Research Programme

Some of ESRA's key areas of research are organised as Inquiry Groups coordinated by ESRA Researchers. Other projects are carried out by individual researchers. Alongside the work of the Inquiry Groups listed below, research is underway in areas including: longitudinal analysis of Statistics NZ employment and unemployment data; the Productivity Commission; value and work; and welfare law. ESRA’s research programme is very much a work in progress which will develop pragmatically as the organisation grows.


Political strategy and organisation

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Join ESRA’s Political Organisation Inquiry Group for a facilitated fortnightly reading group, designed to strengthen the thinking of a resurgent left in response to some of the key organisational and strategic issues of our time. more

Agriculture Inquiry Group

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ESRA’s Agriculture Inquiry Group is undertaking research into the current role of agriculture in New Zealand’s economy, challenging some of the myths which have taken hold in this area. The group is coordinated by Sue Bradford and Karen Davis. more

Housing Inquiry Group

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ESRA’s Housing Inquiry Group is made up of activists and researchers who have an interest and expertise in housing, urban contexts and finance. The group is committed to a vision of housing beyond the current containment of capitalist social and spatial relations. Vanessa Cole coordinates the group’s work. more

Economic Planning Inquiry Group

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ESRA’s Economic Planning Inquiry Group looks at the ways in which the economy is currently planned, and the possibilities for a different way of planning the economy. The group is coordinated by Campbell Jones and Jonathan King. more


Amanda Thomas

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Dr Amanda Thomas has a PhD in geography and is a lecturer in Environmental Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research is largely grounded with communities, and examines democracy and the ways that environmental politics interact with social justice. more

Anna Fielder

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Anna has worked in various areas of university-based research and women’s health and is enrolled as a doctoral student at the University of Auckland. She is Secretary of ESRA. more

Anna-Maria Murtola

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Dr Anna-Maria Murtola is a Senior Lecturer at Auckland University of Technology where she teaches global political economy. Her research is grounded in the critique of political economy and draws on critical theory, cultural studies, philosophy and sociology. more

Ben Rosamond

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Ben is a student, activist and researcher based in Tamaki Makaurau. He is currently completing a Masters degree at the University of Auckland around the question of sovereignty in Aotearoa/New Zealand, alongside his work at ESRA and sustained commitments to several activist organisations. more

Campbell Jones

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Dr Campbell Jones is a philosopher and sociologist specialising in the analysis and critique of capitalist ideology. He is a Researcher for Economic and Social Research Aotearoa and Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Auckland. His most recent book is Can the Market Speak? (Zero, 2013). more

David Parker

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Dr David Parker was born and raised in Lancashire, England. He came to Aotearoa/New Zealand in 1988. He is an activist, writer, editor and educator, and works as a postgraduate learning advisor at Auckland University of Technology. Currently David is co-chair of the Kotare Trust, a centre for Tiriti-based radical social change education. more

Dylan Taylor

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Dr Dylan Taylor is a lecturer in Sociology at Victoria University of Wellington and editor of Counterfutures. Dylan has written for academic publications, including Thesis Eleven, Rethinking Marxism and New Zealand Sociology. He is the author of Claiming the Century: The promise of social movements and democracy in the 20th Century. more

Finn Morrow

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Finn is a union organiser with the New Zealand Nurses Organisation, and he co-coordinates ESRA’s Political Organisation Inquiry Group, a collaborative research project addressing the organisational and strategic impasses reproduced by the left in Aotearoa, and possible ways of overcoming them. He has previously taught at the University of Auckland. more

Helen Potter

Helen Potter

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Dr Helen Potter is a co-director of Tīaho Ltd, a recently formed kaupapa Māori research group. She brings to ESRA a background in kaupapa Māori research across a range of fields including education, health, and whānau and environmental wellbeing. more

James Roberts

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James is a masters student and activist in Tāmaki Makaurau. He currently works and studies at the University of Auckland. James principally locates his research interests in the challenging of financial discourses, critical pedagogy, and continental philosophy. James is a member of ESRA’s Steering Committee. more

Jonathan King

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Jonathan coordinates ESRA’s communications as it develops into a fully-fledged think tank. His research addresses philosophy and political economy, and he has taught on the future of work at Massey University. He has previously taught Political Studies, International Relations, and Business at the University of Auckland. more

Karen Davis

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Dr Karen Davis has extensive experience in helping to set up and run community organisations and a strong background in financial administration and community based research practice. She has a PhD in Linguistics, but has chosen to use her analytical and education experience as a community worker, activist and economics educator. more

Nathalie Jaques

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Nathalie is a doctoral candidate at the University of Auckland, a member of teaching staff in the department of Sociology and a community activist. Her role in ESRA is within the Research Committee, developing the initial procedures and projects of the think tank’s research component. more

Peter King

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Dr Peter King is a sociologist and Principal Researcher with Parallax Research.  He brings to ESRA a background in social policy research in the fields of poverty measurement, income distribution, material deprivation, barriers to employment, and social gerontology. more

Sue Bradford

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Dr Sue Bradford is a community-based activist and former Green MP whose 2014 doctoral thesis A major left wing think tank in Aotearoa: an impossible dream or a call to action? instigated the development of ESRA. She now coordinates the work of the emerging organisation. more

Vanessa Cole

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Vanessa is a researcher and activist specialising in housing and urban planning in Aotearoa. She is an active supporter of the state housing struggle, and an advocate with Auckland Action Against Poverty. She also coordinates ESRA’s Housing Inquiry Group. more

Warwick Tie

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Dr Warwick Tie is a sociologist with Massey University who brings his research background in the politics of conflict resolution, in socio-legal studies, in utopian studies and in political organisation. His teaching focusses on contemporary social theory and on interventions with the ‘unstructured problems’ emerging from the contradictions of late capitalism. more