Philip Tremewan, Director of Wanaka Festival of Colour, will lead a panel of three experts in a discussion on Tourism – Tipping Point? Featuring Max Rashbrooke. Tickets $20.
(Tuesday) 7:00 pm
Bannockburn Arts Festival
New Zealanders like to think their democratic system is one of the least corrupt in the world. But the system has a massive blind spot when it comes to political [...]
New Zealanders like to think their democratic system is one of the least corrupt in the world. But the system has a massive blind spot when it comes to political finance and inequality. Wealth has become increasingly concentrated in New Zealand since the 1980s – yet there are no meaningful curbs on political donations, allowing major imbalances in access to politicians and influence over decisions. Meanwhile there are growing concerns about foreign interference in New Zealand elections.
In this public lecture hosted and brought to Tauranga by Mackenzie Elvin Law, Auckland University’s Timothy Kuhner and Victoria University’s Max Rashbrooke will discuss their research into economic inequality and its threat to both democracy and the wider functioning of our society. This election-week lecture is set amidst multiple SFO investigations into political financing in New Zealand, affecting both major parties and New Zealand First. Meanwhile the continuing revelations by Professor Anne-Marie Brady of Canterbury University and others have raised concerns about the influence of the Communist Party of China and other foreign actors on our democratic system.
Tim’s work explores the nexus between rising inequality and political corruption. “When it comes to combating the undue influence of concentrated wealth over law and policy,” he says, “New Zealand’s electoral and parliamentary framework does not reflect a love of fairness. It reflects, rather, a love of inequality. And the laws and policies produced within this framework are likely to prioritise the private interest over the public good.” He adds: “I have reason to believe that New Zealand’s reputation for being corruption-free and its sense of wellbeing don’t fully align with reality.”
Max has written extensively about inequality and the need for democratic renewal in New Zealand. His recent Guardian article, ‘New Zealand’s Astounding Wealth Gap Challenges our “Fair Go” Identity’, attracted widespread media attention while showing that the wealthiest 10% of the country has 60% of all assets. “Such findings are challenging to New Zealand’s self-identity,” he writes. “The country’s egalitarian image was once memorably described by the historian Melanie Nolan as ‘a rich amalgam of truth and myth’. These new wealth figures suggest that the latter increasingly predominates.” Max is also the editor of the key work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis.
Together, Tim and Max will explain the issues and offer ideas for renewing our democracy and making the “good society” that we claim as our “Kiwi way” more reality than myth.
Copies of books by Tim and Max will be available for purchase after the lecture cincluding Tim’s just released book:
Tyranny of Greed: Trump, Corruption and the Revolution to Come
published by Stanford University Press
About the Presenters
Tim Kuhner is associate professor at the University of Auckland Faculty of Law. He is the author of Capitalism v. Democracy: Money in Politics and the Free Market Constitution (Stanford University Press, 2014), a book that received acclaim from the Harvard Law Review and Thomas Piketty. He is the co-editor of Democracy by the People (Cambridge University Press, 2018), an edited volume on campaign finance reform featuring a number of the world’s leading experts on democratic integrity. Tim has spoken about issues of corruption and political finance at major venues across Europe and North America, including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Transparency International UK.
Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic renewal, and is currently the 2020 J. D. Stout Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action, published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in September 2018. He is also the author of Wealth and New Zealand, and edited the best-selling work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. He is a senior associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, his work appears in outlets such as the Guardian and Prospect magazine, and he is a regular commentator in the New Zealand media.
About Mackenzie Elvin Law
The Founding Partner of Mackenzie Elvin, Dr Fiona Mackenzie, completed her PhD in Law in 2016. She and the other partners of the firm have a longstanding commitment to the Academy and its critical role in society. With the opening of the Waikato University Campus at Tauranga, Mackenzie Elvin Law felt it was appropriate to actively support that role in Tauranga Moana. As a firm, Mackenzie Elvin see a need beyond their general obligation as lawyers to ensure that the critical importance of the rule of law to our freedoms and way of life is neither diminished nor lost between generations. They see public lectures such as this as fulfilling both those objectives.
(Tuesday) 5:15 pm
University of Waikato Wharekauhau Lecture Theatre
Durham Street, Tauranga
Mackenzie Elvin Public Lecture
In supposedly egalitarian New Zealand, the wealthiest 10% own 60% of all the country's assets. Their lives are also increasingly separated from those of other New Zealanders, characterised by residence [...]
In supposedly egalitarian New Zealand, the wealthiest 10% own 60% of all the country’s assets. Their lives are also increasingly separated from those of other New Zealanders, characterised by residence in desirable ‘grammar zones’, a growing ‘ambition flight’ from decile one schools, access to homeownership through parental support, donations to political parties, and other forms of influence. Do these trends herald the regrowth of class divisions in New Zealand and an increasingly segregated society? In this, the 2020 J.D. Stout Annual Lecture, writer and commentator Max Rashbrooke will use previously unreleased data and interviews with both wealthy and poor New Zealanders to illuminate the contours of a changing country.
Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic participation, and is currently the 2020 John David Stout Research Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action, published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in September 2018. He is also the author of Wealth and New Zealand, and edited the best-selling work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. He is a senior associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, his work appears in outlets such as the Guardian and Prospect magazine, and he is a regular commentator in the New Zealand media.
(Wednesday) 4:10 pm
MacLaurin Lecture Theatre MCLT 102
Victoria University of Wellington, Kelburn Campus
Stout Research Centre
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for our Future The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but already it is clear that some aspects of life will never return to the ‘old normal’. [...]
The COVID-19 Pandemic: Lessons for our Future
The coronavirus pandemic is far from over, but already it is clear that some aspects of life will never return to the ‘old normal’. It is time for radical thinking about options for improving the resilience of our health and society.
Sir David Skegg is an epidemiologist and public health physician. After training in medicine in New Zealand, he was a Rhodes scholar and then a lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Oxford. At the age of 32 he returned to the Chair of Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago. From 2004 to 2011, he was the Vice-Chancellor of the University. As well as advising the World Health Organization in Geneva, Professor Skegg has chaired many government bodies, including the Health Research Council, the Public Health Commission, and the Science Board. He was also the President of the Royal Society Te Apārangi, which is the national academy for science, technology and the humanities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he has served as a special adviser to Parliament’s Epidemic Response Committee, and has also been called as a witness by the equivalent select committee of the UK House of Commons.
Refreshments will be served after the lecture. RSVPs are essential for contract tracing: email email@example.com or phone 04 463 6966. Let us know if you wish for someone to attend in your place. Social distancing will be applied depending on alert levels. Please stay home if you are unwell.
(Thursday) 6:00 pm
Old Government Buildings, Wellington
Lecture Theatre 1
VUW School of Government