An Experiment in Governmental Futures Thinking: long-term insights briefings




futures thinking, foresight, long-term insights briefings, New Zealand


New Zealand’s Public Service Act 2020 requires departmental chief executives to give a long-term insights briefing (LTIB) to their respective ministers at least once every three years. The LTIBs must provide ‘information about medium- and long-term trends, risks, and opportunities that affect or may affect New Zealand’, along with ‘information and impartial analysis, including policy options’ to address the matters raised. The first suite of LTIBs were prepared during 2022–23. This article assesses the first round of LTIBs, giving particular attention to how they identified future risks and opportunities and the extent to which they adopted robust foresight techniques. Based on this analysis, we suggest how the process for preparing future LTIBs might be improved.


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Author Biographies

Malcolm Menzies

Malcolm Menzies is an independent writer and commentator on futures issues. He is a former chairperson of the now-disestablished New Zealand Futures Trust, and has a PhD in public policy from Victoria University
of Wellington Te Herenga Waka.

Andrew Jackson, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Andrew Jackson spent 30 years in senior roles in the public sectors of New Zealand and the United Kingdom working on foresight, policy and regulatory design. He was the managing director of a strategy and futures consulting company and now works at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka.

Jonathan Boston, Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Jonathan Boston, ONZM, is Emeritus Professor of Public Policy in the School of Government at Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka. His research interests include: climate change policy (both mitigation and adaptation); child poverty; governance (especially anticipatory governance); public management; tertiary education funding; and welfare state design.