Final Jenesa Jeram1

Jenesa Jeram

Policy Analyst

Jenesa is a Policy Analyst at The New Zealand Initiative, focusing mainly on social issues and lifestyle regulations. She is the author of Health of the State, a report that looks at the evidence and ideology behind public health and lifestyle regulations. She has an interest in sugar tax regulations, and has also co-authored publications on poverty, inequality, social impact bonds, economic growth and housing. Jenesa is available to comment on all of these areas.

She has a Bachelor of Arts with first class Honours from the University of Otago, majoring in Philosophy and Economics. 

Health of the State
The Inequality paradox: Why inequality matters even though it has barely changed
Poorly Understood: The state of poverty in New Zealand
Investing for Success: Social impact bonds and the future of public services


Phone: +64 4 494 9108


Recent Work

school boy

Don’t forget to breathe

As loyal readers might be aware, The New Zealand Initiative has long been concerned that there is a real scandal in New Zealand education. Some of our most vulnerable kids are leaving school without the skills they need to get ahead in life. No, I’m not talking about literacy and numeracy – although they are important too. I am talking about something even more basic. It appears the kids of today do not even know how to smile and breathe. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
11 August, 2017

Election fought on swinging hyperboles

Andrew Little has drawn a line in the sand. He has condemned the “blowhard” politics of Winston Peters, and has made it clear this election will not be fought on swinging - um - personalities. Good. Because if there is one thing this campaign period could do without, it is hyperbole. If there were any doubt we are indeed in an election year, consider the headline that the ‘Greens threaten to go nuclear’. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
21 July, 2017

Jamie Oliver is a bloody disgrace

I thought that having a UK celebrity chef tell us that our kids are too fat and that anyone against a sugar tax deserves a slap would have gone down as well as a sous vide burger. I was wrong. Celebrity chef and sugar tax activist Jamie Oliver reckons it is a ‘bloody disgrace’ no one from National turned up to a conference advocating for a sugar tax. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
7 July, 2017

A Budget Day Conspiracy

I thought the point of the Budget lock-up was to give everyone adequate time to process and digest complex information, and ensure no media organisation had an exclusive.Now I’m not so sure. In fact, I have a theory. Everyone in the room (excluding a few choice journalists*) paid off some chump to write op-eds that would be used as templates for every news organisation. Approximately one hour is used “personalising” their Budget hot-takes. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
26 May, 2017
blue piggy on the grass 1

Data can tell us when 'social investment' is worthwhile

Cold hard data will not put breakfast on the table. It will not be a source of comfort and advice when there is no one else to talk to. And it will not put a roof over anyone's head. Yet the Government's social investment approach - and in particular the greater use of data - could revolutionise the way social services are funded and delivered. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
NZ Herald
23 May, 2017

Social investment is about changing lives

“Too often, past governments have judged success only by what they spent, rather than what difference that spending made to people’s lives. Yet changing lives is the whole point.”Prime Minister Bill English did not shy away from acknowledging past government failures in his pre-Budget speech last week. With a focus on social investment, English was sending the message he had already made many times as Finance Minister: it is not the spending that matters, but its effectiveness.If you ever get... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
12 May, 2017

E-cigarettes a ground-up policy

What do you think is more harmful: Smoking a cigarette and inhaling the hundreds of toxic chemical by-products? Or inhaling a nicotine vapour without them? If you think the latter option is safer then not only do you display common sense. You are also on the side of science and overwhelming evidence. Practically all credible health experts are convinced that so-called e-cigarettes are safer than smoking. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
7 April, 2017

Bad and Annoying Animal Management Act

Any cat owner will tell you that cats are magnificent and regal creatures, descended from royalty and that they deserve to be treated like nothing less. Those cat owners are, of course, deluded. Behind the contented purring and affectionate head nudges lies the heart and mind of a killer. A bird killer, to be precise. Most of us already know that cats are evil. But other animals are just plain loud and smelly. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
17 March, 2017

Social bonds neither right wing nor left wing

Resistance to the social bonds pilot has essentially boxed Labour and the Greens into a corner. Social bonds (or Social Impact Bonds as they are known internationally), after all, have traditionally been introduced by left-wing governments.I understand that the role of the Opposition is to oppose. And there is potentially much to oppose in the execution of social bonds. But opposing social bonds in principle leaves fewer options for addressing entrenched social problems.For those who have forgotten, social bonds are an innovative way... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
3 March, 2017

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