Penny is a legal theorist and public policy consultant interested in the intersection of law, ideology and the state.
Her research interests include the practice and implementation of policy-making; social movements; international human rights; gender, the family and the state; queer theory; and Treaty issues.
She is currently completing a DPhil examining the realisation of the economic-social and cultural rights of single parent families utilising the UN human rights law framework at the University of Oxford, where she has also taught Public International Law, organised conferences, and played an active role in the Bonavero Institute of Human Rights (Mansfield College). She was a finalist for the Oxford University Vice-Chancellor’s inaugural Diversity Awards.
Penny is a (non-practising) Barrister and Solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand, and Managing Director of Ehrhardt Advisors.
In previous existences, Penny has been an historian at the Department of Internal Affairs, researcher to the Waitangi Tribunal, TV writer, principal analyst at the Families Commission, policy advisor to the Chief Human Rights Commissioner, Policy and Programmes Coordinator at the New Zealand Family Planning Association, social science academic at the Eastern Institute of Technology, and an accredited mediator.
A graduate in history and law from Otago and Victoria Universities, Penny also holds a Masters in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford.
Penny has published on New Zealand history, family violence intervention, student debt, public health, legal history, government partnerships, and the use of indigenous epistemology in social services.
Her recent chapter in Theorizing Movements: Transgressions and Transformation edited by M Chakravorty, C Clammer, M Bussey, & T Banerjee (Routledge 2019) examines two young women’s social movements in Wellington at the end of the millennium.