Jeffrey  McNeill

Public Policy Analyst



Good policy formulation and advice for central and local government based on experience, expertise, knowledge and flair.


Contact: Jeff McNeill

021 386 701


93 Victoria Ave Palmerston North, New Zealand




Jeff McNeill MA(Hons) (Cant.) MPP (VUW), PhD (Massey), ANZPI

Jeff has over twenty years experience in central and local government as a policy analyst and manager.  Originally a geographer (his Masters thesis was on the distribution of weeds in a Canterbury braided riverbed), he consolidated his work experience in the Ministry for the Environment with a Master of Public Policy (awarded with Distinction).  His PhD, awarded by Massey University in 2008, consolidates and reflects on his experience in regional council management of the environment.


He joined Waikato Regional Council in 1990 and from 1993-2003 worked at Manawatu-Wanganui Regional Council, most recently as its Policy and Science Manager.  Jeff has had close encounters with political reality, as Private Secretary to the Minister for the Environment, advising regional councillors, and in 2004 working in the office of a German Member of the European Parliament in Brussels.


Jeff has been consulting and contracting policy advice and university lecturing, while also being associated with University research into local government since 2003.


Jeff joined Massey University’s resource and environmental planning programme as a senior lecturer in environmental planning in 2008.  Click here for Jeff’s Massey webpage.  There he undertakes teaching and research, with a particular interest in the environment-agriculture policy nexus.  He remains available for consultancy and contract work.


Recent events and news

·         Marilyn Bramley and Jeff in their paper, Up the creek and down the river: In-stream ecological values and property rights under the RMA at the 2009 New Zealand Environmental Law conference threw a curved ball on protecting minimum river flows under the RMA. They suggest in a forthcoming NCEL monograph the only guaranteed way to protect minimum flows is by making takes ‘prohibited activities’.  No regional council has gone anywhere near this level of protection.

·         Acts and Deeds in the Massey University News, commenting on the need for national environmental policy guidance (2009) seems to have been quite widely read. Click here for it.

·         The MAF Study, Meat: the future, released on 24 June 2009 by the Minister of Agriculture, concludes Jeff’s contract assignment with MAF Policy.  Jeff was responsible for promoting and developing the Delphi-based scenario approach, research design and undertaking much of the Delphi study and developing scenarios that explore the future of New Zealand’s sheep meat and beef sector.  Click here for the online version of the report.

Leading agricultural commentator, Allan Barber noted:

“Many aspects of the report impressed me, among them the primary research methodology and questions asked, the quality of the background research and most of all the development of the scenarios and extrapolation of the issues presented in each” (NZ Farmers Weekly, 29 June 2009).

·         Jeff’s doctoral dissertation, The Public Value of Regional Government: how New Zealand’s regional councils manage the environment, (2008) continues to attract attention, gaining wider recognition when it was used as a core reference for the Minister for the Environment’s Technical Advisory Group report on the Resource Management Act. 

·         He was invited to present a plenary paper at the 2009 EDS Conference, ‘Reform in Paradise’ on his doctoral research findings [Click here for Powerpoint].

Jeff has soft-bound copies of his dissertation available on request at $45.00 +GST including postage. (It has proven a steady seller, though not quite in the same league as Harry Potter!)



Public policy analysis

Based in Palmerston North, most, but not all, of Jeff’s work is for Wellington.

Clients have included:

        Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

        Department of Internal Affairs

        Ministry of Economic Development

        Ministry for the Environment

        Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment

        Auckland Regional Council

        Environment Waikato

        Palmerston North City Council

        Horizons Regional Council

Bubbles logo




Senior Lecturer in Environmental Planning, Massey University, Palmerston North

School of People, Planning and Environment

Massey University website

Jeff’s webpage

Senior Researcher, Local Futures, School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington

Local Futures is a five-year research project funded by the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology.  It aims to enhance strategy policy and planning performance and capability in the local government sector.

Local Futures website


Click here for full Curriculum Vitae

Professional interests

Jeff’s professional interests focus on:

*  Environmental policy: policy formulation including biodiversity and waste and hazardous substances management; and policy monitoring and evaluation

*  Bridging science and policy

*  Local government: strategic planning; relationships between different levels of government

*  European Union environmental policy


Jeff is particularly interested in:

·         The environment-agriculture policy nexus

·         Governance in the shadow of hierarchy: achieving coordinating and aligning policy within multi-level government systems

Selected written material (click here)



Inside the Caprice des Dieux

In 2004, Jeff was exposed to international government, spending three months in the European Parliament where, among other things, he was Coordinateur for the ‘Austrian Marmelade Directive’. 


This Directive amended Directive 2001/113/EC relating to fruit jams, jellies and marmalades and sweetened chestnut purée intended for human consumption (COM(2004) 151 – C5-0128/2004 – 2004/0052(CNS)) to allow Austrians to call their jam ‘Marmelade’ instead of ‘Konfitur’.  It was translated into 11 languages, but several translators phoned to say it did not make much sense to translate ‘jam means jam’.  Jeff could not possibly comment. [click here to read it here if you have nothing better to do]


Read the trip report:

Inside the Caprice des Dieux: NCRE European Parliament Spring 2004 (February - April 2004) Full text (pdf, 106 KB)  [external link]

New Zealand Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand


Public policy is fun, but there are other things in life, too…

Bassoons [more]

New Zealanders at the Battle of Messines, 1917 [more – includes brochure]