History of the New Economics Party Oct 2011- May 2015
Sept 2011 Deirdre Kent rang Laurence Boomert and suggested a new party because an election was coming up. Deirdre wrote the website, Laurence stood for Wellington Central, logo done by AJ Hunter, constitution written by Natalie Hormann approved by Electoral Commission. Amanda Vickers, Rex Verity, Phil Stevens all involved. Deck Hazen, Deirdre and Laurence made financial contributions. Deck treasurer.
14 April 2012. The First meeting of the New Economics Party, Turangi School, held during the morning of 14/4/2012 during the Australasian Permaculture Convergence
27 attended with Phil Stevens as Interim Chair. Topics discussed included setting up a logo committee led by Miles Thompson (this was eventually dropped as there were more pressing things to do), going through the process of registering as a political party, reviewing the draft constitution. Got more on the mailing list. Set up working group on constitution, Phil Stevens on brochure.
2 June, 2012 Meeting at Otaki
Present: Joy Svendsen, Laurence Boomert, Alex Greig, Finlay Thompson, Deirdre Kent, Rex Verity, Phil Stevens, Niko Leyden, Sue Hamill, Gary Williams (chair) Conor Coady, Malcolm Murchie, Don Richards, Russell Bishop (minutes)
5 August, 2012 First meeting at 215 Rangiuru Road, Otaki. Photo taken of participants with billboard in background. Present: Amanda Vickers, Andrew Rundle-Keswick, Gary Williams, Sue Hamill, Deirdre Kent, Inka Humphries-Gliesche, Don Richards, Alys Delft, Ian Todd, Paul Webster, Conor Coady. Ambitious goals set re timetable.
Our vision was to have a New Zealand society where:
1. We had full employment in quality, fulfilling work for those wanting work.
2. We each had sufficient as our natural right. (Sufficiency of income, access to resources, land, housing, food, clean water)
3. New Zealanders were happy and healthy.
4. There was a ‘reverence’ for nature and a recognition that the economy was a subset of society which was a subset of the environment.
5. Both the national and local economy would be resilient to any threat.
6. There would be vibrant and functioning communities, sufficiently resilient to withstand the challenges of declining supplies of fossil fuels, and collapse of economies in the rest of the world.
7. There would be full human rights and responsibilities starting with security, safety, rights of free speech etc.
8. Our economy would operate like a healthy living organism, a well functioning whole, like a social ecosystem. The system works as a well functioning whole.
9. A healthy participatory democracy.
General election expenses of $3493.94 submitted. Donors: Laurence, Deck Hazen, Deirdre
7 Sept 2012. Prof Steve Keen visits main centres and many meet him.
Kiwibank account opened by Deck Hazen.
First membership was listed, including Russel Bishop, Finlay Thompson, Anna Sutherland, Mark Derby, Neil Thomas, Michael Brierton, Alys Delft, Katherine O’Brien, Don Richards
Meeting 28 October, 2012 at Otaki
9 attended including Morgan Le Quesne with three online. TPPA discussion leading to three working on topic – Viola Palmer, Ian Todd and Sue Hamill. Amanda leading the revision of pamphlet with Deirdre and Phil.
Dec 16, 2012 Meeting
Chicago Plan Revisited paper by Michael Kumhof and Jaromir Benes published. Talk of the Open Bank Resolution provision at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand leads to decision to launch petition asking for a Parliamentary Enquiry into the best methods of ensuring banks are stable. Talk of Auckland currency and a Christchurch currency.
Deirdre reported a disappointing conversation with Bernard Lietaer who didn’t see the land issue as relevant.
At this stage we were lucky to have Morgan Le Quesne offer to help with administration in exchange for nominal wages. Deirdre put in $2000 so we could pay her for some of her work. She took over as treasurer mid 2013 when Deck resigned.
April 2013? Meeting at the home of Alex Greig in Wellington. Designer Niko Leyden proposed a new name and a new logo – The Local Economics Party, with reasons.
6 August 2013 paid up membership was 33
Topics discussed were website, newsletter, the political situation, the economy, a suggested federation of microparties, using Yammer as a discussion platform, making new people administrators for Facebook group, Civi membership list, use of loomio, meeting of Phil and Deirdre with Hone Harawira’s right hand woman, petition to Parliament asking for Parliamentary Enquiry on making banks stable, submission made to Select Committee on Standing Orders re secrecy of Select Committee meetings.
11 August 2013
Linnea Lindstroem and Christian Williams had organised a Wellington meeting with about 15 present – mostly young people. Deirdre spoke.
Christchurch Rex organised two meetings there with Deirdre over the years. Good discussion.
22 Feb 2014 Deirdre and Amanda attended a small meeting of Pirate Party in Otaki where they asked us to explain our policy to them. Agreement that we should each join each other’s party, share research, share campaign volunteers, set up an interparty working group and have an interparty loomio group to work on agreed policy. Possible participants to include were the Pirate Party, the New Economics Party, the Awareness Party Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, Democrats for Social Credit, Positive Money, Focus NZ, Thrive NZ
July 2014 Deirdre was invited to talk on land and money at the Council of Georgist Organisations conference in California. The talk is on slideshare.com. She made good contacts.
Those who have been involved
Those who have been on our steering committee from the start include
Laurence Boomert, Natalie Hormann, Deck Hazen, Neil Thomas, Niko Leyden, Amanda Vickers, Jorn Bettin, Phil Linklater, Christian Williams, Andrew Martin, Aaron McLean, Carol Winstanley, Sue Hamill, Morgan Le Quesne, Carrie Stoddart, Miles Thompson. Present throughout have been Phil Stevens, Rex Verity and Deirdre Kent.
Throughout the whole time Phil Stevens has kept our website operating, after original help from Miriam Richardson. Andrew Rundle and Miles Thompson have helped with web work as needed.
Throughout 2013 till 2015 there were no physical meetings. The Steering Committee met online.
Set up as wordpress, we have kept this form throughout. Deirdre has written almost all of it, but now others are contributing blog posts. E.g Joel Benjamin a New Zealander who lives in London. We are conscious it needs a great deal of work and improvement. It seems we come up on the front page of searches quite often.
At one stage Phil regretfully had to shut down the facility to discuss blog posts on the site, due to hacking.
Mailing list management
Phil set up. CiviCRM to manage our mailouts and Morgan and Deirdre have been learning to use it. It is more sophisticated than Mailchimp and does more, so there is more to learn.
Jorn set up a Facebook page. Deirdre posts new blogs there and any news. It has been a major source of recruiting people to our mailing list and of debate.
Twitter. We found both Carrie and Aaron this way and many others. We do not have a New Economics Party twitter handle yet.
Linkedin. We are not on as the New Economics Party here but again have met people interested in our policies this way.
Google Plus. Same.
Policy discussion online tools
We tried for a while to use Yammer but eventually used loomio and will continue to use loomio as it is open source. More work required on getting participation and results.
Apart from when Laurence stood on a monetary reform policy, we have not stood. We have considered local government elections more relevant. We are aware our policies are not yet developed enough to stand at national level nor is our organisation yet robust enough.
A petition to government
When the provisions for Open Bank Resolution in the case of bank distress was set in place by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, we were sufficiently alarmed to set up a petition, cooperating with other political parties in the process e.g. Democrats for Social Credit and Positive Money. We learnt that our deposits belonged to the banks legally and that as unsecured creditors we are last in line to have our deposits honoured. The public awareness of ‘bail-in’ is still very low.
We sent in our petition asking for a Parliamentary Enquiry into the best ways of making banks stable signed by 877 people but were not allowed to be present at the Select Committee when it was looking at it.
That precipitated a late submission to the Select Committee Reviewing Standing Orders asking for more openness at Select Committees. They took no action, despite the fact that Phil and Deirdre were politely received by the Speaker’s committee. They simply didn’t want the public present when they were deliberating!
We have had very little media coverage. Statements were put out regularly for a while, but very few over the past two years. They are not all on the website either.
Communication with economists
Deirdre has had meetings with Len Bayliss, Arthur Grimes (on land tax), Ganesh Nana.
Some contact with others.
Submissions to various councils
We have made major submissions to both the Christchurch City Council on their Long Term Plan and to the Local Government Commission hearing feedback on the proposal to amalgamate Wellington Councils. Rex Verity appeared in support at Christchurch and Deirdre at the Local Government Commission hearing in Upper Hutt.
Good contact with Prof Steve Keen, the Georgist movement, the monetary reform movement, the complementary currencies movement and permaculture movement. We are delighted that Nicole Foss of Canada, formerly of oildrum.com now of theautomaticearth.com, has moved to Wellington and has joined us to help.
Cooperation with other microparties and with other groups
We have communicated and cooperated with the following: The Awareness Party, Thrive NZ, Focus NZ, Democrats for Social Credit, Mana Party, ALCP Party, the Pirate Party, Internet Party (after the election),Positive Money and Resource Rentals for Revenue. Amanda and Deirdre met three from the Pirate Party in Otaki in 2014 and discussed our policy. Danyl Strype keen on cooperation, joining each other to boost membership, pooling resources. We continue our ongoing good relationship with Living Economies Educational Trust.
Not explored yet include Grey Power meetings as they are interested in outcomes for their children and grandchildren. Also at university there were Young Labour, Young Nats and also to some degree ACT, people who were seeking policies for the future.
Our current needs
Improving our website, expanding our social media presence, managing the membership list is ongoing work, more people to share more jobs, setting up branches in Christchurch and Auckland. Relieving Phil of some work. Taking notes at meetings. The list goes on. More donations needed.
Deirdre Kent 26 May, 2015