Shaping Tomorrow Together

Shaping Tomorrow Together

Exploring the deliberative democracy journey

26 March 2024

Waitākere Room, Aotea Centre, Auckland City Centre


In democracies around the world, attitudes to giving feedback and the way people have their say constantly change and evolve. Councils, government organisations and agencies all face a similar ongoing challenge – to make sure that the voice of local communities is heard and – more than that – reflected back in the assets, services and activities that are delivered.

Trust and confidence in democracy is so critical for communities to grow and function well. 

But is it time for democracy to evolve again? 

Deliberative democracy is not a new concept. The roots of this approach go back to Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher considered to be the father of politics.

Deliberative democracy approaches are gaining momentum, with emphasis on inclusive, informed discussions, and citizens actively contributing to the decisions being made. So why is this ‘new deliberative wave’ sweeping the world and where does it fit alongside other decision-making processes?

How can both Auckland, and Aotearoa New Zealand, learn from the experiences of others and implement these processes to foster stronger community connections? Surely the ‘sweet spot’ for councils is decision-making empowered by citizen engagement and public participation? 

This Auckland Conversations looks into the significance of informed, collective decision-making. Our speakers will explore democratic processes both past and present, and together we’ll discuss some of the barriers, challenges, and opportunities that come with this driving force for change. 


Tuesday 26 March 2024
5.30pm - 7.30pm 

(Doors open at 5pm for networking)
Waitākere Room, Aotea Centre, Auckland City Centre 

Max Rashbrooke

Senior Research Fellow, Victoria University

Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer and public intellectual, with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic renewal. His latest book is Too Much Money: How Wealth Disparities are Unbalancing Aotearoa New Zealand, based on research he carried out as the 2020 J. D. Stout Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington. His previous works include Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action and Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, both published by Bridget Williams Books. A senior research fellow (adjunct) at Victoria University’s School of Government, he writes a fortnightly column for The Post, and his work appears in outlets such as the Guardian and Prospect magazine. His talk on upgrading democracy has been viewed 1.5m times.

Simon Bridges

CEO, Auckland Business Chamber

A lawyer turned senior National politician, Simon held a raft of senior responsibilities in politics, including as Leader of the National Party. As a Minister in the Key/English governments Simon held a wide variety of Ministerial portfolios including Economic Development, Transport, Communications, Energy & Resources, Labour, Associate Finance and Leader of the House. Prior to Parliament, Simon started his career in a national law firm and was then a Crown prosecutor conducting many serious criminal jury trials. Simon has an LLB (Hons) and BA from Auckland University where he received a Senior Law Prize, and a Bachelor of Civil law from Oxford University. In 2021 Simon’s personal memoir, National Identity, became a best seller, and received significant critical acclaim. Following his retirement from politics, Simon was appointed CEO of the Auckland Business Chamber. Simon is married to Natalie and the father of Emlyn, Harry, and Jemima.

Penny Hulse

Local Government Specialist

Penny was on the Local Governance Review panel. She has had a long career in Local Government both as part of Waitakere City Council and the amalgamated Auckland Council. Her commitment has always been to push for genuine community interaction with council and to seek new ways of authentically empowering communities to take charge of their wellbeing.

Dr Anne Bardsley, MNZM

Deputy Director, Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures

Anne is the deputy director of Koi Tū: The Centre for Informed Futures, a non-partisan think tank and research centre at the University of Auckland. She is director of the Koi Tū Forum, a new unit focusing on constructive public dialogue using methods and tools of deliberative democracy.

Drawing on previous experience in science advice for policymaking and research in deliberation, her work focuses on improving collective decision-making on complex, long-term, and contentious societal issues.

She has been involved in designing and facilitating deliberative processes including New Zealand’s first full citizens’ assembly with Watercare in 2022, forums on transport issues, and online dialogues using interactive engagement tools.

Rod Oram

Business Journalist

Business journalist Rod Oram contributes weekly to Newsroom, Nine to Noon, and Newstalk ZB. He is a public speaker on deep sustainability, business, economics, and innovation. Rod is a member of the Edmund Hillary Fellowship, which brings together people from here and abroad who seek to contribute to global change from Aotearoa.In Citigroup’s annual global journalism awards, Rod was the winner in 2019 in the General Business category in the Australia and NZ region for his columns in Newsroom on Fonterra; and he was the NZ Journalist of the year.In the New Zealand Shareholders’ Association Business Journalism Awards, Rod won the Business Commentary category in 2018 and 2020 for his Newsroom columns.Rod was a founding trustee and the second chairman of Ākina Foundation, which helps social enterprises develop their business models in areas of sustainability. He remains actively involved with the foundation and the ventures it supports.In 2016, Bridget Williams Books published Rod’s most recent book, Three Cities: Seeking Hope in the Anthropocene, details at

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