Documentary: In the Land of Plenty


Watch it here:…of-plenty-2002

Official Synopsis:

“The story of unemployment in New Zealand” and In A Land of Plenty is an exploration of just that; it takes as its starting point the consensus from The Depression onwards that Godzone economic policy should focus on achieving full employment, and explores how this was radically shifted by the 1984 Labour government. Director Alister Barry’s perspective is clear, as he trains a humanist lens on ‘Rogernomics’ to argue for the policy’s negative effects on society, “as a new poverty-stricken underclass developed”.


Interesting documentary, I barely remember the Robert Muldoon government, as I was too young to understand politics at the time, or much of market forces and fiscal policy.  However, the government of the 70s and early 80s appears far more beneficial to New Zealand society, than all the successive governments since.

Particularly, the protections offered by the Muldoon Government, such as guaranteed employment, subsidised work places and protecting the home markets from cheap, foreign based products. All these worked for the betterment of New Zealand Society. People were employed. New Zealand businesses didn’t have to compete with cheaper foreign products. People probably didn’t realise how good they had it, and even today, these policies make sense – unless you are one of the corporates that think themselves islands unto themselves.

The introduction of David Lange and his cohorts in the 80s removed many of these protections, and has caused pain and hardship to New Zealand as a whole. Gone is the wonderland that was New Zealand of the last generation. The unchecked greed of big business, the banks and weasel politicians have turned the country into in a wonderland only for the wealthy. Everyone else must fend for themselves with rising unemployment, rising house prices, unchecked foreign investment and imports. New Zealand is in trouble. This documentary charts where it began.

TED Talk: How schools kill creativity

An inspiring TED talk by Ken Robinson (2006):

Two take-aways from this:

  1. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. As we get older, we’re conditioned to avoid making mistakes. However, without mistakes, how do we ever create anything new?
  2. People experience the world differently. What works for you, may not work for your children. Some kids work well with their minds, others with their bodies. Forcing a square plug into a round hole never works – let people be who they are meant to be.

I am Legend

Every man’s heart one day beats its final beat, his lungs breathe their final breath. And if what that man did in his life makes the blood pulse through the body of others, and makes them bleed deeper, than something larger than life, then his essence, his spirit, will be immortalised by the storytellers, by the loyalty, by the memory of those who honour him and make the running the man did live forever. – The Ultimate Warrior

Garbage in, garbage out

The CIC brass can’t stand these guys because they upload staggering quantities of information to the database, on the off chance that some of it will eventually be useful. It’s like writing down the license plate of every car you see on your way to work each morning, just in case one of them will be involved in a hit-and-run accident. Even the CIC database can only hold so much garbage. So, usually, these habitual gargoyles get kicked out of CIC before too long.
—Snowcrash, by Neal Stephenson

Sound familiar? “CIC” stands for Central Intelligence Corporation. Gargoyles refer to agents decked out in computer equipment that captures everything around them.

Mass surveillance? I’ve nothing to hide.

Free Is Better‘You have nothing to worry about if you’ve done nothing wrong’ is the response many people use to scorn those concerned by the scale of modern mass surveillance.



And this is the best response such ignorance:

You’re giving up your rights. Your rights matter because you never know when you’ll need them. People should be able to pick up the phone and call their family, should be able to send a text message to their loved one, buy a book online, without worrying how this could look to a government possibly years in the future. We have a right to privacy. Trusting anybody, any government authority with the entirety of human communications, in secret, without oversight, is simply too great a temptation to be ignored.

The best of intentions can always be corrupted by the self-interest of the dominant group, and the individual will suffer. An individual’s right to privacy, and a right to be forgotten are both sacrosanct in the digital age.


Equating the length of time that something has been done as the sole means by which to qualify expertise is a proposition fraught with danger. Those with the need to explicitly tell, rather than show is an indication they may not be quite as clever as they make out.

After all, it’s quite possible for someone to do the wrong thing for a long time without realising their ineptitude.