GEN is led by a voluntary board which is made up of individuals from across the public sector. It is responsible for developing the network and running its activities. If you are interested in becoming a GEN Board Member you can read about what will be expected of you here.

Our latest Annual Report (for 2021-22) is now available here.

The members of the 2021 GEN board are listed below:

Mark Lea
Chair, Engagement & Communications Committee Chair
Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Mark is a Principal Policy Advisor in the Strategic Policy team at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. 

Mark says: “I worked as an Economist in the UK’s Government Economic Service for many years so saw first hand the value that economics analysis can bring to policy advice. When I moved to New Zealand in 2010 I was surprised that economic analysis did not have the same focus. GEN is all about raising economic capability and the quality of policy advice in the New Zealand public sector.”

Mark has been a GEN Board member for nearly 7 years and has been the Board Chair for about 3 years. He is passionate about ensuring the government takes economic advice seriously. He is enjoying bringing a practical governance approach to the Board.

 

Joanne Leung
Treasurer
Ministry of Transport

As the Chief Economist at Te Manatū Waka, Joanne’s work involves leading the Domain Strategy, Economics and Evaluation team to support policy teams throughout the policy development lifecycle (from defining policy problems to evaluating achievement of policy outcomes). Joanne has extensive experience in the public sector, with expertise in cost benefit analysis, appraisal, evaluation and non-market valuation methodologies. She enjoys fostering greater use of evidence and analytics in policy decisions. Joanne also co-leads GEN’s Introduction to Cost Benefit Analysis course.

Joanne is one of GEN’s original Board members and has taken on a variety of roles. She continues on in her role as she believes in GEN’s mission of excellent government policy for Aotearoa New Zealand especially as it pertains to training and sharing knowledge.

 

Tamara Linnhoff
Deputy Chair, Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize Chair, Professionalisation Committee Co-Chair
Transpower

Tamara is currently Engagement and Policy Manager – Grid Pricing for Transpower. She is an economist specialising in regulation, policy, programme design and management. Since arriving in Aotearoa she has worked in senior-level economist and policy roles for the Commerce Commission, NZIER, Treasury, Ministry for the Environment, Vodafone, MBIE, and the Electricity Authority. Prior to this she was an economic consultant in London.

Tamara says: “Having worked initially as an economist in consultancy and specialist roles, then stepped into more generalist policy roles, I saw how economists can become subsumed into the policy profession and stop developing their econ-smarts. We don’t have the formal professional structure other countries do, so here in NZ we need to support each other. I’m happy to give back and do that.”

Tamara serves on GEN’s Board to help keep applied economics debates lively here in Aotearoa New Zealand, and to support economists who want to continue to develop as economists, and also to support policy analysts who want to gain a better understanding of how sound economics can bolster their evidence base. She has run multiple GEN conferences, founded GEN’s Dr Ed Hearnshaw prize, and is passionate about lifting the professionalisation of economics for the NZ government.

 

Natalia Fareti
Mentoring Chair
LINZ

Natalia is the Director of Strategy Policy and Design at Land Information New Zeland. Her career is about keeping economic, strategic and policy advice simple to understand and practical to implement. She has held roles across private, local and central government sectors, along with managing multiple small businesses. She has a plethora of governance, management and mentoring experience. Natalia is a strong Pasifika community advocate, and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Wellington City Council’s Pacific Advisory Group.

Natalia is a GEN Board member to advocate for diversity and wider experience in GEN. She is keen to promote the economics mindset across government policy.

 

A bearded young man in a suit stands on a path beside a park

Jack Bisset
Conference Committee Chair
External Reporting Board (Christchurch)

Jack is a Policy Manager on climate change and sustainability at the External Reporting Board. Jack is working to develop New Zealand’s climate-related disclosure standards for the largest ~200 companies and financial institutions. Jack has been working in climate and environmental policy for over 5 years, including work on the economics of transition, sustainable land use modelling, emissions trading, policy innovation and sustainable finance. Jack was previously at the Ministry for the Environment in the Office of the Chief Executive working across a wide range of sustainability issues.

 

 

Diana Cook
Training Committee Chair
Treasury

Diana is Deputy Chief Economic Advisor at The Treasury. She has 20 years experience working on a wide range of complex policy issues within the public sector and as a consultant to governments in developed, emerging and transition countries, such as New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Ukraine, Armenia and Zambia.

Diana is a GEN Board member as she is keen to promote the value that economic insight can bring to decision making. She is excited about the opportunity to widen GEN’s training offering from purely introductory courses to more in-depth sessions for senior level policy people.

 

 

Philip Stevens
Professionalisation Committee Co-Chair, Mentoring Committee Member
New Zealand Productivity Commission

Philip is the Director of Economics and Research at the New Zealand Productivity Commission / Te Kōmihana Whai Hua o Aotearoa. Previously he worked at the Ministry of Education, where he was General Manager analysis, research and evaluation. He also held similar roles at MBIE and its predecessor, MED. Before emigrating to Aotearoa, Philip was a research fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social Research in London. He has a Doctorate in economics from the University of Oxford, an MA in economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA in economics and public policy (first-class honours) from Leeds Metropolitan University.

Philip is a GEN Board member as he is interested in improving the world and thinks economics is the way to do it.

 

Nicholas Smith
Conference Committee
Ministry for the Environment

Nicholas is an Environmental Economist trained in microeconomics, econometrics and natural resource economics including the economics of water, fisheries, forestry, energy and pollution. He enjoys using economic methods to analyse environmental policy for efficiency, equity, sustainability and political attractiveness. He has over 17 years’ business experience developing and managing products in the energy, banking, health and agriculture sectors. 

Nick is a GEN Board member as he is interested in widening his own network and skills and the network and skills of others in the profession.

 

Polly Vowles
Training Committee Member
Ministry of Social Development

Polly manages one of the two Income Support policy teams at MSD She provides advice on the effectiveness of financial assistance in the welfare system. Prior to MSD, Polly worked at Treasury for eight years working on the external panel reviewing Child, Youth and Family and in the Social Investment Unit. She has also worked on the macroeconomic side of things.

 

 

Rima Korshid
Conference Committee Member
Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize Committee Member
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)

Rima has recently joined the National Emergency Management Agency’s Policy Unit as a Senior Advisor. Prior to this she was a Senior Analyst in the Treasury’s Economic Strategy Directorate, focusing on Regulatory stewardship. She joined the Treasury over three and a half years ago and is involved in managing multiple cross-government projects across investment management and regulatory strategy. Prior to this, she spent time consulting on mergers and acquisitions, including industry analysis across North and West Africa, before gaining extensive experience in strategy roles across e-commerce start-ups both in Dubai and Australia.

Rima says: “I’m passionate about getting things done and bringing people together to help do so. As a woman of colour in New Zealand, my personal experience has also influenced how I have approached my work. This has driven my passion for ensuring that the work we do in the public sector reflects and delivers for the needs of the diverse communities that make Aotearoa, Aotearoa.”

Rima is a Board member for GEN as she would like to broaden access to the GEN network to those working in regulatory strategy, economics, and public policy.

 

Almo Wong
Dr Ed Hearnshaw Prize Committee Member
Electricity Authority (Auckland)

Almo is based in Auckland and is excited to be part of GEN’s outreach arm in Tāmaki Makaurau with Callum Thorpe. Almo is an electrical engineer who recently transitioned into the policy space. Currently, he is working for the Electricity Authority as a policy analyst in the wholesale markets policy team. In his career so far Almo has been involved in project management for essential service providers and governance roles for charities.

Almo says: “I am proud of what New Zealand has achieved in its short history and value the social fabric that makes this country unique. I am passionate about helping others fulfill their potential and believe in providing all New Zealanders equal opportunities to succeed.”

Almo is a Board member for GEN as he admires the way young engineers are brought into the profession and would like to see a similar professionalisation pathway for economists.

 

Alan Renwick
Training Committee Member
Lincoln University
(Christchurch)

Alan is currently Professor of Agricultural Economics at Lincoln University expanding our Ōtautahi representation to two (alongside Jack Bisset). Before moving to New Zealand at the end of 2015, his work experience included Cambridge University, the Scottish Agricultural College and University College Dublin. His work focuses on agricultural and trade policy analysis, innovation in agrifood systems, and analysis of agrifood value chains. He is a past president of NZARES and is currently involved in organising their conference in Christchurch in 2023.

Alan says: “Much of my career has involved economic analysis of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but more recently I have been focusing on the economics of existing and novel land-uses in New Zealand and technology adoption more generally.”

Alan is a Board member for GEN as he is keen to strengthen the link between academia and government policy issues.

Callum Thorpe
Events Committee Member
Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet
(Auckland)

Callum is based in Auckland as a Principal Policy Advisor at DMPC. He has significant experience leading and delivering complex policy projects with core economic components. He has worked in the justice, climate change and national security areas with a recent notable role as a Programme Director for one of the core areas of the Emissions Reduction Plan and the National Adaptation Plan. He has significant experience in governance both in setting up governance arrangements and also working in multi-agency environments. This includes past roles on the Auckland Social Sector Leaders Board as well as chair of the Social Sector Advisors Group in Auckland.

Callum says: “In my policy work I am a strong believer in the necessity of good economic analysis as an essential underpinning of decision making and options analysis. I am not an economist by training but have been a strong advocate for rigorous economic analysis as part of the policy process in a number of agencies.”