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The quality of campaigning is not strain'd

The quality of campaigning is not strain'd

Fri, 19 Jul 2002

"Entertainment from the fringe"!

"Robert Reid Alliance: Butchered Shakespeare to pull off a creative coup in the speeches ... though he chose a few tragedies as source material. If only Laila Harre could be this immaginative, the party might actually survive beyond July 27." Score = 9/10.

- Dominion Post 19 July 2001

Speech of Robert Reid, Alliance Wellington Central Candidate Wellington Opera House 18 July 2002

Comrade Chair (Directed at Deputy Mayor Alick Shaw, Chair of the meeting who was once, along with Robert Reid, a member of the Workers Communist League)

Thank you for your introduction. And thank you to the Dominion Post for organising this forum.

Although I must say it is small compensation for depriving this city of its evening newspaper. The demise of the Evening Post and City Voice over the last year has certainly reduced the local democracy of our city. Perhaps tonight's forum can redress that loss somewhat.

Hopefully my fellow candidates will forgive me for my standard opening line when I say, the last time I appeared at the Wellington Opera House was in (I think) 1962, when, as a boy soprano, I sang in New Zealand's first Opera called "A Unicorn for Christmas".

I will not embarrass myself by singing "The Holly and the Ivy" in falsetto tonight. But please do forgive me if I get a bit carried away with the sense of theatre that this place brings.

Friends, Wellingtonians, countrypeople, lend me your ears

I come for your party vote, not for your electorate one

Laila Harre will win the Waitakere seat, So we need your party vote to bring more Alliance M.P.s into Parliament with her.

The evil that parties do lives after them

(Privatisation and deregulation, "save rail, electricity reform, the Employment Contracts Act, Benefit cuts, Health cuts, Education cuts, free trade agreements, sending troops to Afghanistan, snuggling up to US imperialism.)

The good is oft interned at the ballot box

But let this not happen to the Alliance. The noble Labour Party

Will tell you that the Alliance is too ambitious.

If it were so, is that such a grievous fault?

Should not we be ambitious: to ensure that that no child, no person lives in poverty to use our surpluses to invest in education, not to speculate on the international share market to pay 1% more tax to adequately fund a free public health system to introduce a fourth weeks holiday for all workers to increase benefits to an adequate level to create jobs, to promote regional, industry and economic development to ensure that the Waitangi Tribunal has the resources to hear all Treaty claims in 10 years to ensure that the NZ environment is kept GE free until this technology is proved to be safe to stop the privatisation of our water services to create the conditions that lead to less crime, rather than concentrating only on punishing criminals.

But grievously has Labour answered it.

Here under the leave of Helen and the rest,-

For Helen is an honourable woman,

So are they all, honourable men and women,-

They come to preside over the Alliance's funeral.

Well, have we got news for them!

There is no death. There will be no funeral. Laila Harre will win the Waitakere seat.

And the Alliance will continue to fight inside and outside of parliament for those who are marginalised in the political process.

For those who suffer the indignity of having to go to the food bank rather than the Kiwibank.

For those students collapsing under the weight of student debt.

For those overworked and under valued teachers and nurses and other health workers who struggle to keep our education and health systems running.

And for the large number of good and compassionate middle New Zealanders who are prepared to pay a bit more in tax to ensure adequate health and education system for all.

This is not, this can not be as good as it gets. We must be more ambitious for a country where all can play their part.

But which of the parties on the stage tonight are ambitious enough to offer you a programme such as ours?

Which of the candidates on the stage tonight are willing to risk their own political careers to stand up for these defining issues?

The Alliance has done this. The Alliance has taken this risk. Are you ambitious enough to also take this risk and stand up along side us? This electorate, this city, this country: needs the Alliance in Parliament it needs the Alliance in Government.

The Alliance is the only choice left.

Closing Speech

300,000 children live below the poverty line in New Zealand and do not receive the necessities of life.

Children die in house fires in Northland because their parents cannot cope with the soaring electricity prices.

Over 15% of children are not achieving basic literacy standards.

Diseases of poverty including Rickets, Rheumatic Fever, Meningitis and TB are becoming endemic in areas such as south Auckland.

Is this just a sad reality of life? Or has this been created by a political and economic system based on exploitation and greed.

Let Statistics New Zealand give us the answer.

From 1982 to 1998 the bottom 10% of households lost 5% of their real disposable incomes.

In the same period the top 10% of households increased their real disposable income by 43%.

Yet Act and National want to give even more tax cuts to the rich. That can only mean health and education cuts for the poor.

And Labour has pledged not to increase taxes at all over the next three years. That is a pledge not to increase real spending on health and education.

G. E. or not G.E. - that is not the only question. It is nobler in the campaign to suffer The slings and arrows of bloody poor poll ratings By taking arms against these seas of troubles, And by opposing end them. - To die - to sleep? Not us, not the Alliance.

As long as there is injustice we will fight.

If you are with us then vote for us.

Give your party to the Alliance this election day.


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