Policy Quarterly

Policy Quarterly is a free public policy journal co-produced by the IGPS and the School of Government.

Policy Quarterly (PQ) is targeted at anyone interested in public issues, including public servants, politicians and their staff and a wide variety of professionals, as well as the general public. Its succinct articles and informal style are intended to make the journal accessible to busy non-specialist readers.

Current and all past issues of Policy Quarterly, along with search facilities, are available through the Victoria University Open Journal System here.

The Digital Economy and Society, Policy Quarterly, Volume 14, Issue 1, February 2018

This issue provides a preliminary commentary on the digital economy and society.

The Digital Economy and Society: a preliminary commentary

Sir Peter Gluckman

Virtually all technologies that humans have invented or will invent present both benefits and risks. The history of humankind is that of invention, development and exploitation of technologies while managing their downsides.

Platforms in Aotearoa: our fast-growing sharing economy

Kevin Jenkins

Talk of ‘platforms’ – or the ‘sharing economy’ – sometimes seems to be ubiquitous. But how significant is this model, and what kinds of policy and regulatory issues is it raising?

A Partial History of Futures Thinking in New Zealand

Malcolm Menzies

Futures Thinking offers ways of addressing, even helping to shape, the future; it is not about gazing into a crystal ball. It illuminates the ways that policy, strategies and actions can promote desirable futures and help prevent those we consider undesirable.

TacklingPovertyNZ: the nature of poverty in New Zealand and ways to address it

Conal Smith

Poverty in New Zealand is one of the foremost challenges we face as a country. Child poverty rates remain persistently above rates in many other developed countries and well above the rates prevalent in New Zealand during the 1980s.

Cross-party Collaboration on Climate Policy: the experience of GLOBE-NZ

Kennedy Graham

Climate change has been described as the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced (Ban Ki-moon, 2014). No surprise, then, that it is challenging human problem solving, to an unprecedented degree.

Law, Liquor and Love

Doug Sellman, Jennie Connor, Geoff Robinson, Sam McBride and Tony Farrell

This article discusses attempts at alcohol law reform in New Zealand between 2008 and 2017.

Earthquake Recovery Legislation: learning from experience

Sarah Kerkin

The Canterbury earthquake sequence sparked a series of constitutional seismic shifts whose after-effects look set to continue long after Christchurch’s regeneration is complete.

Investing in New Zealand's Future Well-being - protecting and enhancing our natural capital

Jonathan Boston

The election of the new centre-left government in New Zealand provides an opportunity to reflect on the enduring question of how societies should invest for a prosperous, secure and sustainable future, one where all generations can flourish.

Beyond the Pay Gap: the retirement disadvantage of being female

Merewyn Groom

The gender pay gap in New Zealand is often discussed in terms of hourly wages or represented by the idea that women effectively work for free from 14 November until the New Year (Lawless, 2017).

Licensing Trusts in New Zealand

Bernard Teahan

Licensing trusts in New Zealand are a statutory form of community enterprise now existing for over 70 years. Thirty were established between 1944 and 1975.

Open Innovation Communication: improving strategy implementation in the public sector

Amelia Cina and Stephen Cummings

When Jørgen Knudstorp took over as CEO of the LEGO group in 2004, the toy company was in a state of decline.1 A lack of innovation and loss of market position led to the group posting their first loss in 1998. LEGO had lost sight of the needs of their customers.

Integrated Reporting: what is it and why should you do it?

Jane Diplock AO

Around the world, increasing numbers of businesses are evolving their strategic thinking, planning and reporting practices. Business practices are undergoing rapid change and as a result businesses are concluding that reporting must also change.

Reforming the Public Sector and Parliament - Chris Hipkins' goals

Colin James

Back in the late 1990s senior public servants worried at Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) roundtables that ‘siloisation’ of the state sector was hampering effectiveness.

Regulatory Issues, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 4, November 2017

This issue commences with five articles on aspects of government regulation in New Zealand.

Regulatory stewardship: Voice of the regulator

Stephanie Winson

In 2014 the New Zealand Productivity Commission inquiry on regulatory institutions and practices concluded that ‘The performance of New Zealand’s regulatory system is in need of improvement – in particular around developing and maintaining the capability needed to effectively implement regulation and the need to oversee and manage the overall system’ (Productivity Commission, 2014, p.2). Since then there has been much talk of regulatory stewardship. This article considers what it is and the importance of the role of the regulator in achieving it.

Are regulated parties customers?

Ben Wauchop and Keith Manch

In 2005, Parliament passed new legislation to regulate railway safety in New Zealand. Applying international best practice, the Railways Act took a goal-based approach that utilised the Safety Case concept as the foundation for regulatory oversight.

New Zealand’s Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code: A case study in co-regulation

Keith Manch

The inaugural annual national forum on the 2016 New Zealand Port and Harbour Marine Safety Code took place in July 2017 in Wellington. The 2016 code replaced a code originally put in place in 2004. Participants in the forum included the 2016 code partners: port companies, regional councils/unitary authorities, Maritime New Zealand, as well as maritime industry representatives, and other government agencies with an interest in maritime safety. The forum represented an important waypoint in the journey from the development, implementation and review of the 2004 code, to the development and implementation of the 2016 code as a key part of the regulatory system that seeks to manage port and harbour risks.

A rail tale

Chris Ballantyne

In 2005, Parliament passed new legislation to regulate railway safety in New Zealand. Applying international best practice, the Railways Act took a goal-based approach that utilised the Safety Case concept as the foundation for regulatory oversight.

Managing the opportunities and risks associated with disruptive technologies space law in New Zealand

Kirsty Hutchison, Katherine MacNeill, Peter Mumford and Val Sim

A key challenge for regulators is how to enable entrepreneurship and innovation while managing the risks associated with rapidly evolving technologies and associated market change. A number of technologies could be used to illustrate this problem, such as the internet, gene editing and driverless vehicles. However, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) recently had to face this specific issue in relation to space activities.

Rapid developments in artificial intelligence

Matthew Boyd and Nick Wilson

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have opened opportunities in a range of human endeavours (NSTC Committee on Technology, 2016). In response to the speed of these developments there has been a burst of analysis and dialogue in New Zealand.

Trends and determinants of top public and private sectors, 1995–2014

Tim Hazledine, Michael Wang and Kar Yew Lee

This article analyses recent trends and determinants of chief executive (CEO) pay in the New Zealand public sector, and of numbers and pay of senior managers in the sector. Comparisons are made with the listed company private sector. It turns out that both CEO pay growth and numbers of senior managers in the public sector have lagged behind those in the private sector, while senior manager pay has moved ahead.

Civics and citizenship education in New Zealand

Todd Krieble and Danijela Tavich

The 2013 Constitutional Advisory Panel recommendation for a national strategy for civics and citizenship education in schools, kura (Māori-medium schools) and communities provided the opportunity for an important conversation about building civic knowledge in Aotearoa New Zealand (Constitutional Advisory Panel, 2013, p.8). This article explores possible next steps for implementing this recommendation. It is broken up into two parts: a case for change, and potential next steps.

Income volatility in New Zealand

Toby Moore

"Economic risk is a lot like a hurricane. Hurricanes strike powerfully and suddenly. They rip apart what they touch; property, landscape and lives … And although they can be prepared for, they cannot be prevented." These sentiments, from Yale political scientist Jacob Hacker, explain why economic risk is a concern for households, and why the extent of that concern depends a great deal on how well households are protected against risk. The potential for individual bad luck to lead to hardship has meant that society has, in many instances, determined that individual risk should be borne collectively through systems of social welfare or social insurance (Hacker, 2008, p.5).

Lessons from an Internship at Waipā: District Council motivations and incentives

Alice Denne

Creating change through policy interventions relies most often on changing individuals’ behaviour. To create effective change, it is important for policymakers to understand the attitudes and motivations of the people most affected. I learned how important this is while spending my summer interning at the Waipā District Council in Waikato as part of Victoria University’s Master of Public Policy graduate pathway programme.

Insuring property under climate change

Belinda Storey and Ilan Noy

Climate change will increasingly create severe risks for New Zealand’s coastal housing stock. Even a small amount of sea level rise will substantially exacerbate the costs of flooding and storm surges (Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2015). Under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) three mitigation scenarios, global average sea levels are likely to rise by between 28cm and 73cm by 2100 (above the 1986–2005 average). Under the IPCC’s high emissions scenario the sea level is likely to rise by between 52cm and 98cm by 2100 (IPCC, 2013). Only collapse of parts of the Antarctic ice sheet, if triggered, could cause the sea level to rise substantially above these ranges. Some regions in New Zealand (including the main urban centres) have high enough quality geographic data to infer the number of homes at risk. In those regions, there are over 43,000 homes within 1.5m of the present average spring high tide and over 8,000 within 50cm (Bell, Paulik and Wadwha, 2015).

General Election, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 3, August 2017

This issue focuses on some of the important policy issues facing New Zealand as it enters the 2017 general election campaign.

Alleviating poverty

Jonathan Boston

New Zealand was among the first countries in the world to implement a relatively comprehensive welfare state. But almost 80 years after the passage of the Social Security Act in 1938, serious social problems persist, not least significant levels of poverty – especially child poverty – and income inequality.

Big issues, bigger solutions: Are bottom lines enough?

Marie A. Brown and R.T. Theo Stephens

The life-supporting capacity of New Zealand’s environments has been much reduced and the pace of degradation shows little sign of abating (Ministry for the Environment and Statistics New Zealand, 2015). Few countries are experiencing greater biodiversity loss, more rapid freshwater deterioration or greater per capita increases in greenhouse gas emissions (Myers et al., 2013; Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2016; Gluckman, 2017). The climate is changing fast and it is already clear that a number of communities cannot be sustained for more than another decade or two in their current locations (Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, 2017).

Productivity and changing technology

Paul Conway

An orbital-class rocket with a 3D-printed engine launches into space from the Māhia Peninsula. A self-driving car crosses the Auckland Harbour Bridge. A pizza company begins testing delivery using airborne drones. While these may sound like things of science fiction, they are in fact stories that have been in the New Zealand media over the last year.

Health policy

Jacqueline Cumming

Improving health and well-being and promoting equity in outcomes are long-standing goals of New Zealand governments (for example, Department of Health, 1989; King, 2000; Ryall, 2007; Ministry of Health, 2016a, 2016b).1 New Zealand’s publicly funded health system delivers millions of high-quality services each year to achieve these goals. Our level of expenditure per capita on health care is slightly below the OECD average, but our health care system provides good overall health outcomes for the money we spend (OECD, 2015). Both our life expectancy and health expectancy (the years we live in good health) are increasing, although the former is increasing faster than the latter, leading to an increase in the number of years New Zealanders spend in poorer health; a key challenge is to improve our quality of life as people age (Ministry of Health, 2017a). Sadly, however, there are significant inequities in health, with Māori, Pasifika and lower-income people having poorer health than other New Zealanders (Ministry of Health, 2017a).

When is a policy past its use-by date? Differential superannuation

Sharleen Forbes

In 2011 the prime minister’s science advisor, Sir Peter Gluckman, drew attention to the need for clear monitoring and evaluation of key policies and programmes in New Zealand, stating: ‘The importance of well evaluated interventions both at the pilot stage and after scale-up is critical, as the costs and implications of inferior science or wrong data leading to policy decisions are immense’, and that ‘excellent social science, if done well, can be immensely valuable.

Immigration policies that would enhance the well-being of New Zealanders

Julie Fry and Peter Wilson

Two stories wax and wane in New Zealand debates about migration. With record arrivals, falling departures and high net migration (Figure 1), current public concerns are around pressures on housing, infrastructure and publicly funded services like schools and health care. In 1979 people fretted about whether the last one to leave would be turning out the lights.

Reforms to New Zealand Superannuation eligibility: Are they a good idea?

Norman Gemmell

The National-led government of Prime Minister Bill English recently announced changes to the eligibility rules for receipt of New Zealand Superannuation (NZS). In 2037 the age from which New Zealand residents become eligible to receive NZS will begin to rise – by six months each year – from the current age of 65 to reach 67 by July 2040. Residency requirements will also rise, to 20 years from ten (five of which must be after age 50).

A ride on the Ridgeway bus

Bob Gregory

I grew up in Mornington, in those days a largely workingclass suburb of Wellington, in the city’s south-western hills. My father was a government tradesman (for all of his working life). As it happens, a next-door neighbour was one of the three public service commissioners. It was the late 1950s, and after work my father and the commissioner would often ride home together on a Wellington Tramways bus, departing from Courtenay Place and winding upwards through the steep streets of Vogeltown towards the Ridgeway terminus.

Housing pressures and policies

Arthur Grimes

Do we have a housing crisis in New Zealand that is in need of a ‘policy fix’? It depends on where you are and who you are. Imagine, for instance, that you bought a house in Auckland in March 2007 and wanted to sell in March 2017, a decade later. Provided you chose to leave Auckland, you would have done very well financially. Over the decade to March 2017 the typical Auckland house doubled in value: the REINZ house price index (HPI) for the Auckland region showed an increase of 102%.

The heritage problem

Liv Henrich and John McClure

Earthquakes are a major hazard around the world (Bjornerud, 2016). A recent example is New Zealand, where three major earthquake events occurred within a six-year period. The 2010–11 earthquakes in Canterbury, centred close to the city of Christchurch, led to 185 fatalities, mainly due to two collapsed buildings and crumbling facades (Crampton and Meade, 2016). In addition, the rebuild of Christchurch after the earthquakes cost $40 billion (English, 2013), a large sum for a small country. Subsequent large earthquakes occurred in 2013 in Seddon (close to Wellington) and in 2016 in Kaikōura.

Intergenerational governance

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

We look through the glass darkly at the future. We cannot see it with clarity, if at all. What we do understand are the problems, the tensions and the demands of the present. It is true to say that the language of politics is the language of priorities. Whatever else Cabinet members do or do not do, they determine the priorities. They determine the order in which issues will be addressed and the resources that will be devoted to the issue.

Does the Living Wage ensure adequate standard of living for families?

Susan St John and Yun So

New Zealand was once held up as a model of egalitarianism to other countries. Today New Zealand is far from being that leader, with high income and wealth inequality and an unacceptable level of family poverty and homelessness. Children are particularly affected, suffering the highest levels of material deprivation in New Zealand (Perry, 2016).

Education in or for the 21st Century?

Cathy Wylie

The main policy problems facing education in 2017 relate to its resourcing, its structure, and the measurement of its performance and impact. Underneath the questions of whether government funding matches the greater expectations placed on education over the last decade, and whether structures need changing, or new players introduced, lies the question of what should be given most priority.

Quality regulation: Why and how?

John Yeabsley and Chris Nixon

A hundred days out from the election a number of issues are buzzing: housing, immigration, water, climate change, electricity bills, and the perennials, economic growth, incomes and taxes and law and order. Based on previous contests, some of these will become the raw material of the political debates while others will fade to the background.

The ebbing of the human tide, Policy Quarterly Volume 13, Supplementary Issue, June 2017

Theoretically speaking, while a country’s population is expanding it is expected that the majority of communities will grow more or less continuously; and growth is still almost universally recognized as a positive and normative condition of modernity.

Introduction and overview

Natalie Jackson

Since its original formulation in the 1940s (Davis 1945; Notestein 1945), the phenomenon known as ‘the global demographic transition’ has been used to understand the trend of structural population ageing, and with it, the slowing and ultimately the ending of population growth – now anticipated globally around the end of the present century (Lutz, Sanderson & Sherbov 2004).

Declining towns and rapidly growing cities in New Zealand

Lars Brabyn

Understanding and predicting spatial patterns in population change has significant implications for infrastructure, property investments, and national spatial planning. It is also at the core of understanding what motivates people to move to different places, and the underlying geographical conditions that are important to people

The relative (un)certainty of subnational population decline

Michael P. Cameron

“Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” This quote is attributed to Danish physicist and Nobel prize winner Niels Bohr, but the difficulty of making predictions does not stop us from making forecasts of economic, demographic, and other variables.

Urban influence and population change in New Zealand

William (Bill) Cochrane and David Maré

While the New Zealand population overall continues to grow, a large proportion of towns and communities in rural or peripheral areas exhibit near-certain stagnation (Cameron infra) or decline in their populations (Jackson & Brabyn infra).

Māori in New Zealand’s contemporary development

William Cochrane and Ian Pool

By conventional economic indicators, such as GDP per capita and unemployment, New Zealand is among the better off of the OECD countries (OECD, 2015). This, however, is not true for all areas in the country. The other empirical articles in this issue focus on the disparities between towns and rural centres across New Zealand, especially those in decline.

The mechanisms of subnational population growth and decline in New Zealand 1976-2013

Natalie Jackson and Lars Brabyn

This article summarises key findings from the strand of the Tai Timu Tangata. Taihoa e? project that examined the mechanisms of subnational population change in New Zealand for 143 towns, 132 rural centres and 66 territorial authority areas (hereafter TAs), for the 37-year period 1976-2013.

New Zealand’s population and development path

Ian Pool

New Zealand’s demographic regime, moderate to high population growth for most of the last 170+ years, has shaped ‘nation building’, especially self-identity (Pool 2016).

Marine Governance, Policy Quarterly, Volume 13, Issue 2, May 2017

This issue of Policy Quarterly explores the governance of the least governed reaches of our planet, the open ocean. Our oceans are notoriously difficult to govern and even harder to manage for several reasons.

Last line of defence

Marie A. Brown

In 2016 the Environmental Defence Society embarked on an analysis of compliance monitoring and enforcement of environmental law in New Zealand (Brown, 2017).

Government expenditure

Matthew Gibbons

The optimal size of government is an important political and economic issue. However, because no long-term government expenditure series has official standing, New Zealand is often a missing case in comparative studies of government expenditure (Castles, 1998).

Trading in influence: A research agenda for New Zealand?

James Gluck and Michael Macaulay

In November 2015 the Organised Crime and Anti-corruption Legislation Bill was passed by Parliament. An omnibus bill, it amended numerous different acts in relation to (among other things) money laundering, organised crime, corruption and bribery offences.

Greening the future: A case for environmental impact bonds

David Hall

The optimal size of government is an important political and economic issue. However, because no long-term government expenditure series has official standing, New Zealand is often a missing case in comparative studies of government expenditure (Castles, 1998).

Murky waters: Adaptive management, uncertainty and seabed mining in the exclusive economic zone

Catherine Iorns and Thomas Stuart

In 2012 the Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf (Environmental Affairs) Act (EEZ Act) established a discretionary consenting regime for resource activities and development in New Zealand waters beyond the territorial sea – the exclusive economic zone.

The Kermadecs conundrum

Toni Love

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are on the increase. Their creation is heralded as a significant response to severe marine degradation caused by fishing, mining, pollution and climate change. However, MPAs are highly controversial as they can override other competing interests, and their creation has become fraught. Sometimes this is about historic or ongoing disenfranchisement; often it has to do with a lack of transparency in the development processes (Warne, 2016).

What does good regulatory decision making look like?

Keith Manch

This article addresses a key theme of regulatory activity – decision making – in the context of the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative (G-Reg). This initiative has a broad focus on the improvement of regulatory practice and the development of the regulatory profession in New Zealand. In doing so, the article addresses decision making across regulatory systems.

A ‘sea change’ in marine planning: The development of New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan

Raewyn Peart

Marine spatial planning is a well-established approach internationally, and has been used to assist in the application of an ecosystem-based management approach to the marine environment (Ehler and Douvere, 2009; Ehler, 2014). New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan was completed in December 2016.

Reversing the decline in New Zealand’s biodiversity

Jacinta Ruru, Phil O’B. Lyver, Nigel Scott and Deborah Edmunds

Creating new conservation law that more holistically and comprehensively supports hapū and iwi leadership in conservation management should be embraced as a critical step towards reversing the decline of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biodiversity.

Policy changes: Kiribati migration and settlement

Mary Anne Thompson, Philippa Howden-Chapman and Geoff Fougere

This article examines how policy changes at a range of levels could improve decision making by and initial settlement outcomes for Kiribati migrants, a relatively new migrant group to New Zealand. It draws on recent research, based on in-depth interviews, on the settlement experiences of Kiribati migrants and their families living in New Zealand (Thompson, 2016).

Under new management

Morgan Watkins

Mineral resources and energy are central to the level of technological sophistication that we have come to expect in our everyday lives. Yet the availability and use of these finite resources is unsustainable, almost by definition, and particularly so when considering fragile ecosystems.

Global Studies, Policy Quarterly Volume 13, Issue 1, February 2017

This issue takes a global perspective, in particular exploring the major challenges facing humanity in the 21st century through the lens of ‘global studies’.

Global law: confronting the transnational criminal

Neil Boister

Philosophers of liberalism from Rousseau to Rawls have placed the good citizen at the centre of the liberal political arrangements they advocate.

Governing the Global Commons: the ‘planetary boundaries’ approach

Klaus Bosselmann

This article offers some ideas about a system of governance which reflects the reality of planetary boundaries (Rockström et al., 2009; Steffen et al., 2015).

Global security: confronting challenges to universal peace

Kevin P. Clements

The challenge of peace is complex and intractable. Much depends on the meaning of the concept and the definition of the term. And in that respect much depends on whether a diplomatic-legal or a sociopolitical approach is adopted.

The oceans: the Law of the Sea Convention as a form of global governance

Duncan Currie

Life came from the ocean. Without the ocean, life on Earth is not possible. The ocean produces and regulates much of the planet’s oxygen and water, provides substantial amounts of its nutrient and carbon cycling and supports most of its biological diversity. Fish feed over 3 billion humans, supplying 20% of their animal protein intake (FAO, 2016).

Building criminal accountability at the global level: the ICC and its discontents

Chris Gallavin and Kennedy Graham

With the negotiation of the 1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC), we all believed we had entered a new age: an age of unheralded peace and security, of justice, of an end to impunity; an age of accountability. At the time we believed the statute to be the biggest advance for peace and security through the rule of law since the United Nations Charter of 1945.

Global studies and the New Zealand Centre: meaning and potential

Kennedy Graham

Things change with the passage of time. In the late decades of the 20th century, international relations were naturally founded on 20th-century thought – the nation state as dominant actor; sovereign equality as central principle; international organisation as neutral arena; political military strategy as guarantor of peace and security; self determination, economic and social development and human rights as emerging norms. The United Nations Charter was the lodestar, despite the paralysis of the Cold War. The challenge was to make the charter work politically.

Global studies methodology

Kennedy Graham

It was shown in the previous article that global studies is qualitatively different from international relations, as a separate sub-discipline. It then becomes necessary to be clear about the defining criteria, the theoretical approaches adopted and the thematic scope of subject matter employed in global studies. This, in turn, raises epistemological issues that may need to be addressed.

Reviewing principles of governance: branches of government at the global level

Graham Hassall

The articles in this issue explore the challenges facing humanity in the modern age, and the implications they hold for political and legal thought. The essence of global studies is to explore those implications from a new perspective, a new world view which assumes the existence of a global community – ‘we the peoples’ – whose common interests must be met by the international community of states collaborating together in qualitatively different ways. The thinking, therefore, extends to addressing the concept of global constitutionalism.

Global sustainability: policy networks for the Sustainable Development Goals

Graham Hassall and Marjan van den Belt

This article focuses on public policy networks, but more particularly on those that are global in scope and intent. It examines how such networks are being deployed to advance the goals of the Sustainable Development Agenda, and how the New Zealand government and non-government actors might be involved. Networks have become an important tool.

The atmosphere: the Paris Agreement and global governance

Adrian Macey

The 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change set a remarkable precedent for speed of entry into force of a global treaty. With the threshold of 55 parties and 55% of greenhouse gas emissions being reached within a year of its adoption, the agreement entered into force before the following Conference of the Parties (COP22) in Marrakech (November 2016). By the end of COP22 there were over a hundred ratifications. This was both a vote of confidence in the agreement and a sign of the strong international commitment to tackle climate change. Less obvious is the fact that the agreement reflects a new model of international governance of climate change, in which the role of the central legal instrument has changed. It is yet to be tested, but these early signs of confidence augur well.

Reviewing the global economy: the UN and Bretton Woods systems

Rod Oram

Humankind has been searching for millennia for ways to govern itself at large scale and over great distances. Overwhelmingly, the dominant solution had been the creation of empires, defined as multi-ethnic or multinational states with political and/or military dominion over populations who are culturally and ethnically distinct from the ruling imperial ethnic group and its culture. In the modern Westphalian era of the past several centuries, a hybrid system of governance around the world emerged, comprising the nation state (in Europe and the Americas) and international empires (across Africa, Asia and Oceania).

Governing the global commons: an ethical-legal framework

Prue Taylor

Governance of the Earth’s global ecological commons creates unprecedented challenges for humanity. Our traditional Westphalian state system was not designed to respond to these global challenges and thus far it has failed to transform. Climate change is the current headline issue; 30 years on and we still swing between hope and despair about our collective ability to radically reduce greenhouse gas emissions.