If there is a change of organisational leadership within a business, one of the first tasks of the new leader is to review what values the organisation stands for. New ventures must also begin with a vision as a foundational building block. So when a new government comes to power you would think that this would be a project of some urgency for politicians. But neither the National government nor its predecessor have ever made any attempt to articulate exactly what we stand for as a nation.
The net result of this lack of leadership has been that policy-making is driven by subjective advice at departmental level, but without any central overriding objective in mind. This environment is a fertile breeding ground for politically correct personal agendas and is the basis for much of what is wrong about our public service. And whilst it may be the case that public agencies retain the specialist expertise needed by Cabinet to make decisions, it is not their role to set aspirational goals for the nation as a whole. That is the role of our leadership in consultation with the wider community.
In a country such as ours endowed with considerable natural beauty and a rich diversity of culture it seems almost irresponsible not to have a clear vision on the way forward. Instead we are continually burdened by short term decision-making neccessitated by petty politics and regional self interest. The media circus in Mt. Albert and the lack of due process around the “super city” debate spring immediately to mind. In stark contrast, Pres. Obama seems to have taken the bull by the horns in terms of re-stating what America stands for in a global context. I hope Mr Key accepted some advice on the matter during their phone exchange last week.
What is your vision for New Zealand?