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How are decisions made in New Zealand? Who has how much power in this process? How can citizens, businesses, iwi, and a diverse range of groups have a say? This course is an introduction to New Zealand politics and public policy. The course examines the core features of New Zealand’s political landscape: The constitution, how MMP works, the roles of leaders, cabinet and parliament, and then explores issues that matter to the public, and asks how citizens can participate in politics, what role powerful groups including the media play in decision making and how new, diverse voices can be heard, including your own. The course includes a field day working in local communities learning about leadership and public attitudes.
This course aims to encourage students to revisit what we think we know about New Zealand, challenging dominant assumptions and thinking carefully, creatively, and critically about the current state of New Zealand politics now and in the future. Through participation in lectures, course readings, a field trip, assignments and tutorial discussion, successful students will be able to: understand and discuss New Zealand’s democratic institutions and political processes and engage in thoughtful, critical and informed debate about how power is exercised in this democracy, why, and with what effect.
Students will be introduced to the study of political power in the context of New Zealand and to the art, craft and passion of politics as a process of establishing our visions of the good life, and to difficult common problems that face this small democratic polis or political community.Successful students will understand and critically evaluate the processes and institutions and evolution of New Zealand politics and its diverse institutions including but not limited to understanding the constitutional debates and citizenship struggles that inform Te Tiriti and struggles for the franchise, Māori representation, indigenous politics, minority and civil, human and environmental rights in Aotearoa Students will learn to conduct applied political analysis through tutorial and field exercises, and a field policy report including field observation and interviews. Students will learn to write a critical essay and present an argument in politics with evidenceStudents will be able to identify and discuss the way issues like inequality and political ideas like neoliberalism have influenced broadcasting, social policy and economic development in a small society with a rapidly diversifying population.Students will understand the contemporary reality of tikanga and colonization in contemporary politics and policy.Students will be able to identify and discuss the way issues like inequality and political ideas like neoliberalism have influenced broadcasting, social policy and economic development in a small society with a rapidly diversifying population.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
There will be one class afternoon field trip to two different electorates to be held on in 10 May TBC, from 12.00-5.00 pm in lieu of tutorials.
New Zealand government and politics
Oxford University Press, 2015.
Domestic fee $811.00
International fee $3,238.00
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
Language, Social and Political Sciences