About the Chair

The Chair in Regulatory Practice delivers world-leading research on regulation and governance associated with the most pressing challenges of our time.

The Chair in Regulatory Practice was established in May 2017 with sponsorship from Victoria University of Wellington, the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative (G-REG), and The Treasury.

The primary role of the Chair is to undertake research on regulatory practice and regulatory stewardship to help improve regulation in New Zealand and elsewhere, and research its impacts on economic and social performance. The Chair actively engages with the G-REG community in New Zealand and related communities elsewhere, and contributes to the training of those involved in regulatory issues. Regulation is broadly defined as the institutions, processes, and instruments in place to steer behaviour towards desirable societal ends.

Located in the School of Government, Professor Jeroen van der Heijden is the inaugural holder of the Chair in Regulatory Practice. He works at the intersection of regulation and governance and has a specific interest in regulatory stewardship and dynamic governance regimes.

Research programme

The Chair pushes the frontiers of regulation and governance research through four Research Clusters:

  • Advancements in regulatory practice and stewardship in central and local government regulatory agencies in New Zealand.
    • Central research question: What is the state-of-the-art in regulatory practice and stewardship in New Zealand (by international standards) and how does it perform?
    • This research considers innovative regulators, regulatory instruments, and regulatory processes in New Zealand. Research is carried out to map, explore and interrogate the development, implementation, and performance of innovations that are of interest to regulatory practitioners and academics around the globe.
  • Advancements in regulatory practice and stewardship outside of New Zealand.
    • Central research questions: What is the state-of-the-art in regulatory practice outside of New Zealand (by international standards) and how does it perform?
    • This research will consider innovations in regulation outside of New Zealand. Research is carried out to draw lessons from international experiences that are relevant for regulatory practitioners and academics in New Zealand.
  • Regulation and governance of pressing societal problems
    • Central research question: Whether and how can regulation (understood in its broadest sense) provide the appropriate incentives, disciplines, and institutions to achieve desirable societal outcomes?
    • The initial focus of this Research Cluster is on urban climate governance, and continues Professor Jeroen van der Heijden’s leading research on the regulation and governance of climate change adaptation and mitigation at city level.
  • Regulatory systemic change: Regulatory success and failure and regulatory stewardship.
    • Central research questions: What conditions positively or negatively affect regulatory performance, what combinations of these conditions are likely to result in regulatory success or failure, and what stewardship roles and functions may increase the likelihood of regulatory success and reduce the risk of regulatory failure?
    • Building on data collected in the other Research Clusters and using a comparative configurational methodology, selected cases will be systematically studied to uncover pathways towards regulatory success and regulatory failure. These pathways will inform mid-term and long-term policy development.

Engagement programme

The Chair actively engages with the New Zealand regulatory practice community and communities elsewhere through:

  • Regulatory Clinic
    • A series of weekly half-day meetings with the government agencies involved in the G-REG initiative, the Treasury and the City of Auckland. The Chair will visit them on a rotating basis to discuss regulatory challenges with staff, provide workshops and seminars, and share the latest academic insights on regulation and governance.
  • Regulatory Practice Column
    • The Chair envisions to launch an online platform that will serve as a source of regulatory news, analysis, and opinion for central and local government regulatory agencies in New Zealand.
  • International Visitor Programme
    • The Chair envisions to launch a funded visitor programme to invite up to two international academics per year to visit and work with the Chair at the Victoria University of Wellington.

Education programme of the Chair

The Chair is actively involved in the training of staff in New Zealand government agencies at national and local level, as well as in the supervision of MSc and PhD theses related to the activities of the Chair.