About

This website began hosting a series of Briefing Papers from early in 2014. The papers are focussed on assessing the state of the country as the basis for public discussion and debate. A group of writers has been assembled to write short briefing papers based on extensive research programmes and presented in a form that can be easily understood by the public at large.

The Briefing papers are aimed at providing the public with an overview of critical issues facing New Zealand society in the 21st century. The goal is to promote informed discussion and debate, so crucial to economic and social development, with the central question being:

how is the public


interest being served?

The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government. It is a key factor in assessing jobs and the cost of living, educational opportunities, housing options and the way in which the policy makers of today are protecting the interests of future generations.

In order to address these questions, the Briefing Papers are designed to examine the underlying assumptions on which policy options are based and what interests, public or private, are being served. As Herbert Gans once suggested, this means both understanding and assessing, who benefits?

 

The Papers

Media ownership matters

Merja Myllylahti

Media ownership matters, so 2016 has certainly been meaningful for New Zealand media companies and consumers. As I describe in my newly released media ownership report for AUT’s Journalism, Media and Democracy Research Centre (JMAD), three  events stand out as the most important. The first two received considerable attention: first,
 

And so this is Christmas…

Alicia Sudden

Christmas time comes with many certainties in New Zealand. There won’t be any snow. Every mall becomes home to a Santa Claus. There will be a variety of fake and real Christmas trees in workplaces and homes, decorated with lights that take too long to untangle and tinsel that has
 

Providing security for our reputation in an insecure time?

Kaden Wilson

With the close of 2016 comes the end of New Zealand’s tenure on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Considering the campaign to be elected to this position by other countries began in 2004, our two-year term on the most powerful body within the United Nations has seemed relatively brief.
 

Failing to make a difference? New Zealand on the UN Security Council

Grant Duncan

In October 2014 New Zealand was preparing for its two-year term on the UN Security Council. Meanwhile, Prime Minister John Key was making an unconvincing case for sending soldiers to Iraq in a training capacity to assist with the fight against the Islamic State. And unarmed civilians were being killed
 

The Waste Levy, a waste of time?

Sustainable Business Network & Andy Kenworthy

The $10-per-tonne Waste Levy was created eight years ago to fund waste management innovation and cut landfill. Some say it must increase to be effective. Others claim good progress in the sector amid economic turbulence.   So who’s right? The Waste Minimisation Act was a Green Party Private Members’ Bill led by MP
 

Minimising waste

Jeff Seadon

Whenever a waste issue arises a common response is, “The government should legislate…”. While legislation is useful to either start a process or fill gaps, it is not the panacea for all problems. Think of how many people always drive below the speed limit on the road. New Zealand has
 

A Run on the Bank

Dave Hansford

In September 2008, the sprawling global bank, Lehman Brothers, collapsed. As it toppled, it struck dominoes all about, triggering a fission that rippled along Wall St then mushroomed over the world’s financial system. Around the globe, Governments announced rescue spending in the tens of billions. Here in New Zealand, the
 

Pale, male and middle-aged: Auckland Council’s lack of diversity

Karen Webster

We’ve all heard the adage describing the traditional local councillor as “pale, male and middle-aged”. So, just how true is this for the Auckland Council? Research undertaken at AUT following the 2013 and the recent 2016 local government election compared the gender, ethnicity and age (2013 only) of local candidates
 
 

Contact

If you, as members of the public, have issues that you would like to see addressed then contact us.
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