Knowledge Wave Or Capitalist Tsunami?
The New Zealand University Students' Association (NZUSA) has echoed the criticisms of other groups that the Knowledge Wave conference is in part trying to turn back the clock to the failed policies of the 1980s and 90s.
"New Zealand has moved on," said NZUSA Co-President Andrew Campbell. "Voters rejected new right policies at the last election, and will not be happy that they are being resurrected by some organisers of this conference. Bringing back the failed policies of the past against the wishes of New Zealanders would be fundamentally anti-democratic."
Campbell is one of a very small number of youth and community representatives attending the conference. "The Prime Minister spoke in her opening address to the conference of the importance of social inclusion. Yet the student, community, non-governmental and beneficiary advocacy sectors have been massively under-represented in favour of business interests."
"There has also been a distinct lack of young people at the conference. If policy makers and business leaders genuinely want a knowledge society then the views of young people must not be overlooked. Otherwise it will be a very short-lived policy."
"The Knowledge Wave conference has had very little time for real debate. Speakers have delivered their agendas for innovation without any chance for competing dialogue."
"It seems that the vision of the knowledge economy of the organisers of this conference is only for an elite group," said Campbell. "Their ideas are very far removed from the aspirations of young people and other ordinary New Zealanders."