‘How Did We Get So Lucky Grandma’? Far North Holdings 2040

 “How did we get so lucky here in Tai Tokerau, Grandma?” a child in 2040 asks one of the community elders.  “It all started,’ she explains, “when five local groups came together after the Covid19 crisis…..Far North Flourishing kds
The Local Government Amendment Act 2019 gives Councils responsibility to ‘Promote the social, economic, environmental and cultural wellbeing of communities in the present and the future.’ 
FNHL protest bannerSo why does the Statement of Intent of our Council’s company Far North Holdings focus solely on financial outcomes? Surely our ratepayers’ company is best governed in the broad long-term interests of us all?
What follows is my reminder of this ‘oversight’  – via FNDC Annual Plan hearing video link on 6 May 2020 to our Far North District Mayor and Councillors.

The corporate arm of Wellington Council is entrusted to:
              “Exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when possible.”

I am going to explain why good governance by our own council calls for amendment throughout this year’s Annual Plan to reflect the responsibility to promote all 4 aspects of wellbeing.   But first,  a story …..
 It’s May 6th 2040 and our children, grandchildren, our nieces and nephews and their peers are celebrating! They are stakeholders within a flourishing and regenerative Far North district and revel in how no-one is left out. All residents have the means to access their preferred choices for fresh healthy locally-produced food, warm homes, safe communities and sports, learning and outdoor recreation opportunities. 

 “How did we get so lucky, Grandma?” a child asks one of the community elders.  “It all started,’ she explains, “when five groups identified within our local economy came together after the Covid19 crisis. It felt wierd at first, meeting online together. We representatives of hapu, of householders, of businesses, of ecosystems, and of local and national government met together regularly and realised in our hearts was a common goal:  to gear up for a future for you children to grow up in a flourishing and sustainable district where no-one would be left out.“

“Remember”, another kuia reminisces, “How we talked with that economist, Kate Raworth?   We came up with 2 questions:
 ‘How many benefits can we generate in how we design our Far North Economy? ‘ and  “How can we build in good along the way?“
“It all seemed too big a task eh?” The first elder continued. “But then we found we all agreed where we needed to start, with effective citizen-led governance for ‘Far North Holdings’, the business we all had a stake in, or rather we thought we did…..“

SEA CHANGE LOGO 3

 

I’m here to add to the voice for change to FNHL from fellow SEA CHANGE members.  I reiterate the need to reflect all 4 wellbeings, not simply one, in our council company’s ‘statement of intent’. FNHL is, or should be a ‘social enterprise’. Let me remind you again of the clause Wellington Council, who clearly understand the concept,  use in their Statement of Intent:
“Exhibit a sense of social and environmental responsibility by having regard to the interests of the community in which it operates and by endeavouring to accommodate or encourage these when possible.”

The 21st century corporate adventure means doing things differently.  There’s a clear shift from the old thinking of ’How much financial value can I extract?‘ to a new mindset: ‘How many benefits can we generate in the way we design the system?  / How can we do good along the way ?  / Is the organisation regenerative by design?’  

.Marjorie Kelly Owning our Future

Corporate analysist, Marjorie Kelly describes 5 criteria of a 21st century company:

  1. Purpose – what is the mission?   Is it ‘Increasing market share’ or a ‘safe and flourishing Far North’?
  2. Governance – what incentives do staff have ?  Are they around increased profits or are they around cutting water use, cutting carbon, and further wellbeing outcomes? 
  3. Networks  – do these align with others who share their values ?
  4. Ownership – who are the stakeholders –  how impactful is their voice?
  5. Finance  – where is the voice of finance situated? Is it ‘how much financial value can we extract from this’ or does finance add to the wider benefits that are generated by the organisation? 

Council’s responsibility is governance not management : it is to be the dog not to allow the tail to do the wagging!
It’s time to walk the talk of wellbeing. An informed understanding cannot come from metrics of dollars or numbers of jobs in the district. Wellbeing is when people are able to lead fulfilling lives with purpose, balance and meaning to them.  For wellbeing to arise post-Covid19, financial factors alone will never get us there.FNHL logo

21st century understanding recognises how wellbeing deends upon social, cultural and environmental factors alongside  financial aspects. Amending  Council systems, wordings and processes to reflect its mandated responsibility for ‘wellbeing’ is a no-brainer.  The simple task of updating Far North Holding’s statement of intent will  become a role model for Council’s mission to be a visionary collaborator with the other 4 elements of the formal and informal Far North Economy: Hapu, Householders, Guardians of the natural commons and Businesses.   If what we seek is a flourishing and sustainable Far North where each person finds purpose, balance and meaning with none left behind, will Council start the ball rolling and update FNHL and the Annual Plan on behalf of our children?

 

FN Economy Contributors 2020

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