Malcontents and Monopoly Rents: An Analysis of the Nature and Quality of Discourse Around, and the Drivers of, Policy Change in the New Zealand Electricity Sector
New Zealand’s electricity sector has undergone considerable change in the three decades to 2015. Those changes are part of a broader shift within the political landscape, from state intervention to market dominance and the view of individuals as consumers. An ill-fated policy proposal in 2013 called NZ Power sought to reduce electricity prices, and implement structural reform that would reverse decades of change within the sector. This thesis examines the context in which the reforms to the sector occurred so as to understand better why some policies are successfully implemented and other proposals fail. Specifically, this thesis examines the triumvirate of principal goals the sector has sought to achieve, and the political discourse around them: security of supply, economically efficient prices, and minimising environmental damage. From these insights, a framework is constructed against which future policies can be assessed as to the likelihood of their successful implementation.