And You Are?

Two headlines for you:

Climate change report on right track – Nats from

Warning to NZ: Slow down on climate change from

In a nutshell: both articles report on the New Zealand Institute’s first discussion paper relating to New Zealand’s policy on climate change and how John Key, Leader of the Opposition, likes it …

In an even smaller and more direct nutshell: The Institute says “it is recommended that New Zealand develop a fast follower approach”; John Key says a whole heap of stuff that is kind of in agreement but with enough room for there to not be any definite sound bites that may hurt his election chances in the future.

In a nutshell that is much easier to understand, takes things wildly out of context and yet: The Institute says: We should see what the other countries are doing and then copy them, as the Kyoto Protocol isn’t binding and no one seems to be doing anything they promised to do when they signed it, it’s flawed, we may as well ditch it or at least delay, let’s wait, but not wait too long so we look bad, but not be leaders in this either – see this fence? It’s pretty; John Key says: Er, yup, ok … this sounds good, but we’re still committed to Kyoto – vote for National, we’re just like Labour but better … well, newer.

In a six words or less nutshell: The Institute: Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; John Key: Yes … No … Er … Vote for me!

You may, like me, be wondering who is it that brings these sage words of caution and non leadership?

Why, the New Zealand Institute of course.


Yes, institute … sorry Institute, capital I, very important for the branding.

Institute of what?

Er … Let’s see … instituty New Zealand stuff with a capital I? Oh look they have a website:

The New Zealand Institute is a privately funded think-tank that is committed to generating debate, ideas, and solutions that contribute to building a better and more prosperous New Zealand for all New Zealanders.

Hmm … privately funded think tank … you’re not like that other privately funded think tank, are you?

The New Zealand Institute is a private, not for profit organisation, funded by our business members largely through an annual membership fee.

So that’s a maybe?

In fairness, their focus is economic policy rather than the heady world of social engineering. CEO David Skilling, who co-authored the paper is ex Treasury and has been a speaker at many business leadership conferences over the years and has championed the idea/vision of a knowledge economy with the growth of the creative class (which I am going to say right now – really? Creative class you say? Gosh, I love it when businesses do that, no offense, but y’all seem to want to join in when we get to the glamourous bits, you know when the films hit the big festival circuits, quirky folk duos hit HBO, the big symphony orchestras and national sized ballet companies … those of us at the poorer spectrum of the creative classes (what you tend to derisively snort as “people who need to get a real job”) are all wondering where you lovely arts loving private enterprises are when we’re holding down several jobs, filling out funding applications, sponsorship proposals and trying to get our works of art out there in the first, second or in some cases fifteenth place?) … ahem

There seems to be very little on the web, for now, about the other author Danielle Boven. As for the rest of the Institute, the staff is small (a grand total of 6 are named), the only thing of note is that the two consultants are both formerly from consultancy firm McKinsey & Company.

The New Zealand Institute claim to be non partisan – we’ll just have to wait and see … election year is upon us and I’d be interested to see exactly whose idea it was to have John Key linked to this story – TVNZ (who aired this story first), National, or the Institute?


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