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POLS520 New Zealand Government and Politics

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In-depth analysis and evaluation of New Zealand political institutions and their role in policy making.

This paper introduces students to the key institutions, processes and roles in New Zealand politics. It provides theoretical and analytical frameworks to enable students to critically assess the exercise of power in New Zealand politics.

The paper will challenge students to apply knowledge and information about New Zealand politics to real political problems and issues, as well as theoretical and hypothetical scenarios. It will help students to develop their capacity to work with others, to develop their written and oral communication, and their capacity to undertake independent research.

Paper title New Zealand Government and Politics
Paper code POLS520
Subject Politics
EFTS 0.25
Points 30 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,732.00
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,678.00

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Limited to

Available to students eligible to enrol in 500-level MPols papers.


Professor Janine Hayward

Teaching staff

Professor Janine Hayward

Paper Structure

The paper intorduces students to key concepts and theories before engaging in topics relevant to current policy debates in New Zealand.

Teaching Arrangements

The paper is taught as seminar-style discussions around readings and topics.


Required readings availabile via eReserve

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Communication, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation, Literacy.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes

This course helps you to

  • Engage with theoretical perspectives that explain why governments do what they do
  • Learn about New Zealand's political past in order to develop a clearer understanding of the present
  • Develop an awareness of the wider social and economic context, including inequality within society, to understand how social and economic forces shape politics and influence government
  • Describe the main features of, and actors within, New Zealand's distinctive political economy
  • Know what government is and how it works

Students who successfully complete the paper will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the methods of inquiry, the techniques and the procedures employed in the study of politics, as well as those employed in investigating particular political problems and phenomena
  • Analyse written or oral communications in order to break them into constituent parts to make political ideas and assumptions clear and make the connections between ideas explicit
  • Judge the appropriateness of methods used to solve political problems and evaluate whether to use methods if these bring about ends other than those desired
  • Apply abstractions (general ideas and methods) to new and unfamiliar, particular and concrete situations
  • Articulate ideas, feeling and experiences to others, both as a writer and speaker
  • Carry out self-directed and independent research

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Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Thursday 10:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41