Annual Report 2019

12 March, 2020

The Prime Minister called 2019 “the year of delivery.” Later this year, voters will deliver their verdict on that statement and promise.

At the Initiative, it was definitely a year of delivery for us. Over the year, we produced a record number of reports, research notes and submissions. Our team has continued to focus on the big issues that matter to the prosperity of New Zealanders.

Our views on these coincide with the Government’s goals.

Swimmable rivers, sustainable freshwater management, making housing affordable, better education for all our children, significant reductions in child poverty, reducing carbon emissions, improving transport and supporting regional economic development: These are neither left-wing nor right-wing, conservative or liberal, progressive or traditional objectives. These are the things all New Zealanders want and deserve.

Given these widely shared goals, we are most disappointed with the speed of reform in New Zealand. We can and should do much better.

In our published work over 2019, we highlighted practical solutions to some of New Zealand’s most pressing challenges. Our reports on energy policy showed how we can achieve a low-emissions future by using market mechanism. On transport policy, we laid out how congestion charging can un-clog our cities. Our analysis of education data revealed how our schools are performing and how they could learn from each other.

The Government has been receptive to our views. We can see that our ideas on competitive land markets are informing emerging reforms around the RMA. Meanwhile, the Government engaged with us on school data to improve the performance of the education system.

We also organised our business delegation visit to Denmark and Sweden, which saw three dozen New Zealand business leaders learn about the Scandinavian economies. We hosted events with domestic and international experts, including former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US psychologist Jonathan Haidt.

At the Initiative, we are proud of what our team has delivered. We look forward to informing New Zealand debates in this election year and in the future.

This Annual Report details our achievements over 2019.


“The New Zealand Initiative provides ASB with valuable policy insight to further help us support Kiwis build the financial future they want. We promote a productive, sustainable and inclusive New Zealand economy, and the Initiative’s national debates help inform positive changes for New Zealand.”
- Vittoria Shortt, Chief Executive, ASB

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