Imagine: you are a new MP. Tens of thousands of your fellow New Zealanders have shown a great faith in you; they have shown that they want you to be one of their select representatives in the most powerful body in the land – our sovereign Parliament. You now have great power, privilege and responsibility, all the more so if you are also a minister.
It is understandable and appropriate, then, that in your first speech as an MP you show pride tempered by a great deal of humility; that you show you understand the gravity of the trust that has been placed in you, that you are there to serve the people of New Zealand, and do so at their pleasure. And so it is with most MPs’ maiden speeches. Steven Joyce, our new Transport Minister, chose a somewhat different approach.
He started, yes started, his first speech as an MP and as a minister by attacking an ordinary New Zealander who had dared to question him. See it seems a letter to the editor of the Dompost was published which ran something along the lines of ‘who is this Steven Joyce? How come he is now a minister when no-one has heard of him and he hasn’t done any interviews?’. Incredibly, Joyce thought is was fitting and proper to use his maiden speech to name the writer of this letter and attack them for asking what are surely fair questions.
It seems that Joyce doesn’t feel he needs to answer we hoi polloi. He used his position of privilege in an attempt to humiliate an ordinary New Zealander, one of the people he is meant to be representing. He’s a god-damned minister, how dare someone question him?
It was an outrageous and pathetic display from someone who appears to be a prideful and petty man. I challenge him to apologise to the letter writer. Unfortunately, I doubt we will see that happen. Joyce’s behaviour is merely an echo of the manner in which National/ACT has governed to date, the same arrogant manner in which it seems determined to continue.