Our writers

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

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


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


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.

Nick Gelling - Content Producer

Nick can’t decide if he prefers words or numbers, but he’s a big fan of both. Coming from a statistics background, he covers Consumer’s reliability surveys. He also helps consumers understand technological products, so they don’t get swindled when buying a new computer or camera. When he’s not looking at a screen, Nick loves theatre and live music. Kei te ako ia i Te Reo Māori.

James le Page – Technical Writer


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.

Nikki-Lee Birdsey - Investigative Writer

Nikki-Lee has a background in financial writing in New York City. She returned to New Zealand a few years ago and recently completed a doctorate. She is interested in data privacy and protection, financial advocacy and breaking down economic myths.

Paul Smith – Head of Testing


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.

Rebecca Styles – Investigative Writer


Joining the Consumer team has combined Rebecca’s love of research, writing and helping people. She’s worked in public and research libraries, communications and studied creative writing. Her mission is to research topics that matter to consumers, helping them tell a real deal from a fake and make sustainable choices. Outside of work, she’s a New Zealand literature geek, writes the odd book review and walks her dog on local tracks.

Jessica Wilson – Head of Research


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.