Nigel Roberts

Teaching in 2020


  • BA Tasmania
  • MA Essex

Nigel S. Roberts was made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) in the 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.


Nigel S. Roberts is an Emeritus Professor of Political Science. He taught at Victoria University of Wellington for more than thirty years and, prior to that, lectured in Political Science at the University of Canterbury for eleven years. As a teacher and researcher, he has specialised in comparative politics and political sociology—with a particular emphasis on New Zealand, American, Australian, and Scandinavian politics; electoral systems; and voting behaviour. Together with Professors Jonathan Boston, Stephen Levine and Elizabeth McLeay, he was a member of the New Zealand Political Change Project, which was funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology for eight years (between 1995 and 2003) to investigate the consequences of New Zealand’s switch to proportional representation. Nigel Roberts was an official advisor to the Electoral Referendum Panels and to the Electoral Commission in connection with the electoral systems’ referendums held in New Zealand in 1992, 1993, and 2011. From 1975 until 2008, Nigel Roberts was an election-night commentator—first for Radio New Zealand and then, for eight successive elections, for Television New Zealand. His off-campus interests include mountaineering, long-distance running, and photography.

For further information about Professor Roberts’ political science and other interests, see his personal website.

Current research projects

Together with Dr Therese Arseneau of the University of Canterbury, Nigel Roberts recently completed a study of the 2015 and 2016 New Zealand flag referendums. Their work is scheduled for publication in the second half of 2018. Emeritus Professor Roberts and Dr Arseneau are also currently researching the impact of special voting in New Zealand. In addition, Nigel Roberts has embarked on a long-term study of the life and times of Sid Holland, the New Zealand National Party’s first Prime Minister.

Selection of publications

  • Nigel S. Roberts, “Australia”, in Stephen Levine (ed.), Pacific Ways: Government and Politics in the Pacific Islands (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2nd edition, 2016), pp. 29-39.
  • Nigel S. Roberts and Therese Arseneau, “Standing Back and Looking Forward: The 2014 Election in Perspective”, in Jon Johansson and Stephen Levine (eds.), Moments of Truth: The New Zealand General Election of 2014 (Wellington: Victoria University Press, 2015), pp. 300-319.
  • Nigel S. Roberts and Therese Arseneau, “The MMP Electoral System”, in Janine Hayward (ed.), New Zealand Government and Politics (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 6th edition, 2015), pp. 275-286.
  • Nigel S. Roberts and Stephen Levine, “The General Election of 2014”, in Janine Hayward (ed.), New Zealand Government and Politics (Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 6th edition, 2015), pp. 334-344.
  • Nigel S. Roberts, “Proportionality and Disproportionality in Two-Tier Compensatory Member Electoral Systems”, in Jens Blom-Hansen, et al. (eds.) Democracy, Elections and Political Parties: Essays in Honor of Jørgen Elklit (Aarhus, Denmark: Politica, 2012), pp. 60-68.

Teaching in 2020