Topical forum on the 'system'

The international financial crisis, and the sort of debates that have gained worldwide attention since the Occupy movement started gathering headlines recently, will be the subject of a public debate at the St Paul's Cathedral in Dunedin tomorrow.

University of Otago Centre for Theology and Public Issues director Prof Andrew Bradstock said the forum would not just be for "people who think the system is dreadful, and are talking to themselves".

Instead, Mayor Dave Cull and representatives of the business, law, and university communities would be involved in an event that could result in more than this weekend's forum.

Prof Bradstock said the forum would include a 3.30pm screening of the movie Inside Job, a documentary that deals with what its director Charles Ferguson has described as the "corruption of the United States by the financial services industry".

The movie would be followed by three-minute reactions from a panel including Mr Cull; the Dean of St Paul's the Very Rev Dr Trevor James; Methodist Mission chief executive Laura Black; and representatives from business, law, the university, and other community bodies in Dunedin.

Prof Bradstock said questions that would be explored at the forum included what happened during the crisis and whether it could happen again, why bail-outs were necessary for major financial institutions, and why there been such a public outcry in recent months.

He said the forum was jointly organised by the university and the cathedral, and dealt with issues "worth picking up".

"You don't have to agree with pitching tents in the middle of the city," he said.

The forum would "take the temperature" of attendees, and the possibility of organising more activities next year would be explored.

"I'm interested in ways forward that are positive, and might take us somewhere."

Mr Cull said the event was a constructive opportunity to explore some of the issues around a financial debacle that did not seem to be going away.



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