It’s always interesting asking local business operators how they ended up…
Anyone looking at Facebook could be excused for thinking that we are all handling the lockdown well but I suspect too many of us are more than a little anxious. In addition our health anxieties we are anxious about our jobs, businesses, rent, mortgages, relationships, studies, loss of biodiversity, climate change etc. While most of us would give our eye teeth to get back to the way things were I suspect many of us were anxious before the lockdown and have been for years and most of our anxieties have been around our relationships, jobs, businesses, mortgages, climate change etc. In short all of the things that constituted our old normal. The truth is our anxieties are the result of doing things the way we always did them. The best way to deal with our anxieties? Talking about what other futures might be possible. From my experience these are conversations that make the eyes light up . My conversations frequently begin with “ just imagine, more gorgeous, more fun, safer, healthier, kinder more thoughtful, generous, inclusive, sustainable…” but today I’m thinking about the way our big decisions are being made.
If instead of cabinet making the decisions (after appropriate briefing by officials who then go off and implement the decisions), just imagine Jacinda inviting all of the parties into the room for the briefings. Yes I know there is a special select committee chaired by Simon to review cabinets decisions and actions but if ever there was a time for a grand coalition surely this is that time. Do I think our politicians are up to it? I have been a politician for a large slice of my life. I have known many politicians and while I didn’t always like or agree with them I have no doubt that all would have been focussed on keeping us well, coming through this with a robust economy and leaving no one behind. But I would move our grand coalition to Wellington for the foreseeable future. Why? We need to move beyond the “how do we get out of this” mind set to think about where to from here. We need more than “more of the same”, not just to look forward to but for all of us to work towards. The grand coalition would be a first step towards getting us out of the “them and us” mind set. In addition to the politicians I would put the most creative of our business and community leaders into the room.
New Zealand has an exceptional reputation for providing leadership and Jacinda has done us proud… but moving our politicians to that next level will require an extraordinary culture shift and a willingness to do things differently from all of us… more fun, more gorgeous, generous, thoughtful, inclusive, sustainable? If anyone could manage it we could… and If we can’t have at least as much fun looking after one another and the planet as we’ve had consuming ourselves into oblivion not enough of us are likely to make the effort.