Gareth Hughes on the Prime Minister of New Zealand

Written By: - Date published: 10:59 am, February 12th, 2016 - 66 comments
Categories: greens, Social issues - Tags: , ,

Green MP Gareth Hughes’ response in Parliament to John’ Key’s opening speech for 2017. Hughes cleanly and definitively nails Key’s true contribution to New Zealand.

Some selected quotes have been reproduced here for your enjoyment. But seriously – watch the vid link.

Just outside of this debating chamber are the portraits of our great leaders.
From Seddon, to Savage and Fraser to Kirk how do these giants who established universal suffrage, a caring state in the midst of a depression and world war and a modern independent, bicultural New Zealand compare with you?
Is the flag it?
Your desperate, lumbering, grasping attempt at building a legacy with a flag won’t mask the realities.
Hungry kids up
Inequality up
Pollution up
Debt up
Housing costs up
Electricity costs up
Foreign ownership up
Corruption up

To the 300,000 kids growing up in poverty are you saying ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for Serco, Sky City, Saudi Sheiks, Media works, Warners, and Rio Tinto?’
Under your leadership scientists have been ridiculed and silenced and NGOs have had their funding and voice cut.

Rape crisis centres are closing and food banks are doing a brisk trade.

Kiwis are noted for their generosity and hospitality but Prime Minister, under you, New Zealand has become more welcoming to oil companies than refugees.
Whenever there is a Government scandal, extreme benefit measures are floated, and ‘look over there – pandas.’

But you seem like a good guy to have a beer with. No one else in this room could have got away with your stunts, gaffes and antics.
How have you gotten away with it? We could ask Crosby and Textor and point to the biggest of big business bucks and the dirtiest of dirty tricks operations in New Zealand history.
Kiwis are a good people, a caring people and we can reclaim our democracy from big money and dirty politics.
One of your legacies is what you cynically call the rent a crowd is growing into a real political movement for change.
Another legacy of your term is a Green Party stronger than ever before. Thank you Prime Minister.
Prime Minister as you reflect this may be one of your last opening speeches to Parliament I have no doubt you will go down in history as one of the most successful politicians of a generation. By ‘politician’ I mean the way it’s written on the Stuff comments section.

The full transcript is here.

66 comments on “Gareth Hughes on the Prime Minister of New Zealand”

  1. weka 1

    The Greens have been doing good stuff in the past week or so. First Turei’s SotN speech, now this. I hope this is a sign of Hughes coming into his own and it bodes very well for the party and NZ to have a relatively young MP performing this well.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Pity he didn’t bring this out before the leadership contest last year.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Why? Hughes shouldn’t be co-leader at this time. He’s growing into the position.

        • AmaKiwi 1.1.1.1

          The party and the country don’t have time for “growing into the position.”

          We need strong voices NOW!

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            Just as well he got his shit together then 😉 I do agree with your general point about time. I would say though that we don’t need another co-leader just yet. Having a strong set of MPs in addition to two strong and complementary co-leaders is very good for them and the country.

          • marty mars 1.1.1.1.2

            Do you think this speech represents a strong voice now – I do.

    • savenz 1.2

      +1 for Weka and +100 for Gareth’s speech.

  2. Anno1701 2

    That beard tho…

    talk about the “swazye” effect

  3. alwyn 3

    What a bitter little man he is.
    Never been the same since he only got a single vote in the election to become the male co-leader of the party. It was probably his own.
    Now it seems even his own party don’t want to listen to him
    Is there really only a single person from his own party who could be bothered being in the chamber for his speech? I suppose they didn’t want the camera to show how alone he was so someone had to be rostered to sit behind him.

    • weka 3.1

      “What a bitter little man he is.”

      I think the whole of your comment demonstrates just how much of a projection that is of yourself alwyn.

      • Anno1701 3.1.1

        I think alwyn is gunning for some overtime

        valentines day coming up soon and the boss likes flowers and chocolates ( and ponytails )

    • alwyn = must not talk about the speech or the content of the speech, must find some distraction, any distraction will do, must hurry before discussion gets going and becomes meaningful and excludes me and my mischief, oh I have it I will talk rubbish and display my pathetic mind as a way to take one for the team so the lefties can talk about how dim I am instead of Hughes who scares me… 3, 2, 1, “What a bitter…”

    • Scott M 3.3

      Do you disagree with any of his claims? Playing the man and not the ball so much easier though eh?

      • weka 3.3.1

        Alwyn did tell me off once for thinking he was a girl 😉

      • alwyn 3.3.2

        How can one possibly discuss something that is nothing more than the bilious rant of a loser?
        It was simply a bitter attack with nothing that backed him up.
        It makes the Green Party look like the Labour Party. It can best be summed up as “I hate John Key” Then repeat, and repeat and repeat.

        If you want the Green Party to be taken seriously you should follow the pattern set by the male co-leader. James Shaw gave an intelligent thoughtful speech. Sure he got in some digs but he also said positive sensible things.
        The Green Party will be in far better shape with him as leader than Gareth Hughes.
        Why are you not applauding his contribution?

        • vto 3.3.2.1

          lol, the speech has clearly got under your skin

        • stever 3.3.2.2

          OK perhaps we could kick off with a discussion about which of these is not true:

          Hungry kids up
          Inequality up
          Pollution up
          Debt up
          Housing costs up
          Electricity costs up
          Foreign ownership up
          Corruption up

          • framu 3.3.2.2.1

            is that a tumble wed?

            • AmaKiwi 3.3.2.2.1.1

              The social mood has changed dramatically from acceptance of the status quo to anger and rejection.

              Just look overseas: USA, UK Labour, Germany, Poland to say nothing of the disaster economies like Greece.

              Turei’s speech was 1,000% out of touch and I’m not giving Shaw high marks either.

              Hughes has got the winning style for this revolutionary political era. So does Cunliffe. His misfortune was to be the leader one election too early.

              • b waghorn

                “Hughes has got the winning style for this revolutionary political era. So does Cunliffe. His misfortune was to be the leader one election too early.”

                Cunliffe was so complementary of keys good work in the election debates he nearly convinced me to vote national.!!

          • BevanJS 3.3.2.2.2

            One, six and seven.

    • katipo 3.4

      Ad hominem – look it up.

    • riffer 3.5

      @alwyn – confirmation bias much?

    • Whateva next? 3.6

      Have to say Alwyn, it is you that seems “bitter”, I can’t even begin to reason why you would respond like that?

  4. Mosa 4

    Keep the blowtorch on the treachous tories
    Well done Mr Hughes.

  5. weka 5

    I think my favourite line is this,

    To the 300,000 kids growing up in poverty are you saying ‘Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for Serco, Sky City, Saudi Sheiks, Media works, Warners, and Rio Tinto?’

    One of the things that makes this speech great is that Hughes is a nice young man and this speech burns with dig after pointed dig about who Key really is and what his politics really are. Nice calm delivery too, which is such a great counterpoint to Key’s frothing at the mouth invective when he has a go at the opposition. The Greens are so good at this, making their points based on the facts and being reasonable and not getting into all the bullshit drama. Great to see this in action from Hughes.

  6. NZJester 6

    John Keys legacy has never been so well phrased as in Gareth’s speech.

    Pity he had to just limit it to the highlights due to time constraints as the full list would have been longer than a Peter Jackson movie.

  7. thechangeling 7

    Brilliant stuff from the Greens! In the end, the truth it does come out.

  8. Grey Area 8

    No help from Today in Parliament where yesterday Tom Frewen covered responses to Key’s speech from Finlayson rabbiting on about his golfing hole in one and Jian Yung going on about the Year of the Monkey and being proud to be in a Nats government…zzzzz

    Non-partisan coverage of Parliament indeed.

    • Wisdumb 8.1

      For me this was the best Opposition speech for a long time: comprehensive in scope, incisive, and blunt.

      As well as Today in Parliament and more of a worry, why did the MSM not report it?

      Mind you, I am also wondering whether Gareth Hughes had any help in putting it together.

  9. vto 9

    That speech is great. It took it to Key and got really stuck in. Pushed the knife and turned it.

    It would be good to see this more often.

    Key plays up the personal stuff all the time, so taking the personal back to him is entirely justified.

    Keep it up.

    • AmaKiwi 9.1

      +1

      “Play the ball not the man” is nonsense in politics. We vote for PEOPLE we trust.

      As for their policies, we can only guess what tricks they will pull out of the bag once they ascend the throne of NZ political dictatorship.

      Key needs to be brought down PERSONALLY.

  10. First time posting – or attempting to- on The Standard.

    Look.. Gareth Hughes was electrifying in his blunt , succinct summation and accurate profile- ling of this current PM.

    He hit all the high points. He was calm , he was articulate, and confident.

    Confident because he knew these truths would resonate with so many New Zealanders.

    Hes won me over , …with people like this in the Greens … Im confident now in who will get my vote. This country indeed has a chance with people like this in parliament.

    [Any subsequent comments should come straight through to a thread with no time lag. All first time comments hit moderation] – Bill

  11. Bill 11

    Who was the person sitting in the speaker’s chair (Chester Burrows – Nat mp) ? And was that a nod of agreement I saw at the end of Hughes’s speech?

    • vto 11.1

      It was most definitely a nod, and smile, of agreement, well spotted.

      • alwyn 11.1.1

        Probably a smile of relief. He was no doubt thinking something like.
        “Thank God that drivel is finished. I get paid a lot more than a back bench MP to be Deputy-Speaker but when I have to listen to that rubbish I don’t think it is worth it.”.
        Then the smile when he realised the suffering was over.

        • whateva next? 11.1.1.1

          gawd!

          • alwyn 11.1.1.1.1

            I am more used to the formal “God” with a capital letter. However I try and heed the petitions of my subjects, no matter how informal is the form of address.
            What benefaction is it you wish my child? It will be considered although I am sure you will understand if I decide to refuse it.

            • whateva next? 11.1.1.1.1.1

              and despite your apparent flippancy, I would rather have you as the Speaker than our current piece of fluff, Gawd help us!

              • alwyn

                ” I would rather have you as the Speaker”
                Your plea is refused. Refused. REFUSED.
                Nothing would get me to take on the role of a politician.
                As Shakespeare would then say in a stage direction.
                “Exit left, screaming”.

                • whateva next?

                  and Alwyn..

                  “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts….”
                  As You Like It, Act II, Scene VII
                  William Shakespeare

                  or to remain sat in box seats barracking like Statler and Waldorf?

                  • alwyn

                    I am reminded of a statement which I think, but am not sure, was by Lord Rutherford. When told that politicians were paid more than he was, as Head of the Cavendish Laboratory, he is said to have replied that it was only fair as they had too do such awful things.
                    I am afraid that going into politics is an absolute NO NO.

                    • Incognito

                      Yet you engage in political discourse here on TS!?

                    • Lloyd

                      So you know FJK does awful things, do you Alwyn?

                      Can you confirm all the negative things that Gareth Hughes listed are FJK’s fault?

                      Do you not want to go into politics because you know that what JFK has done while he has been in power is immoral, obscene and just down-right indefensible? And I assume you have more morality, are less perverted and just generally of better character than FJK?

                    • alwyn

                      @Lloyd.
                      In this case I was thinking rather more of young Mr Hughes.
                      He entered Parliament, I am sure, with such high hopes. He thought he was going to save the world no doubt.
                      Now he is reduced to being assigned to speak, on the last day of a debate , to an empty chamber and in which only one member of his party, probably with similar orders, even turned up.
                      Try inserting the name Gareth Hughes instead of Eleanor Rigby in these lyrics and you will see what his “career” has turned out like.
                      http://www.lyricsfreak.com/b/beatles/eleanor+rigby_10026674.html
                      Would you want to be delegated to speak to an audience who couldn’t care less, long after the leaders of your party had left?

                    • Incognito

                      @ alwyn at 14 February 2016 at 8:57 am:

                      Ah yes, only the top dog matters in a world in which competition and winning are becoming the dominant dogma.

                      I have great admiration for people that start (or stay) at the bottom, the ‘foot soldiers’, and who are not afraid or ashamed (!) to do seemingly mundane jobs as without these the top dogs would have nothing to stand on.

                      People on the Right also seem to detest political activists and public demonstrations, for example. I guess they prefer to call it “lobbying” and “networking”. Same thing, different words.

                      You neatly sidestepped answering the question by Lloyd:

                      Can you confirm all the negative things that Gareth Hughes listed are FJK’s fault?

                      Not surprising since this appears to be your Modus Operandi.

                    • alwyn

                      @incognito
                      I really don’t think that “Female Jedi Knights” can be blamed for anything really. I’m not someone who puts myself down as being of the “Jedi” religion in the census.
                      Gareth might of course think that sort of thing.
                      He seems to like dressing up and pretending he is a character out of a science fiction movie.
                      http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/10086549/Today-in-politics-Tuesday-May-27

                    • dv

                      @ncognito

                      You neatly sidestepped answering the question by Lloyd:

                      Can you confirm all the negative things that Gareth Hughes listed are FJK’s fault?

                      Not surprising since this appears to be your Modus Operandi.

                      Yep Alwyn still has a question to answer from me a couple of days ago and to wether she supported the taxpayer bail out of SCF and Rio.

                    • alwyn

                      @dv.
                      I’ll assume you have paraphrased your question correctly. I had forgotten about it.
                      “wether she supported the taxpayer bail out of SCF and Rio”
                      Briefly. I am neither a wether nor a she.
                      There was no “tax payer bailout” of Rio. The did receive a short term reduction in the power price at the Bluff smelter which they partly own.

                      There was no “tax payer bailout” of SCF. SCF was liquidated.

                      Now I will split your comment about SCF into two meaningful components.
                      (1) Should SCF have been allowed into the Labour Government implemented Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme”?
                      NO.
                      When did this happen? The arrangements were made by Treasury while the Labour Government were continuing to operate (in caretaker mode) after the 2008 elections. That is between 8/11 and 19/11 2008.
                      The list was presented to Bill English to approve on the day he was sworn in. No opportunity was available to cull the list.
                      Did we need such a scheme?
                      YES
                      (2) Once they were included in the scheme should depositors have been paid when SCF collapsed?
                      YES
                      Not to have done so would have led to the whole scheme being doubted and there would have been a massive run on all banks. Do you really want a Government that refuses to honour contracts?
                      There. Happy?

                      Now a question for you. Do you approve of the Green Party proposal to subsidise purchasers of $250,000 cars by 33% subsidies on such vehicles?

                    • dv

                      Sorry about the messy answer

                      “wether she supported the taxpayer bail out of SCF and Rio”
                      Briefly. I am neither a wether nor a she.

                      Huh a ram then!!

                      There was no “tax payer bailout” of Rio. The did receive a short term reduction in the power price at the Bluff smelter which they partly own.

                      Fair enough, but the tax payer paid money to Rio

                      Do you approve of that payment?
                      There was no “tax payer bailout” of SCF. SCF was liquidated.

                      Now I will split your comment about SCF into two meaningful components.
                      (1) Should SCF have been allowed into the Labour Government implemented Crown Retail Deposit Guarantee Scheme”?
                      NO.

                      That may well be true.
                      When did this happen? The arrangements were made by Treasury while the Labour Government were continuing to operate (in caretaker mode) after the 2008 elections. That is between 8/11 and 19/11 2008.

                      ONE of the reasons for the protection was that the Aussie were setting up a similar scheme and NZ had to fall in line so there wasn’t a capital out flow from NZ

                      The list was presented to Bill English to approve on the day he was sworn in. No opportunity was available to cull the list.

                      True But I think the nats did have access to the list before the election

                      Did we need such a scheme?
                      YES Agreed

                      (2) Once they were included in the scheme should depositors have been paid when SCF collapsed?
                      YES

                      ‘Not to have done so would have led to the whole scheme being doubted and there would have been a massive run on all banks. Do you really want a Government that refuses to honour contracts?
                      There. Happy?

                      NO Not quite.
                      The SCF were retained in the scheme 2010? by the nats AGAINST the specific advice of treasury and then there was a payout.
                      As well as some very murky dealing around scales corporation.

                      Thank you for the full answer it is appreciated

                      Now a question for you. Do you approve of the Green Party proposal to subsidise purchasers of $250,000 cars by 33% subsidies on such vehicles?
                      Do you mean the new BMWs?

                    • alwyn

                      @dv
                      SCF were allowed to remain in the scheme, true.
                      I understand that it was quite clear that if they were not included there would have been an immediate run on the company, it would fold and the payout would have had to be made then and there.
                      Keeping it in was done in the hope that it could be cleaned up before the final conclusion of the scheme and it might survive.
                      That didn’t happen and the Government oversight of SCF certainly wasn’t as good as it could have been during that period.. That direct oversight was not done by English though he was certainly responsible for the Department.

                      No, it could involve far more cars than that. The Green Party policy is to waive FBT on all electric cars purchased by companies. What CEO could resist having an S model Tesla? The price here will certainly be up in the $250,000 bracket.
                      At the moment a company will spend 100c plus 49.25c (FBT) to provide a dollars worth of the cars value as a fringe benefit.
                      The Greens are going to forego the 49.25c on every dollar which works out as a 33% subsidy.

                      ps If they got their way and put the tax rate up to 40% it would mean a 40% subsidy. Way to go, baby.

                      ps2I couldn’t resist the first bit when you misspelt “whether” as “wether” as well as getting my sex wrong.

                    • dv

                      @alwn
                      “That didn’t happen and the Government oversight of SCF certainly wasn’t as good as it could have been during that period.. That direct oversight was not done by English though he was certainly responsible for the Department.

                      Yes the oversight was CRAP. There needs to be an independent enquiry.
                      The whole situation with the scales corp where a apparently neighbour of Keys made 70?million from the transaction looks and smells very fishy.

                      “No, it could involve far more cars than that. The Green Party policy is to waive FBT on all electric cars purchased by companies. What CEO could resist having an S model Tesla? The price here will certainly be up in the $250,000 bracket.
                      At the moment a company will spend 100c plus 49.25c (FBT) to provide a dollars worth of the cars value as a fringe benefit.
                      The Greens are going to forego the 49.25c on every dollar which works out as a 33% subsidy.

                      ps If they got their way and put the tax rate up to 40% it would mean a 40% subsidy. Way to go, baby.

                      Don’t know enough about the scheme. I suspect there may be more controls than that. And you show a interesting reaction about the morality of CEOs

                      ps2I couldn’t resist the first bit when you misspelt “whether” as “wether” as well as getting my sex wrong.
                      I could see you were weak. You are forgiven. I even enjoyed the crack.
                      Your the MAN!!!!

  12. It was an excellent speech.

    For me it summarised the concerns and insights that those who oppose Key’s depthless style of political operation have with him. For whatever reasons to do with his personal development, Key is not just all about winning; he is only about winning.

    That was the import of Hughes’ last sentence and it cut to the hollow core of Key’s political ambitions. There’s this disturbing sense that Key is not in politics for New Zealanders – he is in it solely to achieve that universally pointless goal of being ‘top of the heap’.

    From the evidence of what he projects in the media and public appearances, it seems that this is one of the few ‘principles’ that acts as a gut-level guide for him.

    That soulless ambition – ‘aspiration’ – is why he has been manna from heaven for his elite supporters and the National Party political machine. It has been what they probably see as a ‘win-win’ situation, and since winning is all that matters …

    Sadly, our society now appears to be one in which such ‘raw ambition’ is not only produced at a greater rate than previously but also is now openly promoted as some sort of required ‘positive’ cultural shift.

    New Zealand’s young people deserve to imbibe from their culture far wiser life-prescriptions than unfettered egotism and the constant pursuit of success, fame, celebrity, ‘winning’ and ambition for the sake of ambition.

    One thing I know for sure – given that life ends in death the central point of it all cannot possibly be about winning, in any ordinary sense of the word. So why waste a life constantly trying to ‘win’ as a primary motive?

    • Bill 12.1

      So why waste a life constantly trying to ‘win’ as a primary motive?

      This isn’t a cheap shot or a glib throw-away. But those ever rising suicide stats in a society awash with vacuous ideas of ‘success’ (ie – narrowly defined ideas of worth), well….sans approved alternatives, perhaps increasing numbers of people are opting out the only way they know how.

      • Puddleglum 12.1.1

        There’s nothing glib or throw-away about your comment.

        In a society increasingly promoting personal ‘success’ as the point of life the flip-side is the diminution of the worth of simply living a life, being with and caring for those around you, navigating through daily difficulties, playing your part in a much larger unfurling canvas.

        The glitz of the spectacle and the exceptional has usurped the value of the modest well-lived life. And I don’t just mean in attitudes. Culturally, structurally and economically we should prioritise the everyday human processes that are shared by the vast bulk of people (friendship, community, family, cooperative effort, etc.) and stop valorising the exceptional individual to the extent that we do.

        The exceptional is, after all, little more than a spark occasionally emitted by the hearth-fire of the everyday. To stretch the metaphor, we’ve forgotten the value in making sure everyone’s home fires keep burning.

        • vto 12.1.1.1

          You are exactly right Puddleglum. I made a similar comment a while ago following some recent events and exchanges in our community.

          We have just suffered another one this morning.

          Our society has changed – of that there is no doubt.

          It is exemplified by John Key.

          It is a poor society.

        • Ant 12.1.1.2

          Culturally, structurally and economically we should prioritise the everyday human processes that are shared by the vast bulk of people (friendship, community, family, cooperative effort, etc.) and stop valorising the exceptional individual to the extent that we do.

          Well put, but note plenty of alternative going on in NZ (Google coop, community, TimeBank, Organic etc).
          Collectively though we tend to subscribe to the perceived reporting of MSM which abides by the sensational, relentlessly driven by their corporate bosses and the proven value of keeping the population mesmerised by mindless consumerism.

  13. cowboy 13

    I too add my congratulations to Gareth Hughes on his extraordinary speech.

    I had Parliament going on the ute wireless as background noise. When the magnitude of what I was hearing started to dawn on me I had to pull over and give it my full attention. If im being honest I had never given much attention to Gareth who had always come across as a bright but slightly earnest political nerd. The genius of the speech is that it is that he was not only talking truth to power but in delivering such a withering critique with such measured distain.

    Well spoken Gareth Hughes, the mouse that roared!

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