Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Values - Dig deep what are we about?

Aotearoa New Zealand Values – What We Stand For?

What Does Our Government Stand For?

This is the question I've been asking our New Zealand Government over the past months on each occasion I made a contribution to a parliamentary select committee in relation to legislation that I've taken an interest in.

Stand For Values - Flag Referendum

This post is based on my contribution to the Parliament's Local Government and Environment select committee in respect to the Local Government Act (LGA) 2002 Amendment Bill (No.2).

In addition I conveyed a similar position to the Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (FADT) committee in relation to the Maritime Crimes Amendment Bill 2016, and the Intelligence and Security Bill.

What is the real object of continually restructuring and making arbitrary changes to our domestic legislation and regulations?

Security and good governance? What is the New Zealand Government purpose?

True security is economic sovereignty, sufficiency and the state of mind that flows from that sense of security obtained through the community's needs being met.

It wasn't long ago that the NZ Government asked the people about their values. It was a component of the Flag Referendum process of 2015/6. New Zealanders were asked, “what they stand for?” The people offered 10,292 flag designs. They offered 43,000 individual contributions of what they stood for. Stand For values are hosted here: http://www.standfor.co.nz/ 

View the word cloud of most frequent values expressed by the New Zealand public. Here is the image from the website.

None of the above suggest the TPP. Forty three thousand (43,000) people is a large sample of the 4.6 million New Zealand population.

The Flag Referendum process was advanced as a constitutional matter. Surely the Stand For values are an important contribution to the values underpinning our NZ Constitution.
Is New Zealand a democracy?

Are the people's values reflected in the Government's policy settings?

To me the obvious and empirically accurate finding is that the New Zealand Government does not reflect the deep values of the people of this State.

It appears the values theme runs deep in the Kiwi psyche.

Colmar Brunton finds ethical values run deep

Most recently Colmar Brunton published their latest Better Futures Report (November 2016) highlighting that values matter to New Zealanders. This Scoop published media release from Colmar Brunton 24 Nov 2016:


Report: Kiwis hot on global sustainability goals

Most Kiwis rate global sustainability goals as very important – especially those relating to social issues – according to a report released today.

The Colmar Brunton 2016 Better Futures Report incorporated the results of New Zealand’s first ever survey into the public’s attitude to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to which the Government signed up in 2015.

The 17 SDGs include a mix of social, environmental, cultural and economic goals such as no poverty, climate action, reduced inequalities, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth and quality education.

Colmar Brunton Chief Client Officer Sarah Bolger says the Better Futures Report reveals some valuable insights and plenty of opportunities for business and the Government;

“While there was little unprompted awareness of the goals and the fact New Zealand has signed up to them, respondents had some clear opinions when asked about the individual goals,” Ms Bolger says.

Between 60% and 80% of Kiwis rate each goal as very important. When those people were asked to name the single most important goal the top six in order of priority were: no poverty, good health and well-being, quality education, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, and zero hunger.

“It’s clear from this that New Zealanders care most about improving the day-to-day lives of others and there is a strong skew towards social issues in the top six goals.

“In particular Kiwis think we need to do more towards achieving zero hunger, sustainable cities and communities and no poverty, as they believe our performance in these areas fails to measure up to the importance we place on them.”

Link to the Better Business report:  http://www.colmarbrunton.co.nz/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Better-Business-Report.pdf



I draw from both these sources, the 43,000 New Zealanders who contributed to the Stand For values and the survey results from Colmar Brunton a market and social research company whose clients are invariably businesses in the New Zealand marketplace.

It appears that ethical values are important to the people of our nation. Who doesn't agree?


  1. What's the difference between a value and an ethical value?

  2. Ethics - one might value any number of things or qualities. I'm not prejudging values, I know what I value and what is peripheral to my interests might not be universally accepted, however what the blog attempts is to highlight that there is a large convergence of perception about ethical values.

    1. Hence my question. I don't know if there is a difference between a value and an ethical value. A value is a value, and ethical is redundant. At least it must be on any objective criteria. If value is just a matter of perception or subjective whim, then it's the same as if value didn't exist.

    2. A value is an idea or an ideal, a strong belief a person or group of people feel are important. An ethical value would be a value which had strong ethical connotations. Politics is not science, although it may employ scientific means. Values are subjective but that does not mean they are only private and they are certainly not whimsical. Ultimately, values inform politics, even shape it. Ethical values shape ethical politics. There is no difference between the meaning of the word 'value' and and the phrase 'ethical value'. Just another way of talking about the same thing.

    3. If something is a value, then by definition it must be good. That's why I say that the adjective 'ethical' is redundant.

    4. Here is a different definition of a value, KeniLynch. A value is something that enhances a human life. A value is something acts to maintain, and/or improve, the human condition. There is an objective standard contained in that by which value can be measured, and that is, the life of man qua man.