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;//freshfm.net

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…