Nostalgic Utopianism: The New Zealand Values Party’s 1972 Blueprint
Although the manifestos or policies of most New Zealand political parties aspire to improve some aspect of the country, few have matched the Values Party’s 1972 Blueprint for the utopian form and extent of the changes it promised to being into effect. And unlike the policies of most other New Zealand political parties in the twentieth century, the Values Party proposed that material progress ought to be stopped at some point, echoing the notion of the stationary state which John Stuart Mill devised in 1848. However, the Blueprint’s distinctly utopian orientation was not only necessarily subversive of the political status quo in the country, but simultaneously rejected the past and present in favour of a radically transformed future, while (seemingly paradoxically) drawing on a nostalgic interpretation of aspects of New Zealand’s colonial era as a thematic source of its utopian construct for the country. This article examines these dimensions of the Blueprint, and how the inherent flaws in practically all utopian movements similarly undermined the Values Party’s programme for a utopian New Zealand.
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