John Campbell and Nigel Latta team up to tell our fortunes

by Fiona Rae / 11 June, 2017
RelatedArticlesModule - Campbell and Latta

What Next?, Sunday-Thursday.

Well, Nigel Latta, John Campbell, a truckload of survey data and a bunch of futurists.

Would you trust a robot with your life? Would you eat bugs instead of beef if it helped the environment? Will your job exist in 20 years? Would you choose to live to 130 if you could?

If you answered “no, no, yes, yes”, you’re with the majority of respondents on TVNZ’s website for What Next? (TVNZ 1, Sunday-Thursday, 8.30pm), a live television event over five nights that investigates the future direction of our island nation. The results of that online survey will feed into episodes focusing on technology, the environment, the economy and lifestyle.

The show is the brainchild of psychologist Nigel Latta, who has enticed journalist John Campbell back onto mainstream television for the first time since Campbell Live was axed by TV3 in 2015.

“It’s nice to be back,” he told Breakfast in April. “This is a good project. It’s a Nigel Latta-driven project, and I’m a big fan of Nigel’s work.

“There’s lots of long-term planning going on in this country, but it’s always piecemeal, and it’s driven by political decree, so the response is often tribal … the intention of this programme is to have a big-picture discussion about what we want for our future.

“The idea is that we remove it from the political arena and get people to participate.”

The show is underpinned by a 20-year longitudinal study being undertaken by the University of Auckland’s psychology department, called the New Zealand Attitudes and Values Study. It has been surveying 6500 people nationwide since 2009, and has already collected a large amount of data, helped by the fact the Christchurch earthquakes are included in the time period.

“We can see how people were doing; their attitudes, values, health, well-being, connections with families and friends, personality; and how all these things might have changed over time,” says Associate Professor Chris Sibley, one of the survey curators.

“Psychology doesn’t know very much about long-term change in people. By being able to statistically estimate how people are changing, we can predict where we’re going.”

The series is also turning to a group of futurists, including indigenous social entrepreneur Shay Wright, tech entrepreneur Frances Valintine, and Wendy McGuinness, whose work focuses on sustainability and social inclusiveness.

To be part of this social evaluation, however, you need to be part of the digital revolution: the futurists are going to be part of a Facebook Live think tank following the TV show each night. Sign up at

This article was first published in the June 10, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

Get the Listener delivered to your inbox

Subscribe now


David Bain: The case for reviewing all the evidence
87929 2018-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

David Bain: The case for reviewing all the evidenc…

by Martin van Beynen

Black Hands podcast creator Martin van Beynen assesses the cases for and against David Bain.

Read more
Armando Iannucci on finding the funny side of Stalin
88501 2018-03-21 00:00:00Z Movies

Armando Iannucci on finding the funny side of Stal…

by Russell Baillie

The master satirist behind Veep and The Thick of It has made a comedy about the terror of Stalin-era Russia.

Read more
The Death of Stalin – movie review
88505 2018-03-21 00:00:00Z Movies

The Death of Stalin – movie review

by James Robins

The Death of Stalin doesn’t play for laughs but takes aim at doublethink.

Read more
This carny-infused show offers something you can't get on screen
88437 2018-03-21 00:00:00Z Arts

This carny-infused show offers something you can't…

by Donna-Marie Lever

Unconventional couple Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman perform the most notorious stunts in carny folklore in new show, Seven Deadly Stunts.

Read more
The curious incident of the boy in the headlines
88456 2018-03-20 00:00:00Z Education

The curious incident of the boy in the headlines

by Jai Breitnauer

As yet another autistic child features in the news, why are children with disabilities still being excluded from New Zealand’s schools?

Read more
A Wellington school's struggle to fund its special needs programme
88467 2018-03-20 00:00:00Z Education

A Wellington school's struggle to fund its special…

by Jai Breitnauer

Berhampore School would rather fund their special needs students than repaint their buildings.

Read more
Don't watch Friday Night Bites 2 at bedtime
88452 2018-03-20 00:00:00Z Television

Don't watch Friday Night Bites 2 at bedtime

by Diana Wichtel

Friday Night Bites leaves a hilarious and eye-wateringly audacious legacy.

Read more
How your views are shaped by the websites you visit
88488 2018-03-20 00:00:00Z Psychology

How your views are shaped by the websites you visi…

by Marc Wilson

Am I alone in wondering why the list of things that websites tell me “You may also like …” doesn’t include things I actually would like?

Read more