generations. Yet policymakers continue to sideline it. This article describes the improvements that would flow from recognising and responding to the importance of unpaid labour, the values and cultural narratives that help explain the lack of policymaking will, and the potential for counters to these narratives.

50 years on from the Woodhouse Report: workers’ health in New Zealand’s ACC scheme

Dawn Duncan

It has been 50 years since the Woodhouse Report was published, resulting in the creation of the first ACC scheme for New Zealand. Work and the working environment have changed a great deal in this time, as have scientific understandings of the relationship between work and health. The Accident Compensation Act 2001, as it stands, is struggling to provide fair and equitable compensation to New Zealand workers, with significant gaps in cover, inequalities in the treatment of different occupations and a detrimental flow-on effect for worker health and safety. This article outlines some of the key areas of legal reform required to ensure that the ACC scheme can meet the needs of New Zealand working people in the future and help improve work health and safety.

Exploring Public Sector Managers’ Motivations in Deploying Decision Support Tools to the Street Level

Chris McIntyre

This article explores the motivations of public sector managers in developing and deploying digital tools to support decision making at the front lines of public service delivery. Two digital decision support tools created by New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development are presented as a case study, drawing primarily on semi-structured interviews with senior managers. Results provide empirical evidence that public sector managers deploy digital tools not to curtail, but to support street-level bureaucrats’ discretion. Managers appear to be motivated not by increased control over front-line staff, but, rather, by improving clients’ experience of the system and decreasing long-term service costs.

Innovation in Primary Healthcare: can it improve health sector productivity and health outcomes?

Sandra Moore

Health systems everywhere are facing significant challenges – demand pressures from an ageing population, a rise in chronic health conditions, and greater community expectations as more new health treatments are developed. There are three possible responses to this: increasing health funding (increasing inputs), rationing health services (restricting outputs) or increasing productivity through innovation (doing things differently and more efficiently). This article looks at innovation in New Zealand’s primary healthcare sector and recent attempts to measure its impact across the health system.

The Ngätahi Project: competency development for the vulnerable children’s workforce

Russell Wills, Bernice Gabriel and Kay Morris Matthews

Ngätahi is a three-year project aiming to identify and embed the additional competencies needed for the children’s workforce to work with families experiencing intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, mental illness, addictions, poverty and poor supports. Mäori tamariki (children) and whänau are over-represented in this client group. Collective impact, appreciative inquiry and a robust tikanga inform the project. A formal Treaty of Waitangi partnership with the local iwi, Ngäti Kahungunu, provides cultural leadership at all levels of the project. Twenty-seven agencies or services representing 441 practitioners have engaged in the project in Hawke’s Bay. The three priorities for competency development identified are: engaging effectively with Mäori (EEWM), mental health and addictions (MHA) and trauma-informed practice (TIP). Within the TIP work stream, addressing practitioners’ burnout, fatigue and vicarious trauma is the first priority. The three work streams are currently developing curricula and identifying leaders to deliver training locally, and delivering activities to embed the new competencies into practice and metrics to demonstrate the impact of the new competencies on practice and on outcomes. Qualitative interviews demonstrate high commitment from the workforce and its leaders, consistent priorities for development of additional competencies and important lessons learnt. We suggest that this model may be helpful for policymakers considering other collaborative activities to address ‘wicked’ or complex problems, and offer some lessons learnt to date.

PQ 14 (4), November 2018

This issue of Policy Quarterly leads with an important article on ‘wellbeing and public policy’ by Dan Weijers and Philip Morrison. Specifically, it focuses on some of the key themes and issues discussed at the Third International Conference on Wellbeing and Public Policy, held in Wellington in early September 2018.

Wellbeing and public policy: can New Zealand be a leading light for the wellbeing approach?

Dan Weijers and Philip S. Morrison

The wellbeing approach arose out of concerns about whether the current suite of measures used by policymakers provides sufficient information on the full range of contributors to or components of the good life. Sometimes divided on what wellbeing is and how to measure it, proponents of the wellbeing approach agree that the ultimate goal of public policy should be to improve wellbeing for all citizens. In order for this wellbeing approach to be successful, we believe it must address three main challenges: measurement, representation and engagement. We must be clear about how wellbeing will be measured, whose wellbeing we will assess, and the extent to which all New Zealanders are represented in the conversations that will determine the first two issues.

Trashing Waste: unlocking the wasted potential of New Zealand's Waste Minimisation Act

Hannah Blumhardt

Ten years on from the enactment of the Waste Minimisation Act 2008, New Zealand’s waste policy remains sorely neglected. Successive governments have left the act largely unimplemented, allowing market failures, path dependence and fragmentation to deepen throughout New Zealand’s waste and recycling system. In 2017 a new minister assumed the waste portfolio, declaring an intention to use the Waste Minimisation Act to reverse New Zealand’s ‘rubbish record on waste’. This article outlines a range of policy solutions available to the government, analyses why these policy tools have been underutilised to date, and proffers a road map for overcoming the identified obstacles.

"Can I see your social license please?"

Kevin Jenkins

The concept of a ‘social licence to operate’ has become ubiquitous in recent years, but there is no agreed definition, and its meaning continues to mutate as it spreads to ever more domains. The concept was first floated by a mining company executive after a disaster at a mine in the Philippines in 1995, and it spread exponentially. A small but growing body of academic research and commentary is bringing some rigour, but is not keeping pace with its rate of mutation. The narrative around the term is now more valuable than the term itself, which should be retired.

The wisdom of crowds versus the madness of crowds

Colin James

Declining trust in northern liberal democratic institutions poses serious challenges to legislatures (parliaments). That mistrust extends to traditional media at a time when new digital media are fanning ‘fake news’ and a ‘madness of crowds’. Will the ‘wisdom of crowds’ on which liberal democracy critically depends prevail over the ‘madness’? Can parliaments resolve that tension positively? In New Zealand trust in political institutions is still high, but voter turnout has slid, especially among the young. Parliament has work to do.

Climate-compatible development in New Zealand

Stephen Knight-Lenihan and Kate Scanlen

Like many countries, New Zealand is grappling with how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to climate change. We are working through a Zero Carbon Bill and the implications of transitioning to a low-carbon economy. The country is being told it needs a more co-ordinated and effective way to prepare for climate change impacts, as local government is formulating adaptation and mitigation strategies in an uncertain and at times confusing legal and policy framework. Potentially helpful is a concept evolving internationally, climate-compatible development. This promotes the idea of explicitly combining strategies and policies for emissions reductions and adaptation initiatives while enabling improvements in human wellbeing. This article explores the usefulness of such a concept for New Zealand.

Climate change compensation: an unavoidable discussion

Benjamin Dudley Tombs and Ben France-Hudson

Climate change will cause significant loss and damage throughout New Zealand. This will affect everyone. When considering the options for responding, compensation will inevitably be raised, as either a requirement or a policy choice. Many people, however, appear reticent to engage with ‘compensation’ either as a word or as a concept. This article argues that compensation will be an unavoidable part of the discussion about how best to respond to the challenges of climate change. It is an integral aspect of the law of compulsory acquisition and the Public Works Act. It sits in the background to both legal and popular understandings of other statutory regimes such as the Biosecurity and Earthquake Commission Acts. This article explores the ramifications of this observation from a legal perspective and suggests that careful thought should be given, as soon as possible, to the development of a principled approach to compensation for climate change loss and damage.

How could central government better respond to sexual harm in the public service?

Carrie Buckmaster

This article draws attention to the nature and impact of sexual harm in the New Zealand public service. It examines the scope and substance of official advice and tools available to public managers when responding to incidents of sexual harm, and builds a set of recommendations for central government. Recommendations include a central register of all complaints and reports of sexual harm to the public caused by public service workers.

Breaking the link between disability and child and whanau poverty

Sam Murray

In New Zealand, disabled children are more likely to live in a one parent household than are non-disabled children. The primary carers of disabled children have a higher unemployment rate than one parent households in general. As a result, households with disabled children are significantly more likely to experience income poverty. This is not the case in the United Kingdom, where households with disabled children tend not to be at greater risk of income poverty. A key factor in preventing a greater risk of income poverty is the higher disability-related allowances in the United Kingdom: the median payment rate is almost three times higher than the New Zealand equivalents. There is a clear case for increasing the payment rate of the New Zealand disability-related allowances. There is also a clear case for an overhaul of support for households with disabled children to better enable carers/parents to work and to provide more equitable and effective support.

Paid parental leave for 26 weeks: great -- but what about the rate at which we pay?

Suzy Morrissey

This article examines the paid parental leave policy in New Zealand. It considers the various design elements of the policy and, in particular, the payment rate. Although the policy ostensibly provides wage replacement, paid parental leave is subject to a cap of approximately the minimum wage. This creates financial pressure for those previously earning a higher amount and may restrict its use by the higher earner in a two-parent family. The article highlights how the rate of payment compares poorly both internationally and against a local example of support for another temporary absence from employment (ACC).

Behavioural economics and retirement savings; improving KiwiSaver

William Townsend

More than a decade after the inception of the KiwiSaver scheme, 431,779 members remain in the default conservative fund into which they were automatically enrolled. These default members are in funds not consciously chosen and which may not be the most financially appropriate for them. A number of common human behavioural biases have likely contributed to why so many default members remain in the default funds. Although the fees charged by default funds are among the lowest in the market, such funds offer substantially lower returns than more growth-oriented funds. These lower returns are likely to lead to a significant shortfall in retirement savings and retirement standards of living for default members. This article summarises the main findings of a research project into these issues and presents policy options and recommendations.

Innovation in primary health care: can it improve health sector productivity and health outcomes?

Sandra Moore

Health systems everywhere are facing significant challenges – demand pressures from an ageing population, a rise in chronic health conditions, and greater community expectations as more new health treatments are developed. There are three possible responses to this: increasing health funding (increasing inputs), rationing health services (restricting outputs) or increasing productivity through innovation (doing things differently and more efficiently). This article looks at innovation in New Zealand’s primary health care sector and recent attempts to measure its impact across the health system.

Special issue: Assessing and Enhancing New Zealand's Productivity PQ 14 (3), August 2018

Lifting New Zealand’s productivity requires a broad reform agenda, ranging from topics such as matching skills to jobs, to lifting business investment and trade in services, and to improving government productivity. The opportunity is there – we need to take it.

Moving on from New Zealand’s productivity paradox

Patrick Nolan, Huon Fraser and Paul Conway

For many years New Zealand’s productivity performance has been disappointing. The authors outline recent progress in understanding what could be driving this performance. They draw on Statistics New Zealand industry-level data, before summarising insights from firm-level research using linked data sets (the Longitudinal Business Database (LBD)). They conclude with a high-level summary of directions of reform that could help improve New Zealand’s productivity performance.

The future of productivity: What contribution can digital transformation make?

Dirk Pilat and Chiara Criscuolo

The authors summarise emerging evidence on the relationship between productivity and the digital transformation, based on work underway in the OECD’s Going Digital project. They discuss the relationship between the global productivity slowdown and the diffusion of digital technologies and related processes across firms and industries. They outline the role of structural factors in digital adoption, before concluding with a brief discussion on policies to strengthen future productivity growth.

Meeting the challenge of a low-emissions economy

Steven Bailey and Geoff Lewis

The impacts of climate change threaten the productivity, incomes and well-being of all humanity. Climate change has been described as the ‘greatest market failure the world has ever seen’. New Zealand can achieve a successful low-emissions economy, but there will be challenges. The Productivity Commission's recently released draft report provides insights as to how and where the country can best achieve emission reductions, and the types of policies and institutional architecture required to drive the transition.

Quakes and aftershocks: Organisational restructuring in the New Zealand state sector, 1960–2017

Masashi Yui and Robert Gregory

If the peak years of structural change in the state sector, 1986–92, were seismic shocks, then they have been followed by an apparently endless number of aftershocks. Could there be links between the amount of organisational restructuring, unsatisfactory productivity rates in the New Zealand state sector, and the embedding of the ‘managerialist’ culture that was introduced by the 'revolution’?

Shifting the dial: Improving Australia’s productivity performance

Ralph Lattimore

Non-market sector reform is much overlooked. The sector is the fastest growing part of the Australian economy, the most controlled by governments, and critical to everybody’s quality of life. Reforms to healthcare – principally a shift to an integrated care model – would promote patient well-being and could offer benefits of around $145 billion in constant dollars over the next 20 years. Universities play an increasing role in skills acquisition, but need incentives and new structures to give primacy to teaching quality. Australian cities need competition reform in planning and zoning, and entirely new approaches to funding roads.

Measuring productivity in the health sector

Patrick Nolan

Over the next few decades governments will increasingly need to balance the new and growing demands facing the health system with a tighter fiscal outlook. The best way to protect standards while responding to these pressures will be to lift productivity. This article draws on a recent New Zealand Productivity Commission inquiry into state sector productivity and discusses the implications of this work for the health sector. It begins by highlighting the importance of health sector productivity, particularly given the fiscal outlook. It then discusses recent efforts to measure productivity in the health system, before outlining possible next steps in measuring the sector’s productivity.

Quality adjusting education sector productivity

Norman Gemmell, Patrick Nolan and Grant Scobie

How may quality-adjusted productivity indices for the education sector be constructed? We propose methods for making adjustments to basic measures of labour and multifactor productivity growth. Our results highlight the need for careful measurement: measures unadjusted for quality are unlikely to provide sufficiently robust signals on which policy advice could be built. Our evidence suggests that quality adjustment to both inputs and outputs can make substantial differences to conclusions about productivity growth trends, when compared with unadjusted indices.

Productivity measurement in the digital age

Sharon Pells

Mismeasurement of productivity is one possible explanation for the global productivity slowdown in recent decades. This article discusses the challenges of measuring productivity in the digital age. The article covers some background about the productivity slowdown and about productivity measurement, the pressure that the growth in the digital economy is putting on productivity measurement, some estimates of mismeasurement from other countries, and the implications for New Zealand. The main conclusion is that, despite measurement issues, the productivity slowdown in New Zealand and elsewhere cannot simply be written off as measurement error. A further conclusion is that the digital economy has many benefits that fall outside conventional productivity measurement.

Existential risks: New Zealand needs a method to agree on a value framework and how to quantify future lives at risk

Matt Boyd and Nick Wilson

Human civilisation faces a range of existential risks, including nuclear war, runaway climate change and superintelligent artificial intelligence run amok. As we show here with calculations for the New Zealand setting, large numbers of currently living and, especially, future people are potentially threatened by existential risks. A just process for resource allocation demands that we consider future generations but also account for solidarity with the present. Here we consider the various ethical and policy issues involved and make a case for further engagement with the New Zealand public to determine societal values towards future lives and their protection.

The UK Climate Change Act: an act to follow?

Prue Taylor and Kate Scanlen

The New Zealand government recently announced an intention to make the country carbon neutral by 2050. Interest has been expressed in using the United Kingdom’s Climate Change Act 2008 as a model to achieve this goal. However, more needs to be done to critically review the UK legislation’s applicability to the New Zealand context. This article identifies some of the issues emerging from a ten-year review of the UK act. It is hoped that close consideration of these issues will inform New Zealand policy and legislative development.

A Framework for Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System Regulation in New Zealand

Andrew V. Shelley

The malicious or negligent use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) – usually referred to as ‘drones’ – gives rise to significant risks. While the risky behaviours are subject to existing legal sanctions, the apprehension of perpetrators can be difficult, and traditional regulatory controls, such as licensing drone operators, may be ineffective. ‘Counter-UAS’ (C-UAS) systems that defend against unmanned aerial systems are emerging internationally as a way to address the latent threat. Potential legal issues with the implementation of C-UAS in New Zealand are briefly surveyed. I propose the adoption of a licensing system for C-UAS similar to that already adopted in civil aviation regulation.

The Housing Haves and Have-Nots: the house price boom and inequality of wealth in New Zealand

Timothy Irwin and R. John Irwin

The rise in house prices since the turn of the millennium seems likely to have increased the inequality of wealth in New Zealand. On average, house-owners were wealthier than others before the boom, and during the boom real house prices more than doubled. Yet the available data shows little evidence of an increase in inequality in wealth or even of a growing proportional disparity between the net wealth of property owners and others. Difficulties in accurately measuring these changes in wealth are reviewed.

New Zealand Retirement Income Policy as an ‘Eco-system'

Judith A. Davey and Robert Stephens

The New Zealand retirement income system involves a range of policy areas and initiatives beyond New Zealand Superannuation and KiwiSaver. These interact with each other, and with wider social and economic trends. The potential for prolonging working lives, self-funding/decumulation and trends in homeownership need to be considered alongside the sustainability of current policy settings. A unified policy approach is required to ensure the adequacy of retirement incomes for older people and also intergenerational equity.

Free and Frank Advice, PQ 14 (2), May 2018

This issue of Policy Quarterly leads with an important co-authored article on the challenge of balancing two of the fundamental constitutional principles embodied in the Official Information Act (OIA). The first is that governments should be open and transparent. The second is that government officials should provide their ministers with 'free and frank' advice.

Free and frank advice and the Official Information Act: balancing competing principles of good government

Andrew Kibblewhite & Peter Boshier

Concern exists that New Zealand hasn’t struck the right balance between two potentially competing principles of good government: officials should provide free and frank advice to ministers, and the public should have opportunities to participate in decision making and hold the government to account.

Grease or sand in the wheels of democracy? The market for lobbying in New Zealand

Thomas Anderson & Simon Chapple

What is the nature of the New Zealand market for political lobbying? And, should we regulate lobbying in New Zealand, and why?

The Ardern Government's foreign policy challenges

Robert Ayson

With pressures growing on international rules, Jacinda Ardern’s new government faces extra challenges in shaping a principled New Zealand foreign policy based on the consistent assertion of values.

Change and resilience in New Zealand Aid under Minister McCully

Jo Spratt & Terence Wood

This article studies the New Zealand government aid programme over the years of Murray McCully’s tenure as New Zealand’s foreign minister.

Reversing the degradation of New Zealand's environment through greater government transparency and accountability

Murray Petrie

This article proposes greater transparency in and accountability for environmental governance, addressing widespread concerns about the degradation of New Zealand’s natural environment.

Funding climate change adaptation: the case for a new policy framework

Jonathan Boston & Judy Lawrence

Adapting to climate change poses unprecedented technical, administrative and political challenges for which New Zealand’s current planning, regulatory and funding rameworks are ill-equipped.

A new approach to environmental valuation for New Zealand

Pater Clough, Susan M. Chilton, Michael W. Jones-Lee & Hugh R.T. Metcalf

New Zealand’s Resource Management Act is frequently criticised for the costs and delays it imposes on activities, but less attention is given to the consistency of values it applies to environmental effects through its decisions.

Delivering on outcomes: the experience of Māori health service providers

Heather Gifford, Lesley Batten, Amohia Boulton, Melissa Cragg & Lynley Cvitanovic

This article explores the service delivery experience of Mäori health service providers within the context of contracting.

Col New Zealand council housing getting an upgrade

Lara Rangiwhetu, Nevil Pierse, Helen Viggers & Philippa Howden-Chapman

As people spend most of their time at home, residential thermal conditions are important. Central government debate about minimum temperature requirements for rental properties requires an evidence base of indoor temperature data.

'Unfair and discriminatory': which regions does New Zealand take refugees from and why?

Murdoch Stephens

This article considers changes to the regional composition of New Zealand’s annual refugee resettlement quota under the fifth National government.

ICTs as an antidote to hardship and inequality: implications for New Zealand

Catherine Cotter

Contemporary ICTs such as mobile phones and the internet, are increasingly viewed as potential solutions to some of humanity’s most complex and pressing problems, including poverty and inequality.

Existential risks: New Zealand needs a method to agree on a value framework and how to quantify future lives at risk

Matt Boyd & Nick Wilson

Human civilisation faces a range of existential risks, including nuclear war, runaway climate change and super-intelligent artificial intelligence run amok.

The Digital Economy and Society, PQ 14 (1), February 2018

This issue of Policy Quarterly includes contributions on issues at the heart of the new government’s policy agenda, commencing with three future-focused issues: the implications of the digital revolution, the crucial role of technology platforms in economic development, and recent efforts to enhance foresight in policy- making. Other contributions cover: child poverty; cross-party collaboration on climate change; curbing alcohol-related harm; New Zealand’s recovery process following damaging earthquakes; the management of natural capital; gender inequality in retirement; licensing trusts; strategy implementation in the public sector; aspects of proposed reforms to public sector management and parliamentary procedures.

The digital economy and society: a preliminary commentary

Sir Peter Gluckman

Virtually all technologies that humans have invented or will invent present both benefits and risks. The history of humankind is that of invention, development and exploitation of technologies while managing their downsides.

Platforms in Aotearoa: our fast-growing sharing economy

Kevin Jenkins

Talk of ‘platforms’ – or the ‘sharing economy’ – sometimes seems to be ubiquitous. But how significant is this model, and what kinds of policy and regulatory issues is it raising?

A partial history of futures thinking in New Zealand

Malcolm Menzies

Futures Thinking offers ways of addressing, even helping to shape, the future; it is not about gazing into a crystal ball. It illuminates the ways that policy, strategies and actions can promote desirable futures and help prevent those we consider undesirable.

TacklingPovertyNZ: the nature of poverty in New Zealand and ways to address it

Conal Smith

Poverty in New Zealand is one of the foremost challenges we face as a country. Child poverty rates remain persistently above rates in many other developed countries and well above the rates prevalent in New Zealand during the 1980s.

Cross-party collaboration on climate policy: the experience of GLOBE-NZ

Kennedy Graham

Climate change has been described as the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced (Ban Ki-moon, 2014). No surprise, then, that it is challenging human problem solving, to an unprecedented degree.

Law, liquor and love

Doug Sellman, Jennie Connor, Geoff Robinson, Sam McBride and Tony Farrell

This article discusses attempts at alcohol law reform in New Zealand between 2008 and 2017.

Earthquake recovery legislation: learning from experience

Sarah Kerkin

The Canterbury earthquake sequence sparked a series of constitutional seismic shifts whose after-effects look set to continue long after Christchurch’s regeneration is complete.

Investing in New Zealand's future well-being: protecting and enhancing our natural capital

Jonathan Boston

The election of the new centre-left government in New Zealand provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring question of how societies should invest for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future, one where all generations can flourish.

Beyond the pay gap: the retirement disadvantage of being female

Merewyn Groom

The gender pay gap in New Zealand is often discussed in terms of hourly wages or represented by the idea that women effectively work for free from 14 November until the New Year (Lawless, 2017).

Licensing trusts in New Zealand

Bernard Teahan

Licensing trusts in New Zealand are a statutory form of community enterprise now existing for over 70 years. Thirty were established between 1944 and 1975.

Open innovation communication: improving strategy implementation in the public sector

Amelia Cina and Stephen Cummings

When Jørgen Knudstorp took over as CEO of the LEGO group in 2004, the toy company was in a state of decline.1 A lack of innovation and loss of market position led to the group posting their first loss in 1998. LEGO had lost sight of the needs of their customers.

Integrated reporting: what is it and why should you do it?

Jane Diplock AO

Around the world, increasing numbers of businesses are evolving their strategic thinking, planning and reporting practices. Business practices are undergoing rapid change and as a result businesses are concluding that reporting must also change.

Reforming the public sector and parliament: Chris Hipkins' goals

Colin James

Back in the late 1990s senior public servants worried at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) roundtables that ‘siloisation’ of the state sector was hampering effectiveness.

Regulatory Issues, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 4, November 2017

This issue commences with five articles on aspects of government regulation in New Zealand.

Regulatory stewardship: Voice of the regulator

Stephanie Winson

In 2014 the New Zealand Productivity Commission inquiry on regulatory institutions and practices concluded that ‘The performance of New Zealand’s regulatory system is in need of improvement – in particular around developing and maintaining the capability needed to effectively implement regulation and the need to oversee and manage the overall system’ (Productivity Commission, 2014, p.2). Since then there has been much talk of regulatory stewardship. This article considers what it is and the importance of the role of the regulator in achieving it.

Are regulated parties customers?

Ben Wauchop and Keith Manch

In 2005, Parliament passed new legislation to regulate railway safety in New Zealand. Applying international best practice, the Railways Act took a goal-based approach that utilised the Safety Case concept as the foundation for regulatory oversight.

New Zealand’s Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code: A case study in co-regulation

Keith Manch

The inaugural annual national forum on the 2016 New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code took place in July 2017 in Wellington. The 2016 code replaced a code originally put in place in 2004. Participants in the forum included the 2016 code partners: port companies, regional councils/unitary authorities, Maritime New Zealand, as well as maritime industry representatives, and other government agencies with an interest in maritime safety. The forum represented an important waypoint in the journey from the development, implementation and review of the 2004 code, to the development and implementation of the 2016 code as a key part of the regulatory system that seeks to manage port and harbour risks.

A rail tale

Chris Ballantyne

In 2005, Parliament passed new legislation to regulate railway safety in New Zealand. Applying international best practice, the Railways Act took a goal-based approach that utilised the Safety Case concept as the foundation for regulatory oversight.

Managing the opportunities and risks associated with disruptive technologies space law in New Zealand

Kirsty Hutchison, Katherine MacNeill, Peter Mumford and Val Sim

A key challenge for regulators is how to enable entrepreneurship and innovation while managing the risks associated with rapidly evolving technologies and associated market change. A number of technologies could be used to illustrate this problem, such as the internet, gene editing and driverless vehicles. However, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recently had to face this specific issue in relation to space activities.

Rapid developments in artificial intelligence

Matthew Boyd and Nick Wilson

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened opportunities in a range of human endeavours (NSTC Committee on Technology, 2016). In response to the speed of these developments there has been a burst of analysis and dialogue in New Zealand.

Trends and determinants of top public and private sectors, 1995–2014

Tim Hazledine, Michael Wang and Kar Yew Lee

This article analyses recent trends and determinants of chief executive (CEO) pay in the New Zealand public sector, and of numbers and pay of senior managers in the sector. Comparisons are made with the listed company private sector. It turns out that both CEO pay growth and numbers of senior managers in the public sector have lagged behind those in the private sector, while senior manager pay has moved ahead.

Civics and citizenship education in New Zealand

Todd Krieble and Danijela Tavich

The 2013 Constitutional Advisory Panel recommendation for a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools, kura (Māori-medium schools) and communities provided the opportunity for an important conversation about building civic knowledge in Aotearoa New Zealand (Constitutional Advisory Panel, 2013, p.8). This article explores possible next steps for implementing this recommendation. It is broken up into two parts: a case for change, and potential next steps.

Income volatility in New Zealand

Toby Moore

"Economic risk is a lot like a hurricane. Hurricanes strike powerfully and suddenly. They rip apart what they touch; property, landscape and lives … And although they can be prepared for, they cannot be prevented." These sentiments, from Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker, explain why economic risk is a concern for households, and why the extent of that concern depends a great deal on how well households are protected against risk. The potential for individual bad luck to lead to hardship has meant that society has, in many instances, determined that individual risk should be borne collectively through systems of social welfare or social insurance (Hacker, 2008, p.5).

Lessons from an Internship at Waipā: District Council motivations and incentives

Alice Denne

Creating change through policy interventions relies most often on changing individuals’ behaviour. To create effective change, it is important for policymakers to understand the attitudes and motivations of the people most affected. I learned how important this is while spending my summer interning at the Waipā District Council in Waikato as part of Victoria University’s Master of Public Policy graduate pathway programme.

Insuring property under climate change

Belinda Storey and Ilan Noy

Climate change will increasingly create severe risks for New Zealand’s coastal housing stock. Even a small amount of sea level rise will substantially exacerbate the costs of flooding and storm surges (Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2015). Under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) three mitigation scenarios, global average sea levels are likely to rise by between 28cm and 73cm by 2100 (above the 1986–2005 average). Under the IPCC’s high emissions scenario the sea level is likely to rise by between 52cm and 98cm by 2100 (IPCC, 2013). Only collapse of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet, if triggered, could cause the sea level to rise substantially above these ranges. Some regions in New Zealand (including the main urban centres) have high enough quality geographic data to infer the number of homes at risk. In those regions, there are over 43,000 homes within 1.5m of the present average spring high tide and over 8,000 within 50cm (Bell, Paulik and Wadwha, 2015).

General Election, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 3, August 2017

This issue focuses on some of the important policy issues facing New Zealand as it enters the 2017 general election campaign.

Alleviating poverty

Jonathan Boston

New Zealand was among the first countries in the world to implement a relatively comprehensive welfare state. But almost 80 years after the passage of the Social Security Act in 1938, serious social problems persist, not least significant levels of poverty – especially child poverty – and income inequality.

Big issues, bigger solutions: Are bottom lines enough?

Marie A. Brown and R.T. Theo Stephens

The life-supporting capacity of New Zealand’s environments has been much reduced and the pace of degradation shows little sign of abating (Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, 2015). Few countries are experiencing greater biodiversity loss, more rapid freshwater deterioration or greater per capita increases in greenhouse gas emissions (Myers et al., 2013; Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2016; Gluckman, 2017). The climate is changing fast and it is already clear that a number of communities cannot be sustained for more than another decade or two in their current locations (Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2017).

Productivity and changing technology

Paul Conway

An orbital-class rocket with a 3D-printed engine launches into space from the Māhia Peninsula. A self-driving car crosses the Auckland Harbour Bridge. A pizza company begins testing delivery using airborne drones. While these may sound like things of science fiction, they are in fact stories that have been in the New Zealand media over the last year.

Health policy

Jacqueline Cumming

Improving health and well-being and promoting equity in outcomes are long-standing goals of New Zealand governments (for example, Department of Health, 1989; King, 2000; Ryall, 2007; Ministry of Health, 2016a, 2016b).1 New Zealand’s publicly funded health system delivers millions of high-quality services each year to achieve these goals. Our level of expenditure per capita on health care is slightly below the OECD average, but our health care system provides good overall health outcomes for the money we spend (OECD, 2015). Both our life expectancy and health expectancy (the years we live in good health) are increasing, although the former is increasing faster than the latter, leading to an increase in the number of years New Zealanders spend in poorer health; a key challenge is to improve our quality of life as people age (Ministry of Health, 2017a). Sadly, however, there are significant inequities in health, with Māori, Pasifika and lower-income people having poorer health than other New Zealanders (Ministry of Health, 2017a).

When is a policy past its use-by date? Differential superannuation

Sharleen Forbes

In 2011 the prime minister’s science advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, drew attention to the need for clear monitoring and evaluation of key policies and programmes in New Zealand, stating: ‘The importance of well evaluated interventions both at the pilot stage and after scale-up is critical, as the costs and implications of inferior science or wrong data leading to policy decisions are immense’, and that ‘excellent social science, if done well, can be immensely valuable.

Immigration policies that would enhance the well-being of New Zealanders

Julie Fry and Peter Wilson

Two stories wax and wane in New Zealand debates about migration. With record arrivals, falling departures and high net migration (Figure 1), current public concerns are around pressures on housing, infrastructure and publicly funded services like schools and health care. In 1979 people fretted about whether the last one to leave would be turning out the lights.

Reforms to New Zealand Superannuation eligibility: Are they a good idea?

Norman Gemmell

The National-led government of Prime Minister Bill English recently announced changes to the eligibility rules for receipt of New Zealand Superannuation (NZS). In 2037 the age from which New Zealand residents become eligible to receive NZS will begin to rise – by six months each year – from the current age of 65 to reach 67 by July 2040. Residency requirements will also rise, to 20 years from ten (five of which must be after age 50).

A ride on the Ridgeway bus

Bob Gregory

I grew up in Mornington, in those days a largely workingclass suburb of Wellington, in the city’s south-western hills. My father was a government tradesman (for all of his working life). As it happens, a next-door neighbour was one of the three public service commissioners. It was the late 1950s, and after work my father and the commissioner would often ride home together on a Wellington Tramways bus, departing from Courtenay Place and winding upwards through the steep streets of Vogeltown towards the Ridgeway terminus.

Housing pressures and policies

Arthur Grimes

Do we have a housing crisis in New Zealand that is in need of a ‘policy fix’? It depends on where you are and who you are. Imagine, for instance, that you bought a house in Auckland in March 2007 and wanted to sell in March 2017, a decade later. Provided you chose to leave Auckland, you would have done very well financially. Over the decade to March 2017 the typical Auckland house doubled in value: the REINZ house price index (HPI) for the Auckland region showed an increase of 102%.

The heritage problem

Liv Henrich and John McClure

Earthquakes are a major hazard around the world (Bjornerud, 2016). A recent example is New Zealand, where three major earthquake events occurred within a six-year period. The 2010–11 earthquakes in Canterbury, centred close to the city of Christchurch, led to 185 fatalities, mainly due to two collapsed buildings and crumbling facades (Crampton and Meade, 2016). In addition, the rebuild of Christchurch after the earthquakes cost $40 billion (English, 2013), a large sum for a small country. Subsequent large earthquakes occurred in 2013 in Seddon (close to Wellington) and in 2016 in Kaikōura.

Intergenerational governance

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

We look through the glass darkly at the future. We cannot see it with clarity, if at all. What we do understand are the problems, the tensions and the demands of the present. It is true to say that the language of politics is the language of priorities. Whatever else Cabinet members do or do not do, they determine the priorities. They determine the order in which issues will be addressed and the resources that will be devoted to the issue.

Does the Living Wage ensure adequate standard of living for families?

Susan St John and Yun So

New Zealand was once held up as a model of egalitarianism to other countries. Today New Zealand is far from being that leader, with high income and wealth inequality and an unacceptable level of family poverty and homelessness. Children are particularly affected, suffering the highest levels of material deprivation in New Zealand (Perry, 2016).

Education in or for the 21st Century?

Cathy Wylie

The main policy problems facing education in 2017 relate to its resourcing, its structure, and the measurement of its performance and impact. Underneath the questions of whether government funding matches the greater expectations placed on education over the last decade, and whether structures need changing, or new players introduced, lies the question of what should be given most priority.

Quality regulation: Why and how?

John Yeabsley and Chris Nixon

A hundred days out from the election a number of issues are buzzing: housing, immigration, water, climate change, electricity bills, and the perennials, economic growth, incomes and taxes and law and order. Based on previous contests, some of these will become the raw material of the political debates while others will fade to the background.

The ebbing of the human tide, Policy Quarterly Volume 13, Supplementary Issue, June 2017

Theoretically speaking, while a country’s population is expanding it is expected that the majority of communities will grow more or less continuously; and growth is still almost universally recognized as a positive and normative condition of modernity.

Introduction and overview

Natalie Jackson

Since its original formulation in the 1940s (Davis 1945; Notestein 1945), the phenomenon known as ‘the global demographic transition’ has been used to understand the trend of structural population ageing, and with it, the slowing and ultimately the ending of population growth – now anticipated globally around the end of the present century (Lutz, Sanderson & Sherbov 2004).

Declining towns and rapidly growing cities in New Zealand

Lars Brabyn

Understanding and predicting spatial patterns in population change has significant implications for infrastructure, property investments, and national spatial planning. It is also at the core of understanding what motivates people to move to different places, and the underlying geographical conditions that are important to people

The relative (un)certainty of subnational population decline

Michael P. Cameron

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” This quote is attributed to Danish physicist and Nobel prize winner Niels Bohr, but the difficulty of making predictions does not stop us from making forecasts of economic, demographic, and other variables.

Urban influence and population change in New Zealand

William (Bill) Cochrane and David Maré

While the New Zealand population overall continues to grow, a large proportion of towns and communities in rural or peripheral areas exhibit near-certain stagnation (Cameron infra) or decline in their populations (Jackson & Brabyn infra).

Māori in New Zealand’s contemporary development

William Cochrane and Ian Pool

By conventional economic indicators, such as GDP per capita and unemployment, New Zealand is among the better off of the OECD countries (OECD, 2015). This, however, is not true for all areas in the country. The other empirical articles in this issue focus on the disparities between towns and rural centres across New Zealand, especially those in decline.

The mechanisms of subnational population growth and decline in New Zealand 1976-2013

Natalie Jackson and Lars Brabyn

This article summarises key findings from the strand of the Tai Timu Tangata. Taihoa e? project that examined the mechanisms of subnational population change in New Zealand for 143 towns, 132 rural centres and 66 territorial authority areas (hereafter TAs), for the 37-year period 1976-2013.

New Zealand’s population and development path

Ian Pool

New Zealand’s demographic regime, moderate to high population growth for most of the last 170+ years, has shaped ‘nation building’, especially self-identity (Pool 2016).

Marine Governance, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 2, May 2017

This issue of Policy Quarterly explores the governance of the least governed reaches of our planet, the open ocean. Our oceans are notoriously difficult to govern and even harder to manage for several reasons.

Last line of defence

Marie A. Brown

In 2016 the Environmental Defence Society embarked on an analysis of compliance monitoring and enforcement of environmental law in New Zealand (Brown, 2017).

Government expenditure

Matthew Gibbons

The optimal size of government is an important political and economic issue. However, because no long-term government expenditure series has official standing, New Zealand is often a missing case in comparative studies of government expenditure (Castles, 1998).

Trading in influence: A research agenda for New Zealand?

James Gluck and Michael Macaulay

In November 2015 the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill was passed by Parliament. An omnibus bill, it amended numerous different acts in relation to (among other things) money laundering, organised crime, corruption and bribery offences.

Greening the future: A case for environmental impact bonds

David Hall

The optimal size of government is an important political and economic issue. However, because no long-term government expenditure series has official standing, New Zealand is often a missing case in comparative studies of government expenditure (Castles, 1998).

Murky waters: Adaptive management, uncertainty and seabed mining in the exclusive economic zone

Catherine Iorns and Thomas Stuart

In 2012 the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Affairs) Act (EEZ Act) established a discretionary consenting regime for resource activities and development in New Zealand waters beyond the territorial sea – the exclusive economic zone.

The Kermadecs conundrum

Toni Love

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are on the increase. Their creation is heralded as a significant response to severe marine degradation caused by fishing, mining, pollution and climate change. However, MPAs are highly controversial as they can override other competing interests, and their creation has become fraught. Sometimes this is about historic or ongoing disenfranchisement; often it has to do with a lack of transparency in the development processes (Warne, 2016).

What does good regulatory decision making look like?

Keith Manch

This article addresses a key theme of regulatory activity – decision making – in the context of the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative (G-Reg). This initiative has a broad focus on the improvement of regulatory practice and the development of the regulatory profession in New Zealand. In doing so, the article addresses decision making across regulatory systems.

A ‘sea change’ in marine planning: The development of New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan

Raewyn Peart

Marine spatial planning is a well-established approach internationally, and has been used to assist in the application of an ecosystem-based management approach to the marine environment (Ehler and Douvere, 2009; Ehler, 2014). New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan was completed in December 2016.

Reversing the decline in New Zealand’s biodiversity

Jacinta Ruru, Phil O’B. Lyver, Nigel Scott and Deborah Edmunds

Creating new conservation law that more holistically and comprehensively supports hapū and iwi leadership in conservation management should be embraced as a critical step towards reversing the decline of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity.

Policy changes: Kiribati migration and settlement

Mary Anne Thompson, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Geoff Fougere

This article examines how policy changes at a range of levels could improve decision making by and initial settlement outcomes for Kiribati migrants, a relatively new migrant group to New Zealand. It draws on recent research, based on in-depth interviews, on the settlement experiences of Kiribati migrants and their families living in New Zealand (Thompson, 2016).

Under new management

Morgan Watkins

Mineral resources and energy are central to the level of technological sophistication that we have come to expect in our everyday lives. Yet the availability and use of these finite resources is unsustainable, almost by definition, and particularly so when considering fragile ecosystems.

Global Studies, Policy Quarterly Volume 13, Issue 1, February 2017

This issue takes a global perspective, in particular exploring the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century through the lens of ‘global studies’.

Global law: confronting the transnational criminal

Neil Boister

Philosophers of liberalism from Rousseau to Rawls have placed the good citizen at the centre of the liberal political arrangements they advocate.

Governing the Global Commons: the ‘planetary boundaries’ approach

Klaus Bosselmann

This article offers some ideas about a system of governance which reflects the reality of planetary boundaries (Rockström et al., 2009; Steffen et al., 2015).

Global security: confronting challenges to universal peace

Kevin P. Clements

The challenge of peace is complex and intractable. Much depends on the meaning of the concept and the definition of the term. And in that respect much depends on whether a diplomatic-legal or a sociopolitical approach is adopted.

The oceans: the Law of the Sea Convention as a form of global governance

Duncan Currie

Life came from the ocean. Without the ocean, life on Earth is not possible. The ocean produces and regulates much of the planet’s oxygen and water, provides substantial amounts of its nutrient and carbon cycling and supports most of its biological diversity. Fish feed over 3 billion humans, supplying 20% of their animal protein intake (FAO, 2016).

Building criminal accountability at the global level: the ICC and its discontents

Chris Gallavin and Kennedy Graham

With the negotiation of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), we all believed we had entered a new age: an age of unheralded peace and security, of justice, of an end to impunity; an age of accountability. At the time we believed the statute to be the biggest advance for peace and security through the rule of law since the United Nations Charter of 1945.

Global studies and the New Zealand Centre: meaning and potential

Kennedy Graham

Things change with the passage of time. In the late decades of the 20th century, international relations were naturally founded on 20th-century thought – the nation state as dominant actor; sovereign equality as central principle; international organisation as neutral arena; political military strategy as guarantor of peace and security; self determination, economic and social development and human rights as emerging norms. The United Nations Charter was the lodestar, despite the paralysis of the Cold War. The challenge was to make the charter work politically.

Global studies methodology

Kennedy Graham

It was shown in the previous article that global studies is qualitatively different from international relations, as a separate sub-discipline. It then becomes necessary to be clear about the defining criteria, the theoretical approaches adopted and the thematic scope of subject matter employed in global studies. This, in turn, raises epistemological issues that may need to be addressed.

Reviewing principles of governance: branches of government at the global level

Graham Hassall

The articles in this issue explore the challenges facing humanity in the modern age, and the implications they hold for political and legal thought. The essence of global studies is to explore those implications from a new perspective, a new world view which assumes the existence of a global community – ‘we the peoples’ – whose common interests must be met by the international community of states collaborating together in qualitatively different ways. The thinking, therefore, extends to addressing the concept of global constitutionalism.

Global sustainability: policy networks for the Sustainable Development Goals

Graham Hassall and Marjan van den Belt

This article focuses on public policy networks, but more particularly on those that are global in scope and intent. It examines how such networks are being deployed to advance the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and how the New Zealand government and non-government actors might be involved. Networks have become an important tool.

The atmosphere: the Paris Agreement and global governance

Adrian Macey

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change set a remarkable precedent for speed of entry into force of a global treaty. With the threshold of 55 parties and 55% of greenhouse gas emissions being reached within a year of its adoption, the agreement entered into force before the following Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakech (November 2016). By the end of COP22 there were over a hundred ratifications. This was both a vote of confidence in the agreement and a sign of the strong international commitment to tackle climate change. Less obvious is the fact that the agreement reflects a new model of international governance of climate change, in which the role of the central legal instrument has changed. It is yet to be tested, but these early signs of confidence augur well.

Reviewing the global economy: the UN and Bretton Woods systems

Rod Oram

Humankind has been searching for millennia for ways to govern itself at large scale and over great distances. Overwhelmingly, the dominant solution had been the creation of empires, defined as multi-ethnic or multinational states with political and/or military dominion over populations who are culturally and ethnically distinct from the ruling imperial ethnic group and its culture. In the modern Westphalian era of the past several centuries, a hybrid system of governance around the world emerged, comprising the nation state (in Europe and the Americas) and international empires (across Africa, Asia and Oceania).

Governing the global commons: an ethical-legal framework

Prue Taylor

Governance of the Earth’s global ecological commons creates unprecedented challenges for humanity. Our traditional Westphalian state system was not designed to respond to these global challenges and thus far it has failed to transform. Climate change is the current headline issue; 30 years on and we still swing between hope and despair about our collective ability to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.