Written By: - Date published: 12:05 pm, January 30th, 2013 - 54 comments
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Yesterday, the PM’s speech, as Zetetic says, was a “do nothing” speech as the country drowns. Actually Key sounded like a drunken sailor doing an after dinner speech in a stand-up comedy mode.
However, there were some more significant, sober, coherent and well articulated speeches in response from the opposition benches. Winston Peters summed up Key’s speech well:
Mr Speaker –
Sometimes we have the privilege of watching a great political event unfold. Sometimes we hear a speaker inspire us with a great vision.
Sometimes a great leader shows us the way to a better and brighter future for our country.
Sadly – we’ve missed out on all three today.
The best part of the Prime Minister’s speech today was the part where – he sat down. The rest of it consisted of the same old same old neo-liberal/free market pixie dust.
It sounded like he wrote it in the shower or in Antarctica or somewhere.
I wasn’t so keen on his criticisms of the government with respect to claims by Iwi groups for customary title.
Rather than respond to the PM’s do nothing speech, Hone Harawira outlined the issues and policies that Mana would focus on in 2013: support for Labour and The Greens’ affordable housing policies, plus a strong focus on the need for more state housing; Hone’s ‘Feed the Kids Bill’ coming up next month; a Hone Heke tax; continued opposition to asset sales; plus Maori interests in water, on which Harawira said:
In particular I would like to thank MANA president Annette Sykes who was a critical player in the Tribunal hearings last year and remains a key player in the Supreme Court hearings due to start later this week.
He also said:
I have no aspirations to lead the Maori Party – those calls have come from Maori Party members themselves.
I am comfortable and proud to lead MANA – a vibrant and active political force with a clearly identified constituency, te pani me te rawakore, the poor and the dispossessed, and policies aimed specifically at addressing their needs first, because people matter more than profit.
Metiria Turei was also dismissive of Key’s do-nothing speech, and then went on to outline the Green Party agenda for 2013, covering much of the same stuff as in her other recent speeches. She stressed repeatedly that New Zelanders’ sense of identity was associated with the environment, making it extremely important that we care for and protect our natural environment:
Their hands-off economic conservatism benefits their wealthy backers and runs counter to our country’s proud history of economic egalitarianism and fairness.
Their cold hearted social policies run roughshod over our decades-old social contract, of supporting people when they need help and our loving commitment to be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
And their short sighted view of our beautiful environment, our rivers and beaches, forests and National Parks, as nothing more than irritating impediments to their exploitative economic agenda, is like stabbing a knife into the heart of our national identity.
And for the Greens, an important part of a sustainable and environmentally-friendly approach, is to improve public transport, especially in the cities. Julie Anne Genter showed herself to be a quality performer in the House last year. And, if her speech in the House yesterday is anything to go by, she’ll be as good, or better this year. She demolished the financial logic used to justify Joyce’s RONS, or “Roads of Madness” as Genter called them. And provided a solid argument for improving public transport, especially in Auckland.
(h/t the Auckland Transport blog for bringing the video to my attention)
Genter explained that the Roads of Madness are not going to increase economic productivity or to reduce congestion. She said that the Key government had not invested in any new infrastructure in Auckland for buses, trains, walking or cycling. The $6m (approx) that the government refers to, was committed under the Labour Government. Labour’s investments have increased public transport use, and contributed to keeping kept road traffic volumes down in Auckland. Genter also cites evidence of the need for the central city rail loop, to prevent road gridlock in the near future.
No new ideas from the government: plenty of good analysis and ideas from the opposition parties. This government needs to be removed from office, ASAP!