The loss of Democracy in New Zealand

A great article by New Zealander of the Year Dame Anne Salmond in the Herald about the steady erosion of democracy in New Zealand under the Neo-Liberal thinking that has got a stranglehold on Western thinking…

” In the 1980s, neo-liberal doctrines were introduced in a number of countries. As the unfettered pursuit of profit took hold, along with the myth of the ‘cost-benefit calculating individual’, ideas of justice, integrity, generosity and freedom began to seem quaint.

Inspired by neo-liberal thinking, successive governments in New Zealand introduced policies concentrating influence and wealth in the hands of a few, disempowering the many.

As power and wealth flowed upward, short-term profiteering by a small elite became habitual. This is very evident in the first round of asset sales, the collapse of the finance companies, and the Solid Energy debacle, for example.

As the gaps between rich and poor widened, indicators of social distress rocketed – child poverty, third world diseases, youth unemployment, incarceration and suicide, for example. While such suffering is now widespread in New Zealand, however, our leaders seem to be quite unmoved.”

read the full article here…

I’ve felt it most acutely around the so called reforms of the Resource Management Act, which have steadily reduced the ability of the community (including the elected councils) to have a voice against the power of big business and developers.

We are losing our say in the protection of our environment, In Canterbury  they have even lost their council!

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