New Zealand at the frontiers of public policy innovations

A new book edited by Professor Girol Karacaoglu and Professor Evan Berman delves into New Zealand’s history over the last 50 years of public policy reforms and innovations.

Book cover for Public Policy and Governance Frontiers

New Zealand: At the Frontiers of Public Policy Innovations, which also features contributions from several other researchers and academics at Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington, explores why and how such a small and far away, but not isolated, country managed to push out the frontiers in public governance and management—pioneering across a whole range of domains.

“New Zealand is widely regarded as being close to, or at, the frontier of public policy reforms and innovations, being an early adopter of New Public Management, as well as a leader in e-government, and in transparency in government and the public sector,” write Professor Berman and Professor Karacaoglu, the Head of the School of Government at the University’s Wellington School of Business and Government, in the introduction to the book. “This edited book is about the evolution of the governance and management of public policy in Aotearoa/NZ over the past five decades.”

According to Evans and Karacaoglu, much of this change and innovation began in the 1980s where massive policy change occurred “in response to an ‘overloaded’ and over-reaching government sector, an unaffordable welfare state, an inflexible public sector governance and management structure that was unresponsive to changing circumstances, the public sector not being citizen-centred enough, and fiscal crises” but then continued on into the 1990s and the present to include “social and environmental concerns as well.”

Chapters in the book include those on Māori interests and rights, economic performance, sustainable development, digital government, and environmental governance—exploring areas where New Zealand has taken innovative policy approaches, as well as those where it has underperformed.

Through New Zealand: At the Frontiers of Public Policy Innovation Evans and Karacaoglu hope to help in the sharing of policy and governance practices around the world.