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Social Investment: A New Zealand Policy Experiment

New Book Released – Social Investment: A New Zealand Policy Experiment


The idea of social investment has obvious intuitive appeal. But is it robust? Is it built on sound philosophical principles and secure analytical foundations? Will it deliver better outcomes?

The idea of social investment has been central to recent social policy debates in NZ and several other OECD countries. It was a flagship policy of the former National-led government, and is currently under review by the new Labour-New Zealand First coalition government.

There remains much debate, however, about exactly what a social investment approach is and how, when and where it should be applied. This new book tackles these questions head-on and provides a comprehensive and systematic analysis of the relevant policy issues and options. It highlights that while the basic concept of investing well to enhance long-term social outcomes is highly attractive, the mechanics of doing so are far from straightforward.

The book brings together a wide range of perspectives on social investment. It includes chapters by advocates and critics of the former NZ government's approach; it also includes various perspectives from researchers, government officials, consultants, social service providers, and a former senior politician. The contributions cover all aspects of the topic, featuring comparisons with other countries, in-depth analysis of the impact of social investment in New Zealand, and discussions about its potential for delivering effective social services.

As the new government reviews the previous government's approach to social investment and develops its own distinctive strategy, this book provides vital, important and enduring insights regarding the challenges of determining what works in the social sphere and how to invest well for the long-term.

About the Editors

Jonathan Boston is a Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington. He has written extensively on public management, the welfare state, child poverty, climate change policy, tertiary education funding, and comparative government. Derek Gill is a Principal Economist at the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research, and a Senior Associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies. His previous experience spans work in the public and private not-for-profit sectors and included roles as a general manager in a service delivery organisation, with the OECD and central agencies in New Zealand; he has also been a diplomat and policy adviser. Derek has served as a long-standing board chair and treasurer for a number of voluntary organisations.

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