Jo Smith

Principal Consultant | Kaiwhiriwhiri Mātāmua
Wellington Office

Jo is a specialist in economic research, policy, and evaluation. She provides decision-makers with high-quality, evidence-based analysis and advice.

Jo is an applied economist with more than 20 years’ experience in the public and private sectors. She uses mixed-methods research to learn how policies are working on the ground, and advise on practical ways of improving them.

Jo combines a driven, roll-up-your-sleeves approach with sharp analytical skills. Using economic frameworks, she quickly analyses policy issues and gets to the nub of problems. She works flexibly with her clients to deliver tailored, pragmatic advice. She has particular expertise in qualitative interviewing, stakeholder engagement, developing measurement frameworks, and combining multiple data sources.  

Before she joined MartinJenkins in 2022, Jo was an Inquiry Director with the Productivity Commission. Earlier she spent many years as a consulting economist, and held senior adviser roles at the Treasury and New Zealand Police. She has a thorough understanding of government processes, including regulatory impact assessments.

Jo’s experience spans a wide range of sectors and industries, including health, social services, the environment, and international development. She has extensive experience in designing and evaluating programmes and services across not just government but also the business and community sectors. This has included field work in a range of Pacific Island countries.

Outside of work, Jo maintains her passion for health and fitness, including weight-training and trail walks.

Examples of Jo’s work

  • A functional and funding baseline review of a medium-sized regulatory agency that's responsible for a complex suite of regulatory regimes.

  • An efficiency and effectiveness baseline review of a small Crown entity, to assess whether the organisation is adequately resourced to carry out its statutory functions and is focusing on the right activities. 

  • Leading an evaluation of the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative (G‑REG), to determine the benefit that G‑REG has had for the regulatory workforce.
  • Research in support of the Productivity Commission’s follow-on review for its inquiry into “frontier” firms.

Jo’s qualifications

Jo has an MA (Hons) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Economics (with Distinction), both from the University of Waikato.