New Zealand Initiative

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The New Zealand Initiative is a market-oriented thinktank that operates from Wellington, New Zealand. It was formed from the merger in 2012 of the New Zealand Business Roundtable (NZBR) and the New Zealand Institute.[1]

Following the merger, Oliver Marc Hartwich was appointed executive director of the new organisation, bringing with him a number of fellow researchers from the Australian-based Centre for Independent Studies.


Roger Kerr, as Executive Director, was the driving force behind the NZBR from its formation in the early 1980s, until his death from cancer in 2011. Businessman Robert McLeod chaired the organisation, with Bill Gallagher MBE, Nick Calavrias and Bill Day as Vice-Chairs. Members, who paid a five-figure subscription fee, have represented most of the large business interests in the country. The subscription fee funded the New Zealand Business Roundtable's activities.

The New Zealand Business Roundtable had the aim of contributing to the development of policies that it believed reflect New Zealand's overall national interests, and advocated the sale of some public assets. To this end, the organisation produced a wide range of publications (books, reports, submissions) and undertook other activities that informed/influenced public debate on key policy issues. The NZBR's role in NZ politics is discussed extensively in the book The Hollow Men. Over the years the organisation brought many prominent speakers to New Zealand, including Bjørn Lomborg, Francis Fukuyama, Martin Wolf of the Financial Times and Yegor Gaidar.

The NZBR strongly supported the controversial market-oriented reforms and wholesale sell-off of Public Assets undertaken in New Zealand during the 1980s and 1990s. These reforms were intended to play a role in lifting New Zealand's economic growth-rate. However, the benefits of such reforms remain a point of contention among economic commentators and members of the public. Also, other former business organisations, such as the Business Council for Sustainable Development and The New Zealand Institute, have claimed to present alternative views in public debate.

The NZBR's market-based policy advocacy reflected what it saw as world best practice and often appeared aligned with those advocated by international organisations such as the OECD and the International Monetary Fund. Its policies also tracked overseas trends toward greater use of the private sector and reduced regulation of business and enterprise.

In 2013 the NZ Initiative produced a report claiming teacher quality was the most important in-school factor in determining education outcomes.[2]



  1. ^ Pattrick Smellie (2012-04-04). "Roundtable and NZ Institute morph into new libertarian think tank". National Business Review. 
  2. ^ Good teachers need recognition - think tank. 3 News NZ. 8 October 2013.

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