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

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Ethics Of Publishing The Trump Dossier

The controversy over the dossier purporting to show US President-elect Donald Trump’s alleged ties with Russia has been virtually overshadowed by the related controversy over whether the Buzzfeed site should have published the dossier in the first place... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell:
On Meryl Streep’s Speech

Primarily, Meryl Streep’s critical speech at the Golden Globes – which is the award ceremony hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association – was a defence of journalism and of journalists... More>>

New HiveMind Project: What Should We Do About Sugar?

While most people agree that increased sugar consumption is a major cause of too many New Zealanders being overweight and obese, what we should do about this remains a matter of debate and argument. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On Vladimir Putin’s Wonderful, Fabulous, Very Good Year

Safe to say that no-one, but no-one has had a better 2016 than Vladimir Putin. What an annus mirabilis it has been for him. Somehow, Russia got away with directly interfering in the US election process, such that a friendly oligarch is about to take up residence in the White House, rather than a genuine rival. More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: On The Media Normalisation Of Trump

We all supposedly agree that the media is going to hell in a tabloid handbasket, but the trends to the contrary can be a bit harder to spot. In his 1970s book The Right Stuff, Tom Wolfe had mocked the way the media instinctively acts as what he called The Victorian Gentleman. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: The Reality Of Fake News

Fake news as reality; the inability to navigate the waters in which it swims; a weakness in succumbing to material best treated with a huge pinch of salt. That, we are told, is the new condition of the global information environment. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news