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Maxim Institute - real issues - No 188

Maxim Institute - real issues - No 188

www.maxim.org.nz

HIGHLIGHTS OF 2005

To all our Real Issues readers, thank you for your interest in the work of Maxim Institute this year. It has been a privilege and a pleasure to bring Real Issues to your inbox each week, and we trust that you have found the articles and updates informing and challenging. We hope you like the new look of Real Issues and we will be sending out a survey in the New Year to ask you how we can make it even better.

>From all the team at Maxim Institute, may we wish you a very Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year. We also wish former Maxim Director, Bruce Logan, well for his retirement, which took effect on 1 December. His contribution to Maxim Institute and the civil society debate in New Zealand has been invaluable. Before we go for Christmas, let us leave you with some highlights of 2005...

INFORMING NEW ZEALANDERS THIS ELECTION

Election campaigns are always long on slogans and short on real substance. Maxim Institute got involved in the lead up to this year's election with the goal of helping more New Zealanders cast an informed vote. We trust you found the website www.nzvotes.org helpful and we look forward to developing this as an ongoing resource in the New Year.

A big 'thank you' to all those volunteers who helped organise over 30 Political Forums around New Zealand. Your efforts helped ignite greater local interest in democracy and provided a valuable service for your community.

OPPOSING MOVES TO INTRODUCE LAW AGAINST 'HATE SPEECH'

In March, Maxim Institute made strong recommendations to the Select Committee conducting an inquiry into whether New Zealand should adopt laws against so–called 'hate speech'.

We worked to protect the right to freedom of expression and pointed out that existing law already restricts speech that is likely to cause harm. Public sentiment was strongly opposed to a law change and we are delighted that the issue is off Parliament's agenda for, at least, the next three years.

PUTTING THE PARENT FACTOR BACK INTO THE EDUCATION DEBATE

There are lots of politicians and bureaucrats with opinions about education and they are not shy of expressing them. But the voice of ordinary people is often ignored, and parents, who have the biggest stake in their children's schooling, are not often asked what they think. Until now, that is.

This year Maxim Institute released findings from extensive research conducted by Colmar Brunton into parental attitudes to schooling.

The three reports in The Parent Factor series, released to date, show that a majority of parents believe; that schools should have more freedom, that teachers who work the hardest and produce the best results should be paid more than other teachers and that the information the Ministry of Education currently provides parents about schools is not the information they really want.

Maxim will be releasing the fourth report in the series, Access to Education, in the New Year and we look forward to stimulating further debate about how education policy can better reflect what parents want and serve New Zealand's pupils better.

Visit www.maxim.org.nz/parentfactor for more information about the Parent Factor reports

INSPIRING TOMORROW'S LEADERS

Tertiary students from all over the country entered this year's Maxim Institute essay competition. Students were asked to consider the separation of Church and State when answering the question: What role, if any, does religion (both personal and institutional) have in the political sphere of a society?

Congratulations to this year's winner, David Griffiths, and to all the entrants, whose work was of an incredibly high standard.

To read the winning essay, please visit: http://www.maxim.org.nz/essay

This summer, Maxim is privileged to host seven bright and promising young leaders. Drawn from across the country and from a range of disciplines, our interns have spent the past few weeks reading, studying and debating issues, working alongside Institute staff on various projects, and meeting with inspiring leaders.

AWARDS AND THANKS

Maxim Institute was delighted to receive three international think tank awards this year. The Atlas Foundation awarded Maxim Institute Templeton Freedom Prizes in the areas of: Institute Excellence, Social Entrepreneurship and Initiative in Public Relations.

In July, the Maxim Institute Board and staff were pleased to congratulate Managing Director Greg Fleming on being one of six New Zealanders to be honoured with a Sir Peter Blake Emerging Leader Award.

Thank you to everyone who has supported Maxim Institute and our work in 2005.

TALKING POINT

"I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round, as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.""

Charles Dickens (1812-1870)

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