I popped into Parliament yesterday for Don’s valedictory speech. It was different to the normal ones, coming so soon after he stood down as Leader. Bolger’s was six months afterwards and Shipley nine months later.
Pretty much a full house and galleries for it, except noticeably Winston and Helen both left as it commenced. I think it galls both of them that despite being such a political novice, Brash challenged them both. In 2002 National only got twice NZ First’s vote and in 2005 it got six times NZ First. And Helen saw 2005 as unloseable, yet she almost lost it.
The speech was mainly sombre, quite political, and a bit sad. Some humour when Don referred to writing the letter to the Bishop criticising the PM’s views on marriage as in hindsight not one of his better ideas. A lot of talk about how proud he was to have been an MP and to have been Leader. He also said that voting for then against the Civil Unions Bill was a mistake.
“…and gain respect for, politicians of all parties in this House – people like Peter Dunne, Jim Sutton, Tariana Turia, and Rodney Hide. And while I disagree strongly with many of their policies, I respect the ability of both Helen Clark and Michael Cullen. I’ll be eternally grateful for the opportunity I’ve had.” [DPF – note everyone but Winston named!]
I regret that my views on the Treaty of Waitangi were misunderstood by many as an attack on Maori, instead of a serious attempt to deal with issues which, if not dealt with effectively, can hugely damage the future of both Maori and non-Maori New Zealanders.
A country where it no longer feels awkward to sing the national anthem in two languages.
A country where I can watch my 13 year old Eurasian son playing happily with a dozen of his friends, and count two Chinese, one Korean, one Sri Lankan, one Eurasian, six Pakeha, and the grandson of a Maori activist – all of them New Zealanders.
We need to re-establish the principle of personal responsibility, re-affirm the importance of family and community, and turn our back on the politics of envy, where the party that wins is the one that can take $25,000 off a hard-working Kiwi and spread it around to win the maximum number of votes among those who aren’t so hard-working.
Don also referred to the campaign by himself and Katherine Rich to have a royal commission of inquiry into the Peter Ellis case. It is a great shame that this still has not happened!