Tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, kia ora koutou katoa.
The Christmas season is upon us and so it’s also time to farewell 2018. 2018 - the year that held the promise of change and transformation in New Zealand, tempered by the many yearning for a calmer, more cautious, business-as-usual future.
We welcomed new life. And, as in previous years, we mourned the passing of close friends, legends, and role models.
We wholeheartedly joined in joyously celebrating Suffrage 125, while simultaneously reflecting sombrely in commemorating 100 years since the end of the war to end all wars.
We will remember the year as the one that brought words like ‘compassion’, ‘wellbeing’, ‘hope’, and ‘kindness’ into the daily lexicon of the policy analyst and advisor alike. However, the year also saw us unable to forget familiar phrases like ‘business confidence’, ‘petrol prices’, ‘affordable housing’, and ‘capital gains tax’.
For BERL, 2018 was one of circumspection, challenge, and change. We welcomed new staff, while others departed for different challenges. We welcomed new partners and partnerships, while strengthening those with established friends. Our work on housing, welfare, free trade, water management, education, and training (amongst others) reinforced the realisation that change couldn’t come sooner. Yes, the case against business-as-usual grew stronger; but inherent inertia and entrenched vested interests appear no weaker.
Looking to 2019, the need for change to occur faster will magnify, as the threats from the forces of poverty, inequality, climate change, and xenophobic nationalism accumulate around the globe.
And so beyond the crass commercialisation, it is again timely to reassert the Christmas message. As a non-Christian this gives me mixed feelings, but I am sure than no one faith has a monopoly on these fundamental values.
So, my thoughts turn to those less fortunate. To those where the promise of change and transformation cannot be realised quickly enough. And to those who will be least able to adjust to the promised change and transformation. Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprisingly, many will lie in both groups.
Embracing compassion, wellbeing, hope, and kindness, it is important to recognise and value the many organisations, enterprises, and individuals that together make up the community that is Aotearoa. And one of the highlights of working for BERL is the opportunity and privilege to work with some of these organisations.
In particular, we are humbled that the Wellington City Mission are willing to acknowledge us as a partner. We have made a contribution to their Christmas Star appeal and thank their workers for their ongoing, resolute and determined mahi. And we look forward to working with the Mission through 2019, and beyond, to protect those less fortunate who are in no position to adjust to the rapid changes that lie ahead.
On behalf of the BERL team, a warm mihi to all our clients, friends, family, colleagues, and associates. We wish you well; and enjoy the opportunity for some thoughtful reflection and inspiring kōrero, surrounded by loving whānau and family, trusted friends, hearty kai, and refreshing drink.
Travel safe and look after each other.