Final Ben Craven

Ben Craven

Project Coordinator

Ben is the New Zealand Initiative’s Project Coordinator. Before joining the New Zealand Initiative, Ben worked in campaigns management for an NGO. He has previously worked in the public sector, and as a researcher in Parliament. Ben holds an undergraduate degree in Politics and Philosophy from Victoria University of Wellington, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Communication from Massey University.

Phone: +64 4 499 0790


Recent Work

Victoria and Beehive

What's in a name?

We New Zealanders are a funny bunch. People make fun of Canadians for being too apologetic. In Weird Al’s song Canadian Idiot, Yankovic complains, “Break their nose and they’ll just say ‘sorry’ – what kinds of freaks are that polite?” One explanation is that Canada deported its rudest people to New Zealand and only the polite ones are left there. But, if that were true, could we really explain this one? It looks like we are about to out-accommodate the... Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
4 May, 2018

Towards better behaviour

Sir Michael Cullen wants to use the tax system to help us all behave better. We have a few ideas to help build upon this noble pursuit. Cullen’s Tax Working Group should begin by looking at the Four Capitals that Treasury knows will help enhance our wellbeing: natural capital, social capital, human capital and financial/physical capital. The tax system could be entirely redesigned to enhance those capitals. Social capital may be the hardest nut to crack. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
9 March, 2018
New Zealand flag

A nation divided

This week saw a nation divided. While there were no protests in the streets, snarky comments were rife. It was not uncommon to hear people mumble disparaging remarks under their breath. And all the usual suspects were well and truly on the bandwagon. Social media was in a stir as we have all come to expect around this time of year. And talkback hosts and news anchors reported about events with gusto. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
9 February, 2018

Government for beginners

They say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But you sure can teach new dogs some old tricks.With its 31 members, the new Government is the biggest administration New Zealand has ever had. It is also one of the most junior. Only five Ministers have previous government experience.But does this have to be a problem? Hardly, for two reasons. First, there are a few old warhorses in the Cabinet. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
27 October, 2017
fish netting

Of fables and fish

When Aesop told the fable of the Four Oxen and the Lion, and uttered the famous phrase “United we stand, divided we fall,” I doubt he was thinking about the plight of recreational fishers. But, as with any good fable, this lesson nevertheless holds true. As part of the Initiative’s research into recreational fishing, we are holding twelve public meetings across the country. We want to hear what locals in these communities think of our draft policy recommendations, and learn... Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
18 August, 2017

Free to booze

I leaned at the bench, feeling exhausted. Looking around, I could tell they were all feeling much the same. None of it mattered though. We were stoked.Now, this was not the aftermath of a rigorous gym session or sporting endeavour. Rather, our Crate Day had come to an end.The first Saturday of December, Crate Day, has become a celebration of sun, summer, and crate beer. Bogans throughout the country ushered in the final month of the year by sharing a... Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
9 December, 2016

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