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Featuring: Professor Michael Orsini (University of Ottawa), Chlöe Swarbrick (Green Party MP), Helen Robinson (Auckland City Mission), Mark Powell (University of Auckland)

Chaired by Professor Jennifer Curtin (Director of The Public Policy Institute)

Monday 9 March 5.30pm

General Library, Room B10

Notions of kindness, compassion and manaakitanga have become a feature of New Zealand political discourse over the past three years. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been a champion of this approach, discarding the oft-used language of blame and shame. Some find it refreshing in that it signals a different way of designing and delivering policy change. Some are not so sure, with questions remaining over how kind words translate into government action. Others continue to believe the ideal world of politics and public policy should be wholly rational, that rational economic actors and processes are the ideal, while emotions represent an anathema to good governance. Yet, researchers, activists and party strategists all recognise that emotion is central to political discussion, public opinion, political tolerance and attitudes to public policy. So can we imagine a society where emotions such as kindness tangibly inform the work of government, the private sector, and ultimately deliver a more humane capitalist economy?

Michael Orsini

Michael Orsini is Professor in the Institute of Feminist and Gender Studies and the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, and currently a Visiting Scholar in the School of Political Science and International Studies at the University of Queensland. He is currently completing a funded study on the role of emotions and stigma in a range of contested policy fields. Orsini is interested in critical approaches to policy and politics, and approaches that highlight the role of expertise and evidence mobilized by marginalized communities. He is co-editor, most recently, of Seeing Red: HIV/AIDS and Public Policy in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2018), and Mobilizing Metaphor: Art, Culture and Disability Activism in Canada (UBC Press, 2016).

Chlöe Swarbrick Is a Member of Parliament for the Green Party, first elected in September 2017. She is a member of three Select Committees: Business, Environment and Officers of Parliament. She is the Green Party Spokesperson for (among others) Youth, Tertiary Education, Small Business, Mental Health, Drug Law Reform and Open and Accessible Government.

Helen Robinson is the General Manager of Health and Social Services for the Auckland City Mission.

Mark Powell is an Adjunct Professor in the University of Auckland Business School. He is the former Group CEO of The NZX listed retailer The Warehouse Group (The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, Warehouse Stationery & Torpedo7). He is now a Professional Non-Executive Director on the board of ASX listed (JB Hi-Fi) and NZX listed (Kiwi Property Group) companies, Private Businesses and Not-For-Profit Organisations.

Brought to you by the Agencies of Kindness Research Hub and the Public Policy Institute

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