Sunday, September 26, 2004

New ideas emerging?

I can see blogging  could become compulsive!

Local Government elections are currently being held in NZ. More often than not they fail to grab the imagination of the citizens. In Auckland, however, there seems to be a battle of style emerging between the two main mayoral candidates and the vision for the city they have - or lack of it.

One candidate is facing up to the idea that the city is increasingly becoming impossible to live in or visit. To solve this requires a sense of the 'big picture' and the need to focus on the 'common good' rather than vested interests.

I attended a meeting held in our city, New Plymouth, held by the Government. This was an exercise in 'direct democracy' - a chance to listen to the voice of the people. It was interesting to note that the people invited were people involved in the social and 'people' services in our community and not the 'business elite'. It was a useful exercise but what was missing was any picture of the kind of country the government wanted to create. A lack of vision again. Still the intentions were worthwhile.

To often issues in these debates relate to infra-structural or personal concerns but 'common good' issues are emerging. Our country, like our biggest city, is not a good a place to live in for many. Although the wealthy have done really well there are a growing number of dissatisfied or worse still alienated people.

Most of the institutions in our community are still run from central government, or if not, run semi independently of community government as are our schools. Many of then have trouble communicating between each other and many have trouble communicating within themselves. As a result people are 'falling through the cracks'. Ideas of decentralisation and collaboration are at least begining.

I'm hoping in all this there is a movement towards the reinvention of a more participative democracy. All Western countries seem to be suffering the same problems; cities are becoming environments of 'first world' citizens with 'third world', often alienated, communities within them. The individualism and materialism of the 'Market Forces' ideology of the nineties has made the problem worse. The answer just can't be to hope the problem will go away, or to make the schools sort them out, or to throw them all in jail.

Hopefully it is time to time to replace the current conservatism ( protecting the 'status quo' and turning a 'blind eye' to growing communal problems) and to consider the 'reinvention' of our society? This would require leadership at all levels; from the Prime Minister, Mayors, and leaders in all organizations. Leaders are required rather than managers, and this includes school principals. This blog is my contribution.

All a bit serious for Sunday morning!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Serious stuff Bruce but great points. Keep blogging!