Friday, 17 July 2020

Alternative Aotearoa

A defining moment in post-pandemic debate in New Zealand

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Representatives of a wide range of health, social justice and environmental organisations will speak at the seminar to propose an alternative approach to the “business as usual” proposals of mainstream politics.

We are delighted to have two marvellous New Zealanders, Justice Advocate Julia Whaipooti and 2020 New Zealander of the Year and President of Equity New Zealand Jennifer Ward-Lealand, to Co-chair this day which will be a defining moment in post-pandemic discussion in Aotearoa.

Keynote speakers who will set the kaupapa for the day are the Director of Action Station Laura O'Connell Rapira and Pasifika community activist and Auckland City Councillor Efeso Collins.

Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul and University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey will record and collate the presentations into a final report which will be available to the media and will be presented in person to each of the main political parties. 

We are thrilled with the calibre and integrity of the organisations and presenters throughout the various panels. These groups and individuals are the change-agents New Zealand so desperately needs at this critical time. 

The full agenda here.

The event will be live streamed in several places including 

Our main political parties, heavily influenced by corporate priorities, are keen for New Zealand to return to “business as usual” as soon as possible whereby a smaller group of wealthier people can continue to enjoy the benefits of economic development at the expense of the rest of the country. 

It was clear well before Covid 19 that “business as usual” had failed most of us. Despite the existential threat of climate change, for example, New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions have continued to rise as policy decisions have favoured unsustainable economic growth over human welfare. Similar unacceptable failures are evident in biodiversity, fresh water, rivers and streams, poverty and inequality, health, education, housing, mental health, incarceration rates etc.

If we go back to “business as usual” we will simply carry forward the myriad of social and economic problems from the pre-pandemic era, in particular the shocking levels of poverty and inequality which have disproportionately damaged Maori and Pasifika whanau and entire low-income communities.
We need a “new normal” in our economy which focuses on strengthening and empowering local communities to work towards a more sustainable future. That debate will be carried forward at the seminar.