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Jun. 2021 Cabinet Election #1 - Minister of Engagement Interview

SPINN

Year 18 | 08 June 2021

JUNE 2021 CABINET ELECTION
MINISTER OF ENGAGEMENT INTERVIEW
Moderator: James D. Halpert | Participant: Luca

Welcome to the June 2021 Minister of Engagement Interview!

I am James Halpert and I will be the moderator of this interview with Luca, candidate for Minister of Engagement. This interview is sponsored by the South Pacific Independent News Network.

The format of this interview will consist of a single section:

The only section will feature questions on the candidate’s qualifications, intended policies and their vision for the coming term.

The candidate is asked to clearly mark the end of their answers so that I may know when to move on to the next question and to answer no later than 3 minutes after a question has been asked.


Opening Remarks

[Luca] I'm afraid I've prepared no opening statement. I'm excited to be here, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to participate in the government of the South Pacific. The platform that I'm running on is rather simplistic. It's launched out of necessity to staff the office with a competent worker that's interested in the South's wellbeing and its oriented especially at outreach to members of the region who may not know much about who we are, what we do, and why they should be a part of our institution.

You've had some time to look at the state of the region, and particularly as a newcomer your perspective is probably fresher than that of others. What do you think are some key challenges facing the region in terms of engagement?

[Luca] The best perspective that I have to answer this is my own experiences getting acquainted with the region. And that experience is based a bit on the ease or disease of access that I've had in other regions. In some ways, the South is very open to newcomers and I think we express this with our citizenship and rights afforded to them. But like any region, I think we could benefit a bit more from giving a clearer picture of what we do and how to get involved. I think the staffing for ministries and the application process to those ministries would probably be the most helpful at the moment.

You have said in your campaign that a significant issue is the way in which newcomers are explained the basics; for example, how the role of legislator was explained to you as "like citizens". What steps would you take to assess the issue and address it accordingly?

[Luca] Well, one of the ideas that I have is that is to paint a better overview of the government departments and what they do presented to the region. We do have something that functions like a master dispatch, but like a lot of TSP's dispatches, it's rather long, and doesn't present a narrowly defined objective of advertising the ministries. Beyond that dispatch, I believe that each area of government, including the ministries, including the work and role of Legislators and LCs should be highlighted to newcomers and people who generally just hang out in our chat.

To that end, we could be organising periodic events that spotlight these areas, presented by the people who know them best, and advertised here as low-key festivals to boost interest and enrolment.

Are there other similar issues that you think need addressing in terms of how citizens perceive the government and interact with officials?

[Luca] At this time, I haven't noticed many issues in this area. We have a lot of friendly people in the government who are willing to talk to newcomers, introducing themselves and welcoming them to the region. I do think it is vital that we continue doing this and that everyone, no matter their rank, station, or seniority, engages with new players and tries to make them feel at home. We are, ultimately, all people who are here for a sense of community.

Since its creation the Ministry of Engagement has worked on a number of projects, such as the dispatch system, card farming, and the wiki. In fact, the outgoing leadership has talked much about leaving a working infrastructure to whoever is elected next. Considering this, which projects would you prioritise if elected?

[Luca] I would absolutely prioritise the dispatch system.

We see a lot of activity here in the chat, people who are more invested in the government of the region are more likely to see activity on the forum, but all players see the region. There's lots of folks out there who will, in fact, only ever see the region. So the information that we can present to them through the dispatch system is the most vital, the most helpful to giving them an idea of what they can do and how. Information in all of our dispatches needs to be oriented to the player who wants to find out more or find out the latest about who we are, what we do, and how we're doing it.

Are there any other projects, either existing or new ones, that you would want to develop at some point during the term, if elected?

[Luca] I would like to see the cards program pushed to a release during the upcoming term. I've seen the plans for it, and I know that the total idea of the program is complex, but we do really need to get something up and running to keep people engaged. We've seen cards used in other regions as useful incentives, and tools that can assist delegate transitions, and so this is an available asset that we could be using. I think we only need a little more of a push to get there, and I'm happy to contribute what resources I can to that goal.

The agenda for the Ministry of Engagement can be ambitious, particularly given the technical demands of its projects. How would you ensure that things move along in the ministry? That is, how would you respond if staff did not participate or yield adequate results when asked to handle assignments?

[Luca] I think if there's a work dynamic that's not working, we need to (in an actual situation) go into depth about what about it doesn't work. Are the staffers uncomfortable, are they clear on how to carry out the work, are they available and willing in their free time to help contribute to our region? There's a lot of questions there, but certainly the answer is not to push nose to the grindstone and bang it out, we have figure it out and find something sustainable. I have a little more time than most people right now, but even I can only do the best I can. As long as work is steady, we'll all find a way to get there.

You have talked in your campaign about what you call a "corporate boardroom-style" to presentations and updates. How do you think the ministry should handle updates and accountability moving forward?

[Luca] Well really, in the way they already are. There's already an update thread about ministry projects and the updates that are going out to them when they are ready. My critique relates to the threads about each individual project, which feature corporate organisational themes, and are written in a way that expects a high standard of relevant update posts talking about their development. And I'm not sure any of those actually had any updates at all beyond placeholders, most of those threads have scarcely any views as well. So we should be putting effort into the main thread and not worrying so much about presenting these other threads as though we need to appeal to investors.

You are, at the end of the day, relatively new as a legislator. What would you say to voters who might have questions about your record within the region and your qualifications to serve as Minister of Engagement?

[Luca] I would say that my history is publicly linked in my TSP forum signature, as well as my NS forum signature. I'm pretty big on documentation for relevant NS areas, and my records on private community work are also accessible if anyone wishes to read up on those. I'm always available if anyone wishes to talk to me about my present or my past, and what ideas I have about the future. They just have to ask.

This is the first time you are running for office in the region. What exactly motivated you to run in this election and for this office in particular?

[Luca] As I've said in my opening post, I think there's a responsibility for people to be engaged with the region if they are able and willing. I have experience in the subject on infrastructure development and maintenance, and so I feel there's a responsibility for me to apply that familiarity to work that has to be done anyway. I'm interested in other areas of government work quite a bit, including World Assembly Affairs and representing TSP as a top tier defender organisation at update. Those areas are well handled by other capable workers at this time.

Desserts are a contentious issue in the region. Do you prefer cake or pie?

[Luca] lol I'm definitely down for some pie any time.

Closing Remarks

[Luca] I think that what's most important is working together with people, talking to them, finding out what's going on, and seeing what we can do to make any situation better. TSP definitely benefits a lot from that ideology already and I think that's the core of our strong democracy. By applying this to our outreach especially, I think we can make new friends and strengthen the ones we have. Ultimately, I'm excited to see what we can do.

The South Pacific Independent News Network (SPINN) is an independent news organisation established in 2003 with the goal of providing good, insightful and timely commentary on regional events for the citizens of the South Pacific. Opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the Editorial Board. Content is published via pseudonyms. The SPINN is not associated with the Government of the South Pacific.

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