Associate Professor Mike O'Brien
Convenor and Social Security Spokeperson
Mike is an Associate Professor at the School of Counselling, Human Services and Social Work at the University of Auckland and has previously been the Head of the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Massey University.
He has written extensively on poverty and social security issues and is the joint author of Social Policy in Aotearoa New Zealand. He co-editedof CPAG's flagship publication, Left Further Behind: How policies fail the poorest children in New Zealand (2011) and contributed chapters to that key publication. He also contributed to CPAG's earlier report Left Behind: How social and income inequalities damage NZ children (2008) along with the first two editions of CPAG's Our Children: The Priority for Policy (2003). He has written Workfare: Not fair for kids? (2005) and The Impact of Debt on Low Income People, together with an examination of social security reform in New Zealand over the last two decades, Poverty, Policy and the State (published by The Policy Press UK, 2008).
His other books are New Welfare New Zealand (published 2007 by Cengage Publishing in Melbourne), a more detailed look at recent changes in welfare policy. Social Welfare, social exclusion - a life course frame (published 2007 by VarpingeOrd& Text, Sweden) is a collection of essays he has contributed to and co-edited with Swedish academic Lars Harrysson, and includes writings by 11 international authors on how people can become excluded from basic opportunities, rights and services in society.
Mike chaired the Alternative Welfare Working Group in 2011. The group produced two reports on welfare reform setting out directions for welfare reform which provide an alternative direction to that proposed by the government appointed Welfare Working Group. He is a Board member at Te Waipuna Puawai and of the Auckland City Mission and is a member of the Impacts of Poverty and Exclusion policy group for the New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services.