Jory Akuhata: Aotearoa—Our Land

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Jory's talk

Imagine a place where the sound of insects deafen you with their chaotic buzz and birds of all shapes come down from the tree tops periodically to investigate you out of curiosity not for food.

Imagine that trees as wide as you are tall are an entire ecosystems in themselves, supporting a host of different wildlife including rare giant insects and birds never seen on the forest floor.

Looking out over the terrain you can see giant trees, felled by an event in the distant past, they lay fallen in the valley now covered with moss. The long trunks stretch out further than you can see, and you tiptoe past, feeling like they might just be sleeping.

They too are homes to a variety of insects and microorganisms that you can only detect because the air has the smell of fresh compost.

Imagine when it rains you are only made aware by the sound of it hitting the canopy hanging above you like a massive tent. Below you the large root systems cover the ground in a tangled mess as you slowly weave through the giants.

Tena koutou my name is Jory and in 2014 I walked a trail called Te Araroa. This trail goes from cape Reinga to Bluff and covers over 3000 kms. The intention of the trail was not just to showcase Nz wildlife but for the people who undertake it to see all the bits that make up Aotearoa - isolated farms and picturesque beaches, starry skies and busy cities.

Jory walking the Te Araroa Trail

There is a list of the most often asked questions I am asked about my journey.

“What was your favourite part?” comes in at number three.

My reply is always diplomatic  “My favourite part of Te Araroa is knowing that over the next pass will be something different”.

Mostly because no matter how beautiful a place is, if you spend a week in it you do get sick of it. At least I did. And I don’t like to play favourites.

But today I have to confess that this statement is not entirely true. The place I asked you to imagine happens to exist and was by far my favourite section of Te Araroa. The Pureora Forest was one of the last native forests to be opened up for logging. In 1978 protesters occupied platforms built in the treetops and their actions led to a government-imposed logging moratorium and, eventually, the end of native forest logging in the park.

Because of their actions in 1978, I was in 2014 able to have the experiences I described to you.

Imagine what Pureroa will be like in another 50 years?

Or better yet other conservation efforts that are happening now around the country. Zelandia is a predator free zone near Wellington City. In 50 years time, will there be another person marvelling at the smell of dirt and hugging the trees the way I did in Pureroa?

Will we be carefully weaving ourselves under the feet of the giants listening to the constant buzz of insects and trying to get a bird to land on our shoulder while it looks at us wondering why we are wiggling our fingers at it?

The answer can be yes.

Both the Wanganui river and the Uruweras are national parks that have been given the same rights as people. This is an unprecedented achievement of actions people have taken today to protect our future.

If the Pureora is an example of what can be achieved in the span of 40 years by just choosing to stop cutting down native trees, imagine what we could achieve by 2070 with the efforts we can make today.


Kerry Dalton, Citizens Advice Bureau: Social Justice as a Human Right

League of Live Illustrators capture of Kerry's talk

Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa

I start my speech with the whakataukī  - "Titiro ki muri kia whakatika a mua" - look to the past to proceed into the future

As is so often the case, when we are looking for wisdom and guidance for the future, the answers and lessons lie in our past.  And I certainly think this is the case when we are looking at creating an optimistic future, which to me means a future where everyone can thrive.

In 1948 in the aftermath of the second World war which had seen such atrocities, the world came together and agreed on a set of inviolable human rights that every human should expect to have protected.  It is a uniting vision, an inspiring framework that recognises that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.  

NZ played a visionary role in ensuring that this universal framework of human rights included economic and social rights.  When these were included in the final version of the Declaration, our representative at the General Assembly of the UN said

“We regard with particular satisfaction the place which is given in the declaration to social and economic rights. Experience in New Zealand has taught us that the assertion of the right of personal freedom is incomplete unless it is related to the social and economic rights of the common person. There can be no difference of opinion as to the tyranny of privation and want. There is no dictator more terrible than hunger. Colin Aikman

And I know that we are here to talk about and envisage an optimistic future but in order for us to know what we are up against, I need to talk about some of the most desperate aspects of our current reality. 

Human rights are not optional

In 2015 we, the Citizens Advice Bureau identified that people coming to us in situations of homeless had doubled in 5 years and often we couldn’t find them somewhere to stay for the night.  We also identified that very vulnerable people were in this situation including children and pregnant women. 

And the worst thing was that often there was nothing we could offer, there was no emergency housing available.

We identified that an important part of our social security system was broken and for many of the people coming to us in need of emergency accommodation, there was no safety net. 

Today, almost exactly 70 years after the Declaration was signed, we have poverty, homelessness and social deprivation in this country which stood up and argued that freedom from this kind of want is a fundamental human right - not something to get around to fixing when the conditions are right, but something we have guaranteed to all of our people.  

So how do we get from the current situation to an optimistic future for everyone, what is the answer?

The answer lies in that inspiring framework of human rights and ensuring that NZ meets the commitments that it has already made, as a minimum. 

In 1978, the NZ Government ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Article 11 of this Covenant states: 

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their family, including adequate food, clothing and housing, and to the continuous improvement of living conditions. The States Parties will take appropriate steps to ensure the realization of this right.

And today, these should not be aspirational for our country.  We are not short of food production, we do not suffer from civil war.  Surely it is not a high bar make sure everyone has food and adequate shelter. 

And a place to start is to identify barriers or areas where the government itself is contributing to poverty and hardship and address those.

For example - What does it mean for the government to sanction a beneficiary with children and take away half of their benefit, which is already a very low income when we have guaranteed a decent standard of living, freedom from want and we have signed the convention on the rights of the child?  What does it mean to sanction a beneficiary without children, 100% of their income, leaving them with no income?? 

What does it mean when combined debt repayments and penalty payments to government are set at a level that is creating hardship and deprivation in a family?

If the commitment to ensure an adequate income for all was front and centre of mind and considered a real obligation by government, this would not be Ok, it is not OK in the framework of the commitments our nation has. 

These things are within the ambit and control of government.   

It becomes harder when the private sector is part of providing something that our government has guaranteed to be provided to all people, what then is the responsibility of the government to intervene - and here I am thinking of the private rental market, which in many instances is not delivering affordable or adequate housing?

An optimistic future is one where government prioritises ensuring and guaranteeing all of the rights it has signed up to, and no matter what political party is in government, these rights are front and centre in their decision making.  These stated human rights and the obligations transcend politics, they even transcend nations - they are international and global and already agreed upon. 

An optimistic future is one where public servants are supported to give life to these rights, and address any barriers or inconsistencies with these rights and treat every person in a way that ensures their dignity.

An optimistic future is one where we have a vibrant civil society that is supported in our role of promoting civic engagement, participation, inclusion and social justice,  This , underpins a healthy democracy and the accountability of government.

And we already have wonderful building blocks in place in our communities.

For example in the CAB we have over 2400 volunteers who provide a free service of information, advice and support to anyone.  These volunteers mobilise every day in 85 physical locations throughout NZ to support everyone to access their rights and services face to face, via the phone and web.  Last year we had over half a million client interactions.

Astoundingly 22 of our CAB volunteers have volunteered for over 30 years and 2 for over 40 years.   This community spirit, this commitment  to supporting others is the kind of material we have to work with in communities throughout NZ to help us create a future where everyone can thrive. 

Eradicating poverty and deprivation in our country and ensuring the well-being of everyone are not ‘liberal leftie’ values and concerns, these are the commitments we made and championed as a nation.

We have strayed off the pathway set by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and subsequent follow up obligations, a pathway that we helped emblazon.  But the pathway is still there and if we give life to it, if we create an active culture of human rights within government, within communities and within the hearts and minds of our citizens, then this will provide the way for an optimistic future for everyone.

Marianne Elliott, ActionStation: Democracy 2070: Trust before Technology

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Marianne's talk

So, it’s 2070! If you think I look pretty good for someone who’s about to turn 98, it’s because all those wonderful health-tech developments you’ve been told about have added up to a longer, healthier and happier life even for troublemakers like me.

Perhaps someone should have thought about that, aye?

First, to remind us all where we’ve come from, let’s take a few minutes to look back to the state of our democracy fifty years ago.

One third of New Zealanders and nearly half of Māori rated their trust in parliament as low and felt the public had little to no influence on government decision making.

So it was unsurprising that in the 2017 election across all age groups, a higher percentage of Māori did not vote when compared to non-Māori. This was especially stark in the 18–24 yr age range where 38% of enrolled Māori did not vote.

Political scientists at the time described this as the ‘inequality spiral’ in which people who were least well served by a society — poor, marginalised and excluded — had little reason to vote. Politicians, in turn, had more incentive to prioritise policies that would improve the lives of people who vote, creating a self-perpetuating cycle of neglect, distrust and disengagement.

In retrospect, 2018 felt like a watershed moment, would we find a way to break the cycle of distrust and disengagement? Or would it continue to spiral towards an increasingly divided, disengaged and unjust society?

At the same time, in 2018 digital technology was permeating society presenting both opportunities and threats to our democracy.

The opportunities included the potential for greater openness and transparency in government, and more accessible, inclusive and customised pathways for citizen engagement — all opportunities I was enthusiastically promoting at the time.

By 2018, however, the threats and risks were also becoming more apparent — in 2016 Brexit and the US elections had revealed how easy it was to manipulate digital platforms to distort public dialogue. We were seeing the impact deliberate disinformation campaigns could have on democracy when combined with the algorithms of the attention economy (what we came to call ‘viral deceptions’).

Platform monopolies had already undermined the traditional funding model for public interest news content and fundamentally altered how information flowed to citizens.

Public concern was growing about the harmful effect of social media — it’s addictive nature, online bullying, impact on mental health — and these negative impacts were distorting our public conversations, polarising our public debate and contributing to disengagement.

It was becoming increasingly apparent that fundamental principles underlying democracy — trust, informed dialogue, shared sense of reality — were being put to the test

Open government

As the older amongst us will remember, one of the buzzwords of 2018 was ‘open government’ (along with co-design, social investment and innovation, remember them?). Yet at the same time researchers and journalists were expressing alarm at the way OIA requests were being handled, describing “slow erosion of good-faith as more and more information is withheld, for more and more dubious reasons”

In late 2017, while welcoming a reduction in delays for OIA requests, the Office of the Ombudsman expressed concern at the trend to withhold information in requested reports

So, what changed?

Survivors call for an inquiry into abuse in state care, Parliament steps, 2017

Survivors call for an inquiry into abuse in state care, Parliament steps, 2017

This photo is from 2017. I chose it because it reminds me of the day when I had the privilege of witnessing something which I knew at the time to be important, and which I now believe was part of the beginning of the transformation of our democracy.

This is a photo of Ngā Morehū — two survivors of abuse in state care. They are standing on the steps of the old Parliament Building calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into the abuse they had been subjected to while in state care.

That Royal Commission did happen, and in retrospect had a profound impact on our democracy. How?

Firstly, by building a shared national understanding of how colonisation worked to undermine whanau and set off intergenerational trauma that not only planted the seeds for gang violence but also filled entire wings of our prisons with men and women who had once been children abused while in the care of the State. The Commission also deepened public understanding of the ways in which Te Tiriti o Waitangi had been comprehensively breached.

Secondly, it brought to an end an era in which officials were instructed to prioritise protecting the Crown from potential liability, and ushered in a new era of radical accountability combined with care, creativity and compassion. It was a time when people whose entire previous experience of the State had been negative had a chance not only to be listened to, but also believed and redressed for the harm done to them.

All of this helped to create the conditions for the massive decarceration project that kicked off in 2018, and has continued ever since, so that in the same way children in 2018 were perplexed by the idea of a world before the internet, my great grandchildren don’t believe me when I tell them we used to lock up tens of thousands of people in this country!

These were bold — and as many at the time warned, risky — efforts to put right in a comprehensive way the wrongs of our colonial history. Combined with constitutional and institutional reform to properly recognise and respect tino rangatiratanga and the integration of te reo and tikanga Māori throughout the structures of kawanatanga, these changes have had a transformative impact on mutual trust and a corresponding impact on democratic engagement not only by Māori but by all people in New Zealand.

It turns out the kuia and kaumatua were right when they told us what was good for Māori would be good for all of us.

At the same time, kicking off at the meeting of D5 nations in February 2018, New Zealand took a proactive role in the global development of digital policy and infrastructure to manage both the opportunity and threats of those massive digital platform monopolies.

That global co-operation resulted in regulation requiring digital platforms to provide greater transparency about political advertisers, to require thorough identity verification for ad buyers and to take steps to distinguish between trustworthy and untrustworthy sources of news and information. These steps — amongst other things — helped restore transparency and trust to public discourse.

The government also invested heavily in public interest media. Some of you will remember 2018 as the year when what we once knew as RNZ began it’s transformation into the multi-platform digital media broadcaster that some of us nostalgically nicknamed ‘Radio with Pictures’.

Alongside these efforts, a different kind of openness became the focus of our conversations about open government. We talked less about data and technology, and more about trust and the kind of empathetic listening and creative compassion that builds trust.

Emboldened by the shift away from risk management towards empathy, accountability and responsiveness marked by the Royal Commission, public servants and citizens alike were given the chance to see each other as humans, to listen and to trust each other again.

Which is how we got here. To 2070, where our democracy is not defined by the technology or even the processes we use to make decisions together but by our shared democratic values: empathy, trust, transparency, self-determination, care, collaboration and — of course — optimism.

It’s enough to make this almost 98 year old hopeful for the future.

(You can find this story, and more of Marianne's writing here)

Sam Lang, Nuffield Scholar: Agricultural Ecology

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Sam's talk

The optimistic future that I’d like to see is an ecologically literate society.

There’s a framework we use in regenerative agriculture called Holistic Management. In essence
the practise of holistic management shifts your focus from symptoms to root cause - the root
cause then becomes the focus of your solutions. This framework is so effective in part because
it was created based on ecological principles.
So if we take a quick look at just a few of the symptoms present in our world today we have

● The Sixth great extinction
● Climate change
● Ocean acidification
● Increasing disease and pest outbreaks
● Floods & droughts
● And a rapid decline in human health through degenerative diseases linked to poor
nutrition, and environmental factors like toxins & water quality etc

That’s not a fun list. But if we dig down into their root causes, perhaps the greatest driver is our
lack of ecological literacy.

We spend a lot of time learning about and applying ecological understandings to our farm
system. At a highly simplified level we try to manage four ecosystem processes; the water cycle,
the mineral cycle, energy flows and biodiversity. These four processes, particularly as they
occur within living soils, are the foundation of our ecosystems and therefore our existence. Yet
as a society we understand and consider them very little.

When we manage these ecosystem processes well on farm, there are a whole raft of positive
spin-offs. They include sequestering carbon in soils, plants and trees, reducing downstream
flood impacts, mitigating droughts, improving water quality, increasing biodiversity, increasing
the nutritional quality of our food and therefore the health of the animals and humans that
consume it. That is preventative healthcare at a massive scale and a huge opportunity for our
increasingly unaffordable health system.

Managing these ecosystem processes well also supports a higher quality of life for farmers and
rural communities through being able to operate more resilient, diversified, higher value and
resource independent farm systems. This is good for all New Zealand as it’s these communities
that ultimately have a large influence on the health of the whole country.

There’s an exciting growing body of farmers and growers already making these connections.
Unfortunately our ecological illiteracy as a society still has the cards stacked against this

As food producers or resource managers, we aren’t trained to understand, let alone manage
ecosystem function. As food, fibre & textile consumers we aren’t taught how to assess the
ecological impact or nutritional quality of soy or almond milk from North America, versus dairy
milk from the well stocked, all grass family dairy farm just outside of town.

And as citizens we aren’t taught how to use our democratic power to support farmers, land managers or any resource decision makers to do more and better of this positive and essential work.
My optimistic future is where ecology sits alongside civics as a foundational component of our
education system. As a result our society will be empowered with the knowledge to make
decisions that have a positive impact on the health of our ecosystems. Our society will counter
the current dominance of short-term commercial interest in our research system and invests
significantly in understanding the state and trends of our ecosystems and environment. We will
support innovative strategies that utilise ecological understandings to help remedy decades of
ecosystem decline. In this future we’ll view technologies as tools that can support good
management, not as the focus of our solutions.

Another aspect of my optimistic future is a relocalised, diverse and connected society. It might
look a bit like this . Does anyone know what this is?

mycelial network


It’s an image of a mycelial network, the often hidden component of what we all know as
mushrooms and a keystone species for supporting life on our planet. These are threads of
different species fungal hyphae that form an incredibly expansive, connected and intelligent
network in our ecosystems. These mycelial networks do amazing things, like communicating
advance warning of pest or disease threats throughout an entire forest. They will distribute
water or nutrients to different plants that are in need to ensure the health and stability of the
whole ecosystem. They can even bioremediate contaminated environments like oil spills and
they are a rapidly growing source of natural medicines and biocontrols that is disrupting the
pharmaceutical industry and chemical industries that have specialised in killing things. (If you
want to have your mind blown YouTube a guy called Paul Stamets!).
Mycelial networks have also been likened to the structure and function of both the internet and
dark matter. They represent an incredibly efficient structure for sharing information and
resources, while being very resilient to catastrophes in any part of the system.

So as we try to imagine what a diverse, connected and resilient future society might look like,
perhaps millions of years of evolution has already figured it out???

Jon & Darian: The Health Experience of 2070

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Jon and Darian's talk

Hi there, I am Jon Herries, I work at the Ministry of Health and I am here to talk about how we keep people healthy.

Hi I'm Darian and I work at the Australian Digital Health Agency.  We're going to talk for the next 7 minutes about what healthcare may look like in 50 years' time. The context we were given for this talk was an optimistic future, and after spending a lot of time thinking about all the potentially disastrous futures, we had a clever idea about an optimistic future.

The picture you can see is from Star Trek Discovery a new iteration on the original Star Trek series which is now showing on Netflix. Gene Rodenberry's original series inspired a number of technologies just over 50 years ago, some of which are becoming a reality in the health space now. An example is The tricorder a portable device for sensing, computing and recording.

Star Trek

Sound familiar? Just check out your phone....

We thought it would be interesting to consider how health will look again in 50 years in the context of a genre spawning tv series. One that is well known for exploring and confronting social issues.

Food served on the Discovery is an example of where preventative and precision medicine may go. The meals are customised to individual's physiological needs, ensuring that they receive all the nutrition they require. An interesting comment in the show is that what you need, still isn't necessarily what you want.

Medicines in the show are also tuned for use by an individual - with the captain of Discovery receiving targeted medicines for his "light sensitivity".

We see personalised medicine as a key opportunity coming soon through the field of genomics. In the show, this is based on the easy collection and analysis of DNA. Our ability to use this information will help us ensure that rare diseases are better understood and treated. An example of how genomics could help is happening in Ireland right now with a plan to sequence the genomes of children with epilepsy. This will provide a great test case as epilepsy has a number of different treatments, and finding links between treatments and genomic markers could help provide the right treatment first time.

The transporter in Star Trek Discovery gets a heavy workout, but also in common use were 3D holograms and the ubiquitous warp drive.

Our ability to transport patients in these ways would eliminate transport issues for those living rurally. This would provide a massive improvement in access for Australia and New Zealand citizens who currently have large numbers of the population living a long way from hospitals.

Also our ability to provide a full virtual presence able to interact with the environment and people in the environment means virtual consultations could offer more personalised care than is currently on offer.

Perhaps also in the future we will be able to provide instantaneous transport via a spore drive around which the plot twists but maybe that is a little bit far-fetched.

The show has a sick bay with doctors and nurses. This shows that despite advances in healthcare there is a continued need for the human touch and empathy.

In the future we see machines increasingly being able to offer an end to end healthcare service, for example, scanning patients using combination EEG, MR and CT examining the results and presenting the patient and health professional with a summary and potential options for treatment, just like it does in the show.

The health professional's role in this context is much more of a healthcare navigator working for the patient to ensure the machines provide the services that the patient needs. A prototypical version of a health navigator is appearing in our system now. They are often critical to patients from minority groups and for those who report a fear of hospitals and health services. They offer support and empathy at times of high stress and emotion. Currently they are using their own experience and understanding of a complex system to help navigate patients safely.

In the show, one of the engineers ends up with a series of technological implants connected to his nervous system. Despite this, presumably due to genetic compatibility matching, he appears to be healthy, with these modifications forming a permanent part of his body. There are also a number of crew members with varying self-adopted and maintained technological adaptations. Currently non-communicable diseases put increasing pressure on our health system and responses when these diseases reach their end stages. We are already seeing experiments in 3D printing of organs and body parts. Our expectation is that for those people requiring amputation due to vascular disease, or people dying from renal failure or heart failure could have in the future new 3d printed organs and technology implanted into their bodies to support their health without the need for donors or anti-rejection medicines.

The last big problem which we know will impact on the environment and more widely is how the population will change in the future. New Zealand's population density had never been an issue, with our fertility rate likely to reach a low but sustainable equilibrium in the early 2020s.

However in the future we need to consider that people could choose to live forever. In the context of Discovery, the only people to die have been at the hand of others. It would seem that this ability to extend peoples lifespan perhaps indefinitely - is likely to destabilise the population creating a consequent impact on the environment.

This consideration is perhaps the most interesting unstated premise of the Star Trek universe. Perhaps the plan to boldly go where no one has gone before is a mechanism that serves to ensure both the ongoing survival of humanity but also to help manage the growth of the population in the future.

To close, I want to say that the federation in Star Trek is founded on equity. In this show, an african american woman with a currently male name, is respected, cast down and then redeems herself over 15 episodes. She falls from grace by forgetting this principle and saves the federation when she remembers it at the end.

From our own information that we publish, we know that Maori and Pacific Island people have poorer outcomes than other ethnicities in New Zealand. It would be great to think that maybe some of these advancements and technologies will bring this type of optimistic future into our grasp.

Eric Crampton, The NZ Initiative: The Voluntary Future

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Eric's talk

Usually economists are asked to make forecasts, and nobody is able to really get those things right. This time, I don’t even have to think about what’s likely, just about what I’d like to be likely. I will constrain my optimism a bit to keep it within the bounds of the potentially plausible.

In my most optimistic future, radical life extension has arrived by 2050. I was born in 1976, so radical life extension’s going to be even more important to me by 2050. Biotech will have developed along with implantable technology so we’ll be having incredibly interesting conversations about what it means to be human. In In the same way that electricity, cars, home appliances, televisions, computers and smartphones went from being luxury toys for the rich to being cheap, reliable tools within the ready reach of the vast majority, so too will biological enhancements. Health will have become cheap – a solved problem.

And Roko’s Basilisk never showed up.

But while all of that is part of my most optimistic future, it’s not what I mostly want to talk about today. I want to talk instead about something I know a little bit more about: how these developments could affect how we change how we solve the generalised problem of living together peaceably – how we govern ourselves.

I’m an optimist about people, and an optimist about technology. But more particularly I’m an optimist about New Zealand.

I moved here fifteen years ago because it seemed to be the best place in the world. By and large, government works well – or at least far less badly than in a lot of other places. In the 1980s and 90s, New Zealand figured out that small countries at the far end of the world that are remote from any of their major markets simply cannot afford the kinds of very silly policies that are common overseas. New Zealand could never afford to throw the kinds of resources at airport security that America turned to in reaction to 9/11, so we didn’t.

New Zealand just doesn’t go for the kinds of knee-jerk policies that larger places are prone to – because we can’t afford them. Kipling said the world would belong to the one who can keep their wits about them when all are losing theirs – that’s us. And it’s us in part because of something Ernest Rutherford pointed out: because we haven’t the money, we’ve had to think.

So where does that take us for 2050? My optimistic vision has three main components. Radical subsidiarity, effective altruism on steroids, and decision markets.

Screen Shot 2018-02-22 at 11.17.28 AM.png

Let’s take a minute with each of these.

Effective altruism is a movement started around a decade ago. It argues that aid should focus on the places where it can do most good. It currently argues that most people are not giving nearly enough to charity, but at least as importantly they’re giving badly: every scarce dollar of aid should go to the place where it can do the absolute most good.

On the path to 2050, we’ll see a shift in government assistance towards greater focus on helping NGOs who can do good work. NGOs will approach the social investment agency with the outcomes they want to improve; SIA will tell them the funding available depending on how much good they do, and big data approaches within government will test outcomes. Good practice will spread.

But government is clunky. It has a hard time shutting down programmes that don’t work, and it’s frustrating to deal with. Bureaucracy always limits the good that civil society can do because of fear of the chance anything bad might happen that might annoy the Minister. The government, and the effective altruism movement, will kickstart the move towards effectiveness evaluation. But civil society will take over from there, interpreting bureaucratic failure as damage and routing around it. As data improves, effectiveness evaluation will become simpler for the voluntary sector as well – government’s advantage in data aggregation will erode more than it already has. The end result: communities able to do more good themselves.

Second, decision markets. Again, current government programmes may kickstart this. Treasury and the Labour government have rightly pointed out that we need a bevy of outcome measures to evaluate how well the country is doing – not just GDP. When we have those measures, we can have forecasts of the measures. When we can have forecasts of the measures, we can have futures markets in the measures. And when we can have futures markets in the measures, we can have combinatorial markets of the effects of policy on the whole set of measures. Instead of having Treasury trying to forecast outcomes across a wide assortment of indicators and too few economists to get the job done, we’ll crowdsource it.

New Zealand was actually making some progress in this area in the late 2000s. We had the world’s best real money prediction market, iPredict. The Vogons in the National Party killed it, but in my optimistic future, the 2018 Labour government took a more flexible approach to the regulations and allowed it to come back. The market quickly starts trading on the environmental, social and economic outcomes Treasury is reporting on, and combinatorial markets let us get a crowdsourced assessment of the effects of policy on different outcomes. We then start having far better information to form the basis for policy – not just the views of the boffins and the Wellington insiders who are good at writing submissions.

Finally, radical subsidiarity. I expect the decision markets would quickly show that we would get better outcomes if communities could make more of their own choices, rather than being led by central government all the time. New Zealand has one of the world’s most centralised governments. In my optimistic future, central government will have shrunk considerably, allowing far more room for decisions to be made at the local level. Communities will be empowered to set the rules that work for them – and as critically, people will be able to easily shift to find the community that works best for them.

That radical subsidiarity also will make it easier for New Zealand to adapt to the tech changes to come. We do have some deeply conservative communities in New Zealand that have barely managed to get their heads around same sex marriage and for whom drug legalisation remains terrifying – transhumanism will be a tough sell. Allowing beachheads for far more liberal approaches – and for experimentation in figuring out what works! – will help build broader acceptance for diverse ways of living and diverse ways of being.

That’s my optimistic future. By 2050, we won’t be arguing about which policies work: we’ll be betting on them and implementing the ones that the crowd’s wisdom has endorsed. We won’t be arguing about how to live; we’ll be moving to the parts of New Zealand that fit our preferred lives and providing the best possible argument for diversity: demonstration. And we will have stopped turning to central government for solutions to everything and will instead look first to ourselves and to our communities, because that’s where the real solutions lie.

And New Zealand will still be the very best place to live, in a much better world.

(Full version published here.)

Girol Karacaoglu, Victoria University Wellington, School of Government: Intergenerational Wellbeing and Public Policy

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Girol's talk

My vision for this country is to make it a place where talent wants to live – that was Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision.

This requires a clear objective for public policy – which is at the top of my slide – helping people live the kinds of lives they value and have reason to value – without judging valued lives, provided it does not interfere with others’ rights to live the kinds of lives they value. The role of public policy is to enhance people’s opportunities and capabilities to pursue the lives they value.

This welcomes, embraces, and celebrates all sorts of diversity.

The essence of implementing this policy is to create the largest play pen within which individuals and communities can flourish – that is the diagram (the pentagon) on the slide behind me. 

Policy Framework

The ingredients are the various capital assets (natural capital, human capital, social & cultural capital, and economic & financial capital) that collectively comprise “comprehensive wealth” – these are common ingredients for wellbeing across humanity.

The government, as our representative agent, is the steward for current and future generations in this framework – it manages these capital stocks (through appropriate investments in infrastructures and ecosystems) in a way that ensures: resilience to systemic risks, social cohesion (in an increasingly diverse society), equity across society and generations, raising potential economic growth and, through all these mechanisms, sustainability towards intergenerational wellbeing.

Another critical feature of this framework is that it recognises that while material conditions are critical, they are not sufficient for sustainable wellbeing – public policy need to acknowledge the critical interdependence between environmental, social, and economic influences on wellbeing. By way of example, as we invest in human health as a way of increasing wellbeing directly, but also increasing productivity, we concurrently invest in shifting both consumption and production towards cleaner products – from fossil fuel cars to electronic cars – while investing in poverty reduction so that people can afford to buy electrical cars.

And finally, in the complex and fundamentally uncertain world we live in, the best way to create resilience (in both the sense of protecting our way of life from major catastrophes, as well as nourishing creativity as a platform for adaptation), we need to give far more voice and support to our very diverse communities across the country.

Kat Lintott and Malcolm Mulholland: The Treaty of Waitangi and Diverse Maori Realities

League of Live Illustrators' capture of Kat and Malcolm's talk

Kat Lintott:
Kia ora koutou katoa
Ko Te Upoko o Tahumatā te maunga
Ko Wairewa te roto
Ko Wairewa te marae
Ko Ngāi Tahu te Iwi
Ko Kat Lintott ahau

Today there is a presence of split national identity. I’ve always known of my Maori heritage and I’ve always been super proud of it. However, I grew up with parents who didn’t know anything about Maori culture. But, I was lucky enough to grow up with a strong emphasis on being an independent woman and always encouraged to follow my passions. This has led me to a place today where only now at 30 am I becoming more familiar with my identity. My identity as a woman, as a tech storyteller, as a Pakeha, as a Maori, and most recently, soon to be Mum! I feel like this is representation of many people in Aotearoa, no matter where they come from or who they are. We are a very young country, and our identity is a collision between a very strong indigenous Maori culture and many immigrant cultures - predominantly of British influence.  

We now have the opportunity to understand these cultures and create a country where all citizens are comfortable with their own identity within Aotearoa. We will become the country that learns from its mistakes and successes to ensure that all are equal citizens of Aotearoa.  

Using the Treaty of Waitangi as a starting point, I want to focus my talk on realizing Oritetanga, or equality, that comes from Article Three, for everyone who makes Aotearoa home.  There is one area that I foresee will enable all identities to be treated equally, that of Technology. Technology will allow people an equal opportunity to develop their own identity within the community. Each person from birth could be given a personal artificial intelligence. The type of AI I’m imagining would be able to communicate, help manage and access the opportunities available to every person in the country and the world. For example:

Te Ao Maori (the Maori world) would no longer be inaccessible to those who live in communities who are disconnected to their marae or turangawaewae.  They will be able to connect remotely through virtual or augmented reality.  We are already seeing advances in this area with many hui incorporating Skype or Facetime and with tangihanga being beamed onto the screens of people who want to participate but who cannot afford to get to their marae.  One project I am currently involved with is telling the story of Mataatua and bringing it to life using virtual reality, the journeys of our ancestors from Hawaiki to Aotearoa.  If we take virtual reality or augmented reality as the next step we will actually have a more similar experience to being kanohi ki te kanohi, or being face to face.  Physically you might not be in the same place, but digitally you might be in the same space with your full body as an avatar that can be presented alongside others in the room that may be anywhere in the world.  Technology could also be utilised to help with the revitalization and retention of Te Reo Maori.  
There are a number of other applications of technology that would enable citizens of Aotearoa to be equal, especially in areas where Maori have been disadvantaged.  Historically Maori have been marginalized in the education system for speaking a different language, not working as individuals, and not being strong writers.  In the future, communication in education could be expressed orally, with imagery, or via writing.  
There is one final thought I want to leave you with.  Currently we grow up believing we live to work; our purpose is to work towards working ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ What I envisage is that in the future we grow up to understand our individual identity and that our purpose is to live, not work.  Living a meaningful life through being content with our individual identity, our identity within our communities, our Aotearoa identity and our identity in the world, will ensure individuals are empowered to contribute to society as their best self and contribute towards our optimistic future.  

No reira, tena koutou, tena koutou, tena tatou katoa.

Taha Māori, Taha Aotearoa