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New Zealand’s pathway to independence in an interdependent world

Photo: New Zealand prime minster John Key to appear on the John Letterman show

source: tv3 news

Guest Blogger John Gallagher writes: US television host David Letterman may have come closer to the truth than he or many others realised when he introduced Prime Minister John Key as from “New England” on 21 September.

A starting point for a number of blogs on this website has been New Zealand’s entre into the modern world as a part of a British-centred economic and political international system.

Although it is a long time since New Zealand lost these British props, it has still to clarify new ways of paying and otherwise making its own way in its much more diverse, post-British environment.

In the absence of adequate clarification, the trend has been to let things drift, while becoming increasingly drawn into the influence and control of new large patrons, such as Australia, the United States, and increasingly also, newly prosperous parts of Asia. Where other, larger countries are willing to relate to us, it will be on their terms rather than our own. We are the only ones who can look, primarily, after our own interests and concerns, or, indeed, our very independence.

What else can be done? Isolationism is not an answer either, in an increasingly interdependent and networked world.

Some innovative, visionary and strategic thinking is needed. That is, new vision and strategies that enable new, mutually respecting and beneficial, relationship-building.

I can see only one viable option.

That is to strategise and build up capacity for various forms of intermediating work. That means brokering or facilitating mutually-desired and productive links between others. In other words, by developing as an international node, or more comprehensively, as a hub for diverse nodes and networks – Especially, a hub that comes to be used and taken seriously by stimulating diverse, useful and significant international conversations and studies on matters of international concern and interest. These conversations can also provide a base from which to develop helpful services and amenities.

An internal infrastructure for this kind of work could be created by building up communication, networking and knowledge at all levels within New Zealand. That is, from the local to metropolitan, regional, and national levels. This more intensive internal networking would enable the country to itself become something akin to a well-networked hub for relating better both internally and to the rest of the world. The relevant basic concepts and mechanics of such networking from local levels upwards have been described in Hazel Ashton’s post doctoral research report (see also BRCSS post doctoral awards).

What do you think? Do you think New Zealand is still needing to learn how to develop an independent economic and diplomatic base for an independent future? What options do you see?

What I will do in the next Blogs is to build on this report by asking how a university could help to support such linkages, from the local to through to the global levels, and, partly in relation to this, how a city could utilize its sister city structures intelligently and effectively to better equip its citizens for such roles.

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