Guest Blog by John Gallagher
New developmental opportunities for New Zealand arose in the 1980s with its 1984-7 independent nuclear-free policy and the new availability of readily-accessible internet technologies. Using certain mediating or brokering concepts, these two factors can be drawn together into a new paradigm for community and international relations that can open up many new social, economic and other opportunities.
The paradigm has basically become possible because new information technologies can be utilized to enhance face-to-face communication for new kinds of social and economic developmental projects. Such projects, especially when developed well at local levels, can then support projects at national and ultimately global levels to become far more effective.
In other words, local communications technology-supported, “village-connections” developmental projects, can become basic to New Zealand’s development. Thence from the national level, New Zealand can all the more effectively build on its reputation as a nuclear-free peacemaker to project itself as a diplomatic and, for instance, an information-service provider and broker.
Such an approach would enable this small, remote country to focus and utilize to maximum effect what it could offer to the wider world from its otherwise limited resources.
Significantly at the moment, such concepts and projects could also enable a maximum leverage of broadband. Indeed, the government’s major broadband rollout projects make it important to first clarify a planning process that that averts another round of ad hocery and back-room deals that results in most of the control and benefits of our major infrastructures going off overseas. Questions need to be asked about the kind of framework that will enable New Zealanders to leverage broadband most productively, from local levels (based on strong “village-connections”) through to global, so that they can repay debt, produce their own surpluses and otherwise meet their own needs.
Forward looking concepts and a framework based on genuinely independent, trustworthy research is needed that address:
- New Zealand’s geo-strategic location and possibilities in the world, including especially in the Pacific and Asian region.
- The best ways (including concepts and projects) to leverage information technologies, especially utilizing broadband, from both local and national levels.
- The concepts and framework that can enable new synergies to be seen, and relevant policy areas to be pulled together, so that we can relate well and productively to one another and to the wider world. That includes economically and diplomatically, from local through to global levels. What are the options? What are the best options?
- How to recognize and draw together social, cultural, ecological and economic (quadruple bottom line) factors for robust future development within the country, and to support similar development beyond it.
Measures like these seem to me to be the kind that are needed to generate and keep generating quality, up-to-date income and employment in today’s continually changing world. They could amplify and greatly extend whatever the forthcoming employment summit might come up with. They could also enable governments, business people, local communities and others to help create much more effective economic and employment policies. Such measures would also arguably open up better prospects than exist for creating surpluses in our balance of payments, and moving to reduce and eliminate our accumulated overseas debt. If so, they would constitute a most pragmatic way to go.
As with part one of this blog, any feedback will be most welcome. I am particularly interested in whether you agree or disagree with any details, and whether you think the analysis so far is valid and useful or otherwise.