Our writers

Consumer NZ’s writers come from a variety of professional backgrounds.

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Julia Addison – Technical Writer

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After years behind the scenes as a sub-editor, Julia has joined the Consumer home appliances crew at the coalface. Along with putting pen to paper, she enjoys discovering how things tick, especially if it involves throwing spanners in expensive machinery. When not analysing results and busting myths, she’s probably outdoors with her faithful companions because, in her opinion, everything is more fun with a dog in tow.

Erin Bennett – Technical Writer

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Erin is a self-confessed geek who loves sci-fi, particularly Doctor Who. She has a background in web usability and e-learning systems. Erin’s content areas include computing, such as laptops, PCs, software, printers, hard drives and kitchen whiteware. Her mission is to help people understand the key information they need to be informed and confident consumers. Erin’s personal interests include reading and Taiko (Japanese) drumming.

Belinda Castles – Research & Testing Writer

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Belinda is our food and health writer. She studied nutrition and marketing and in her many years at Consumer she’s analysed more food labels than she cares to count. Since becoming a mum, Belinda is passionate about restricting the marketing of food to children and educating parents to make healthier choices for their kids. Belinda also writes about sunscreens and sunbeds, plus small kitchen appliances such as juicers, blenders and food mixers.

Aneleise Gawn – Consumer Advocate

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Aneleise was a lawyer in a previous life. After having children, she realised there was more to life than law so she took on the role of Consumer Advocate at Consumer NZ. Aneleise spends most of her time at Consumer co-ordinating campaigns and writing submissions on behalf of Consumer NZ. The highlight of her career at Consumer NZ so far has been the launch of the very successful “Do Not Knock” campaign.

Hadyn Green – Technology Writer

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Hadyn (@hadyngreen on Twitter) focuses mainly on consumer electronics and entertainment. He’s your guy for phones, TVs, audio equipment, online streaming services and anything else in your house that covers the bases of entertaining and useful. He’s always got some new “toy” to play with and holds the unofficial title of Most Courier Parcels Received in the office. Hadyn thinks this internet thing could take off one day.

Tessa Johnstone – Investigative Writer

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Tessa has had a varied career writing about interesting stuff for newspapers, magazines, websites and public interest groups. Her gut-feeling approach to life decisions has led her to Whanganui, Masterton, London, Honiara and, of course, Wellington for work. Now she’s at Consumer, she hopes to stop making ill-informed and spontaneous purchases when she shops and to let other people know how to stop doing that too. She writes mainly on personal finance and sustainability issues. When not at work, Tessa is usually negotiating deals, being silly or reading with her young daughter.

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Robert Kelly – Research Writer

Robert has a background in New Zealand history and investigation of culture. He has been a university tutor, bookseller, house painter, bartender, political reporter, radio pundit and several other things. Robert is interested in service provision and markets where people find themselves vulnerable. Government intervention in markets is also a strong area of interest. He loves singing in choirs and really does intend to pick the trumpet up again at some point.

James le Page – Technical Writer

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James has a background in running civil construction laboratories, which fostered an enquiring mind and a passion for producing quality results. This work, along with a childhood being raised on lifestyle blocks, has also given him the idea that he can swing a hammer and use anything that plugs in or has a motor. On his off days, James is a keen mountain biker and loves to travel.

Paul Smith – Head of Testing

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Paul manages Consumer’s product test programme. He has spent most of his career pushing user-focused quality into the design and manufacture of cars in the UK, and educating design engineers of the future in New Zealand. Paul wants Consumer’s independent tests to empower people to make informed purchase decisions. He’ll only be satisfied when he rids the world (or at least New Zealand) of underperforming, poorly designed products.

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Olivia Wannan – Investigative Writer

Olivia joined the Consumer team after a stint in London. She previously worked for four years at the Dominion Post, writing about science and consumer affairs. With a background in biology, she is interested in healthcare and the environment, and whether the products we buy live up to their own hype. Outside of work, she is a keen runner, hiker, traveller and baker.

Jessica Wilson – Head of Research

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Jessica joined Consumer in 2008 as a writer. In her current role, she works with a dedicated group of staff responsible for the organisation’s research, advocacy and campaigns. Her research brief covers consumer protection and legal rights as well as investigation of misleading claims, dodgy pricing practices and environmental issues. It’s never a quiet day in the office.