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Manifesto* of The Progressive Party of Aotearoa New Zealand
* This Manifesto represents a work in progress

We invite you to co-create a world in which

  • All people can fulfil their basic needs for food, clothing, housing, medical care and education,
  • All human beings can freely develop their physical, mental and spiritual potentials,
  • All human beings experience human rights such as physical integrity, equality and freedom,
  • Animals and plants can live naturally and we treat our earth with respect and keep it pure,
  • Moving together and for each other we can develop our individual and collective potential.

How can we do that?

In order to shape such a society, it is necessary for us and especially the leaders, to think and act for the well-being of all. Such a society can come about when principles of morality and Neohumanism, are infused into all social institutions, especially education and government institutions.
Neohumanism recognises that in addition to human beings, we need to take responsibility for the welfare of all living beings including animals and plants. It is not just an idea but also a practice – to train the mind to see oneness in all. Training the mind in this way is facilitated by practices such as introspection, meditation and mindfulness. Talk on The Consciousness Frontier by NZ yogi, Dada Gunamuktananda (18 minutes)

The Progressive Party

Is guided by the view that humanity is one family. In a healthy family everybody cares for and looks after everyone else. The Progressive Party Aotearoa aligns with these key values. A Progressive government would commit to the goal of guaranteeing that everyone’s basic needs in respect of food, clothing, housing, medical care and education are met.

To make this possible the Progressive Party is committed to ensuring that a just minimum wage provides everyone with the purchasing power to meet their housing and other basic needs. The just minimum wage would increase over time to ensure a progressively higher standard of living -for example to enable access to new technologies. The just minimum wage would be set by a Wages and Salaries Commission. In a related first move, as required in the USA, each year companies would be required to identify and disclose the compensation of the median-paid employee at the firm and compare that to the CEO as a ratio. This would eventually lead to a cap on salaries linked to the just minimum wage.


The Progressive Party advocates

  • eliminating speculation in housing,
  • the provision of State-funded mortgages,
  • long-term leasing options,
  • fostering co-operative housing and
  • limiting home ownership to NZ residents
  • establishing a State-owned enterprise for housing construction

– all policies that implicitly recognise that leaving it to the market to resolve New Zealand’s housing needs amounts to an abrogation of responsibility.


Access to quality healthcare is one of the fundamental requirements of any Society. Every citizen and resident must be guaranteed equitable access to appropriate forms of healthcare that meet their needs and lead to positive health outcomes. Healthcare should be delivered in a spirit of welfare rather than driven by the profit motive.

Equity in Outcomes: Having ‘one size fits all’ services available is not enough. We have significant groups within Aotearoa that do not enjoy high standards of health e.g. Tangata Whenua, so evidence-based healthcare must be measured by delivering results in the real world – not only under “clinical” conditions. Achieving Positive health outcomes is the measure of a successful health modality – as such, we will have a pragmatic, responsive, dynamic and integrated healthcare system based on research and actual outcomes.

Health Research: Health care is delivered based on evidence of real-world health outcomes. With funding from targeted taxes, Aotearoa NZ can develop a world class health research sector, can become a knowledge exporter, can specifically target research to broaden healthcare system – e.g.Maori Health practices/medicines, Naturopathy etc…

Diversified Healthcare system: A Progressive government will develop an integrated healthcare system incorporating the best of all health and wellness modalities. Include branches of healthcare not normally considered “mainstream” –e.g. Maori Health practices/medicines, Naturopathy etc… The Progressive Party is outcome focussed, not ideologically driven. Active research sector will constantly inform healthcare delivery system.
Culturally based service delivery is integrated into sector – people are able to choose those services that suit their needs.
Practitioner bodies supported to professionalise and develop systems of registration in line with current registered health professions.

Purchasing capacity: Funding is to be shifted toward the community and the Primary Health sector – out of DHBs. Primary health includes a wide range of health providers (not just GPs and medical practices). Good quality Primary health delivery is cost effective as it reduces the need for more expensive tertiary level services (hospitals and specialist services). People have a determined level of funding attached to them and they are able to opt into health services that suit them through “enrolment.” Broadening of health funding will allow access to a wider range of evidence-based health services for people.

Targeted Funding: Commodities that are harmful for people’s health, such as cigarettes and alcohol or cannabis products, should be taxed at rates that are significantly higher than the rates for essential goods and services. The revenue from such taxes will be targeted to finance the health care system.

Tangata Whenua: The Progressive Party supports ‘by Maori for Maori’ approaches through research and culturally appropriate services. Outcome focussed – Improving Maori health outcomes a key priority.

Health Boards: DHBs are to be reduced in number, to reduce duplication and cost. Funding balance will shift to the Primary health sector. A National Health Board will be established to oversee DHBs. The Board will be the arbiter with regards to interpreting research and defining health priorities for Health delivery. National Health Board to sit outside of the Health Ministry and counterbalance political influence.

Cooperatives: Encourage the development of the cooperative model of primary health delivery. This leads to a more community integrated and service-minded model of health provision. It will also reduce the loss of qualified staff overseas and reduce interference from large corporate health business.

Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill: The Progressive Party supports the legalisation of cannabis seeing it as a health issue rather than as a crime. Tax revenue to be health targeted. Conduct research into health effects of cannabis products, both therapeutic applications and health-related harm from recreational use.

End of life bill: The Progressive Party supports the end of life bill. National Board to have oversight.


The Party proposes that education move away from a process of educating to National Standards (one size fits all) to education that bases all learning on the needs and aspirations of the child in experiential learning settings. This will also connect the learner to the work environment outside the school in a way that gives meaning and relevance to their learning.

Parents and caregivers will be acknowledged as the first teachers of their child. Their active collaboration, involving them, the school and their child will be encouraged supported and expected.

Discipline is redefined as behaviour management. Misbehaviour is seen as an action which requires attention in terms first of understanding the intent of the child. Then through a restorative process the child has the opportunity to understand the harm caused by his/her action and the need to put it right.

There needs to be clear instruction for all students from year 9 to 13 on the constitutional documentation of this country which includes both TeTiriti o Waitangi (1840) and He Wakaputanga o nga Rangatiratanga o Nu Tireni. The history of colonisation of this land needs to be critically examined and the ramifications of this for future generations needs to be explored.

The Maori concept of Hauora will inform the Progressive Party’s approach to education. Hauora is a Māori view of health and covers the physical, mental, social and spiritual needs of everyone. Māori believe that each of these 4 concepts supports the others. Currently taught in the PE and Health curriculum, Hauora needs to be extended into other curriculum areas.

The Party proposes that meditation and mindfulness be taught, and students will be encouraged to examine their relationship with the universal creative entity. The Dalai Lama has stressed the value of meditation by saying if every 8-year-old in the world were to be taught meditation, violence would be eliminated from the world within one generation.

Neohumanism will be taught in conjunction with meditation. It asserts we are all interconnected in a circle of love that extends beyond humanity to include the animals, plants, and the inanimate. When we see that we have a consciousness hidden deep within, and that the same consciousness is in everything, we don’t just feel love for all, we are all. Neohumanism equates with universalism in the sense that we are bringing the entire universe within our concept of family.

Note: Neohumanism was first propounded by Indian philosopher and social activist, Shrii P. R. Sarkar.

Maori Policy

It is important to remember that Aotearoa is the only place in the world that Maori culture exists. Immigrants, even those that have been here many generations can always return to their ancestral homes if they want a taste of their ancestral culture. But for Maori this is all they have and it is constantly exposed to direct influence from mainly English and western pseudo-culture, which we are all unfortunately exposed to.

Our policy is centred around Maori language gaining parity with English in New Zealand. The Progressive Party will work towards Aotearoa/New Zealand becoming bilingual with Maori language being a compulsory subject in primary and secondary education. There is ample evidence to show the benefits of early second language study to all round brain development. In New Zealand we generally fall well behind in learning other languages. Well educated Europeans can often communicate in several languages.

Maori culture is not New Zealand culture and is in the hands of the Maori people themselves. Maori will receive the same access to funding that all other cultures receive. Maori themselves may want to invest more heavily in their cultural expression, and if they do this, will reap the benefits of strong cultural development and any commercial benefits this may offer. National entities may want to integrate elements of Maori culture, such as the use of the Maori haka by sporting teams. Over time New Zealand culture may incorporate more elements of Maori culture just by adoption. It is the duty of government to encourage understanding of the different cultures in our society, but the government does not have a mandate to engineer assimilation of cultures, other than to follow those that have been naturally assimilated by general convention.

The Progressive Party will also emphasise a full exploration of Aotearoa/New Zealand history in our education system including Maori culture, early settlement and New Zealand’s pre-settlement history. Some of our history is not flattering and contains a considerable amount of violence. The Progressive Party does not want a sanitised version taught, as this will not produce an understanding amongst existing and future generations of the trauma that has been suffered by the people of our country. Our view is that we can only move forward with integrity if we understand our past in truth. This will necessitate being taught with reference to the existing norms of the time, eg we may not need to demonise the British, if all peoples of the era had adopted the same norms of conquest, and they just did it more effectively. Instead it may be reassuring to see how far we have come and indeed how important it is to safeguard against falling back into such repugnant norms. Or we may see parallels to these norms expressed in embryonic form in corporate or political culture and seek to stamp them out at an early stage.

The Progressive Party supports entrenching Maori seats in Parliament so that they have the same protection as general seats in Parliament. In regard to health, it also supports Maori for Maori approaches through research and culturally appropriate services.

Animals and plants

Applying neohumanism extends the boundaries of the human family to a family of all living beings. The familial identity with all living beings as a guiding ethos is an example of neohumanism. The Progressive Party aligns with this ethos and would take steps to prevent the exploitation of animals and plants by establishing a Ministry for Animal and Plant Welfare.

In 2011, in an attempt to limit the damage being wrought by climate change, Bolivia passed legislation granting all nature equal rights to humans. Similarly, since 2014 Te Urewera has been recognised in law as its own legal identity with all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of a legal person. It is land that owns itself, New Zealand’s first approach to protecting nature and connection to the land. In 2017, the Whanganui River was acknowledged as a living entity and granted the status of a legal person and more recently Mt Taranaki was awarded the status of a “legal personality”.

To assist in preventing the exploitation of animals and plants, a Progressive Party government would seek to extend this concept of advocacy to plants and animals. This would build on New Zealand’s legal recognition of animals, like humans, as being “sentient” beings – that they have feelings.


A Progressive Party government would continue shifting the focus from retribution to restorative justice. Implicit in restorative justice is the concept of wholeness or balance. At times as individuals we lose our sense of balance and alignment, just as a lopsided ball cannot be rolled in a straight line. Offenders would be encouraged to engage in restorative justice programmes. Similarly,the training of corrections staff would include the appreciation of us all having physical, mental and spiritual attributes. We need to move beyond offenders sitting uselessly in prison.

The Party would seek to terminate any arrangement that has prisons run for profit.


The Progressive Party supports “small business”, a strong “cooperative sector” and key/strategic industries operated as state managed. It sees three different categories of industry;

  1. Small enterprises employing up to say 9 people providing non-essential goods and services. According to Statistics New Zealand, 93.6% of New Zealand businesses employ 0-9 employees.
  2. Large key industries such as the railways or mining that tend to be monopolistic. These would be state managed.
  3. Reflecting the Party’s commitment to economic democracy, the remainder of industry would be incentivised to operate as worker-owned cooperatives. This sector would include those providing essential goods and services including housing, aged care facilities, banks and supermarkets. See also A Progressive Perspective on Cooperatives

Thus, workers would be enabled to purchase shares in the companies in which they worked. When workers held over 50% of the shares this majority would elect a board of directors who in turn would appoint a CEO.

To bring this shift about would require strengthening New Zealand’s cooperative culture and the emergence of cooperatives in the different industry sectors. It is envisaged that in time most enterprise with more than 9 employees would fall within this category. This transformation of a major part of the economy would be helped by the establishment of a Centre for Cooperative Studies, the appointment of a Minister and the establishment of a Ministry for Cooperatives. The task of this ministry would be to extend the principle of democracy to the economy and the workplace.

Policies would be geared to ensure that New Zealand deals with the rest of the world from a position of strength.

Social Boards

The Progressive Party believes that governance both at the local and national levels would be enhanced by the establishment of Social Boards. Such Boards would be comprised of individuals who are esteemed by the community in which they live. These boards would advise local and national government just as kaumatua contribute to Maori and pakeha society. The boards would moderate the influence of lobby groups and ensure that principles of all-round wellbeing guide government policy.


The Progressive Party would progressively phase out income tax as a source of Government revenue. This would instead come primarily from taxes placed on production. This would ensure government’s interest in maintaining a healthy manufacturing sector. It also incentivises manufacturers to manufacture according to demand and avoid over-production.Income tax will be transformed into a mechanism which caps salaries at a predetermined upper limit – an upper limit that is linked to the just minimum wage and coincides with the rational maximum salary set by the Wages and Salary Commission.


The core problems arising from western models of agriculture such as poverty, injustice, ill health, environmental devastation, animal abuse, climate chaos, all derive from the overriding capitalist system. Therefore,the Progressive Party addresses agriculture policy within that context.

The capitalist driven corporatized agricultural practices globally are heavily industrial, placing profit at the centre of all practices and to the detriment of life itself.

The Progressive Party will implement agricultural policy that incorporates traditional as well as recently developed models of agriculture that not only are proven to be productive and efficient in feeding people but at the same time are ethical in treatment and care of animals and ecosystems, promote justice and community wellbeing, and are instrumental in also regenerating and restoring damage to soil and ecology including waterways.

Some of the models and systems that would be supported and encouraged would include: Agroecology, Food Sovereignty, Biological/organic, Bio intensive, Bio dynamics, Permaculture, Small scale mixed farming vs agribusiness corporatized farming.

In Aotearoa New Zealand agribusiness corporatization of increasingly large scale farming especially dairying, but also industrialized horticulture, is increasingly detrimental to both people and communities, land, waterways and animals as well as to a just, fair and equitable economy.

A Progressive government would encourage agriculture to adopt the cooperative model at all levels of agricultural production whether small holdings and associated cottage industry or larger scale agricultural production.

In response to the threats posed by global warming and backed by Government research, farmers would be incentivised to shift to the production of plant-based protein including in-vitro meat – meat products manufactured through “tissue-engineering” technology. Such a shift would also accord with New Zealand’s legal recognition of animals as sentient beings.

Covid-19 Strategy White Paper

30 December 2021


To move New Zealand through the Covid-19 pandemic to a state where Covid-19 is endemic, meaning that New Zealand can expect seasonal outbreaks of different strains much like annual influenza outbreaks.


 To seek to minimise mortality, disability, and general suffering.

  1. Health is based on freedom and trust. Free human beings can decide about their health. Free societies decide in democratic discussions how to deal with their health.
  2. To uphold the rights and privileges of people as expressed in the NZ Bill of Rights which guarantees free choice of health treatment.
  3. In our opinion fear of the pandemic restricts our freedom. It makes us see vaccination and lockdowns as the only way to get back to normality. The fear engendered in the public is not proportional to the threat to their personal health and the health of the economy posed by covid-19. Therefore New Zealand’s public health and economic response to the virus needs reviewing.
  4. To cultivate robust debate and produce and disseminate accessible data and research so that people can decide how best to protect themselves and their loved ones and so people can exercise true informed consent.
  5. The doctor-patient relationship should be safe-guarded allowing doctors to treat the patient in a professional manner without any intrusion or restriction on what they prescribe or advise. This also includes seeing the patient face to face rather than being forced into an online or phone consultation which raises the risk of misdiagnosis.
  6. To adopt a pro-active approach in ensuring the integrity of the scientific research upon which the government relies. This should include the establishment of an independent body of experts to determine what research is needed, outline and monitor best practice in the setting and conduct of studies. Oversight should also cover the collection and evaluation of the yielded data. The public should be able to rely on government disseminated information being based on the best science and free from conflicts of interest.
  7. To adopt an inclusive, holistic, interdisciplinary approach to dealing with this crisis.
  8. To be mindful of responsibilities and obligations explicit or otherwise contained in “The Treaty of Waitangi such as Maori having rights to involvement in health planning and provision for their iwi.
  9. To be flexible with developing strategies as information and new research findings arise, and to cultivate a culture of transparency and information sharing nationally and internationally.

Impacts of Covid-19 Lockdowns and Restrictions on Society


  • The adoption of the Great Barrington Declaration (GBD) which is built around the concept of focused protection for people in society most at-risk from covid-19 while avoiding the social and economic consequences of lockdowns.
  • The GBD advises the containment of a highly contagious respiratory disease is impossible and allows resources to be diverted to the most at risk which includes the elderly and people with compromised health conditions.
  • A successful health strategy has been adopted by Sweden which did not universally lockdown, shut small businesses, close schools or implement mask mandates.
  • A non-lockdown strategy reduces mental health issues, unemployment, poverty, hunger and significantly saves government spending used to subsidise businesses and people.
  • Learning to live with covid-19 without fear allows public health to focus on their core activities and reduce waiting lists for treatment of other conditions.

This is an appropriate time to reflect on the devastating health and societal consequences of the lockdown and covid-19 restriction policy, followed in New Zealand and many other governments worldwide.

Over a year ago, on October 4, 2020, the Great Barrington Declaration ( (GBD) [i] was released, which was authored by Sunetra Gupta, University of Oxford, Martin

Kulldorff, Harvard University, and Prof. Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford Medical School. The Declaration is built around the concept of focused protection – using resources to protect people in the society most at-risk from covid-19 while avoiding the large-scale social and economic consequences of “one-size-fits-all” lockdowns. [ii]

The release of the GBD shattered the notion that there was a scientific consensus in favor of lockdowns. Hundreds of thousands of people have signed the GBD, including tens of thousands of medical doctors and scientists. The Progressive Party of Aotearoa New Zealand also supports this Declaration.

The GBD advocates understanding that large-scale containment of a highly contagious respiratory virus is impossible, and society should instead use its resources to protect those most at risk. Hospitalisations and deaths overwhelmingly occur in the population over the age of 65 – so much that the risk of death after infection is thousands of times greater than for school children, the vast majority of whom have mild cases of covid-19 if infected, with full recovery. [iii] Children have lower mortality from covid-19 [iv] than from the annual influenza. [v] For people under the age of 70, the infection survival rate is 99.95%. [vi]

Once we re-calibrate our viewpoint and accept the scientific fact that covid-19 is indeed an age-stratified disease, we can use our resources far more wisely. A successful strategy adopted by Sweden was to keep their schools open and let younger members of their society – who have no voice in the concerns of the day – get back to their lives. For them, the covid-19 restrictions cause many more problems than covid-19 itself. Such a strategy would help minorities and the poor, who have also been silenced in the current debate. Many have suffered far more adverse outcomes from covid-19 and the lockdowns than the working professionals who continued to work at home without financial hardship during the pandemic.

Under the guidance of chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell, they did not universally lockdown, shut small businesses, or implement mask mandates. Seniors and other high-risk individuals were asked to stay home, social distance and mask up, while all others were free to live much as they normally would. As noted by Tegnell, “In Sweden we have chosen a voluntary way and it’s proven to be sustainable and effective.”

In a September 2021 interview with U.K. website Unherd, Tegnell continued to support Sweden’s less restrictive pandemic response, stating “ they did not fare very badly at all” considering they had proportionally fewer excess deaths in 2020 than some European countries that imposed lockdowns.[vii] Regarding children, he said “they have definitely been affected by the pandemic, but to a lot lesser degree than children would have been if we had closed the schools.” [viii]

A rational covid-19 strategy would also significantly improve the mental health of all people, everywhere. The lockdown strategy has explicitly induced fear of covid-19 in the population, without regard to the greater risk older vulnerable populations face. This fear has led to elevated levels of depression, anxiety, and suicidal tendencies. [ix]

In New Zealand this includes an increase in children attempting suicide and presenting to hospital. Unemployment has increased since March 2020 with a 30% increase in eligible adults requiring the job-seeker benefit over the period in which covid-19 restrictions have been imposed. Special needs grants also spike over lockdown periods, indicating that these policies come down most severely on our poor communities. Severe lockdowns have cost the country at least $1Billion/week, a figure that is well outside the amount usually thought to be reasonable for such health spending.

The strategy we propose helps the public accurately contextualise the risk from covid-19, putting in context against other risks and accurately conveying the sharp age (and selected other chronic diseases) differences in risk posed by covid-19. The strategy will help people explore how to learn to live with covid-19 without fear as it becomes endemic in our society.

None of the lockdown policies and covid-19 restrictions, including many of the highly intrusive non-pharmaceutical interventions, promote public health.[x] Their directives have served to undermine trust in public health when it is most needed and have failed to protect the people that need the most protection during this difficult time.

By narrowing society’s focus to a single respiratory virus, this policy has led to catastrophic collateral harms to other aspects of population health, including harms to cancer [xi] and heart disease prevention [xii] and treatment in developed countries and dire food insecurity and poverty in poorer countries. Public health authorities have used the news media to minimise the miseries that come from the various interventions in the public’s mind, hiding them in a media storm of confusion.

We must bring this sad state of government-promoted mandates to an end. [xiii] And we must follow the wisdom the field of public health has acquired over a hundred years about what works, what protects people from both covid-19 and other health risks, [xiv] and what protects the social fabric.

The Plan for New Zealand                

  1. Offer targeted enhanced protection and treatment for covid-19 to vulnerable people, and invest sufficient resources to identify at-risk people, especially in generally low-risk categories, like the young. Since approximately half of the early fatalities in developed nations with covid-19 have occurred in people living in rest homes, this should be the focus of protection.
  2. End mass testing, contact tracing, quarantine, and lockdowns since covid-19 cannot be eliminated which is evident with the failed attempts to control the infectious delta and omicron variants.
  3. Vaccination to be voluntary and with informed consent and transparency of both efficacy and safety data.
  4. Increase capacity in hospitals and intensive care units to cope with seasonal demands of respiratory illnesses, including covid-19. Public health to broaden their range of treatment options at each stage of the process for prevention, infection, and recovery.
  5. Schools, childcare centres, and universities should not be subject to restrictions and face-to-face learning should have no restriction since children are at extremely low risk of a covid-19fatality.
  6. Undergo a phased risk-based re-introduction of normal travel across New Zealand’s border.
  7. Vaccination passports or any form of discrimination based on vaccination status should be abandoned since the vaccines do not convincingly reduce covid-19 transmission. [xv]


i Kulldorff M, Gupta S, and Bhattacharya J (2020) Great Barrington Declaration, Oct. 4, 2020.

ii  PublicHealth Leadership Society (2002) Principles of the Ethical Practice of Public Health. American Public Health Association.

iii  Kulldorff M. (2020) COVID-19 Counter Measures Should be Age Specific. LinkedIn Memo. April 10, 2020.

iv CDC (2020) Provisional COVID-19 Death Counts by Sex, Age, and State. Nov. 24, 2020.

v  CDC (2020) Estimated Influenza Illnesses, Medical visits, Hospitalizations, and Deaths in the United States — 2018–2019 influenza season. Nov. 24, 2020.

vi Ioannidis JP (2020) Infection Fatality Rate of COVID-19 Inferred from Seroprevalence Data. Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Article ID: BLT.20.265892.

vii Business Insider September 24, 2021

viii Business Insider September 24, 2021

ix Czeisler M, Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057. DOI:

x Kulldorff M, Gupta S, Bhattacharya J (2020) The Great Barrington Declaration, Frequently Asked Questions.

xi Rutter MD, Brookes M, Lee TJ, et alImpact of the COVID-19 pandemic on UK endoscopic activity and cancer detection: a National Endoscopy Database AnalysisGut Published Online First: 20 July 2020. doi: 10.1136/gutjnl-2020-322179

xii Ball S, Banerjee A, Berry C, et alMonitoring indirect impact of COVID-19 pandemic on services for cardiovascular diseases in the UKHeart Published Online First: 05 October 2020. doi: 10.1136/heartjnl-2020-317870


xiv   European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (2020) Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plans.


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