Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


State of the nation speech: David Shearer

State of the nation speech: David Shearer achieves what wasn't supposed to be possible

By Don Franks
January 30, 2013

One alternative to the beach last sunny Sunday afternoon was attending the Wainuiomata rugby club hall, to hear David Shearer read an autocue.

Along with many others, I made do with second hand reports of the event. Initially, these were not encouraging.

Kiwi Blog dismissed the Labour leader's state of the nation speech as: “not a single specific new initiative, just a recital of last year’s announcements”

Stuff Journalist Vernon Small chimed in: “Nowhere was a new policy to be seen”

On reflection, I wonder if these pundits judged too hastily.

A careful reading of Shearer's speech shows the man went beyond mere new policy initiatives, outlining a new political theory, the ongoing ramifications of which may be very significant.

“A book I was given for Christmas”, Shearer began his remarks, “ tells the stories of fifty inspiring New Zealanders – artists, scientists, musicians, business people, some well-known, some less so”

All of these fifty: “share the same passion and pride in their work and in their country. The ambition to be world class.”

“These people never say it’s too hard – we’re not big enough, we’re too isolated, we don’t have enough money.”

“Instead they say, “To hell with it, I’m going to do it anyway”.

From such raw data Shearer drew up this theorem:

“New Zealanders have always achieved what wasn’t supposed to be possible.”

Observing that: “From the most famous to the most humble, courage and determination is the common bond.”,

Shearer concluded:

“We’ve always dreamed big and succeeded.”

Challenging stuff when you think about it. Claims of human achievement don’t get much heavier than “Always”. If you’re a New Zealander reading this post - and not some lesser mortal from Poland or Peru or wherever- consider the implications of our extraordinary global position. Unless David Shearer is an idiot or a liar, we New Zealanders are a nation like no other on earth, a country not of disparate individuals and classes but a homogeneous entity of superwomen and men, who have always dreamed big and then succeeded. Always. (The usually accepted histories of Gallipoli and the last Black Cap test series must be faulty).

The very least such eternal achievers deserve then is surely: “a Government that backs their hopes and inspires them to succeed”

However, Shearer warned:

“this Government’s low expectations are holding us back.”

“For four years we’ve been fed skillfully spun excuses for why we can’t get ahead.”

“We are told we have to accept second best.”

And,

“There is always an excuse for why we can’t get ahead”

With this section of David Shearer’s theory I encountered difficulty.

Spinning excuses and lowering expectations is incompatible with dreaming big and succeeding, the hard wired behaviour of our most famous and our most humble.

New Zealand citizens and government personages like John Key and Gerry Brownlee rank among our most famous, with Kate Wilkinson and Phil Heatley representing the humbled.

How have these bona fide New Zealanders possibly managed, for four years, to deny their achieving DNA destiny and escape our common bond of courage and determination?

Of course, speech transcripts don't reveal everything and it is possible that David Shearer explained this anomaly during question time.

To embrace a strange political theory it helps to be embedded among the diehard party faithful.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Stuart Littlewood: What More Horrors Are In Store For Gaza?

I wonder what Hamas and Israeli leaders are thinking as they survey the devastation in Gaza and review the death-toll and casualty figures? Or course, neither has to live among the ruins and clamber over the devastation. More>>

ALSO:

Michael Hammerschlag: The Battle For Lysychansk; Ukr On The Move

I reached my friend Andre Samobarona (self-defense militia from Maidan) at the front Sunday- where I didn't know he was till last call 5-6 days ago, “I'm in a battle- can't talk”. He was out of touch till today, when he was on R+R from the National ... More>>

Shobha Shukla: Prevention Technologies For HIV And STIs At AIDS 2014

Women of reproductive age have a need for prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) including HIV, and family planning methods. More importantly, women need prevention tools/methods that are under their control and do not leave them at the mercy of ... More>>

Gary G. Kohls: The Hiroshima Myth And The Glorification Of American Militarism

This coming Wednesday, August 6, 2014, is the 69th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, the whole truth of which has been heavily censored and mythologized ever since war-weary Americans celebrated V-J Day on August 15. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Gaza’s Resistance Will Not Be Crushed

On the 13th day of Israel’s so-called Operation Protective Edge, stories of entire families collectively pulverized, women and children keenly targeted by Israeli soldiers saturate the media. Until now, 430 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and ... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Anderson: Rearranging The Deck Chairs On The Titanic? The Labour Party And MANA

Early in July this year, Labour Party leader David Cunliffe made headlines by apologising for being a man. Stoked by capitalist media sensation, Prime Minister John Key responded that “not all men” abuse women. More>>

Shobha Shukla: Break The Silos: Drug Use, HIV, HCV, TB, Laws And Funding

Viet Nam is one of the countries in the world that has made remarkable progress over the last decade in not only making harm reduction and HIV services available and accessible for people who use drugs but also reforming laws for supportive health ... More>>

ALSO:

Fiona Gordon: Illegal Wildlife Trading: The Global Response

At the closing session of the inaugural United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi last month, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, “We need to act decisively to change humanity’s relationship with our planet.” More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
TEDxAuckland
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news