Policy briefings

Our summaries of selected issues facing New Zealand, the policy options to deal with them, and some recommendations on the best option.

Cultural Identity and Mental Health Outcomes for Indigenous Māori Youth in New Zealand

Māori youth mental health is complex and multi-dimensional with multiple contributing factors embedded in cultural, historical, spiritual, physiological, psychological, structural and social domains. Our findings suggest that public health programmes and services that genuinely seek to address equity for Māori youth, will ensure cultural programming and policies that are culturally and developmentally specific, as core components of any mental health and suicide prevention strategy. 

Competitiveness, sustainability and the environment

How might domestic firms enjoy profitability and international competitiveness with fewer harmful environmental impacts? Private firms that either produce material goods or use physical inputs in supplying services can improve their profitability by increasing their resource productivity. Not only does a positive change in resource productivity mean increased profitability for the individual firm, but it also means a dramatic improvement in the impact of business on the environment, particularly with regards to climate change and the depletion of natural resources.

Challenges in the provision of mental healthcare

Headline-grabbing articles on suicide and self-harm declare that prisons are currently plagued by a 'mental health crisis'. Such a crisis is not new, rather mental distress, self-harm and suicide have been present since prisons first appeared at the end of the eighteenth century. Even with comprehensive mental health services, prisons are ultimately damaging; a steady simmering of multiple harms and indifference.

The effects of access and accessibility on public transport users' attitudes

With trip-making behaviour in Auckland growing in complexity in terms of purpose and spatial destinations, challenges arise in providing an attractive public transport system. Private vehicle use has been preferred to public transport because of instrumental functions (freedom, comfort and convenience); symbolic functions (social status); and affective functions (driving perceived as pleasurable). Although improvement in service quality is likely to increase ridership, the level of increase can be limited if travellers hold prejudices towards the image of public transport.

Policy strategies for inclusive renewable energy in Aotearoa (New Zealand)

New Zealand faces a range of challenges in reorienting its energy infrastructure to address both climate mitigation and adaptation goals. These include ensuring that the shift to a decarbonised, distributed energy system is economically efficient, meets energy security needs and is socially just.

Climate, housing and health profiling: Promoting housing quality to improve health and wellbeing

The links between poor housing quality and New Zealand’s high incidence of health-related fatality are well recognised. Each year more than 20 children are killed by respiratory diseases linked to unhealthy housing. Mortality is especially high among low-income Māori and Pacific families who live in sub-standard rental properties.

Infant food security in New Zealand

Using the infant food consumption, breastfeeding, and maternal food-related coping data collected at nine months from mothers in the Growing Up in New Zealand cohort, we developed a food security index for New Zealand infants and examined its association with socio-economic and demographic covariates, and health outcomes.

Mātauranga Māori — The ūkaipō of knowledge in New Zealand

Mātauranga Māori spans Māori knowledge, culture, values and world view. Hitherto mostly ignored or disregarded by the science community because it seemed to be myth and legend, fantastic and implausible, mātauranga Māori includes knowledge generated using techniques consistent with the scientific method, but explained according to a Māori world view. Acknowledging this extends the history of scientific endeavour back to when Māori arrived in Aotearoa and Te Wai Pounamu, many centuries ago.

School-based health services and improving students' mental health

Mental health problems are global, and a common burden for adolescents. One avenue for improving access and support for adolescents is through school-based health services (SBHS). These provide comprehensive and appropriate care, which aims to be accessible and low-cost. While SBHS have been shown to improve access to mental health services, evidence of their effectiveness in terms of students' mental health has been limited.

Measuring and managing health system performance in New Zealand

In July 2016, New Zealand introduced a new approach to measuring and monitoring health system performance — the ‘Systems Level Measure Framework’ — designed to stimulate a 'whole of system' approach requiring inter-organisational collaboration for planning and achieving improved health outcomes. This approach demonstrates a policy commitment to effective integration of health services, but there will also be many significant challenges to be addressed if it is to be implemented successfully.

Community energy and climate change: Promising and cautionary tales in Canada

Canada has a long history of co-operative and municipal activity in community energy initiatives, even though it is a resource-rich state with one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas footprints, and political issues, geographic scale and incumbent industries complicate broader community participation.

Managing migration in big cities and the growth of urban peripheries

In recent years, the focus of policing in international migration has increasingly shifted from exclusion and border control to migration management.

Locating methamphetamine manufacture in New Zealand

There are strong regional trends in methamphetamine lab location that cannot be effectively explained by socio-demographic or ecological factors. Social norms in communities also matter, meaning community action groups could become a focus for intervention.

Hot property in New Zealand: Housing bubbles in the metropolitan centres

Housing has become prohibitively expensive in many regions of New Zealand, putting home ownership beyond the reach of a growing number of New Zealand households, particularly those without wider sources of family financial support.