• A New New Zealand

    When I returned to New Zealand in 1994, after a 32 year-long stint in the UK, I was gratified and reassured by what I found in the land of my birth. All of the familiar Kiwi virtues were there – the sense of belonging, the care for others, the drive for collective as well as individual success.

    As I contemplate the immediate future, however, I am less confident that these virtues will remain. We now face the next phase in our development as a nation with a different set of values. We can now see emerging an economy that is run in the interests primarily of property developers and landlords – and, even more worrying, one where the fall guys are tenants, employees, beneficiaries – and, as some would have it, those who are disparagingly dismissed as “bottom feeders”.

    And, rather than building a genuinely bicultural future, in which our two foundation races and cultures are able to live peaceably together and to learn from and gain strength from each other, we are in danger of acting on the mistaken assumption that a gain for one is a loss for the other.

    We are almost certainly less likely to play our full part in meeting the challenge of climate change and more likely to neglect our natural resources of clean rivers and streams and bush-clad hills and valleys, all of which will concede primacy to the drive for profit.

    When we have achieved so much in creating a country and a society that is the envy of the world, how sad that we should be poised to throw it all away.

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