Locke retires

has announced:

Green MP Keith Locke announced today that he will not run again at the next election, but promised a busy 12th and final year in Parliament. …

The 66-year-old said he was proud of his achievements as a human rights watchdog and peace advocate. “I’ll probably be remembered as the MP who most strongly resisted legislation inspired by the ‘war on terror’ which has eroded our civil liberties.

“Perhaps my efforts mean that our anti-terrorism and security laws are not so draconian as they are in some other Western countries.” …

Mr Locke also kick-started the parliamentary debate on whether New Zealand should become a republic: “Even though my Head of State Referenda Bill failed to get a majority in the House, I’m confident we will be a republic in the not-too-distant future.

“As an Auckland MP I’ve played a significant role in redirecting attention and finance into public transport. In 2006, working in tandem with Rodney Hide, I galvanised a successful campaign to stop the construction of an expensive and misplaced waterfront stadium.”

I wish Keith well in his retirement. He is the last of the original 1999 Green MPs to announce their retirement. After 2011, none of the originals will be left.

I can’t think of an MP I disagree with more on foreign and defence policy. And probably many other policies also.

However on a personal level, I’ve always found Keith very personable, easy to talk to, and engaging. I don’t agree with his views – but I do respect he has consistently advocated what he has believed. If anything, Keith is too consistent – his view on the United States have I suspect been fixed for the last 50 years.

Keith, and Rod Donald before him, have been most prominently associated with defending civil liberties (and on some of these issues, I have been in agreement), and it will be interesting to observe if any of the other Green MPs can step up to achive the same profile there.

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