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. 

Latest reports:
The Inequality Paradox: Why inequality Matters Even Though it has Barely Changed (2016)
The Health of the State (2016)
Poorly Understood: The State of Poverty in New Zealand (2016)
Investing for success: Social Impact Bonds and the future of public services (2015)
The Case for Economic Growth (2015)

Phone: +64 4 499 0790


Recent Work


Diary of a public health expert

Week 1- After years of campaigning, I knew it was only a matter of time before our government ramped up its efforts tackling child obesity. Like my counterparts in Chile, I will be offering the government my technical expertise to crack down on junk food advertising to children. My Chilean colleagues have already told me what to expect. Their weekly meetings grapple with very complex matters, deciding what counts as advertising to children. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
16 February, 2018

"Still no grounds for introducing sugar tax in New Zealand"

The call for a sugar tax has been strengthened by a new study of New Zealand's soft drinks which shows they contain more sugar than in other countries. Responding to renewed calls for a sugar tax, Jenesa Jeram discusses on Newstalk ZB there are still no grounds for introducing such a tax in New Zealand. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Larry Williams Drive - Newstalk ZB
16 January, 2018
Pensioner drinking

The death of NZ’s drinking culture

New Zealand’s drinking culture might be dying. Many signs are pointing that way. Youth hazardous drinking rates are down. National health spokesman Jonathan Coleman condemns binge-drinking events like Crate Day as a “throwback” to a past New Zealand should leave behind. And despite perfect beer drinking conditions across the country, New Zealanders seem to have confirmed this sentiment. The notorious annual binge drinking event, Crate Day, came and went without much drama. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
8 December, 2017
apple on book1

Libertarian experimentation

Why did the libertarian chicken cross the road?None of your business! Am I being detained?With jokes like these, it really is a mystery why libertarians do not have more friends.Indeed, a recent Washington Post article even included ‘befriend a libertarian’ in a compilation of ideas on how to fix American democracy.Sure, that piece was written by a libertarian. But in an age of deep political divisions in the United States, and creeping talk of anti-immigrant sentiment on home soil, maybe... Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
3 November, 2017
Vote tick

Twas the night before the election

‘Twas the night before the electionWhen all through the think tankNot a creature was stirringBecause frankly, all we can do now is sit and wait. While the outcome of the election remains anyone’s guess, one thing is certain. We need to know how to measure the new government’s success. If elections are the public’s opportunity to give the government a performance review, then new governments could do with a clear set of goals or KPI’s. Read more

Jenesa Jeram
Insights Newsletter
22 September, 2017
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

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