A non-partisan think tank working towards a sustainable future for New Zealand.

The Institute applies hindsight, insight and foresight to explore major challenges and opportunities facing New Zealand over the long term.


In light of what we see as the main challenges facing New Zealand and the world at present, the McGuinness Institute’s current work programme has been adjusted to focus on three key challenges we consider to be the most important and urgent: Challenge 1: Pandemic; Challenge 2: Climate change; Challenge 3: Foresight infrastructure. These challenges are in no particular order, and can be viewed both in isolation and interdependently.


The McGuinness Institute team is working from home. If you need to contact us please do so via email at enquiries@mcguinnessinstitute.org If urgent please email Wendy at wmcg@mcguinnessinstitute.org or text her

on 021 781 200.

Challenge 1: Pandemic


The World Health Organization has called ‘on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking urgent and aggressive action … Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled’.⁠

To advise and provide context to the work of agencies and institutions responding to the pandemic, the Institute has created two infographics: (i) Distancing strategy: flattening the COVID-19 curve (Version 1 published Wednesday, 11 March) and (ii) Country graphs: Mapping the COVID-19 curves (Version 3 published Monday, 23 March 2020). The flatter the curve the less strain on the healthcare system, which means better care for all.

The Country graphs infographic will be updated every Monday afternoon. We have been fortunate to receive a lot of feedback on this work in particular and we hope to add new thoughts and ideas (hopefully to a one pager). 

Background: The Institute published two reports in 2006 and 2015 (Managing the Business Risk of a Pandemic: Lessons from the Past and a Checklist for the Future (2006) and Lessons From the West African Ebola Outbreak in Relation to New Zealand’s Supply Chain Resilience (2015), which may be of interest.

News article (16 March 2020): ‘When prudent over-reaction makes sense’, an article by Nikki Mandow (Newsroom), provides insight on the McGuinness Institute’s strategy to manage health and employment in the office.

For regular updates on the COVID-19 situation, see the World Health Organization’s situation reports here.

We recently ran a poll via the McGuinness Institute Instagram relating to Phase 1 of COVID-19. The results can be seen below (percentages are derived from approximately 160 respondents). The infographic can also be viewed in PDF format here

Register to join with other buyers, sellers and makers

The McGuinness Institute aims to provide a simple registration and filtering system via the form below so we can connect people quickly to supply chain items. We welcome makers, users and suppliers of healthcare products as well as organisations or individuals with a machine and/or time to give to the cause.

Every morning we will publish an Excel sheet here, which you can download to see who is doing what to fill the supply chain gap. The first SupplyNZ Excel Sheet will be made available Tuesday 31 March 2020. 

Please register hereAny specific issues please email us at supplynz@mcguinnessinstitute.org.




Challenge 2: Climate change

Publication: Discussion Paper 2019/01 – The Climate Reporting Emergency: A New Zealand case study

In November 2019 the Institute published Discussion Paper 2019/01 – The Climate Reporting Emergency: A New Zealand case study, which can be read here.

Climate reporting is an emerging area of study and this paper looks at how we might use the existing complex reporting system to support new climate-related disclosures. We found that New Zealand’s existing system and traditional institutions are not well-positioned to produce a climate reporting standard at present. In response to this finding, the paper outlines four goals to guide the design of a functional climate reporting framework and groups recommendation under each.

Another important finding was that New Zealand’s reporting and ‘public filing’ infrastructure is behind international best practice. The Institute is now in the process of meeting with ministers, MPs and other parties to share our findings and discuss ways forward.

The two TCFD Workshops: Practical steps for implementation hosted with Simpson Grierson and the CDSB in 2019 were a development of this work programme. We could not have undertaken this research without the help of many people; in many ways it was our first crowd-sourced research publication. Thank you!

External Reporting: Climate-related Financial Disclosures 

This special newsletter contains extracts of relevant research reports,
articles and media releases on the topic of climate-related financial disclosures that the McGuinness Institute has become aware of since September 2019. Click here to read the newsletter.

Publication: TCFD ‘Strategy’ Exercise

Participants of the TCFD workshops took part in scenario-based exercises to explore opportunities and risks to business under different climate change circumstances, and to develop climate-related financial disclosures in line with the TCFD recommendations.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like a hard copy of the discussion paper or if you are interested in meeting to learn more about our research.

Challenge 3: Foresight infrastructure

The Institute has several ongoing, interlinked projects and publications that are intended to contribute to building an efficient foresight infrastructure for New Zealand.

Revisiting Tomorrow

Revisiting Tomorrow: Navigating with Foresight
Lessons from the Commission for the Future and the New Zealand Planning Council

On Wednesday 30 October 2019 the McGuinness Institute hosted a panel discussion at the National Library between Rt Hon Jim Bolger and former members of the Commission for the Future and the New Zealand Planning Council. They considered the impacts of these organisations followed by reflections on how we might embed foresight into public policy in 2020 and beyond.

The two organisations had influential, albeit short, lifespans, and published numerous reports on key issues for New Zealand’s future. The Commission for the Future was controversially disestablished in 1982 under the Robert Muldoon-led Third National Government, while the Planning Council was disbanded in 1991 under the Jim Bolger-led Fourth National Government. Their legacy was to provide a blueprint of how foresight can be embedded into public policy.

The Revisiting Tomorrow newspaper explores this legacy. Read the full newspaper here

ForesightNZ Survey

ForesightNZ Survey Open

This survey is open to the public and closes 15 April 2020.

This survey is intended to draw on and further develop discussions from the event Revisiting Tomorrow: Navigating with Foresight, which considered the legacy of the Commission for the Future (CFF) and New Zealand Planning Council (NZPC), held on 30 October 2019 as part of the Institute’s Project ForesightNZ.

Responses to this survey will be used to develop a think piece, to be published in 2020, considering how a new futures thinking institution might be developed for New Zealand. Responses will also be used to help shape future ForesightNZ events held by the Institute. You may like to read the Revisiting Tomorrow Newspaper on the right before completing the survey.

Click here to complete the survey.

ForesightNZ Playing

What do the futures of New Zealand look like?

Devised by a diverse group of 36 young New Zealanders in 2016, the ForesightNZ playing cards instil players of any age with the capability to apply futures thinking, to be innovative and to wrestle with the futures of New Zealand. The pack of 64 is spilt into four categories: Capital Cards (x 4), Event Cards (x 32), Trend Cards (x 25) and Joker Cards (x 3). Capital Cards refer to the four capitals at the heart of the New Zealand Treasury’s Living Standards Framework. Event Cards represent possible events that are categorised into one of four high-impact event types, depending on two factors: how aware society is of the event and the probability of each event occurring. Trend Cards show growing changes or movement in a particular direction over time. The Jokers spur on imagination and enable players to come up with their own events and trends.

You can order a pack of cards on our online store ($15 per pack).

Report 17

Publication: Report 17 – ReportingNZ: Building a reporting framework fit for purpose

The Institute is in the final stages of completing Report 17 – ReportingNZ: Building a reporting framework fit for purpose, a major Project2058 report. Report 17 aims to lay the groundwork for a comprehensive review of New Zealand’s reporting framework by examining the evolution of the reporting framework, explaining trends and implications in reporting practices around the world, analysing the reporting framework, identifying policy knots, and presenting a comprehensive package of recommendations.

The Institute believes this review is important because the reporting framework provides the evidence base from which investors, policy-makers, researchers and other stakeholders make their decisions. In order to achieve the Institute’s long-term goal of improving the future of New Zealanders, New Zealand’s information infrastructure must be improved to make information useful, accessible, accurate, timely, cost-effective and comparable.

A draft copy of Report 17 can be read here.


The annual McGuinness Institute newsletter focuses solely on the work programme. It shares our journey since the last newsletter and what we hope to achieve over the next year. 

Policy Projects

As a result of our observation that foresight drives strategy, strategy requires reporting, and reporting shapes foresight, we have developed three interlinking policy projects: ForesightNZ, StrategyNZ and ReportingNZ.

Research Projects

These diverse topics represent areas where New Zealand has the potential to bring about meaningful change. How New Zealand responds to these issues will shape our public policy landscape for generations to come.


The Institute facilitates workshops on public policy issues that are strategic, complex, and long-term in nature. Learn more.

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