Cabinet has agreed to the appointment of Dr Ganesh Nana to chair the Productivity Commission, after the current chair Murray Sherwin ends his term, Grant Robertson announced today.

Dr Nana is currently the Research Director of BERL. He joined BERL as its Senior Economist in 1998, becoming Chief Economist in 2010, before moving to his current role in 2019.

“Dr Nana’s appointment will bolster the Commission’s efforts to deliver on the full breadth of its mandate,” Grant Robertson said.

“I want to ensure that the Commission, like the Government, looks beyond GDP to find its measures of success, and has the wellbeing of current and future generations of New Zealanders front of mind as it generates new knowledge and advice.  I also want them to engage with a wide range of New Zealanders as they undertake their work.

“I would like to thank Murray Sherwin for his work leading the commission over the past decade.”

Ganesh Nana said he is excited to take up the position and looks forward to working with other Commission members and staff to focus on a broad perspective on productivity.

“Contributing to a transformation of the economic model and narrative towards one that values people and prioritises our role as kaitiaki o taonga is my kaupapa.  This perspective sees the delivery of wellbeing across several dimensions as critical measures of success of any economic model.

“Stepping into the Productivity Commission after more than 20 years at BERL will be a wrench for me and a move to outside my comfort zone.  However, this opportunity was not one I could ignore as the challenges facing 21st century Aotearoa become ever more intense.

“The role and nature of the work of the Commission is set to change in light of these pressing challenges.  I am committed to ensure the Commission will increasingly contribute to the wider strategic and policy korero,” Dr Nana said.

Dr Nana will take up the position from 31 January 2021 for the first term of five years. He will step down from all formal duties at BERL but will remain a shareholder.

In order to avoid any actual or perceived conflicts of interest, the Productivity Commission would not enter into any contracts with BERL while Dr Nana is a Commissioner.

About Dr Ganesh Nana

Ganesh Nana is Chief Economist at BERL, a first generation New Zealander, with a PhD in economics from Victoria University, Wellington. Ganesh joined BERL in a full-time position in 1998, after a few stints as a tutor, lecturer, researcher, and advisor both in New Zealand and England. 

Ganesh was a member of the Welfare Expert Advisory Group that recently completed its report to Government on overhauling the social security system to make it fits for purpose for the coming decades.

BERL was the first economics consultancy established in New Zealand, and 62 years later remains an independent New Zealand-owned and operated enterprise. 

Ganesh has driven the development of BERL to be now a research-led consultancy – and a principal sponsor of the Society of Local Government Managers, the preferred provider of economic advice to the Federation of Maori Authorities (FOMA), a humble supporter of the Wellington City Mission, and a proud Accredited Living Wage employer.

Ganesh’s kaupapa is to help BERL build further to more openly and robustly question and address the many burning platforms facing Aotearoa, its communities, businesses, and people – climate change, inequality, demographic upheaval, synthetic foods, gig economy to name just a few. (theshiftaotearoa.org)