IT WAS a pleasure to attend the council meeting held at the Duncan Pavilion in Castlecliff today (Tuesday) and a nice change to have more than one or two of us in the public gallery.

Chairman Josh Chandulal-Mackay performed admirably in the role and it was a very full and interesting agenda, but no surprises that two councillors with a notoriously bad attendance record were absent yet again.


Long-term thinking


Citizens living in democracies worldwide have frequently been sidelined as politicians stonewalled unpopular decisions and passed popular laws.

When scrutinised in hindsight, the results are often seen to have negatively impacted today's societies.

Lobbyists play a part by securing near-term benefits for themselves with scant regard for future consequences.

Because election cycles are a major cause of this problem, today's political discussions should be directed towards assuring the future wellbeing of all citizens is accounted for, including those yet to be born.

Ancient civilisations lived by laws that ensured, as far as possible, that they did not impact on the wellbeing of future generations.

Some Native American people planned for seven generations in the future, while for Australia's First People it was for eternity.

Finland, Wales and Japan have each employed different methods to address the election cycle shortcoming.

Japan has been conducting research to ascertain the best design for a National Ministry of the Future and Department of Future in Local Governments.


Guided by the principle of looking to build a secure and sustainable future for Wales, the Well Being for Future Generations Act was given Royal Assent in April 2015.

Finland in 1993 established a Standing Permanent Committee, underpinned by the constitution, consisting of 17 parliamentarians representing all parties.

They claim that among their greatest impacts to date is the changing of Finnish political mindsets towards considering long-term future options.

The Japanese research supports that claim.

Groups of citizens, when asked in 2015 to draw up a vision for the future, were asked to stand in the shoes of those who would be active in 2060. Their vision-compelled effort is taken to overcome tough issues.

Groups without the "active in 2060" instruction incorporated existing constraints and challenges into their vision.

Aotearoa has a proud history of leading political change to ensure all its citizens can participate in deciding what rules will be adopted nationally and in local municipalities.
It is time to give NZ's silent future constituents a voice, so the world they want to live in is accounted for by today's politicians.


Hat complacency

Two letters piqued my interest in today's Chronicle (April 4): Mr Sullivan and hats, and Mr Benfell and Cardinal Pell.

I have to agree with Mr Sullivan about hats and am surprised that it actually needs saying, since when I first visited NZ about 10 years ago everybody wore a hat, especially children.

My daughter's house at the time overlooked the Waiheke Primary School and all the children wore hats when outside, and my granddaughter never went out without hers.

On the same visit, whenever I was out without a hat people would stop me in the street and advise me to get one.

I did, wore it constantly and still do even at home in France where the sun is not especially dangerous.

Yet I did notice on my last visit five years ago that many people had stopped wearing them and nobody approached me when I left mine at home.

Have Kiwis become more resistant to cancer or less resistant to the dictates of fashion?
As for Mr Benfell: if he applied the same logic to his religion as he does to evidence on child abuse, he might find himself in the agnostic camp.

He asks: "How does the jury come to that conclusion without corroborating evidence?"
If he has such evidence of the truth of his faith, I'd be pleased to hear it, and I'm sure the cardinal would be equally pleased to have evidence of his own innocence, so perhaps he should contact his legal team.

In the meantime, he should ask himself why he is so keen to exculpate a convicted abuser.

Montsenelle, France

Seabed mining protest

You have to admire Athol Steward and his son for their recent magnificent swim to raise awareness of the uncaring rapacity of Trans-Tasman Resources (TTR) which wants to ravage a huge area of the seabed off Patea.

Most of us probably don't realise the scale of this enormous mining project, 66 square kilometres over a period of more than 30 years, with completely unknown consequences for the marine environment.

The Stewards' novel protest on behalf of Kiwis Against Seabed Mining (KASM) is one that should be widely supported and would undoubtedly be admired by Jacques-Yves Cousteau and David Attenborough.