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Farewell Richard Clarke

Richard Clarke, leaning against front door of his house.

The New Zealand Productivity Commission is saddened to learn of the death of Richard Clarke. 

18 October 2023

Richard was a well-liked and respected friend and fellow worker.  British-born and a resident of Melbourne, he and his wife Sue spent considerable periods living in Wellington.  The Commission was a natural home for his talents - he made significant and valuable contributions to several of our inquiries from 2013 to 2017.  These included Better urban planning (2017), More effective social services (2015), Regulatory institutions and practices (2014) and Towards better local regulation (2013).

Richard was an expert in policy design, governance, institutional reform, market design and regulation. He championed practical design and robust assessment of policy and regulatory proposals and was deeply committed to evidence-based decision making. Richard brought valuable experience to the still-young New Zealand Productivity Commission from his many years of professional experience. He came to New Zealand having headed the Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission and having held senior roles in the Australian Productivity Commission and the Better Regulation Executive in London.

Earlier, during the early 1980s, he was a research fellow at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University, followed by six years as Chief Economist for Shell Australia.  He held a Master of Economics and Bachelor of Economics, both from Monash University.

On returning to Australia from living in Wellington, Richard served five years as a commissioner at the Australian Essential Services Commission and also worked at the Queensland Productivity Commission.

Richard had high integrity and was a caring and thoughtful person, driven by a deep commitment and steely determination to design and improve public policy to bring lasting positive change to the community. He was a wonderful colleague and a friend. We forgave him for supporting Australia and England when they played test cricket against the Blackcaps. We celebrated with him when a meeting was interrupted by a call announcing the birth of a grandchild. We apologised for cutting short a trans-Tasman conference call as we dived under the tables in a quake that rattled our building and our nerves.

Former commissioners and current and former staff who worked with Richard offer our deep condolences to Richard’s family, friends and Australian colleagues. We remember him with great fondness and know that he will be sorely missed.

Vale Richard Clarke.