ps obviously we also have to rethink how we provide security for NZ citizens in a changing physical environment! Complex, connected environmental risks (like quakes, severe weather events in a changing climate etc) are exacerbated, by underlying economic and social changes. These economic & social changes also makes some people more vulnerable to the new risks. Which is why we need to find sustainable, democratic solutions to the new security risks facing citizens (esp. children/elderly). Thanks again Isabel for writing such a moving piece
Thank you Isabel for putting words to the experiences of a community of New Zealand-that you can write like this, at a time like now is invaluable.
All around me here is a kind of quiet, exhausted suffering, I never expected to see in New Zealand-but then I never expected it would take all our collective concerted effort to lift the sights of a NZ government to see that these are issues of human rights, and that the key problems and its solution is not the rebuilding a CBD, but to support our communities (from Kaeo to Christchurch).
It will take new thinking, and a new kind of social contract, or plan between NZ government and citizens, rethinking our mutual obligations & needs if we are to provide security for NZ citizens in a rapidly changing social and economic world-thank you for putting the situation in ways that help people to empathize and understand
Thanks Damian for this thoughtful reflection.
I admit I have been worrying a great deal about the impact of twitter and blogging and competition for ratings in a small democracy.
It is not that I wish to curb vigorous debate, but there is a real tension between cynicism, which is cheap and drives viewer ratings up or sends views to websites, yet can reduce citizens' sense of internal political efficacy -that is their confidence not only that they can understand politics but that "if I participate I can make a difference".
There is a world of difference between cynical commentary and critical analysis-the later takes time, is expensive, needs nuance but it informs and helps empower citizens.
If we continue to fuel cynicism we may draw the viewer but we exacerbate civic disenfranchisement- eroding our democracy in reality.
Non voting is not just just apathy, it is associated with low income, low education, all kind of factors, and sometimes an informed disdain as ethical choice, but mostly it is associated with low efficacy and these citizens are most easily manipulated.
In effect, in reporting cynically on politics and competing with each other it is not just journalists but also academics who are at real risk of disaffecting more people, of actually eroding democracy.
It matters that those who commentate esp on politics in a small state don't actually make a problem of citizen disenfranchisement worse, our democracy really matters, it is not just there for news ratings, and it is not just a horse race,
What is at stake are huge value choices about what kind of community, nation, democracy we wish to become and why
I greatly appreciate your thoughtful pause to reflect on what it is we do... thank you