Six Unique Years

why did Think Big happen?


  • John Boshier Engineering New Zealand



Energy, Economics, Investment, Climate change


This article addresses the question of what caused the 1980 growth strategy which led to investment in major energy projects in New
Zealand. It argues that it was a rational policy response at the time. However, the political goal of self-sufficiency in transport fuels was costly and inefficient. Pressure on construction resources and inflation led to unacceptable cost overruns and the forecasting of future prices was astray. As a result, the ventures needed financial restructuring. Some lessons for the imminent investments to combat climate change are drawn.


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Author Biography

John Boshier, Engineering New Zealand

John Boshier is a fellow of Engineering New Zealand and a Harkness fellow. He has held senior roles within the electricity industry in New Zealand and Australia and served as a director of energy companies. He was a resident scholar at the Stout Research Centre for New Zealand Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, where he undertook research for Power Surge: how Think Big and Rogernomics transformed New Zealand (New Holland Publishers, 2022).