A Citizen in Westown

— some thoughts for "conversations that matter" at the Barclay Hall

by vivian Hutchinson

August 2018 30 min read download as PDF for print

TWENTY YEARS AGO, I was living at the end of the alleyway just beside this hall. I was here for several years before moving just a few houses down the road in Waimea Street. My mother also moved to the area and until recently she was living just across the road.

Labour01.jpgI have since shifted to Brooklands, but for half of my adult life I was a citizen here in Westown ... and it was from these streets that I have done most of my work and writing and teaching and the organising of community projects.

My father died quite young, he was in his 40s, and like many New Plymouth people, he was a friend of Ron Barclay. Before he died, my father gave Ron an oil painting that had been done by my great grand-father.

It was a picture of Michael Savage, based on the famous photo that a lot of my relations had on their mantlepiece in the 1930s and 40s. Actually, when I visited my god-mother in Wellington in the 1960s, she still had that picture above the fireplace and I grew up thinking that this man was probably a member of our family.

Labour02.jpgSo it is great to be here, and to see that oil painting again in this room full of all the photos of the Labour Party leaders and the local MPs and Labour organisers of the last century. It is a history lesson in itself ... and it reminds me how history is shaped by the conversations that go on in rooms just like this.

✽ ✽ ✽

LABOUR WAS A cultural force before it was a political force. Two generations before television and the internet, rooms like this hosted many speakers and conversations on the great issues of the day – the issues that needed political attention: addressing poverty; ending unemployment; building affordable housing; creating a decent public health system; making sure everyone has access to a public education system.

The Labour Party was a focus to these cultural aspirations. These were the issues that shaped our Welfare State, and the post-War golden years of full employment in the 1950s and 60s.

But by the time I was entering my own adulthood in the 1970s, things were starting to come apart.

Labour03.jpgThey were already coming apart when Norman Kirk died in office in 1974. The Third Labour government he was leading at the time didn’t really survive his passing.

But even the Third National government under the ruthlessness and cunning of Rob Muldoon couldn’t hold back the tides of change ... and the Muldoon administration basically ended up becoming the last hurrah of the RSA generation.

Yes, we were so pleased when David Lange and the Fourth Labour government took over in 1984. He was another “big” man ... and we expected him to be the true inheritor of the Norman Kirk legacy.

But little did we realise that the Fourth Labour government would become best known for its Great Betrayal of the cultural aspirations and principles that had woven the Labour political movement in the first place.

Labour04.jpgOne of the main reasons that you never had many community organisers and activists like myself working more closely with the Labour Party in the 80s and 90s is because we were too busy cleaning up the consequences of what was unleashed by people like Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble at that time. And it was just bewildering to us that this Great Betrayal had come from our Labour leaders.

✽ ✽ ✽

BUT WE'VE NOW got a bit more perspective on those years, and we can see that this was all part of an international neo-liberal movement for change. It’s simplistic and seductive agenda was also happening in Britain under Maggie Thatcher, and in the United States under Ronald Reagan, and Rogernomics here in New Zealand was simply a local version of the same franchise.

The market fundamentalism behind this franchise turned into a mindset and attitude that came to permeate not just the business world, but also all our primary government and civic institutions. The powerful and insidious metaphors of this ideology trickled deep down into our private and family and community lives.

The Barclay Hall, Westown, New Plymouth.

The result was a colonisation of our lives that was as brutal and as effective and complete as the colonisation of Empire that settled New Zealand and so many other countries in the 19th century. But this modern colonisation was not so much a fight for land and resources ... it was a fundamentalism that involved a fight for our heads and hearts and attention and our bewildered consent.

✽ ✽ ✽

SURE, THERE WAS a push-back. Twenty years ago, I was running a national organisation, The Jobs Research Trust, which was based at my home in the alley next to this hall. Every couple of weeks we published a newsletter called The Jobs Letter which tried to keep community leaders and decision-makers in touch with the things we could practically do about unemployment.

In September 1998, I left my home here and travelled up to Cape Reinga to support the Hikoi of Hope which was an Anglican-led protest march trying to wake up the rest of New Zealand as to the sorry state of our key social foundations. This march walked all the way down to Wellington, where it met another group who had walked up the entire South Island.

The five “platforms” highlighted by the Hikoi of Hope were Poverty; Unemployment; Affordable Housing; A Health System We Can Trust; and Accessible Education. These of course are an echo of the standard Labour Party cultural aspirations that pre-dated the economic revolutions of 1984.

I will never forget the sight of our former Governor-General, Sir Paul Reeves, standing on the back of a truck on Parliament grounds leading the chant of “Enough is Enough!”. It was a weird moment for our country. As also a former Arch-Bishop of New Zealand, Paul Reeves was leading the protest chant in a definite liturgical manner. 

Labour05.jpgAnyway ... the Fourth National government of Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley was on its last legs, and, a couple of months after the Hikoi, we welcomed Helen Clark and the Fifth Labour government into power.

There were some immediate achievements in this new government, but we can look back now and say that Helen Clark’s administration did not really change the fundamentals on the things that mattered to us. Her leadership amounted to a kinder political management of the status quo. And there was a lot of lip-service to real change.

The huge gaps that had opened up between rich and poor New Zealanders in the 1980s were not turned around. And the managerial principles of neo-liberalism were still deeply embedded in most of our important institutions, and were not effectively challenged.

The Fifth Labour government really had no idea about how to do the cultural work that could re-build the mandate for a decent society. Nor did they know how to grow and renew the active citizenship that can make our deeper aspirations happen.

So in 2008, just a decade ago, we had the GFC or the Global Financial Crisis ... and it certainly felt like an important opportunity had been lost. Within months, we had the Fifth National government under the leadership of John Key which brought us mind-numbing years of austerity in the community sector, and the running down of the infrastructure of all the departments and services that had to do with “the people”.

✽ ✽ ✽

THAT'S ALL HISTORY now. But today I wanted to start off by talking about the main social and economic issues that matter to me, as a way of asking ourselves where we are at today.

The first is about Poverty and Inequality.

The global economy did recover after the GFC in 2008, but you may not have noticed that if you were focusing on “the people”. That is because 95% of the global gains in wealth in the recovery have gone straight to the top 1% of income earners.

And if you look at the investigative journalism into the leaked Panama and Paradise banking papers, you can see that this top elite of 1% is doing all they can to avoid paying their taxes and contributing their fair share to the common good. This includes many leading politicians from a wide spectrum of political parties, a whole bunch of music and sporting and media celebrities, and even The Queen.

But let’s just focus back here in New Zealand.

After the Rogernomics revolution of the 1980s, the gap between the rich and the poor in New Zealand grew at a rate that was the highest of any country in the OECD. The incomes for the richest New Zealanders doubled, while those for the poorest barely rose at all. And over the last thirty years, under both Labour and National governments, this gap has remained fairly constant.

It is this embedded gap between rich and poor that is the main reason why the older people in this room may no longer recognise the country they are living in.

And when you have a situation where half the country is just living precarious - living week-to-week financially - then this is the predominant reason behind why so many other social and economic factors – the jobs, the housing, the health, and the education – are continuing to crumble before our eyes.

✽ ✽ ✽

SO LET'S LOOK at the state of our children.

UNICEF is telling us that 290,000 children, or nearly a third of all New Zealand children, are living in poverty.

Half of these children are living in severe hardship which means they may have no stable home, or they are living in cold and damp houses and/or sleeping in shared beds. They are not eating fresh fruits or vegetables. And tens of thousands of these kids are turning up to their school without having had breakfast.

This issue is particularly motivating for me because I do not want to be living in a country where so many children are having such a rough start.

✽ ✽ ✽

LET'S LOOK AT our housing. According to the OECD, New Zealand has the worst homeless rate in the developed world, with our "severely housing deprived" population estimated at 41,200 people.

More than 80 per cent of these people are being turned away from community emergency housing providers because the system is bursting at the seams.

Michelle Ramage is here, and her group the Roderique Hope Trust has set up four emergency homes in the last few years, and they could definitely fill many more. Michelle does fantastic work and is an important young community worker and activist here in New Plymouth. And there is something that Michelle and I are in complete agreement with: We would rather be living in a New Plymouth that no longer had any need for such emergency homes.  

✽ ✽ ✽

NOW LET'S TAKE a look at job creation and unemployment ... which is the issue that has been the main focus of my own work in the community.

We shouldn’t forget that we are living in a country where one of our largest political parties is named after our ability to work. And yet both main political parties have continued to run an economy that has no use for a large number of our young people. 

One-in-eight young New Zealanders aged 15-24 do not have a paid job, and neither are they enrolled in any formal education.

We have organised our affairs so that we have no use for them. And we are the only creature on the planet that is doing this to its young.

✽ ✽ ✽

LET'S LOOK AT the Welfare State. Or perhaps, let’s question whether we continue not to look at it.

The architects knew there would be problems. The father of British welfare, Lord William Beveridge, wrote as early as 1948 about the problems that he could already see ... and most of his caveats were not about matters of economics, but of attitude.

But we still have no effective public conversation about how things need to be transformed apart from the economic questions of cut-backs and austerity measures. 

And in the meantime, in the neighbourhoods surrounding this very hall, you have too many of our most vulnerable citizens – the elderly, the economically discarded, the sick and the disabled – living in terror of the way they are treated by our current social welfare system.

Is it any wonder that this level of economic stress, social alienation, and disconnection is having an impact on our mental health?

Is it any wonder that we now have the highest suicide rate since records began?  

✽ ✽ ✽

FINALLY, LET'S JUST take a look at the whole issue of citizen participation.

If you look at the most recent election in 2017 you can see that we had a 73% turnout. That means that one in four did not bother to turn up. And if you were under 25 years of age ... the turnout was about 50%, or half the youth electorate is refusing or not bothering to vote.

( ... and don’t get me started on the participation rates in local body elections, where the recent turnout figures have dropped to as low as 48%.)

You have to contrast this with other times in our history – in 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s – then the participation level was above 90%. 

I know that many of you here have been leading the local celebrations for the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand. Well, our most recent low point in civic participation was in 2011 when the rate was at its lowest level since 1877, which was before the time when women got the vote.

There are many ways that we can measure citizen participation in our society, and perhaps this is one of our simplest indicators. But it seems to me that this crisis in our civic participation should be much higher on the agenda of political leaders than it is right now.

✽ ✽ ✽

NOW I'M NOT going into so much detail about all of these things just to depress you. Although it is stating the obvious to say that the social and economic statistics such as these are deeply shameful to a country that used to aspire to the notion that everyone should have “a fair go”.

I was asked to come to your meeting and begin a conversation about Active Citizenship, and I just wanted to draw the widest possible context within which all of our active citizenship is needed right now.

When you put it all together, it’s not a great look. This is not to say that I cannot spend half an hour telling you lots of good news stories too. There are plenty of good things happening out there, and I have written an entire book about some of the best.

But let’s not kid ourselves that when we do put it all together, the overall picture is much worse than it was in 1998.

Turns out that the “Enough is Enough!” chant on Parliament Grounds, twenty years ago ... was not nearly enough. And we’ve got to at least tell the truth to each other about what is going on.

✽ ✽ ✽

I HAVE ALWAYS voted Labour, even during the years of the Great Betrayal. That’s because you are like a member of my family ... and just like many members of my own family, and myself, we get things wrong from time to time. Sometimes devastatingly wrong.

Labour06.jpgAnd we also had a long-time constituency MP here in Harry Duynhoven. Since he was literally on my doorstep, I could see how hard he was working for local people, and that has always counted for something, and accounted for my vote.

When he later became Mayor, it was a pleasure to be able to ask him to launch my book called “How Communities Heal” at a public function at Puke Ariki.

I don't need to remind you here that Jacinda Ardern credits New Plymouth as being the start of her journey into Labour politics.

She joined the party at aged 17. Her aunt, Marie Ardern, who lives locally, told Harry about the teenage Jacinda's interest in politics ... and Harry jumped at the opportunity and rang her and invited her to come to the electorate to volunteer.

Labour07.jpgThis was the first place that Jacinda cast a vote ... and that was in the election that brought Helen Clark into government in 1999.

Jacinda went on to work for two and a half years in the UK cabinet office of Tony Blair, and then returned to New Zealand and became part of the staff in Helen Clark's office. She entered parliament herself in 2008, on the party list.

And now she is our youngest Prime Minister in more than 150 years, and has become the first leader of a country in more than 30 years to give birth while in office.

✽ ✽ ✽

LIKE MOST NEW ZEALANDERS, it seems, I am very fond of the baby.

I loved seeing her recently at the United Nations, and it was great to hear this young mother and leader of our country talking to the world about kindness, and the need to foster co-operation between nations and our major international institutions. In a world of Trumpish drama and self-indulgence, I am proud of the tone of this Prime Minister.

I have to say I have also a great deal of respect for the way that Andrew Little handled the Labour leadership change. That’s another son of New Plymouth showing the sort of character in politics that we need right now.

I am also very proud to be living in a country where three significant parties – Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens – are managing to work together to get things done. We’ve had MMP for a long time, but this really feels like this system has come of age.

But of course I am concerned. Anyone who lays out the sort of statistics I have recounted here today knows that we have got a lot of work to do.

We need to keep awake to the real priorities. This government is going to need to do so much more than just be “Helen Clark – Part Two”.

We are going to need a much more transforming politics that can get to grips with the fundamentals. And we can’t just leave this work to Jacinda Ardern and Andrew Little ... because it is going to take a whole lot more than politicians to do it.

We are not going to get a more transforming politics until we transform the culture behind our politics. This is the cultural task that is the real work of local political parties right now.

Our current leadership may not yet know how to ask you to get on with this job ... but I also think it is never going to happen until we as citizens start to ask it of each other.

Beyond the austerities and cut-backs and struggles of the last decade, I still want to tell you that we are not broke.

What is broken here ... is the “We”.

That’s our missing ingredient. And the “We” is not created by politicians. The “We” is something that emerges out of our own acts of citizenship. 

✽ ✽ ✽

ACTIVE CITIZENSHIP IS not a paid job. And it’s not volunteering.

You are just very lucky if your interests as an active citizen happen to coincide with a paid job. If you are a social entrepreneur, then you will probably try to make it so. But that is not and cannot be true for most people. For most of us, it is the paid job that is supporting our active citizenship.

And of course volunteering is a great thing to be doing. I’m not arguing with that. So much in our community just would not get done without a team of enthusiastic and committed volunteers.

But volunteering is often just free labour for someone else’s system. And this is a different thing from the active citizenship I am talking about here.

Active citizenship is about all the things we can do to create the communities we want to live in, and to take care of the things that we value. And sometimes this involves the acts of creativity that are about disrupting and transforming the existing systems that are no longer fit for purpose.

Active citizenship is an act of ownership. It is about taking responsibility for our common lives ... especially by getting in touch with the specific gifts we have to offer our communities.

Our active citizenship is a personal response to three questions. The main purpose of any culture is to help you answer these questions ... and the asking of these questions is the real job description of our very best leaders, teachers and coaches.

The first question is: Where is your place? This is the question that is asking you to figure out where is home to you ... where do you feel that you belong?

The second question is: What is your story? This is the question that is trying to figure out what is the narrative that you have already started to write with your life?

And the third question is: What is your contribution to the common good? This is the question where you are challenged to pay attention to those gifts and talents that are special to you, and to find some way of weaving that contribution into your community.

✽ ✽ ✽

THIS “COMMUNITY” I AM talking about here is an important element in solving the big challenges I have described here today. And it shouldn’t be taken for granted.

It’s critical. It’s not just a nice thing to have once we have finished working through our social services and the other problem-solving strategies that we have on our list.

“Community” itself is a strategy. If we invest in our communities – our sense of connectedness, our sense of “We” – then we have less of a need for those same social services and so many of our toughest problems just get smaller.

Communities have work to do. The trouble is that we are living in a time when that work is just not getting done.

In healthy and thriving communities, this work is done through its active citizens.

They are not employed. They are not volunteering. They are just getting on with it because they know they belong to this place, and the people they love are here, and they have woken up to their story, and they have figured out what their contribution is to a common good. 

✽ ✽ ✽

I DEFINE “COMMUNITY” as a state of well-being that emerges after we have got a whole lot of basic things right.

The early Labour party, and the Hikoi of Hope, had almost identical ways of describing what that list of basic things was. I would say we have learned a few things since then, and I would be adding to that list our need to be living in a clean and green environment and a healthy planet. 

New Zealand used to have its own vision of fostering well-being that was, until recently, written into the very legislation behind our local government activities.

It was called “the four well-beings” and it was part of the Local Government Act where it said that the purpose of local councils was to work towards “the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of communities”.

It was this legislative mandate that had enabled me to do a lot of my work over the years in terms of community development, and setting up projects like the Mayor’s Taskforce for Jobs.

Anyway, John Key’s Fifth National government in 2012 changed this legislation and redefined the purpose of councils to be one of “providing good quality local infrastructure, public services and regulatory functions at the least possible cost to households and businesses.” 

There was some well-reasoned opposition to these changes at the time ... and Harry Duynhoven, by then as the New Plymouth Mayor, went down to Wellington to have his say. But any controversy about getting rid of “the four well-beings” was never very high in the public awareness, and it was generally regarded as an esoteric matter for government legislators.

Now I didn’t join in with making any submissions to government on this legislative change.

My response was to start Community Taranaki.

Instead of getting organised to complain to the government, or to the council about these legislative changes ... I thought that perhaps this was a time for active citizens to get together and begin to pick up this too-easily discarded mission.

Fostering well-being is the area where we as citizens have our own work to do – and this is the work of renewing the “infrastructure” of public intelligence that understands how our communities can heal, develop and thrive.

Glen Bennett, vivian Hutchinson and Ruth Pfister at the Springboard — Conversations That Matter at the the Barclay Hall, Westown, New Plymouth.

✽ ✽ ✽

GLEN BENNETT WILL soon be sharing with you a bit more about what Community Taranaki is up to, especially with projects like the Masterclass we run for Active Citizenship, the Community Circles that we run in the NPDC Council Chambers, and the Action Incubator for community projects.

Although I did initiate all these projects, I want to say from the outset that the fact that they exist is down to a whole team of people – some of you in this room like Glen and Michelle and Ruth Pfister – who have helped to make them happen.

This team has also included some other extra-ordinary Taranaki active citizens ... like Elaine Gill who was a long-time City Councillor and has been a driving force behind so many community groups over many decades; Dave Owens who set up the Great Fathers project which advocates nationally and locally for Dads to have a much closer emotional relationship with their kids; Ngaropi Cameron who is the founder of Tu Tama Wahine o Taranaki, and she took our Masterclass and challenged us to make it an authentic bi-cultural learning journey; Lynne Holdem who practices as a psychotherapist and has been a driving force behind the local Supporting Families in Mental Illness and is a national voice in the public issues portfolio of NZAP; and Wayne Morris who is a local artist and musician and an international educator in creativity.

There’s all sorts of people involved in what we are doing, many of whom I am only just getting to know. Nearly 300 people have now gone on our four-month Masterclass ... and that has definitely started to change the nature of the conversations we are having with one another, and the work that we want to do together.   

✽ ✽ ✽

IN MY FINAL comments, I want to address you in the room a bit more directly.

I am 63 years old, and of course I have noticed that the majority of the people in this room are older than me. I have also heard here today almost a voice of apology that there are not enough young people here, and it is a struggle to get them involved. 

Well, I’m not looking at a problem. But I am especially pleased that you are here, because I want to tell you that it is time for you to step into your eldership.

We’ve got enough old people in this community ... but we are desperately short of elders. It’s time for you to step up to that job.

The job of an elder is to turn up and interfere. I mean this in the kindest possible sense.

Your job is to turn up to the activities being run by younger people and, if you get the chance, remind them what it is all for.

This is not a job of turning up and giving them advice ... that’s what too many old people do. But an elder’s job is simply to be present and listen, and when asked, to speak on behalf of the common good. That’s a job that’s not being done right now.

If you become friends with the younger people in your lives, you might just get the opportunity to share with them what you have learned.

Of course, we all wish we were wiser. Perhaps we even imagined there were wiser elders around us in our youth ... but no, they were probably just people like us. They were people who turned up to listen, and by their presence they were reminding us what it is all for.

You do have a life experience that we all need to be paying attention to. Some of you lived through the Great Betrayal of the Labour Party. Some of you were a part of it.

There’s some hard-won wisdom wrapped up in that whole experience.

You found out about how we can too easily get confused about the lines between self-interest and the common good. You found out about the difference between organising problems and healing them.

There is a lot to learn from this experience ... and if we don’t learn from it, then we are surely going to find ourselves repeating it.

✽ ✽ ✽

I ALSO HAVE a message for the people in this room who are much younger than me: Now is your time to take over places like the Barclay Hall and turn them into the Centres of Active Citizenship that we need for the next generation.

We need to learn a whole new bunch of skills about organising for the challenges of today. The old Labour party clubrooms should once again become centres of this important adult education.

We need more public meetings discussing policy issues, and we should be supporting the active citizens who are stepping up to make a difference in all the main areas.

And in these days of coalition government ... you should be welcoming members of the Greens and New Zealand First into places like this to have these policy conversations. Get to know each other ... and deliberately cultivate friendships and dialogue with the people who think differently to you.

What you have got in common is your willingness to be active citizens ... and your recognition that there is nobody who joins a political party to make New Zealand a worse place.

I’d like to see you all working together to put up each other’s billboards at election time. That, in itself, would represent a huge difference.

These places like the Barclay Hall should not belong to any particular team. They should now belong to the game.

And I’m suggesting that the game here is about shaping the character and culture of active citizenship.

That’s really the local game in a mature MMP environment.

✽ ✽ ✽

ANYWAY, THAT'S MORE than enough from me to get a conversation started ... and I do want to thank you again for the invitation and the opportunity to speak to this Springboard session.

I belong to this “We” ... however broken I might imagine it to be right now.

We’ll get there. And it has been a privilege to be able to speak to it today.


vivian Hutchinson
4th October 2018



Notes and Links

thanks to Frank and Margaret Gaze

vivian Hutchinson QSM is a community activist and social entrepreneur based in Taranaki. He is the author of How Communities Heal — stories of social innovation and social change (2012) and How Communities Awaken — some conversations for active citizens (2021). For more information see www.taranaki.gen.nz/vivian

First published online in October 2018

This paper is based on notes for a talk given on Thursday 4th October 2018 to the monthly New Plymouth Labour Party Springboard – conversations that matter – at the Barclay Hall, corner of Waimea and Tukapa Streets, Westown, New Plymouth, Taranaki.

Ron Barclay was the Member of Parliament for New Plymouth from 1966 to 1975, a New Plymouth city councillor from 1977 to 1989. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Barclay

The classic photographic portrait of the first Labour Party Prime Minister, Michael Joseph Savage, was taken by Spencer Digby in 1935.

The “planks” of the 1998 Hikoi of Hope – see The Jobs Letter No.85 (27 August 1998)

Widening inequality ... see http://www.inequality.org.nz/ and also Max Rashbrooke comment "Despite what you hear, inequality has risen in New Zealand” The Dominion Post 8th July 2015 www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/comment/70028600/despite-what-you-hear-inequality-has-risen-in-new-zealand

See also Robert Reich's film "Inequality for all" (2013) http://inequalityforall.com/ Robert B. Reich is a Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley. Reich has served in three national US administrations, including as Secretary of Labor under President Bill Clinton.

The Panama and Paradise papers were special investigations published by the Guardian and other media outlets worldwide in 2016 and 2017. They were based on leaked documents created by the Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseka which shone a light on how the super-rich hid their money so they don’t have to pay taxes the way other citizens do. Other leaked papers exposed the workings of tax havens sheltering the wealth of prominent politicians and cultural leaders. See www.theguardian.com/news/series/panama-papers www.theguardian.com/news/series/paradise-papers

Homeless figures ... The OECD paper says says that 0.94 per cent of NZ's population was homeless. The lowest homeless rate in the OECD was Japan, at 0.03 per cent. www.oecd.org/els/family/HC3-1-Homeless-population.pdf. Also figures from "Severe housing deprivation in Aotearoa New Zealand 2001-2013" by Kate Amore, Department of Public Health, University of Otago www.healthyhousing.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Severe-housing-deprivation-in-Aotearoa-2001-2013-1.pdf. "Homeless crisis: 80 per cent to 90 per cent of homeless people turned away from emergency housing" by Derek Cheng, New Zealand Herald 12th February 2018 www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11992371.

the numbers of young people who are neither learning or earning ... "More young not working or learning" by Dene McKenzie Otago Daily Times 3rd May 2018 www.odt.co.nz/business/more-young-not-working-or-learning

Election night participation figures are from the New Zealand Electoral Commission. www.elections.org.nz/events/2017-general-election/2017-general-election-results/voter-turnout-statistics
These figures overstate the numbers because they only include those people who are enrolled to vote. once you take into account adult New Zealanders who don't enrol, the overall voter turnout for the election amongst all age groups was about 73 per cent.

See Bryce Edwards, New Zealand Herald, 3rd November 2017 “Political Roundup: New contentious data shows voter turnout” at www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11940333

See also Statistics NZ – Voter Turnout for Local Body Elections (2013 figures)

The four well-beings ... see “Councils to get shake Up” by John Antony, The Taranaki Daily News 20th March 2012

Community Taranaki ... How Communities Awaken – Masterclass for Active Citizenship – Tu Tangata Whenua, Community Circles at the NPDC, Community Action Incubators, for more see www.taranaki.gen.nz

This paper is licensed for distribution under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 New Zealand License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nz/deed.en