Icelandic activist Hordur Torfason visiting New Zealand to inspire greater democracy

Friday 1 March 2013, 1:42PM
By Sian Clement

This March Icelandic democracy activist Hordur Torfason is visiting New Zealand to undertake a series of nationwide talks on modern democracy.  

Torfason was already in his 60’s when he inspired the Icelandic people to take action after the country’s economic crash in 2008. 

Peacefully, they managed to achieve the resignation of the entire government.  (Another was re-elected with the only stipulation being that candidates are adults and have the support of at least 30 people).  The Icelandic banks were nationalised and at the start of this year, two former senior bankers imprisoned.  The Icelandic constitution (a copy of Denmark’s) was re-written by the people, some providing input via Facebook and Twitter.  Months later the government is still trying to delay accepting the document and Torfason is still doing battle.
Meanwhile, the Icelandic economy has improved and two years later was doing better than the European Union.  The IMF and other heavyweight economists agree that Iceland did the right thing.  Nobel prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz notes:  “What Iceland did was right. It would have been wrong to burden future generations with the mistakes of the financial system.”

Hordur Torfason is currently lecturing on meta modern democracy in Europe.  Now New Zealanders have a chance to hear what he has to say.

Initially funds for the tour were being raised by crowd-funding platform PledgeMe in the hope that all costs could be covered and Torfason would talk for free.  Having not met the target there will be a nominal fee of $10 waged and $5 unwaged at some events while others are entry by koha.

Torfason’s current schedule begins on March 18th in Auckland at the Fickling Convention Centre in Mt Albert at 7.30pm and at Auckland University on the 19th in the Fisher & Paykel Room, Owen Glenn Building, Grafton Rd.  On 20th March in Wellington, Victoria University is holding a free talk from midday in the Courtyard, with The Paramount scheduled that night at 6pm.  Hawke’s Bay is now scheduled for 21st March at 7pm in St Francis Hall, 6 Ferry Rd, Clive followed by Golden Bay 23rd March, Nelson 24th at the Victory Community Centre.  In Christchurch he will be undertaking a talk at Lincoln University on 25th (details to be advised) and the Aurora Centre, Burnside on 26th at 7pm.   Otago Polytechnic are hosting both Hordur and his husband, architect Massimo Santanicchia on 27th at Otago Polytechnic between 12.00 and 3.00pm.  Dunedin City Council and the University of Otago's Centre for Theology and Public Issues will hold a public conversation with Torfason at 5.00pm, at either the Cathedral or the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, as an open community event.  Finally on March 28th Otago University’s Surveying School will hold a seminar series with Santanicchia and Political Studies with Hordur Torfason. Many other centres have requested his appearance, but this was all his schedule could allow.  Torfason will next head to Melbourne, followed by Hawaii.

For further information please visit: www.theawarenessparty.com/iceland or www.facebook.com/HordurTorfasonNZTour