Author Archives: Sam Buchanan

About Sam Buchanan

Sam Buchanan is a first-generation Pakeha New Zealander of mostly British descent. He sees himself as working-class, though he believes there are only two classes, workers and rulers, so many people might regard him as lower-middle class. He was de-educated at Kapiti College, self-educated by reading, and trained to do things at Wellington Polytechnic. Before working at Global Focus he was communications manager at the Council for International Development and has previously worked, paid or unpaid, as a teacher on the Thai-Burma border, tramping hut warden, shop assistant, engineering draftsperson, sub-editor and park keeper. He likes ducks, espouses anarchism, and lives in Paekakariki.

Reporting development progress

The Overseas Development Institute in the UK has been producing a well-written series of short reports on development progress in particular countries. The results are synthesized into another report Mapping progress: evidence for a new development outlook but the individual … Continue reading

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The politics of nostalgia

On sunny days at least, New Zealanders can be charmingly optimistic in a naive sort of way, which I guess is why New Zealand has a high profile in international trade negotiations. You’d need to be optimistic to be a … Continue reading

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The pleasure and pain of foreign direct investment

As foreign direct investment to developing countries increases, the benefits and losses continue to be debated.  At the Guardian UK’s Poverty Matters blog, Lisa Denney is happy to see Timor Leste taking control of its development path. While natural resources … Continue reading

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If we’re right, how come nobody cares? New thinking on public engagement

How do we encourage the public to support the work of international development groups? In the UK there’s quite a debate on this question, particularly in light of the change in the political environment marked by the election of a … Continue reading

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Twenty years of (un)sustainable development

Next year is the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit on Environment and Development. At the 1992 Rio Earth Summit governments committed themselves to the ‘Agenda 21’ programme of action for sustainable development. After that, everything went on pretty … Continue reading

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New worlds and alternate universes

Occasionally I read a headline so glorious I envy the sub-editor who had the opportunity to write it. ‘Italian Government Still Hates Anarchist’s Pickled Brain’ comes to mind, but that’s another story. In 2008, a writer at the The Economist … Continue reading

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Does trade matter? Lots of questions, no answers.

‘There is no Plan B’ has been a catch-cry of supporters of the WTO’s ‘Doha Development Round’. Plan B is now under discussion, with some saying it’s unviable due to the same deep differences that have led to the virtual … Continue reading

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The Relevance of New Zealand

On the face of it, the development sector in Aotearoa New Zealand seems to have little to offer the world. We are small, distant and, for the most part, fiscally irrelevant. And kind of stupid – what other country celebrates … Continue reading

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