Poles Apart

In Newsletter Editorial4 MinutesBy Dave McCoidAugust 25, 2023

I was talking to a friend in a local coffee shop this morning. She’s someone whose opinion I respect; incredibly well educated and informed with significant experience in the social and public sectors. Not being a Kiwi by birth, she brings a global perspective to conversation, and is someone I consider to have a contemporary view on most things. Her comments often give you cause for pause, thought, and further reading.

I was therefore somewhat surprised to find her in agreement with this stale pale male on many of the things I consider to be social fundamentals – and as concerned about them. I was looking for a robust clash of ideologies, and failed to get it.

I’m watching the evolution of this year’s election unfold and I certainly wonder why one would ever take up the challenge of public office. It’s little wonder the current crop doesn’t seem to be the crème-de la-crème of those who might seek to serve. As essential as high capability in high office is to any free nation, I’m sure many who possess the talents, skillsets, and maybe an underlying desire to serve, also see the folly in doing so currently.

Like many western nations around the world, New Zealand appears to be rapidly losing direction on so many fronts – education, health, and supporting infrastructure within the wider economy. To me, it speaks to a lack of fundamental understanding of the mechanisms that underlie prosperity; that core grounding falling victim to decisions made based on privilege as a right, not an aspiration or reward.

Clawing our way out of unfathomable debt, restoring a health system in tatters, rebuilding an education system lagging many of the nations we seek to emulate, and resurrecting a stricken transport infrastructure… None of this will be possible if we continue educating the dignity out of our young, and a victim culture into them.

When I was young, I felt surrounded buy ‘nest builders’. Now more and more I see those with little dignity waiting to be fed.

The problem is further exacerbated by the bulk of the voting public now made up of a generation not generally grounded in ideals of endeavour, risk, struggle, achievement, and then reward. That means politicians use tools like social media to garner popularity, rather than inform the electorate of stark reality.

“We’re broke and we need to all roll up our selves and get stuck in for the sake of tomorrow’s kids,” will never wash when all they want to hear is “We’ve borrowed more, so you’re all good.” And there’s no shortage of politicians today who will happily, albeit irresponsibly, tell them the latter.

Unless we can inspire and re-instil a sense of endeavour, personal pride, and of community into all western nations, we needn’t worry about problems that might exist in the sky.

To finish on that note, and looking through the biggest marco lens, as a planet, we’ve made a collective decision to attempt the impossible. Fix the climate crisis and maintain our existence using the same value mechanisms that created it. A long shot, but not impossible. However, it will require a well-prepped, well-informed, and capable civilisation to pull it off. Sadly, the old chestnut of prior preparation prevents poor performance might live to haunt us all.

All the best

Dave McCoid
Editorial Director.