The Prime Minister's chief science advisor says his report into adolescent social and psychological problems could be the start of a move to scientifically based policy.
Sir Peter Gluckman on Wednesday presented the results of an 18-month study commissioned by John Key into high levels of teen suicide, drug use, delinquency and pregnancy.
It said there is no evidence government programmes for problem teenagers such as bootcamps, restorative justice and teaching life skills are working. Other programmes, proven to be effective, had not been put in place.
Sir Peter said the study into the scientific literature is a world first and similar studies could be applied to other complex social problems like crime rates and drug use.
He said scientific study could provide the evidence base for policy to be built around, and promote a more considered, long term view of social problems.