Monday, 31 March 2008

How can we make New Zealand a better country?

Something I don't often say - but then again I don't usually bother reading the paper very thoroughly - but an interesting article in the Sunday Star Times Focus section this week asking a number of different people their opinion on how to make NZ a better place. Well, interesting for an idealist and politically active person such as myself.

Here's a couple of suggestions of my own:

Start seriously and dramatically moving New Zealand towards being a sustainable nation. Because although for some reason the vast majority of people seem to think this means cutting our quality of life, and therefore is quite scary, I believe that it has the potential to greatly improve our quality of life. Not only will the environment we live in be healthier and richer because of it, so will everyone. Not in monetary terms, but in real happiness, health and well-being terms. And we already have the knowledge to get us most of the way there! All we need to do is move in that direction, and everything else should fall in place. We need to look at this move as far more positive then negative. And be happy in the knowledge that future generations will look at our bravery in a positive light, rather than our lack of action in shame.

Secondly, make peace a much more integral part of our society. It is such an important and all encompassing philosophy that if we ever want to truly advance as a society we cannot afford to ignore it. This means realising that we have more to gain by helping others than helping ourselves, and that love is the most powerful weapon against hate and conflict. This needs to start in our schools, with children being educated young, but there are so many other things that need to move more in this direction too. Our economic system for one... We should be proud of how peaceful we already are as a nation, but we need to aim high. It is in connections between two individuals that peace is truly strong, and from there every individual can spread love.

Thoughts? Suggestions?

My second post on my first blog

Alright, I wont keep on using that title, but it feels a bit strange jumping straight into it, so I'm using this post to explain a little more. More and more details will come up as I develop this blog and this concept, so for those of you who don't know what this blog is about, never fear, that will become more and more clear.

So to start off today, I thought I would do something which I will try and do every week (though don't hold your breath while I'm cruising up the Amazon). Anyone have anything to contribute to the debate about my poll? I will put some points out there, and then put my opinion forward after the poll closes.

The poll this week is: Do you trust internet polls? This fits into the wider issue of media hype, misuse of statistics, and the flood of polls and statistics that drown many new stories. We have regular polls on support for political parties in this country, which ends up making the election a horse race rather than a battle of ideas, reasonings and values. Furthermore polls are just single questions which can be leading, and also are often answered with people's first reaction, rather than after a well-informed discussion of the issue. Now, with the internet, there are millions of polls happening all around the world simultaneously, some on sites that no one visits, and some on internationally acclaimed news and current affairs websites. But how statistically accurate are internet polls when we can barely trust polls from the best established research firms such as Colmar Brunton? Or do they play an important role in shaping debate and bringing public mood to the attention of policy makers?

So please vote on my poll, but more importantly comment on this post about the wider issues that I have touched on, and I will post again on this issue more firmly about my opinions in a week.

Sunday, 30 March 2008

The first post on my first blog

Hello and welcome to the first post on my first blog. It has been a hard fought battle to get this blog up and running, but I am happy now that it is. I'd like to thank myself for coming up with the idea of me having my own blog, and also for all the work, blood, sweat and tears I put in to make this happen.

Although at the time of writing no one knows that this blog even exists, that'll change. One day Zackarate Island will be a world leader, as it begins to trade ideas with the rest of the world. It will go from: "Zackarate Island." "What?" "Zackarate Island." "What the hell do you keep saying?" to the dizzying heights of: "Zackarate Island." "I'm not worthy. I will bow before you and pledge my health and well-being to your greatness until the day I die or you no longer want my services, whichever comes first." Estimated time frame for this to eventuate: seven months and three days. (Please note this is a conservative estimate).

So thank you, my reader, for sharing this experience with me, and thank me, myself, for writing this post and starting this blog. I hope that you will keep coming back as this blog grows with information and posts about my opinions, my experiences, my wisdom and myself.