Creative Alliance Newsletter number one

by Mike Ward

The Silver Bullet

The Creative Alliance’s Carbon Credit Initiative, like all of our initiatives is designed to encourage engagement and to reward people for making wiser choices but it is no exaggeration to say that The Kiwi Carbon Credits could be the silver Bullet that transforms our lifestyles and makes New Zealand the stand out climate change mitigation (and lifestyle) role model.

If the increase in the price of energy this century hasn’t been sufficient to dent our passion for motoring, flying, consuming and living in ever larger homes, it is difficult to see why anyone ever thought that a modest tax on carbon was ever likely to bring about the behaviour changes necessary to reduce our carbon emissions

I have just googled the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions from a return flight from Nelson to Wellington.  The contributions are voluntary but even if they were compulsory did anyone ever think that $1.20 on the price of an air fare might be sufficient to persuade anyone to fly less frequently?

Setting a binding limit on carbon

The Creative Alliance Carbon Credit Initiative sets a binding limit on carbon and shares the emissions, (Kiwi carbon credits), over the entire population.  We would all get given a share of to spend on our carbon emissions. Friday’s Nelson Mail article that appeared on Stuff referred to the initiative as a tax.  It is not.  It is a currency but a finite and diminishing currency that would keep shrinking until we get to the level of carbon emissions necessary to ensure our compliance with international agreements… and our survival. 

Under the Initiative every time we make a purchase the carbon content would be deducted from our personal account.  The poor and the careful are likely to have far more credits than they can use but are likely to find that there is no shortage of people with deeper pockets and more extravagant lifestyles prepared to pay whatever they have to for spare credits… But rich and poor alike are incentivised to think about the implications of the choices they make, either because they care about the planet or the additional income, or simply to prioritise the activities they most care about.

Making the Kiwi credits go further

And what might we do to make our carbon credits go further? Well we could look at what a whole lot of people are already doing:  Down- sizing, moving closer to the places we need to be, buying local and taking of fewer of our holidays overseas (and more at the beach)… or you could buy a copy of The Lush Green Gospel which has a whole bunch of ideas for making life more fun, less expensive and a whole lot less energy intensive.

How would the initiative work?

Government would set the limit annually and establish and distribute the personal allocation (at no cost to the recipient) and set up the mechanism for making deductions and providing Kiwi Carbon Credit account balances with each purchase. Manufacturers and service providers would be charged with establishing the carbon content of their products based on the fossil energy component and any other green- house gas emitting component of each product.

Businesses would be allocated carbon quotas based on their previous year’s energy use in the first instance (less the targeted reduction).  Business growth would need to be carbon neutral or businesses could purchase surplus credits from other businesses… but their customers are likely to drive the push for carbon neutrality and business in New Zealand with our abundance of renewable electricity has an advantage over almost any other country on the planet.

A World Leader

New Zealand has a history of leadership and never has that leadership been more desperately needed than in the campaign to prevent catastrophic climate change.


 Why are we so many of us so unhappy?

I bumped into an old acquaintance out running last week, a health worker.  She mentioned that around 20% of New Zealanders are depressed.  Over the course of a year a frightening 50% are likely to experience depression.   Most of us survive it but our suicide statistics tell us that far too many don’t.  The irony it is that it is the very same behaviour that is making too many of us seriously unhappy that is overheating the planet.

I try not to focus on the problems for they depress me greatly but consumption is the problem.  We are literally consuming ourselves into oblivion and we aren’t having such a great time doing it.

 Two of the greatest determinants of wellbeing are feeling that we are in control of our lives and being in strong stable relationships but taking control of our lives and maintaining relationships take time… and we are stuff rich and time poor.

“We are living in a gilded cage… but the door is open”

As Clive Hamilton wrote at the beginning of this century in “Growth Fetish”:

“We are living in a gilded cage… but the door is open.  We could walk out any time we choose…”

 Many careful Kiwis are already making choices that enable them to work fewer hours in order to make time for more of the experiences that most delight… like strengthening our relationships and taking control of our lives. We are already showing that we can make these choices without help from anyone else but governments have the resources to establish and market the more aspirational goals necessary to persuade more of us to make the move to more purposeful, enjoyable and sustainable lives.

Making life good

My motivation for writing and broadcasting Gilding the Lily and forming the Creative Alliance was no different than my motivation for doing anything and everything: To make life good… for myself… and for all of the other species communities and generations with which I share this quite remarkable planet. Unlike some commentators I believe that living within the capacity of the planet to sustain has to be dramatically more purposeful, fun, prosperous, fair optimistic and sustainable than the status quo.

How is our campaign going?

The encouragement, with words like “a breath of fresh air” and “Brilliant”, has been a delight.  Sally at Hothouse, bless her, has made a great job of setting up ourwebsiteand Aldo has been having conversations with social media experts and I have gone back onto face book and frittered away much too much time on it already… but we need all of the help we can get to get the message out. 

What can you do?

Join the party and talk to your friends.

Go the Website and join up.  The subscription is just $5.00 but campaigning isn’t cheap so we do appreciate donations.

Time is short but we have time to get our 500 members before the 20th June deadline for party registration… and the membership page should be on the website today and if anyone in Nelson or elsewhere has a little energy we need a party secretary and I would happily buy coffee and feed a helper or two.

We have a regular session at the Hardy Street Sprig and Fern 3.00pm Sundays, for those who wo would like to learn more or help out but we must establish Creative Alliance branches in other centres.

Be a candidate or set up a Creatives branch in your area

I am prepared to travel to meet supporters and talk to potential candidates should anyone make the request and the arrangements… arrange somewhere to meet and get the word out.

Mike Ward

Suite 2, 244 Hardy Street, Nelson. 7010



The Creative Alliance as a political party

Mike is the principal spokesperson for this party, it's his vision but a vision I share with him.

I'm a big supporter of Mike's ideals as they tie in with the work we did together under the Framing Our Future initiative. Something we have talked about a lot over the last few years is how this could be rolled out across New Zealand; we believe the time is right if not well overdue.

We think people are looking for a party with a thorough vision for the country on how we can make things as good as they can be. Most people have a good understanding of how they contribute to society and are tired of being told how to act and what to do. They are looking for ways regardless of political parties to make the best for their communities.

We believe most people like certain elements from all or nearly all of the political parties, but don't necessarily like being pigeon holed to support all the views of one party. Many would like to find a better or new way to work together across the political spectrum in the best interests of the country. That's what the Creative Alliance vision aims to achieve, a mechanism for people to have real influence in their future by working collaboratively together. The Framing Our Future policy structure can make this happen, and it will be different for the country as opposed to how it worked regionally.

You will find elements of left and right political spectrum in the Creative Alliance's policies. We are neither specifically left, right, green, socialist or capitalist. We are in fact a mix of them all. This idea may be hard to understand for some people who wish to pigeon hole the party in traditional terms. But as a political party, we should be seen as collaborative, as we seek democratic social justice across all traditional political spectrums. That's the Framing Our Future model we'll deliver. A vision for the country we can all believe in across the traditional political spectrum.

My role is to support the ideals of the party, helping Mike and its members. I'm based in Sydney with my family and regularly travel back to New Zealand. I only want the best for my country; I have no ambitions at this stage to run for office.



Media Release #1

Media Release #1

Ex Nelson Mayor Aldo Miccio and Nelson Artist and former Nelson City Councillor and MP Mike Ward today announced the formation of the New Zealand Creative Alliance.

Is the Creative Alliance a political party?  It has political ambitions but humankind and the planet face significant and urgent challenges that cannot and should not be left to politicians alone to deal with. 

The Creative Alliance is an attempts to engage with a demographic identified in 2,000 by Sociologist Paul H. Ray and psychologist Sherry Ruth Gardner in “The Cultural Creatives: How Fifty Million People Are Changing The World “. 

By our reckoning New Zealand has more than its share of Cultural Creatives, these are the creative, collaborative vision focussed individuals: business people, artists, community activists and entrepreneurs, who when they get a good idea or something needs doing get up and do it. 

They are also probably the people least likely to ask what governments local or central are doing about it. 

They are voters who care about social justice and the environment but who don’t like being told what to do so frequently fall outside the left right spectrum.

They are also optimists who care about fairness and who know that if we can’t all have at least as much fun looking after one another and the planet as we have had consuming ourselves into oblivion too few of us are likely to make the effort.

A priority for the new movement is for New Zealand to implement a national equivalent of the Framing our Future/ Natural Step process behind Nelson City’s Nelson 2060 initiative to reach consensus around the kind of future we wish our children and grandchildren to inherit. 

Some will claim that arriving at consensus isn’t going to be easy. 

That was not the Nelson experience and is there anyone who does not want to live in a safer, fairer, more gorgeous, more fun, wiser more generous, bolder, more creative and sustainable world and is any country better placed to provide the kind of lifestyle and sustainability role model that the world is so desperately seeking?

New Zealand is not starting from scratch. 

The world is in so many ways dramatically better than it has ever been and our wee country at the bottom of the Pacific has a long established reputation for leadership in social justice, environmental stewardship, the sciences, the arts, sport and almost any field you care to name and by most standards New Zealand has been well governed by successive governments… but there has been and continues to be a dearth of optimism and a disappointing lack of urgency and perhaps most importantly too little creativity or collaboration.

We delight in focussing on our differences when what most delights and are most likely to make a difference are displays of collegiality and evidence of communities working together to realise shared goals.

The shared vision is the starting point. 

That has to be a document that makes the eyes light up… So when we have decided where we are going we need to let our most creative and entrepreneurial individuals loose on the vision to spell out how excellent our aspirations are and what they might look like and what it might take to make it happen… and put a copy into every home, classroom, work place and board room and then acknowledge every initiative that moves us closer to where we want to be.

Does the movement have a manifesto and policies? 

It is a very young movement but the story “Gilding the Lily” imagining The Creative Alliance’s election to Parliament and how the world changes as a consequence has been written and broadcast in ten fifteen minute episodes in the belief that if we can’t imagine a richer, fairer and an altogether more purposeful future we may all too soon have to deal with the unimaginable.

The broadcast is available as a podcast: https;//

And the policies?  Yes I mention those in the broadcast and yes they are different and all are open to negotiation for the Creative Alliance is aware that it doesn’t have all of the answers

Gilding the Lily tells the story behind the climate change challenge and perhaps the most innovative of the Alliances policies: the climate credit initiative which sets a binding limit on Carbon emissions and shares them equally over the entire population and charges businesses with the responsibility for detailing the carbon content of their products and services and each time a purchase is made the carbon content is deducted from the purchaser’s share. 

As written, businesses were given a share based on their energy use the previous year less their share of the targeted reduction for the year.

Because the personal shares are based on the average (less the targeted reduction) Most individuals have more credits than they are likely to need but by shopping carefully they are able to save for future purchases or accumulate even larger surpluses to sell to those with more extravagant lifestyles… but carbon credits are a finite and shrinking currency so rich and poor alike are encouraged to think about the impact of their choices, and businesses, keenly aware that carbon credits dramatically change their customers shopping habits, fell over themselves to make their customer’s carbon credits go further, and enterprises hoping to grow their business ensured their growth was carbon neutral or found businesses with surpluses to sell.


Gilding the Lily is indeed a work of imagination but as it says in the epilogue there is little in the story that hasn’t already happened somewhere on the planet and imagination and commitment is all it has ever taken to make good things happen…