For decades activists and intellectuals as diverse as Bruce Jesson, Annette Sykes, Brian Easton, Jane Kelsey and Bryce Edwards have lamented the lack of any progressively oriented policy institution capable of mounting a serious challenge to the neoliberal hegemony which has dominated New Zealand’s political life since the 1980s.
Sitting around making up ideas isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. But unless you have the means to manage them into reality, it is just a lot of intellectual self-pleasuring.
It is cautious, deliberative work building an organisation without major funding support. Our ability to progress all the activities in which we would ideally like to engage is inhibited by a lack of paid staff and resources. But we have come a long way already and feel sure that our current model of quiet, determined long-haul organising will lay the groundwork for a thriving ESRA, working for the better, more hopeful future to which we are committed.
And good on them. It is a constructive way to participate in the discourse and the attempt to make society better as they see it.