A Place to Stand | May 2021
Fertility and the foundations of society | Changing the trajectory of euthanasia | The truth in nationalism | What makes a "true" New Zealander?
Fertility and the foundations of society
What does the dwindling fertility rate mean for our shared future?
Fertility is a vexed subject. It’s not just deeply personal and awkwardly biological, it also raises contentious and intensely social questions, like whether we’re having enough babies or too many for the common good. When private and public interests intersect like this, it’s tempting to hurry on by and talk about something safer instead. But the topic received renewed attention when, earlier this year, Stats NZ released statistics showing that the fertility rate continues to nose-dive. In 2020, the total fertility rate hit a new low of 1.61 live births per woman, down from the peak of 4.31 in 1961 and well below the rate needed to maintain our population. What does this mean for our future? Continue reading
Changing the trajectory of euthanasia
Belated media attention can’t change legalisation, but it reminds us that we still have choices to make
They say that late is better than never, but sometimes there’s not much difference between them. On that score, it’s hard not to be frustrated by the recent investigative series from RNZ asking how ready we are for the new regime for euthanasia and assisted suicide to commence later this year. The coverage comes too late to inform Parliament’s decision to establish the regime in 2019 or the public’s decision to enact it in last year’s referendum. But while nothing can turn the clock back on those decisions, perhaps the belated attention can still be turned to good. Continue reading
The truth in nationalism
Part III of our odyssey through Roger Scruton’s "How to be a Conservative"
I’ve always been a bit of an Anglophile. With an English mother and a British passport, I grew up feeling the draw of the motherland. In fact, when I left New Zealand in my 20s to study in England, I expected to be gone for some time. But something surprising happened. I missed the sea. I’ve never been into boating, fishing, or water sports, but somewhere deep in my psyche was an unexpected yearning for the ocean and the beach. That wasn’t the only surprise. Greeted with an English “All right?”, I responded instinctively with a Kiwi “G’day.” I became self-consciously aware of my crisp New Zealand accent, especially as it inevitably elicited the response, “Are you Australian?” The sports sections of the newspapers were filled with soccer (sorry, football) articles that I found completely uninteresting. And on it went. Don’t get me wrong, I loved that time living in England, but it made vivid something I’d never really realised before. New Zealand is my home. This is where I belong. Continue reading
What makes a “true” New Zealander?
Research evidence examines the different consequences of ethnic and civic concepts of national identity
In the aftermath of the Christchurch mosque terror attacks, researchers sought to understand local attitudes towards towards Muslims and diversity. Academic literature demonstrates that such attitudes are “inextricably linked” with “how people define national identity and conceptualize who is a ‘true’ member of the country,” so the researchers sought to test local beliefs about what makes a “true” New Zealander. Continue reading