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.

Key Principles

Summary of some articles

  1. 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.

  2. Wealth creation must then be the core of economic policy.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.
  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. By the philosophies outlined above we know can be achieved the increases in living standards expected of our citizens.

  10. The second fundamental issue is a social ethic of a caring and supportive community.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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 community.

  22. 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.

  23. All New Zealanders have the right to privacy, and no group or government agency can deny that right.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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 philosophy.

  28. 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.

  29. New Zealanders are free to travel and encouraged to do so for personal and professional reasons.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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 United Nations.

  36. 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.

  37. 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.