Verna Smith

Dr Verna Smith profile picture

Senior Lecturer School of Government


Teaching in 2020


  • BA Hons, MPP, PhD (Well)

Research interests

  • Theories of public policymaking in Westminster majoritarian systems
  • Comparative heath systems analysis
  • Accountability frameworks in public services purchasing.


Verna Smith is Director of the Masters Programmes and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy for the School of Government. She has qualifications in sociology, politics and public policy. She previously worked for a number of government agencies, in management and service development roles in housing, funding of non–profit agencies, social and family services, treatment and rehabilitation of people with disabilities and, most recently, building academic/public service partnerships to support evidence-based policy and practice. Prior to her appointment, she led the development and management of a major research programme at Monash University for the improvement of neurotrauma services in Victoria, Australia. Her PhD at Victoria University of Wellington focused on a comparative study of pay-for-performance policymaking in primary health care - this has been published in 2018 as Bargaining Power: Health Policymaking from England and New Zealand.



Book Chapters

  • Smith, V, Apted, B, Briffa, H and Collie, A (2017) A Social Investment Approach for Research Funding and Impact in Boston, J and Gill, D, Social Investment: A New Zealand Policy Experiment (2017) Bridget Williams Books Wellington

Peer-reviewed journal articles

Refereed conference proceedings

  • Smith, VM, "Accountability frameworks which drive performance improvement: institutional features which make the difference in improving primary health care", European Group for Public Administration, Milan 2017
  • Smith, VM, “Improving population-based health through pay-for-performance”, Health Services Research Association of Australia and New Zealand, Melbourne 2015
  • Smith VM, “The potential of pay-for-performance for improving compensation health outcomes”, Australasian Compensation Health Research Forum, Melbourne 2016
  • Smith VM, “Divergent models of state stewardship: a comparative study of primary health care policymaking in New Zealand and England”, New Zealand Political Studies Association Conference, Hamilton 2016
  • Smith, VM, “Pay for performance in general practice: What can we learn from the United Kingdom”, Health Services Policy and Research, 5th Conference 2007, Auckland New Zealand
  • Smith, VM, “Pay for performance in Primary health Care: Interim Findings” Poster, Working Conference “Health Services Research In Europe”, 8-9 April 2010, The Hague Netherlands
  • Smith, VM, “Research for Actuarial Impact”, Australasian Compensation Health Research Forum 2013, Sydney Australia


Teaching in 2020