Real Issues Blog

Checking our goals

Julian Wood
07 December 15

New Zealand is a rich country where a lot of households struggle to make ends meet. Findings from the Statistics New Zealand’s Household Economic Survey shows that around 200,000 households feel that their total household income was not enough to meet their everyday needs. A further 459,000 households felt that their household income was just enough to meet their everyday needs. This amounts to a whopping 40 percent of us who say we’re either just getting by, or not making it financially. + more

The reason more important than the change

Alex Penk
23 November 15

At the height of the Boer War, New Zealanders celebrated the heroism and abilities of our troopers. There was an outpouring of patriotism, and various New Zealand flags flew around the country. The trouble was, it wasn’t quite clear which was the official flag. The Government was embarrassed by the confusion, so in 1902 it made the Blue Ensign with the Southern Cross the official flag. This is the flag we know today. Whether it remains our official flag is up to us. + more

The limits of our care

Jane Silloway Smith
15 November 15

While reading last week’s NZ Herald series “Cancer – The cost of a life,” I wondered what the introduction of euthanasia and assisted suicide could mean for the New Zealand portrayed. The Herald series highlighted the fact that among the 20,000 people who will receive a cancer diagnosis this year and the 9,000 who will die of cancer, many will struggle to gain access to drugs and treatments that could prolong their lives or even potentially cure their cancers.+ more

Social skills to pay the bills

Kieran Madden
02 November 15

Modern workplaces are like preschool. Our schools and homes should be too. At preschool “children move from art projects to science experiments to the playground in small groups,” writes Claire Cain Miller for New York Times, “and their most important skills are sharing and negotiating with others.” But this kind of collaborative, relational learning dwindles when formal schooling begins, and perhaps, to the detriment of future employment outcomes for our children and productivity as a nation. + more

Euthanasia Facts: A response to ACT's Free Press

Jane Silloway Smith
29 October 15

Recently, the ACT Party's Free Press newsletter called into question the veracity of some facts used by Family First on their website protect.org.nz; facts drawn from Maxim Institute research that was made available to the public. We take this opportunity here to respond to their critiques so as to set the record straight.+ more

Euthanasia Facts: Critique 1

Jane Silloway Smith
29 October 15

+ more

Euthanasia Facts: Critique 2

Jane Silloway Smith
29 October 15

+ more

Euthanasia Facts: Critique 3.1

Jane Silloway Smith
29 October 15

+ more

Euthanasia Facts: Critique 3.2

Jane Silloway Smith
29 October 15

+ more

Inspiring Sustainable Development Goals

Jane SIlloway Smith
15 October 15

Thankfully, the UN did not just reset the clock and give the world another 15 years of the MDGs. Instead, they pulled together the largest cross-section of public, private, and civil-society officials, experts, and organisations to draft a document that is more inclusive, more comprehensive, and more sensitive to national and cultural nuance and priorities than its MDG predecessor. + more

An unrealistic opportunity for equality

Kieran Madden
05 October 15

Is equality of opportunity a goal worthy of striving after? In no uncertain terms, Vox.com’s Dylan Matthews says no. Why? “The only problem,” Matthews argues, is that “pursuing true equality of opportunity would require turning America into a dystopian, totalitarian nightmare—and even then, it would still prove impossible.”+ more

Rugby, the nation, and the flag

Jane Silloway Smith
24 September 15

The All Black tour of 1905, like the battle of Gallipoli a decade later, was a moment New Zealanders, both contemporaries and their descendants, took to be a defining moment. These were moments that highlighted something essential about New Zealanders and their culture (their strength, their bravery, their ingenuity) as well as establishing New Zealand’s relationship with the Empire and Commonwealth – no “little Britain” but a land and people of its own with much to be proud of.+ more