Vision for New Zealand
By Dr Graham Little PhD AFNZIM
Copyright March 2003
A just society that encourages
and supports all to build fulfilling lives.
- That we will strive base on policy and decisions on justice as fairness
so that we will avoid the more simple and routine utilitarian assumptions
that aim at delivering the greatest good for the greatest number. In a modern
society rich in ethnic and cultural groups, historical assumptions need questioned
and new processes need enacted if the aim is to be truly experienced by all.
(See A Theory of Justice by John Rawls)
- A key consequence is that policy and decisions will fall
equally on people, not all will always benefit equally, but none should be
- This vision and principles will be drafted into a constitution
forming the fundamental base of the future New Zealand.
- The constitution will be overseen by Supreme Court of New
Zealand, and be based on the definition of justice as fairness. This court,
long overdue, will be the final arbiter of legislation and regulation.
- Any antecedents are accepted as important historical documents,
the Treaty of Waitangi for example, and where appropriate will be integrated
into the constitution. However, the historical antecedents will not be allowed
to override the key principle of fairness as justice, and all policy and legislation
will be aimed at falling reasonably on all, and our future as a nation will
not be shaped by historical accidents.
- A central principle is belief in the freedom of the individual,
and we will strive to encourage and build a society where people exercise
personal discipline and good sense, and use this as a measure of our social
progress, where people choose for themselves based upon self-reliance and
- We will adopt non-doctrinaire economic principles and seek
the very best ideas that most help all New Zealanders enjoy a better standard
of living. This approach is within the general philosophy of this document
in that we believe the core of our economy needs to be the private commercial
organization, and while not shying away from centralized solutions, we will
seek first the equally effective private economic solutions.
Summary of some articles
- The base of our society must be the economy, and no matter
how counted, the GDP must grow at a rate consistent with population growth
and in line with expectations.
- Wealth creation must then be the core of economic policy.
- Where once it was the group or tribe that bound people, in
a modern plural society the common binding element is the organization, both
commercial and social. It follows that the commercial organization must be
primary force in driving wealth creation.
- We believe strongly that all people in a business must contribute
effectively to ensure the full success of that business. We also believe in
fair and reasonable wages and returns. Equally we do not believe in commercial
democracy, and that those with the stake in a business and those appointed
to manage a business are expected to do so with the purpose of achieving the
best possible returns from the business, growing the business to the benefit
of New Zealand, and expanding employment opportunities within the business.
- We expect all business leaders to take seriously their commitment
to the people in the business as a critical asset by which the business is
made as successful as it can be.
- We will encourage the private entrepreneur, and wherever
possible make most effective use of the existing infrastructure in the economy.
For example, very likely the insurance industry had and still has surplus
administrative capacity, if so then any single product insurance business
(such as ACC) will always be more expensive than what the industry can provide.
- Encouraging export lead growth must be the priority goal.
But within a small and ‘intimate society’, we need always guard against ‘cronyism’,
which can defeat effort and enterprise.
- The role of Government is not bounded by any particular economic
philosophy or current economic fashion. In a small economy, the goal must
be kept firmly in mind, and Government need act such as to ensure even opportunity
with minimum compliance cost and obstacles to export lead growth. Government
must commit to a practical day-to-day role to promote business growth. The
free and unfettered market cannot ‘decide all’ in such a small economy, but
centralization is equally destructive. We will ensure strong and effective
debate on economic changes and development, giving greatest emphasis to argument
that clearly offers a balanced result in line with our view of justice, which
includes economic justice.
- By the philosophies outlined above we know can be achieved
the increases in living standards expected of our citizens.
- The second fundamental issue is a social ethic of a caring
and supportive community.
- It is for government to provide the fundamental social support
infrastructure of education, welfare, health, justice and police. Private
enterprise may be able to provide some of these systems, and should be enabled
to do so wherever possible.
- We will maintain strong social welfare for those disadvantaged
and unable to effectively provide for themselves. However, a core principle
is the freedom of the individual, and the self-responsibility that comes with
that. With any welfare system lines must be drawn as to those who qualify
and those who do not. In New Zealand at the moment we see an ethic that tends
to press the line outward, that is an ethic that says those that fall just
outside the line deserve and should quality. We wish to reverse that ethic
and see the social and political pressure assert that those who just qualify
are capable and should be enabled to take care of themselves.
- In such a small caring society, everyone need feel involved,
and the MMP system enables the immediate range of views common of society,
with this range reflected in Parliament.
- The critical aspect of securing a range of views is the parliamentary
committee process, where policy and legislation can be widely debated before
being enacted. We believe the committee process has a critical role in ensuring
the best ideas and the best arguments and the best creativity and insight
come forth and are made available for review and action. We will encourage
all with the ideas and imagination to come forward, and will provide support
funding to enable this. The arguments will be open to all, but we will give
greatest attention to the ideas and argument that fits the criteria of balance
and enables justice for all both in social and economic management.
- New Zealand is a multicultural society, and no group should
hold a dominant or privileged position. All law should apply to all in a fair
and equitable manner.
- There is always underpinning any system of justice a base,
a sense of natural justice. At times the system of justice can be unwieldy,
expensive, and too dominated by legal nicety and detail such that the natural
justice becomes lost. This is inadequate and is to be vigorously resisted.
- As a fundamentally agricultural nation, and a community with
strong sense of land, fauna and flora, we must maintain strong environmental
policy that protects our environmental heritage, but also balances this against
our economic expectations, and need to grow our economy.
- Outdoor activities and living is part of the overall cultural
heritage and traditions of New Zealand, as such access to rivers, lakes, beaches
and forests is the right of all, and wherever appropriate the government will
ensure public access, and no group may hold to ransom or deny reasonable request
for such access.
- We will maintain a strong independent international position.
But we will seek and support international friends, like-minded countries
who pursue policies of freedom of speech, equality for all before the law,
open government, and the willingness to allow all to pursue fulfilling lives
bounded only by fair play and the fundamental sense of natural justice.
- As part of policy, where cultural and community activities
cannot fund themselves, the government will provide additional funds. It is
also recognized that there is potential for cultural items to become moribund
and/or elitist, such that any such cultural funding will always be viewed
with some skepticism.
- We are multicultural, and all groups are encouraged and supported
in pursuing their own cultural and roots that can and do provide individual
spirituality and a feeling of ethnic pride within the greater New Zealand
- The language of New Zealand is English, and all citizens
are expected to acquire fluency in written and spoken English. We recognize
the role of language in enabling the spiritual core of all people and we strongly
encourage all to seek and build from their unique and personal spiritual base.
Within this individual spirituality, we must function effectively as a community
and economy, and from this perspective of Government we will insist upon the
primacy of English as our common language.
- All New Zealanders have the right to privacy, and no group
or government agency can deny that right.
- The social core of our community is the family, which is
accepted as any group with filial ties, or who co-exist for three or more
years and who recognize themselves as a family. Specifically this definition
includes single sex partnerships.
- Children are our future, and should occupy a special place
in our community, cherished as our future and respected as contributors today,
as such they enjoy special privileges and protection.
- Education and particularly early childhood education will
be top priority, and we will aim to develop our early education to ensure
we offer the opportunity to all to build secure mental and emotional foundations
for fulfilling lives.
- In our small economy we believe the role of university to
be overstated, the key is for excellence in the quality of the qualifications.
In our society senior intellectuals are not used nor sought as advisors to
Government (as in the case in larger economies), nor is the overall quality
of published papers sufficiently high to make us believe we can achieve intellectual
or practical excellence in all fields, we have neither the people nor capital.
We will encourage existing focus of developing centers of excellence within
universities, but we will expect them to achieve excellence within existing
budgets, and expect them to administer their institutions according to this
- We believe strongly that our economic health depends on sound
mental health, and will seek and support all processes that build the resilience
and coping resources within citizens; this combined with availability of quality
education, and a sound system of physical health, represents a concerted effort
at the application of human capital economics to the ongoing development of
the economic and social base of our communities.
- New Zealanders are free to travel and encouraged to do so
for personal and professional reasons.
- The capital held by New Zealanders is theirs of right, and
no government policy or activity will hamper or restrict the free movement
of that capital.
- All citizens have the right to protest any government action
or action by any other group provided that in protesting there is no breach
of law or restriction of any other group going about their lawful activities.
- The government is not the moral arbiter, for morals cannot
be legislated, and all moral issues are the responsibility of the group concerned.
Equally, spirituality cannot be legislated, and no aspect of spirituality
shall be represented in law.
- The government is duty bound to assert the law and to ensure
police and justice systems act appropriately and fairly as regards any breach
of law. We will ensure the highest levels of transparency as to application
of the law, and encourage and actively develop alternative forms of legal
process involving joint dispute resolution and combined seeking for justice
as opposed to the conflictual nature of our current legal philosophy.
- We believe in freedom of speech, and people are entitled
to express their views and will be free to do so provided those views are
supported by facts, or if satire, the views are those that no reasonable person
could take as intended to be true.
- We are a small and not particularly wealth nation; hence
defense expenditure will always be scarce and limited. As a result the government
as policy will maintain defensive alliances with like-minded nations, and
ensure a well equipped, well trained force as a contribution to the combined
effort and also to commit such a force to the support and deployment by the
- We are committed to building a self-reliant, mature society
based on self-responsibility and respect for the rights of others. There is
always great tension between developing the learning leading to effective
self-discipline, and imposing external discipline. As a general matter of
social progress, we are committed to progressively expanding the learning
leading to better self-regulation, and we will creatively wrestle with the
issue of how to best proceed to a yet more fulfilling community environment.
- At all times the government will encourage people to develop
themselves, to build satisfaction, fairness and fun into their lives. Above
all else, it is this aim that underpins the vision for our country.