Victoria's School of Government will tonight launch a new research institute that will look into issues at the heart of the democratic process, thanks to a generous $3 million endowment from The Gama Foundation.
The gift sees the Institute of Policy Studies become the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies.
Professor Peter Hughes, Head of Victoria's School of Government, says the new Institute will examine issues of public policy, public management and governance in New Zealand.
"This broadens the work previously done by the Institute of Policy Studies to include issues relating to good governance as well as ongoing work related to public policy."
The new Institute will be a centre of high-quality independent thinking, debate and public discourse which has influence throughout New Zealand and internationally. "This endowment is a generous gift that will support the Institute and School’s focus for the future," says Professor Hughes.
The Gama Foundation is a charitable trust set up by Christchurch philanthropists Grant and Marilyn Nelson.
Mr Nelson says the endowment stems from a desire to see the long-term interests of the public better represented in government decision- and policy-making processes in New Zealand.
"We had become aware of how vested interests used their money, influence and lobbying power to get the decisions they wanted. In making this donation we hope the long-term interests of the general public are given attention in areas where they have not been adequately represented or overlooked in the past."
Professor Bob Buckle, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Victoria Business School, within which the School and Institute reside, says he is delighted and grateful for the generous support from The Gama Foundation.
"This wonderful initiative will significantly enhance the ability of staff at the Victoria Business School and from across the University to engage on public policy issues of significance to New Zealand."
The endowment will be managed through the University's charitable trust the Victoria University Foundation.