I’m off to a function at 5.30 pm to launch the new thinktank, which is a merger of the New Zealand Institute and the New Zealand Business Roundtable.
It will be called the New Zealand Initiative, and will focus on raising debate on public policy and contributing ideas to achieve a more prosperous future for New Zealand.
I think the merger is a chance to get past the brands of the former organisations, and have more debates on public policy which focuses on the issues, rather than get fixated on who is saying what.
Roger Kerr was always going to be a very hard act to follow, but I’m delighted with the announcement of the inaugural executive director as Dr Oliver Hartwich. I know Oliver from his work as the Centre for Independent Studies and he not only has a first class mind and research credentials, but is also an excellent presenter and communicator. I am sure he will also manage to upset as many people here, as he has in other countries 🙂
The Business Roundtable was both a think-tank and a lobby group, while the NZ Institute was just a think-tank. By the look of it, the new New Zealand Initiative will be primarily a think-tank, rather than a hybrid. I think this is a good thing, as I believe the attributes you need from a lobby group is quite different to what you need from a think-tank. To some degree, think-tanks are the wholesalers, and lobby groups the retailers. This merger also opens up an opportunity for a new lobby group to push for good policies on behalf of taxpayers.
UPDATE: Big whoops. This was embargoed until 6 pm. I missed seeing it – totally my fault. Apologies to anyone affected – it was accidental.