Publications and Media

Post-pandemic futures series

The world has changed around us, and as we work to rebuild our society and our economy we need a bold new direction for Aotearoa New Zealand. A new direction that builds a truly resilient economy and a fair labour market. A new direction that embraces environmental sustainability and provides for a just transition. A new direction that nurtures an independent and vibrant Kiwi cultural and media landscape. And a new direction that focuses on the wellbeing of all in society.

To get there, we need to shine a light on new ideas, new policies, and new ways of doing things. And we need vigorous and constructive debate. At the Helen Clark Foundation, we will do what we can to contribute with our series on Aotearoa New Zealand’s post-pandemic future.

Nau Mai | Welcome Home

August 2021: The final report in our post pandemic futures series looks at the challenges and opportunities facing the returning diaspora of Kiwis who have come home due to the COVID 19 pandemic. We are grateful for the support of our partner WSP New Zealand who has made this research possible.

Our report argues if we want to seize this opportunity and keep recently returned talent in Aotearoa we need to:

1. Understand and tap into the potential of the offshore diaspora – by adopting a strategy to strengthen their connections to New Zealand – including for Māori living overseas.
2. Roll out the welcome mat to those who wish to return – by making it as easy as possible to come home, and by greeting those who return with open arms.
3. Develop world-class cities and towns where people want to live – by investing in better infrastructure, improving public and active transport, and ensuring there is affordable, accessible housing for everyone.

Media Coverage
RNZ Morning Report: New Zealand’s brain drain has been thrown into reverse
Newstalk ZB: Research says we might be plugging the brain drain, but not for long
Stuff: Returning Kiwis set to create a ‘reverse brain drain’
The Spinoff: Team of 6 million: How NZ can harness the power of Kiwis living overseas
Newshub: ‘Brain drain’ reversing for first time in 20 years, but NZ needs to do more to entice Kiwis back from overseas
One News: More work needed to keep returning Kiwis home post-Covid
Otago Daily Times: Home needs to be the better option
NZ Herald: Our overseas citizens are not lost to us

Still Alone Together

April 2021: Following on from our report on lockdown loneliness last year, Deputy Director and WSP in New Zealand Fellow Holly Walker has completed a 2021 update. The new report draws upon new statistics, and highlights the disproportionate loneliness felt by disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand. The report also looks at how loneliness changed as the nation came out of Level 4 lockdown, and the progress made against the recommendations made in the original paper.

Media Coverage
Stuff: Loneliness: Disabled people, unemployed people, young people and sole parents are groups most affected
Stuff: ‘There’s a lot of shame around loneliness, but we’re all lonely sometimes’
Stuff: We’re at risk of leaving some marginalised and excluded in a post-Covid world
Newshub: Disabled four times more likely to report feeling lonely most of the time – report
The Spinoff: A community alone: Why loneliness is a disability issue
RNZ The Panel (approx. 9:33 mins into the clip)
Mahi: The Disability Employment Podcast: Episode 18, Holly Walker from the Helen Clark Foundation discusses their “Still Alone Together” report

Gains for Everyone: Towards
an inclusive growth agenda for Aotearoa New Zealand

November 2020: The global COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major social and economic shock to Aotearoa New Zealand. These impacts have not been distributed evenly. This paper draws on the OECD Framework for Policy Action on Inclusive Growth to outline an inclusive growth agenda that could work for Aotearoa New Zealand.

This report was produced in partnership with NZIER.

Media Coverage:
Stuff: Big minimum wage boost would give NZ economy chance to reset
Stuff: A chance to create a more equitable economic model
Newstalk ZB Mike Hosking Breakfast: Helen Clark Foundation calls for minimum wage increase
Newsroom: Push for inclusive Covid recovery through sharp increase to minimum wage
Radio NZ: Minister Michael Wood not ruling out matching minimum wage with living wage
Dominion Post / The Press: Incremental minimum wage increases a valuable tool in the battle against inequality
The Spinoff Bulletin

The Shared Path: people not cars at the heart of communities

November 2020: The transport sector accounts for almost a quarter of our total climate emissions, and more than half of these come from private vehicles. New Zealand has committed to reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but this won’t happen without a substantial reduction in private vehicle use. We’ve also committed to zero deaths on the road yet the more we drive, the more we crash – we simply won’t achieve our goal without reducing the number of trips taken by car.

Aotearoa needs low-traffic neighbourhoods and cities to reduce emissions, improve road safety, and create the connected urban communities we need in a post-pandemic future. This report makes detailed recommendations about how to achieve this.

The Shared Path is the second report in the Post Pandemic Futures series, aimed at stimulating new ideas, new policies and new ways of doing things in a post-COVID-19 Aotearoa.

This report was produced as part of our partnership with WSP.

Media Coverage:
Sunday Star Times: Reducing traffic volumes in New Zealand needs to become a priority
Newshub: Resident-only streets discouraging through-traffic the future
The Spinoff: Driving less saves lives, but low-traffic areas aren’t on NZ’s road safety agenda
NZ Herald: Many New Zealanders believe cars are speeding on their streets
Stuff: To save lives and the climate, let’s get out of our cars
Greater Auckland: Forming Policy on Low Traffic Neighbourhoods
Newsroom: The case for car-lite neighbourhoods

We also wrote a Climate Change Commission submission.

Solving for Loneliness

June 2020: As COVID-19 struck the world, people found themselves in lockdown in their homes. Loneliness is a significant challenge for many people, and Deputy Director Holly Walker has been investigating policy approaches to helping minimise the negative effects of loneliness.

This work includes a submission to the Interim Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission, an article in the journal Policy Quarterly, and the report available below. The report is the first in a series on “post-pandemic futures”.

Media Coverage
The Spinoff: The perils of loneliness in the time of COVID-19
The Spinoff: How our leaders can minimise the negative effects of loneliness after COVID-19
Stuff: Loneliness and the Digital Divide
Report Launch: Newshub, The AM Show, First Up (RNZ), Morning Report (RNZ), Waatea News, NZ Herald
The Spinoff: As universities go ever more online, students are getting left out in the cold
Stuff: Feeling lonely? You’re not alone. Here’s how good public policy can help

Alcohol Harm

Health Equity Fellow Matt Shand is working on a research project around understanding alcohol harm, the cost to society and the way that we mitigate that harm. This is a component of the partnership with Health Coalition Aotearoa and the MAS Foundation.

Media Coverage

The Spinoff: Where’s that drink taking us?
NZ Herald: Hospitals see surge in accidents, injury on big boozing days like Hyde St party
RNZ: Alcohol-related emergency department visits saw 37 per cent increase in 2020
NZ Herald: Staggering amount taxpayers spend on drink-driving crashes
RNZ: The Panel (21 July 2021)
Otago Daily Times: How much harm is too much?
The Gisborne Herald: $8.9m ‘lifetime costs’ for Gisborne

Shouting Zeros and Ones

Our Executive Director Kathy Errington contributed a chapter coauthored with Anjum Rahman to a new book, edited by friend of the Foundation Andrew Chen, on digital technology and ethics. Shouting Zeros and Ones is a call to action to reduce online harm, protect the integrity of our digital lives, and uphold democratic participation and inclusion. You can buy the book here.

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

Somewhere to Live

Exploring solutions to the housing affordability crisis in Aotearoa New Zealand

February 2020: Aotearoa New Zealand is in the midst of a housing affordability crisis, with the effects disproportionately felt by younger generations, single-parent households, Pacific Islanders, and Māori. Housing speculation, fuelled by the availability of cheap credit, has driven up prices and led to a speculative investment cycle that must be de-escalated to ameliorate our crisis.

In this research paper, Dr Jenny McArthur (University College London) proposes a package of solutions to disrupt the speculative cycle, safely lower housing prices, and boost alternative housing provision to meet diverse needs.

Media Coverage
Stuff, Newsroom, NZ Herald, Newshub, Radio New Zealand, Stuff, Interest
RNZ Morning Report: Audio of interview with Jenny McArthur

Engaged Communities

How community-led development can increase civic participation

December 2019: 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.

Informed and engaged communities are central to a healthy democratic society, and local government has a critical role to play. There is growing evidence that community disengagement is rising with lower participation in local democratic institutions across the country. What can be done to turn this around? This paper authored by Amanda Reid and Hillmare Schultz from BERL explores possible solutions.

Media Coverage

The Christchurch Principles

November 2019: We believe that the public sphere should be a place of equal participation. As the internet, and social media especially, becomes an increasingly influential public space, these digital media have greater implications for political equality, both online and offline. In some regards, the rise of social media has created new ways for people to participate in public life, to overcome long-standing disadvantages. In other regards, however, it may pose threats, especially through the flourishing of harmful online content.

The report presents 10 Principles, which seek to build on the Christchurch Call and the compassion that characterised the response to the March 15 attacks. The project was presented as part of the Paris Peace Forum, with support from Dr David Hall from The Policy Observatory and from Wellington based ‘think and do’ tank the Workshop.

Media Coverage
Paris Peace Forum: The Christchurch Principles: Countering online hate with online democracy
The Spinoff: How the Christchurch Principles will fight the spread of hate
Newsroom: A principled way to to prevent online hate

Media reports on launch: NZ Herald

The Case for YES

in the 2020 referendum on cannabis

September 2019: New Zealanders will soon have the chance to make a historic decision about whether or not to change the way we regulate personal cannabis use. If we miss this opportunity, the chance may pass for a generation. Cannabis use is a reality in New Zealand, and the results of our current policy approach damage our health, worsen social equity, and drive crime. The status quo is unacceptable, and this paper seeks to ask how we can do better.

Media Coverage:
Interest: Top 5 at Ten on drug law reform
NZ Herald (paywalled): The case of yes in the cannabis referendum (also available on our website)
The Guardian: Cannabis prohibition doesn’t work anywhere. It’s New Zealand’s turn to legalise it
The Spinoff: Rebuilding from the rubble of the failed war on drugs
Patrick Gower – On Weed: Interview with Helen Clark

Media reports on report launch: TVNZ Q+A, Newshub, Radio NZ, NZ Herald, Stuff, Newsroom, The Spinoff, Magic Radio, Newshub (2nd piece), The Nation (interview transcript), TVNZ Q+A (2nd piece)

Australian coverage: ABC, Business Insider

Recording of “A Conversation on Cannabis Law Reform” with Helen Clark and Chlöe Swarbrick:

Anti-social media

Reducing the spread of harmful content on social networks

May 2019: In the wake of the March 2019 Christchurch terrorist attack, which was livestreamed in an explicit attempt to foster support for white supremacist beliefs, it is clear that there is a problem with regard to regulating and moderating abhorrent content on social media. Both governments and social media companies could do more.

Media Coverage:
NZ Herald (paywalled): Social media regulation is needed to confront hate head-on (also available on our website)
TV Appearances on Q+A and The Project
Newshub: How Helen Clark would regulate Facebook’s livestreaming
Newsroom: How to regulate social media
Christchurch Call: NZ Herald, Stuff, TVNZ, NZ Herald (paywalled), Stuff, Newshub
The Spinoff: I used to believe internet freedom was all. Christchurch and El Paso changed that

The Role of Innovation in Getting to Carbon Zero

What place is there for next generation energy such as “green hydrogen”?

March 2019: New Zealand needs to look at innovative ways to decrease carbon emissions. This includes increasing our renewable electricity supply, as demand for electricity will increase with the growth of electric vehicles and as we stop bringing new sources of fossil fuel online.

Media Coverage
The Spinoff: The case for ‘green’ hydrogen
Science Media Center: Green hydrogen industry in NZ – Expert Q&A
The Policy Observatory: Podcast
TVNZ Breakfast
Newshub Nation: Adapting to Climate Change