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Online Organising in New Zealand

3 Jun

Anyone who occasionally glances at a computer these days will no doubt have come into contact with the phenomenon called “online organising”.  The term is a relatively crude one which encapsulates everything from a facebook petition campaign started by a 13 year old to see their favourite band play at Big Day Out, to an efficiently organised multi-national advocacy campaign targeting the United Nations by international groups such as ‘Avaaz’.  Like it or not ‘online organising’ is fast becoming a vital piece of democratic infrastructure for the 21st century.  A new wave of organisations has emerged worldwide over the last decade in an attempt to harness and co-ordinate this power for real change offered by new technology.  Currently this movement is in its infancy in New Zealand and we are one of the few developed nations without a mainstream citizen-led organisation to counter the power of governments, corporations and lobby groups.  However, the community behind such movements are their real source of power and the more such organisations do to engage communities, the more effective they are in achieving their goals. Continue reading

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Something is Rotten in the State of New Zealand

7 May

Some of the contributors to elevenhoursahead took part in the Aotearoa Not for Profit hikoi last Friday. We were proud and humbled to march with 2000- 5000 fellow New Zealanders against the sale of New Zealand’s publically owned assets.  It was therefore with dismay and disappointment that we later watched John Key offhandedly dismiss the voices of his fellow kiwis in an interview with John Campbell. Fellow blogger Diane Revoluta has written this brilliant post titled Something is Rotten in the State of New Zealand (4th May 2012) which summarises much of our anger and frustration. We thought we would share it with you:    

Yesterday somewhere between 2000-5000 people marched in Wellington against the government’s plans to partially sell state assets. This followed a similar sized march in Auckland last weekend and a week-long hikoi starting in Cape Reinga. After last year’s record low voter turn out, it would seem that when it comes to political issues apathy is rife in New Zealand. People seem disinterested in the traditional ways in which politicians engage with the public and disillusioned by the corruption and lack of integrity displayed by some politicians. Which is why the size of these protests and the strength of the opposition to asset sales is all the more impressive. Protest is the antithesis of apathy, and the fact that an issue has mobilised so many New Zealanders is good reason for the government to sit up and take notice.

Did John Key sit up and take notice? No. In fact, John Key’s response to thousands of New Zealanders spending their lunch break protesting on the streets (and thousands more supporting them from around the country on Twitter, Facebook and other online forums) was this:  “How many people did they have? Ok, where was it? [laughs] Well, OK, no I wasn’t aware of it.”

Read the full blog here: http://dianerevoluta.tumblr.com/

Generational Un-generosity: a damn bitter pill to swallow

3 May

Honestly, I do desperately try to take a positive outlook of the world, and we’re much more likely to be able to think creatively and solve problems if we’re happy. So a warning to you – this post may not help your problem solving ability. Because it’s an angry rant.

I am the offspring of baby boomers (BB), that generation born between 1946-64ish. As we all know, the world I live in looks very different to the world they grew up in. I’m not going to claim fifty years ago everything was peachy, but when it comes to tertiary education, my parents and their peers (hopefully) unwittingly have put a knife to my generation’s throat. Let me explain.

In the 1980s and 1990s, Aotearoa New Zealand was subject to perhaps one of the most intense early regimes of neoliberal reform. These reforms, brought in by a Labour government with no voter mandate for their actions, were swift and severe. As well as dismantling the social welfare scheme, free university education was revoked, breaking a long standing social contract of higher taxes for guaranteed free access. Continue reading

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