The Ballot Box Series will bring together preeminent thinkers to inform debate and challenge thinking on issues of critical importance to Auckland prior to the 2016 local elections in October.

Tuesday 30 August – Auckland: The Inclusive City

Time: 6pm to 8pm (expected end time)
Venue: Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland

Until the mid-1980s New Zealand was considered one of the most egalitarian societies in the world. Over the past two decades this has changed dramatically. In 2015, the OECD highlighted inequality as one of the key risks facing the country.

Nowhere is this inequality more visible than in Auckland. For many people the growing income gap is one of the most pressing issues facing the city today.

In the first event of the Ballot Box Series, speakers with varied perspectives and unrivalled expertise in their fields will look at the issue of inequality in Auckland. They will discuss the extent of the issue, how the social and economic impact of inequality threatens the city’s future prospects, and what can be done.

Confirmed speakers

  • Shamubeel Eaqub: Independent economist, author and media commentator
  • Rangimarie Hunia: Chief Executive of Ngati Whatua Orakei's social development company, Whai Maia
  • Associate Professor Susan St John: University of Auckland Business School - Honorary Associate Professor, Director of the Retirement Policy and Research Centre (RPRC) and Director of the Economics of Ageing Programme in the Centre for Applied Research in Economics (CARE).
  • Alan Johnson: Social policy analyst for The Salvation Army’s Social Policy and Parliamentary Unit

Wednesday 7 September – Auckland: The Innovative City

Time: 6pm to 8pm (expected end time)
Venue: Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland

Innovation and entrepreneurship are key drivers of economic growth and are critical to delivering a prosperous society. Innovation-driven businesses typically grow quicker, employ more skilled staff and engage faster with international markets.

Auckland is already the innovation hub of New Zealand and home to the majority of the country’s entrepreneurial community. Yet, while great strides have been made over the past ten years, the city continues to face a number of challenges. Business investment in research and development is low by OECD standards – the equivalent of just 0.5% of GDP. And, as ATEED notes, Auckland’s strong entrepreneurial culture is hindered by a deficit of skills, capability constraints, and a lack of true collaboration.

In the second Ballot Box 2016 event, a panel of experts will examine what can be done to overcome these shortfalls. In particular, they will discuss how we can address the city's current talent void, and harness innovation to support Auckland's growth and help New Zealand to develop a high-wage, high-skills knowledge economy.

Registrations for the second Ballot Box event will open in early August.

Speakers already confirmed include:

  • Dr Mary Quin: Inaugural CEO of Callaghan Innovation – the crown agency established to accelerate the growth, scale, intensity, and success of innovation in New Zealand. She has over 30 years of international experience as an executive and director. In 2014, Dr Quin was named as one of the New Zealand Herald’s New Zealanders of the Year.
  • Greg Cross: An experienced serial entrepreneur and technology nomad with a track record in building tech companies all over the world. Through his own venture development business, Cross Ventures, Greg has built companies including PowerbyProxi, the world’s leading wireless power company.
  • Shaun Hendy: Director of Te Pūnaha Matatini, a Centre of Research Excellence that uses methods from complex systems to solve problems for business and to develop better economic and environmental policies. A leading New Zealand Scientist, Professor Hendy teaches in both the Department of Physics and the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland.
  • Nick Shewring: Co-founder and Chief Entrepreneur at BizDojo, the co-working and collaboration network. A spatial design enthusiast and rebellious innovator.
  • Wendy Kerr (Facilitator): An experienced general manager with global experience in technology and media start-ups. Wendy is the Director of the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the University of Auckland Business School.

Thursday 22 September – Auckland: The Sustainable City

Time: 6pm to 8pm (expected end time)
Venue: Owen G Glenn Building, 12 Grafton Road, Auckland

Auckland is currently generating more emissions per person than London or New York. Over the next 25 years, global energy consumption is expected to increase by one third, while over the same period Auckland’s energy demand is projected to increase by twice that amount. Auckland is highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change which will affect the region's economy, infrastructure, natural resources, biodiversity, and our quality of life.

As New Zealand’s largest and fastest-growing city, Auckland must find ways to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions while creating new economic opportunities and improving living standards.

In the third and final Ballot Box 2016 event, our panel of leading thinkers will discuss the steps needed to reduce emissions, and the multi-sector collaboration required for Auckland to address the broader consequences of climate change. They will highlight the challenges of transitioning to a high-growth, low-carbon eco-economy, along with the many economic and social benefits such a transition will bring, including job creation and an improved quality of life.

Registrations for the third Ballot Box event will open in mid-August.

Speakers already confirmed include:

  • Michael Stiassny: President of the Institute of Directors. Chairman of Vector Limited, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei Whai Rawa Limted and TOWER Limited. He is a Fellow Chartered Accountant, a Lawyer and Senior Partner of KordaMentha.
  • Viv Heslop: Senior Advisor Sustainability at Panuku Development Auckland and previously the Sustainability Manager at Waterfront Auckland. Viv is an experienced sustainability professional who is committed to delivering sustainable urban developments and creating a shift to a sustainable mind-set.
  • Rod Oram: Award-winning business journalist, writer and media commentator with over 40 years international experience. He is chairman of Akina Foundation, which helps social enterprises develop their business models in areas of sustainability.
  • Basil Sharp: Energy Education Trust of New Zealand Professor of Energy and Resource Economics, and Director of The Energy Centre at the University of Auckland. His current research focus is on the economic impact of flooding and liquefaction, energy efficiency, and the integration of renewable sources of energy.
  • Barry Coates (Facilitator): Barry is leading the sustainability programme at University of Auckland Business School. Prior to joining the School he was Executive Director of Oxfam New Zealand 2003-2014, senior executive at WWF in the UK, and a managing consultant on business strategy.