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A sad day for the parliamentary Left

Written By: - Date published: 10:32 am, September 25th, 2009 - 40 comments
Categories: Left - Tags:

Sue_B_web.img_assist_customStuff has announced the resignation of Sue Bradford from parliament. Over the years Sue has championed more pro-worker legislation than just about any MP I can think of and has in the last few years been a backroom powerhouse for the Greens through her ability to deal with people with a warmth and sincerity that is unusual for any politician let alone one with such a strong and comprehensive conviction of belief.

While the media is already bleating on about her role in the section 59 legislation and the Kiwiblog Right will spout their filth, the truth is that you would be hard-pressed to find anyone who has worked with her who has a bad thing to say about her.

In some ways I can’t blame her for wanting to leave the shallow bear-pit that is parliament but I can certainly say that it will be a poorer place once she’s gone.

According to Stuff she’s going to go back to grassroots activism so she’s not lost to the Left but I think this is one of the rare occasions I can speak on behalf of all of the Standard and wish her well for her next steps and thank her for the work she has put in and the legislation she has had passed for the Left.

40 comments on “A sad day for the parliamentary Left”

  1. IrishBill: loser. Take a couple of weeks off.

    • Ianmac 1.1

      I assume that you are making the Happy Days theme a tribute to the work that Sue has done to make NZ a better place.

  2. Tigger 2

    Sue deserves huge kudos for being a politician who manages to get stuff done. I am immensely sad to see her go.

  3. Bright Red 3

    DPFs post is so very very poor. Trying to spin the resignation as discontent in the Greens.

    Just silly.

  4. ieuan 4

    For Sue’s undoubted talents she has all the finesse of a bull in a china shop.

    It was no surprise she wasn’t elected co-leader.

    That said, good luck to her, parliament is a better place for having people like Sue and my children will grow up never have been smacked.

    • IrishBill 4.1

      And that’s where you are completely wrong. Sue was particularly adept in one to one situations. You don’t get as much legislation through as Sue did without finesse.

    • Edosan 4.2

      ieuan, surely whether you’re children are smacked or not is more up to you than Sue? In either case, thanks to sue they won’t be ripped off until they are adults with unfair youth rates should they find themselves gainful employment.

  5. Good comment.

    The Greens and parliament will really miss her. She was a rarity, a true left winger and a perfect foil to the environmental focus of the other Green MPs.

    You are right about Kiwiblog. It is a scary place. The lack of compassion shown by some of the comments is chilling.

    • spot 5.1

      Where’s that leave the left within the Greens now ?

      Locke ?

      Maybe the Greens will go ‘Green’ (if that makes sense) and hence more electable to voters who might not normally lean that way, based on some of their more politically and ideologically charged angles….

      I didn’t go for her politics but sure as hell admired her for her courage.

  6. Ianmac 6

    In time the public will grant her the great respect that she has earned. Isn’t it great to see a politician (or any person) standing by her convictions and delivering honest consistent action. A great person.

  7. Tim Ellis 7

    micky if you saw some of the bile heaped on Mr Key yesterday in the apolitical thread about Sir Howard you wouldn’t be calling Mr Farrar’s place chilling.

    On Mrs Bradford, she always has struck me as a decent person motivated by her passionate beliefs which she argued for strongly. She might not have been the right face for the Greens as they try to rejuvenate themselves but she worked hard and honestly for what she believed in, and achieved some pretty major successes in terms of delivering what she was advocating, which is about all you can ask for in a politician.

    • felix 7.1

      That’s odd Tim, I just looked down that thread you mentioned
      and the worst things I could find written about Key were:

      back then we had talent but now we only have Jerry and Bill and John.

      Key’s all over this like a populist political opportunist rash.

      Key exploited the death of Ed as an opportunity to get publicity for himself and is doing the same again with Howard.

      Key is anti-treaty and anti-Maori it’s just creepy when he comes over all smarmy

      Is that it? That’s your parallel to Kiwiblog? You really are a delicate little flower, aren’t you Tim?

      • Tim Ellis 7.1.1

        Turning an apolitical tribute to a great new zealander into an opportunity to bag politicians was tasteless felix. It wasn’t the attacks on Mr Key, which would be quite legitimate in any other thread, it was how somebody thought it appropriate to make political grandstanding out of Sir Howard’s passing.

        • felix 7.1.1.1

          If you want to police the legitimacy of comments in a thread you should start a blog.

          concern-troll.co.nz is probably available.

        • Armchair Critic 7.1.1.2

          Tim
          It’s a political blog site, the About section says this in the first paragraph. Expect political comment, even if it is in poor taste, and some of it was on the Sir Howard Morrison post.

  8. Tom Semmens 8

    She has been tireless campaigner for the liberal left, that is for sure. But I would hesitate to call her a hero for the working classes. In the end, it is as a Green MP she will be remembered. The Greens have always been a middle class party that has at its heart an ideological rigidity that is as every bit unfriendly to working class people as anything ACT could dream up. Her middle class credentials were nowhere more on display as in the Section 59 debate where her very middle class approach to change – a lazy and arrogant top down imposition of received values – made her the very symbol of the “Nanny State”.

    • IrishBill 8.1

      Tom, have you read the Greens IR policy? That’s Sue’s work as was the end of youth minimum wage.

    • George D 8.2

      “that has at its heart an ideological rigidity that is as every bit unfriendly to working class people as anything ACT could dream up.”

      What? That makes no sense to me. The Greens are constant critics of the neoliberal free-market that other parties, including Labour, so frequently embrace. Say they’re not left enough, sure. I’ll give you that. But they have never been to the right of Labour, and to say that they’d have to drift quite far (considering that Labour is being led by a reformed Rogernome).

    • Tim Ellis 8.3

      Mr Semmens I enjoy your irony in referring to somebody else’s “ideological rigidity”.

      I disagreed with pretty much all of Mrs Bradford’s politics but I would have thought that her many years working for the unemployed union might count in her favour as a card-carrying supporter of the least privileged.

    • toad 8.4

      Tom, The security code word on reply as I am typing this reads RIDICULOUS, which pretty much sums up your comment.

      Yous simply don’t have a clue. Sue has been the stauchest advocate of workers’ right Parliament has seen for decades. She puts everyone in Labour in recent years to shame in that regard. Its just a pity that she couldn’t actually achieve much of the Greens’ industrial relations policy, and it was Labour throughout this decade that prevented that.

    • Ron 8.5

      Tom – that’s just drivel. Sue’s actions on behalf of workinmg class NZers are well known and well documented.
      And the “top down imposition” line is getting really tired.
      Sooner or later someone has to take a stand for right.
      Otherwise we’d have the death penalty, no Treaty acknowledgement, people with coloured faces being expelled for driving offences and pretty much no environmental law. Sue – and many, many others saw the Repeal of section 59 to be a good thing. So – that’s what they did. NZ is the better for it.

  9. r0b 9

    Thank you Sue, and all the best in whatever you choose to take on next.

  10. rocky 10

    Wow. Sue Bradford is my favourite MP, and I can’t imagine anyone else living up to her. This is a great loss to NZ and to parliament. Let’s hope Sue really does stay in politics and activism.

    • lprent 10.1

      And my favorite Green party MP. The sheer volume of private members bills that she puts into the ballot and the range of issues they cover have been phenomenal. I’m sure that I’d disagree with her on many issues if I met her. But you cannot deny that she works at what she is pushing.

      Highly effective and not addicted to the sound of her own voice as so many MP’s are. It is a pity that she never got tested as a minister. I suspect that she would have made all of the current crop, and many of the previous group look ineffectual.

  11. Tom Semmens 11

    IB – Yes, I know. But in the end, no matter how right Bradford was on Section 59 (and no matter what the polls say, it WAS the right thing to do) it was a Phyrric victory for the left for the simple reason that Bradford has never understood that if you are politician who wants to lead, it pays to look over your shoulder to check the people are following. Bradford’s approach to change was never to take people with her – it was to tell people what was good for them and then do it. That is why she joined the every-so middle class Greens and that is why, in the end, she became the most disliked politician in the land.

    Bradford was and will be an excellent and effective advocate and lobbyist in public affairs. But in parliament, her undemocratic style meant a Section 59 type debacle was only a matter of time. She has become a liability to the left in parliament.

    • IrishBill 11.1

      I’d place the blame for that mishandling on Labour. I also disagree with your portrayal of her as someone who didn’t bring people with her because she was very effective in doing that within the Greens, within the broader Left and in her parliamentary dealings with politicians of all hues.

      • ieuan 11.1.1

        Irishbill you seem to be in denial as to how unpopular Sue is outside of the Greens or the Labour movement.

        • IrishBill 11.1.1.1

          Nah, I’m just too well aware of the fact that her unpopularity is the result of years of unfounded character assassination by right-wing f*ckwits.

          • lprent 11.1.1.1.1

            That is my opinion as well. For all of the righties rhetoric of people advancing themselves, it is noticeable that when you see someone like Sue Bradford doing it but focusing on helping others, they seem to treat it as a personal affront.

            The rhetoric of the right is that people shouldn’t use their talents assisting others, but only focus of being greedy (eg Double Dipton) and preferably drawing the ladder of their exit from poverty up behind them (eg Paula Bennett).

            The fuckwits of the right just love them….

  12. Mr Trotter has blogged well on this. The implications for the Greens of the loss of someone as staunch as Ms Bradford are serious. It did no harm to have a progressive Green tradition to work alongside and challenge the Labour Party. The Norman version of Green centrism has all the hallmarks of a politics that will drift without a clear direction. Labour may well gain from this resignation. I for one wish Ms Bradford a happier and more rewarding life back in the activist world.

    • ieuan 12.1

      I totally disagree, the Greens should get back to being advocates for the environment, there are plenty of challenges there and it gives a very clear policy direction.

      Their left wing social policies only narrow their appeal. You don’t have to be hard core left wing to care about the environment.

      • May I suggest that a Green politics without a class politics will be a failed politics? Environmental degradation does not stand apart from the system that promotes it.

        • George D 12.1.1.1

          Trotter doesn’t get it. Everything is workingclassmales for him, and he treats other things as distractions. He attacks feminist and Maori politics as irrelevant too. It isn’t either/or. Once you realise that the world’s resources are limited, then you realise that you can’t grow your way out of the problem, and you need a society that distributes those resources in way that is fair. And this is the basis of the Green Party, which takes its charter seriously.

  13. outofbed 13

    I wish Sue all the best She has been a very very hard working MP and will be sorely missed. I have met her a number of times and have always been stuck by the passion and commitment to her left wing beliefs
    An incredible person , we shall miss her

  14. BLiP 14

    A sad day for all of New Zealand. See you on the barricades Sue.

  15. Darien 15

    I wish Sue all the best and am sad she’s leaving parliament because I think the place will be poorer for her leaving. She came from the struggle, stayed with it in parliament and is now returning to it in the grassroots – I admire that and I hope we see more of her tradition in the Greens (not to mention Labour!)

  16. Hear hear, IB.

    A bloody terrible loss, she was an usually honorable politician and did a LOT of great work.

    I wish her all the best but wish more that she wasn’t going.

  17. randal 17

    ho hum…she never lived up to her promise because she was always too busy looking for someone to wrongfoot and make them look like idiots. she will be judged when she has done something like organise the boys in the congo open cast copper mines who have to grovel through dust day after day looking for copper nuggets that may have escaped the first pass so they can buy their dinners. if she can do that then her her kudos will be earned. squaring off against renecks is too easy and ultimately unrewarding when the reaction sets in.

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