In David’s absence, I’ll be posting a few items in Kiwiblog fashion – focussed on politics
Q+A are researching the political news archives and looking back. This snippet from last Sunday
The Labour Opposition Chief Whip Jonathan Hunt had refused to provide Ruth Richardson a voting peer. Richardson, then a young mum needed to be absent from the house so she could breast feed her newborn baby. In 1983, Richardson’s vote was essential due to National’s slim majority.
Response from Sir Robert Muldoon
“Jonathan of course is an elderly bachelor, and probably doesn’t understand much of these things, but there must be someone on the other side of the house who has got some compassion for Ruth and the problem in which she finds herself”
I’m cynical enough to believe that Muldoon in needing the vote, found the compassion for a mum on his side of the house (and there’ll be plenty of insiders who can correct this assumption), but what is more interesting is that it is the Labour Chief Whip who did not. Even so, an invigorated Labour Party would have started to smell victory, and hard to imagine that any breastfeeding mother wouldn’t be bulldozed in that path.
I don’t know the exact legislation or regulations Richardson was helping National to maintain, but during the days of price freezes, ever spiralling inflation, some if not all of the voting must have been through gritted teeth!