Courage under fire

Written By: - Date published: 6:10 pm, May 5th, 2009 - 47 comments
Categories: mt albert - Tags: ,

Last week Russel Norman, Wellington resident and Green candidate for Mt Albert, publicly labelled Aucklander David Shearer, Labour’s candidate, as “a grey machine man “.

In its 1992 review of the year, the Herald made David Shearer and his wife Anuschka Meyer “New Zealanders of the Year”. The previous week the Herald had also reported that David Shearer was awarded an MBE by the British government.

Just a few quotes to get the flavour:

New Zealand relief aid workers David Shearer and Anuschka Meyer call them “incidents”. They are in fact terrifying stories of being at the mercy of armed Somali bandits, of trying to reason with angry young men who will kill for food, diesel, a vehicle or just for the hell of it…

Shearer talks of the day a Somali man talked his way into the compound, concealing a loaded pistol. He pointed the gun at Shearer and made demands before being persuaded to leave…

Shearer talks about those moments in the detached matter-of-fact manner of someone who has left it all behind and is now trying to decide whether to paint his Kingsland house calypso gold or hint of yellow”.

I wonder what colour Russel Norman would go if faced with similar circumstances. He probably thinks he’s under fire during Question Time in Parliament.

Click the thumbnails below to read the full articles.

nzer_of_the_year shearer_mbe

47 comments on “Courage under fire”

  1. Thumbnail links don’t seem to working?

  2. George Darroch 2

    This is what I wrote in another thread:

    “Being humanitarian is very worthy, and I have a lot of respect for his work – I’d like to congratulate him for that. But he’s not running for a position at the UN, he’s running for a seat in the NZ Parliament, and it’s his positions on domestic issues that matter (although his foreign policy views are sure to have some sway on Labour if he’s elected, and from what I can tell it would be good advice).”

    The criticism of the Labour Party seems to have struck a nerve, with accusations that Norman wouldn’t hold up very well with a Somali sticking a gun to his head. I agree, and daresay that the great majority of Parliament wouldn’t either. Shearer fully deserves his Herald NZer of the Year award. Whether he deserves a seat in Parliament is a different question entirely, and one that hasn’t been answered yet.

    • Tane 2.1

      If it were a single-author blog you’d get one post and that’d be the end of it. But this is a multi-poster blog with no central editoral control, so if something fucks off a few people it’s going to get a few responses. And I think those news articles were worth posting.

      I don’t think it’s criticism of Labour that’s annoyed people, certainly not me. Look back through my posts ( and you’ll see I’m frequently criticising Labour from a pro-Green perspective. But it’s on policy, not cynical smears and misrepresentation. I think that’s what has struck a nerve with people.

      • Go figure 2.1.1

        Said Norman:

        “The right of the party – the Goff faction – have got their man. Labour have chosen the grey machine man. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy, but it means we’ve got National versus National-lite versus the Greens.’

        You think this is “cynical smears and misrepresentation”? That’s a pathetic misrepresentation in itself. Its a comment on Goff and the Labour Party and nothing more.

        • Tane

          We’ve been through this. He’s riffing off the private security crap dug up by Farrar and Whaleoil, as well as the “David Shearer’s so right wing he should stand for ACT” crap Farrar’s been running to wedge the centre-left vote.

          That’s the subtext of it all. You’d have to be blind not to see it.

          • mickysavage

            I would be more worried if they were not running this sort of crap at David. He is obviously viewed as a threat.

          • Go figure

            No, Norman knows he won’t win, so Shearer’s got little to do with it. He’s trying to differentiate the Greens from a Labour Party who’s voted with the Nats almost half as much as ACT have. This is about 2011, not Mt Albert.

          • George Darroch

            So, has Goff renounced his right-wing tendencies? This was asked a few months ago, and the answer from commenters here was wait and see. So far we’re still waiting for a sign.

            We know that he hasn’t renounced his “lockemupandthrowawaythekey” tendencies.

          • Tane

            Re Goff, I’m told he has, and I’ve seen no evidence he’s swinging rightwards in any way. Right now he just seems bereft of any vision whatsoever, other than the continuation of the broad framework of the Clark administration,

          • gobsmacked

            There’s a bigger picture here, and the MSM ignore it because they’re hooked on Presidential politics.

            The caucus chooses the leader. Or dumps him/her if they don’t like the direction. Goff today is leader of a very different Labour caucus from the one Helen Clark inherited from Mike Moore in 1993. There is no way the “right” (however defined) have a majority in today’s caucus.

            So whatever suspicions people have about Goff’s tendencies (and I think they’re overblown), he’s not going to be some kind of resurrected Rogernome. He just wouldn’t have the numbers. The Fish n’ Chip blokes are gone.

    • Poor David

      Half the blogosphere is suggesting that if elected he will immediately move to privatise prisons, the rest is suggesting that he is being parachuted into the electorate and the reality is that he is a humanitarian trying to stop the killing of innocent women and children.

      Being humanitarian and being 2ic in one of the most difficult wars in the world makes him eminently qualified to be in parliament and to represent the good citizens of Mount Albert.

      The attacks should be seen for what they are, the attempts of the right and the Greens (I never thought I would put those words in the same phrase) to discredit who will be a very capable and constructive member of our House of Representatives, dare I say it better than 80 of them?

    • Kev 2.3

      You’ve missed the connection, George. David Shearer’s views on Mt Albert mirror his views when working in those UN hotspots;Justice and Fairness, simply values which all of us would espouse. So not difficult to apply those views to the electorate or any NZ situation. And if he can sit down with people in those troubled areas of the world and deliver, what great things can we expect from him on issues dear to the hearts of Mt Albert’s residents who are having the Super City rammed down their throats and being walked over, or should that be driven over, by the government’s objections to the tunnel option for SH20, the option favoured by Transit NZ.

  3. The Green Party is the poodle of National now.

    A vote for the Greens = A vote for National

    It really is that simple.

    • Eddie 3.1

      That’s probably putting it a bit too strongly. The worry though is that Russel Norman’s ego will let the Greens get captured by National in the same way the Maori Party has.

      Speaking of which – did you see Turia on Q+A implying that the Maori Party would abstain on entrenching Maori seats? So desperate to prove the detractors wrong and make their deal with National work that they will sacrifice anything.

      • George Darroch 3.1.1

        I’d say that’s part of it. I’d say that a very strong dislike for the Labour Party, and a genuine feeling that this is a symbolic move designed to wedge the Maori Party form the rest.

        • Pascal's bookie

          yeah, I guess it’s a tricky one for them. Voting yes would show that their independence as allowed in the coalition agreement was worth something, but they don’t want to dignify what they see as a stunt. Could be interesting if it gets drawn from the ballot in election year though.

  4. jerry 4

    He sounds like a great bloke ….. but why do you need to finish up with an attack on Russell Norman ?

    • lprent 4.1

      but why do you need to finish up with an attack on Russell Norman

      Ummm, the attack on David Shearer. Something about ‘grey’… Did you read the link in the first paragraph or did you simply skip all of the bits that might offend your eyes?

      Suggestions for Russell ? My pick is Little green man (from Mars Attacks). šŸ˜ˆ I cannot resist.

      • jerry 4.1.1

        ummmmmmmmm I think Tane has understood below …… perhaps you’d like to reflect on the words pot, kettle and black for a while.

        • lprent

          Perhaps you’d reflect on how daft that remark by Norman was.

          That was a WhaleDreck style remark by someone who had virtually no idea about who he was talking about. It wasn’t on policy, it was a personality attack designed to sneak a meme into the media. I hate think what he would have called Meg or Rhema.

          I’m afraid that I will remember it, and it will affect my interactions with the Green party.

          My initial response when I heard the Norman was entering the race was to simply shrug my head and accept that the Greens would do what they do. Now it is just annoyance

  5. Tane 5

    I hope this doesn’t turn into another Green-Labour fight thread. I was actually going to write something putting this whole thing to bed this evening.

  6. Gustavo Trellis 6

    You’re right. Russel Norman, who lives in Wellington, is far less suitable than a man who has been living out of the country for over a decade. Why on earth would you mention where he lives? It’s not like Shearer has much of a leg to stand on in that department either. Also, I thought the old knighthoods were shoddy and imperialist – but when it comes to supporting a Labour candidate’s credibility, they’re perfectly acceptable. Hmmmm.

  7. Ari 7

    I don’t think Shearer’s a bad sort, but I’d kinda like Labour to get its old fire back, and he’s clearly not a move in that direction. Which, to be fair, is probably where the criticism of him from within both pan-left Parties is coming from. And that’s where I feel there’s some subtle truth to what Russel said- not that Shearer is actively terrible or even worthy of such half-hearted personal criticism as the comments Russel made have been interpreted as, (And I’m not defending with that- an interpretation is just as valid a message as what was actually meant) but rather, that Shearer’s not the dramatic make-over that Labour really needs to appeal to its base and to the wider electorate.

    What I think is ironic is that you had people essentially levelling the same concerns from both sides of the aisle in that other comments thread. I think we’re all coming from the same place, it’s just a matter of which bumps we’re worried about on the road.

  8. SPC 8

    I suppose one could draw a link between having some tribal gangster hold a gun to your head and supporting private security forces.

  9. outofbed 9

    what a strange post
    lets hope everyone can stop squabbling and get on with it

  10. Daveski 10

    What a strange post indeed. It’s like the AB’s starting to fight each other 5 minutes before full time in the RWC. Mind you, they may as well have seeing none of them thought about a drop goal.

    I certainly don’t think the Nats are firing on all cylinders – in many respects they are misfiring. However, the left’s fatal habit of fighting each other could well cover many of the Nats weaknesses.

  11. Pascal's bookie 11

    Lee was saying the same thing today too,

    “I’m very pleased Russel Norman is standing. . .it means I potentially have a chance,” she said.

    I have a feeling that quote might get a bit of an airing over the next few weeks.

    • gobsmacked 11.1

      Meanwhile, here’s ACT’s John Boscawen today:

      “I’m calling on National’s Melissa Lee to front up and be honest with Mt Albert residents about National’s intentions.” (press release)

      Way to go, John! You’re our Russel! šŸ™‚

  12. felix 12

    Francios said it all above:

    A vote for the Greens = A vote for National

    It really is that simple.

    And it is. As a Green voter I’m not happy about that either but deal with it, people.

  13. outofbed 13

    A vote for the Greens = A vote for National

    It really is that simple.

    I .. fuck it I can’t be bothered

  14. Ari 14

    Eh, FPP tactics again huh? šŸ˜‰

    Why we don’t just switch to STV nationwide… šŸ˜›

    • felix 14.1

      Yeah, it’s an FPP by-election. There are no points for “increasing your vote”.

    • lprent 14.2

      By-elections are FPP elections. There are NO party votes. So effectively the only real reason for the minor parties to stand is to grandstand and raise their profile. However they can cause damage to one or the other of the main parties by splitting the vote.

      That is what Felix and others are saying

      • jerry 14.2.1

        No what Felix is saying is that the Greens have no chance of winning the seat so they should stay away from Labour territory and ask all their supporters to vote for Labour.

  15. outofbed 15

    One could say
    A vote for National is a vote for Labour šŸ™‚

  16. outofbed 16

    So effectively the only real reason for the minor parties to stand is to grandstand and raise their profile. However they can cause damage to one or the other of the main parties by splitting the vote.

    So how do you get to be a major party without increasing your profile?

    • jerry 16.1


      You just don’t understand, Nanny Labour and Poppa National know best…. now take your Green politics and run off home like a good little boy.

  17. Pascal's bookie 17

    “So how do you get to be a major party without increasing your profile?”

    Have lot’s of policy aimed at the centrist, little policy that scares the centrists. can the Greens do that and not be Labour?

    • r0b 17.1

      “So how do you get to be a major party without increasing your profile?’

      Certainly not by becoming the thing that you hate.

      My suspicion is that the Greens have a certain natural constituency, it’s about 6 – 7% – and there is little that can be done to change that – currently. With the emphasis on “currently”. I think it’s likely that this percentage will grow, maybe grow fast, as the urgency of environmental problems becomes increasingly obvious, and it becomes clear that the Greens have been right all along about many things. I don’t really see any other way of it happening, sorry, and I agree that that is a pretty depressing prospect. I think that if there had been room in NZ politics for another big centre left party the Alliance would have been successful.

      • Tim Ellis 17.1.1

        In r0b’s ideal world, the greens wouldn’t do anything that would take votes off Labour. They would happily sit in the ghetto of 6-7%, and remain so small and powerless that Labour could continue to take them for granted.

        • Pascal's bookie

          Oh Tim. Been drinking have we? I only ask because that’s probably the lamest ass, most transparently dishonest horseshit you’ve ever trotted out here. And lame ass dishonest horseshit is pretty much all what you do, so it’s got a lot of competition.

          I mean, even bloody Mike is being more subtle on that strategy than you, and his idea of subtle is to put on a cross through the old Soviet symbol to let folks know that he’s not, you know, a communist. Mike, who is still stuck in the fricken 80’s for crying out loud, is running a more sophisticated split the lefties line than you. For shame Tim.

          I actually died a little inside when I read your comment. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had you pegged as fucking hack playing to the lurkers since the first time you submitted one of your trademark sophistry laden missives here, but at least you usually try. That shit was just desperate.

          Any way, fool, Lee gave that game up when she blurted out that:

          “I’m very pleased Russel Norman is standing. . .it means I potentially have a chance,’

          It’s over baby. Like that Tizard crap you were hanging your hat on.

          So what’s plan “C” Timmeh?

          Got a plan “C” ?

        • r0b

          Sorry Tim, I can’t think of a reply, I’m laughing too hard right now!

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