I’ve been somewhat remiss in posting to this blog over the last half of 2013. Instead of talking about politics and policy, I decided to jump in and be involved directly. To that end I stood for election in the October 2013 Christchurch City Council elections and was elected in my local ward. The last few months has been a blur of briefings, updated and meetings, with many crucial issues to be dealt with.
It’s a great opportunity to be involved at the micro level of local government and will certainly help shape some of my more macro level thinking. I will be posting about specific Christchurch issues on my public Facebook page but will still be posting here on broader policy questions.
I have been reading lots of posts about the “ten things” to watch for in 2014 and predictions galore, from the meltdown of the Chinese shadow banking system to the partial breakup of the Euro. I’ve given up trying to predict specific outcomes but we are, I believe, still in a long process of transformation, both at the global economic level and in the social sphere as well. That transformation is likely to keep throwing up small scale conflict, civil wars, major power Sabre rattling, financial crises and resource challenges. Realism is still the order of the day but the forces of change will continue to dilute the desires of the super egos in charge of many of our missile carrying nations. The collaborative movement, building on the back of Occupy, will continue to bring new ideas to the social enterprise and business spaces. Like the early days of social networking and dating sites, it’s unclear how this change will finally manifest, but I expect some major shifts in the way we work, the way we finance that work and how we engage, both at the social and political level.
The political space is one area where change is long overdue. There has been no new serious attempt to reframe the left-right tennis match and put it into concrete policy proposals. The 2014 NZ general election offers that’s opportunity. How the different parties shape their messages, vision and philosophy is going to be very interesting and I hope that we get something a little different from what has been delivered up in previous elections. With all the major global themes swirling around, it’s definitely time for some vision about where NZ is heading as a country and society, and how that vision can be achieved. I’ve read one article recently, which struck me as a good place to start this conversation. It’s fair to say that it came from the more liberal end of the political spectrum (on the left hand side). It generated plenty of interest and it’s fair to say I’m strongly supportive of the proposals in some form. What engaged me even more is that a response came from the conservative end of the spectrum, which explored the same issues from a different perspective, landing up with different proposals, but with enough similarity to allow for a decent conversation.
The five topics covered are:
– Universal basic income.
– Land Value Taxation.
– Ownership of productive assets.
– Public banking.
Read both articles and see which one resonates more. They are not that far apart in reality and my hope is that people will see that and start talking to each other rather than shouting at each other.
We certainly need that conversation more than ever. The question for us here in NZ is whether the major parties are up for it, or whether it will be left to the minor parties to do the job. It could also spark a new political movement. It feels like anything is possible.