‘They are us’ voted New Zealand’s quote of 2019

Source: Massey University


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s unifying phrase “They are us”, uttered several times in the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque shootings, has taken out the 2019 Massey University Quote of the Year.

Competition organiser and speech writing lecturer Dr Heather Kavan says the three words have been seared in our collective memory since March 15, making the quote a worthy winner.

“Jacinda Ardern told an interviewer from The Guardian that she wrote the line intuitively, scrawling these and other words on a piece of paper in the short interlude between being informed of the attack and speaking about it at a press conference,” Dr Kavan says.

“I think the quote resonated because she conveyed the feelings and thoughts of New Zealanders as we put ourselves in the shoes of the victims and their families.

“One thing I find interesting about the quote is its contrast with the famous 19th century ‘They are ours’ line, referring to an enemy to be conquered. With only two letters removed, the whole meaning is changed from arrogance to empathy.”

The quote received 20 per cent of the 4500 votes cast for the 10 finalists in this year’s competition, followed by 18 per cent for the runner-up, “Hello Brother”, words spoken by Haji-Daoud Nabi to the gunman at the entrance to the Al Noor mosque just before he was shot and killed.

“This quote was so powerful that people told me they thought about it for hours afterward, Dr Kavan says. “The words have an almost visceral effect. Before Jacinda Ardern spoke a message of unity, Haji-Daoud Nabi lived and breathed it in his final moments as he faced the killer. 

“We don’t have an image of him saying ‘Hello Brother’ because the footage is banned, nor will we ever know what he was thinking or feeling. But if ever there was an existential moment, this was it.”

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick.


Internet meme comes in third

Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s “Okay, boomer”, a dismissal of National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament, attracted 15 per cent of the vote. This quote was neck-and-neck with “They are us” in the early stages of voting, before dropping back to third place.

“I think ‘Okay, Boomer’ did well because it has a rebellious appeal and generates camaraderie among young people who are probably tired of being labelled snowflakes,” Dr Kavan says. “There’s been a huge amount of discussion about the quote and it has been emblazoned on t-shirts and hoodies. However, the fact that voting numbers declined with the passage of days suggests people may be getting ‘Okay boomer’ fatigue.”

Dr Kavan says the tone of the 2019 list of finalists was more sombre than in past years, but this reflects well on New Zealanders.

“I’d like to thank voters and the people who said the quotes. The United States list was released this week and its top quote is Donald Trump’s ‘I would like you to do us a favor, though’ to Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky. How different is that from ‘They are us’ and ‘Hello Brother’?”

2019 Quote of the Year finalists in order of votes received

  1. “They are us.” – Jacinda Ardern speaking about Muslim victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack, in the aftermath of the killings.
  2. “Hello Brother.” – Shooting victim Haji-Daoud Nabi’s last words to the gunman at the Al Noor mosque entrance.
  3. “Okay, boomer.” – Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick dismissing 51-year-old National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament.
  4. “We are broken hearted, but we are not broken.” – Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque after the Christchurch terrorist attacks.
  5. “Just imagine if Colonel Sanders gave up the first time he wanted funding for his recipe. We would not have had that succulent chicken.” – Destiny Church’s Hannah Tamaki when asked how her new political party would raise funds.
  6. “You can’t consent to murder.” – Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey summing up the Grace Millane murder case.
  7. “There is scientific evidence that shows it makes me faster. It was done at Harvard, I think.” – All Black Jack Goodhue on why he is keeping his mullet haircut.
  8. “He’s about as welcome as diarrhoea in a wetsuit in that place.” – Greenpeace’s Russell Norman on pro-coal Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attending the forum on climate change at Tuvalu.
  9. “We’re going to a super over! You are kidding me! You are kidding me!” – Ian Smith’s exuberant commentary at the Cricket World Cup final.
  10. “I think the doves are rising up.” – Actor Lucy Lawless on the School Fight for Climate.

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2019 Quote of the Year – vote now!

Source: Massey University


Four of this year’s finalists, clockwise from top left: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern; Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey; Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick; and All Black Jack Goodhue.


From heart-breaking responses to the Christchurch mosque shootings to the casual use of an internet meme in Parliament, 2019 has been a year of defining quotes produced by New Zealanders from politics, sport and criminal justice.

The 10 shortlisted finalists in Massey University’s annual Quote of the Year competition have been announced and the public now has one week to vote – please see the voting form below.

Massey University speech-writing specialist and competition organiser Dr Heather Kavan says many of this year’s shortlisted quotes were nominated multiple times.

“This year, the task of judging was relatively easy as several quotes were undeniably powerful and had been nominated by so many people that we knew they had public support,” she says.

“The main challenge was providing variety, as some people like deep and meaningful quotes while others like to scan the list for the one they find the funniest.”

Dr Kavan, one of three judges who selected the shortlist, says the the main theme in the nominations was the Christchurch terror attack, and three quotes were chosen for the final 10.

“Hello Brother”, the words uttered by shooting victim Haji-Daoud Nabi when he came face-to-face with the killer at the entrance of the Al Noor mosque, stood out for its emotional power, she says.

“The two men strike an extraordinary contrast – one vulnerable and kind-hearted, the other armed and about to commit crimes so brutal the Government Censor banned the footage. Mr Nabi welcomed the man, who replied with a volley of bullets. Many people commented on social media that they hope Mr Nabi’s words will be remembered.”

The other two quotes are “We are broken-hearted, but we are not broken”, from Imam Gamal Fouda’s speech at the Hagley Park remembrance and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s “They are us”. 

“The Prime Minister’s is the most well-known quote made in the aftermath of the attack,” Dr Kavan says. “As one of the nominators said, emotions were running high and she encapsulated what many people were feeling with three simple words. The quote became a rallying cry throughout New Zealand and reverberated throughout the world. Although some Muslims felt uncomfortable with the phrase as it seemed to deny their frequent experiences of racism, they acknowledged her good intentions.”

Competition organiser Dr Heather Kavan.


The internet meme in Parliament

The quote that received the most nominations was Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick’s dismissal of 51-year-old National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament. Mr Muller is in fact Generation X not from the Baby Boom generation.   

“This year’s wild card is ‘Okay, boomer’,” Dr Kavan says. “On the one hand, the quote could score well as it’s had great publicity, even meriting a spot in Time magazine, and Parliament’s automated caption of ‘Berma’ instead of ‘Boomer’ was funny. On the other hand, people tire quickly of internet memes and some of the comeback lines were wittier than the actual quote.”

She says she has personal favourites but is interested to see how the public votes. 

“Like many others, I’d like to see ‘Hello Brother’ remembered. I’m also drawn by Ian Smith’s excited cricket commentary about going for a super over, mainly because his exuberance is contagious. Another quote I especially like is, ‘You can’t consent to murder’. Although it’s a plain statement of law uttered without the slightest rhetorical flourish, it was moving and thought-provoking, especially for those of us who empathised with Grace Millane and her family.” 

Dr Kavan began the annual Quote of the Year competition nine years ago as a way of celebrating New Zealanders’ best one-liners.  

2019 Quote of the Year finalists – vote below!

  • “Hello Brother.” – Shooting victim Haji-Daoud Nabi’s last words to the gunman at the Al Noor mosque entrance.
  •  “We are broken hearted, but we are not broken.” – Imam Gamal Fouda of Al Noor mosque after the Christchurch terrorist attacks. 
  •  “They are us.” – Jacinda Ardern speaking about Muslim victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack, in the aftermath of the killings.
  •  “I think the doves are rising up.” – Actor Lucy Lawless on the School Fight for Climate.
  • “He’s about as welcome as diarrhoea in a wetsuit in that place.” – Greenpeace’s Russell Norman on pro-coal Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison attending the forum on climate change at Tuvalu.
  •  “There is scientific evidence that shows it makes me faster. It was done at Harvard, I think.” – All Black Jack Goodhue on why he is keeping his mullet haircut. 
  • “We’re going to a super over! You are kidding me! You are kidding me!” – Ian Smith’s exuberant commentary at the Cricket World Cup final. 
  •  “Just imagine if Colonel Sanders gave up the first time he wanted funding for his recipe. We would not have had that succulent chicken.” – Destiny Church’s Hannah Tamaki when asked how her new political party would raise funds.
  •  “You can’t consent to murder.” – Crown Solicitor Brian Dickey summing up the Grace Millane murder case.
  •  “Okay, boomer.” – Green MP Chlöe Swarbrick dismissing 51-year-old National MP Todd Muller’s interruption during her climate change speech in Parliament. 

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Ecentre to focus on students and staff

Source: Massey University


Ecentre board chairman and Massey University dean, enterprise Dr Gavin Clark 


Massey’s business incubator the ecentre is refocusing its activities to concentrate on supporting students and staff.

Ecentre board chairman and Massey University dean, enterprise Dr Gavin Clark says the Auckland-based ecentre will now lead entrepreneurial training and capability development across the University’s three campuses.

“The ecentre’s new mission puts it at the centre of the University’s ambitions for developing and growing student and staff enterprise,” Dr Clark says.

“We have made significant investments in our enterprise strategy this year, with new Student Enterprise Studios opening on all three campuses. The studios now provide a pan-campus network for the ecentre to engage larger numbers of students and faculty.”

“We are excited to inspire the entrepreneurial potential of students and staff from all disciplines. We have an important role to play in helping them to develop and validate their business ideas, including through to the establishment of start-up companies.”

The goal is to generate an “entrepreneurial insurgency” in the massey university student community that will feed into the resources and talents of the wider community and external enterprise ecosystem. 

The ecentre will be located in the university‘s on-campus student enterprise studios. 

Thesis helps Army to improve the wellbeing of women officers

Source: Massey University


Former Army officer Dr Ellen Nelson.


When Dr Ellen Nelson left the New Zealand Army after a decade of service in 2013, she noticed she was not alone. Other women of similar rank and service time were leaving too. She thought it was an issue worth investigating.

Dr Nelson graduated with her doctorate from Massey University last week and, already, her findings are being discussed at a high level within the Army. After in-depth interviews with 20 ex-serving women officers who had left prior to 2019, her thesis concluded the organistion did not create good social wellbeing outcomes for those interviewed.

“The Chief of Army asked if he could read my thesis,” she says. “I’ve had a personal message from him saying he really wants to do something about it, which is great.

“When I started my thesis it wasn’t really a personal issue, but I now really want to do something with this data and help the Army to make things better for women.”

Chief of Army Major General John Boswell says, “For some years we’ve been working to ensure the Army attracts more women and improves their experience. Our women must be able to be themselves and feel safe, included and respected.

“We are proud of Ellen and her academic achievements, and appreciative that we can use her research to feed into our next major wave of work to improve the environment for our women.”

Dr Nelson’s recommendations

Dr Nelson’s thesis made a range of short, medium and long-term recommendations. These included broader representation of women in recruiting materials, safer channels for making complaints, a review of the masculine leadership approaches taught, introduction of a camouflage uniform designed to fit female figures and better integration back to physical activities following maternity leave.

“The Army started as an organisation of just men. In my opinion, while accommodations have been made since women have been allowed to join, my research suggests there is some way to go before women are always valued and welcomed ,” she says.

“That doesn’t mean the women I interviewed were miserable all the time, both the women and I felt there were lots of great things about the Army. I really did love my time in the Army overall, and so did the other women.

“But, unfortunately, my research showed there were also a lot of challenges and negative experiences for the women interviewed in terms of not being valued, experiencing harassment and discrimination and not even having uniforms that fit properly.”

A thesis born from personal experience

Dr Nelson says while some things could be be easily improved, the main change needed to come in the area of culture. When she looks back at her own time as a serving officer, she can see her feminine leadership style was not always valued by some of her managers.

“One time I was told by my boss, ‘You need to be a bit more stern with your soldiers.’ When I asked, ‘What do you mean, Sir?’, the most tangible thing he could tell me was, ‘Maybe just don’t smile as much.’

“Now I can laugh and think that’s ridiculous but, when I was serving, I took that on board and felt bad about myself. I thought I had to tone myself down. I think the implication was a smiling, bubbly woman officer is potentially being inappropriate with her male soldiers.”

Dr Nelson feels positive about the Army using her research to help make improvements for women.

“I would really love it if interviews were done with female Army officers in five years’ time and the majority of the issues identified in my thesis just didn’t come up.”

Fin-Ed Centre organises conference to discuss financial capability

Source: Massey University


Conference organiser Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood.


Leading financial literacy experts will meet in Auckland this week to discuss the latest research and practitioner knowledge for improving the financial capability of communities.

Organised by the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, in collaboration with the Alliance of Financial Capability Academics, the ‘Building Financially Capable Communities’ conference includes presentations by academics from around the globe, government agencies, and practitioners within community organisations. 

Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood says the conference aims to explore innovative ways of building financially capable communities.

“It is the communities that will influence our way forward in this area,” she says. “We all want to improve financial capability and wellbeing statistics and this conference will provide us with the opportunity to share research, practice and funding models.

“It will be a platform for national and international academics and practitioners to gather in one spot over three days, network, encourage and motivate each other, share experiences and explore collaboration opportunities.” 

Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Kris Faafoi (via video message) and Reserve Bank Governor Adrian Orr will both speak, as well those working at the coalface, including Toa Faneva and Mariameno Kapa-Kingi from Te Rūnanga o Whaingaroa and Lacey Filipich from the Money School in Australia.

Keynote presentations will be given by three international academics. Dr Carly Sawatzki from Deakin University in Melbourne will share her research into the design of financial literacy tasks that reveal how young people think, feel and respond to financial problems. She argues it is time to rethink how to support schools and teachers to provide financial literacy education.

Professor Dennis Philip from Durham University in the United Kingdom will give a presentation titled ‘Financial consumer protection in the digital age’. Professor Philip studies financial decision-making and has received international attention for the impact of his research into financial literacy and access to finance.

Dr Dee Warmath from the University of Georgia in the United States will give an overview of her research into the role of hope in financial wellbeing. She says the ability to see pathways to achieving a desired state, and agency to pursue those pathways, is key to individuals achieving financial wellbeing.

Massey University researchers will also be well represented at the conference, with maths education researcher Dr Jodie Hunter, from the Institute of Education, sharing insights from her research with Pasifika primary school students that shows strong links between cultural values and their management of money. 

Dr Michelle Reyers and Dr Adnan Balloch from the School of Economics and Finance will present research findings from their study into the relationship between self-efficacy, or an individual’s belief about their abilities, and economic net worth.

The conference runs from  November 28-30 in central Auckland. For more information, including the full programme, visit www.massey.ac.nz/capable-communities.

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Graduation a family affair for mother of five

Source: Massey University


Analena Siu, pictured with husband John and children Jaqueline, Tupou, Rosalia, Latai and Sika.


Analena Siu calls the journey to recieving her Master of Aviation Management a “crazy, but achievable ride”. The Tongan mother of five certainly had a lot on her plate and she says, in the scheme of things, study was far from her top priority.

“As a mother I didn’t want my study to interfere with my children’s commitments and that was how I managed my study with a family of five,” she says. That meant always being there for school drop-offs and pick-ups and making regular trips to netball, touch rugby and rugby games, as well as ukulele, guitar and karate classes.

But don’t mistake this for a lack of commitment to her study.

“It was up to me to find the time to study and I found there was plenty of time,” Analena says. “While the children were at school, I used the free bus service to go to and from Massey. I was able to drop off the kids at school and hop on the bus and, after four to five hours, I would hop on the bus to get back home to pick up the kids from school.

“I am thankful for the library’s late closing times. Because I didn’t have a laptop, often after dinner I would return to campus to use the computer in the library until closing time at 11:30pm.”

Setting simple goals

She says she set herself simple goals – to find time to read, to meet regularly with her supervisor, to keep writing and working, and to enjoy the journey.

“Although there were times when I thought the work was too much, I just kept typing and just kept working. When it was hard to find time to read, I would go to the campus library and read in the quiet zone there. I often joked that going to the library was like having a quick holiday because I found I was more relaxed away from the busyness of home.”

Analena says she’s “pure Massey through and through”, having also completed her undergraduate study at the University. She says, among the things she loves about Massey, is the support it offers Pasifika students and families.

“I met a lot of Pasifika students on campus and they have become good friends. Fale Pasifika is always open for students and there is a genuine care for diverse communities at Massey,” she says.

“And when my two primary school children had teacher-only days, I would take them with me to campus. They would run around the concourse and meet new friends and one time I had no choice but to take them with me to my meeting with my supervisor.”

Analena says she is thankful to her husband, John, for his “unlimited support”, her children for stepping up and doing so many chores around the house and her mother for advising her to pursue a master’s degree a decade ago.

A family celebration

She says graduation will definitely be a family affair.

“I think my children are anticipating graduation day more than I am. They have been asking, ‘When is graduation? What should I wear? Who is coming?’. I am thrilled that my children will be there to witness it.”

Zonta Women of Achievement Award for Pushpa Wood

Source: Massey University


Zonta District 16 convenor Souella Cumming (left) with Dr Pushpa Wood and Hutt Valley Teen Parent School principal Debbie Whiteley.


Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre director Dr Pushpa Wood has been awarded a 2019 Zonta New Zealand Women of Achievement Award.

Zonta International is a global organisation of professionals empowering women through service and advocacy. Fifty Women of Achievement were chosen in 2016 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Zonta in New Zealand, and a further 50 this year for the Zonta International Centennial.

The awards recognise the contribution of 50 New Zealand women towards to the empowerment of women and girls nationally and globally. Nominations were made by Zonta clubs, organisations and individuals and judged by an independent panel.

The Zonta Citation says:  “Dr Pushpa Wood became an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to financial literacy and interfaith relations. She was the first Indian women awarded with this honour and the first person in New Zealand to receive an award for both financial literacy and interfaith relations. In many of her roles, she focuses on gender issues and her work also shows how she recognises the importance of culture when addressing these gender issues.”

Zonta was founded in Buffalo, New York, in 1919. The first New Zealand club was established in Auckland in 1965 and there are now 28 clubs nationally.

Report encourages retirees to consider savings options

Source: Massey University


The Retirement Expenditure Guidelines are designed to help with retirement planning.


New Zealanders planning for retirement need to consider their savings options in a low interest rate environment, according to the latest Retirement Expenditure Guidelines produced by the Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre.

The 2019 report confirms most retirees supplement their New Zealand Superannuation payments with other savings or income.

The guidelines, which are produced annually, calculate what retirees currently spend to maintain either a ‘no frills’ retirement, or a more fulfilling ‘choices’ lifestyle that includes some luxuries. Costs are calculated for one and two-person households in both metropolitan (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and provincial areas.  

The 2019 guidelines calculate a two-person household living in the city would need to have saved $787,000 to fund a ‘choices’ lifestyle, while a couple living in the provinces would need to have saved $493,000. The lump sums required for a ‘choices lifestyle’ for a one-person household are $764,000 and $411,000 for metropolitan and provincial areas respectively.

New Zealand Superannuation had increased by 2.56 per cent but fell short of covering all of the expenses for most retirees. 

Only two-person provincial households living a ‘no frills’ lifestyle come close to being funded by New Zealand Superannuation. A metropolitan two-person household with a ‘no frills’ lifestyle would still require savings of $261,000 at retirement to supplement their superannuation.

Report author Dr Claire Matthews.


Consider your retirement options

Report author, Dr Claire Matthews from the Massey Business School, says it is important for people to carefully consider their retirement options.

“While the lump sum required to fund the difference in spending over New Zealand Superannuation can seem daunting, it can be reduced by continuing to work either full or part-time, or by delaying retirement for a couple of years,” she says.

“If you delayed your retirement for two years, continued working and saved all your NZ Superannuation payments, it would make a significant impact to your retirement nest egg.”

The report also highlights the challenges of a low interest environment for retirees and the need to carefully plan the decumulation period of retirement. Westpac NZ general manager of consumer banking and wealth, Simon Power, says the historically low interest rates present challenges and opportunities.

Savers are facing lower returns as term deposit rates fall. However, decreasing home loan rates are helping more Kiwis pay off their mortgage as they approach retirement age, giving them greater financial security and peace of mind, he says.

“It’s never too early or too late to start planning for retirement, and we encourage all New Zealanders to regularly consider their savings goals and think about how they’ll fund the retirement they want.”

Chief executive of the Financial Services Council Richard Klipin says planning for retirement could mean the difference between a comfortable retirement or not. “There is plenty of good advice out there to help and it’s easy to start saving what you can through schemes like KiwiSaver.”

About the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines

The Westpac Massey Fin-Ed Centre, or Financial Education and Research Centre, is a joint initiative by Westpac and Massey University that aims to improve the financial wellbeing of New Zealanders. The Financial Services Council provides financial support to produce the Retirement Expenditure Guidelines, which are based on figures from Statistics New Zealand’s triennial Household Economic Survey, adjusted for the effect of inflation. It is important to note the guidelines do not represent recommended levels of expenditure, but reflect actual levels of expenditure by retired households.

Read the full report.

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Politicians need to regain control of local government

Source: Massey University


Is it time for election reform?


By Dr Andy Asquith, Dr Andrew Cardow and Dr Karen Webster

The chief executive of Hamilton City Council Richard Briggs is calling for reform of local government elections. This echoes a call we have been making for some time. Given the somewhat half-hearted voter turnout figures in this year’s local elections, it is time for a review of the local electoral system in New Zealand.

What is disturbing about the Briggs statement is that it comes from a chief executive, and not a local government politician. Recent legislation has empowered chief executives – as opposed to councils or the Electoral Commission – with the role of promoting elections and local democracy. 

This disconnect between local government politicians and the promotion of participation in local government elections is an emerging pattern. Increasingly, we see unelected council officers actively engaged in making fundamental decisions about local elections with, at best, minimal input from local politicians or citizens.

Given politicians have the biggest stake in the electoral game, shouldn’t they be at the forefront of this discussion? Instead, we have heard repeatedly, off the record from local government politicians, that low turnout reflects voter satisfaction. This ‘head in the sand’ approach mistakes apathy for satisfaction and is akin to playing the violin while the town hall burns.

What we see instead is the gradual removal of politicians from the debate around local elections. This can be illustrated by some recent examples. In 2015 two of us were invited to join an Auckland Council Election Planning Reference Group to prepare for the 2016 local elections. The two primary tasks of the group were to increase the number of candidates standing who were not male, pale and stale and to increase voter engagement and turnout.

We know that in terms of the latter, the group failed. What was most striking about the membership of the group was the absence of any elected member. Apart from a former Auckland councillor, no one familiar with the pressures of standing for election and serving as a current politician was included. The agenda was formulated and dominated by a few senior officers.

Who is promoting online voting?

Prior to this latest round of elections, much noise was made about the possible use of online voting. Given that elections are political events, you might expect this discussion to be led by Local Government New Zealand, the collective voice of our local body politicians. But this was not the case.

After Local Government NZ abandoned the idea on cost grounds, the Online Voting Working Group was established. This group, under the auspices of the Society of Local Government Managers, was essentially driven by a senior officer from Auckland and sought to galvanise eight other councils into pursuing online voting in 2019. While Local Government NZ was represented on the working group, it was the officers who dominated proceedings – dangling a panacea to deal with the issue of low voter turnout.

During the election campaign this year, three distinct voices called for a move to online voting in 2022: the leaders of the two private companies running the majority of our local elections and the General Manager of Democracy Services at Auckland Council. Once again, in a space of fundamental importance in a democracy – the conduct of elections – the politicians have been completely silent, as was Local Government NZ.

Politicians need to put themselves front and centre

If we are to address the issue of why voters do not engage in our local elections, we need our local body politicians front and centre. Public Administration 101 states clearly that our local government managers work under the direction of our elected politicians. What we are increasingly seeing is local government managers setting the tone, direction and style of engagement and debate within our local councils.

It is time for our local politicians to step up to the mantle and seize control of the agenda. It is, supposedly, after all, their agenda – or have our mayors and councillors essentially abdicated all responsibility to appointed chief executives and managers? If the latter is the case, then why not simply abolish democratically elected local government and have a Wellington-appointed official determining what’s best for the people from Invercargill to the Far North?

An obvious solution would be to make the Electoral Commission responsible for the organisation and promotion of local government elections. This would allow councillors to set policy, reconnect with their communities and promote the importance of local democracy. Then managers and officers can go about implementing the policy decisions of our democratically elected councils.

Dr Andy Asquith and Dr Andrew Cardow are public management specialists at the Massey Business School and Dr Karen Webster is a public management specialist at AUT.

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Nominations open for 2019 Quote of the Year

Source: Massey University


Quote of the Year nominations already in include cricket commentator Ian Smith; leader of the new Vision New Zealand party Hannah Tamaki; Christchurch terror attack survivor Farid Ahmed; and actor Lucy Lawless.


The quest is on for Massey University’s 2019 Quote of the Year, and we are asking for your help to find it.

Send in your favourite one-liner said by a New Zealander this year – the line can be from any public source, including movies, stand-up comedy, advertisements, television, social media and news reports.

Speech writing senior lecturer Dr Heather Kavan, who has run the competition for the past nine years, says she has already received several nominations but is keen to hear from a broad range of New Zealanders.

Suggestions so far include the moving words of Farid Ahmed, whose wife was killed in the Christchurch terror attack, saying he has forgiven the shooter and loves him; and cricket commentator Ian Smith’s exuberant narration of the Cricket World Cup final. 

“Essentially, we’re looking for words that give people ‘yes’ moments – ‘yes, that moves me deeply,’ or ‘yes, that’s so true,’ or ‘yes, that’s so funny’,” Dr Heather Kavan says.

“The words can be rousing, tragic, beautiful, controversial, hilarious, unexpected or even embarrassing. The only thing winning quotes have in common is that New Zealanders want to hear them again.”

How to nominate

First, check that the quote was said or written by a New Zealander or New Zealand resident this year.

Then send the suggested quote to Heather Kavan at H.Kavan@massey.ac.nz. Include the quote, the speaker’s name, a brief explanation of the context, and – if possible – a link to the source. You may want to mention why you like the quote, but that is optional.

Nominations close at 5pm on November 30. After this, Massey University’s judging panel will choose 10 finalists, which then be made available for public voting, with the winner be announced on December 12.

Recalling the best quotes

To get into the mood of remembering this year’s shining words, Dr Kavan recommends these thoughts from writer and comedian Stephen Fry on the power of language.

“Above all, let there be pleasure. Let there be textural delight, let there be silken words and flinty words and sodden speeches and soaking speeches and crackling utterance and utterance that quivers and wobbles like rennet. Let there be rapid firecracker phrases and language that oozes like a lake of lava.” (What makes us human? BBC broadcast, 2019).

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