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The final week: Our Mannkal intern in Wellington

My final week here in Wellington has been incredibly exciting, not in the least because I’ve been offered a job at The Initiative, starting after I finish my undergraduate degree in July.

This presents an incredible opportunity to immerse myself even more in all New Zealand has to offer, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that my parents had the good sense to apply for Australian citizenship all those years ago.

I think it’s safe to say that I have fallen in love with Wellington, and I could not wish for a better second home.

Island Bay

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Mannkal – had it not been for their belief in me, I would not have had the chance to prove myself, nor be so lucky as to have a full-time job straight out of university.

My work this week at the Initiative has primarily revolved around researching money laundering, supersonic flight and drones for the digital regulations project. Unfortunately, what all these topics have in common is cumbersome regulation.

Most notably, the primary reason supersonic flight development stopped dead in its tracks in the US was government regulation – techno-phobic lobbying got the better of regulators and supersonic flight was prohibited in a knee-jerk reaction from government.

Regulation dictates that drones have to stay within the line of sight of operators in New Zealand, which stifles commercial innovation. While in France and the UK, drones have been trialled for use by delivery services, developments in the technology are being stifled in New Zealand by excessively cautious rules.

The Government has also proposed anti-money laundering legislation that extends red tape from financial advisers to real estate agents, lawyers and accountants. While there is little doubt that money laundering happens in white collar industries, many of them already have mechanisms in place to keep tabs on the practice.

This proposal would involve dual regulation, where the Department of Internal Affairs would also monitor these industries and ensure compliance with their own set of standards. For a government that is supposedly committed to less regulation, this seems a bit counterproductive.

The second report in the Initiative’s education series was released at the beginning of the week to a flurry of media coverage. I chose to write about the report launch in my first piece for the Initiative’s weekly newsletter, Insights.

I spent my last weekend in New Zealand in Island Bay to get a taste of what life is like in suburbia. While I love the city centre, there is something unmistakably charming about the surrounding suburbs – garage sales lining the sunny streets, community groups offering $5 wood-fired pizzas and quaint bakeries. My housemates and I came fourth in a quiz night on Tuesday and I won free tickets to see a Fringe show at one of the local bars on Thursday. I think it is safe to say that I will be sad to see Wellington go – I am already counting down the days until my return.


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