Thu 25 May 2017 AT 17:30 pm , Auckland

Data, evidence and the public discourse


We are bombarded by market data, whereas social data is less visible in the public sphere.  It is of course the interpretation of data which lends it any meaning or value so it is often the analysts and commentators which shape public opinion and even the wider public discourse. 

This presentation challenges this state of affairs by considering the role of The Salvation Army’s State of the Nation reports.  These reports have been published each February since 2008 and are designed to offer a commentary on New Zealand’s social progress which is readily accessible to an interested media and public. 

This commentary is a deliberate attempt to re-frame the policy debate in an effort to shift public discourse.  The presentation will consider this contest for the public discourse and the role which policy analysts and commentators play in this.


About the Presenter: Alan Johnson

Alan JohnsonAlan Johnson is a senior social policy analyst with The Salvation Army’s Social Policy & Parliamentary Unit.  The Unit is entirely funded by The Salvation Army and is based in its community ministry in South Auckland.  The Unit’s main purpose is to serve part of the Army’s mission to eradicate poverty in Aotearoa and it does this through a deliberate focus on social justice within public policy.

Alan is the author of the Army’s annual State of the Nation reports and undertakes social research and analysis across a range of topics including housing, children’s wellbeing, work and employment, crime and punishment and social hazards.  He has previously worked in policy roles in local government, as a lecturer and in NGO management roles.  Alan has an academic background in town planning and economics.