The New Zealand Project

The New Zealand Project

By any measure, New Zealand must confront monumental issues in the years ahead. From the future of work to climate change, wealth inequality to new populism – these challenges are complex and even unprecedented. Yet why does New Zealand’s political discussion seem so diminished, and our political imagination unequal to the enormity of these issues? And why is this gulf particularly apparent to young New Zealanders?

These questions sit at the centre of Max Harris’s ‘New Zealand project’. This book represents, from the perspective of a brilliant young New Zealander, a vision for confronting the challenges ahead. Unashamedly idealistic, The New Zealand Project arrives at a time of global upheaval that demands new conversations about our shared future.

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Table of contents

1. The New Zealand Project
2. Winds from the North, South, West and East: Global Forces and Frictions Shaping New Zealand Politics
3. New Zealand and the World
4. A New Framework for Economic Policy
5. The Art of What Might Not Seem Possible at the Moment: On Decolonisation and Constitutions
6. Social Infrastructure: Health, Education and Housing
7. Justice Means More Than Revenge
8. The Politics of Love: And the Changing World of Work
9. ‘Clean and Green’?: Environmental Politics and Policy
10. Genders, Masculinities and Sexualities
11. People Power
12. Taking the New Zealand Project Forward

Print publication:
Ebook publication: Apr 2017
Pages: 290
RRP: $39.99
ISBN: 9780947492588
DOI: 10.7810/9780947492588

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'New Zealand must cast off its worries about government debt in its Covid recovery', Max Harris,The Guardian, 10 September 2020.

'In my good books', Gord Stewart column in NZME regional newspapers, February 2019.

'Jacinda Ardern’s Progressive Politics Made Her a Global Sensation. But Do They Work at Home?', New York Times, 26 September 2018.

'A crazy little thing called tax', Max Harris, The Spinoff, 4 April 2018.

'Watch | Max Harris | A Year of The New Zealand Project', Impolitikal, 22 March 2018.

Max Harris is discussing The New Zealand Project and values-based politics in a series of four interviews on Face TV - you can watch on SKY 083 or On Demand!

'Book Review: The New Zealand Project by Max Harris', eSocSci, 13 October 2017.

'Personal values matter this election', Max Harris, Newsroom, 21 September 2017.

'You can go shopping with values: Max Harris on the politics of love', Max Harris, The Spinoff, 18 September 2017.

'The Politics of Caring: Interview with Max Harris', E. A. Tombs, Salient, 18 September 2017.

'People in prisons are people, too', Max Harris, Newsroom, 11 September 2017.

Sylvia Nissen, Book Review: The New Zealand Project, New Zealand Sociology, vol.32, no.1 (2017), pp.107-110.

'The Politics of Love', Anna Dannreuther, 29 August 2017.

The Project, TV3, 28 August 2017.

'Hits and misses of political week – Panel', Q&A, TNVZ, 27 August 2017.

'Ideas to reshape Aotearoa', Mark Peters, Gisborne Herald, 11 August 2017.

Watch Max Harris speaking in Gisborne, Wednesday 9 August 2017.

'Democracy’s dark future no distant doomsday', Max Harris, ;Newsroom, 4 August 2017.

'New author coming here', Chelsea Boyle, Wairarapa Times-Age, 3 August 2017.

'On Max Harris and ‘The New Zealand Project’', Daniel Kleinsman, WelCom, 3 August 2017.

'The New Zealand Project', Simon Randall, Tui Motu InterIslands Magazine, 1 August 2017.

'In Review: The New Zealand Project', Nidha Khan, Tearaway, 26 July 2017.

'Nina Hall and Max Harris: NZ must speak out for Pacific on climate change', Nina Hall and Max Harris, Stuff, 27 June 2017.

'What Next?', John Campbell and Nigel Latta, episode 5, season 1, 15 June 2017.

'Michael King Memorial Lecture: A New Politics For NZ, Max Harris (2017)', Podcast, Auckland Writers Festival.

'What we talk about when we talk about politics in New Zealand', Max Harris, The Wireless, 14 June 2017.

'Bring back values: they make us all richer', Ian Harris, Otago Daily Times, 9 June 2017.

'Rhodes scholar calls for communities to embrace 'the politics of love'', Lewis Taylor, Timaru Herald, 29 May 2017.

'Make It New or Make It Necessary: Max Harris and the New Zealand Project', Joe Nunweek, Pantograph Punch, 25 May 2017.

'The New Zealand Project - Max Harris', Up and again with James Dann, RDU FM, 25 May 2017.

'Political Roundup: Three solutions' to get young people voting', Bryce Edwards, NZ Herald, 24 May 2017.

'Auckland writers festival - strange and wonderful', Dionne Christian, NZ Herald, 23 May 2017.

'Auckland Writers Festival Breaks All Records', Beattie's Book Blog, 22 May 2017.

'The Politics of Love', Meg Williams, Craccum, issues 9, 2017.

'Max Harris on the Unavoidable Centrality of Environmental Politics', Impolitikal, 15 May 2017.

'Pantograph Picks: Auckland Writers Festival 2017', Pantograph Punch, 14 May 2017.

'Metro's picks from the Auckland Writers Festival 2017', John Sinclair, Metro, 10 May 2017.

'Review: Max Harris, The New Zealand Project', Sylvia Nissen, New Zealand Sociology, May 2017.

'The New Zealand Project, the response and the politics of our time', Max Harris, The Spinoff, 2 May 2017.

'Max Harris: Our country has been losing its moral direction', interview with Dale Husband, e-Tangata, 30 April 2017.

'Book of the Week', Volume: The Space for Books, 29 April 2017.

'Thomas Coughlan: The brilliance of The NZ Project', Newsroom, 25 April 2017.

'Unity Books best-seller chart for the week ending April 22', The Spinoff, 21 April 2017.

'Max Harris – a visionary worth following', Māmari Stephens, e-Tangata, 16 April 2017.

'Love – factually: TV's entertaining and informative political shows', Diana Wichtel, NZ Listener, 15 April 2017.

'Max Harris: Young, gifted and political', Philip Matthews, Stuff, 15 April 2017.

'Unity Books best-seller chart for Easter', The Spinoff, 13 April 2017.

'The New Zealand Project - confronting the country's challenges', Nine to Noon, Radio New Zealand, 11 April 2017.

'Bringing Values Back', Tom McKinlay, Otago Daily Times, 10 April 2017.

'Max Harris and the Politics of Love', Rod Vaughan, (NZ Listener), 6 April 2017.

'Will young candidates do the trick and encourage youth voters?', Radio New Zealand, 3 April 2017.

'Rhodes Scholar calls for civics education to better engage young people in politics', One News Now, 2 April 2017.

'Is it time for a new kind of politics?' Q&A, TVNZ, 2 April 2017.

'Max Harris on Universal Basic Income, & the New Zealand Project', Impolitikal, 21 March 2017.

'Auckland Law School Alumnus Makes his Mark', LawNews, issue 6, 10 March 2017, pp.6-7, 10.


'Both books [Harris and John Hawkes], thereby, make a very important contribution to a national conversation that is long overdue, if we ever hope to develop some long-range strategies and visions that stretch well beyond the cautious patch-ups induced by our three-year-election cycle...hopefully, these two important books will spark a debate to halt the current slide towards chronic inequality, and bequeath a better world to our grandchildren and great grandchildren.' - Tom Brooking, 'Gloomy Agreement', New Zealand Books, Summer 2017.

'This book is an ambitious undertaking. What I like most is its style — it does not present definitive answers but takes readers through the author’s thought process as he grapples with doing politics differently. It challenges and encourages readers to examine the situation for themselves and come to their own conclusions.' - Simon Randall, Tui Motu, issue 218, August 2017.

'It is a brave book that I will undoubtedly go back to again and again, and it has rightly received significant acclaim within New Zealand and abroad. Read this book.' - Sylvia Nissen, Book Review: The New Zealand Project, New Zealand Sociology, vol.32, issue 1 (2017), pp.107-110.


'A poignant reminder that New Zealand is a journey we are all on together – Max Harris achieves a transformative narrative that gives space, visibility and consideration to others. The New Zealand Project is grounded in manaakitanga and studded with the bright ideas of young Aotearoa.' Courtney Sina Meredith, Writer

'Voters across the world are upturning the establish­ment, whether in Brexit Britain, Trump’s America, Orbán’s Hungary, Kaczyński’s Poland, or Duterte’s Philippines. Max Harris offers New Zealanders an alternative to the status quo and also to the populism raging in other countries. His idealism is a breath of fresh air in a rather stale global debate.' Ngaire Woods, Dean, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford

'A much-needed analysis of New Zealand society, our politics, and our values – and importantly, the potential for stronger connections between each of these. This book challenges us to deepen our ambitions for our country and offers insights to take our national conversation forward.' Sudhvir Singh, Generation Zero and EAT Foundation Director

'The New Zealand Project is a timely reminder that politics is about us and the country we live in. Max Harris’s sensible, ambitious, non­partisan approach makes you think, agree, disagree, learn and, most of all, realise what is possible with values­-driven politics.' Sam Johnson, Founder, Student Volunteer Army

'The New Zealand Project is an impressive and ambitious combination of high­-minded thinking, careful analysis and practical recommendations. It is both a positive portrayal of New Zealand’s potential and a critique of our failure so far to reach it. Overall, though, there is an optimism that shines through; a sense of aroha toward fellow Kiwis that is inspiring and, hopefully, motivating.' Hautahi Kingi, Economist

'Max Harris confesses to an unusually large mouth, helpfully pointed out by a teacher when he was eight. Luckily for us he has equally large ears and he’s put them to good use amplifying a shared vision for Aotearoa that we could all be proud of. Max has his moral compass fully stocked with care, community and creativity as he traverses some of New Zealand’s trickiest issues.' Katie Bruce, Director, JustSpeak

'A call for a Fourth Way politics of love to repair the heart of Aotearoa. A visionary, must­-read book about our future.' Catriona MacLennan, Lawyer

'I am in awe of the constructive optimism brought to bear on Max Harris’s project. Has ever so serious a project been cause for so much hope? The New Zealand Project manages to be both wide-­ranging and highly topical, as it presents a compelling case for the limitations of value­ free, ‘what­-works’ politics.' Nicola Gaston, Associate Professor, Department of Physics, University of Auckland

'This is more than a book of hope and ideologies. Max Harris suggests tangible steps to be adopted or critiqued that challenge the reader with The New Zealand Project: to work, think and act critically for the future of not just politics, but the present and future direction of Aotearoa.' Julia Amua Whaipooti, JustSpeak Chair