Adequate citizenship education can make a difference. It can help
people know their rights, have their voices heard, choose representatives
to govern on their behalf and participate more effectively in their
community. Citizenship education is not only important for each of us
It is also important for those who influence how citizens can participate
in educational, Parliamentary, governmental, legal or other services.
fifth New Zealand edition of the DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament
and Government coincides with the build-up to the 150th anniversary
of the the New Zealand Parliament.
DecisionMaker Publications has been enabled by Parliamentary Service to
publish the core content of these print, cd-rom and online editions — with
funding, content, ideas and links to other information providers. Supplementary
resources enabled us to expand understanding of how government works,
thanks to the profiles, case studies and briefings provided for these
editions — and our quarterly DecisionMaker guides and policy forums.
Each DecisionMaker Guide to Parliament and Government, since Asia Pacific
Economic News developed the titles in consultation with New Zealand‘s
Parliamentary Service in 1990, has incorporated innovations. The 2000 edition,
for example, introduced The Big Picture to support an embryonic
The funding structure provided for this edition has allowed DecisionMaker
Publications to build on these foundations, providing more public-good
content and a coherent structure. The 2003 DecisionMaker Citizenship Education
Directory, one of the magazines that make up this composite DecisionMaker
Guide to Parliament and Government, draws together information from a number
of sources to provide a list of contact details for services useful to
those exercising the rights of citizenship. The Directory, like all DecisionMaker
publications, will be available online – on www.decisionmaker.co.nz
and www.decisionmaker.cc, with enhanced accessibility in Australia, the
Pacific and beyond – but will also be reprinted from time to time.
While we have embraced the new technology, we recognise the value of a
traditional book. It's cheap, it's portable, it requires no power, and
readers can refer between multiple pages without needing a three-metre
Whether in print or on-line, DecisionMaker Publications is committed to
the view that information is not in itself knowledge, but only a resource
from which knowledge can be extracted. Electronic search engines allow
those in the know to find information they're looking for; publications
such as ours allow people to discover both knowledge that they need (whether
or not they were looking) and its relevance and context.
The next DecisionMaker quarterly (second quarter, 2003), for example,
is both a guide to and policy forum on How participation works – incorporating
perspectives on best New Zealand and international practice in citizenship
education. It reaches out to public servants, offering a professional
development resource that helps them provide integrated government for
and other citizens.
With its 2003 editions, DecisionMaker continues to improve its publishing
service with its partners, and facilitates the development of policy
planning to improve citizenship education in schools and communities – sharing
experience with New Zealand and international best practice.
By Anthony Haas, publisher and interviewer, and Judy Knighton, publications
developer and editor.
© Asia Pacific Economic News Ltd.