NOW ON: Friday 12 August 2022 · Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington

After surveying our members about their preferences, we decided to postpone the 18 February conference until to Friday 12 August. This means we can meet in person.

New economic thinking in Aotearoa New Zealand – embracing a diversity of economic perspectives and analysing the distributional impacts of policy on our people

Nāku te rourou nāu te rourou ka ora ai te iwi – With your basket and my basket, we will sustain everyone

How do we bravely expand our thinking and analysis to develop the right policies in a complex world? How does economics need to change to bring the full argument to the table? The aim of this conference is for attendees to leave with a greater ability to analyse our economy in different, multiple ways and use new tools to evaluate policy and its impacts on different people.


COST (incl GST)

Registrations will re-open 1 June 2022

Keynote Speakers

Dr Maria del Rio-Chanona

Dr del Rio-Chanona is a JSMF Postdoctoral Fellow at the Complexity Science Hub Vienna. Her research draws from network science and agent-based modelling and focuses on labour economics, the future of work, green transition, and the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr del Rio-Chanona has a PhD in Mathematics from Oxford University, where she was part of the Complexity Economics group of the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) at the Oxford Martin School. She has worked alongside international policy organizations, including the International Monetary Fund and the International Labour Organisation. Before her postgraduate studies, Maria did her undergraduate studies in Physics at UNAM, Mexico.

Maria is currently collaborating with INET to develop an agent-based model of the labour market that can be integrated with other macroeconomic models.

Complexity economics – a non-equilibrium approach to policy

For the past 150 years, mainstream economic theory has largely viewed firms, consumers, and investors in the economy as perfectly rational decision makers facing well-defined problems, arriving at optimal behaviour in equilibrium. Complexity economics, which has emerged in the last 40 years, does not see the economy in this static, timeless and perfect equilibrium. It views the economy as an ever-changing ecology of beliefs, organizing principles and behaviours – something organic, always creating itself, alive and full of messy vitality. This talk will explore examples of how complexity economics is currently being applied to the economic impacts of COVID-19 lockdowns through tools such as network and agent-based models. It will also cover how this is attracting a broader range of disciplines, including economics, maths, physics, and computer science, to the economic policymaking table.

Professor Shaun Hendy MNZM FRSNZ

Professor Hendy MNZM FRSNZ teaches in both the Department of Physics and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland. He was founding Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a national Centre of Research Excellence, and is a co-founder of the green fintech company, Toha.

He has won a number of awards, including the Callaghan Medal, the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, and the E. O. Tuck medal for applied mathematics. In 2021, his team was awarded the Prime Minister’s Science Prize for their COVID-19 modelling. He co-authored Get Off the Grass with the late Sir Paul Callaghan in 2012, and has since written two other books, Silencing Science and #NoFly.

Application of complexity thinking and modelling in New Zealand

Professor Hendy co-founded Te Punaha Matatini (TPM), New Zealand’s Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems. He was also the recipient of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Science Prize. Shaun will update us on the history of TPM, including the response from the economics discipline in Aotearoa New Zealand. We will explore the extent to which complex systems thinking is being utilised in the context of the current modelling (of COVID-19 itself and the economy) that makes up part of the Government’s response to COVID-19.

Dr Jason Mika
(Ngāi Tūhoe, Whakatōhea, Ngāti Awa and Ngāti Kahungunu)

Dr Mika is a director of Te Au Rangahau (Māori Business & Leadership Centre) at Massey Business School and as senior lecturer in the School of Management, Massey University at Palmerston North. Dr Mika’s research interests are indigenous managerialism, indigenous entrepreneurialism and indigenous methodologies in business research.

Dr Mika’s doctoral research, examined the role of publicly funded enterprise assistance in Māori entrepreneurship. Dr Mika is principal investigator for a Ngā Pae o Te Maramatanga funded scoping project ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem efficacy for indigenous entrepreneurs’ and was an associate investigator on the Whakatipu Rawa  project led by Dr Shaun Awatere and Te Pae Tawhiti led by Dr Robert Joseph.

Prior to his academic career, Dr Mika previously worked as a management consultant and government analyst. Dr Mika is a member of the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management, Small Enterprise Association of Australia & New Zealand, International Council of Small Business, and Te Au Pakihi, the Manawatū Māori Business Network.

Towards a Te Ao Māori theory of value: Manahau

Globally, significant economic debate is taking place on whether we need to rethink the dominant ‘theory of value’, namely the neoclassical idea that equilibrium prices reveal value in our economy. Across Europe and beyond, there are now significant programmes of work on ‘mission-oriented innovation’ which centre a new theory of ‘public value’ and more of a partnership model between the private sector and the state. This is based on the work of economist Mariana Mazzucato. In Aotearoa New Zealand, a similar question is being explored from a Te Ao Maori perspective. The research team is developing a theory of value grounded in Indigenous knowledge capable of guiding entrepreneurs and innovators operating for sustainability and wellbeing, creating a range of opportunities for policymakers.

Dr Kiri Dell 
(Ngāti Porou)

Dr Dell is a lecturer in the Graduate School of Management. Having completed her PhD on realising Māori land aspirations, Dr Dell is working towards her ultimate goal of progressing indigenous entrepreneurship and prosperity.

Her teaching focuses on Māori land issues and Māori entrepreneurship and business development. Dr Dell’s research and areas of expertise focuses on competitive Māori strategy, Māori economics and Māori business.

Māori economic history – moments for Māori through key conferences

A glimpse into Maori economic history as told through key Maori economic conferences/wananga. How has the focus of Maori changed through history and how is that relevant for economic policymaking today?

Dr Lynn Riggs

Lynn Riggs joined Motu as a Fellow in July 2018 after working for the US government for 20 years. Lynn most recently worked for the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the primary regulator of swaps and futures markets. Prior to that, she worked at the US Bureau of the Census and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also taught health economics and microeconomics as an adjunct professor at DePaul University in Chicago.

Lynn has worked extensively with large, confidential data sets in the US, including the US Longitudinal Business Database (LBD) and other firm-level data. Her research interests are in labour, health, education, and financial economics. Lynn received her PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Distributional impact modelling of the New Zealand economy: The human face of change and the future of work

Policymakers across Government are increasingly being asked for advice on how their policies will impact different groups of society. This talk will outline how this analysis is taking place using the example of the Distributional Impacts Microsimulation for Employment model that has been developed to examine the potential distributional employment impacts of climate change policy.

Panel: Spotlight on NZ distribution impact mitigation tools and policies

Chair: Dr Shaun Hendy

This panel discussion will focus on existing distribution impact mitigation tools and policies in Aotearoa New Zealand, with economists from different Government departments discussing their work in this area.

Jivan Grewal is the Policy Director for the Employments, Skills and Immigration Policy, Labour Science and Enterprise Group at MBIE. He is currently leading the tripartite work being undertaken on the development of a Social Insurance Scheme in New Zealand. Prior to this, he managed a variety of policy teams in the labour market space. Before moving into the labour markets space, Jivan spent the majority of his early career working on the  regulation of our financial systems, both here and in the UK. He will focus on how NZ’s  new insurance scheme will help displaced workers find the right job or retrain onto a new career path.

Bronwyn Croxson is the Chief Economist at the Ministry of Health. She previously held New Zealand public service positions in the Treasury and the Ministry of Justice. Bronwyn has a PhD in economics and before working in New Zealand held academic positions in the United Kingdom. Her personal research interests focus on the role of incentives in the public sector and economic history. She will focus on health reform, tobacco tax, and vaccine rollouts.

Joanne Leung is the Chief economist at the New Zealand Te Manatū Waka, Ministry of Transport where she manages the Domain Strategy, Economics and Evaluation team. Together with in-house economists at Te Manatū Waka, she provides economic advices, analyses and related support across policy teams. She will focus on how MoT has developed an agent-based model of the NZ transport system and what new insights this is providing

Phillip Stevens is the Director, Economics & Research at Productivity Commission. He has twenty-years’ experience of economic and social research in the university, independent and public sectors. Prior to joining the Commission, he held a similar role at MBIE, as well as Manager and Chief Advisor of Economic Strategy in MBIE and MED­. Before coming to New Zealand, Philip was a Research Fellow at the National Institute of Economic and Social research in London. Phillip will give an update on the active enquiry into drivers of persistent disadvantage, taking a deeper look at the current state of distribution.

Wānanga: where to next?

The official part of the GEN 2022 conference will end with a Wānanga on where to next? This will be chaired by Dr Jason Mika and tackle the question: How do we bravely expand our thinking and analysis to develop the right policies in a complex world?

Networking drinks and canapes will occur at Te Papa until 7pm.