3 EU Community observations from which we can learn

In support of my wife Andrea Cochrane in early November 2018 I was privileged to travel with Voices New Zealand. I joined the group in the second week of their European Performance Tour. After they had entertained London, Hamburg and Berlin audiences, I saw them on stage in Le Quesnoy, Aix-en-Provence and Barcelona.

The following are observances that I noted on our travels and what maybe our opportunity in New Zealand for things to come.

1.       Recycle - Circular Economy

There is a shared acceptance that we all need to pull together on reuse. We had noted from a previous trip to Barcelona communal bins for waste products. These varied from bottles, to plastic to compostable waste. All were immaculate from consumer participation.

The stronger message from the photo is poignant. 


2.       Inter-generational

The message that we are stewards for our children and the subsequent generations appears more widespread. In my time in Poland in the 1990s I am reminded that many generations often lived under the same roof.

In rural France the mail service now offers its Posties to spend time with (usually elderly) people. This allows them stay longer in their homes with the visitation costs often met by urban based offspring.


3.       [Liberty, Fraternity and] Equality

A visit to Barcelona is not a visit without experiencing a Gaudi architectural creation. La Pedrera was developed as a residence but with flats for other inhabitants. The proceeds from visiting this site are shared between its upkeep and the city.

The types of recipients and the Impact (number of people helped on an annual basis) are clearly identified.


1.       Re-use expectations

The maturing from food recycling as performed by the likes of Kaibosh and Kiwi Community Assistance to goods. How do we make recycling easier, available and normal?

Will Kiwis continue to seek recompense for their stuff through facilitators such as Trade Me? Further. if successful, will the Apax Partners takeover bid for Trade Me impact sentiment?  


2.       Multi-Generational views

This is not new, nor inconsistent with Iwi values in New Zealand. What can we learn here about the Social License of Operate and how it extends across time?

At a time where Australian bank profits are outstripping their home markets on a per capita basis investment, how do branch closures and the limiting of inter-personal connection affect relationships and customer choices?


3.       Play it forward

Food services such as Eat My Lunch have built a business on the concept of helping customers share the same lunch with someone else.

Could the Sister City relationships (Le Quesnoy and Cambridge in the Waikato) be re-imagined in the linking of [either local or international] schools across deciles?

Could the NZ Institute of Directors recognise senior directors input to school board of trustee chairs as meeting their professional development requirements?



People may have to make change. However, this is a mild inconvenience for longer term sustainability.  


InsightsBrian Steele