The foundation will hold events themed on our discussion papers as well as in areas of interest to Helen Clark in her international advocacy work. These will include seminars, guest speakers and discussion panels. Our events are aimed to anyone interested in the issues covered – students, policymakers, NGOs and businesses should all feel welcome. We are interested to hear from partners who may wish to cohost or otherwise participate in these events.

Upcoming Events

Members-only webinar: Sinead Boucher on Stuff, trust, and the future of news media in Aotearoa New Zealand

12pm midday on 28 October

In May 2020, in the midst of a global pandemic and hot on the heels of a national lockdown, Sinead Boucher bought Stuff. Sinead, Chief Executive of Stuff Ltd, purchased the company from former owner Nine Entertainment for $1, and put to rest any ongoing uncertainty about the media company’s future. Sinead’s bold move came as a relief to many in Aotearoa New Zealand, but Stuff still faces a tough road ahead.

Join Kathy Errington, Executive Director of the Helen Clark Foundation, for a
conversation with Sinead Boucher about what’s next for Stuff, the New Zealand media landscape, and how news outlets can build trust with the public in the face of a fake news ‘infodemic’. You will also have the opportunity to ask Sinead your questions during the webinar.

Please note that this webinar is open to members of the Helen Clark Foundation and AUT staff or students only. If you are interested in attending, please sign up to become a member here.

Past Events

Reefer Madness or Pot Paradise? The impact of cannabis legalisation in the USA

The Helen Clark Foundation, together with the NZ Initiative, hosted John Hudak, Deputy Director of the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution, for a timely webinar ahead of Aotearoa New Zealand’s chance to vote on cannabis law reform.

Cannabis law reform has been implemented in a number of different states in the USA, and in a variety of different ways. Watch the webinar to hear John’s thoughts on the current state of law reform efforts in the USA ahead of the Presidential election, the impact of legalisation in different states, and the lessons that Aotearoa New Zealand can draw upon ahead of the 2020 referendum.

John’s recently re-released book ‘Marijuana: A Short History’, offers a unique profile of how cannabis emerged from the shadows of counterculture and illegality to become a serious public policy issue and source of legal revenue for both businesses and governments. In it, he describes why attitudes and policy have changed, and what those changes mean for cannabis’s future place in society.

This webinar is co-chaired by Kathy Errington, Executive Director of the Helen Clark Foundation, and Eric Crampton, Chief Economist at the NZ Initiative.

Radio New Zealand

Cannabis referendum 2020: your questions answered

We held a webinar with a panel of experts to help people learn more about the 2020 referendum on cannabis control.

The panel was hosted by Stephen McDowell, professional story teller and producer of the New Zealand short film ‘Grass Roots’ (

The panel of experts featured:
– Associate Prof Khylee Quince, School of Law, AUT
– Kathy Errington, Executive Director of the Helen Clark Foundation
– Dr Ali Seyfoddin, Deputy Head of School, School of Science, AUT
– Dr Marta Rychert, Shore & Whariki Research Centre, College of Health, Massey University
– Associate Prof Chris Wilkins, College of Health, Massey University

How can good policy create the conditions for social connection to thrive?

BERL, WSP, and The Helen Clark Foundation held an online panel discussion with four specialists discussing how good public policy can overcome the heightened risks of loneliness following Covid-19 and create the conditions for social connection to thrive, focusing on income, digital inclusion, community-building, and the built environment.

The discussion was facilitated by Amanda Reid (Senior Researcher, BERL), with an introduction from Holly Walker, (Deputy Director and WSP Fellow, The Helen Clark Foundation). The panel featured Anna Pendergrast (Co-founder, Antistatic); Carinnya Feaunati (Architect, WSP); and Max Rashbrooke (J.D. Stout Fellow, Victoria University of Wellington).

ASH and The Helen Clark Foundation

On Friday 28 August, we co-hosted an online conversation to mark the 30th anniversary of the Smoke-Free Environments Act, along with Action for Smokefree 2025. Holly Walker (Deputy Director, Helen Clark Foundation) interviewed Rt Hon Helen Clark and Emeritus Professor Robert Beaglehole.

YES Vote in the Cannabis Referendum

On Wednesday 12 August, The Helen Clark Foundation and the New Zealand Drug Foundation hosted an online panel discussion with the Global Commission on Drug Policy on the cannabis referendum, featuring:

  • Louise Arbour, Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
  • Juan Manuel Santos, Former President of Colombia and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
  • Geoff Gallop, Former Premier of Western Australia
  • Rt Hon Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister and UNDP Administrator

Newshub: Cannabis referendum: Four experts weigh up the pros and cons of legalising marijuana

Shouting Zeros and Ones

Our Executive Director Kathy Errington participated in an event at Techweek on 29 July, along with her co-contributors to the book. In her chapter, Kathy writes about reducing online harm, The Christchurch Principles, and interviews Anjum Rahman.

In conjunction with Bridget Williams Books and Auckland University of Technology, the panel discussion covered three topics from the book Shouting Zeros and Ones (edited by our skilled web manager Andrew Chen!), a BWB Text released in August 2020.

The panel featured Dr. David Hall (moderator), Curtis Barnes, Anjum Rahman, Kathy Errington, and Donna Cormack discussing the spread of disinformation, reducing online harm, and Māori data sovereignty.

Media Coverage:
The Spinoff: On the internet, freedom for some never means freedom for all

Cannabis referendum, the case for a YES vote

Despite almost 55 years of prohibition, cannabis is still New Zealand’s most widely used illicit drug. We held a webinar co-hosted on 8 July with the NZ Drug Foundation covering the health, social, and criminal justice impacts of legalisation. We also released new poll results, and looked at the impact of cannabis in New Zealand and overseas.

Our panellists were:
Rt Hon Helen Clark, Patron of the Helen Clark Foundation, and Commissioner at the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
Steve Rolles, Senior Policy Analyst, Transform Drug Policy Foundation, United Kingdom
Dr Hinemoa Elder, Youth forensic psychiatrist and member of the Māori Advisory Committee of the Centre for Brain Research

Media Coverage:
Stuff, NZ Herald, NewsHub

Alone Together Report Launch

Over the past months the world has changed rapidly around us, and as we work to rebuild our society and our economy we need a bold new direction for Aotearoa New Zealand – one that focuses on the wellbeing of all in society.

On Wednesday 24 June 2020, we hosted a panel discussion moderated by Kathy Errington (Executive Director of The Helen Clark Foundation) with Rt. Hon Helen Clark (patron of The Helen Clark Foundation), Hayley Fitchett (General Manager Master Planning and Placemaking – Kāinga Ora), David Symons (Global Future Ready Lead – WSP), Carinnya Feaunati (Architect – WSP), Holly Walker (Deputy Director and WSP Fellow – The Helen Clark Foundation).

We discussed what it will take to create community connection and eliminate loneliness in a post-COVID-19 world.

COVID-19 Webinars

Friday 8 May, 11am
Alone together: Holly Walker on loneliness in Aotearoa New Zealand
Holly Walker, our Deputy Director, has been busy researching loneliness in Aotearoa New Zealand, and what we can do about it. We held a webinar with Holly where she shared insights from her research, her time in politics, and answered questions from members. Holly was in conversation with Marianne Elliot, co-director of The Workshop, co-founder of ActionStation, researcher, writer, and former international human rights lawyer.

Wednesday 13 May, 11.30am
Helen Clark on the global response to COVID-19
Helen discussed the global response to COVID-19 and the implications of the pandemic for our future, in conversation with Holly Walker.

Thursday 4 June, 12PM
China after COVID-19: A conversation with Anna Fifield facilitated by Helen Clark
From all angles, China is critical to the global response to Covid-19, from the emergence of the virus there, to its government’s domestic response, to the future of the global economy and international relations. Washington Post Beijing bureau chief Anna Fifield was in conversation with former Prime Minister and UNDP Administrator Helen Clark about China’s unique position in global affairs at this pivotal moment as well as the role of journalism in the post-pandemic future.

Seminar Recording

Somewhere to Live – Exploring solutions to the housing affordability crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand

We proudly launched our new report on the housing affordability crisis, authored by Dr. Jenny McArthur (University College London). She presented a seminar in Auckland on 14 February 2020 at AUT about her research paper. The paper discusses the root causes of our housing affordability crisis, and proposes a package of solutions to disrupt the speculative investment cycle, safely lower housing prices, and boost alternative housing provision to meet diverse needs.

Engaged Communities: How community-led development can increase civic participation

Business and Economic Research Limited (BERL) and the Helen Clark Foundation are excited to announce our partnership with the launch of a new report on the role of local government in enabling engaged communities. We held a seminar in Wellington on 9 December 2019, where there was great discussion and networking between local government and stakeholders.

Informed and engaged communities are central to a healthy democratic society, and local government has a critical role to play. Community engagement should be about building relationships, encouraging civic participation and community involvement. It should be about interactions and connections, getting everyone involved, and acknowledging and acting on local expertise. Effective community engagement should be about the process as much as it is about the results.

The Helen Clark Foundation Wellington Launch Event

The foundation held a launch reception on 5 September at Wharewaka in Wellington from 5-7 pm. Photos are available here!

A Conversation on Cannabis Law Reform

A seminar was held on 4 September at AUT – the seminar was booked out within 7 hours of registerations opening! The event featured a conversation between Chlöe Swarbrick and Helen Clark, facilitated by THCF Executive Director Kathy Errington.

Cannabis use is a reality in New Zealand. Despite almost 55 years of prohibition, it is New Zealand’s most widely used illicit drug.  Evidence shows that up to 80% of New Zealanders will use cannabis at least once before they turn 21. New Zealand could, like a growing number of other jurisdictions, face the reality of widespread use and legalise it and place appropriate regulation around use and supply. Next year, New Zealand will have the chance to make a historic decision on that.

Seminar livestream recording:

We also co-hosted a Parliamentary Symposium and the Unify Rally alongside the New Zealand Drug Foundation, with Rt Hon Helen Clark speaking at both events.

Seminar Recording

Getting to Carbon Zero – How can the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals Help?

A seminar was held on 8 May at AUT – over a hundred people attended (with registrations reaching capacity within five days)! The event featured a panel discussion, with Rt Hon Helen Clark, Dr. David Hall, and Dr. Jo Spratt, facilitated by Executive Director Kathy Errington.

In 2015, United Nations (UN) Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals — a universal call to action to eradicate poverty, promote global prosperity, foster peace, and protect the environment by 2030. But do they work? How can they be used to get us to Carbon Zero?

Media Coverage:
Te Waha Nui

The Role of Green Hydrogen in Getting to Carbon Zero

A seminar was held on 3 April at AUT, which was full and attracted attendees from industry, council, government, and private individuals. The research paper that the seminar was based on is available online here.

Media Coverage:
The Spinoff, Science Media Centre

The Helen Clark Foundation Official Launch Event

The foundation held a launch reception on 21 March at AUT from 5-7 pm. Photos are available here!

Speeches (Text):
Patron: Helen Clark
Executive Director: Kathy Errington

Media Coverage:
TVNZ Breakfast, The AM Show, The Project, Twitter

Kathy Errington, Executive Director

Helen Clark, Patron