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Wednesday, December 4 • 3:30pm - 5:30pm
BREAKOUT SESSION FOUR: Politics & Policy

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Chair: Louise Humpage

Charlotte Moore: It’s life Jim… but not as we know it: Community provision of social services within a social investment state

Drawing upon mixed economy of welfare perspectives, this paper examines how initiatives introduced by New Zealand’s National-led Government (2008-2017) have further eroded boundaries between the state, the private sector and the community and voluntary sector, and how this may impact on the ways in which citizens access or engage with social service providers. These initiatives include the establishment of a ‘Social Investment Approach’, a commission of inquiry into ‘More Effective Social Services’ and the piloting of a number of new commissioning tools. Key aspects of reforms include a strong focus on outcomes or ‘what works’, the precision targeting and segmentation of service users and efforts to streamline government contracting processes. Drawing upon initial findings from a series of qualitative interviews with key stakeholders in the social services sector in New Zealand it is possible to identify a number of potential policy implications. These include reduced diversity of community and voluntary sector organisations as larger, more ‘corporate’ entities are rewarded with government contracts while smaller, locally embedded organisations become less viable. Furthermore, there is a risk of reduced levels of trust in community organisations due to a perception that the personal information of service users may be shared with government funders. Finally, targeting of social services may increase stigma for some service users, while others may find reduced access to services where they do not meet higher thresholds for intervention.


Kiri West: Data from 'Given' to 'Taken'

Data are the single-most significant asset shaping our present and future realities. Data are driving national and global economies, and are presented as the evidential basis for the development of policies; they are framing political landscapes and radically transforming what it means to live in a democratic state. Underlying the datafication of our common realities is a persistent rhetoric that data are objective and free from bias. This claim will be contested in the light of the experience of Indigenous peoples’. The presentation will unpack these tacit assumptions and interrogate the political assignment of data as ‘neutral’ in modern contexts by looking at the history of the concept. Through this discussion, I will flesh out the congruences between early conceptualisations of data as a ‘gift’ with the importance of koha in te ao Māori. Raising the question how did the ‘given’, become the ‘taken ’? This will inform a broader articulation of the relevance of kawa and tikanga drawn from te ao Māori in the development of governance frameworks for data in Aotearoa New Zealand today.


Bo Li: Professionalization of grassroots NGOs and governments-NGOs partnerships in China

The past 40 years have seen a dramatic development of the grassroots NGOs in China. Although the
literature on the rise of grassroots NGOs and their relationships with the authoritarian governments is
increasing, knowledge regarding the operations of individual grassroots NGOs and the differences
among these relationships is lacking. There is more knowledge about NGOs in China on a macro level
than that on the organizational/micro level. Built on existing literature of graduated control, this paper
utilizes ethnographic case study and interviews with key participants of the NGOs. It examines the
operations of two grassroots NGOs in China involving in rural education. By tracing the development
process of each one, it describes the key characteristics of professionalization and explains how the
professionalization of NGOs contributes to their partnerships with the governments. This leads to a
better understanding of how grassroots NGOs in China grow from politically marginalized groups
with low capacity to professional actors with expertise in finding new solutions to social problems in
this authoritarian regime.


Edwin Sayers: Gifts, relationship building, and gambling policy: SkyCity and the New Zealand International Convention Centre


This paper will present preliminary findings and interpretation from a small component of a larger research project that explores the relationship between industry actors and policy in the context of several unhealthy commodities. Specifically, this paper will examine the policy process surrounding the New Zealand International Convention Centre Act 2013, in which SkyCity was granted regulatory concessions for its Auckland-based casino (New Zealand’s largest) in exchange for funding an international convention centre. My empirical focus is on a range of potential points of policy influence including donations, gifts, hospitality, formal meetings, and informal relationships. This data is drawn from a range of sources, including the Register of Pecuniary Interests, an investigation by the Office of the Auditor General, and an investigation by the New Zealand Police. My theoretical focus is on the potential for industry actors and their representatives to influence policy through the production and maintenance of relationships based on reciprocity.


Each presentation will be allocated 20 minutes. Additional time for questions and discussion will be available in each stream.

Presenters
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Bo Li

PhD Candidate, The University of Auckland
ES

Edwin Sayes

Research Fellow, University of Auckland