Matthew website

Dr Matthew Birchall

Senior Fellow

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


Recent Work


The road ahead

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

Dr Matthew Birchall
Insights Newsletter
3 November, 2023
spending spree website thumbnail

Media Release: Historical insights into the Labour government's cyclical overspending

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

Dr Matthew Birchall
5 October, 2023
Prescription for Prosperity cover

Prescription For Prosperity: 2023 Briefing to the Incoming Government

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

Dr Oliver Hartwich
Dr Eric Crampton
Roger Partridge
Dr Bryce Wilkinson
Dr Michael Johnston
Dr Matthew Birchall
Briar Lipson
Emeritus Professor Des Gorman
Dr Murray Horn
Research Report
24 August, 2023
traffic 3460563 1920 1 square

Where’s the funding plan for big spending transport policies?

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

Dr Matthew Birchall
NZ Herald
24 August, 2023

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates