Michael Mills

Partner | Hoa Pakihi
Wellington Office

Michael is a public-policy expert with deep understanding of government roles, institutions, and processes. He is sought after for his extensive knowledge and insights in leading public policy development and delivery and navigating the complex machinery of government.

Michael has led, managed, and provided thought leadership in support of regulatory and public policy reform across many sectors over the last 30 years. Most recently, Michael has directed the policy and legislative programme in support of Three Waters Reform.

Leaders seek Michael’s counsel because of his deep understanding of the role of government, policy processes and their management, combined with experience in managing policy advice on complex system level issues. Michael is often called upon to navigate and lead high profile, complicated policy initiatives - especially those involving multiple government organisations and requiring engagement with communities and businesses.

Michael joined MartinJenkins after 15 years in the public sector, including roles within the New Zealand Planning Council, the Prime Minister’s Advisory Group, and the Labour Market Policy Group of the then Department of Labour.

Examples of Michael’s work

  • Directing the policy and legislative programme in support of the Three Waters Reform including management of the regulatory response to the Havelock North contamination crisis, the establishment of Taumata Arowai and the policy work to provide for Water Services Entities legislation

  • Leading reviews of the Building Act to provide for a proportionate and risk-based approach to building consenting. This included the Government’s policy and regulatory response to the leaky building crisis, and subsequent reviews of the Building Act.

  • Policy leadership and management of work in the primary sector, including the design of the regulatory framework to provide for the merger of dairy cooperatives to create Fonterra, and the design and implementation of the Forest Emissions Trading Scheme.

  • Leading ACC policy reforms and advising on the introduction of full funding and competitive underwriting for the ACC scheme. This included undertaking a Ministerial Inquiry for the Minister of Finance and advising on the application of actuarial, insurance and investments principles to the design of social support systems and programmes.

  • Leading and advising on matters related to natural hazards and resilience. This included leading the 2012 review of earthquake-prone building policy setting, analytical leadership for land zoning decisions in Christchurch post-earthquakes, and advice on matters related to EQC’s role and readiness.

Michael's qualifications

Michael has a BA in Sociology from the University of Canterbury and is a graduate of the Institute of Directors’ Director’s Course.

Project Examples