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Coddington's Tribute To Hon Richard Prebble

Coddington's Tribute To Hon Richard Prebble

Tuesday 27 Apr 2004 Deborah Coddington Press Releases -- Other

ACT MP Deborah Coddington said while she respected Hon Richard Prebble's decision to step down from the ACT leadership, his decision was a shock and his leadership skills will be keenly missed.

"Richard is by far and away the best performer in the House. He has united the ACT caucus through some very difficult times," Miss Coddington said.

"It is essential that he remains in Parliament not only until the next election, but after the election also. There is no other Member of the ACT or National caucuses with Richard's experience, skills and institutional knowledge. He must remain on the front bench - there is no question of that.

"I today went back to a book I wrote in 1993 entitled Turning Pain Into Gain: The Plain Person's Guide to the Economic Transformation of New Zealand, and looked up the wonderful quotes I'd used from Richard. Some are classics:

"On the public service - 'The public thinks that Yes Minister is a comedy, the civil service knows that it's a documentary and the Cabinet Ministers know that it's a tragedy'.

"On Air New Zealand - 'The customer was treated with contempt. Flights always left at least ten minutes after schedule to ensure they were full. The ground service was an outrage, with horrendous delays on baggage service and insulting terminal facilities'.

"On the Civil Aviation's radar system - 'I'm told the system was so ancient that the Italian supplier, Marconi, finally informed them that certain spare parts could no longer be supplied. The last glass blower, who hand-blew the glass envelopes for the valves, was going blind, and indeed was on the point of expiring'.

"On Motunui - 'I think that the $350 million [lost taxes spent on the project in one year] should appear on the government's books under foreign aid, but in a new category - aid to developed countries. If instead of borrowing, the National Government had said to Mobil, 'Go build the plant, you take the profits or losses,' New Zealand would be hundreds of millions of dollars wealthier today'.

Miss Coddington also said that on a personal level, Richard had been unflinching in his support for her when she had been shredded in public over her former partner's business woes.

"Last November when the media was daily reporting the behaviour of Alister Taylor and his publishing problems, Richard was overseas. One night in the House, when I was particularly down, I texted him in America and asked him if things would ever get better.

"He rang me with advice I will never forget, which I wrote down and which I now carry with me all the time.

"Richard said: 'Keep on message. You will feel as if you're stumbling through a blizzard. But if you keep on marching in the general direction of the polar star, when the mists clear - and they will - you will find that you have been heading in the right direction. You haven't been going around in circles.'

"There is no doubt in my mind that Hon Richard Prebble has played a major role in shaping this country - for the better - and improving the lives of all New Zealanders. He will take his place in history as one of our finest, most courageous and toughest political leaders," Miss Coddington said.

ENDS


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.

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