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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.

Housing

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.

Health

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.

Education

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.

Justice

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.

Industry

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.

Taxation

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.

Agriculture

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.

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