Debate over the preservation of Christchurch’s earthquake-damaged colonial architecture is currently heated and undoubtedly a cultural question, but remains unresolved because it asks the wrong cultural question.

The notion that land can be claimed for settlement through exclusive private ownership comes from the Old Testament. That notion is proving extremely costly to adherents in Canterbury and the world, and must now be seen for the obsolete cultural artifact that it is. An entirely new, or not-so-new relationship of community to land is urgently required.

New Zealand’s recent hosting of Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, should mark the rejection and not acceptance of Gillard’s response to Queensland’s summer flood calamity: “We will overcome everything that Mother Nature throws at us”.

This height of ignorance and arrogance from us, the most dominant of mammalian species, is very far from the survival leadership we must now evolve.

Similarly, the New Zealand Labour Party’s desperate concoction of a 2011 election issue, from the many dangerous old buildings that are due for demolition, shows their political redundancy too.

Neither the material obsession of the National/ACT-led commercial developers, nor the material obsession of the social-democratic state rearguard opposition, are what the global community of life needs today ~ for building a prosperous new future on Earth.

Read on; comment is invited. JC