DecisionMaker is focusing
more attention on the question of national, Pacific and global identities.
Here we identity the views of and about significant contributors to New
Zealand's national identity. Find
out more about what MPs elected in 2005 - and political parties in Parliament
- stand for, and suggest on national identity.
identity in an interdependent world,
in which the Centre for Citizenship Education increases attention to perspectives
that bind citizens of New Zealand
The Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, on advice
of the Prime Minister, Helen Clark
PM David Lange and former Green co-leader Rod Donald
PM Mike Moore
National identity in an interdependent world,
in which we increase attention to perspectives that bind citizens of New
The thrust of citizenship
education in this country is to give young people and new arrivals an
introduction to the structure and operations of government, and the principles
and ideals that lie behind our system.
Much of this is relatively straightforward and can be explained quite
simply. Some is more difficult, because though the terms are in constant
use they are not easily defined.
Some of the words are virtually
interchangeable. For example, we can talk about New Zealand as a country,
a nation, or a state, or just as a member of an international organization.
Exploration of their significance, and so of our national values, is part
of the business of learning about the responsibilities of citizenship,
and what is involved, what we stand for. What do we really mean when we
These concepts need to be discussed and analysed as they are used in a
range of different contexts: people need to be able to talk over the issues
among themselves, ask questions, and perhaps encourage debate among their
The fact that New Zealand is an island, that we have no land
borders, makes some things a bit easier. It immediately gives us a sense
of identity. We refer to ourselves as a nation.
What is a nation? In politico-legal
terms New Zealand is a nation-state which takes its place on the international
stage, is a member of international institutions, signs treaties and is
concerned with a wide range of world issues.
But there is more to it than
lines on a map. We have a shared history, a sense of belonging, our own
standards, our own view of the world, and we are always conscious that
other people are somehow different.
“Country” is often
used as if it means the same as “nation”: there were 191 countries
in the UN General Assembly in 2005. But it does not have quite the same
legal sense, and seems to refer more to geography, to the people and their
“State” is probably
more strictly legal. New Zealand is a state at international law; and
in domestic usage it means the central government.
a rather emotional concept. It suggests pride in achievement, and independence
of spirit. We define ourselves to the world. It is only natural that on
special occasions such as the Opening of Parliament we should celebrate
But we should remember that
these days many people are saying that nationalism is obsolete: we are
all, or should be, internationalists now, multilateralists.
So when did we become a nation?
Are we more of a nation today
than we were 50 years ago? Is it because we are more mature, or perhaps
more sophisticated? But we also think of ourselves as a country, a working
pluralist democracy, a multicultural society. Just ocassionally we remember
that we are constitutional monarchy too. None of these terms says quite
enough. They are aspects of the whole.
In practice we regularly and
quite properly use the adjective “national” to locate ownership,
to say that something is ours, belongs to New Zealand – maybe a
sporting team, maybe something much less tangible.
We talk about our national
identity and identities – sometimes using the word in the plural
to underline the contributions of our various cultural communities. When
we do it is important to see as one whole our society, economy, democratic
processes, international relationships, and plans and prospects. Probably
our “values” too, though they can be pretty elusive: how many
do we have? (People still sometimes speak of national “character”,
though in today’s world of mixed ethnicities that no longer means
very much.) Identity is therefore a concept, one word which really requires
a short essay of definition and explanation whenever it is used.
is another concept altogether, most often referring to economic or security
Though we are all members
of this nation, some see themselves also as global citizens, some also
as citizens of a region, Pacific citizens. We belong to more than one
group, but the pull of family and of country is strong.
Identity, indeed, may at times
be little more than a slogan, or perhaps a label - and labels can be misleading.
Sometimes it may be no more
than a declaration of independence.
Identity is difficult, too, because we have to recognize that
it is constantly changing. Human societies tend to be untidy. They are
always evolving: whether in history or in today’s fast-changing
world you can never find a community which for any length of time is static,
with no new arrivals, no significant changes to the economy (and so to
their way of life), their internal political structure, or contacts with
We cannot really manage our
identity. There is so much over which we as a nation don’t have
all that much control. People come and go, the population grows, and agriculture
becomes more productive, new industries are introduced, countless new
technologies are eagerly seized on, international trading patterns and
communications are constantly being transformed. New ideas and cultural
concepts take root; and the whole world is facing up to new problems,
new threats. New opportunities open up.
In these terms, consider New
Zealand at, say, 10-year intervals from 1905 onwards. How many “identities”
have we had in 100 years?
And however we think of ourselves,
whatever seems most important to us, how are we regarded by others, by
Europeans, East Asians, Australians, Pacific Islanders? They all see us
somewhat differently – and they are themselves all changing too.
For years we have had a good reputation in the UN, as a responsible and
active international citizen, making useful contributions and having significant
influence despite our lack of economic or military clout: that is another
identity of which we can be proud.
Nevertheless many of them may have only some vague sort of image
of us, just as we have images of them: a few points that we have picked
up, result perhaps of brief experience, or of reading a newspaper article.
Not very reliable. Quite misleading, perhaps.
We ourselves can have a self-image
too. This is probably rather flattering. We like to think that we have
made a success of some particular enterprise, that we have done better
than others at something else, or have handled a certain problem pretty
well. (We may not be aware just how we actually do compare with other
countries.) But we are not likely ever to have delusions of grandeur.
Nevertheless this is all useful.
Good citizens, active citizens in any country should from time to time
reflect on its identity, how it is seen by its inhabitants – with
all their different viewpoints, ambitions and attitudes – how it
must appear to its neighbours, trading partners and fellow members of
And even if we cannot control our identity we can certainly make
efforts to build it in the direction we would like it to go. We want to
be seen as growing, and growing up. We want to be known for achieving
unity in diversity, for dealing with fellow-citizens and the outside world
with tolerance and mutual respect. We want to be respected for our inclusive,
participatory democracy. We want to be recognized for our multicultural
heritage. And we want to be accepted as being educated, skilled, with
energy and initiative, active players with a vision of a well ordered
We need to think about what
strengths and qualities we most admire, what standards would we like to
reach. Not only how would we wish to be seen by our neighbours: how, too,
we would hope to be seen by our grandchildren. Ideally we should all have
a pretty much - at least in essentials - the same idea of how we would
like to evolve. We’ve not yet achieved that, but maybe we never
will. Lively debate is to be encouraged.
But – and there
are always buts…
by Roger Peren, an Adviser
to the Centre for Citizenship Education
The Governor-General on advice of the Prime Minister
In November, 2005, the
Governor-General, Dame Silvia Cartwright, acting according to custom,
read the Speech from the Throne, given to her by the Prime Minister, Helen
Clark, that this time included the following national identity sentiments
extracted from the Government’s intended programme for New Zealand’s
48th Parliament. back to top
The headings are DecisionMaker's, the words are from the Speech from
Building support for the electoral system
It was therefore a tragedy
to learn of the untimely death of Mr Rod Donald MP, the co-leader of the
Green Party. Mr Donald had been instrumental, not only in building support
for the electoral system by which New Zealanders now choose governments,
but also in the Green Party making such a strong contribution to Parliament
in recent years. He will be sorely missed.
NZ confident in sense
Ours is now a country more confident of its economic future and more secure
in its sense of identity.
In the past six years New Zealand has enjoyed economic growth above the
rate of our major trading partners. We have seen a significant decline
in poverty levels and we have recorded the lowest crime rate in 22 years.back
Distinctive NZ way
Over recent years, my government has set about developing a distinctive
New Zealand way of responding to the challenges and opportunities of the
This is an approach founded on New Zealanders’ creativity and innovation,
on valuing both inspiration and aspiration, and on seeing our size and
place in the world not as a limitation, but as offering opportunities
The New Zealand way is much more than the clichés of ‘number
eight wire’ or ‘punching above our weight’. It is based
on the belief that as a confident, diverse, inclusive Pacific nation,
we can work together to find new opportunities and market our best ideas
profitably to the world.
This approach will continue to be applied to a range of policies and programmes
aimed at lifting the quality of life and standard of living for all New
Apply talents of all
My government believes that the talents of all must be deployed in the
drive to transform our nation.
It is important to build a broad consensus about the way ahead. Divisions
within the community, perceived or otherwise, must not be allowed to get
in the way of the transformation of New Zealand, to a prosperous, confident
21st century nation.
My government intends to work - as it has over the last six years - in
partnership with people from across sectors and communities to advance
New Zealand’s interests. back to top
World class foundations
New Zealand's growing economy relies on strong foundations. The foundations
of a 21st century economy must include world class education, infrastructure,
healthcare, and social services.
Inclusive, forward looking NZ way
Underpinning each of these priorities is an approach founded on a distinctly
New Zealand way of working. This approach aims to be inclusive, forward
looking, and focused on lifting the aspirations and developing the abilities
of all New Zealanders. This is critical to our nation's success.
Honourable Members, one of the most distinctive features of the emerging
New Zealand way is our sense of national identity, confidence, and creativity.
Our stories - creative industries
New Zealanders are holding their own alongside the best writers, musicians,
and artists anywhere in the world. Our communities now fully embrace and
support their creative members. We New Zealanders expect to see our stories
and perspectives reflected on our airwaves, on film screens, in our literature,
and throughout the creative spectrum.
Principled on world stage
New Zealand's sense of national identity is also underpinned by our position
as an independent and principled player on the world stage.
My government will continue to ensure that New Zealand contributes positively
to the resolution of the many challenges our world faces.back
One of the most distinctive features of contemporary New Zealand is our
increasingly diverse population.
As New Zealand moves forward, we must address needs across a range of
communities and ethnicities.
Social solidarity will be critical to our country’s success. My
government will continue to promote tolerance and understanding between
all those who make up our nation. The New Zealand way has always been
to move forward together, recognising the independence of individuals,
while pooling our collective talent for the good of our economy and society.
Dialogue on Treaty – lifting aspirations
The place of Maori in contemporary New Zealand has been a matter of much
controversy in recent times.
My government seeks to encourage rational and informed dialogue on the
role of the Treaty of Waitangi, and on the rights and responsibilities
of the Crown and Maori, and, indeed, of all New Zealanders.
It is time to recognise the emergence of a new, dynamic, confident Maoridom.
It is time to lift aspirations, celebrate and encourage success, and not
dwell on past failure. Pride in the achievements of all New Zealand communities
and peoples must be seen as a cornerstone of the New Zealand way.
Government formation process
The election result has given my government the opportunity to build on
the New Zealand way of working that has emerged over the last six years.back
MMP inclusive, v FPP winner take all
These (government formation) agreements are an expression of my government’s
desire to continue with the broad and inclusive approach which New Zealanders
opted for when they replaced the winner-takes-all attitudes of the first
past-the-post system with MMP.
- of our proud, independent, South Pacific nation
My government is deeply conscious of the honour bestowed on it in taking
office again. Its mission is to lead the economic and social development
of our proud, independent South Pacific nation. It seeks to work alongside
a broad cross section of New Zealanders to achieve the best results for
New Zealand.back to top
pay tribute to David Lange and Rod Donald, reveal national identities
By Anthony Haas, Asia
Pacific Economic News, Parliamentary Press Gallery
David Lange, former New Zealand
Labour Party Prime Minister, and Rod Donald, former Green co-leader were
fare welled in an afternoon of speeches in Parliament on November 9, 2005.
Their deaths stimulated direct and indirect references to New Zealand’s
evolving national identity, and may stimulate and help a greater consciousness
amongst younger and newer New Zealanders as to who we are.back
I watched from the Parliamentary
Press Gallery and heard what interested radio listeners would have shared
as Parliamentarians from all parties elected in September made their tributes.
National identity themes that
came to mind were our recent history, changing demography, electoral reform
processes, emotion, issues and our people.
The Prime Minister, Helen
Clark, who introduced national identity pointers in the Speech from the
Throne the day before, moved that Parliament record its appreciation to
their colleagues, both of whom died before their time should have been
History shapes this
The history that David Lange, as Labour Prime Minister, reacted to and
helped shape, brought more market forces to New Zealand between 1984 and
1989. Jim Anderton, a former Labour Party President and now leader of
Jim Anderton’s Progressives, recalled the “disastrous”
period of the National Prime Minister Rob Muldoon, whom David Lange had
defeated. Ron Mark, from New Zealand First, regretted that New Zealanders
did not show much inclination to honour great men amongst them, and he
named Lange and Norman Kirk. Mark, onetime soldier, had voted for Muldoon
until he became impressed by Lange. Ron Mark also recalled Keith Holyoake,
the National Party Prime Minister who dominated New Zealand politics in
the 1960s. back to top
Holyoake had been Prime Minister
in the period when senior people in the current cabinet were university
students – and starting to express their feelings about reflecting
more principles in New Zealand foreign policy. The mid 1960s were years
of protest against NZ involvement in the war in Vietnam, protest against
NZ rugby contact with apartheid South Africa. The protesters then who
lead cabinet now were from the baby boom generation – conscious
that their parents’ generation fought alongside allies in World
War Two. The protests of the sixties marked the time when public opinion
started to seek influence over foreign policy. National Party leader Keith
Holyoake sought to keep New Zealand’s involvement alongside the
Americans as small as he could get away with, as he sought to build on
relations with those then described as “our great and powerful friends”.
Kirk, Labour Prime Minister
in the early seventies until his own early death, sought to reflect New
Zealand’s emerging independent national identity. He had a South
Pacific Year to help that progress. But Kirk did not distinguish himself
as an economic development leader. Bill Rowling, also deceased, had economic
management skills, but his brief tenure as PM after Kirk, faced the defeat
in the mid seventies by Robert Muldoon and then the leadership challenge
of Lange. The Muldoon phenomenon, as Holyoake once described it to me,
involved battling for the underdog, appealing to the rednecks, intervening
in economic management and moving from traditional National Party values
of free enterprise. back to top
Lange government opens
up the economy
When Lange defeated Muldoon in 1984 his government embarked on policies
to reduce interventions such as wage and price freezes, to internationalise
the economy with such influential steps as floating the currency. Lange’s
finance minister, Roger Douglas, championed the more market approach.
National Party members who believed their party was for free enterprise
felt uncomfortable with Muldoon’s interventionist approach. Labour
Party members who believed their party was for social justice through
active state intervention in economic and social affairs felt uncomfortable
with the Lange – Douglas market approach, until David Lange called
a halt to have “a cup of tea”.
Fragmentation of parties
In Parliament’s November 2005 tributes to David Lange the living
consequences of this history could be experienced. Helen Clark had had
to live through the painful periods in this history, and survive to guide
the ship of state according to social democratic values. Sitting next
to her is Jim Anderton, who had formed New Labour, then the Alliance,
then the Progressive party, in his bid to retain the principles and policies
he thought the Lange-Douglas government had deserted. Rodney Hide, leader
of the ACT Party, was amongst those who characterised David Lange as one
of the great New Zealand Prime Ministers. He talked of his predecessor
Richard Prebble’s respect for much about Lange, but the same Prebble,
like Douglas, was sometimes with and later times against Lange. Douglas,
Prebble and Hide have led ACT to continue the internationalisation and
economic programme Douglas and colleagues started, but did not finish
during Lange’s leadership. Lange’s Labour gave birth to parties
pursuing different principles and policies. These included ACT for the
more marketers, and the parties Jim Anderton has championed for policies
such as intervention to assist regional economic development.back
The National Party, led in
the nineties successively by Jim Bolger and Jenny Shipley, pursued economic
policies that avoided the interventionist style of the late Sir Robert
Muldoon, and initially enabled finance minister Ruth Richardson to seek
to continue the economic direction of Roger Douglas. But electoral forces
and values that forced Lange to have his famous cup of tea, and restrain
Douglas, also eventually stopped National from continuing more and more
market with Ruth Richardson. back to top
By the end of the nineties Helen Clark had begun the first of her three
terms as Prime Minister of coalition governments under the MMP system
that arose from the electoral reform movement championed by Rod Donald.
Rod Donald did not like the
winner take all features of the former First Past the Post (FPP) electoral
system – and in the decades prior to MMP’s formal introduction
in the early nineties, issues and processes prepared the ground for a
new way of doing politics in New Zealand. Holyoake had been a consensus
style politician, but Kirk, Muldoon and Douglas had asserted they could
lead New Zealand in their particular directions where they assessed it
could go. Opinion polls suggested trust in Parliamentarians was dropping,
partly perhaps because some MPs promised this and delivered that. The
adversarial style of politics, imported with the Westminster system from
the UK, did not sit comfortably with the electoral reformers. They were
supported by people who thought proportional representation should produce
Parliaments with membership reflecting the votes gained – and the
diversity of the population. back to top
Rod Donald, described by Green
MP Metirei Turei as a good man, battled for causes outside and inside
Parliament. Until the early nineties he was a member of the Labour Party,
but like others, shifted his allegiances to a party focused more on what
he thought important, rather than working through the broad based party.
The social justice and economic sustainability direction of the embryonic
Green Party attracted him, but he still preferred the general direction
of the Labour Party to the National Party. Hence the Green’s support
for the third Clark government, whilst still dissenting from some of the
policies Helen Clark has pursued, and whilst being disappointed that Green
co-leaders Rod Donald and Jeanette Fitzsimons were vetoed from participating
in the third Clark cabinet.
The vetoing came from United
Future, and from NZ First, who brought Clark crucial Parliamentary votes
she needed to have any hope of sustaining a government for three years.
Peter Dunne, who leads United Future, and Winston Peters, who leads NZ
First, disliked some of the positions Rod Donald and the Green Party espoused.
Donald thought a free trade agreement with China would involve Chinese
workers causing problems for New Zealand workers. His party inclines to
fair trade, the New Zealand agricultural sector’s interests incline
the government towards free trade. Nandor Tanczos, the former Green MP,
who has taken up his option to succeed Donald, is part of a Green approach
that leans towards public health approaches to managing drug use, whilst
United Future inclines more to applying the law to drug misuse.back
People with so much
more to do
Rod Donald was also concerned to advance causes the Green Labour discussions
did get onto the government’s agenda, such as sustainable energy
policy development, and a Buy Kiwi made campaign.
Green’s feel, as MP
Keith Locke told Parliament, there is so much more to do. Sue Bradford,
Green MP and self described street activist, talked of what might have
been if Rod Donald lived to battle for environmental sustainability, and
economic and social justice. Her concern is what might be for children,
and beneficiaries, left behind by market forces. United Future’s
Gordon Copeland, who had not known Rod Donald before they met in the last
Parliament, described the MP he worked with in select committees as “a
real battler” – another classic New Zealand identity phrase.
Ruth Dyson, another former Labour Party President, told this Parliament
she had originally opposed MMP. But she said that she had recently told
Rod Donald she had changed her mind. Ron Mark described MMP as one of
the best things that had happened for this country. NZ First and the Greens
had their disagreements, but they did not always disagree. They share
concerns for better incomes for people on low incomes, employment rights
to protect casual labour, the rights of the elderly, proper funding for
aged care services, and less selling off of state assets.
Ruth Dyson noted David Lange’s
dislike of pomp and ceremony. She saw him as “reviving us”
after the Muldoon era. Ruth Dyson recognized in Rod Donald the type of
Kiwi who put issues onto the national agenda. National Party MP Dr Lockwood
Smith was the opposition education spokesperson who had to match David
Lange as education minister. Tomorrow’s Schools was a Lange policy
to dismantle “hidebound school administration” to become today’s
schools Dr Smith said. In his tribute to John Falloon, a former National
Agriculture minister who died recently, Dr Smith llustrated a National
Party value that influences New Zealand. Falloon had worked to “weaken
the shackles of bureaucracy”.
Journey to nationhood
Although some of the causes that were brought back to mind during the
Parliamentary tributes have divided the country, New Zealand’s identity
has been shaped by adoption of many changes advocated by people in Parliament,
such as MMP, and the parties and movements that helped them get there.
David Lange was described as a man who championed the underdog –
a feature that could be accentuated in defining the values in New Zealand’s
national identity. The Lange contribution to New Zealand’s nuclear
free policy was noted – with Keith Locke describing it as part of
our journey to real nationhood. Don Brash commended David Lange for leading
economic reforms, but noted the former Prime Minister left this business
New Zealand’s changing demography also plays an increasingly significant
role in shaping New Zealand’s identity, and the day of tributes
provided a reminder of that. MMP led to increased Maori, Pacific Island
and Asian participation in Parliament. The Pacific Island MPs were very
specific about David Lange’s contribution to their people who had
stepped up their migration for educational and employment opportunities
in the sixties and seventies. David Lange and his colleagues were active
in identifying the challenges this diversity caused migrant and host,
as he describes in a three hour oral archive I did with him a year before
his death. New Zealand’s identity is not only being shaped by the
settlement of waves of migrants and refugees, but as the 2005 book
“New Zealand Identities” reminds, by some migrants
forcing the pace and way in which the national identity question is being
Helen Clark recognises that
Prime Ministers are as exposed to public view as fish are in fishbowls.
Parliamentarians also know that they and their colleagues have private
lives, and families they prefer to protect from full public gaze.
Don Brash, and his front bench
also spoke appropriately about the deceased Parliamentarians. This was
not their chosen moment to go into national identity issues – but
their renewed strength in Parliament means they will likely address such
issues that unite and divide this nation, with greater force, in the future.
As the tributes drew to a
close, the phrase “dedicated to the service of the people”
came about David Lange from an MP. Before the House, the staff, visitors
and media rose to silently affirm the tribute. Metiria Turei emotionally
observed that Parliament was a place of many emotions – but it should
add the emotion of sadness.
One of the emotions in the
Parliament clearly is support for the institution itself. Our history,
the electoral reforms, the issues it grapples with have created a Parliament
that reflects the national identity – and makes endeavours to develop
Labour PM Mike Moore
Mike Moore was Prime Minister of New Zealand for
eight weeks in 1989, and this review of it was part of his keynote speech
to the Airports Council International
World/Pacific Conference, Auckland, November 7th, 2005
This presentation and the story of some of the reforms New Zealand undertook
will help explain why I was Prime Minister for such a short time and how
an economy became, in a short time, one of the most closed in the democratic
world to one of the most open.
But first, I want to welcome
our visitors and seek their understanding of our pride in having this
opportunity to showcase our young Nation.
Twenty-five years ago you
would not have recognised our cities, all have been rebuilt downtown.
You couldn’t shop on a Sunday, buy a drink or have dinner. Our wine
industry was in its infancy, if you got a bottle of overseas wine it was
so exotic you put a candle in the bottle (after you finished the wine),
quite trendy. If you wanted a taxi, best book the night before.
We scoured the slums of Birmingham
for migrant brick-layers but refused entry to Ph.D.’s from Hong
Kong or Singapore. We now have migration as a driver in the economy, makes
us richer in every way. It took 4 days to turn a ship around at our waterfront,
now less than a day. We had an extra 400 units of local government, several
dozen different sales taxes, a top tax rate of over 60 cents and had to
ask the permission of government to take money out of the country. Tourism
was a minor Ministerial portfolio, we subsidised sheep production, and
if you wanted to transport a product over 150kms, it was compulsory to
use state-owned railways. Our debt per person and deficit was equal to
the Argentine. Import licensing was the name of the game and phoney, crony
capitalists pretended to be business people as they grazed off government-inspired
subsidies, monopolies and licenses. The central bank did what the Prime
Minister and Minister of Finance dictated, the same person for a long
time. The dollar fixed, wage and price controls were introduced and failed,
as they always do.
Our airports were hangovers
from the war with no arms for passengers to get to aircraft, famous for
sparrows that were always trapped inside, a monopoly airline inside New
Zealand, and a Ministry of Transport which was in fact the Ministry for
Air New Zealand, fought against any new airline coming to New Zealand.
We reversed these policies. All our airports have been rebuilt, airlines
and competition is encouraged. We corporatised and privatised, dropped
top tax rates, introduced a value-added tax, created an independent central
bank, floated our dollar, opened immigration, made the export of education
our 4th biggest export income earner, and saw tourism become our biggest
employer and foreign exchange earner.back to top
We are now, according to a
United Nations report, the best and easiest place to do business. We are,
with Hong Kong and Singapore, the most open of economies. Each year, according
to Transparency International, we are in the top 3 as the least corrupt
I thank the sponsors of the
conference and commend them to you because I know of their work all around
the world. So we are ready, willing and able, open for business, seek
no favours and want to compete. Our hope is that good business opportunities
will come from this conference as well as good ideas, better practices,
more efficiencies, and therefore better outcomes.back to
and trustees, outside Parliament, launch the petition calling for a referendum
to change the flag
L to R: Richard Riddiford, Mark Weldon, Graham Mourie, Reverend John
Murray, Keith Quinn, Barnaby Weir, Lindsey Dawson, Lloyd Morrison, Kyle
Lockwood, Paul Ridley-Smith and Dame Kate Harcourt
The nzflag.com campaign suggests projects for schools on its website