Sustainable Political Correctness CLOUDS AND SUN

Scenario Logics

Bi-Culturalism in New Zealand

Sustainable Practice in Global Environmental Management

Hi-growth NZ Economy

The world by 2006

By the year 2006, world population growth is reaching unsustainable levels and is running at 5% per year. Regional pressures on clean air, soil and water supplies are greatest in mainland China and in India. A considerable global 'industry' is developing which centres on food security, audit and distribution and which monitors sustainable production practice. International agencies which specialise in the analysis of these problems have been established, such as the International Phyto-Sanitary Commission, (IPSC) which was founded by the WHO in 2000. Since the late nineties, serious punitive sanctions have been applied by agencies such as these to nations which transgress international guidelines for sustainable practice.

Since this time too, there has been a significant change in the positioning of universities and other higher education providers in the world economy. There is a developing world emphasis on strategic and environmentally useful research and on holistic and systems-based intellectual metaphors. In both the developed and the developing world there has been huge pressure in recent years for client choice in education, in response to growing awareness of cultural and individual learning differences. The world higher education environment is growing more specialised and is extremely competitive.

New Zealand in 2006

Since the New Zealand government revised its Treaty of Waitangi in the light of the UN's International Concord on Indigenous peoples (2004) and ratified 'Waitangi II ' in 2006, the country has enacted a variety of power-sharing arrangements which have caused fundamental revision of its constitutional and public law. As in the 1980s, New Zealand has become the world's social laboratory, but this time with regard to bi-cultural, rather than economic reform.

Under the Bi-Cultural Action Act of 2004, New Zealand's corporate organisations must follow affirmative action practices with regard to Maori. Since the Land Redistribution Act of 2003, a large part of the country's natural resources have been owned by Maori. The attendant compensation regime for former pakeha owners proved expensive for the then governing coalition, and it was forced to expend much of the surplus accumulated during the growth decade of the nineties. However, the radicalism of the New Zealand experiment, and its close reflection of trends toward cultural inclusiveness in international law, has made the world take notice of New Zealand and to value both its natural resources and its educational services. World demand for products produced under the nation's sustainable and culturally correct conditions is high.

The New Zealand Economy is healthy, due largely to an export surplus generated by world demand for NZ's sustainably produced agricultural products and to demand for NZ expertise in this area. A considerable export consultancy industry has developed. However, while fiscal surpluses exist, they are not equitably shared amongst all social classes. In spite of affirmative action policies, Maori are still significantly disadvantaged in economic terms. Much of the land which was returned to Maori was rapidly sold back to pakeha for short term gains. Maori retention in schools and participation in higher education has improved, but it is still not equal to that of pakeha students. While the overall participation rate is now 37%, for Maori it remains at 11%.

NZ's higher education environment is flourishing, with a high regional demand for applied research, and for study in a safe and environmentally healthy location. The recently signed PacRim trade agreement, (called PACOMM), allows for the interchange of student vouchers and degree credits in all member nations. The introduction of the bi-cultural regime meant that NZ universities have been required since the passage of the 2004 Act to practice quota-based student recruitment campaigns, and Maori have been targeted for increased participation. Retention of Maori students after first year, however, remains poor.

Lincoln in 2006

Te Wanaka o Aoraki, as the former Lincoln University has been known since 2001, is a medium- sized institution of higher learning which specialises in natural resources based programmes, research and consultancy. It operates from a sustainably run campus in a semi-rural area and offers both residential and distance delivery programmes to about 10,000 students. The institution is meeting its quota target of 20% of students who view themselves as Maori. In 2002 Te Wanaka hived off its Commerce school into a separately administered business unit with a mission to provide short courses and consulting activities. None of what was once called undergraduate education is provided by this unit. In 2004 the unit was subsequently sold to a large corporate investments for an undisclosed sum, and has now renamed itself the Centre-Right Business School. The 'science' section of the university is presently divided into a Sustainable Food Production Faculty, a Leisure Time Management Faculty and a Resource Management Faculty.


Given the ever-increasing world focus on sustainability and planetary care, there has in recent years been considerable emphasis on the need for institutions of higher learning to demonstrate the public and socio-economic returns provided by their key activities of teaching , research, and trading. In New Zealand, this coincided in the 1990s with the increased concern for the accountability of public entities which derived from the nation's then fashionable market liberal reform paradigm. Consequently, the PacRim Accreditation Agency, (PRAA), established in 2000 to benchmark and brand all regional products, applies international accreditation and credentials to NZ degrees and research projects and requires that they demonstrate returns to both major cultural groups. A teaching programme cannot be delivered unless it is consistent with both NZ and world law, and unless it is demonstrably portable and therefore educationally 'useful' on a global basis. There is now a requirement by the agency that university and other higher educational natural resources based and science courses contain base elements on sustainable production and modular components on practices in other agricultural systems.

Beside PRAA accreditation, Te Wanaka usually aims for ISO 14001 accreditation for its products, a standard which is delivered by the World Foundation for Sustainable Practice, (WFSP).The requirements for accreditation are difficult to meet, and programmes can be disestablished by the foundation if quality standards do not meet annual audit requirements. However, such credentials do ensure a good international market for the university's products.

In addition to such international accountabilities, the university is also required to demonstrate to the NZ government its cultural safety, financial viability and return on individual investment as a quid pro quo for a small amount of liability underwriting to the institution. There are sometimes tensions between the university's obligation to the PACOMM to cater for the cultural sensitivities of students from all PacRim nations, and the NZ government's demand for bi-cultural values to predominate.

To students, the university makes a guarantee of employment, for two years in the case of a first qualification and six months for other courses. While this seems an ambitious target, it has recently been much facilitated by the university's internship program, established in 2005. Under this system, the employer undertakes to deliver corporate internship and study support in return for some input into the nature of a particular student's specialist level programmes once they have advanced beyond level 6. Many of these employers are CRIs, who are seeking to recruit new staff in view of the retirement of most foundation staff hired in the 1990s. These relationships with employers, while requiring a considerable increase in corporate staff who specialise in relationship management, have generated useful research synergies and have been made possible by the healthy economic situation.


There has been a legislated requirement in New Zealand Law since the Education Amendment Act of 1999 that all professional degrees require a generalist first degree. This means that Te Wanaka offers a compulsory two year foundational ' lockstep' course to all its level 5 and 6 students. This contains elements of oral history, public speaking, writing technique, constitutional and environmental ethics, and systems-thinking. The university also offers this course to franchise holding institutions elsewhere in the PACOMM. The course is taught in several ability streams, with the unfortunate result that many Maori students find themselves in the lower stratum. The foundation course can be avoided by students already in employment. Now that higher education is open to all voucher holding PACOMM students this foundation course also acts as a quality control device for the university's higher level programmes. Students who do not pass it have their internships severed and their guarantee of employment repealed. This somewhat elitist arrangement, while counter to the drive to retain able Maori students, seems to have enhanced the image of the university. It is fortunate that this is so, because since the NZ government removed the requirement for first and professional degrees to delivered by institutions which are involved in research back in 2001, higher education in NZ has been extremely competitive. Te Wanaka's main competitor institution is a large network organisation, the Networked Institute of Technology, (NUT) ,which was established in 2004 by four polytechnics and two offshore universities to deliver technical and applied educational services.

Another serious competitive threat is the Kellogg Corporation's environmental education consortium based in Battle Creek Michigan, which last year cornered 27% of the world's market in agricultural and resource management education through a combination of distance delivery and franchise arrangements. Te Wanaka failed to qualify as a NZ franchisee because the University of Queensland-Bond, backed by the Australian Aboriginal Land Consortium, (which under recent Australian power sharing arrangements, owns most of the city of Sydney), acquired the franchise rights for NZ. Another serious blow was delivered to the university back in 2004, when fundamentalist regimes in Malaysia and Indonesia banned western programmes which were not culturally safe. Te Wanaka had hitherto been a significant provider of distance courses to those markets.

Considerable changes have occurred in teaching techniques at Te Wanaka in recent years. Now that 60% of NZ society is non-European, the traditional western- style lecture has been replaced by more interactive learning environments, and exams have been replaced by portfolio assessments which acknowledge prior leaning , work and life experience as well as institutionally based instruction. Most NZ employers now demand graduates with excellent communication skills, and staff at Te Wanaka devote considerable attention to developing the interpersonal and intra-personal skills of their students. There is a growing literature in NZ on the manner which Maori involvement in the educational process has contributed to less adversarial modes of cognitive activity. The result had been considerable recent change in the tone and style of learner interactions, toward more 'organic' and inclusive metaphors. Aside from the personal emphasis this implies, students at Te Wanaka now work largely with electronic publications. All courses are on-line in order that they may be accessed from anywhere in the PACOMM or by interns and post employment students in the workplace.


Since the PACOMM nations jointly agreed in 2005 to allocate 1% of GDP to R and D funding, the university has maintained a diverse research programme in its core faculties. After an initial setback to the institutional research programme in 2002 when the then coalition government drastically refined national strategic research priorities to focus primarily on topics with a high degree of relevance to the bi-cultural ethos of NZ, ( which caused Te Wanaka to have to redeploy staff and rebalance its research portfolio), the university is now well established as a leading provider of socially useful research. Staff rely on electronic publishing facilities which are provided on campus by means of a strategic alliance with Cardinal Networks and Telecom NZ. The university is often a virtual reality conference venue for world symposia on sustainable development and food production, such are NZ's and the university's reputations in these fields.

The recent world development of a virulent new strain of TB has posed some problems for Te Wanaka's researchers, as the necessary capital expenditure on testing equipment is high. It has also provided the opportunity however, for the introduction of popular new courses in immunology and in biological control and audit. The Department of Environmental Science has a world famous research programme in the use of firefly as bio-indicators of crop-based TB. The degree in Hospitality and Leisure Management has refocussed some programmes on sanatoria management.

Research scientists at Te Wanaka are also pre-occupied with the pernicious cereal fungus feildorum grandorum, which in 2005 ravaged 30% of the Australian wheat crop. A collaborative research project between the Aboriginal and Maori Wheat Research trusts has made progress in combating the fungal invasion through the use of non-toxic biological controls.

Trading and other Activities

There are considerable opportunities for Te Wanaka to provide consulting services to the PACOMM community, especially in view of the fact that most are developing nations with a great need for food production assistance. In these activities, the university acquires an enhanced image by trading on NZ's reputation for the sustainable production of high quality export products by methods which are culturally sensitive. NZ' s export regime has benefited considerably since it joined the bloc in 2004 and the opportunities for income generating commercial activity are considerable within the region. Outside the PACOMM they are less so, in view of the fundamentalist religious changes in many middle and east Asian nations and with the USA's increasingly isolationist retreat from the global economy.

Structure/ownership and management

Like other NZ institutions of learning, Te Wanaka receives no direct government funding but has underwriting from government to the extent of 50 million dollars. It is also accountable to government for a variety of public good objectives. It derives 28% of its income from government indirectly by means of student purchase vouchers. Other trading activities account for 72% of Te Wanaka's income stream. The university has been jointly owned by Kai Tahu Inc. and Telecom PACOMM since the 1996 review of the government's asset portfolio caused the then National government to require that South Island Universities purchase themselves. The debt raised by Te Wanaka for this purpose was removed by the subsequent sale of the institution. 'Profits' are distributed to tribal and Telecom shareholders, while 50% of surplus must, under the terms of the company, be reinvested in the institution. The governing board makes all commercial decisions, but must allow academic staff views to prevail with regard to the government's specified public good objectives. The faculty of Resource Management is a limited liability company, while the faculty of Leisure Management is owned and operated by staff shareholders. The consulting and trading activities related to the university are operated through a variety of national, supra-national and regional ownership arrangements. For example, the PACOMM consulting and research activities are run by a supra-national trust on behalf of PACOMM trustees, which is headquartered in Borneo. According to the trust deed, all projects must benefit either sustainable production practice or the welfare of indigenous peoples. Managers are contracted into the Te Wanaka campus from a variety of international university management companies. Many research projects are operated collaboratively by means of pooling arrangements with educational or other consortia. LVL , for example, runs a joint venture with the Aboriginal Land Consortium for the production of training packages in sustainable agricultural practice.

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