How To Empower the New Government

I came out of a four day silent meditation retreat on Waitangi Day and the first story I read was about Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s speech.

It was as if I had come back to a transformed nation, where a powerful vision was being enacted, and a country was being invited to hold it’s government to account and to measure it’s progress.

And now Waitangi Day is behind us, and for most so are the summer holidays.

Here in Auckland the temperatures have cooled, and the roads have got busy.

2018 is in full swing, everyone is back at work and back at school.

And our new government is not quite so new.

Waitangi had a remarkably different flavour this year.

The kōrero and speeches were inspiring. We are not used to such a flavour of inspired vision, offers of accountability, and accessibility at the head of government.

For those of us who have worked for decades to find ways to better connect those in power in government and business with the diverse communities of Aotearoa/New Zealand, it is a joy to observe.

You can almost hear a collective sigh from everyone who have strived to support those who struggle in this country, the communities that over the last several decades had become more and more removed from the world of decision makers.

I almost have to blink and gasp when I hear some of the things the Prime Minister is saying, it is so heartening.

But there is a little voice,and I am sure it echoes throughout the country for many, is this too good to be true? Is it lovely rhetoric and good PR? But then I catch myself and I think it is time to stop thinking this way and take more responsibility.

We have experienced decades of politicians saying all sorts of wonderful things and never delivering, often because the titanic systems of government are so cumbersome and unwieldly they cannot flex to change, to adapt, to connect, or to serve. Or else they simply have not adhered to a strong sense of values.

So now the question is, how do we all breathe life into this government and assist them to deliver on their promises ?

I get a sense of an attitude with this government to work as a team. And so that attitude must extend throughout the bureaucracies it leads and the wider population, so that we all collectively take responsibility to help deliver on the vision. This will require new ways of working, and at times some pain and discomfort, especially for those who are sitting in comfortable positions of privilege.

This government does have vision. It is palpable and it is tangible in the inspiration it is creating.

Paradigms are shifting rapidly in humanity in the ways of economies, technologies, and globalised cultures and identities. This government has an opportunity to empower Aotearoa to catch up and to lead in this fast moving and dynamic world we now live in, where work, culture and identity is being reinvented daily. We must move on from old models around leadership where expectations are heaped on one person at the head of an organisation to lead as a messiah. Leadership must be about the team, the group, the collective, all contributing. We do know how to do this well in this country, it is just that we have lost our way.

It will take all of us breathing life into this visionary government. And when they falter and they will, that we continue to breathe life into the vision, and not become vultures ripping at their entrails, and rather, hold them to account, regroup and to keep going.

As the Prime Minister has said, there is much work to be done. Our levels of poverty and our exhausted environment needs a great deal of love and support. We have thrashed those that fall to the bottom of our socio-economic measures, and hammered our beautiful environments. But people and planet can heal quickly, and the results can move at quantum speed, if the effort is collective, and conscious.