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

Email: ben.craven@nzinitiative.org.nz

Recent Work

Game show

Game show policy

Game shows are nothing new. They’re a dime a dozen. We have all seen shows like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, Wheel of Fortune, and The Price Is Right. These types of shows are popular because we like seeing everyday people succeed, become winners, and realise their dreams. Well, it’s either that or we’re suckers for schadenfreude. This week a new game show launched in the US, titled Paid Off. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
13 July, 2018
Coal wagon

An assault on our senses

A couple of years ago we got the lads together and set off on a South Island road trip. It was a great opportunity to get away from the rat race and show some of my North Island mates around the South Island. Beers, banter, and beaut scenery. On day three we pulled into Westport. “What’s that smell?”, asked one of the blokes. Bemused, I responded to my North Island friend, “Coal, mate. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
22 June, 2018
Aircraft

Sky high regulation

“You New Zealanders don’t know how lucky you are,” said virtually every Australian I met at the recent Friedman Conference in Sydney. New Zealand, they pointed out, had a better tax system with GST across the board rather than at different rates on different products. Our country’s finances were in much better shape. And hunters and shooters I met remarked that our firearm laws were far more sensible than those over the ditch. Read more

Ben Craven
Insights Newsletter
1 June, 2018
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
CCTV

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
ParliamentBeehive

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
soda

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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