A Week Of It: Prebble's Departure,Crying and Shame
A Week Of It: Prebble's Departure, Crying and Shame
Over the last
twenty years a larger proportion of the wealth of this
country has been held in fewer hands. Not only have the
poor become relatively poorer, but the position of the
ordinary wage and salary worker has also declined relative
to the really wealthy in New Zealand.
- Richard Prebble 1975.
When Richard Prebble arrived in Parliament as a Labour Party MP thirty years ago he pointed out the gaps that existed between the wealthy and the poor in New Zealand to his parliamentary colleagues. Yesterday when Mr Prebble gave his valedictory speech he mysteriously decided to leave the 'inequality of opportunity' that exists in New Zealand out of his saline-soaked farewell to the House.
Mr Prebble instead chose to spend the last part of his valedictory speech remembering a fallen soldier who may or may not have been a distant relative. The soldier, Bill Prebble, who was killed in Italy during WW2, had earlier fought valiantly in Crete. Mr Prebble considered it fitting that Bill Prebble who "died defending our democracy…is now remembered in the pages of Hansard."
Another soldier who had fought defending our democracy may sadly never be recognised in Hansard - Christopher Owen-Cooper. Mr Owen-Cooper, who had served in Greece, Crete and Italy during WW2, and later in Korea, was discharged (but paid $50 in costs) for pelting Mr Prebble with eggs in 1988.
According to the Dominion newspaper, when asked by Judge Anderson: 'What have you to say [for yourself]?', Mr Owen-Cooper replied, "We've all built up frustration, we're sick of what the Government's doing. They (politicians) can't give us any answers so it was time someone gave them the hurry along."
Mr Owen-Cooper lived alone eking out an existence on his war pension and told Judge Anderson "That's all I've got now. And I've only got 10 eggs now."
"I'll confiscate them," Judge Anderson replied.
As Mr Prebble snuffled and blubbed his way through his last hurrah in Parliament, a number of young ACT Party supporters were visibly moved in the public galleries. Thankfully they may never have to be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice for New Zealand. Mr Prebble, however who has never served in the military and went straight from school to university, where he studied Law, was very much in favour of sending other, younger New Zealanders to fight in the invasion of Iraq.
"The United States has asked us for assistance, and, shamefully, for the first time in our history, we are not standing up against fascism, against this terrorist, and against this threat to world peace. We should be there, and I agree with Mr Peters that we should be there because that is the right thing to do," Mr Prebble told the House on 18 March 2003.
- According to War Pension Unit of the Ministry of Social Development the veterans pension at present is $301 (Gross)
- According to a Sunday Star Times article earlier this year, a long serving MP such as Jonathan Hunt is entitled to a pension of $77,000 per annum upon leaving.
Note: A Week of It does not know what arrangements if any Mr Prebble has made regarding receiving a parliamentary pension.
A Week of It considers it unthinkable that any ACT MP would be grubbing at the taxpayer trough, considering current ACT party leader Rodney Hide's thoughts on the MP's pension scheme in 1997:
The MPs’ scheme is a good one. But it’s wrong
that only the MPs get to enjoy it.
If the MPs’ scheme is good enough for politicians; surely, it should be good enough for everyone?
No doubt in a show of solidarity with the average punter Mr Prebble came to Parliament to represent, in 1975, Mr Prebble has avoided utilising the elitist MPs pension scheme.
Well-respected economic commentator Rod Oram indulged in some economic detective work this week. On Thursday morning Mr Oram filled Radio NZ's Linda Clark in on his Hercule Poirotesque investigations into National's well-hidden economic policies and how those well-hidden policies are being thrashed out (presumably in darkened, sound proofed rooms).
When I had to turn up on TV One's Breakfast program on Tuesday morning and Don Brash was there I asked him afterwards. "How do you work through that core economic philosophy which you believe is essential to New Zealand's accelerated rate of economic growth – how do you relate that to the campaign promises you are making now and to how you would run fiscal policy in your first term?"
And his exact words were, and I wrote them down afterwards were, "I haven't really thought about that I'm not very involved in the detail of policy making!"
Later Mr Oram tracked down National's finance spokesperson John Key:
I asked John Key about this yesterday and his quote was, "I'm finance spokesperson now – I put up the proposals."
He [also] said, "A different master can have a different way of approaching things."
A Week of It will report more on the inner workings of the National Party as they come to Rod Oram's attention.
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Any motorists cruising down the economic highway would be well advised to pass the 'National Vote Bus' with extreme caution. By the looks of the back of it there may be a couple of nervous learner drivers at the wheel. Given past comments, one of these drivers may have already been confined to the back seat. Motorists should also be extremely cautious of dissatisfied passengers throwing confidential briefing papers out the windows.