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Inciting Debate

This has been an outstanding year for the NZ Fabian Society and I would like to tell you why.
 
Early in 2010, a small group of us got together, believing what New Zealand needs is a national debate on the sustainability of our society and the policies that shape it. This led us to rekindle the NZ Fabian Society and plan a nationwide programme of activities themed on 'economic resilience'.
 
We have been delighted with the results. An influx of members and high seminar attendances revealing a thirst for information and debate. Among the year's achievements have been:
  • Running 24 seminars, lectures and workshops on a wide range of topics in Auckland, Christchurch and Wellington
  • Becoming an Incorporated Society
  • Gaining 140+ members
  • Establishing branches in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin
  • Presenting a Resilient Economy Workshop as a Labour Party Conference Fringe event
We have provided opportunities to learn about and debate key economic and social issues. The presentations for most of these are available for download, and for some there are also podcasted recordings. These are highly recommended holiday reading for those who missed an event or who want to revisit some of the ideas. In the following list, click on the name of the event for a podcast, or on the presenter's name for a copy of their presentation:
  • In the Resilient Economy Series:
Bold Choices for a Better Future

Reshaping the New Zealand Economy (Podcast Chch Part 1 & Part 2 plus Auckland)

Time for a Complete Rethink
  • In the 2010 Budget Series
Budget Background

The 2010 Budget
  • General Economics
Economics for Everyone (Podcasts Part 1, Part 2a & Part 2b)
 Jim Stanford (Part 1 & Part 2)

Are There Any New Arguments for Privatisation?
 Jim Anderton, Fraser Carson and Bill Rosenberg (Paper & Slides)

Your Kids Aren't Happy
 MADE (Making a Difference in Economics) Auckland University Students (Poverty & Climate Change)
  • Social Policy
Why Not Fix Child Poverty? (Podcast)
 
 
Our objective is summarised in our motto, to ‘incite debate’. The response to the seminars so far indicates that the state of the New Zealand and world economies weighs heavily on us all. There is a widespread desire for an understanding and critical assessment of the failed models of the last thirty years.

The Fabians strongly reject the neo-liberal slogan ‘there is no alternative’ (TINA). Instead, we believe ‘there are real alternatives (TARA), and we have aimed to both supply and critique alternatives to assist that debate.

And the problems remain. The New Zealand economy is stalled. The Government talks about the need to promote the export sector but says it can do nothing about the main inhibitor to investment, an exchange rate that fluctuates wildly because of speculation.

Our success in inciting debate on fundamental economic issues has been reflected by the increasing attention in the media and elsewhere of topics not publically in New Zealand for decades.

2011 – a big year for New Zealand.


So, we are looking forward to 2011 and are kicking off again with the theme ‘Bold Choices for a Better Future.’ What better year to debate this than in election year?

We aim to sharpen the debate and refine the alternatives. We intend to mix the standard lectures with more interactive debates, and continue to seek presenters who are expert and committed to New Zealand's future.
 
We want to thank all of you who have made it along to the seminars or followed us on line. Thanks for being interested enough to join the debate and add to the growing chorus of those who believe urgent action is needed if NZ is to retain control over its own future.
 
Please continue the conversation with family and friends and have a safe and relaxing Xmas.
 

Mike Smith, Chair

  
PS We are very grateful to our presenters, who have all given freely of their expertise and insight. It has also been great to see how their interaction inside the seminars have led to further insights and clarification of ideas. While we have aimed to incite debate, it has always been constructive.
 
We are also grateful to the Gamma Foundation trustees, who have made a significant contribution to our finances. We do not have the necessary resources for a full-scale think tank, and run a very lean operation. Contributions and donations to support the running of the seminars, including travel for presenters, are very welcome.

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