Citizenship education policy
ideas for local government were presented in early 2005 to a New Zealand
Parliamentary inquiry by CCE - and in releasing it on the web, CCE has
added emphasis in bold to ideas that people from Parliament,
government, education and other circles could develop.
The Centre for Citizenship
Education made its submission to the New Zealand Parliament’s 2005
Justice and Electoral Committee “Inquiry into the 2004 Local Authority
Elections”, focusing on its term of reference related to “participation
and elector turnout”.
The Committee said it wanted to asses whether a school civics education
programme might affect election turnouts and encourage greater participation
in our democracy.
Anthony Haas, Director, Centre for Citizenship Education, spoke to the
multi party Committee chaired by Tim Barnett MP in March 2005.
1 CCE BACKGROUND
The Centre for Citizenship Education has grown out of experience in publishing
five post general election editions of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament,
and the consequential recognition that in addition to press gallery and
publishing contributions to citizenship education, there are policy and
professional development issues that also need whole of government attention
to foster participation in our democracy.
2 THE PROBLEM
o The proportion of eligible voters who did not vote
in the 2004 New Zealand Local Authority Elections is another reminder
that some people do not participate as fully as they might in exercising
their democratic rights. Other societies also note declining levels
of voter and other forms of participation.
o The Electoral Commission responded to problems when it says it wants
to achieve a vision where New Zealand’s electoral framework
and processes are widely used, understood, trusted and valued.
It says it wants to make an impact on levels of use, understanding,
trust and value of the electoral framework and processes amongst
those who currently have the lowest levels. “Work is underway focused
on Maori and youth, with Pacific to come”.
o The New Zealand Settlement Strategy recognises that
new settlers are amongst other population groups who may also participate
less at different times. Some of them do not feel New Zealand acts as
a multicultural nation in which they are included.
o The Diversity Action Programme was an immediate respons in August 2004
to negative actions aimed at minorities, and the need to work at building
an inclusive society.
o Policy makers and officials may not know all they need to know
to understand why particular groups of people participate less
o Schools have a limited focus on delivering citizenship
education, and the curriculum is crowded:
o Social studies in the New Zealand curriculum has a predominantly indirect
citizenship education focus
o Teachers could provide better citizenship education with more
time, educational resources, motivation and professional development
o Much of the limited attention to citizenship education is shaped by
the silo mentality amongst some institutions and managers,
underdeveloped cooperation between institutions with
parallel briefs related to citizenship education, and a growing but incomplete
whole of government focus
o Insufficient leadership is visible at local, educational and national
level to citizenship education.
Local Government Act: Councils, Democratic Service and other local management,
and citizens can use the machinery of the 2002 Local Government Act (e.g
Long Term Community
Council Plans, Business Plans) to set local citizenship education objectives
Kids voting: Kids Voting programmes could be applied
by more local councils, their schools and communities – thus helping
future voters, and their parents. Mock elections within schools will encourage
pupils to talk to their parents, and perhaps to prompt the parents to
Ethnic Advisory Councils: Ethnic advisory councils, reflecting
experience with the establishment of Pacific Islands and other specialist
advisory bodies, can assist migrant and host at the local government as
well as other levels to foster communication and participation.
Women’s organisations: work with women’s
(and other nongovernmental organisations) to foster participation in the
Citizenship ceremonies: Encourage Mayors and Ministers
to use citizenship ceremonies to educate new New Zealanders about New
Zealand local and national democracy.
Central Government: Ministers and government managers
can be both responsive and proactive in supporting citizenship education
initiatives at Local Government level, applying a whole of government
Learning by experience: Walking bus programmes and other
projects could be designed and applied more widely by cooperation between
local authorities and schools, giving locals experience in operating New
Professional development: training should be designed
and delivered to assist intermediaries in the political process to facilitate
participation by citizens. For example, school trustees are offered training
about their roles to a much greater extent than councillors are offered
training about their roles.
Educational material development: Multimedia educational
material development continues to be necessary, as illustrated by the
November 2004 advice to the Speaker that Parliamentary Service and the
Office of the Clerk consider collaborating to produce a video about Parliament
for public education purposes, and as illustrated by some local authorities
such as Wellington City Council) publication of education resources. Whilst
there is a need for targeted resources on aspects of local government
relevant to particular audiences, there is also a need to context those
School Boards of Trustees: School trustees are relatively
numerous (perhaps an average of half a dozen people on more than 2500
boards) and relatively well served by training about the discharge of
board duties. Work with the NZ School Trustees Assn and boards to enhance
board training could both help trustees in and outside their board civic
duties, and encourage their schools to teach citizenship education.
Parliament Speakers’ leadership: In addition to
the continuation and update of the leadership of the Speaker, his or her
authority could reinforce positive trends in citizenship education in
local government and amongst appropriate supporters, including Parliamentarians
Current and former MPs: Serving and former MPs have an
interest in informing electors about their Parliamentary duties –
they could be better supported to deliver citizenship education about
the local/national interface, and in turn support and motivate local teachers
to implementrelevant discretionary parts of the curriculum.
Inclusive tone of Parliament: Visits by tourists and
by student groups, invitations to events in the Grand Hall and other places
in Parliament, and direct access by people with special interests to relevant
Parliamentarians reflects an inclusive tone by the “Peoples’
Parliament”. The Speaker could foster the invitation of people who
might otherwise limit their participation in civic life, to attend appropriate
events at Parliament. Practical steps could readily be designed to implement
the political will to be more inclusive of culturally diverse New Zealanders.
Parliamentary Education: The development of a cooperative
Parliamentary Education strategy for Parliamentary Service and the Office
of the Clerk, working in collaboration with each
other and on projects with the Electoral Commission and with the Ministry
for Culture and Heritage, could be expanded to include the Ministry of
Education and other institutions, and is an emergent model for others
to emulate for local citizenship education.
Political parties: Political parties may find it in their
interest to facilitate fuller participation in their affairs by people
who share their interests and values. Participation in party affairs,
from policy formation to electioneering, can enhance citizenship education.
THE BIG PICTURE
Multi faceted approach: Citizenship education should
be provided in many ways related to the needs of the users more than the
Collaborative approach: Mutually reinforcing strategies
and implementation should be in place in local government, central government
Culturally diverse approach: Citizenship education design
and delivery should reflect the needs of an increasingly culturally diverse
New Zealand population in a global environment.
Citizenship and nation building: Seek out and emphasis
symbols of citizenship and nationhood around which New Zealand can rally,
e.g the national flag, the national anthem, the citizenship ceremony held
locally for new citizens. Help people answer the question as to what it
is to be a New Zealander. Accept new ways of doing things from people
of many cultures who have settled in New Zealand, as well as giving them
knowledge and tools about the current way of doing things here.
New Zealand democracy: Citizenship education should not
only focus on the institutions and processes of Parliament, government
and the law. Citizenship education should also expand on the big picture
to assist those new New Zealanders from different political systems to
understand New Zealand’s participatory democracy.
Ladder of participation: Encourage sharing of power so
that citizens feel they can influence from higher rungs on the ladder
of participation (Appendix
Media: Media could both carry more citizenship education
content, and reports on how citizenship does work and might work better.
DecisionMaker Publications: APEN, the publisher of the
DecisionMaker series with its core and supplementary multimedia content
on how Parliament works, how government works, how the law works, the
big picture and other focused topics, continues to be interested in providing
citizenship education on its own and in collaborative arrangements.
Research: research and educational interests could build
understanding of strategies that enable all New Zealanders to participate
to the maximum.
New Zealand Settlement Strategy: The roll out and maintenance
of the New Zealand Settlement Strategy, with its focus on delivery through
migrant resource personnel located in relevant local authority areas,
provides an opportunity to include relevant citizenship education content,
collaboratively deliverable, to audiences with special needs. Councils
most actively working with resettlement policies, such as Manukau and
Wellington, could be partnered to increase the provision of citizenship
education. Local Government New Zealand could be invited
to promote products of value to its members through its website and other
channels, and perhaps to develop relevant initiatives in its future work
New Zealand Diversity Action Programme: The ten point
action plan for Cultural Diversity, facilitated by the Race Relations
Commissioner www.hrc.co.nz/diversity, provides a series of local government
and other channels through which citizenship education can be provided
to New Zealanders with general and specialist needs. It is a citizens'
operates on a partnership principle, with partners who help to achieve
one or more of the programme's ten steps. Partnership is open to all organisations
that support the Programme, including community organisations, religious
groups, cultural groups, government departments, local government organisations,
schools, education and research institutions, media, businesses and sports
The first National Diversity Forum was held at Parliament in August 2004,
and adopted the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme.
The second national diversity forum August 23 2005, was convened to review
progress in the implementation of the Diversity Action Programme and to
develop actions for the following year.
A number of sector forums were planned to feed into the national forum.
National and local forums could be tailored to foster the participation
of people from culturally diverse backgrounds into local government.
Directory on Cultural
Diversity: The Centre for Citizenship Education, as its partnership
contribution to the New Zealand Diversity Action Programme, is expanding
its annual Directory for Citizenship Education to include a directory
on cultural diversity. This will complement information on government
departments, crown entities state owned enterprises, information and services
and help with rights and the law currently contained in the directory.
The purpose of the cultural diversity section will be to provide information
and pathways to key organisations involved in promoting cultural diversity
in New Zealand. The Directory was published in the second quarter of 2005,
and the online edition is available to participants in the August NZ Diversity
Forum, on the anniversary of the Forum that established it at Parliament
4 CCE STRUCTURE
The CCE is a nongovernmental organisation established on the basis of
a quarter century of experience in publishing citizenship education, starting
in 1971 with Sione Comes to New Zealand, A Samoan Migrants Story, extended
after each New Zealand General Election with the DecisionMaker Guides
to Parliament and Government. Local government oriented citizenship education
experience includes the 1992 DecisionMaker edition Handling Local Issues
and the 2004 DecisionMaker Guide to Local Government.
Since its formation in 2002 the CCE has expanded experience with Parliaments,
governments, international organisations, publishers, educators and other
non government organisations.
CCE is serviced by a secretariat in Wellington, provided since establishment
by Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd, and has the benefit of comment from
advisory panel members who likewise have wide connections, both in this
country and internationally. Anthony Haas, the Establishment Director,
is a 20042007 Honorary Fellow of the School of Government, Victoria University
Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd’s representation in the Parliamentary
Press Gallery helps the collection, evaluation and dissemination of information
and knowledge for citizenship education.
5 CCE OBJECTIVES
In its Prospectus (Attachment 1) CCE says “Many people in New Zealand
today stand to benefitfrom obtaining a better understanding of the principles
and procedures of our evolving pluralist democracy, from coming to appreciate
more fully the role and responsibilities of the individual citizen, and
the opportunities inherent in our system. They should welcome the diversity
of communities, large and small, all over time adjusting to each other
and all contributing to the New Zealand identity.
The Centre for Citizenship Education (CCE) is able to contribute to policy
formation and educational development, with publications and other means
Our objects and work programme takes their cue from Parliament, our experience
in the media
(attachment 2), and our belief that if our democracy is to thrive, we
need an informed and responsible electorate.
Former New Zealand Speakers said in 1998 in Restoring public confidence
· The media should see themselves as major participants
in maintaining the relevance of Parliament for the people
· Civics education should be introduced into the
· The public must take responsibility for participation
in our Parliamentary system.
Much still remains to be done to build an informed public,
as was said in the November 2004 report on Resourcing Parliament.
The 2004 triennial Parliamentary Appropriations Review spoke of “a
closer link between the parliamentary agencies and the Centre for Citizenship
Education”. The Centre welcomes that comment, and this submission
is made as a result of this and other encouragement.
The recommendations for enhanced civics education to foster participation
in local government complement policies appropriate at other levels –
particularly national and educational – for New Zealand.
Publisher Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd found in its many years of experience
in publishing citizenship education that allied policy settings,
and professional development capacities, were amongst limitations impeding
most effective collection, evaluation and dissemination of citizenship
The experience gained has been reflected in the establishment of the CCE,
which in turn offers a foundation structure able to be collaboratively
developed. CCE is ready to cooperate with others.
Find out more:
Centre for Citizenship Education
Secretariat: P O Box 3978, 5 Maurice Tce, Wellington
Mobile: O27 242 2301, Fax: 04 3850238
Attachment 1: CCE Prospectus, February 2005
Attachment 2: Role of the Media, Presentation by Anthony Haas to Pacific
Canterbury University, 2004
Attachment 3: DecisionMaker How
Participation works, 2 nd qtr, 2003