Mandela's death and the NZ delegation to his funeral
Mandela's death and ther New Zealand delegation to his funeral
My comments on Mandela's passing are in this link: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2013/12/09/nelson-mandela-the-triumph-and-the-tragedy/
I've been moved and humbled by the many messages calling for me to be included in the official delegation to attend Mandela’s funeral service. If I was invited to be a part of the delegation I'd be very happy to accept because it would better reflect New Zealand and the reality of the debate here about relations with South Africa. The current delegation is heavily weighted with those who supported the 1981 tour, were apologists for South Africa’s apartheid regime and strongly opposed New Zealand’s anti-apartheid movement. In all conscience they should resign from the delegation.
It would be a sign of strong, “inclusive” political leadership if the Prime Minister were able to bring together adelegation which reflected the huge divisions in New Zealand in 1981 – a "unity" delegation if you like to celebrate Mandela’s life and the impact on New Zealand of the anti-apartheid struggle. Even if the Prime Minister wanted to include only current MPs then Mana leader Hone Harawira and Green MP Kevin Hague were both high profile anti-apartheid activists who should be invited to take part.
I have decided that I will not attend the funeral in a personal capacity despite several offers to pay for it. This is an issue for New Zealand rather than me personally.