Category Archives: Building Regional Economies

The Economics of Poverty, and the Poverty of Economics


A few years ago, a couple of local politicians made an extraordinary offer.  Come to Hawke’s Bay and invest, they said, for we have low wages and conditions. This thinking imagines that economic success comes, not from the creative dynamism … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | 2 Comments

Are Lower Wages Better for Business? Will they Shift us to a Creative Society?


Morning rant after listening to Steven Joyce et al. on Morning Report (25th October 2017) claim to be the friend of business.  Tosh.  Increasing wages are linked to building economies through building *both* social capital and demand.  Yet we’re already … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Neoliberalism & Corporatism, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

The Myth of New Zealand’s Strong Economy


I keep hearing the repeated emptiness that New Zealand has a ‘strong economy’. It has become a cliché, a soundbite that has become unthinkingly repeated, a lie that is now absorbed into the national psyche. I was writing something on … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 2 Comments

Ruataniwha Dam will Transform the Region


Regional Councillor Debbie Hewitt is quite right that should the Ruataniwha Dam go ahead it will be “absolutely transformational” (quoted in Hawke’s Bay Today April 2017).  You need only look to Mid-West rural America, whose communities were also sold the … Continue reading

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What is Progress and How do we get There?


I have Tom Wessels’ The Myth of Progress on a shelf.  Tom has produced some wonderful books on historically continuous change across our wider landscapes.  He sees patterns in that place where people and landscapes meet.  He takes to task what we mean by … Continue reading

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Kill Creativity and March to Nowhere


This is inspired by a conversation with a dear friend who doesn’t hug much. I have a question … well, two.  First one.  Do we make room for creativity anymore – for the synthesisers? (My friend was one of the … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 1 Comment

Neoliberalism Kills Strategic Thought – and that is Killing our Future


Tactic one for changing our political environment. Hmmmmm….. How about, as the first one, we refocus on strategy, not technocratic analysis?  Strategy requires thinking qualitatively – long and broad through connections.  Where are we wanting to go?  What are the … Continue reading

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Reforming our Regional Economy – III: Never be a Colony


The South Island West Coast of New Zealand is a colony of its eastern neighbour Canterbury.  Think of all the gold, the beautiful timber, the coal, the fish.  Think of the tourism dollars flowing from that extraordinary raised coastal road … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Thought Pieces | 3 Comments

Reforming our Regional Economy II – Making Magic in the Landscape


In the late 1940s my father came down from the East Coast to be a shepherd on Omakere Station in Central Hawke’s Bay.  Part of the work was removing regenerated shrublands of manuka and kanuka and turning them into pasture … Continue reading

Posted in Building Regional Economies, Land Use, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments

Reforming our Regional Economy I: Value over Volume


Why do we manage land the way we do?  Why does New Zealand focus on ever-more gross production over a great scale of sameness?  Why do we talk of “feeding the world” when we can at best feed 40 million … Continue reading

Posted in agricultural strategy, Building Regional Economies, Industrial Mindset, Land Use, Land use strategy, Primary Sector Strategy, Thought Pieces | 4 Comments