Category Archives: Building Regional Economies

Changing the Culture of Our Councils

We have had debacle after debacle within our councils.  Hawke’s Bay is only the start of it.  We keep promoting the most pedantic and amoral train schedulers who have no idea about where those cattle wagons filled with people are … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

Corporates Behaving Badly: What to Do?

Is it extreme to suggest that corporates of a certain size and motivation (demonstrated by behaviour) should not be tolerated anymore?  I’m curious.  What do people think. Seriously.  No knee jerk hate. Reflect on the feudal lords of the past, … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

The Economics of Poverty, and the Poverty of Economics

A few years ago, a couple of local politicians made an extraordinary offer.  Come to Hawke’s Bay and invest, they said, for we have low wages and conditions. This thinking imagines that economic success comes, not from the creative dynamism … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | 6 Comments

Are Lower Wages Better for Business? Will they Shift us to a Creative Society?

Morning rant after listening to Steven Joyce et al. on Morning Report (25th October 2017) claim to be the friend of business.  Tosh.  Increasing wages are linked to building economies through building *both* social capital and demand.  Yet we’re already … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

The Myth of New Zealand’s Strong Economy

I keep hearing the repeated emptiness that New Zealand has a ‘strong economy’. It has become a cliché, a soundbite that has become unthinkingly repeated, a lie that is now absorbed into the national psyche. I was writing something on … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 7 Comments

Ruataniwha Dam will Transform the Region

Regional Councillor Debbie Hewitt is quite right that should the Ruataniwha Dam go ahead it will be “absolutely transformational” (quoted in Hawke’s Bay Today April 2017).  You need only look to Mid-West rural America, whose communities were also sold the … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

What is Progress and How do we get There?

I have Tom Wessels’ The Myth of Progress on a shelf.  Tom has produced some wonderful books on historically continuous change across our wider landscapes.  He sees patterns in that place where people and landscapes meet.  He takes to task what we mean by … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

Kill Creativity and March to Nowhere

This is inspired by a conversation with a dear friend who doesn’t hug much. I have a question … well, two.  First one.  Do we make room for creativity anymore – for the synthesisers? (My friend was one of the … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

Neoliberalism Kills Strategic Thought – and that is Killing our Future

Tactic one for changing our political environment. Hmmmmm….. How about, as the first one, we refocus on strategy, not technocratic analysis?  Strategy requires thinking qualitatively – long and broad through connections.  Where are we wanting to go?  What are the … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

Reforming our Regional Economy – III: Never be a Colony

The South Island West Coast of New Zealand is a colony of its eastern neighbour Canterbury.  Think of all the gold, the beautiful timber, the coal, the fish.  Think of the tourism dollars flowing from that extraordinary raised coastal road … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 3 Comments

Reforming our Regional Economy II – Making Magic in the Landscape

In the late 1940s my father came down from the East Coast to be a shepherd on Omakere Station in Central Hawke’s Bay.  Part of the work was removing regenerated shrublands of manuka and kanuka and turning them into pasture … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Reforming our Regional Economy I: Value over Volume

Why do we manage land the way we do?  Why does New Zealand focus on ever-more gross production over a great scale of sameness?  Why do we talk of “feeding the world” when we can at best feed 40 million … Continue reading

Posted in agricultural strategy, Building Regional Economies, Industrial Mindset, Land Use, Land use strategy, Primary Sector Strategy, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Expedient ‘Government’: Build the Slag Heaps of Tomorrow for New Zealand

John Key has resigned. Some of the media is trumpeting the myth that New Zealanders has been well looked after under his term. This rankles. Just because a deal maker and spin doctor in a suit tells us that we … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

Looking after Local Enterprise and Life (Part II)

This is the second part of an article looking at why do we put local government money in the big rather than the small?   Especially when the big tend to extract, while the small are so integral to a creative … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 5 Comments

Looking After Local Enterprise and Life (Part I)

The following was submitted to the local paper as an opinion piece.  It corresponds to the news that the local district council subsidised the very unpopular investment in water bottling by outside interests, utilising our very high quality aquifer water … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 8 Comments

Trust … in our Economy

They don’t think of ‘trust’ much when they talk about the economy. They split it up. They, the technocrats. They put such things as ‘trust’, ‘integrity’, ‘truth’ and ‘justice’ in the box marked ‘social’; something to deal with “after we … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Linkages, Resilience Thinking, Socio-ecological Systems, Thought Pieces | 5 Comments

Expedient ‘Government’: Build the Slag Heaps of Tomorrow for New Zealand

Is our whole New Zealand economy a bubble built on speculation, the Christchurch rebuild, the Viking-raid exploitation of society and place for short-term gain, financing expenditure out of debt, the promotion of extractive big business over local enterprise, immigration to … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 15 Comments

The Housing Crisis and Neoliberalism

Listening to Morning Report this morning (25th May 2016) interview these right wing completely out of touch politicians from this government making excuses for the New Zealand housing crisis, was like a rerun of the Irish Potato famine. It so … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | 8 Comments

Alternatives to Big Capitalism

I think there are alternatives to authoritarian ‘Big Capitalism’ that don’t move us into some authoritarian – and therefore equally dysfunctional – type of ‘communist’ state. I find it slightly ironic that when in opposition to the extremes of neoliberalism – … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 2 Comments

Creative versus Extractive Economies

The sands of Iraq and the karst mountain bones of the Grecian hills tell a story. These were once fat lands; the Tigris/Euphrates fields of Sumer, the Arcadia of Greece. They were once Mediterranean empires, now struggling countries of a … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces, Wicked Problems | 12 Comments

The Minimum Wage and the Extractive Economy

There is a question that political economists used to ask, “What sort of society do we want to live in?” That question was a central core of the wider study of political economy, the study of our real economic experience. It … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Letters & Opinion Pieces, Socio-ecological Systems, Thought Pieces | Leave a comment

The Government’s TPPA spin is not Working: We know it is a Corporate Deal for Their Rights Usurping Ours

My apologies for this rant.  I confess to being very worried about the rise of powers that would have no problem in their hearts with reducing our civil liberties; but worse, would entrench a view of the world that would destroy … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Tagged , | 6 Comments

The Purpose of Life: Assimilation into the Borg Collective?

I’m quoting this Hundertwasser idea (below) because I’m interested in human purpose and creativity. I don’t think we’re meant to be deconstructed into cogs in the Corporate machine, obedient and defined by tasks, job descriptions and money. That is Modernity … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Are we in the Endgame of the Age of the Zombie Neoliberal Cult and Corporate Influence

Let us document the changes, the shift in consciousness that is happening around the world, the signs of hope. The 1 percent (or is it the top 0.1 percent) – An interviewer of Russel Brand challenged him that the Occupy movement … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Trans-Pacific ‘Partnership’ and Our Environment

The very idea that the Trans-Pacific ‘Partnership’ (TPP) is good for the environment (Craig Foss MP Hawke’s Bay Today 26th October) is arrant nonsense.  More than that, it is wilful distortion. While Mr Foss might have the privilege of knowing what clauses … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Choice: A Bigger Machine, or Democracy & Culture

What are the critical factors determining good local governance?  The recent amalgamation debate in Hawke’s Bay was certainly raised some issues, but the debate was narrow – focusing on the idea that bigger is better. The logic of the Local Government Commission, … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Resilience Thinking, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Morality & Strategy Trumped by Financial Expedience

After reading the enthusiastic trumpeting of the sale of our water overseas in Saturday’s paper (17th Oct) I wondered when what is morally right got trumped by what is expedient to the financial minds.  Certainly it took a major turn … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Resilience Thinking | Tagged , | 1 Comment

The TPPA and New Zealand’s Democracy

Presented in weekly radio spot on Hawke’s Bay local radio station Bay FM.   The Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations are concluded, and have shifted to the next phase – ratification by parliaments. The government is spinning like a … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Regional Development – Thinking Short & Narrow or Long and Broad

Wairarapa MP Alistair Scott’s opinion piece regarding the environmental record of New Zealand’s National led government (Hawke’s Bay Today 26th July 2015) is so full of errors, misrepresentations and clichés that it is difficult to know where to start. At its … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Resilience Thinking, Socio-ecological Systems, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Managing Complexity and Uncertainty in Natural and Socio-Ecological Systems

I wrote most of this as an internal document for a Regional Council in 2009 when it was apparent that both the internal management style and the approach to the wider natural systems and communities was not conducive to long … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Resilience Thinking, Socio-ecological Systems, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resilience Principles: Managing for an Uncertain Future

Below are three sets of principles for dealing with an uncertain world.  Updated. First, there has to be recognition that the world is complex and uncertain! “In his book The End of Certainty, Prigogine notes that “If the world were … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Resilience Thinking, Thought Pieces | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

We do not need a Resource Development Act

New Zealand has a comprehensive piece of legislation (Resource Management Act 1991) by which the use and development of ‘resources’ is managed.  The current government is attempting to reform this legislation to make it more amenable for development interests.  Corporate lobby … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | Tagged , | 3 Comments

What is Development? Hawke’s Bay’s future

Whatever happens after the election, Hawke’s Bay needs a combined vision and strategy. Most protagonists agree. The real issue will be what type of strategy we get. If any strategy is based on the ideas of the past 30 years, … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

Alternatives to Conventional Economic Development: And the Philosophy of Not Realising our Potential

More than 20 years ago a deep thinker, Richard Norgaard, wrote a book called Development Betrayed.  What he wrote wasn’t particularly new.  Other beautiful minds from Leopold Kohr, E. F. Schumacher to the still living treasure, Wendell Berry, made similar … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | Tagged , | 4 Comments

HBRC Election 2013 – Land and Water Concerns of Federated Farmers and Irrigation NZ

The following was in response to questions asked of Hawke’s Bay Regional Councillor candidates in the 2013 Local Body Elections.  Federated Farmers and Irrigation New Zealand Questions  Chris Perley  Ngaruroro Ward, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Federated Farmers and Irrigation NZ … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Resilience Thinking, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

The Perennial Values of Civilisation

At a time when we are governed by opportunists, expedience, selfishness and the narrowness and short-term perspectives of money, we do need a re-examination of what it is to be ‘civilised’.   I do not think we can hope to … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Socio-ecological Systems, Thought Pieces | 6 Comments