Political Sacrifice and Ministerial Resignations in NZ Politics


Project code: ART008

Disciplinary Area

Politics and International Relations

This project will explore ministerial resignations in New Zealand politics in a theoretically focused and empirically dedicated manner.  It will examine calls for ministerial resignations in relation to scandal, policy problems and other political factors to see whether ministers are truly sacrificially accountable.  The questions guiding this project include:  Are New Zealand ministers more or less likely to be called to account now than in the past?  Are New Zealand prime ministers reluctant to sack cabinet colleagues embroiled in ministerial improprieties?  And what is the role of the press in these questions? Answering these questions will involve scanning and coding major newspaper sources over the past 30 years for reported calls for resignation from parliamentarians, responsible organizations or editorials (replicating the work of Dowding and Kang, 1998). Preliminary piloting suggests that the Dominion Post and the New Zealand Herald can be accessed online with free access back to 1986. The data will then be analysed over time, and cross-nationally (drawing on international datasets) to identify if there are any trends or variations evident and, drawing on existing scholarship, how we might best understand the presence (or lack of) ministerial accountability in New Zealand.

Scholar’s Work

The summer scholar will undertake training on how to use Factiva and other relevant library databases to search online newspapers, using select terms, as well as training in the use of excel and employing the international SEDEPE codebook.  The scholar will also conduct a literature review of ministerial resignations and ministerial accountability in New Zealand and, if time permits, on comparative Westminster democracies.  Finally, where key examples of non-resignations are identified, profiles of these cases will be drafted.  The scholar and the primary investigator will then begin drafting a co-authored paper for publication and work on inserting the New Zealand data into comparative studies.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should demonstrate the following:  an academic knowledge of New Zealand politics; an intellectual interest in the topic of ministers; a willingness to learn the research process associated with building databases; excellent written skills; and, a capacity to work independently and as part of a team.

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Civilian Casualties and the Laws of Armed Conflict


Project code: ART017

Disciplinary Area

Politics and International Relations

Supervisor

Thomas Gregory

The laws of armed conflict prohibit deliberate attacks on non-combatants but the proportion of civilians dying on the battlefield continues to rise at an alarming rate. One of the problems confronting soldiers is the proliferation of actors in contemporary conflict (e.g. private security contractors, irregular fighters, humanitarian aid workers), which has blurred the boundary between combatants and non-combatants soldiers and civilians. The aim of this project is to examine how international law has sought to protect civilians from the worst excesses of war and how it has tried to negotiate the distinction between combatants and non-combatants over time. The scholar will be expected to trace the development of laws concerning civilian casualties from the Lieber Code of 1863 through to the present day and how the figure of the civilian is defined within these texts. In addition, the scholar will examine the commentaries that have been produced alongside key developments in the laws of armed conflict, particularly those relating to The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the Geneva Conventions of 1949.

Scholar’s Work

The scholar will be required to compile an annotated bibliography of legal texts relating to the protection of civilians and undertake a critical reading of the key documents and commentaries. S/he will be expected to produce a series of reports examining the protections afforded to civilians and the definitions used to identify them in each of the key documents. At the end of the project, the scholar will be expected to write a short article or essay on the principle of non-combatant immunity.

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

The scholar should have a strong background in Politics and/or Law, an interest in contemporary conflict and an ability to undertake a very detailed reading of historical texts. An interest in feminist theory and/or poststructuralism would be an asset.

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Political Management in practice


Project code: ART025

Disciplinary Area

Politics and International Relations

Political management affects the ability of political organisations and governments to achieve their goals and get things done, therefore having a very profound impact on the ability of democratic government to serve the public. However there is a substantial and significant lack of research in the area, just as there is little or no training for those doing the managing in politics. This project will build on initial work to identify the theoretical scope of political management to identify empirical examples of planning, organising, HR, leading and reviewing of publicly available resources in politics in government, including media reports, interviews with politicians and primary party, campaign and government documents.

Scholar’s Work

The main goal is to collect and analyse a diverse range of sources to create a final paper on political management in practice. This will be broken down into:

1.     Review and comprehend papers by the supervisor on what political management is about to understand the new concepts core areas of activity in political management including: Planning: Vision, goals, plans; Organising: structure, culture and communication; Political HR: recruitment, promotion, training; Leading: power, influence, adaptation and Reviewing: reflection and correction

2.     Identify and analyse primary source party/campaign/government documents in the UK, US, Australia, New Zealand and Canada related to political management, such as reports/policies/guidelines/rules/speeches/plans e.g. cabinet rules, staff rules, the NZ Labour post-election 2014 party review, UK Lib Dem developments on diversity.

3.     Identify and analyse media articles, videos and images on political management in parties and campaigns

4.     Look for and analyse political management related quotes by practitioners and politicians in publicly available interviews or speeches by the media e.g. ministerial/politician valedictory statement, parliamentary speeches, reflective interviews with Prime Ministers over their time in power, chiefs of staff

5.     Expand existing contacts for political management practitioners in government for future interviews

6.     Write a paper that synthesis the sources and analysis ‘Political Management in practice’

7.     Help build an online resource centre/coursebuilder website with political management related sources both academic (from supervisor-provided list) and practitioner (from previous and this summer scholarship work)

Required Skills/Pre-requisites

• Research skills including database searching [though this can be learnt during the scholarship] to identify material • Able to work independently and produce written work on time

• Ability to synthesis a wide range of material quickly

• Familarity with political marketing/management either through having taken POLS 345 Political Marketing or POLS 715 Political Management in Government, or their equivalent, is preferred

• Conceptual agility to be able to understand and adapt management concepts to politics

• Creative and original thought, whilst also being able to respond to supervision and advice

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