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Community well-being a strong motivator

2 February 2008 Media Statement

Community well-being a strong motivator

Jim Anderton, Progressive Party Leader and MP for Wigram, today told a group of high achieving students that a key inspiration for him in politics is the idea of equality and the idea of doing things not only for an intrinsic reward, but for others.

“I got involved in politics in the 1960s at a time when young people around the world were being inspired by words and actions of political leaders who showed us the difference leadership could make.”

Citing leaders such as Pope John XXIII, Martin Luther King and President Kennedy, he said “These were leaders who spoke of hope, and of care for others. These were inspirational and strong leaders who inspired us to see what could be possible. At home for me it was a leader like Norman Kirk.”

Talking about civic and political engagement, Jim Anderton was addressing students at the Youth Golden Key Asia Pacific Conference being held at the University of Canterbury.

Golden Key is an international, academic honours organisation which combines the recognition of academic achievement with the nurturing of a strong community service ethos.

“Co-operation within our community makes us all better off. People working alone might fail or might succeed. But working together they are likely to succeed,” Jim Anderton said. “And studies have also shown that while working together solved the problem correctly much more often than working alone, there was one type of group that had a near certainty of getting it right − the group most likely to get it right was one with an active leader − someone who encouraged contributions from everyone.

“I want to persuade you that engagement in your community is not just a morally good thing to do, it tangibly makes us better off.”

Using Sir Ed Hillary’s famous ascent of Everest as an example, Jim Anderton said “He achieved immortal success because he used that achievement to stand on a higher mountain still: he devoted his life to helping the people of Nepal.”

Jim Anderton concluded by saying that every person in our society has a unique contribution to make to civic or political life, “We can work together using all our talents for our fellow men, women and children,” he said.


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