Final Sam Warburton

Sam Warburton

Research Fellow

Sam joins The New Zealand Initiative after 13 years in the public service including the Ministries of Business, Innovation and Employment, Primary Industries, and Transport. He will initially be focusing on transport and infrastructure. Sam has a Bachelor of Commerce and Administration with first class Honours from Victoria University, majoring in Economics and Public Policy.


Recent Work

Auckland highway

Sam Warburton looks at the figures and says something worrying is happening on our roads

New Zealand is on track to have its fourth consecutive rise in the road toll this year. In raw numbers, 206 car occupants have died so far this year, already exceeding the entire year’s totals for each of 2013 and 2014. Even adjusting for increased travel, the chance of car occupants dying on our roads is up 12% on 2016 and 41% on 2013. Are we getting the balance right between safety and other factors such as travel time and... Read more

30 September, 2017
economy newspaper1

"The Invisible Handful"

A flock of buzzards. A den of snakes. A shiver of sharks.   A swarm of eels. A pride of peacocks. An intrusion of cockroaches.   Hyenas. Rats. Flies.   These are all animals that economists have been compared to. But what do we call a group of economists?   In a recent article, journalist Jo Moir coined the collective noun ‘a wealth of economists’. This is too clever to have been unintentional and sparked a flurry of discussion publicly... Read more

Insights Newsletter
22 September, 2017

Two RONS don’t make a right

A hard task for government is getting the books in order after a recession. A harder task is choosing how best to distribute tax revenue once stability is restored. The National Party’s Roads of National Significance (RONS) are a case in point. Started in 2009, the original RONS committed $12 billion to upgrade roads from two to four lanes and reduce travel times for freight operators. Read more

Insights Newsletter
25 August, 2017

How radical is road pricing?

Elon Musk, of Paypal and Tesla fame, is boring a tunnel under Los Angeles. Musk believes he will be able to transport cars between L.A.’s West Coast and centre in five minutes. Auckland is smaller than L.A., but perhaps it is time we raised our game. Last weekend saw a flurry of pre-election announcements about Auckland transport; new roads and rail from National, and a new fuel-tax funded, light-rail line from Labour. Read more

Insights Newsletter
11 August, 2017

Stay in the loop: Subscribe to updates