Imagine a New Zealand where every company had a code of ethics. Where decisions weren’t made purely on commercial objectives but where people truly mattered. Those zero-hour employment contracts that we have just done away with were never a good idea. What were those companies thinking about when they brought them in? They certainly weren’t thinking about their people, the people of New Zealand. And its not good enough to blame something like that on company policy. Some one in the company came up with the idea and some people in the company allowed the idea to become policy. Individuals need to take responsibility for these decisions.
The Government shouldn’t have had to legislate against zero-hour contracts. Zero-hour contracts simply should never have existed and would not have existed in an ethical company, in an ethical society, an ethical community and an ethical New Zealand.
As a nation we struggle to come to a consensus about so many things, but no one seemed to think that the zero-hour contracts were a good idea and it didn’t take to long to get rid of them. The companies involved didn’t put up too much resistance, they knew it was wrong.
So how about a moral code? We support ‘ethically sourced’ products from other countries. We insist that companies like Nike don’t use child-labour in India. Ethical sourcing matters but we don’t seem to want to apply the same rules at home.
Outsourcing our jobs offshore and Government departments awarding contracts to overseas companies.
I’m not advocating ‘people before profits’, profits matter but we should be able to know which companies care enough for New Zealanders to include questions of ethics in their decision making.
What about supporting companies that front-up and pay taxes to this country rather than trying to find ways of avoiding them?
Would you support a company proudly displaying a “Ethical New Zealand” accreditation?
Imagine a New Zealand where politicians supported an idea because it was a good idea and didn’t talk it down simply because it was the oppositions idea.
If we are willing to accept that we are flawed and want others to accept that, then we need to allow our politicians to be human. We should show them that we will support them even if they are flawed, simply because they are human and they are just like us.
We want our politicians to be honest with us, yet if we can only accept that politicians be flawless, we are complicit in their deceitfulness.
THE MAN IN THE ARENA
Excerpt from the speech “Citizenship In A Republic” – Theodore Roosevelt,
delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.