michael website final

Dr Michael Johnston

Senior Fellow

Dr Michael Johnston has held academic positions at Victoria University of Wellington for the past ten years. This includes being the Associate Dean (Academic) of the University’s School of Education for the last 3 years.

Prior to his time at Victoria, Dr Johnston was the Senior Statistician at the New Zealand Qualifications Authority, a position he held for 6 years. Before that, he held positions at Melbourne and Latrobe universities.

Dr Johnston holds a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Melbourne.

He lives in Roseneath, Wellington, with his wife and two young children.

Phone: 044990790

Email: michael.johnston@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work


Risk assessment

Question: How many electricians does it take to change a lightbulb? Answer: Just one, as long as they’ve completed a Job Safety, Environmental Analysis and Risk Assessment, a COVID-19 Workplace Safety SmartForm and an Electrical Safety Certificate. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
8 July, 2022

Don’t delay literacy for children struggling with oral language

In an article in the June 11-17 edition of the New Zealand Listener, speech-language therapist Karena Shannon argued that our education system over-values literacy and under-values oral language. Shannon correctly noted that oral language is “innate” in human beings, whereas literacy is “constructed”. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
1 July, 2022
Ballot box v2

A ‘losers’ list’ for MMP?

At the general election in 2023, New Zealand will mark 30 years and ten elections since it adopted the Mixed-Member Proportional Representation (MMP) electoral system. A criticism of MMP is that the party list system allows party hierarchies essentially to appoint their apparatchiks to parliament. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
22 April, 2022
internet troll

Take a walk

“Because there is no time for thinking and no rest in thinking, we no longer weigh divergent views; we’re content to hate them.” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote that back in 1878, but he could easily have been describing the early 2020s. Perhaps it was ever thus, but I can’t help feeling the problem Nietzsche was describing has recently got a lot worse. Read more

Dr Michael Johnston
Insights Newsletter
25 March, 2022

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