Monthly Archives: November 2013

2013 Bruce Jesson Lecture: Sir Edmund Thomas – Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause

Below is the abridged version of the 2013 lecture. It may also be downloaded as a PDF here.


I did not know Bruce Jesson personally. But I am familiar with his writings.  All his books have a place on my bookshelf.  He undoubtedly influenced my thinking.  Much of what I have to say tonight echoes views he expressed over two decades ago.  As I share his distaste for neo-liberalism, his work, and the spirit of his work, infuse and inform my lecture.  It is, therefore, a profound privilege to have been invited to give the Bruce Jesson Lecture this year.

This country, as with many other countries, has undergone a traumatic neo-liberal transformation.  A theory that insists human well-being can best be advanced by liberating individual entrepreneurial freedoms and skills within a framework of strong property rights, free markets and free trade has been pursued in New Zealand to a radical extent.  The outcome, as in other countries that have pursued the neo-liberal creed, has been extreme and even obscene inequality.  Continue reading 2013 Bruce Jesson Lecture: Sir Edmund Thomas – Reducing Inequality: A Strategy for a Cause

Jesson Awards for 2013

On the occasion of the 2013 Bruce Jesson lecture we announced this year’s Senior and Emerging Journalism Awards.

The Senior Journalism award of $4000 went to Alister Barry, for his feature-length film documentary, Hot Air, which tells the history of the politics of climate change in New Zealand from 1988 to 2008. Alister’s film will contribute to public debate on the politics of climate change in New Zealand from 1988 to 2008, and documenting ‘a political struggle over the burning of oil and coal which is causing the extinction of thousands of species’.

He has a track record of completing work that has generated public awareness and debate. His films as writer-director include Someone Else’s Country (1996), In a Land of Plenty (2002) and The Hollow Men (2008), the latter adapted from the book of the same name by last year’s Bruce Jesson lecturer Nicky Hager.

The Emerging Journalist award of $1000 was shared between Ruth Keber, a journalism student at Massey University, for ‘The New Maori Muslims’, North & South (March 2013) and Deena Coster, a journalism student at the Western Institute of Technology Taranaki (WITT), for a portfolio of articles in the Taranaki Daily News (June-Sept 2013).

Ruth Keber’s ‘The New Maori Muslims’, published in North & South, told the story of a young woman’s personal testimony of a flight from abuse to the embrace of Islam, then broadening into an exploration of linkages between Maori and Muslim culture and consideration of Islam and religious diversity in New Zealand.

Deena Coster’s portfolio of articles published in the Taranaki Daily News showcased a student journalist following in the tradition of the best kind of local newspaper journalism, displaying community commitment, social concern over issues like pay and housing and the initiative to dig around.