Our people

The Retirement Policy and Research Centre consists of a director, a research fellow, and research team members.

Director

Associate Professor Susan St John, BSc, MA, PhD, QSO, CNZOM

Email: s.stjohn@auckland.ac.nz

Susan’s projects include overseas pensions policy, analysis of suitable decumulation products, fiscal sustainability of New Zealand pension policies, tax reforms, social insurance, child poverty and family income assistance, welfare reform, long-term care policy, the role of home equity release, and the economic implications of Accident Compensation. She is a major contributor to public information on these issues, an economics advisor to Child Poverty Action Group and has developed local, national and international forums for policy debates in accident compensation, welfare and retirement incomes. In 2019 she was awarded the Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to social policy.

Webpage: http://homes.eco.auckland.ac.nz/sstj003/

Research centre members

Research Fellow: M Claire Dale, BCom, MA (Hons), PhD

Email: m.dale@auckland.ac.nz

Claire has research interests in economic theory and public and social policy development, including tax and welfare, decumulation, intergenerational equity, longevity risk and long-term care provision, pensions and pension portability, age-friendly cities and communities, and financial literacy and capability. She leads an action research project in microfinance in New Zealand, Nga Tangata Microfinance, partnering with other national organisations with loan funds provided by Kiwibank.

Research Associate: Ngaire Kerse, MNZM, PhD, FRNZCGP, MBChB

Email: n.kerse@auckland.ac.nz

Ngaire Kerse is the inaugural Joyce Cook Chair in Ageing Well, this Foundational Chair is promoting all areas of health and wellbeing for older people. Ngaire is a Professor of General Practice and Primary Health Care, a GP, and President of the New Zealand Association of Gerontology. She has 25 years of research leadership, evidence by over 50 grants and projects, 250+ peer reviewed publications and Ministry of Health and ACC advisory roll about comprehensive assessment, injury and falls prevention and COVID 19 guidance for residential aged care. She was recently awarded Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to seniors and health.Tel DD +64 (0) 9 923 4467; Mob +64 (0) 274 393788; Fax: +64 (0) 373 7624 For LiLACS NZ: https://www.fmhs.auckland.ac.nz/en/faculty/lilacs.html 

Research Associate: David Harris

Email: david.harris@torfinancial.com

David, Managing Director of TOR Financial Consulting Ltd, is well known in the financial services industries in the UK, USA and Australia as an expert on pension systems and reform. Prior to founding TOR, he was a senior consultant with Watson Wyatt & Co. in the UK and Watson Wyatt LLP in Washington DC. David has worked for the financial services and consumer protection regulators in Australia and the UK, and worked with the OECD and Irish Government on evaluating how the existing framework can be improved. He has testified several times before the United States Congress on international social security and pension reform.

Research Associate: Len Cook

Email: Len.Cook@lencook.co.nz

Len Cook, Statistician, was New Zealand’s Government Statistician from 1992 to 2000, and the UK’s National Statistician from 2000 to 2005. He was a member of the Royal Commission on Social Policy in 1987-88. He was chair of the board of Superu and is a member of the Remuneration Authority. Len's prime interests include public administration, population change and public policy, official statistics and the place of science in policy. He has more recently been involved in analysing the impact of the Justice system on Maori, 2018 census evaluation, and the place of statistics in responding to COVID-19.

Honorary Academic: Michael Littlewood, BA, LLB

Email: michael.littlewood@auckland.ac.nz

Barrister and Solicitor: New Zealand (1969), Western Pacific (1972); Solicitor: England (1975), Aventine Consultants, Auckland, New Zealand. Michael is principal editor of PensionReforms, and a major contributor to public debates on public and private retirement issues, KiwiSaver and KiwiSaver providers, including "Pre-funding a government's future financial obligations – the New Zealand Superannuation case study." (2010) New Zealand Economic PapersVol. 44(1).

Research Associate: Ben Spies-Butcher, PhD

Email: ben.spies-butcher@mq.edu.au

Dr Ben Spies-Butcher lectures in Economy and Society in the Department of Sociology, Macquarie University, Sydney. Ben completed his PhD in Economics at the University of Sydney while working in the non-government sector on issues of human rights. His research focuses on the economics and politics of social and environmental policy, and political participation. He teaches courses on economic sociology and political sociology at undergraduate and post-graduate level. He is a Fellow of the Centre for Policy Development, and a member of the Centre for Research on Social Inclusion.

Research Associate: Brian Easton, DSc

Email: eastonbh@paradise.net.nz

Brian is a Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Chartered Statistician, a Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Economic Association and the long-time economics columnist of The New Zealand Listener. His interest in the history and development of retirement incomes policy is part of a broader interest in New Zealand’s economic and social development. Some of this public commentary can be found on Brian's website.

Brian has advocated raising the age of eligibility for NZS and has worked on KiwiSaver type schemes. His chapter 5 in The Whimpering of the State (1999) offers an analytic framework which could underpin more of the public policy thinking on retirement.

Research Associate: Alec Waugh, BA, MPP

Email: alwaugh@xtra.co.nz

Alec retired from NZ Police at Superintendent rank. He has a lifelong interest and involvement in pension, superannuation and retirement income policy, beginning with the development of the Police and Families Credit Union in the 1980’s and Police Retirement schemes, with GSF Board membership in same period. For the last 20 years his research focus and article reach on Retirement Income issues has been global. He was CEO of Business Information Services (Biz Info) from 1999-2003, and in 2013 created a consumer group representing retirees, known as Kaspanz (Kiwi Saver, Annuities, NZ Superannuation Protection Society Incorporated www.kaspanz.com​) with an information focus. He remains interested in trends over time, NZ Superannuation, Kiwi Saver, Annuities and  academic literature on topics relating  to retirement income issues, comparative analysis, and commentator qualifications and substance.

Research Associate: David Sundaram, BE, PGDip, PhD

Email: d.sundaram@auckland.ac.nz

Professor David Sundaram, BE Electronics & Communication, Madras, PGDip Industrial Engineering, Madras, PhD Management Science and Information Systems, Auckland, lecturer in Information Systems and Operations Management. David's special interests include: design and implementation of decision support system generators; design and implementation of flexible and evolvable information systems; enterprise application integration with a focus on ERP-DSS integration; enterprise eystems and their implementation; process, information, and decision modelling; and triple bottom line modelling and reporting. He is co-author of the journal article “Sustainable, Holistic, Adaptable, Real-Time, and Precise (SHARP) Approach Towards Developing Health and Wellness Systems” focused on effective, accessible, affordable support for ageing populations.