Sunday, 21st July, 2019

17 July 2019. For immediate release

Author, economist Max Rashbrooke to discuss growth in Wanaka
Respected Kiwi author, journalist and economist Max Rashbrooke is coming to Wanaka to hold a timely talk about community growing pains and how people can positively influence change.
LINK Upper Clutha, in partnership with Ignite Wanaka Chamber of Commerce and Scope Media, is hosting the conversation at the Lake Wanaka Centre on Thursday, August 1, at 7pm.

Rashbrooke’s talk, ‘Power to the People? Leading Change in Wanaka and New Zealand’, will discuss where power and influence lie – and how government, business and community sectors effect change. He will share what other towns and countries have done to achieve successful engagement and consultation.

Rashbrooke, author of Government for the Public Good, and Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, is also an academic and government expert. He plans to discuss the ability of individuals and communities to influence decision-making – and how to keep people engaged in a rapidly growing community such as Wanaka.

"Towns like Wanaka are getting squeezed on all sides of the democratic debate,” Rashbrooke explains. “They are rapidly expanding, and know that they have to engage the public in a discussion about what that looks like, who is affected, and how infrastructure copes. But at the same time, they face a public increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional forms of 'engagement' and the predominance of the usual suspects in consultation processes.

“What I'll be talking about is an escape route from that increasingly ugly conversation – ways that public bodies can deeply and thoughtfully engage people in conversations that bring out their best views and shape an ideal or at least consensus-driven path forward. It's not easy – it takes time, money and a different mindset – but it can be done."

LINK Upper Clutha facilitator Kathy Dedo says Rashbrooke brings a deep understanding of government, economic forces, and democratic engagement in both national and local settings and she is thrilled he’s returning to Wanaka after his previous very popular talk at Aspiring Conversations in 2014.

“LINK, Ignite Wanaka, and Scope Media are aligned in our desire to bring community members together to learn, discuss, and collaborate on solutions,” Dedo says. “That’s why we’ve brought Max here for a conversation. With growth bringing both opportunity and challenge to our region, we’re keen to find ways forward that accurately reflect community sentiment on key issues.”

Ignite Wanaka chair Bridget Legnavsky says: "Part of our role as a Chamber is to lead and facilitate the distribution of information in order to have educated debate and discussion within our community, to ensure a thriving economy. As we embark on a journey of change, with some large scale decisions and initiatives that will come to the fore in the near future, it's important that we encourage, listen to all sides of the coin, to better understand people's points of view. Learning from Max's experience is a great opportunity and it will lay a solid platform for us all to work together as a community, for the good of our community."

Tickets to the event are $10 and available from the Ignite Wanaka website and by emailing


Imagery of author, journalist, economist and academic Max Rashbrooke can be downloaded here.

For more information, please contact:
LINK Upper Clutha facilitator Kathy Dedo
P: 021 130 6276