Expert line-up for Population Conference

  • Max Bradford

An expert line-up of speakers will ensure that the Population Conference makes an important contribution to our understanding of population change and the future development of New Zealand, Immigration Minister Max Bradford said today.

"The Population Conference in November will take a hard look at who we are as New Zealanders and where we are going as a country. It is excellent the conference has drawn such an impressive range of specialists to share their expertise," Mr Bradford said.

Key speakers include:

Dr Jim Smith of California led the United States' most comprehensive research into the consequences of immigration when he chaired the National Academy of Sciences Panel on Demographic and Economic Impacts of Immigration 1995-1997. His published work also covers issues relating to ageing, health and retirement, women in the labour market and long term savings. He will draw on the most recent international research to discuss the impacts of immigration.

Government statistician Len Cook will draw on the latest NZ research and census statistics to provide an overview of current and future trends in population size, structure and dynamics to contribute to the understanding of the implications of population issues in achieving New Zealand's social and economic objectives.

Professor Ian Pool and Professor Richard Bedford, both of the University of Waikato, will explore a number of important population issues for New Zealand. Prof Pool's recent research has focussed on population change in New Zealand in relation to social and economic policy. Prof Bedford has focussed his work on the field of international migration, particularly in relation to the Pacific Island peoples and New Zealand.

Paula Rebstock, currently with the Department of Labour as general manager, policy, will draw upon an extensive background in policy, economics, employment, tax and benefit reform and immigration to provide an overview of the relationships between population change and labour market growth, education, skill development and urban expansion.

Sir Tipene O'Regan has been strongly involved in Maori and development issues for 30 years, particularly in relation to his own Ngai Tahu people. His primary focus has been on economic, cultural and resource management aspects of Maori participation in New Zealand society. He will discuss the links between population change economic growth, business and Maori development.

In addition to the key addresses, a number of panel discussions will be held to explore other issues such as population change and conservation, environment, ethnic diversity, national identity, cultural development, social services, urban expansion, settlement of migrants, education and the labour market.

"The conference is an important step in our understanding of present and future population dynamics and their implications, so we are better equipped to prepare for issues facing New Zealand in years to come," Mr Bradford said.

Former Principal Youth Court Judge Mick Brown is to chair the conference, which will also feature addresses by the Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration.

The conference is to be held on November 13 and 14 at the new Museum of New Zealand, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington.

It is expected to attract a diverse range of people representing the academic world, central and local government, Maori and ethnic groups, the business sector, education, health, social services and community sectors.

Anyone wishing to register their interest in attending the conference should contact Corporate Arrangements by fax (04) 472-4225, email or by post to Population Conference Secretariat, P.O. Box 12106, Thorndon, Wellington. Registration documents and information were released today.