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Panel Discussions- In response to the DALAI LAMA interview

Panel Discussions
hosted By Susan Wood

In response to the DALAI LAMA interview

The comments on Nelson Mandela, Gregory, that his legacy, his spirit will live on. And Mr Mandela does seem to be certainly faring better than some might have thought at this point. It is true, though, isn’t it, he has an indelible mark.

GREGORY FORTUIN - Former Race Conciliator
You know, absolutely, the father of moral politics, the father of reconciliation, with support from, as the Dalai Lama mentioned, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as well as Joe Slovo. Um, and when the world model was Nuremberg, he gave us truth and reconciliation. Under his leadership, we merged two flags, we merged two anthems, and it was about nation-building and going forward. But I just want to mention in that same spirit, when I say Nelson Mandela, everybody sort of gets excited, and I go to the schools, and the I say, Frederik Willem de Klerk, and the kids look at me and sort of… President de Klerk and Mandela jointly won the Peace Prize, and you have to make peace with enemies joining hands, and it would never have happened with Mandela alone. And so when I talk South Africa, I give credit to enemies joining hands. And Mandela’s been the absolute moral compass, but de Klerk, who I’ve never met, is somebody I have always admired. And I think the Dalai Lama, was far more softer when he was speaking about China, for instance. And that’s the great thing about NZ. We can have the minister [Tim Groser] talk about an FTA, and the first word in FTA is, in fact, free and standing for freedom and free trade agreement, as well as having a discussion on the Dalai Lama in this great country of ours.

SUSAN And, Fran, the Dalai Lama was a lot softer on China. I mean, he thinks he will set foot in that country again in his lifetime. Do you think he’s being a little optimistic, perhaps?

FRAN O’SULLIVAN - NZ Herald Columnist
He may have to live a while. It will be a very difficult suit and a long way to go. I think one of the interesting things is watching how China guides the leaders of other countries not to have any dealings still with the Dalai Lama, and we saw that more recently in Britain, when David Cameron did meet the Dalai Lama and now potentially is going to have quite a bit of difficulty going to meet his counterpart when he goes to China later in the year. And there’s been a very interesting blog run recently in the People’s Daily, which of course is a mouthpiece for the Communist Party, and it essentially said, ‘Yes, there’s risks of trade diversion if you play with the Dalai Lama instead of with us.’ They do see it as either/or, even, you know, it might seem difficult to us, and then pointed to previous examples with Germany and with France. And it’s interesting our leaders don’t meet with the Dalai Lama.

SUSAN Australia didn’t, NZ didn’t. Can I just completely change the subject, Gregory? The Owen Glenn Inquiry into domestic abuse. We know there has been a mass walkout, mass resignations in attempt to rebuild, an inquiry into the inquiry underway. What’s happening at the moment with it?

GREGORY Well, Susan, I’ve done so many interviews on other stuff, and at the end of the interview, they say, ‘Can I talk to you about the Glenn Inquiry?’ 152,000 police notifications in this country every year. One woman a month gets killed by somebody intimately close to her. One kid a month gets killed by somebody close to them-

SUSAN Sure, the question I have is is the Glenn Inquiry going to reduce that?

GREGORY There was this philanthropist, who I’ve only met once, who said, ‘I have $2 million. I want to do something about child abuse and domestic violence. Can I have some quick action?’ Somebody who’s been successful as a businessperson making quick decisions and wanting quick action, and then on the other hand, we’ve had a sector which is big on consultation and lots of discussion, and of course, we have to keep everybody safe who have come forward to tell their stories, and for some people the healing is even just in telling their story. And so, for me, there’s a great opportunity to do something. We’re involving the capability and capacity, and we will in 10 years’ time look back and say, ‘That was a great opportunity.’ And under the new chief executive, we will have a report which will lead to transformation.

SUSAN Thank you, panel.


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