Steve Thomas's picture

Steve Thomas

New Zealand


Canterbury University, New Zealand - Bachelor of Arts with First Class Honors (BA (Hons)) - Master of Arts with Distinction (MA)

Contact details

I am a New Zealander with a passionate interest in public policy and the future of my country. While I enjoy academic research, what excites me the most is seeing its ideas and findings debated and turned into good public policy and law. I hope that my thesis research can make a contribution to not only academic discussion but also policy debate. After completing my undergraduate, honours and masters study at Canterbury University, I went to work for a New Zealand independent think tank. During that time I gained expertise in a number of areas, including education, taxation, political theory and voting systems. I also gained teaching and tutoring experience while working with interns who participated in the Institute’s internship programmes. In my spare time, I enjoy playing tennis, travelling and following aviation.

PhD programme

Policy and Government (POGO)

Topic title

Evaluating Educational Entrepreneurs in the New Zealand School System

Topic description

The purpose of my research is to evaluate the impact of educational entrepreneurs, as a kind of social entrepreneur, in the New Zealand school system. A social entrepreneur is an individual or an association that has established a venture which uses some kind of business model to provide a public good or a service using some sort of innovation. The venture’s primary purpose is not to make profit but to improve the welfare of those whom it serves. An important aim of my research is to observe whether educational entrepreneurs can add value in ways that regular state schooling cannot, educational or otherwise. The findings may demonstrate whether social entrepreneurship is a viable alternative form of providing public goods and services that can meet the needs of under-served communities.


Books, journal articles and policy reports

  • N. Aroney and S. Thomas. ‘A House Divided. Does MMP Make an Upper House Unnecessary for New Zealand?’ New Zealand Law Review. Part III. 2012: 403.
  • S. Thomas. ‘What Impacts can Charter Schools have on Regular State Schools?’Understanding Charter Schools Research Note. 2. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2012.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Can Charter Schools Improve the Achievement of Disadvantaged Pupils?’Understanding Charter Schools Research Note. 1. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2012.
  • S. Thomas. ‘How to Read Research about Charter Schools’ Impacts on Pupils’ Achievement.’ Understanding Charter Schools. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2012.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Enhancing MMP: How to Improve New Zealand’s Current Voting System.’ Research Paper. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2011.
  • S. Thomas. ‘A Better Mix: Why SM Strikes the Best Balance and should be New Zealand’s Voting System.’ Research Paper. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2011.
  • S. Thomas. Kicking the Tyres: Choosing a Voting System for New Zealand. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2011.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Lifting the Bucket. Tax Policy and Economic Growth.’ Tax Discussion Series. 3. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2010.
  • S. Thomas. Cotonou and Pacific Regionalism. Saarbrucken, Germany: Verlag Dr. Muller. 2008.
  • P. Henderson and S. Thomas. ‘Standards for Excellent Teachers, Students and the NCEA.’ Policy Paper. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2008.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Governing for the Good: What Does it Really Mean?’ Tax Discussion Series. 1. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2008.
  • S. Thomas. Roll Play. How Creating Better Access to Schools in Christchurch could Affect School Rolls. Auckland: Maxim Institute. 2007.
  • S. Thomas and P. A. Memon. ‘New Zealand Local Government at the Crossroads? Reflections on the Recent Local Government Reforms.’ Urban Policy and Research. 25 No. 2: 171 - 185.
  • S. Thomas. ‘A Political Economy Approach to Examining Pacific Regionalism.’ Asia Pacific Journal of EU Studies. 2, No. 1. 2004: 83 - 100.

Selected TV news appearances

Selected published newspaper opinion articles

  • S. Thomas. “Science Policy and Partnership Schools.” Policy Forum. Asia & the Pacific Policy Society. 22 January 2015.
  • S. Thomas. “Labour’s Economic Upgrade would Downgrade the Poor.” National Business Review. Weekend Review. 10 May 2014.
  • S. Thomas. “New Zealand Wants to Copy our Super: Here’s Why it’s a Bad Idea.” The Conversation. 9 May 2014.
  • S. Thomas. “Removing School Zones Scores Double-win.” National Business Review. 6 March 2014.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Equity Matters as Much as Equality.’ National Business Review. 2 August 2013.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Manufacturing Inquiry’s Recommendation could Damage the Economy.’ National Business Review. 5 July 2013.
  • S. Thomas. ‘National Standards Deserve Support.’ National Business Review. 21 June 2013.
  • S. Thomas and N. Suisted. ‘It’s Time for Teacher Standards.’ Otago Daily Times. 11 April 2012.
  • S. Thomas. ‘New Zealand’s Tax System Still a ‘Wedge’ Issue.’ Otago Daily Times. 17 May 2010.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Don’t Shoot Standards in the Foot.’ New Zealand Education Review. 10 July 2009.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Abolish School Zones for Fair Enrolment Policy.’ New Zealand Education Review. 15 May 2009.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Playing Fair with Taxation.’ National Business Review. 8 May 2009.
  • S. Thomas. ‘Thinking Outside the Square.’ New Zealand Education Review. Vol 13, No. 4. 8 February 2008.
  • S. Thomas. ‘The Latest NCEA Overhaul Does Not Go Far Enough.’ Forum. New Zealand Centre for Political Research. 3 June 2007.

Scholarships and fellowships

  • Australian Postgraduate Award (2013-2016)
  • College of Asia Pacific “Top-Up” Award (2013-2016)

Employment history

  • 2011-present - Instructor, Lachlan Macquarie Internship
  • 2013 - adjunct Research Fellow, Maxim Institute
  • 2005-2013 - Senior Researcher, Maxim Institute

Personal links

Mailing address

Crawford School of Public Policy
ANU College of Asia & the Pacific
J.G. Crawford Building No. 132
Lennox Crossing
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

Updated:  24 March 2017/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team