Political author wants people to get involved in politics and communities

Best selling New Zealand political author Max Harris spoke in New Plymouth on Wednesday night.
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Best selling New Zealand political author Max Harris spoke in New Plymouth on Wednesday night.

Jacinda Ardern's elevation to leader of the New Zealand Labour Party has been described as a positive by a best-selling political author.

Max Harris, who launched his book The New Zealand Project in April, said anytime you elected a new leader it was a chance to think afresh - after Ardern took the reins from Taranaki's Andrew Little on Tuesday.

"I think it's a good chance for Labour to reset on its values," Harris said.

"I think one of the challenges facing Labour has been some uncertainty around its core values."

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Harris, who spoke at a public forum in New Plymouth on Wednesday, said there had immediately been some encouraging signs Ardern would bring a fresh approach.

"It is an opportunity but whether it will lead to a reset in values or significant change remains to be seen.

"I do hope personally that they do give her an opportunity beyond the election."

The public appeared to agree with Harris' opinion with a serious boost in volunteer and financial support streaming in during the 24 hours after Ardern took over as leader.

Harris' book focuses on encouraging people to get more involved with politics and in their communities, as well as showing more concern for the wellbeing of each other.

He said there had been a loss of values in politics resulting from economic reforms dating back 20 to 30 years which had led to politicians being more self interested and selfish.

"I think a lot of people think politicians are self serving.

"One young person told me, and I quote him in my book, it seems politicians are experts in cutting each other down and self-promotion as opposed to experts in representing people."

Harris said he wanted to contribute to strengthening New Zealanders' commitment to care, creativity and community through inspiring them to think more deeply about the values and heart of politics.

"I've a broad view of politics, it's about power, it happens not just in Parliament but outside as well.

"We need to shift the culture outside of parliament in order to pressure politicians to act differently."

He believes politics had become too technical and a bit directionless.

"I think values are a way to give us a bit more direction.

"That helps people to engage because values connect with people's everyday experiences and connects to the heart as well as the head."

In the first 24 of Arderns leadership Labour received around $250,000 in donations - with a peak of $700 a minute in the hours just after she was appointed and it wasn't just the money about 1000 new volunteers had also got in touch.

 

 - Stuff

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