Photo of John Gastil

The Future of Democracy:  John Gastil’s visit to New Zealand

Listen to interviews Prof John Gastil recorded while in New Zealand and find out about the events he presented at on the future of democracy and promising democratic innovations in Auckland and Wellington in June 2024.

Gastil interviews recorded while he was in New Zealand

Title and linkInterview details
What lies ahead for democracyKathryn Ryan,
Nine to Noon, RNZ National
Aired on 8 July 2024
Democracy 2.0: Innovations with John GastilEpisode of the US Embassy NZ’s Mission Waves: Riding the Diplomatic Current in NZ & the Pacific podcast

Gastil events while he was in New Zealand

Prof Gastil, one of the world’s leading scholars in the fields of deliberative democracy and democratic innovation, presented an evening lecture in Auckland on 5 June and two lunchtime seminars and an evening event in Wellington on 11 and 12 June.

Wednesday 5 June, 5.30-6.30pm public lecture

Title:What lies ahead for democracy: A report from the USA 2024 general election
Abstract:This year will prove a turning point for democracy in the US—and perhaps the world. Political conflict in the US has become more heated than since the Civil War, and the two major parties have starkly contrasting views for the future of the country. At a time when democratic innovation appears robust around the globe, the US faces challenges to more fundamental democratic institutions and practices, such as voting rights, separation of powers, and reasoned deliberation. Forecasting the future for the US proves difficult, given the thin electoral margin between the major parties, but this talk will clarify the stakes of the momentous choice voters will make in November. This will be an election that stress-tests electoral laws and norms, the public’s resistance to authoritarian appeals, and the nation’s core commitment to constitutional law. Should US voters choose to elect a president who proves to govern as an autocrat, it may end up eroding democratic norms and institutions in nascent democracies while reinforcing democracy in well-established systems.
Where:Building 201, Level 4 Lecture Theatre – 201-440, 10 Symonds Street Auckland, Auckland 1010
Registration:Register here to secure a place
Hosted by:University of Auckland’s Faculty of Arts

Tuesday 11 June, 12.30-1.30pm seminar

Title:Deliberative voting guides in referendum elections: A reliable way to enhance democracy and improve public policymaking
Abstract:Referenda are a common tool for mass participation in decision-making at scale, but their effectiveness hinges on how informed citizens are, with few built-in measures to ensure this. Since 2010, many US states and local governments have experimented with a democratic innovation called the Citizens’ Initiative Review (CIR), to help referenda more reliably achieve democratic aims. A typical CIR gathers twenty residents to examine a ballot initiative or referendum for four days, then provides a one-page analysis for use by voters in an upcoming election. Dr. Gastil and colleagues have studied the CIR extensively, particularly in Oregon, where this process became state law in 2010. This talk will discuss the key findings of this research, such as the CIR’s effect on voter knowledge, voting choices, and public attitudes toward government.
Where:Level 12, Rutherford House, Bunny Street, Pipitea, Wellington and by Zoom
Registration:Registration is required to attend in-person
Register here to secure a place – only 70 seats are available
Zoom details:
Registration is not required for Zoom attendance
Hosted by:Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Government

Tuesday 11 June, 6.00-8.00pm event

Title:People, Planet, Pints: kōrero with internationally acclaimed deliberative democracy expert, John Gastil
Description:Join us for a drink, a discussion and connect with others interested in a greater voice for citizens in our economy and our democracy.

Cash bar
Where:Thistle Inn, 3 Mulgrave Street, Thorndon, Wellington
Registration:Registration is required – register here to secure a place
Hosted by:The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Aotearoa & Trust Democracy

Wednesday 12 June, 12:00-1.30pm seminar

Title:Why we can’t have nice things: Identifying (and surmounting?) the obstacles to digital democratic innovation
Abstract:Revitalising democracy requires bold action to develop and sustain civic infrastructure online. Dr. Gastil proposes building at the centre of such a system a suite of software and tools that engage citizens in budgeting, agenda setting, and policymaking, thereby building warranted public trust in both government and community action. In the book that Dr. Gastil is developing this year, however, he acknowledges that such a proposal faces formidable barriers, from feasibility and political viability to concerns about privacy, hacking, and misinformation. This talk inventories those obstacles and offers a speculative strategy for surmounting each one.
Where:OK406, Victoria University of Wellington’s Kelburn campus and by Zoom
Registration:Registration is required to attend in person
Register here to secure a place – only 12 seats are available
Zoom details:, Passcode: 010860
Registration is not required for Zoom attendance
Hosted by:Victoria University of Wellington’s Department of Political Science and international Relations

John Gastil’s Bio

John Gastil is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, Department of Political Science, and School of Public Policy at the Pennsylvania State University, USA. He studies the theory and practice of deliberative democracy, group decision making, political communication, and public opinion. 

The US National Science Foundation has supported his research on the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review, the Australian Citizens’ Parliament, jury deliberation, cultural cognition, and democratic innovation online. His most recent books are Hope for Democracy (Oxford, 2020) with Katherine R. Knobloch, and Legislature by Lot (Verso, 2019) with the late Erik Olin Wright.

Trust Democracy has been very please to help organise the Reinvigorating and Reinventing Democracy for the 21st Century Symposium, Auckland, 5-6 June, and John Gastil’s visit to Wellington, 10-12 June, with Koi Tū: the Centre for Informed Futures at the University of Auckland and Victoria University of Wellington.

2 thoughts on “The Future of Democracy:  John Gastil’s visit to New Zealand

    1. I’m sorry but the lunchtime sessions with John Gastil are not being record. However there may be another opportunity as an additional session is being organised – an evening one on Tuesday 11 June in central Wellington. Would you be able to attend this?

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