Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search

 


Putting the record straight

Marc My Words - February 18 2005

Putting the record straight

I spent last weekend enveloped in the warm beauty of the Marlborough Sounds – magnificent vistas of Nature’s best – at this year’s Summer Sounds Symposium. I was one of a number of speakers who, in turn, challenged the conventional wisdom about all those things that matter in life, but which we often find ourselves short of time to contemplate. As master of ceremonies Jim Hopkins so eloquently expressed it, ”We were sniffing the intellectual ether” - then, true to form, demonstrated by sucking air noisily through his musically challenged nostrils!

Amid the sparks and flares of debate – we paused only to enjoy the tasty food and imbibe the wine of the area – conversation ebbed and flowed with the competing demands of ardent interest and wilting stamina.

Amongst the veritable smorgasbord of ideas I was challenged on occasions about the pivotal role United Future would play in any coalition arrangements after the next election. It occurred to me that many are confused about our position. So…in an effort to explain, I will take an explanatory detour and contrast our Party’s position with that of another. Consider the recent pronouncements of the increasingly desperate Greens on what they might do.

In trying to re-position the Green party into a semblance of relevance, Jeanette Fitzsimons has said rather optimistically, “Only the Greens can re-inject the spirit of the millennium and the vision for a fairer, gentler, cleaner society into what has become a tired, rudderless government”.

Undoubtedly, by ‘fairer’ she means stripping wealth from those who create it to distribute to those who don’t; by ‘gentler’ she means defending Green policies with ‘soft logic’; and by ‘cleaner’ I assume she is referring to the pockets and wallets of hardworking Kiwis after her policies have picked them! At the same time Co-leader Rod Donald – (clearly two heads aren’t better than one when it comes to leadership), has made an expedient U-turn on their 2002 GE bedrock 100 per cent, ‘you can take this to the bank’ principle, in order to catch the faint whiff of a coalition that Labour neither wants nor needs.

That the Greens could so easily give up on their core principles for the more opportunistic principle of not supporting a National government under any circumstance- and re-inventing themselves as the willing and responsive political child bride - smacks of a certain pythonesque comedic absurdity. Though, I can agree with Rod Donald when he says “In 2002 some found us [the Greens] scary.” The fact is, they still do – and with good reason. Although Labour has a number of options, the Greens do not. They broke away from the Alliance – which then self-destructed – they made an immutable principled GE stance – which they then dropped in the face of their trouncing from the self-anointed role as an obvious coalition partner – and they expect the public to believe them!

What’s more the Greens have given a guarantee that a vote for the Greens would be a vote for a Labour led government! In that case why don’t the last remnants of the dwindling Green party membership simply cast their vote for Labour? After all, there is no point eating the appetiser when there’s a full meal on offer!

The contrast with United Future could not be more stark. To begin with … we do not regard either Labour or National as our natural partner. When asked who we might prefer, the obvious answer can only be – whoever has policies on particular issues that accord with ours. But more than that … it is clear that the party that manages to convince the most voters to cast ballots in their favour deserves to have first crack at forming a government. We have a name for that: - democracy.

This does not mean that United Future will have a slavish puppy-dog submission to the largest party but an admission that we must be cognisant of who has been appointed through the democratic process. If one party holds overwhelming electorate support then it would be irresponsible not to try to cobble an arrangement.

We must also be mindful of the better interests of New Zealand in terms of stability. It is one thing to consider we should align ourselves with Labour or National when they may be of similar size (and where United Future is the difference that counts); it is something else entirely if the situation is United Future plus X or United Future plus A, B and C. Clearly, for the sake of stability, the former scenario would be preferable to the latter.

In the end it comes down to who the voters choose and who would provide the most stable political landscape where United Future could promote as many of our policies as our numbers could reasonably expect. One thing worth reminding ourselves is that democracy is not so much a form of government but a set of principles. And United Future aims to uphold them.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Also, Loan Interest: Productivity Commission On Tertiary Education

Key recommendations include better quality control; making it easier for students to transfer between courses; abolishing University Entrance; enabling tertiary institutions to own and control their assets; making it easier for new providers to enter the system; and facilitating more and faster innovation by tertiary education providers... More>>

ALSO:

Higher Payments: Wellington Regional Council Becomes A Living Wage Employer

Councillor Sue Kedgley said she was delighted that the Wellington Regional Council unanimously adopted her motion to become a Living Wage employer, making it the first regional council in New Zealand to do so. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Images:
Dame Patsy Reddy Sworn In As Governor-General

This morning Dame Patsy Reddy was sworn in as the New Zealand Realm’s 21st Governor-General. The ceremony began with a pōwhiri to welcome Dame Patsy and her husband Sir David Gascoigne to Parliament. More>>

ALSO:

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Parliament
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news