Sir Edmund Thomas will discuss this topic in Wellington at Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, tomorrow Wednesday 11th at 5:30pm. All welcome – see synopsis – if you would like to come please register here.
Sir Edmund Thomas argues that the gross inequality in income and wealth which besets New Zealand is the outcome of the neo-liberal economic measures of the mid-1980s and early 1990s and the culture of liberal individualism and unfettered free market ideology which it spawned. A breakdown in social cohesion and a sense of community is the result. The first step towards achieving a more equal and just society, he contends, is to identify the enduring features of neo-liberalism which need to be arrested and reversed. But reforms to counter these features are confronted by a plethora of mantras and myths purveyed by the rich and powerful. The stimulus for change is deadened and the culture of the post-neoliberal free market ideology persists. Sir Edmund examines the ways in which a credible threat to the economic order could be mounted, such as to bring about the adjustment to capitalism necessary to achieve a more equal and just society.
After graduating from Victoria University Law School in 1957, the Rt Hon Sir Edmund Thomas became a partner in Russell McVeagh in 1958 and a Queens Counsel in 1981. He was appointed to the High Court in 1990, to the Court of Appeal in 1995, and an Acting Judge of the Supreme Court after that Court had been established in 2004. Sir Edmund was a member of the Board of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand from 2003 to 2008. He is a prolific author, having over 85 publications to his name, including the leading work on the judicial process: The Judicial Process: Realism, Pragmatism, Practical Reasoning and Principles (Cambridge University Press, 1985). He was awarded a Doctorate of Laws (LLD) in 2009 for his contribution to jurisprudence. He is presently a Distinguished Fellow at the Law School at the University of Auckland.