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ISSUE 1 (2021)
Message from the Director - Graduate Programmes - MPP Online  - Connecting with the Policy World - Careers Beyond the Academy -Collaborative Policy Advocacy and Analysis - Events - Policy Inc - COVID-19 Resources - Policy Briefings - External Events - Consultation Opportunities
Kia ora koutou and a belated happy new year,  

This is our first Pānui for 2021, delayed a little by Alert Level changes in February and March and the consequent impacts on our various activities.  But we are open again, our graduate students are back in the classroom and online, and so we have decided to dedicate this issue to our graduates; showcasing their courses and achievements. Meanwhile our research projects on post-pandemic wellbeing, disaster management, gender equality, climate and the Pacific, are all progressing well, and we have lots planned for the year ahead, some of which is highlighted below. We look forward to seeing you at our various events.  

Ngā mihi nui ki a koutou,
Jennifer and all of us here at the PPI
Our online version of the Master of Public Policy
It’s now a year since we launched the Auckland Online MPP (pre-COVID19), and what a year it has been crafting new curriculum, inducting new staff, and engaging with our professional colleagues both as students and as online visiting speakers.  Here we introduce you to three of those who have helped to make our MPP accessible to aspiring leaders and policy specialists around Aotearoa New Zealand. 

Dr Stephanie D’Souza lectures our course titled Statistics and Data Analysis for Policy, which introduces students to a range of statistical analyses relevant for evidence-based policy making via a hands-on approach with real datasets. The course also covers the use and governance of large administrative data, including the Integrated Data Infrastructure, and features a guest lecture on Indigenous Data Sovereignty by Dr Andrew Sporle. 

Dr Stephanie D'Souza

Steph has a background in statistics and psychology and completed her PhD at the University of Auckland in 2018. She has extensive experience conducting social and health research using a variety of administrative, survey and longitudinal data and is a research fellow with COMPASS, a research centre dedicated to social science methods for policy. 
Guest lecture by Andrew Sporle for the MPP Online
Dr Alasdair Jones
Dr Alasdair Jones is Associate Director (Research Development) at the PPI.  He is an interdisciplinary scholar and methodologist with particular expertise in the fields of programme evaluation and urban studies. Throughout his research Alasdair is committed to using, refining and developing qualitative methodological approaches to generate insights into critical questions concerning policy implementation and the social role of urban public space. Alasdair will be leading on research development, and coordinating our funding application activities at PPI. Alasdair joins us during a period of leave from the LSE and is currently teaching "Government and Policy: New Zealand Compared" for our online MPP students.
Dr Mohammad Salimifar
Mohammad is a professional teaching fellow at the Public Policy Institute. He currently teaches "Economics, Budgets, and Bureaucrats" for the Online MPP programme. He recently obtained his PhD in Economics from the University of Auckland, where he was awarded MSA PhD Scholarship and Energy Education Trust of New Zealand Doctoral Scholarship for his PhD research. During his PhD, Mohammad also worked as GTA at the Department of Economics and Graduate School of Management (GSM). He also holds BSc and MA in Business Economics, and Economic Development and Planning.
MPP Welcome, March 2021

After the initial disruption of a start-of-semester lockdown and the postponement of our biannual MPP student welcome event, we were able to gather at the Public Policy Institute both in person and on Zoom. The event brought together more than 20 students currently enrolled in the the 120-plus MPP programme, and we are looking forward to sharing with them a busy year of research and engagement.  

MPP Online
Connecting with the Policy World
As part of our commitment to expanding the work-integrated learning of our students, we have been busy engaging with professionals with a range of expertise. For example, Tim Fadgen has connected with researchers and professionals with expertise in co-design for a course that embeds a focus on navigating relationships in policy practice.  Tim, together with Dr Kiri Edge, Dr Neville Roberston and Professor Linda Waimarie Nikora, ran a panel discussion for graduate students from McMaster University and the Master of Public Policy on building relationships in a bicultural and multicultural policy team. MPP students from both the on-campus and online cohorts are currently reviewing food policies for Counties Manukau District Health Board and learning practice-based skills for their future careers. 
We also hosted Kirsten Jensen, Principal Adviser from Te Tai Ōhanga – The Treasury, who shared with our MPP students her expert knowledge of Cost Benefit Analysis and the CBAx model that informs New Zealand’s budget process. And this year three of our MPP alumni (Hannah, Justin and Rose), representing our last three cohorts, are working together in the Health team at Treasury.  
Jennifer Curtin, Kirsten Jensen and Mohammad Salimifar
Hannah Lobb, Justin Alsleben and Rose Boele van Hensbroek

And we are pleased to share with you a recent publication by one of our own – Dr Sarah Bickerton, our in-house Postdoctoral Fellow has co-authored an interesting analysis of how and when policy analysts engage with academic research and evidence. You can read their results here.

Careers beyond the Academy

In previous newsletters we have profiled alumni that made the Public Policy Institute their home during their studies.  It is common for our graduates to move into the New Zealand public sector, but this month we feature three stellar former students from the Philippines - here are their stories:

Gay Francisco completed her Master of Public Policy at the end of 2015, returned to the Philippines and began working with the non-profit Muntinlupa Development Foundation. The Foundation helps poor urban families by engaging with local government and communities to help families access funding and support to build their own homes. Gay also got involved in several private sector initiatives for community development, including projects focused on youth, ASEAN and promoting responsible use of social media.  Gay returned to the University of Auckland in March 2018 as a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholar, and this week submitted her thesis titled ‘The Dynamics of Substantive Representation: Dynastic Relations and the Philippine Women’s Rights Law’. Gay has already published some of her findings in journals as well as to media outlets in the Philippines:   
Alongside this, Gay has been working as our Student Success Advisor for our online Master of Public Policy, and as a Postgraduate Student Mentor for the Faculty of Arts. We are excited that Gay will be staying on in these roles this year, as she brings a wealth of experience and is a critical member of the Public Policy Institute rōpū. Congratulations Gay – we look forward to being able to call you “Dr”! 

Michelle Javier completed her Master of Public Policy in 2018, and was recently promoted to Division Chief of one of the operation units within the Office of the President - President Management Staff (OP-PMS). Her team works to ensure that all Presidential and national priority programmes and projects are monitored and evaluated to facilitate full implementation of those interventions. Examples of projects include the completion of school facilities and hospitals in remote areas, airport and railroad projects, and the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

Michelle reminded us that it has been a challenging year for policy work because of COVID-19, and because 2022 is election year, so 2021 is critical for completing key projects.

"I am grateful for your guidance during my Master's degree, for all the lessons I learned from the professors and my fellow students. My entire stay as an international scholar at the University of Auckland changed my perspectives in many ways and helped me gain confidence in leading other people."
Kris Ablan is Undersecretary at Presidential Communications Operations Office and leads the Office for Finance, Legislative Affairs and Freedom of Information (FOI) within the PCOO. His current projects are too numerous to list in full, but include Financial Services (Budget and Accounting); the FOI Program; the Government Communications Academy (GCA) ; the People's Broadcasting Corporation Charter; the National Open Data Task Force; the Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan; and the National Devolution Transition Plan. We are not sure how much down time he gets, but we are thrilled that he always finds the time to stayed connected with us here at the Public Policy Institute.

If you are an alumnus of the University of Auckland’s MPP programme and want to bring your expertise into the classroom or contribute to the work of the Public Policy Institute in other ways, you can contact us here.  

Collaborative Policy Advocacy and Analysis

As part of our Gender Responsive Analysis and Budgeting project (GRAB-NZ) we have been working with the Gender Justice Collective, in gender auditing the policy promises of political parties in New Zealand, and in surveying the women of Aotearoa New Zealand on what issues they want to see addressed. 

In response, the Gender Justice Collective launched a campaign for the establishment of a National Women’s Health Strategy.  You can read more about it in our inaugural Gender Analysis Briefing of 2021.   


We are also embracing the opportunities presented by being back at Alert Level 1 to hold three hui in the second half of the year.  The details are still being finalised, but for now you should save the following dates: 

Gender Gaps in Pandemic Policy Responses 

7 July 2021 

Researching Public Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand  

8 July 2021 

Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School 

9-10 September 2021 

Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School 2021
9-10 September 2021

What have we learnt from ten years of performance management in the health sector?

  • Date: Wednesday 31 March 2021
  • Recording will be available on Policy Commons soon

Dr Tim Tenbensel
(Associate Professor, School of Population Health)

The idea and practice of performance management and measurement in New Zealand’s health sector has become well-established over the past decade. Over that time there have been two highly contrasting approaches to performance management in health – the National Health Targets regime of 2009-2018 and the System Level Measures framework that was introduced in 2016.

Hate Speech Laws in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Critical Race Theory Perspective

  • Date: Thursday 1 April 2021
  • Policy briefing will be available soon
  • Watch out for further talks in the Hate Speech Seminar Series

Dylan Asafo, Faculty of Law

(With Sociology and Criminology)
This presentation examined hate speech laws in Aotearoa New Zealand though a Critical Race Theory Lens. It began by outlining and critiquing our current hate speech legislative provisions contained in the  Human Rights Act. It then outlined and critiqued the steps the government has taken to reform our hate speech legislation following the Christchurch terrorist attacks, and the current challenges it faces in overcoming concerns regarding the right to freedom of expression as protected in the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act.

Strengthening the evidence base for assuring trustworthiness of government

  • Date: Tuesday 18 May
  • Time: 3-4pm
  • Venue: TBC
Len Cook
A long-standing trust in public services is being challenged for a mix of reasons.  This has brought to light a variety of long standing tensions that exist in the scope, development, evaluation and publication of evidence about public services in New Zealand. 
Policy Inc
Data collection has closed for the 11th national New Zealand Election Study. We have collected data from over 3,600 New Zealanders over the past few months and would like to wholeheartedly thank these participants for their time. COVID-19 has caused a few delays and challenges for the study, including the need to extend the final deadline for returned surveys out an extra month. The team of research assistants are now working hard to process and code all the data. This is the first major study to be launched from the PPI’s Policy Inc, and we are looking forward to using our space to co-produce other projects with our external partners.
COVID-19 Resources
We have collated a range of local and international resources relating the COVID-19 pandemic, including policy responses, Māori resources, the latest news, and a COVID-19 timeline.
COVID-19 Resources

Gaming New Zealand’s Targets for ‘Shorter Stays in Emergency Departments’

Governments often use performance targets for health sector organisations as a way of holding organisations accountable. However, staff in organisations can ‘game’ targets, making performance appear better when it is not.
Download the Briefing

ACEs and Cultural Considerations in Aotearoa New Zealand

The Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) checklist was first conceptualised as the result of an attempt to understand links between childhood experiences and long-term health outcomes.

It is important to understand that this initial research was undertaken with a US-based population sample consisting of mostly white, average to well-off, insured patients within a medical setting, and that the questions developed for the checklist were not the result of a rigorous review to select those variables most likely to predict health outcomes. 

Download the Briefing
In case you missed it:

Transformative Housing Policy for Aotearoa New Zealand

Housing is essential to the health and wellbeing of everyone in Aotearoa New Zealand. We need a paradigm shift which reimagines what our housing system can look like. We advocate moving from our current system where housing is commodified – a source of private wealth for some and insecurity for others – to a system where housing is available for the wellbeing of all.
Download the Briefing
External Events
IPPA is pleased to confirm the 5th International Conference on Public Policy is still happening – online and in Barcelona! To accommodate the range of time zones and those joining virtually we have extended the dates of the conference – it will now happen from 5-9 July, 2021.

The Public Policy Institute is supporting this world conference through its institutional membership of the IPPA.

Read more
World Affairs Forum: The Cuban Economy and Society in a World of Upheaval
H.E. Edgardo Valdes Lopez, Ambassador of Cuba

Thurs 8 April, 6pm
Old Government House Lecture Theatre, University of Auckland
World Affairs Forum: The Impact of COVID-19 on Auckland City's International Economy and on the Council
Mayor Phil Goff, Auckland City

Tues 13 April, 6pm
Old Government House Lecture Theatre, University of Auckland
Climate Solutions 2030: New Zealand Perspective
Future Cities Research Hub

Friday 16 April, 12pm
Title  Closing date 
Films, Videos, and Publications Classification (Urgent Interim Classification of Publications and Prevention of Online Harm) Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

01 Apr 2021
Inquiry into the 2020 General Election and Referendums

Public submissions are now being invited on this Inquiries

06 Apr 2021
Moriori Claims Settlement Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

07 Apr 2021
Land Transport (Drug Driving) Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

16 Apr 2021
Harmful Digital Communications (Unauthorised Posting of Intimate Visual Recording) Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

23 Apr 2021
Girl Guides Association (New Zealand Branch) Incorporation Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

28 Apr 2021
Contraception, Sterilisation, and Abortion (Safe Areas) Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

28 Apr 2021
Unit Titles (Strengthening Body Corporate Governance and Other Matters) Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

29 Apr 2021
Commerce Amendment Bill

Public submissions are now being invited on this Bill

30 Apr 2021
We welcome your feedback: 
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