It is often said that New Zealand faces an infrastructure deficit. In an influential paper, economic consultancy Sense Partners estimated the cost of addressing this shortfall as over $200 billion. Read more
Dr Matthew Birchall
Matthew is a Senior Fellow at The New Zealand Initiative, focusing on infrastructure and the housing market.
A historian by training, Matthew's writing on the British Empire has been published in the Journal of Global History and Global Intellectual History. He was awarded the Royal Historical Society's prestigious Alexander Prize in 2021 for the best scholarly article based upon original historical research.
Matthew holds an MA (Hons) in International Relations & Modern History from the University of St Andrews, an M.Phil. in Political Thought & Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in history, also from the University of Cambridge.
Phone: 04 499 0790
New Zealand’s infrastructure is under intense scrutiny. From Three Waters to Cyclone Gabrielle, from ruptured pipes in Wellington to growing traffic congestion in Auckland, vulnerabilities in New Zealand’s infrastructure network are glaringly apparent. Read more
Like many young Kiwis, I was surprised to learn during the election campaign that Chris Hipkins and Christopher Luxon both bought their first homes at the tender age of 24. As someone who has recently written on the history of housing in New Zealand, I should not have been so surprised. Read more
Now that the special votes have been counted, it is time to get down to the nitty-gritty of forming a government. The likely coalition partners National, ACT and New Zealand First will have to navigate political potholes and the odd speedbump if they are to form an effective relationship. Read more
We made it – or at least, we thought we had. After a tiring and often dispiriting election campaign, New Zealand has voted for a new centre-right government. Read more
Join Dr Oliver Hartwich and Dr Matthew Birchall as they continue their conversation from last week. Listen to their reaction to the election results so far, and what they think might happen next. Read more
It's the final week before the election. So, to cap it off, Dr Oliver Hartwich talks to Dr Matthew Birchall about the 2023 NZ general election. Read more
In Amusing Ourselves to Death, the American cultural critic and media commentator Neil Postman argued that television had debased public discourse. His central thesis rested on the idea that television, with its emphasis on soundbites and sensationalism, reduced even the weightiest of matters to mere trivialities. Read more
October 15 cannot come soon enough, and not just because of a potential Rugby World Cup showdown between the All Blacks and Ireland. Like many, I have found Election 2023 a tedious affair. Read more
What is the purpose of televised leaders’ debates? Ideally, these staples of the political calendar should inform, educate and entertain. Read more
Wellington (Thursday, 5 October 2023) - As New Zealand has already begun to vote in the 2023 election, The New Zealand Initiative releases this timely research note which takes a deep examination of our country’s government spending patterns over the last century. This research note, written by Dr Bryce Wilkinson, analyses the six-year spending spree of the current Labour government in the context of historical precedents. Read more
The Bucket Fountain in Wellington’s Cuba Mall has long been the capital city’s iconic water feature. However, it seems that new competition is emerging. Read more
It is brave to invite an historian to speak at a conference about the future. As the Scottish historian Tom Devine once quipped, the future was not his time period. Read more
As the nation prepares to vote on 14 October, the sentiment across New Zealand is one of frustration and concern. Skyrocketing living costs, unaffordable housing, strained healthcare, and a growing educational gap are the voices of a country looking for change. Read more
Transport policy in New Zealand increasingly resembles an episode of Utopia, the Australian comedy series that lampoons a government agency responsible for large infrastructure projects. In one memorable episode, the hapless bureaucrats in the Nation Building Authority are instructed by a political staffer to investigate the feasibility of a “very fast train” connecting Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane despite reams of evidence suggesting it is a terrible idea. Read more