• About me

    I’m Max Rashbrooke, and I write about economic inequality and democratic renewal. I’m also a journalist, public speaker and reviewer.

    For publicity purposes, the following is my short bio:

    Max Rashbrooke is a Wellington-based writer with twin interests in economic inequality and democratic renewal, and is currently the 2020 J. D. Stout Fellow at Victoria University of Wellington. He is the author of Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action, published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in September 2018. He is also the author of Wealth and New Zealand, and edited the best-selling work Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis. He is a senior associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, his work appears in outlets such as the Guardian and Prospect magazine, and he is a regular commentator in the New Zealand media.

    Contact details

    E: max.rashbrooke@gmail.com

    M: 022 694 0871

    T: Follow me on Twitter

    N: Sign up to my mailing list

    Senior associate, IGPS

    I am a senior associate at the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, in the School of Government at Victoria University, Wellington. Most of my research has focused on income and wealth inequality, and open government. Recent academic publications include:

    I have also carried out research contracts for public inquiries, government working parties and a range of commercial and not-for-profit organisations.

    Democratic renewal

    My most recent publication is Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action, published by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in September 2018. Details about it can be found here.

    Economic inequality

    I have edited a major work, Inequality: A New Zealand Crisispublished by Bridget Williams Books (BWB) in 2013 and republished in updated form in late 2018. I have also written The Inequality Debate: an Introduction (2014) and Wealth and New Zealand (2015). The three books have generated widespread media coverage and helped foster a rapidly growing conversation about income inequality. I also maintain a resource site about inequality in New Zealand. I helped develop the highly popular Inequality Calculator, which allows individuals to see exactly where they stand on the income ladder relative to other New Zealanders. I was also the recipient of a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellowship to examine the UK debates around poverty and inequality. More details of my work on inequality can be found here.


    As a journalist, I write for the Guardian and other international publications, as well as New Zealand media including the Herald, the NBR and Metro. I have twice been the recipient of the Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award, in 2011 and 2014. My arts reviews and profiles are written largely for Scoop, and I have previously reviewed for outlets including Time Out in the UK.

    Public speaking and hosting

    I am a frequent public speaker on a range of topics, my recent appearances including a presentation to the government’s Covid-19 Epidemic Response Committee. I am also available to host panel sessions and debates. Recent engagements include chairing a panel at the launch of Sylvia Nissen’s BWB Text Student Political Action in New Zealand. I am also a regular commentator on inequality and government reform in domestic and international media.

    Declaration of interests

    Ongoing: I have given, and continue to give, paid talks on economic inequality and democratic renewal to a wide range of organisations, including PriceWaterhouseCoopers, AMP, Z Energy, First Union, and the New Zealand Institute for Economic Research.

    2020-21: I have been appointed to the Statistics New Zealand advisory group on the redesign of the Household Economic Survey.

    2020: My principal income currently derives from my J. D. Stout fellowship.

    2019: My major contracts have included a report on the socio-economic factors underlying the placement of children into care, for the Royal Commission on Child Abuse; and assisting the Trade for All Advisory Board with the writing of its final report.

    2016-2018: My time working on a book about the renewal of democracy was funded by a grant from the Gama Foundation.

    2013-2016: I carried out research contracts for organisations including the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services, the Green Party, the Council of Trade Unions and the Equality Network.

    2011-2013: My work on a book about economic inequality was supported by grants from the G Trust, the J R McKenzie Trust, and the Bruce Jesson Foundation.

    General: I am not a member, paid employee or office holder of any political party or campaigning organisation.