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

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news