08 March 2007

What's up in public policy this year?

Just to get you into thinking about the practical trends for us in public policy in 2007, a good place to begin is with the PM's statement to the House, read at the opening of Parliament. If you do get around to reading it, please note her use of the key terms 'sustainable economy', 'living standards' and 'national identity'. And think about the practical strategies that the government is undertaking to live up to these values. Anyway, each of these concepts is relevant to 721. Indeed, there is an essay topic on the meaning of 'sustainability'. What does the present NZ Government mean by this term? And why might 'national identity' be the business of government? You can link this project of creating and sustaining a sense of cohesive nationhood to the topic of 'social contract' in next week's lecture.

4 Comments:

At 10:00 PM, Anonymous Ally said...

Interestingly varied use of the term sustainability (26 times at a very quick count). The concept of national identity is clearly being tied to this as well as other ideas including diversity amd a New Zealand "way" and "decent values", concepts within which there could be some conflict. It is exciting that the debate about these issues is being highlighted and elevated, but there does not seem to be an informed wider discussion of these, especially around identity. It is also interesting that each of the major bills in the "addendum" at the end of the PM's statement has significance for national identity too. I'm looking forward to exploring these and other concepts more fully throughout the course.

 
At 10:31 PM, Blogger Grant Duncan said...

Ally
Thanks for that comment - and congrats on being the 1st commentator for 2007. A chocolate fish for you!
Identity is an interesting issue, and one on which I have to confess to having slightly iconoclastic views. I'm sure we'll get around to discussing it!
Grant

 
At 12:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's face it ever since the Stern Report was published and used by Tony Blair to soften his critics on various matters that he has done wrong/or not so wrong, we realised that climate change and sustainability and the raft of new buzz words will take over our discussions and the way we argue, see and apply our various policies. It will be interesting to see how long these buzz words will stay in circulation. But. let's face it. Most of us have been trying to preserve our natural, physical, cultural and other heritages over the years. We just used other (buzz) words to describe it. The real message to my estimation should have been that we should realise the impact of human activity on climate, heritage etc. and adopt "healthier" or "better" ways of using the environment and preserving it for our children.

As for "national identity". All very well but is it not another buzz word coined for "patriotism"? But, then as an immigrant that settled in New Zealand some years ago, and seeing and experiencing the various changes occurring in the New Zealand society, I would argue that we should be actively arguing and building a vision of a new New Zealand narional identity that will (hopefully) encompass more than being a patriot.

 
At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Grant said...

Naturally, there is a lot of political advantage being taken of 'sustainability' these days, but I think that comment is little too cynical, at least for the practical purposes of public policy. If it's true that "Most of us have been trying to preserve our natural, physical, cultural and other heritages over the years", then it appears that we have not been doing a very good job of it.
As for 'national identity', that too is inherently political, and I am sceptical about the very meaning of the term. To say that it's merely a synonym for 'patriotism', though, seems too shallow for serious analysis.

 

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