Readers might have seen media reports that New Zealand has a new government. In New Zealand this is a slightly delayed conclusion to the general election at the end of September, the delay being the result of our proportional representation system, which left neither of the two major parties, Labour and National, with a sufficient…

The story of the blindfolded men who each approach an elephant from different angles (at the tusk it’s described as a spear, at the tail a rope, at the leg a tree etc.) is a good example of how multiple truths can exist depending on the perspective you take. Different views can often be the…

Previous blog entries on this theme of water have focussed primarily on the process and stalled progress of the Land and Water Forum [LWF] in New Zealand. This was a process intended to bring together most if not all of the stakeholders on questions of water allocation and quality. As we’ve seen earlier, what looked…

One of the principles of mediation as it is trained and practised around the world is that participation is voluntary. The parties decide for themselves if they wish to mediate their dispute. The mediator is only needed if that is what they decide. Of course, this is not quite that clear cut, and there are…

We agree sometimes to engage in a simple dialogue or in a mediated conversation with other people, but do we necessarily mean the same thing when thinking about dialogue? Are there significant process impacts induced by our perspectives and expectations? And could the dialogue process be more effective should these differences are clarified beforehand? What…

This is another blog in the spirit of earlier entries along the lines of “what would you do with XXX at your table.” The challenge will emerge in the course of reading. Myth and metaphor, and the etymology of mediation, are amply available to convey the mediator’s task of steering between – or finding a…

“An action-oriented citizenship is, first and foremost, engaged with other people in the creation of shared social spaces and in the discourse that such spaces make possible. Through participation and conversation, we reproduce our social meanings through time: that is what culture is. Squares and institutions, walkways and stadiums, these are the places where the…

I recently attended the annual American Bar Association Dispute Resolution conference in San Francisco. Several themes emerged (for me) as fairly critical for modern lawyers. Here’s a top ten. Problem-Solving and Risk Analysis is more than learning about the law or what a court might do. Most issues which clients bring to lawyers are resolved…

In two earlier blog posts, I commented on the work of and risks to the Land and Water Forum in New Zealand. That there is cause to write again on this topic begins to feel like shaping up to the blog equivalent of Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: a Trilogy in Four Parts…