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August 13, 2008 | by  | in Online Only |
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Politics

We live in a day and age where most information can be accessed using the click of a mouse. Usually this information comes from the most reputable source on the internet: Wikipedia (shit, that is basically how I’ve written every undergrad essay ever).

One of the great things about democracy is that we all have a say, and through this conflict of ideas we’re supposed to end up with something that satisfies everyone. A wiki is a great example of democracy in action. There are certain basic principles and rules that need to be followed, anyone can contribute to the discourse and hopefully in the end you find you have something that is good.

So in that spirit, a friend of mine and I have started a little project that is an experiment in building political consciousness in New Zealand. We’ve started a wiki called New Zealand Politics. If you read my article in the last issue of Salient, you might have picked up on my dislike for a certain something that New Zealand lacks: knowledge of politics. NZ Politics aims to be both a resource for anyone, and something that political geeks like me can spend countless hours adding stuff into.

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The editor of this fine rag for 2009.

Comments (4)

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  1. groklem says:

    Where I think the strength of this will lie is not in documenting info on political systems in nz (best place for that is: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Politics_of_New_Zealand). but for people to comment on the political situation in nz and try increase transparency in government.

    Two examples that spring to mind are:
    1) lessig’s: http://change-congress.org/

    An attempt to track US political donations and map that against which way senators vote.

    (more info: http://www.lessig.org/blog/2007/10/corruption_lecture_alpha_versi_1.html)

    2) http://theyworkforyou.co.nz/

  2. Jackson Wood says:

    That is good, but people need to know what they’re commenting on. It is no point having a discussion if people are uninformed about basic stuff that happens in the NZ political system. Theyworkforyou is good that it allows people to discuss and it informs about current events but it is just feeding in info from other sources with no synthesis or analysis.

    One of the commenters on the corruption lecture link you posted had it right:

    “I find myself trusting Wikipedia because it is driven by the general public, and not by some corporation, or a bunch of editors with an agenda. An essential part of that trust comes from Wikipedia not being beholden to advertisers, and more importantly, not being beholden to a gang of opportunists who are only thinking about how to make a buck off of this operation.”

    With out understanding there is no transparency.

  3. Nick Archer says:

    Very good idea, could work really well, you have a lot of work though Jackson but once everything is set up people can add to it… Key will be to get the bloggers to use it…

    When it is more comprehensive post again about it and I will check it out. Would be handy to have little articles and stuff about some of the little known things like Dail Jones being stabbed some years ago as well as all the more well known things like the Fish and Chips Brigade (Mike Moore is in that famous photo because apparently he came into the office when he smelled the fish and chips while walking past), some of the characters like Michael Laws, Heather Simpson etc… and some of the lesser known ones but still important like Martin Hames (Ruth Richardson’s researcher who essentially wrote a lot of the Employment Contracts Act), and all the forgotten heroes, cranks and odd balls like those expensive funny money crimpolene suit wearers Vernon Cracknell and Bruce Beetham, McGillicuddy Serious (are they forgotten yet?), Alamein Kopu, the late and adorable Arnold Brooker (‘Mad Brain Cow Research’ guy who used to blow a whistle all the time) etc…

  4. Like the fact that Michael Laws and Ruth Richardson used to hold press conferences in their lycra bike shorts!

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