Lunchtime Reading – 4.10.17

Lunchtime reading 4.10.17


While we’re waiting to know who the (central) government will be, some food for thought to chew over with your sandwich.   


Local government: more of the power (and the money)?

Aotearoa’s government has one of the most centralised setups in the OECD.  Most of the money (and therefore real power) is wielded from the centre, by the national government, rather than regional or local government.  


Yet most of what we see, use and interact with day to day is local government stuff, not central (unless we’re regularly using the social welfare system, or working in central government).  


Here’s an interesting case from Australia for more localised government – and bear in mind they already have federal, state and then a plethora of little councils like shires.   Some good quotes:

“in a country that is 90% urban, few [national] policies are not de-facto urban”.  (NZ is over 80%.)

“Higher levels of government devolve responsibilities far more willingly than they devolve resources” (a pattern in NZ too, particularly from the Resource Management Act).



Cities: the real place to make change?




A complementary piece here from Eric Liu, an extremely lucid writer and teacher about citizen power.  He’s writing from the USA, where the case is probably strongest, but he reckons cities, not states and especially not central government, are the real theatre for making people happier and more prosperous.  How much do you reckon this applies in New Zealand?



How fun was that for you?


We all know – on some level – that it’s our civic duty to vote.  But it’s generally a bit of a chore…

Auckland writer on government Ed Willis has some reckons about making voting – gasp – more fun! There’s also a video (coincidentally also Eric Liu).

Some voters off to the polling booth (maybe, in future?). Photo: Dominion Post

One comment on “Lunchtime Reading – 4.10.17”

  • Johanna Knox says:

    The piece on voting and the linked TED talk are great! I love these ideas. I can see the beginnings of them here already. I think Barbarian Productions are starting to lead the way with their Political Haircuts events – also the Vogelmorn Hall election party which sounded like it was a huge success.

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