Advising ministers challenging, satisfying

Nat Christensen, 2010 Class Act recipient from John McGlashan College, in 
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Nat Christensen, 2010 Class Act recipient from John McGlashan College, in front of the Beehive. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Advising government ministers during the Covid-19 pandemic has been some of the most challenging yet satisfying work Nat Christensen has done.

The 2010 Class Act Award recipient and former John McGlashan College pupil joined the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's graduation programme in 2017 and is now one of the ministry's senior policy advisers.

Christensen provides labour-market policy advice to a range of ministers including those with the employment, immigration, and work place relations and safety portfolios.

His team advises government efforts to promote a thriving environment for jobs and businesses.

"One of the things I enjoy most about the job is that we are all quite creative and like thinking outside the box," Christensen says.

"You have to test all the ideas and run them all through the same kind of rigour. It’s about coming to the best possible solutions."

When the country went to Level 4 lockdown, Christensen hurriedly converted his small, waterfront Wellington apartment into a makeshift office.

For several weeks, his team was divided into two groups working alternate four-days-on, four-days-off shifts, ensuring policy advice was available to ministers seven days a week.

"It was pretty long hours ... A fair bit of pressure and quite intense work at times."

The payback was getting to do interesting and intellectually challenging work that made a difference.

"It’s still early days in terms of the outcomes, but it's clear that support like the wage subsidy and Covid leave-support schemes have been really important in helping get through the pandemic, and I'm proud of that.

"So, that’s quite satisfying ... Being able to provide advice and then a few days later hearing it being talked about at the PM’s 1pm press conference."

 

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