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Kia kaha Louisa Wall

Written By: - Date published: 8:25 pm, March 31st, 2022 - 10 comments
Categories: gay rights, human rights, labour, Parliament - Tags:

Earlier this week Louisa Wall announced that she is retiring as a Member of Parliament.

It is a real shame.  My dealings with her over the years have always been positive.

She has always been a principled member of the left wing of Labour’s caucus.  During the great civil wars of 2011 to 2014 she was firmly in the Cunliffe camp against the might of ABC.  Some of us have long memories.

The handling of her electorate proved to be complex.  Manurewa should be like Mangere, absolutely rock solid Labour at all levels of democratic representation.  Aupito William Sio is in my view an absolute icon of a leader and representative and under his reign Mangere is an impregnable left wing bastion.

Manurewa has been more difficult.  The effect of George Hawkins, one of the great Rogernomes, continues and his anointed son, Daniel Newman, has not only turned to the dark side but also has huge influence over local government in Manurewa.  I quite like Newman at a personal level.  But his influence suggests that Manurewa could be organised better.

I don’t blame Louisa for this.  It is a problem that needs a much deeper response.  But it did not help her.

Nor did the selection process that saw her eventually stand down.  There is a tension between local preferences and head office goals that occasionally sparks controversy.

As a Parliamentarian she was outstanding.  Over the history of our Parliament I am really confident that no other Parliamentarian has pushed through private member’s bills that have had such profoundly significant effect.

Let us list the two significant bills she introduced and has managed through the process into law:

These are really important laws whose effect will be felt for decades,  I can remember attending a same sex marriage shortly after the bill was passed and the joy and gratitude that everyone, particularly the lucky couple felt, made it a really happy event.

Her presentation was that principled and her argument that compelling that it resulted in one of the best speeches from a Tory MP ever.

In writing this post I had a look at Louisa’s speeches at the third reading stage of the same sex marriage bill.  They were goosebump raising good.  And the logic and justice were so clear.

Like in this passage:

This third reading is our road towards healing and including all citizens in our State institution of marriage, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity. Although our focus has been on Aotearoa, it is important to remember we are one country that is part of a global community discussing marriage equality. Twelve countries have already been through this process. The US President has declared his support unequivocally. The Queen has recently signed a Commonwealth charter that explicitly opposes all forms of discrimination, which she describes as emphasising inclusiveness. The UK, led by its Prime Minister, has introduced legislation.

But marriage equality is only one issue. There is still a lot of work to be done to address discrimination against our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex—or LGBTI—communities. Closer to home, many of our Pacific neighbours still criminalise homosexuality; so too do the countries of our new migrant communities. We need to understand these heritage identities and how they contribute to this debate. As the indigenous people of Aotearoa, we can acknowledge that takatāpui have always been part of our history and culture, and that is the case for many indigenous people around the world. Fa‘fafine, ‘akava‘ine, fakaleiti, and mahu vahine are words that go back in time to identify our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex communities. They are part of our Pacific heritage and need to be acknowledged.

And this passage:

The purpose and intent of this bill is very clear. It means that the law and the social and civil institutions that that law governs apply equally to everyone. It means that a couple who so choose can apply for, and receive, a marriage licence from the State. What it does not do is affect a person’s own beliefs about marriage. The fact that a couple wants to make a commitment to each other by marriage is a cause for celebration, and it can only benefit our society and families as a whole. Marginalising and discriminating against particular sectors does not benefit society and families. It is a simple choice. Do we support discriminatory laws, or not? I know I do not, and, hopefully, that is true of most of the members of this House.

History tells us that the struggles of the gay community, as with any minority, have often been cruel. What has been heartening in this discussion has been the positive response from younger people across the board. It is a generational issue, but it is also an issue about personal experience, and the fact that when you have a friend or a whānau member who is gay, you do not want them to suffer or have fewer rights than you. That is not fair or just.

Kia kaha Louisa.  May the next stage of your life bring you happiness and may we continue to celebrate what you have achieved.

10 comments on “Kia kaha Louisa Wall ”

  1. Pataua4life 1

    Labour shafted her good and plenty.

    Anyone who quotes DP from the left need to look no further Manurewa for an example.

  2. Ad 2

    It is startling that all the columnists are praising her performance, character, and record, left and right.

    Labour appear on paper to be full of talent ready to burst through into politics.

    But in battle much of their inability to execute is down to those who don't know how to play hard. Louisa knew how to play hard and get it done.

    It is also remarkable that the lack of Cabinet reshuffles has made this government much more brittle. The Clark government was regularly refreshed, and performance and ambition remained high.

    The key reason this government isn't performing is that Ardern and Roberston are running a pet show not a team by failing to reward success and demote failure hard.

    Louisa Wall was an excellent ball carrier who made impressive and noteworthy moves. I don't fear for her in the private sector at all.

    • tc 2.1

      Totally ad. Docile pets with SFA get up and go in them dawdling along in their portfolios.

  3. Steve Bradley 3

    As the current Chair of the Avondale Branch of the New Lynn LEC I would feel bad if I didn’t recognise Louisa Wall as a former Chair of this Branch – then within the Mt Albert LEC.

    Louisa was always well liked here and admired for her energy and forthrightness. She was a gun fund-raiser, a skill which she needed later after succeeding George Hawkins.

    We don’t know what goes on in Wellington but we do know she represented us well and our party will be the lesser with her departure from Parliament.

  4. Patricia Bremner 4

    I suggest there will be more making this choice, as many came in on the froth of the wave. Louisa was not in that group however, having achieved her goals she is moving into the next part of her life, leaving at a high point. imo.

  5. Corey Humm 5

    Quite heartbreaking she's leaving. One of my favorite MPs. Line Georgina Byer has never gotten enough respect.

    I love that because of her I can get married. I love her principled stand on China and foreign policies.

    The electorate issue imo was a disgrace. She was right to stand down, the party really slept on her, she's a talent who should have been a minister but due to shameful internal party dynamics we don't get to see what other contributions she could have made with bigger roles and some executive power. Would be great to have someone like her arguing in cabinet.

    As other commentators have pointed out there is no lack of talent in Labours caucus, there is sadly a shallow talent pool in cabinet. Other govts kept fresh by constantly reshuffles, keeping ministers on their toes and ensuring they delivered and weren't beholden to their ministry, this cabinet is literally filled with people who were utterly hopeless and unliked and inept during the 9 years labour was polling in electoral oblivion while they sat on the front bench, meanwhile the talent, the youth the future of the party sits in the middle and back benches twiddling their thumbs.

    You're not wrong I too have a long memory and remember the ABCs interesting how most of them have proved to be the most ineffectual cabinet ministers apart from a couple of them. I think Cunliffe would have been an excellent minister.

    Truly sad. Cabinet desperately needs a reshuffle. Stop rewarding the old guard.

    We all know the current ministers will mostly retire whenever labour returns to opposition , which means labour will once again have a caucus with very little ministerial experience.

    But back to Louisa. What a tragedy for the party. There really was no point for her to stay on there was no advancement opportunity and she's been treated abysmally, when comparing her record to the lemmings in cabinet… It's insane she wasn't given a portfolio.

    Labour needs to nurture it's talent and provide and ability for growth and getting higher up the ranks or we'll go back to struggling to get new talent to even look at standing for us or for public leadership and retaining the existing talent will be impossible.

    Having so many extremely talented mps bore themselves to death on the back bench and having so very many inept mps in cabinet is a disgrace. Half of this cabinet wouldn't be fit to run a community board let alone a govt department.

    Here's hoping this isn't the start of talent realizing they aren't getting promoted or more challenges and exiting public office entirely.

    Labour could do with some blood letting at the top.

  6. felix 6

    She's a gender crank, an ideologue and an apologist for regressive nonsense. Good riddance.

    • Mark 6.1

      Agree. Good riddance. An attention seeking poseur for rich first world issues.

      Gay marriage – even wokesters like Hilary and Obama were against that

      • Incognito 6.1.1

        Oh look, Taiwan also has legalised same-sex marriages. Too much for your regressed Neanderthal brain?

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