Cullen valedictory

April 28th, 2009 at 7:46 am by David Farrar

’s valedictory will be at around 5.30 pm Wednesday. His departure leaves Phil Goff as the sole survivor of the 1981 intake.

Love him or hate him, Cullen has been one of the funniest debaters in the House in recent years, and I hope he will not disappoint in his valedictory. If it is as dispassionate as Helen’s, I’ll slit my wrists.

One of his former press secretaries has a tribute to him in the Herald. It covers some of the complexities:

For many in the public, reconciling the man seen visibly angry in a controversially broadcast exchange with Guyon Espiner with the man visibly moved at the signing of the Central North Island forestry settlement is not an easy task.

How do you make sense of the formidable policy mind who amazed senior officials when he designed the expansion of KiwiSaver on a couple of sides of A5 (complete with costings) with the infuriated figure who labelled John Key a “rich prick”?

I’ve referred to Cullen as a flawed genius previously and will try and cover this in more detail later in the week.

Tags:

34 Responses to “Cullen valedictory”

  1. Nigel (517 comments) says:

    I’ve always wondered just how much the flaw’s were influenced by the pressure he must have been under from the H1/H2 duality, certainly he appeared a man under considerable pressure in the last term of office & he compromised on increasing government spending so badly in that last term it was frightening, not to mention using a Budget to deliberately negatively impact an incoming rival parties policies.
    I guess I want to believe the real Mr Cullen was the early witty frugal Cullen & not the bitter twisted Cullen of later years ( glass half full & all that ).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Grant Michael McKenna (1,158 comments) says:

    “If it is as dispassionate as Helen’s, I’ll slit my wrists.”

    and so the Honourable Michael Cullen finally achieves one of his goals of the last few years…

    no seriously, I have no doubt that it will be a witty speech, and I am looking forward to it.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. tvb (4,307 comments) says:

    Despite his high intellect he never though that one needs to get on with people or at least avoid some of the more snide remarks he made. He just did not get it or more likely he simply did not care to be polite to anyone he though a fool or enemy. Many of his remarks were simply unnecessary at best. In the field of “social intellect” Michael Cullen was a dunce. Or many other matters however he can be quite constructive, he can get things done and I support the Government using him on SOE Boards etc.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. Monty (974 comments) says:

    I will just be pleased to see the door slamming his arse on the way out. He has taken delight in bleeding the middle classes and rich pricks whom he hates to pay for his social engineering agenda. A prick who will not be missed.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. Murray (8,843 comments) says:

    “Love him or hate him,” you say that like its a choice.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. MT_Tinman (3,092 comments) says:

    If he was honest he’d get up, say “We lost, they won, I’ll eat it” and sit down – for ever.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. NX (604 comments) says:

    For many in the public, reconciling the man seen visibly angry in a controversially broadcast exchange with Guyon Espiner with the man visibly moved at the signing of the Central North Island forestry settlement is not an easy task.

    Not so hard… Cullen is slightly bonkers.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. spector (180 comments) says:

    “How do you make sense of the formidable policy mind who amazed senior officials when he designed the expansion of KiwiSaver on a couple of sides of A5″

    Was this the same two-sided bit of paper he used to get his valuation of Kiwirail?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    He’ll be remembered for his attitudes and actions… not his final few supercilious words in parliament.

    Just on those ‘words’, why should we care if they are witty, dry or just boringly dispassionate? He was chosen, and we paid him very well to look after our nation’s economy. A job that he did very pooly IMO.

    I’m pleased to see the back of him, but pissed off that my kids will need to start paying for his ideological myopia.

    Bottom line: History will teach us not to put history teachers in charge of the economy.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. davidp (3,570 comments) says:

    I was watching a few episodes of the BBC Robin Hood series a few weeks ago and couldn’t miss the similarities between the Sheriff of Nottingham and Cullen. It was the constant banging on about taxes that convinced me that at least one of the writers must be an expat Kiwi making some social commentary on their country of birth. And I could imagine the Sheriff mocking Robin with a “we won, you lost, eat that” or a snide “rich pricks”.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    DPF, could you get Cullen’s maiden Parliamentary speech and get it online? He made an infamous reference in it to the wealthy benefactors who paid for his scholarship, to the effect that far from being grateful, he was now out to get them.

    I can’t find a complete text of that maiden speech online and I reckon it would make interesting reading now. I have heard that it contained some quite boilerplate class warfare rhetoric.

    I wonder if his valedictory will be as nasty.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    going, going, g….

    Happy daze

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Jack5 (4,997 comments) says:

    We seem to have an awful lot of “geniuses” in New Zealand politics for a country that is treading water economically if not drifting down.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    PhilBest, Cullen said:

    I’m proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. I ripped them off for five years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years.

    I can’t find the full text on-line either.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Ratbiter (1,265 comments) says:

    Methinks most of the humour in the Cullen Valedictory speech will go way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay over most of these bitter & twisted little heads :-)

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    Ratbiter

    I think the bitter and twisted in Cullen’s speech will go waaaaaaaaaay to low for most people to consider it humourous.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. getstaffed (9,189 comments) says:

    Ratbiter – I’d say the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay were not bitter and twisted until AFTER they heard Cullen say the above.

    Likewise I had no issue with him until this was said… and it’s been downhill ever since then.

    He’s just a nasty piece of work and now regard him as I would something on the side of my shoe.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. Ross Miller (1,686 comments) says:

    Ratbiter …

    razor sharp mind … yes
    good debater … yes
    rapier wit (if you take the sneering sarcasm of the equation) … yes
    fatally flawed … yes
    will be missed by Labour … yes and no
    will be missed by ‘normal’ people … not on your nelly

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. PhilBest (5,120 comments) says:

    getstaffed (3217) Vote: 1 0 Says:

    April 28th, 2009 at 11:37 am
    PhilBest, Cullen said:

    “I’m proud of the fact that my secondary education was not paid for by the taxpayers of New Zealand but by the farmers of Canterbury and Hawke’s Bay. I ripped them off for five years then, and I shall get stuck into them again in the next few years.”

    “I can’t find the full text on-line either.”

    Thanks for that, getstaffed. That is what I was referring to all right.

    I would dearly like to find a few more highlights from that speech, I am pretty sure that that was not the only low, nasty, spiteful, ungrateful bit.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. gd (2,286 comments) says:

    IMHO Cullen is a sad little man with balancing chips on both shoulders His remarks about the farmers who paid for his education reveal much of his mentality

    He is a person not comfortable in his own skin. Despite what he may have achieved he is not satisfied within himself. there is a missing link in his self regard and self esteem

    Sad really

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    History teacher… one who never learned that socialism always fails… I wouldn’t call that a sharp mind.

    Taxes… Cullen was putting them up while the rest of the world were lowering them… I wouldn’t call that a sharp mind.

    Cullen will be remembered for driving NZ into recession just in time for the global economic crisis…. Now, who’s still saying he had a sharp mind ?

    HE IS A MUPPET – end of story, goodbye MUPPET.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  22. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    People who like massive ineffective govt, recessions, over taxed low paid work and long hospital waiting lists will remember Dr. Cullen with fondness. The rest of us will be glad to see him gone.

    Bring back economic growth, the policies of envy have had their day and we have had enough of recession.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  23. Paulus (2,586 comments) says:

    Cullen like Clark will be long remembered for being the worse Finance Minister and Prime Minister in living memory exacerbated specifically by their last term in government.

    May they both be long forgotten.

    Sadly Cullen will be living not far from me in BOP in Ohope (nr Whakatane) a place in which many good people live.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  24. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    davidp said: “I was watching a few episodes of the BBC Robin Hood series a few weeks ago and couldn’t miss the similarities between the Sheriff of Nottingham and Cullen.”

    This may be a new cultural low, even for you lot. If any of us lefties are any character in Robin Hood then we are Robin Hood, stupid! “Take from the rich, give to the poor” and all that. Remember? Duh.

    This isn’t just davidp’s error – all of youse who gave that comment the thumbs up get a dunce hat as well.

    [DPF: Nope Dr C can be the Sheriff. He takes from poor single people and gives their money to wealthy couples with kids]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  25. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    [DPF: Nope Dr C can be the Sheriff. He takes from poor single people and gives their money to wealthy couples with kids]

    OK DPF gets a dunce hat as well, for utterly ridiculous inconsistency. Review your own posts on this stuff as, all the stuff accusing Cullen of economic socialism gone bezzerk, penalizing success, coddling the undeserving poor, etc. Duh.

    On the topic of inconsistency, are you going to reply to the fisk of your position on Auck sitting there on The Standard?

    [DPF: In all that Rob ignores the point I made - it is a fact that a young struggling worker on $28,000 pays tax to a couple who collectively earn three to four times what he does, if the have enough kids.

    And looking at the tone of the comment on The Standard post, I'm not sure they are into a reasoned debate. Always happy to debate over here though]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  26. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    [DPF: In all that Rob ignores the point I made - it is a fact that a young struggling worker on $28,000 pays tax to a couple who collectively earn three to four times what he does, if the have enough kids.

    And looking at the tone of the comment on The Standard post, I'm not sure they are into a reasoned debate. Always happy to debate over here though]

    OK, on the point you made: your reasoning makes **every Finance Minister in the history of democracy** the Sheriff, because in every democracy the poor have always paid taxes, and in every country some state assistance goes to people who are not poor. Which makes it a stupid point for you and to make.

    I notice that you do not address the point I made about your inconsistency. Not altogether surprised by that.

    And I’ll bet you’re happy to engage in debate at Kiwiblog where you have the privilege and advantage of appending your comments to at the end of others’. I thought The Standard’s post was pretty benign and fell well above the bar in terms of “reasoned debate.” And I think it is a very dangerous precedent for you, of all blog owners, to start judging a blog by its comments…

    [DPF: I agree every Finance Minister has been the Sheriff. But Cullen has made it a lot worse with a move away from targeting and middle class welfare through WFF.]

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  27. Paul Williams (879 comments) says:

    And I think it is a very dangerous precedent for you, of all blog owners, to start judging a blog by its comments…

    Point very well made Rob.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  28. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    We have been over this some time ago.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2006/09/sst_on_pledge_card_lawsuit.html#comment-202109

    The real Robin Hood stole from the rich. The rich in Robin Hood’s case were the land owners, gentry, tax takers, the aristocracy IE: The Govt of the time.

    Robin Hood would be spinning wildly in his grave if he knew that a Govt taking from one bunch of citisens to give to another held up his acts as a principal for their activities.

    Robin Hood did not social engineer Sherwood Forest. He did return taxes unfairly taken to their rightfull owners, not just his supporters. Robin Hood did not punish workers or take from them to support his cause.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  29. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    Rob

    I do know that Robin Hood was not real and the reference to “The real Robin Hood” above is a reference to the “real story of Robin Hood”. Poorly worded back in 2006 as it was.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  30. Rob Salmond (260 comments) says:

    DPF – I’d better not hold my breath for your criticism of English for not changing WFF, right?

    Paul – Thx.

    Burt – Glad to know you know RH was fake. Pity you didn’t know: (1) that those people you named were not actually the government of the time, the King was; (2) that RH was therefore exactly about taking $ from one group of citizens and redistributing to other, poorer ones, and therefore wouldn’t be rolling around in his imaginary grace at all; or (3) that Cullen didn’t pick which families got WFF on the basis of who they voted for. As DPF points out, many many National-voting middle class families get WFF, in fact that is where his beef with it lies. And of course RH didn’t engage in social engineering – he was a fake bandit, not a fake government. But so what? I bet RH didn’t provide made up RH-run healthcare and schools to Sherwood Forest either. But Cullen did. Who gives a crap?

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  31. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    Oh silly me, I never noticed in the tale of Robin Hood that he stole from one lot of ‘workers’ to give to another lot of ‘workers’. Here was me thinking he stole from the tax collectors and returned the money to the people it belonged to – a bit of a Rodney Hide of days gone by. But hey we learn something everyday, like learning that lefties are dim enough to not notice that the tale of Robin Hood is more like a tale of big tax cuts than a tale of redistribution.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  32. burt (8,166 comments) says:

    Rob Salmond

    From wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Hood

    In popular culture Robin Hood is typically seen as a contemporary and supporter of the late-12th century king Richard the Lionheart, Robin being driven to outlawry during the misrule of Richard’s evil brother John while Richard was away at the Third Crusade.

    So perhaps Rodney is Robin Hood, a contemporary and supporter of Roger Douglas being denigrated during the misrule of Douglas’s evil replacement Cullen.

    But hey if you want to convince me that the tax collectors were not agents of the govt but were actually just rich workers that had more than Robin Hood’s peers then go right ahead.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  33. Buggerlugs (1,609 comments) says:

    Michael Cullen is known to all – even his enemies – as a man who worked tirelessly to better the fortune of New Zealanders.

    Jason Knauf – you can take your tongue out of Cullen’s arse now. He’s gone. Thank Christ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  34. bharmer (686 comments) says:

    “If it is as dispassionate as Helen’s, I’ll slit my wrists.”

    Please don’t, even though it is deadly dull to this point.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.