Global Initiatives to Lead Local Government Wellington?

Author: Gonzo

What would attract a wealthy US-based private group to invite a small city Mayor from New Zealand to New York for leadership training?

Why would the Mayor’s chief executive and the Mayor’s impending chief of staff also get an all-expenses paid invitation, to the same leadership training?

Last weekend, Wellington mayor Tory Whanau flew to the United States for a Harvard leadership course that boasts alumni including the New York mayor and senior White House staff, according to Stuff media’s The Post, formerly the Dominion Post.

Wellington City Council chief executive Barbara McKerrow will attend the same course in August and Whanau’s incoming chief of staff Nadine Walker is also heading to New York for the same course. Nadine Walker is Green MP Chloe Swarbrick’s partner, and knows Tory Whanau from when the Wellington Mayor was the Green Party’s chief of staff.

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership initiative launched in 2017, has worked with 465 mayors and 2271 senior city officials in 524 cities worldwide. Among it’s claims the Initiative supports current city leaders while investing in future generations. The Initiative also advances the field of city leadership through teaching, research, and new curricular materials that help city leaders drive government performance and address pressing social problems.

The 2023 sessions, taken by the Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School, will focus on equitable growth, jobs and economic development, poverty reduction, affordable housing and homelessness, transport, infrastructure, climate resilience, and resource management, a statement from Whanau’s office said.

Given that Wellington ratepayers are staring down the barrel of a 13% rise in their annual rates for all the “lovely-to-haves” that Whanau and her Green Party & Labour Party councillors have voted for, this Resistance Kiwi can’t wait to see what local policy initiatives come from a junket on the other side of the globe!

On the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Intitiative website you can see in more detail the sort of research behind the leadership ideologies the Wellington Mayor might be learning about.

In this piece of research – Crafting Public Narrative to Enable Collective Action – the Abstract proposes a new theory and practice of ‘public narrative’ (communicating to citizens) in which leaders should enact their moral resources (draw on hurty experiences) and communicate (virtue-signal) them to the public as a means of motivating (cry-bullying) citizens into collective action towards overcoming challenges (ganging up on anyone who has a different opinion) to these moral values (our radical ideologies). My translations in brackets.

This study – Using Integrated City Data and Machine Learning to Identify and Intervene Early on Housing-Related Public Health Problems concludes that machine learning algorithms based on data sets about properties collected from across city departments can identify properties with health violations and inform the authorities, faster and better than inspectors can. These data sets include no. of police visits to a property, if there’s been a bank foreclosure on the property, unpaid taxes and whether the property is owner-occupied. All things this Resistance Kiwi would have thought is no business of anyones apart from the property owner. It sounds like justification for more state overreach into the private business of property owners to me! Not to mention the inserting of machines where human jobs once were.

Whatever Tory Whanau & Co learn from the global initiatives programme run by the world’s richest University, we’ll be keeping an eye on how it may unfold as local policy for our capital city.

Oh and just out of interest, here’s an interesting link to who were the top Harvard donors in 2018-19.

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