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James Shaw, comedian

Written By: - Date published: 10:35 am, August 7th, 2020 - 21 comments
Categories: election 2020, greens, humour, james shaw - Tags:

Before you read this post, please watch at least the first 3 1/2 minutes of this video. It’s James Shaw’s Adjournment speech in parliament yesterday, and he’s funny. Seriously, 3 minutes of jokes, casting shade on Winston, National, Act and even a wee bit on Labour. Much of it understated, some of it groan worthy Statistics dad jokes, but lots of laughs and support from the house. He is also softly self-deprecating about his own party.

Shaw then goes on to thank the Green MPs, including Gareth Hughes as he leaves parliament, the staff, volunteers as well as the parliamentary workers who work longest for least pay. He sincerely honours NZ First and Labour, particularly Peters and Ardern.

The speech is full of points made subtly enough. Here he quietly addresses one of the main (inaccurate) criticisms of the Greens, that they didn’t do enough or should somehow have forced their will on their coalition partners,

It is because of who we are and what we stand for that after just three years in Government, and with only eight MPs, that more people up and down New Zealand can make ends meet, that our economy is greener, and nature is healing.

And in those times when we didn’t get everything we wanted – we didn’t give up.

We didn’t get disillusioned.

We kept working.

Because for thousands of people all across New Zealand, having the Greens in Government shows that we can keep making life better for everyone.

Acknowledgement of not taking their vote for granted,

The only way to make sure the next Government does everything it can, not just to navigate through the present crisis, but to build a better world for future generations… is to make sure the Greens are part of it.

We know we need to get out every vote we can.

Green Party kaupapa on display,

Mr. Speaker, in the three years since the Green Party helped to form this Government, we have never forgotten that with every action we take, future generations are watching us.

For young people don’t look at this place the same way others do.

They don’t see the political point scoring in what we do.

They don’t see the one-liners, or the headline grabbing antics.

Rather, our ideas and our actions are the prism through which they see their future.

And when the polls open in four weeks’ time that is what we are deciding.

Not which individuals will sit in these seats, but who, together, will have the power to shape the type of country our children and grandchildren will grow up in.

The transcript is here.

In case you missed it, here is the list of Green Party achievements in government this term. If you want to slag off the Greens, this might be a better cultural fit.

21 comments on “James Shaw, comedian ”

  1. observer 1

    I watched the speech, and agree it's good.

    It's largely forgotten now, but James Shaw gave a speech on election night 2017 that planted the seed for the coalition. I'd given up myself (National's preliminary numbers looked too high). But – as befits a Minister of Statistics – James had a better grasp of the potential numbers, and made a direct appeal on TV to Winston Peters. Two weeks later National lost 2 seats on the final result, and then went into opposition.

    We have a lot to thank him for.

    • weka 1.1

      I'd completely forgotten about that. I do enjoy his speeches generally, lots to be understood from them about where he really stands.

  2. Just Is 2

    I watched James Shaws adjournment speach in Parliament yesterday and it certainly showed a humorous side we don't often see and was well recieved by his party members and others.

    I was a little annoyed he was so critical of National, rather than emphasize the Green achievments.

    The only speech that was free of criticism of any other party was Jacinda Arderns, hers was positive, thanking the Coalition partners and acknowledging that most of the Govts work was focused around managing the issues surrounding the Pandemic, keeping Kiwis safe and supporting their imediate needs.

    If you've got the time to view yesterdays House proceedings it really was very humorous, better than most comedy shows.

    • anker 2.1

      Jacinda's speech great. I noticed when she got around to talking about her own MPs she said our STRONG team" emphasising the word strong…………Perfect

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    Yeah, I watched five mins & liked his style there. Best bit was his suggestion for the Nats' campaign slogan: `why vote for the lesser of two evils?' Nifty.

    Aimed at centrists who have drifted into supporting Labour recently, obviously. Consciousness-raising potential there. People would see the billboard and it would slot into their subconscious, percolate awhile, then sometime later they would start thinking: "Why vote for either evil? Why don't I vote for a better world instead?"

    • weka 3.1

      wait, the Greens are putting that on a bill board?

      • Dennis Frank 3.1.1

        No, you misunderstood. I was imagining an alternate universe in which the Nats actually adopted his suggestion, and put that slogan on their billboard.

        Anyway, I’m glad he has incorporated humour into his parliamentary style. We need that from more of them. I’m not someone who willingly watches parliament, but recall Lange in his prime often making the headlines with his quips about Muldoon.

        • Robert Guyton

          "No, you misunderstood. I was imagining an alternate universe "

          Unbeatable rejoinder!

          • Dennis Frank

            You may be intrigued to know that physicists have theorised this. It is known as the `many worlds interpretation' [MWI]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-worlds_interpretation

            A poll of 72 "leading quantum cosmologists and other quantum field theorists" conducted before 1991 by L. David Raub showed 58% agreement with "Yes, I think MWI is true

            Sadly, majority rule does not apply to science, so the minority who believe in the universe prevail over the majority who believe in the multiverse.

            Thus the inertial effect of blind faith in tradition. Some scientists believe in the truth, believe it or not! Not physicists, of course!!

    • Stuart Munro 3.2

      The Lovecraftians may resent the borrowing – for all that the meme fits Judithulhu like a second mantle.

  4. Brendan 4

    Party vote Green for real progressive government. After nearly 4 decades of Labour pandering to the neoliberal ideologs, a Labour-Green coalition is the best way for Labour to be held up to its progressive and social democratic roots.

  5. Hanswurst 5

    From 3'45'' he sounds like a really slow horse-racing commentator.

    • greywarshark 5.1

      That sounds like an accolade – horse racing commentators are really focussed on what is going on and give the info to the listeners straight and direct, with a bit of style usually.

  6. Robert Guyton 6

    I watched earlier and thought James was excellent – great lines, good timing, perfect aim. I was very impressed. Watched some others and because of what I saw, rated James even higher smiley

  7. mickysavage 7

    Good speech. But where were all the nats? Poor form to not even be there for the last couple of speeches.

  8. 'Where are all the Nats?"

    Were they getting used to not being in the House?

  9. That was a great speech. I was struck by his wit when I saw him and Turei speak in 2017 – Turei's was heartfelt but his was easy-going and full of one-liners. I loved both. And his suggested National Party campaign slogan "Why choose the lesser evil" must surely go down in NZ political history – it's not just a sick burn for National, it's a burn for Labour as well. That's some pretty sharp speechwriting.

  10. Drowsy M. Kram 10


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