What’s in an Age? Opportunity

Colin James to Age Concern conference, 16 April 2018
The word “concern” in your name is a concern for this conference. Many people read “concern” as a “worry”. If so, there is going to be a lot more worry because there are going to be many more people “of an age” and they will be a larger proportion of the population with a smaller proportion of people of “working age” to provide for them.
But I read your “concern” as an expression of “care” or “value” in the “wellbeing” of this expanding cohort of ageing people, generating “opportunity”, not just for those people but for the whole of society.
Where will Aotearoan/New Zealanders choose to fix our focus through the 2020s? Fixing a problem? Or realising opportunity? …… read more

Chris Hipkins’ plans for the public service and Parliament

This appeared in the February issue of Policy Quarterly, published by the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies this week. It is a very brief scan of what State Services Minister and Leader of the House Chris Hipkins proposes for what is now known as the state sector (but for which there is growing pressure to rethink it as a public service) and for Parliament. read more

The Mark Twain syndrome – why cities might rule (sometime)

NZIIA Masterton 17Nov29

The Mark Twain syndrome – why cities might rule (sometime)
Colin James to Masterton branch, New Zealand Institute of International Affairs
29 November 2017

Mark Twain quipped that a report of his death was an exaggeration. The same is often said of the sovereign nation-state. But Mark Twain did die, 13 years after the exaggerated report.
Death reduced Mark Twain to putrefaction and sustenance for creatures of the dark. His words live on, a disembodied testament to our human need and yearning for ways to knit belief that we have meaning and are distinct from and superior to all other living things in this temporary, 10-billion-year habitat whose sun will one day go out.
We invest similar belief and hope in our governing constructs. But, like Mark Twain, they are not immortal. Multiple empires and multiple lesser satrapies and realms have disintegrated and dematerialised through the past three of four millennia….. read more