"Another World is Possible" Essay Competition Winners 2015

“Another World is Possible” Essay Competition Winners 2015

The judging panel for the second ‘Another World is Possible” essay competition delivered its decision today.

This competition was held for the first time in 2013, a century after labour leader (and later prime minister) Walter Nash held a similar competition in the union newspaper, the Maoriland Worker. The present-day essay competition is open to all NZ residents who are invited to write an essay of up to 1500 words on the theme of ‘Another World is Possible”. Cash prizes are given to the best essay, the runner-up, and the best by an entrant aged under 19. This year the prizes were generously sponsored by the Tertiary Education Union.

The December 2014 OECD report that ranked New Zealand as the most deeply affected by growing income inequality out of all developed countries set the tone for this year’s competition. It is quite a challenge to offer a vision of a future world without inequality and the strategies to get there in vivid language that appeals and convinces an audience. Congratulations to all those who entered for taking up this challenge so whole-heartedly. The winners listed below were those who came closest to meeting all the essay requirements outlined above. These essays will be published on this website shortly, as well as in the November edition of the Labour History Project Bulletin.

Over 19
Winner: Adam Driver

This was an innovative approach in which the use of the vignette draws the reader into an alternative space and opens up room to consider plans for reaching a ‘utopian’ world. The vignette was compelling and beautifully written, allowing readers to ‘see a day of it’ and therefore providing them with an aspiration before setting out the practicalities of reaching that vision: the creation of ‘industrial democracy’, recapturing humanism, and kiwi socialism.

Runner Up: Francisco Hernández

This essay succeeds mainly as a thought experiment as to what a fairer and more compassionate political and economic reality might look like. By stepping through from dealing with ’empty bellies’, to ‘an ownership society’, and finally to ‘people-powered politics’, the utopian vision is tempered by the realities of real world change (in particular with the realisation that change is slow). This was a compelling case for a programme of major reform that would revolutionise our society.

Under 19
Winner: Alexandra Orr

This well-written essay suggests we tax the rich, and institute restorative justice and universal basic income to create an alternative society without inequality.


Although not given an award, we would like to acknowledge Molly Pottinger-Coombes’ essay as a beautifully written dawning consciousness of privilege. We look forward to a future essay that considers a utopian alternative.