Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'David Parker'

Lessons in “Followship” from the Labour Party

lolly-scramble

In the past I’ve written several posts and articles about voluntary euthanasia. The ‘voluntary’ bit is crucial, since no-one who wants to go on living, however great their pain or however inconvenient their continuing existence to others, should be cajoled or browbeaten into changing their mind.

But it is hard to come to terms with the overweening arrogance of someone who believes they have the right to deny another human being, whose ongoing suffering has deprived them of all joy in living and who wishes to end that suffering, the right to do so.

The laws that govern these decisions and procedures will of necessity be complex and they must be watertight. But they are not beyond our ability to design and implement. Other countries have done so.

I don’t want to restart this debate. That is not the purpose of this post. This post is about the significance of comments on euthanasia cited in this morning’s Herald by the four contenders for the Labour Party leadership.

Iain Lees-Galloway has taken over responsibility for the ‘End of Life Choice Bill’  after its sponsor, Maryan Street, failed to get elected in September. Lees-Galloway is apparently gauging support before deciding whether to put the Bill back on the private members’ bill ballot. It was removed last year under pressure from the Labour leadership who, according to the Herald, “were concerned it could be an election-year distraction or that it could deter conservative voters”. The new Labour leader, whoever that is, could apparently have the deciding voice on the voluntary euthanasia question.

So what did the contenders for that position have to say?

Well, Nanaia Manuta was in favour of reintroducing the bill  because it would show “that Labour would stand up for those difficult conversations that need to be had”.

I thought that was a pretty principled position to take.

David Parker, who voted against legalising voluntary euthanasia in 2003, didn’t want to comment till he’d talked to Lees-Galloway.

Non-committal and therefore less satisfactory perhaps.

Grant Robertson and Andrew Little both support voluntary euthanasia, but neither considered it a priority at the moment. The fairly clear subtext of their replies was that it was a vote-loser and that a party that had polled 25% in September couldn’t afford to be seen supporting unpopular policies.

I’d call that unprincipled.     Read the rest of this entry »

38 Comments , , , , , , ,

Why my money’s on David Parker. And why Labour’s should be as well!

OK, eventually you have to put your money where your mouth is. So who, of the four declared contestants – Nanaia Mahuta, Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and David Parker –  should, in my opinion, win the Labour leadership contest? And let’s be clear: the only criterion for the job is that that person should have at least a snowball’s chance of beating John Key in 2017.

Nanaia Mahuta has already conceded that she’s unlikely to win the race and she is to be admired for her honesty.

Of the remaining three I’m going to discount Andrew Little first. I simply don’t believe that the country is ready for a grim-faced former union leader to be Prime Minister or to be this country’s envoy overseas.    Read the rest of this entry »

56 Comments , , , , ,

I say, I say, I say: What is the secret of successful comedy?

“Common sense and a sense of humour are the same thing moving at different speeds. A sense of humour is just common sense dancing. Those who lack humour lack common sense and should be trusted with nothing.”

Clive James penned that glorious truth. Examples of the correlation between humourlessness and lack of common sense are all around us in present-day New Zealand. They proliferate like weeds. No doubt some will occur to you as you read these lines, but it may be wiser not to name them, to keep your counsel. The humourless weed is prickly and cannot see the joke.

I was reminded of Clive James’ words by the current race for the Labour Party leadership. If James is right  – and everything I have observed about my fellow man in more than seven decades persuades me that he is –  if those who lack humour should indeed “be trusted with nothing”, then we would be wise to include evidence of the presence of a sense of humour among our criteria for electing those who seek to govern us.    Read the rest of this entry »

55 Comments , , , , ,

The Labour Leadership: TV or not TV

TV SET 2

Following my earlier post, in which I argued that the ability to communicate effectively on television is a sine qua non for any politician hoping to occupy the highest office in the land, I thought it might be worthwhile to rate the current pretenders to the Labour leadership with particular –  but not exclusive –  reference to how they perform on the box. To assist in this exercise I’m using the Television Compatibility Matrix or TVCM (My own invention!) to place the prospective leaders on a scale of 1 to 10, one being ‘totally hopeless’ and ten being ‘makes Bill Clinton look like an amateur’. So here goes: Read the rest of this entry »

22 Comments , , , , , ,

On David Cunliffe, the political divide and why I’m still wondering.

Waitakere News

If you got out of bed early enough on Saturday or Sunday to watch TV3’s The Nation or its counterpart on TV1 Q & A, you might have noticed something interesting: No Labour Party spokesperson appeared on either of television’s principal forums for political analysis and debate. The Nation had SOE Minister Tony Ryall being cross-examined on asset sales by Duncan Garner; Q & A’s Paul Holmes looked at where the economy is or should be heading  with the Greens’ Russel Norman and  New Zealand First’s Winston Peters. The two  are increasingly filling the media space left by Labour as the official Opposition.

The absence of anyone from Labour on The Nation was explained by Garner at the very start of the show. The programme had invited Labour’s Spokesperson for Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson, David Cunliffe, to discuss more or less the same things that Norman and Peters were discussing on Q & A – the future direction of the economy. Cunliffe was happy to appear but, conscious of the current sensitivities in the parliamentary party over Labour’s leadership, sought an assurance that that topic would not be canvassed in the interview. He received that assurance in writing from Executive Producer Richard Harman and Garner himself.  Read the rest of this entry »

59 Comments , , , , , , , ,

John Banks confuses Q & A with Sesame Street and (unwittingly) insults the good people of Epsom

stuff.co.nz

 On yesterday’s Q&A there was widespread agreement that the voters of Epsom –  the Auckland suburb colourfully described in the programme as ‘home to champagne wishes and caviar dreams’ – were nobody’s fools.  According to former National Party Chairman, John Slater, Epsom voters were ‘intelligent people, politically astute and smart’.

Former Auckland mayoral candidate Colin Craig, leader of the newly formed Conservative Party of New Zealand, agreed:

‘Epsom voters are actually relatively intelligent voters. And I’m not sure they enjoy being taken for granted.’

Christine Fletcher, who won the  seat for National in 1996 with a massive majority, wasn’t sure either. ‘The people of Epsom,’ she said, ‘won’t be told what to do.’

What the people of Epsom are being told to do – by John Key, Don Brash, John Banks and, though not in so many words, by the  National Party candidate, Paul Goldsmith, is to give their electorate vote to ACT’s Mr Banks  and not to Mr Goldsmith, who will get in on the National Party list anyway. That’s if they want to ensure that National stays the Government in November and John Key the Prime Minister.

The polite term for this is ‘strategic voting’. True-blue Epsom voters were reasonably willing to do it in 2008, sending Rodney Hide and ACT back into Parliament with five MPs but only 3.5 percent of the party vote. But a recent Herald poll suggests that for many the ‘champagne wishes and caviar dreams’ may no longer include Mr Banks or ACT.  Read the rest of this entry »

21 Comments , , , , , , ,