The New Zealand Institute

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Not to be confused with the Royal Society of New Zealand, known as the New Zealand Institute until 1933.

The New Zealand Institute was a privately funded think tank based in Auckland, New Zealand. It was founded in July 2004 by Dr David Skilling, a former New Zealand Treasury researcher, and was "committed to generating ideas, solutions and debate that will improve economic prosperity, social well-being, environmental quality and environmental productivity".[citation needed]

In comparison with longer-established think-tanks such as the New Zealand Business Roundtable, it was perceived as less doctrinaire.[citation needed]

From 2009 to 2012 the director was Rick Boven.


The New Zealand Institute described itself as:

"a privately funded think-tank committed to generating ideas, debate and solutions that will improve economic prosperity, social well-being, environmental quality and environmental productivity for New Zealand and New Zealanders. The Institute produces creative, provocative and independent thinking, focusing on key issues that have a major impact on New Zealand’s economic, social and environmental future, and engages with New Zealanders in order to develop solutions to address these issues.

We believe that New Zealand is a country with vast potential and opportunity ahead of it. But we have to overcome a number of challenges if New Zealand is to achieve its full potential. Those challenges won’t be met by recycling the same old solutions. We need new solutions and new ideas. We need a new generation of thinking.

Our work includes undertaking independent research on important issues, engaging with groups throughout the community on these issues, and working with the private and public sectors to identify and implement practical solutions. By developing new, creative, non-partisan, and world-class ideas and solutions, we believe we can contribute to improved outcomes for all New Zealanders.

To that end, we draw on the best ideas and practice from around the world and feed these into the New Zealand debate. We are committed to political neutrality and evidence-based analysis. We recognise that great ideas can come from anywhere on the political spectrum - left, right, or centre. We are interested in ideas that work in the real world, not just ideas that have a certain political pedigree. We expect to surprise rather than run a predictable party line."[1]

Institute staff[edit]

The following people were involved with the Institute up to its merger:

  • Tony Carter (Chair).
  • Dr Rick Boven (Director).
  • Catherine Harland (Project Leader)
  • Lillian Grace (Research Associate)


With the departure of founding director David Skilling, the organisation attracted a lower profile, until it was announced in 2011 that it would merge with the New Zealand Business Roundtable. The merger was officially completed in April 2012, with the new merged organisation known as the New Zealand Initiative.[2]


  • NZahead report card update - October 2011, by Rick Boven, Catherine Harland, Lillian Grace
  • More ladders, fewer snakes: Two proposals to reduce youth disadvantage - July 2011, by Rick Boven, Catherine Harland, Lillian Grace
  • Plugging the gap: An internationalisation strategy - December 2010, by Rick Boven, Catherine Harland, Lillian Grace
  • A goal is not a strategy: Focusing efforts to improve New Zealand's prosperity - August 2010, by Rick Boven, Dan Bidois, Catherine Harland
  • Standing on the shoulders of science: Getting more value from the innovation ecosystem - December 2009, by Rick Boven

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "New Zealand Institute: About Us". New Zealand Institute. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Pattrick Smellie (2012-04-04). "Roundtable and NZ Institute morph into new libertarian think tank". National Business Review. 

External links[edit]