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Rights, Interests and the Public Interest

  • David Bromell
Chapter

Abstract

Rights claims have expanded beyond “first-generation” civil and political rights to include the rights of national parks, rivers and mountains as “legal persons”. This chapter reflects on theories of rights, and difficulties rights claims present in politics and public life in pluralist societies. Bromell argues that in general, public policy goes better when we refrain from asserting non-negotiable, absolute rights claims (rights as trumps) and instead negotiate interests “in the public interest”. Manoeuvring through competing and conflicting claims requires skills practised more in international relations than in domestic politics, so the proposed resolution for public leadership is to be diplomatic. This implies open, inquiring engagement with stakeholders; skilful re-framing of rights-demands as interests-claims that need to be justified through reasoned argument and negotiation; and the ability to manoeuvre calmly and quietly through political minefields without causing collateral damage.

Keywords

Rights Public interest Public policy Justified claims Public leadership Diplomacy 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Bromell
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Governance and Policy StudiesVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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