With one last understated jab at the Government and an emotional nod to his late mother and sister, Green Party veteran MP Kevin Hague has signed off on eight years in Parliament.
Giving his valedictory speech to a mostly-full House of MPs, Hague said it had been a little like “punching into the wind of Cyclone Bola”.
He gained laughs when he told Parliament of a time when he and his partner Ian used to sail on 24ft cutter.
“I remember in 1988 during Cyclone Bola – some might question the decision to go sailing – we were anchored in a bay in the outer part of the Coromandel Harbour.”
The wind was so strong it would drag the boat out, forcing them to keep a 24-hour anchor watch and use the small outboard motor to “punch back into the wind” to get to back to shelter.
“Eight years of Opposition has felt something like that. Going to work each day, standing up for what we believe in, but losing almost all of our arguments,” he said.
“Not because we were wrong, but because of the Government’s superior numbers and resources.”
But it had been “an enormous honour” to serve as an MP, and Hague said he felt he had made his late mother and sister proud.
“In leaving I feel I have done my best, I feel I have made things better and I go with my integrity entact.”
The pragmatic activist; Hague has had a political career marked by both quiet dedication, and staunch advocacy. …
During his speech, Hague made particular mention of ACC Minister Nikki Kaye, with whom he worked on a bill to reform adoption and surrogacy laws.
He offered his “best wishes” for her fast recovery, as she has taken leave to battle breast cancer.
A career of significant achievement, also included helping establish Nga Haerenga (the New Zealand Cycle Trail), and he leaves behind a petition being considered that seeks pardons for those convicted for homosexual acts before law reforms were passed in 1986.
But it was marred by never having had the opportunity to be a minister.
“I think I might have done a pretty good job of that,” he said.
I doubt I would have agreed with many of his policies, but I do think he would have been a good Minister. As a former Chief Executive of a DHB he does understand how the system works. And Hague has done a commendable job in weaning some of the Greens away from their anti-science views towards fluoridation and the like. I worry they may regress in his absence.