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Investigating commentary on the fifth labour-led government’s third way approach

After the 1999 election of a Labour-led coalition government in Aotearoa New Zealand, a raft of policy reforms adopted characteristics of the ‘Third Way’ ideology promoted by Anthony Giddens. We argue, however, that Third Way characteristics were not implemented in Aotearoa New Zealand without attracting criticism. This article reviews academic analysis and wider commentary on the Third Way in Aotearoa New Zealand, much of which particularly focused on social policy reforms made by the Labour-led coalition government (1999-2008). We have used this literature to identify the varied ways in which the Third Way was defined and the extent to which Third Way ideology was considered to have influenced policy and practice the Aotearoa New Zealand context. Our semi-systematic literature review shows that many commentators argued that New Zealand did indeed implement a policy platform consistent with Third Way ideological characteristics but these were also adapted to the unique context of Aotearoa New Zealand. We explore in detail two key examples of adaptation di scussed in the literature: the Labour-led government’s early focus on reducing inequalities between Māori and non-Māori and on renewing civil society through subsidiarity and a partnership approach.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Piercy, G. L., Mackness, K., Rarere, M., & Madley, B. (2017). Investigating commentary on the fifth labour-led government’s third way approach. New Zealand Sociology, 32(1), 51–75.
Sociological Association of Aotearoa (NZ)
This article is published in the New Zealand Sociology. Used with permission.