Research Projects

Civics NZ


Building the social capital of New Zealand citizens

CivicsNZ began in 2010 with the publication of Report 8: Effective Maori Representation in Parliament – Working towards a National Sustainable Development Strategy (July 2010). It was also a response to the Government’s constitutional review, undertaken by the Constitutional Advisory Panel (CAP) in 2012 and 2013.

The lack of good civics education in New Zealand has been a constant theme voiced by participants of our workshops. Good civics education should showcase the machinery of government, empowering citizens through a shared understanding of our common rights and responsibilities.

In November 2013 the Constitutional Advisory Panel recommended that ‘the Government develops a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools and in the community, including the unique role of the Treaty of Waitangi, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, and assign responsibility for the implementation of the strategy’. The 2013 report provided a sound basis for making progress on civics education in New Zealand.

OIA to NZ On Air

The Institute has been following the Public Interest Journalism Fund with interest. This has led to an OIA being sent to NZ On Air on 23 December 2021. See OIA 2021/16: Public interest journalism and COVID-19 on our OIA table found here.

Latest publication

Think Piece 40 – The time is right! Why MPs need a code and oath fit for the 21st century

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References (PDF, 1 MB)

Over the last few months the Institute has been revisiting some earlier work on civics. Think Piece 40 is the first in the latest series. The Institute’s view is the current code of conduct (the shared Behavioural Statements) could be significantly improved, with MPs creating their own unique code (by MPs, for MPs).

The second piece of work in this series is a review of MP Codes of Conduct of Commonwealth countries, which we hope to complete later this year.

Past event

Political stability despite minority governments: the New Zealand experience

On 14 July 2021 Wendy McGuinness, Chief Executive of the McGuinness Institute, presented Political stability despite minority governments: the NZ experience.

This presentation was part of the SDG Webinar Series, hosted by Jeffrey Sachs Center for Sustainable Development from Sunway University, Malaysia.

Past initiatives

On the Fence

The Institute is a supporter of On the Fence, an online platform that matches users’ personal values with parties and candidates and is targeted at first time or disengaged voters. On the Fence is developed by the Massey University-led project Design+Democracy which aims to encourage engagement with social issues through user-centred design.


The initiative #GummonMateVote – ‘It’s just two ticks’ aimed to increase voter engagement specifically among Pasifika youth. The idea was to provide T-shirts to young Pasifika people who would then record a video and post it on social media to promote voting engagement. See some of the videos here or learn more about the initiative on our blog. The photo below is of a vocal group from Auckland promoting the initiative.

Assorted publications

See a selection of our latest research and publications related to CivicsNZ below.

Nation Dates

Working Paper 2020/08 – Analysis of the 2017 Labour-Green Party Confidence and Supply Agreement, three years on

Working Paper 2020/07 – Analysis of the 2017 Labour-New Zealand First Coalition Agreement, three years on

Revisiting Tomorrow Newspaper 1976–1991

Proceedings of The Civics and Media Project: A report on the three workshops held in 2015