Our people

The Retirement Policy and Research Centre consists of a director, various research team members and an advisory board.


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

Susan’s projects include overseas pensions policy, analysis of suitable decumulation products, tax reforms and the family tax credit system, child poverty and family income assistance, 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, and has developed local, national and international forums for policy debates in accident compensation, welfare and retirement incomes.

Research centre members

Research Fellow: M Claire Dale, BCom, MA, PhD

Email: m.dale@auckland.ac.nz

Claire has research interests in economic theory and policy development, including tax and welfare, decumulation, longevity risk and long-term care provision, pensions and pension portability, and financial literacy. She is leading an action research project in microfinance in New Zealand, partnering with other national organisations with loan funds provided by Kiwibank.

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

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: Matheson Russell, BA(Hons), PhD

Matheson is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Auckland. He has broad research interests which include the philosophy of social interaction, theories of modernity, social and political responses to climate change. He was recently the recipient of a Marsden Grant to support a three-year research project on the politics of recognition.

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: Bridget Browne

Email: bridget.browne@anu.edu.au

A Senior Lecturer in actuarial studies at the Australian National University, Bridget is concurrently a CEPAR PhD candidate with the topic: "Long term care in Australia: What place for insurance?" Her research interests include long-term care insurance, life insurance, mortality, longevity and insurance-linked securities. She is a member of the Group on Longevity, Ageing and Mortality (GLAM) which conducts research in the three inter-related areas of mortality, longevity and population ageing. GLAM houses a node for the ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR). More information can be found on the CEPAR website.

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: Annette Lazonby, BHSc, MCom

Email: a.lazonby@auckland.ac.nz

Annette manages the Stage 1 Economics programme at the University of Auckland, Department of Economics. Her current research interests are intergenerational equity issues surrounding retirement, housing policy and taxation of capital. She has undertaken research focusing on retirement policy issues, including treatment of overseas pensions, the retirement village and residential care sectors, decumulation of savings and consumer attitudes towards the use of reverse mortgages to provide for retirement, interaction of national pension systems and international labour mobility, and issues relating to housing policy.

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.

Research Associate: Rosemary Johnson

Rosemary Johnson is a Director of the My Future Career Academy, an online resource designed to guide the user’s thinking which provides instructional resources and networking resources as to how they navigate their career – learn more at the website. She is interested in working with individuals to successfully navigate the future of work and their career, particularly older women whom she considers an undervalued resource. As a coach, Rosemary draws on over 30 years working experience in the corporate and public sector, both in New Zealand and the UK.

Committed to lifelong learning, she recently graduated with a Graduate Diploma in Psychology from Massey University. She also graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Theology from the University of Auckland, a Graduate Diploma in Health and Safety and a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Textile Design from universities in the UK. She mentors high school students in the First Foundation programme. She has won a rowing world championship and has coached many rowers in the art of winning.

Advisory board members

Professor Toni Ashton

Professor of Health Economics, Health Systems, School of Population Health, University of Auckland

Email: t.ashton@auckland.ac.nz

Toni’s research interests lie in the field of funding and organisation of health services from an economic perspective. Most of her recent research has been on various aspects of health reform in New Zealand over the past two decades. She is also interested in the study of comparative health systems and in the general application of economic theory and methods to health sector practices and performance.

In addition to her academic work, Toni has been a member of several government working parties and taskforces, and has undertaken a range of consultancies, including some for the World Health Organization.

Toni is on the Editorial Board of the following journals: Health Policy, Healthcare Policy, International Journal of Technology Assessment in Healthcare and Israel Journal of Health Policy Research.

Professor Craig Elliffe, LLB(Hons), BCom Otago, LLM Camb

Email: c.elliffe@auckland.ac.nz

Craig was appointed to a chair after 14 years as a tax partner at KPMG and eight years as a tax partner at Chapman Tripp. Craig’s research areas are in the field of international tax, corporate tax and tax avoidance. He is the author of Dividend Imputation: Practice and Procedure (Lexis) and has written numerous articles and other materials on tax. He is listed in Chambers and the International Tax Review as a leading tax practitioner. He is the Director of the MTaxS programme (the leading postgraduate tax course in New Zealand). 2009 to present: Member of the Taxation Committee, New Zealand Institute of Accountants.

Jonathan Eriksen

Email: j.eriksen@eriksensglobal.com

  • June 1995 to present, Managing Director of Eriksen & Associates Ltd, New Zealand
  • 1985-1995 Chief Executive, William M Mercer Ltd, New Zealand
  • Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of London (1975)
  • Associate of the Society of Actuaries of America (1977)
  • Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia (1979)
  • Inaugural Fellow of the New Zealand Society of Actuaries (1989)

In 2010, Jonathan conducted an investigation into the unit pricing of a managed fund for a regulatory body in New Zealand, and produced a comprehensive report on KiwiSaver schemes for a Government department. In 2004, Jonathan reviewed the Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation (currently NZ$18 billion). The review, a top-down critique of the investment operations and corporate governance of the Board and Executive of the Guardians, was well received by the Minister of Finance and the recommendations were implemented.

Natalie Jackson

Professor of Demography and Director of the National Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis (NIDEA), University of Waikato

Email: natalie.jackson@waikato.ac.nz

Natalie holds a PhD in Demography from the Australian National University and Bachelor and Master of Social Science degrees in demography and anthropology from the University of Waikato. Natalie spent 15 years in Australia, mostly at the University of Tasmania, returning to New Zealand in 2010 to create the new institute.

Most of her research focuses on the challenges and opportunities of population ageing for all levels of government and industry, with a particular interest in the labour market, workforce planning, and changing supply and demand patterns throughout the social and economic structure.