At the Initiative, we have consistently stood up for the rights of random bureaucrats to stop people making harmless choices in their everyday lives. That’s why we were strong supporters of John Key’s decision to ban pseudoephedrine from pharmacies. Read more
Dr James Kierstead
James is Senior Lecturer in Classics at Victoria University of Wellington, where his research focusses on ancient Greek democracy.
His main focus at the Initiative will be on higher education policy, including academic freedom.
James holds a BA in Classics from Oxford, an MA in Ancient History from the University of London, an MA in Political Science from Stanford, and a PhD in Classics from Stanford.
He is also the co-host (with Michael Johnston) of Free Kiwis!, a podcast dedicated to free speech in a New Zealand context, and he can be found on Twitter at @Kleisthenes2.
Phone: 04 499 0790
Dr James Kierstead talks to Dr Michael Johnston about NZ's interesting Mixed Member Proportional (MMP) system vs First Past the Post (FFP), in the run-up to the 2023 NZ election. The New Zealand Initiative · EPS. Read more
Victoria University of Wellington has defended its plans to stop teaching German, Italian, Latin and Greek and to cease research in Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, and French. ‘It’s not like anybody speaks these languages anymore,’ Ex Nihilo Vice Provost Brenda Boffin told us in an exclusive interview, ‘except for the 1.1 billion or so Chinese speakers, the 559 million Hispanophones, the 310 million speakers of French, the hundred and twenty million or so speakers of German and Japanese, and the almost 70 million Italian-speakers.’ When we mentioned that China and Japan together accounted for over $15 billion in exports last year, and that Germany, Mexico and France accounted for over a billion more, Prof. Read more
Join Dr. Michael Johnston, Dr. James Kierstead and their guest, Dr. Kendall Clements, for a discussion about the issues currently facing the teaching of science at secondary and tertiary level. The New Zealand Initiative · EPS. Read more
Why does so much of the world speak English? As someone who was born in Canada, educated in the UK and US, and has now been living in New Zealand for more than a decade, the question has always fascinated me. Read more
A few months ago, I stepped into a parallel universe. I was following up a routine administrative task and soon found myself outside a building I’d never seen before, after 10 years working at Victoria University. Read more
As a sometimes absent-minded academic, I’m often very grateful for non-academic staff. Helping me set up my courses before the trimester begins. Read more
Public webinar: Blessing or Bloat? Non-academic staffing in New Zealand universities in comparative perspective New Zealand universities are in crisis. Read more
A new report finds New Zealand universities have the highest ratio of non-academics to academics amongst English-speaking countries. The report, from the think tank The New Zealand Initiative, finds there are 40 to 50 per cent more managers and administrators than teaching staff. Read more
Wellington (Tuesday, 1 August 2023) – The New Zealand Initiative’s report Blessing or Bloat? Non-Academic Staffing in New Zealand Universities in Comparative Perspective, co-authored by Drs James Kierstead and Michael Johnston shows that a majority of staff at New Zealand universities are non-academics. Read more
‘Administrative bloat’ – the idea that universities have too many administrators – is hot topic in debates around higher education in the US and elsewhere. Is there a similar problem in New Zealand universities? Read more
New research has uncovered how many university staff are working in non-academic roles. The New Zealand Initiative study found there are up to 50 percent more non-academics than academics. Read more
Join us in this thought-provoking podcast episode as Drs James Kierstead and Michael Johnston engage in a conversation with Emeritus Professor John Raine, an esteemed academic with extensive experience in the New Zealand education system. We explore the evolution of academic standards and university preparedness, discussing the impact of changes in the education system and the importance of foundational knowledge in subjects like mathematics and sciences. Read more
Victoria University of WELLINGTON has announced a new $30-million research project to figure out how the university managed to dig itself a $30 million financial hole. ‘Some have suggested that spending more than you take in can have that effect over the long run,’ said Associate-Assistant Vice-Dean Barbara Boffin, ‘But it’s obviously something we need to investigate further.’ The losses were definitely not due to a new AI programme designed to find every instance of the university’s name anywhere in the world and capitalize every letter of the word WELLINGTON, said Super-Pro-Vice-Chancellor Tom Toady. Read more
Welcome to the New Zealand Initiative podcast! In this week’s episode, Drs Michael Johnston and James Kierstead discuss the challenges faced by universities in New Zealand, focusing on issues such as declining enrolments, the impact of international student numbers, and the need for universities to foster open and civil debate on controversial topics. Read more