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Green Maiden Speeches

Written By: - Date published: 7:20 am, November 16th, 2017 - 17 comments
Categories: greens - Tags: , ,

Both of the new Green backbenchers gave their Maiden Speeches recently. (There were also some Labour maiden speeches too, from Virginia Andersen (List) and my electorate MP, Paul Eagle (Rongotai))

Chlöe Swarbrick went first, talking about democratic engagement, her enthusiasm for politics as a youth, why politicians need to be genuine and be seen to believe what they’re talking about, rather than simply quoting facts and figures, and even made a surprising veer into a topic I didn’t know was one of the issues close to her heart: mental health. She confessed that, like me, she’s a different type of normal, and that we are going to have to get used to a significant section of our society struggling with anxieties and depression, especially if we don’t improve our quality of life for younger generations.

Golriz Ghahraman followed, and talked about her own political idols: Keith Locke and Catherine Delahunty. She also paid acknowledgement to the sad departure of both Mojo Mathers and Metiria Turei, and it was really good to hear both of their names spoken early in the new Parliament, and shared an anecdote about how her partner encouraged her to stand up and make sure the issues she cared about were still talked about in Parliament.

She carved out a very good space for herself with a blistering counter-attack on people who told her during the campaign that she didn’t have a right to live in New Zealand, or that she was being ungrateful by advocating to make New Zealand better, as if she should be disqualified from politics because she came here as a refugee, and those who threatened her life. It is people with that sort of attitude who perhaps would do well to understand what life outside of a safe, secular democracy like New Zealand is like, so that they could really understand the issues.

Overall I was very impressed with both speeches- I was talking about them live with a friend who’s normally an avid Labour supporter, but also a huge fan of Chlöe’s, and we both ended up becoming very impressed with each other’s favourite new MPs in Parliament this term. (I have of course been warming up to Chlöe over the campaign, as she has been an amazing performer)

I also feel an amazing relief to know that Chlöe is like me in having lived experience struggling with mental health, and we need more MPs like this, although I honestly don’t know how anyone, no matter how recovered, would cope with Parliament even after having an anxiety disorder, which is normally a relatively mild mental health condition. This was one of the most heartbreaking things about the campaign for me when the Greens fell back in the polls after our variety of bad news stories: we had been polling just about high enough that the amazing Leilani Tamu would possibly squeak into Parliament, and we would have a spokesperson on mental health with actual lived experience on the issues. There is no way that Chlöe is the only one in Parliament who has had this experience, but it was fiercely brave of her to come out about it actively in her maiden speech, especially after Leilani literally had people asking her if “she was that crazy woman” after having talked about her own mental health on her blog.

17 comments on “Green Maiden Speeches ”

  1. Philg 1

    Well said Chloe. All strength, and wisdom to you.

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    They were both great speeches. All of the Green women MPs appear to be fired up and not willing to compromise on what they believe in.

  3. garibaldi 3

    Proud to be Green. I hope we will grow rapidly back to stronger double digit polling.
    Just compare those two speeches to that of National’s (David Bennett) diatribe on the evils of socialism. What a plonker.

    • roy cartland 3.1

      I’m with ya! What magnanimous and genuine speeches. They’ll resonate with the younger voters and we’ll have that Green fiefdom yet!

  4. Venezia 4

    It fills me with hope to hear Chloe and Golriz speak. After hearing Willow Jean and Kiritapu last week I am so glad I gave my two votes to Labour (candidate) and Green (Party). These women are on fire. What amazing assets they will be. A breath of fresh air in parliament.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.1

      It’s great to have friends in Parliament like Kiri and Willow, there’s some real stars among the Labour backbenchers now who’ll be ready to step up if any ministers end up leaving for any reason, and they were two of the better maiden speeches. (and of course, as I frequently bang on about, they still have Louisa Wall, who is probably overdue for more responsibility even though she’s not new)

      Deborah Russel’s one yesterday was also great.

  5. Nope 5

    What on earth is golriz playing at breaking the c&s agreement with Labour?

  6. Dot 6

    I have listened to all of the maiden speeches and have decided that the 2017 intake
    of MP’s are well qualified and have a clear idea of what they hope to achieve.
    I wonder why you only mention the Greens ?
    There are some more mature and experienced members in the Labour team who made very memorable speeches.

    • weka 6.1

      Authors are free to write about what they want to write about. There’s no obligation to write about what other people think they should write about 🙂 Some of the Labour maiden speeches went up earlier in the week.

  7. Dot 7

    I wonder about the Green Party’s candidate selection outcome
    as during the election campaign I heard Hayley Holt speaking and she certainly made more of an impression on me .

  8. Angel Fish 8

    Gloriz criticizes patriotism but embraces Maori ethno nationalism…
    Maybe she should rethink that bit again.

  9. CHCOff 9

    OK so the Greens oppose the waka jumping(party hopping) bill…..

    Then such an occurance occurs and it brings down the govt. that their support base voted for…… Top move #1

    In the next election it is pointed out why the past government was brought down pre-maturely, bye bye Green support base…….Top move #2

    The next election is sold as being about m.m.p, and since the prior govt. proved to be unstable, it is rejected by the electorate, bye bye Green party in parliament for good…..Top move #3.

    • weka 9.1

      Ok, I’m curious, how would the Greens bring down the government by not voting for a single bill?

      • CHCOff 9.1.1

        That’s too obvious to answer Weka, if you think about it find the answer you will.

        A proportional system like mmp should have a mandatory no party hopping bill within it anyway, to provide more stability due to the expanse of governing scenarios it’s makes possible in it’s small step in providing more accountable representation to the public’s choice in how it is ruled compared to FPP.

        • weka

          “That’s too obvious to answer Weka, if you think about it find the answer you will.”

          Nope, thought about it and I can’t see how the Greens acting entirely in accordance with the Confidence and Supply agreement they have with Labour would bring down the government.

          If the Greens vote against the govt and for some reason this prompts a vote of no confidence in the government* then that vote will pass with the support of Labour, NZF, and the Greens. That’s the system working as designed.

          *unless you are suggesting that the Greens would withdraw from the C/S agreement over the party hopping bill. That would be a very odd suggestion and I can’t see any reason why the Greens would give up all their policy gains, wreck the govt and wreck their own party for that. What would be the point?

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