Progressive Thinking: Ten Possible Futures for Public & Community Services

The Public Service Association - Te Pukenga Here Tikanga Mahi is bringing together progressive voices in an exclusive webinar series.

Future of Public Service 2020 Web Page 3

Progressive Thinking – Ten Possible Futures for Public and Community Services is bringing together some of our movement’s brightest minds to help New Zealand navigate what a world post-COVID-19 could look like for our public and community services.

See the tabs below to read the full book (or individual chapters), and see the webinars with contributors. 


For the individual chapters by each contributor:

Date Guest Chapter
Wed 29 April Sophie Handford Reimagining New Zealand’s journey to a zero carbon future
Wed 13 May Max Rashbrooke Learning and unlearning coronavirus lessons
Thurs 28 May Troy Baisden Restoring research for the restoration of well-beings
Wed 10 June Peter McKinlay Local Government and Wellbeing in a Post-Covid 19 World
Wed 24 June Janie Walker Being a fisherwoman or a gardener: How COVID-19 lockdown turned Community on its head
Wed 1 July Paula Tesoriero Webinar speech (Speech to webinar on Wed 1 July)
Wed 8 July Geoff Bertram Should we revive the Ministry of Works?
Wed 15 July Professor Jonathan Boston The welfare state beyond COVID-19: A case for step-change
Wed 22 July Deb Te Kawa and Dr Amohia Boulton Raising waka, and not just yachts
Wed 12 August Tracey Bridges The State and Social Marketing: Can we embrace change?
Wed 19 August Adrian Brown, Toby Lowe, & Thea Snow Reimagining Government
Wed 26 August Mike Joy The Future of Environmental Regulation
Wed 2 September Professor Jacqueline Cumming and Dr Lesley Middleton Our health system and services: A best possible future?
Wed 16 September Andrea Black User Charges and Cost Recovery: Why don't we call it tax? 

Sophie Handford Headshot3

Sophie Handford on Reimagining New Zealand’s journey to a zero-carbon future 

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday April 29th

First up, we’ll be chatting with climate change activist and Kapiti Coast District Councillor Sophie Handford on where our public services need to get to for a Just Transition. 

Read Sophie's chapter here:
Reimagining New Zealand’s journey to a zero carbon future

Couldn't make the webinar? Catch up below.


Max Rashbrooke VUW Image ServicesMax Rashbrooke on The new and future role of an active state in a COVID-19 world

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday May 13th 

Join writer, academic and commentator Max Rashbrooke and PSA MC Andrea Fromm for the second webinar in our Progressive Thinking series – this time on the role of the state in a post-coronavirus world.

Do you think the State’s role will inevitably change in the coming months and years? Or that change will have to be fought for and carefully thought out?

Max Rashbrooke cautions that not everything about this crisis will teach us the right lessons and argues for more deeply democratic government, one in which citizens are more directly involved in decision-making.

Join us for a discussion about how we can create a more active, dynamic and resilient kind of government.

Read Max's chapter here: 
Learning and unlearning coronavirus lessons 

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Baisden IMGP1356 CroppedTroy Baisden (NZ Association of Scientists) on Restoring research for the restoration of well-beings 

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Thursday May 28th

Join New Zealand Association of Scientists’ president Troy Baisden and PSA MC Andrea Fromm for the third webinar in our Progressive Thinking series – this time on the role of science and research in a post-coronavirus world.

Science has been at the base of Government decision making and hearing the voices of scientists in mainstream media has become an everyday thing. Will science and research continue to be at the heart of the recovery?

Troy will discuss what’s needed for research to play its vital role in the restoration of well-beings in the recovery period and beyond.  

Read Troy's chapter here: 
Restoring research for the restoration of well-beings

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Peter McKinlay P1010094Peter McKinlay on Local government and wellbeing in a Post-Covid 19 world. 

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday June 10th

Local government has a unique role which will be essential for managing the recovery from Covid-19.  Join us with Peter McKinlay of the Local Government Thinktank and an associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, to talk about local government’s role of enabling and supporting resilient communities and the change needed at both the local and the national level, to ensure communities shape the recovery and the post-Covid world.

Peter McKinlay, Executive Director of McKinlay Douglas Ltd, has nearly 30 years’ experience as a researcher and adviser on local governance and local government. He is a fellow of the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce and a member of its research advisory group for Australasia.

As well as New Zealand, he has worked extensively in Australia, including NSW, Victoria and South Australia. His major work focus currently is the shift to well-being as the principal focus of central government, and the concurrent statutory empowerment of local government to promote community well-being. Peter’s experience in reviewing practice internationally suggests that this change far from being just symbolic will result in a fundamental shift both in the role of central and local government and in how they work together.

Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Peter's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below. 

Janie Walker PSA

Janie Walker on Reinterpreting community and public services post COVID-19

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday June 24th 

Janie Walker's life has been a mix of paid and unpaid work opportunities.

Highlights include running a creative writing workshop for the Wellington Mosque community post-March 15; senior engagement roles with local and central Government; walking rescue dogs at HUHA; writing a children’s play called An Elephant Never Forgets for Wellington Zoo; helping to settle one of the first Syrian former-refugee families in Porirua with the NZ Red Cross; and travel writing and photography for The NZ Herald and Dominion Post. Janie's academic achievements include a Master’s degree in community climate change adaptation in Fiji, and translating Sanskrit into Tibetan.  Action research and community development are Janie's latest passions.

Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Janie's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

PFIFBDEZUNC5ZOUZGHPKXVKABYPaula Tesoriero on Building a more inclusive society in a post-COVID19 climate

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday July 1st 

As New Zealand’s Disability Rights Commissioner, it is Paula Tesoriero's role to protect and promote the rights of disabled New Zealanders

For this webinar, Paula will speak to the role of the public and community sectors as employers in the building an inclusive New Zealand post-COVID19. She will refer to the impact of the COVID19 response on disabled people, and how gaps in services and data, and the lack of understanding of disabled people’s lives, were highlighted in the response. However, Paula says there are opportunities for the re-build that should not be missed in creating the inclusive New Zealand we seek, such as incorporating universal design and accessibility into shovel-ready and other recovery projects. 

Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Paula's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Click here to read Paula's webinar speech 

Click here to download a full transcript of the webinar 

GeoffBDr Geoff Bertram on Should we revive the Ministry of Works?

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday July 8th 

Until retiring in 2009, Dr Geoff Bertram was a Senior Lecturer in Economics at Victoria University of Wellington.  Since then he has been a Senior Associate at first the Institute for Policy Studies, and now at its successor the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies.  Geoff has a doctorate in Economics from Oxford University. 

Geoff’s broad research areas include climate change policy, environmental economics, income and wealth distribution, and small island economies. To see more of Geoff's work, his website hosts a variety of his writing from over the years.

Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Geoff's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Jonathan Boston photos Page 11Professor Jonathan Boston on The welfare state beyond COVID-19: the case for a step-change

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday July 15th

Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington, Jonathan will be joining us to discuss Covid-19 and the welfare state.

Jonathan's research interests include: climate change policy (both mitigation and adaptation); child poverty; governance (especially anticipatory governance); public management; tertiary education funding (especially research funding); and welfare state design. He has also served at various times as the Director of the Institute of Policy Studies and the Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington.


Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Jonathan's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Deb Te Kawa and Dr Amohia Boulton on Raising waka, and not just yachts

While the COVID-19 crisis has reminded us of how underprepared the world was to detect and respond to emerging infectious diseases, it simultaneously revealed how well placed – and effective - iwi and Māori institutions are in being able to react decisively and positively on behalf of their communities.

While Government leaders remain focused on navigating the current crisis, making smart investments in iwi and Māori institutions has the potential to accelerate the nation’s COVID-19 response while also ensuring COVID-19 does not raise inequality in the same way past pandemics have.

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday July 22nd

 Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Tracey BridgesTracey Bridges on Social marketing and the State

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday August 12th

The success of the Government’s COVID-19 communication and marketing programme saw New Zealanders change working, social and recreational habits almost overnight.

As our neighbours ride second waves of COVID-19,  this webinar will take a look at the fresh challenges posed by the pandemic for behaviour change practitioners in the public sector and ask how can we modernise our practice and make it more progressive.

Join us for a conversation with Tracey Bridges, who has a long history of supporting social marketing in the public sector, about why the COVID-19 programme is a great case study for the enduring features of behaviour change best practice, and a pointer to the needs of the future.  

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Web Thea Snow 1Thea Snow on Reimagining Government (chapter co-written with Adrian Brown and Toby Low)

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday August 19th

The COVID-19 crisis is redefining the relationship between citizens and the state and reshaping the workings of government at a breathtaking pace. The voices of people who have been victims of racism, and other forms of systematic injustice, have burst to global prominence. Change that would previously have taken years is happening in a matter of days as governments around the world scramble to respond to challenges unlike anything we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes.

The current Covid-19 crisis has highlighted three important themes that are likely to be of enduring importance:

  • Embracing real-world complexity
  • Nurturing our collective humanity and challenging injustice
  • Adopting a learning mindset

New Zealand is an ideal place for this exploration because it is making significant strides in this direction. For example, the commitment to future generations made in the Living Standards Framework provides opportunities for rethinking approaches to wellbeing, and the proposed Public Service Reform programme is seeking to create more agile and adaptive public service. Is this an opportunity to develop an approach to public management implementation based on learning, rather than targets?

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

Mike Joy ProfileDr Mike Joy on the Future of Environmental Regulation

12:00pm - 12:45pm, Wednesday August 26th 

The role of environmental regulation is to prevent harm to the natural world, not only for its sake but to save humankind from self-destruction. When framed as this fundamental need to maintain the planet’s life supporting capacity the importance of regulation is clear. We maintain the planet’s ability to support life, or we have nothing. 

Here in New Zealand the failure of environmental regulation is stark and tragic. The Ministry for the Environment’s five-yearly summary of the state of the environment outlines a litany of neglect and dereliction. For the last three decades the mainstay of our environmental regulation legislation has been the Resource Management Act (RMA) 1991. At its core is the goal of “sustainable management of natural and physical resources” while considering future generations.

Join us on Wednesday August 26th to explore the failures in environmental regulation to date, and how to achieve an ideal environmental regulations. 

Have an unanswered question from the Q&A?

Click here to read Mike's follow up answers.

Couldn't make it? Catch up below:

NOTE: Due to connectivity issues, the webcams had to be turned off early in the webinar. We apologise for any inconvenience.

jackie cummingDr Jacqueline Cumming and Dr Lesley Middleton on The future of health services

12:00pm - 12:45pm, Wednesday 2nd September

The public health and disability system and what change needs to happen – both to enable us to get through and out the other side of the pandemic, but also to help New Zealand to be the kind of country we’d like it to be.  Where the review of the health and disability system should take us in the short and longer term.  The need for a more whole of system approach to health and disability and the removal of the “funder-provider split” instituted at the end of the 1980’s.   

Miss the webinar? Catch up below:

Andrea Black (NZCTU) on User Charges and Cost Recovery in Funding Public Services

12:00pm - 1:00pm, Wednesday September 16

Because of the timing of Treasury’s release of its Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update Andrea can not do a webinar at this time.  We hope you enjoy her written piece.