Welcome on board Jo and Hamed


We are delighted to have appointed two new Policy Advisors this week, Joanna Smith and Hamed Shafiee. They are both starting work on our new inquiry into Local government funding and financing.

New Policy AdvisorsJo Smith, Principal Advisor

Jo joins us after working the last eight years at Sapere Research Group. Her last position at Sapere as a Principal Consultant has seen her develop a specialisation in programme and service evaluation. Jo also has expertise in applied economic research and analysis, and has considerable experience conducting stakeholder engagement activities.

Jo’s earlier career experience includes The Treasury, the policy group at the Police National HQ, and four years with the NZIER as an Economist. Jo holds an MA (Hons) and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Economics from the University of Waikato.

Hamed Shafiee, Senior Advisor

Hamed joins us after working the last three years at Hutt City Council. Hamed’s last position at the Council as a Senior Policy Advisor/Economist saw him provide economic analysis and advice to support the Council’s policy functions, inputs into financial strategies, and economic development planning – particularly around major strategic projects. Hamed was the policy lead for the Council’s recent review of its Infrastructure Strategy and he recently co-led the development of the Council’s Smart City Plan.

Hamed has worked in academia (Auckland University and AUT as a Research Assistant and Tutor) and in various private sectors (NZ and overseas in financial advisory/investment and energy). Hamed holds advanced qualifications in economics (PhD from the Universiti Putra Malaysia and an MA from the University of Tehran).