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Russel Norman’s valedictory speech – activists and agitators

Written By: - Date published: 6:32 pm, October 22nd, 2015 - 58 comments
Categories: greens, russel norman - Tags:

58 comments on “Russel Norman’s valedictory speech – activists and agitators ”

  1. mickysavage 1

    Good speech by Russel. And there were only 19 out of 59 National Party MPs in the house including no one on the front bench. Very poor.

    • maui 1.1

      Hardly surprising though is it. The nat heavy hitters can’t handle a good dose of truth with no chance of a reply.

    • Gavin 1.2

      Yes, an inspiring speech, with a few warnings thrown in. I hope the Greens remember that the Labour bench showed the proper respect by being there to help give him a standing ovation.

    • alwyn 1.3

      I can remember when Don Brash gave his valedictory speech.
      Helen Clark and Michael Cullen went and sat in Bellamys during the speech.
      Neither of then had the grace to go into the House for it.
      They didn’t want people to think that they might have had important business and couldn’t be there. They simply wanted to illustrate publicly what miserable behaviour they were capable of.
      You did notice that National were a great deal more gracious when Helen and Michael quit.
      Russel could at least have given it when there were some ministers in Wellington couldn’t he? Most Ministers leave Wellington right after Question Time on Thursday and The PM isn’t here at all on a Thursday.

      • mickysavage 1.3.1

        Wow lookie here. Comment from that staunch left winger David Farrar …

        “Pretty much a full house and galleries for it, except noticeably Winston and Helen both left as it commenced.”

        TBH I could not blame Helen for leaving. But compare this to the treatment National gave to Russel and it does not compare.

        And besides I though that many if not most ministers were in Wellington on Friday.

  2. Phaedrus 2

    What a loss to The Greens and to Parliament. What a gain for Greenpeace.

    • Tracey 2.1

      people thought Greens wouldn’t survive when donald died. when fitzsimons retired. good people keep following.

      • weston 2.1.1

        might be a limit to the size of the pool though and rnorman out a country mile ahead of his compatriates i reckon He seems to have been providing for quite some time almost all the effective opposition in parliment and probably the man most hated by key

        • Tracey

          Don’t agree. Greens members are a very passionate bunch. A voting pool of about 10% means there are plenty of people with passion and commitment able to step up.

        • lol if anything the newcomers are pretty damn impressive. Sure you might get the odd MP who not the entire Green community will support, but overall the depth of talent in the party is amazing, and I don’t see them in Labour’s shoes (ie. having half their caucus be useless or rebellious) anytime soon.

  3. Kevin 3

    Nice kick to the nuts of David Carter.

  4. Ad 4

    I’m just glad there was a job in New Zealand right enough to keep him here.

  5. Anne 5

    Thanks to Russell Norman for a brave speech. Everything he said is absolutely true. I’m proud to be an agitator. Apart from anything else it makes life interesting. 🙂

    • weka 5.1

      I thought he was pretty forthright too. Nice to see those values and ethics still strong in him and the GP. Liked the bit about how people in power will lie to you.

      Still don’t understand why more leftwing people don’t Green. Listening to Norman, most of its there, so what’s not to like?

      • Anne 5.1.1

        Some of us need to stay in Labour to fight the good fight from within. In an MMP environment it’s important to ensure all the parties of the left have a strong green influence. It’s also important that values and ethics are not only kept alive but become the dominant feature so that when we become the government it will be a strong and stable govt. for years to come.

        Nice dream anyway.

        • weka

          Great perspective Anne!

          I was meaning why don’t more people in general vote GP (rather than thinking that Labour party people should, sorry I should have been clearer, it was just a thought from earlier in the day).

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.2

        Still don’t understand why more leftwing people don’t Green. Listening to Norman, most of its there, so what’s not to like?

        Can’t speak for others, but in my case, Norman might make a good speech but too much of the rest of the party consists of anti-science, anti-industry hippies. They’re making some attempts to try and conceal it these days, and I expect James Shaw will make even more of an effort, but concealment is all it is. I’ll vote for a party that wants to protect the environment, but not one that’s sceptical of science and opposed to the kinds of industries that working-class types work in. Many left-wingers have no vision of NZ as a rural idyll in which everyone’s an artisan or craftsman of some description.

        • RedLogix

          Many left-wingers have no vision of NZ as a rural idyll in which everyone’s an artisan or craftsman of some description.

          Yes – while I think many people might be able to imagine such a thing; they’ll make no move to achieve it until they see it demonstrated and they can see it work.

          Most working class people are quite conservative in this respect. They have to be.

          • Joseph

            They won’t see it demonstrated until they give them a chance. In the meantime, they’ve been voting for who to such great effect?

        • weka

          That’s interesting PM. Of course it doesn’t reflect actual GP positions, policy or even MPs very well, but maybe that’s the point. People’s perceptions are still off, and so the party has a problem with how it’s communicating.

          I’m like to know which policies you think are anti-science. Let’s leave the GE one out for the moment and look at the others.

          • Psycho Milt

            Leaving the GE issue out of a discussion of whether the Green Party is anti-science is like leaving creationism out of a discussion of whether some Christian group is anti-science. Still, as you say, their current policies don’t reflect an anti-science attitude, which shows a desire to overcome that perception. I just think that perception will be difficult to change while Steffan Browning spends time peering through fences at Scion seeing if he can catch them making GE trees, and many of us have memories of discussions with Greens about food or medicine that quickly became a tinfoil-hat festival. On the plus side, changing perceptions will have become a lot less difficult for them since Sue Kedgeley retired.

            • weka

              Right, so not anti-science, but perceived as anti-science by some. I think this is an ongoing issue on many levels for the GP. The way they are perceived doesn’t match their policies or positions, which is odd given that they’re pretty up front about those things. It makes me wonder if there is some deeper mistrust that prevents people from making informed decisions (which is kind of ironic).

              Steffan Browning does some good things, and some occasional daft things, and he’s probably the least suited to the hardcore, macho, spin culture that is modern NZ politics. Which is a shame, because parliament should be made up of many different kinds of people not just the ones with fancy suits and clever tongues.

              Leaving the GE issue out of a discussion of whether the Green Party is anti-science is like leaving creationism out of a discussion of whether some Christian group is anti-science.

              I love it when science fundamentalists get their rationales so wrong.

        • Karen

          The National Party is the most anti -science party in parliament currently and people voted for them. Who can forget Key on the BBC Hardtalk programme arrogantly dismissing the evidence of Mike Joy? Or the Nats attitude to climate change?

          Steffan Browning is the only Green MP who could be accused of having expressed anti-science ideas.

          • Psycho Milt

            The National Party is the most anti -science party in parliament currently…

            Absolutely – I agree completely. But their target market isn’t left-wingers.

            • Karen

              I don’t know of any left wingers who think the Green Party is anti-science.

              I do know a number of left wingers who see the Green Party as a bit too middle class for them. This is a perception problem that is not based on Green policies.

              • You know of one now. And if you hang out with people who work in the sciences, you’ll have no trouble meeting others.

              • That said, let’s clarify terms here. My view isn’t that the Green Party is anti-science, it’s that “much of … the party consists of anti-science, anti-industry hippies.”

                • Karen

                  I am a bit confused about whether you mean Green Party policy, Green Party MPs or Green Party members?

                  It sounds as if you are really talking about some members of the Green Party and I could agree with the anti-science label for some of them, but surely policies and MPs are the drivers for voter perception, not individual members.

                  • Not at all. I usually don’t have a clue about a party’s policies unless I go and look at them. But an MP or party spokesperson making a twat of themselves on TV, that I tend to remember. I’m by no means unusual in that respect.

  6. maui 6

    Well done Russ, hit it out of the park.

  7. Yorro 7

    Tried watching his speech on various sites but seems it’s blocked.

  8. seeker 8

    Applause, applause, applause Russel Norman. A fine speech from a fine man. Thank God for a mighty fine agitator who has done much for New Zealand and is about to do even more in his new job I am sure.

    • ianmac 8.1

      Great speech. Admiration Russel. Hit many nails. Thanks Russel.

      Hope the Speaker takes it on board and starts insisting that Ministers answer instead of just addressing.

  9. geoff 9

    Great speech from Russel!

  10. whateva next? 10

    Really enjoyed listening to every word he said, and still wonder how people can support National in the face of such intelligent politics. I admire his stamina, and integrity, he will be a loss to parliament, but by crikey he deserves a rest.

  11. AmaKiwi 11

    Great speech, especially his comments about democracy.

    I wish the Labour caucus had even a primitive understanding of what democracy is and why it is essential for a healthy society. Sadly, they don’t.

  12. Stuart Munro 12

    He did a great job – hard act to follow – and will be a sound leader for Greenpeace. More than anyone else in parliament he made it clear that the Gnats are frighteningly stupid, unusually lazy, and utterly corrupt. The mirror is a daily shaming for Gnats.

    • whateva next? 12.1

      As I said above
      “still wonder how people can support National in the face of such intelligent politics”
      How long will it take for those swingers to realise National are
      “frighteningly stupid, ?

  13. savenz 13

    Fantastic speech. A real loss to the Greens but a gain to Greenpeace.

    Fantastic messages and long reign agitators!

    A sad day in parliament though. What a loss to the country.

    We really need to fight this fight against the erosion of our democracy!

  14. AmaKiwi 14

    Russel Norman’s biting sarcasm (24 Feb. 2015) on sending NZ troops to the Middle East.

    (Our soldiers are going to) “defend democracy in the Middle East but the National party government has just now prevented parliament from voting on whether NZ should go to war.”

    “Democracy it seems is a military export and not for domestic consumption.”

    Russel’s stinging insights will be sorely missed.

    (Hear his entire excellent speech by clicking on “Three Speeches on Going to War” at the top of this page.)

  15. gsays 15

    Inspiring korero.

    A great feeling to be encouraged to agitate.

    Parliament’s loss is Greenpeace’s gain.

    Nandor observed he would be more effective outside Parliament than inside it.

    • dukeofurl 15.1

      Whos Nandor ?

      To be honest it was a poor speech, more like some ones maiden speech. Considering he has done much better in other times.

      He stumbled and fumbled the beginning with an obscure australian reference. The timing was all off too

      He went on and on about the government being anti democratic , not mentioning the Greens failure to ultise the one member , one vote principle themselves. Its more in common with Britains rotten boroughs of the 19th century, with the bigger branches votes controlled by a dozen or so.

      • maui 15.1.1

        Nandor Tanczos, you can’t have been around the political scene for that long then.

        Does anyone know what Nandor does now? He seemed to drop off the radar after he left parliament.

      • weka 15.1.2

        He went on and on about the government being anti democratic , not mentioning the Greens failure to ultise the one member , one vote principle themselves. Its more in common with Britains rotten boroughs of the 19th century, with the bigger branches votes controlled by a dozen or so.

        That’s a particularly poor piece of green bashing. What vote are you talking about? The GP has a number of different ways of member involvement and participation, depending on what the decision is.

        • weka

          btw, one person/one vote is a very basic form of democracy and not the most fair. You obviously missed Norman’s point about democracy being a spectrum.

          • dukeofurl

            Democracy being a spectrum ? What nutcase dogma is that?

            One person, one vote not the most fair? I dont think Ive heard a bigger load of absolute nonsense in a long time. So decision making by elites is so much better!

            The one vote one member didnt apply during their election for leader with XY chromosome. Doesnt seem to apply during during other ‘members votes’ either, but Im not sure.
            Its done and dusted by the cliques who control the branches, all very rotten borough- the discredited way the British upper classes controlled the House of Commons.
            Why do the Greens hate one person one vote when it comes to their membership ? Is not STV something they love , but only for everyone else?

            • weka

              If you think that democracy has to be one person one vote and that’s all or otherwise it’s control by the elites, then you have a pretty backwards view of what democracy is and its potential.

              We have one person one vote and little else in our general and local body elections. Many people feel disenfranchised, and turnout is dropping for the general election, and abysmal for local bodies.

              But even within that system we can see that there are other things that make it more fair eg moving from FPP to MMP. Beyond that, there are issues of participation. Most NZers don’t have much say in how the country is run. That’s a shame. Participation is so much more than just a single vote, which is the point that Norman was making. Participation means that more people get to have more input into how things are done.


              I took part in the leadership selection process as an ordinary member and I can tell you that you are wrong in your assessment of it. It’s true that people need to involve themselves as opposed to say being sent an email from which they can vote. The co-leader was chosen by delegates at the AGM, and delegates represent the view of the branch active members. Anyone can take part in that. I found the process thorough and as fair as it could be given the limitations. I think this is a better system than one person/one vote where you often have people voting with no knowledge of the candidates and no opportunity to discuss the pros and cons of each. In the process used by the GP, there was opportunity to learn and discuss and this make an informed choice. It’s appropriate that such an important position is chosen by people who are involved and have some idea about the various issues.

              • dukeofurl

                Thats gobbledygook about ‘our bettors’ being the only ones who know whats going and are thus better qualified to take decisions. Its only a party leader. Labour made sure all its members get a choice, most easily shown by a chance to vote ( not compulsory)

                Norman , a PhD in political science no less, is talking about the ‘members of the Green party’ in an abstract sense, since only some of them really matter, and when he talks about democracy is not some thing that they practice around the Green party.

                None the less empty platitudes from Norman where he moves on to a group where democracy isnt something he will have to worry about at all.

                • weka

                  Now you’re just making shit up. The GP co-leadership selection wasn’t done by the elite. You’re the one with the chip on your shoulder about ‘betters’, and you appear to be too dimwitted to understand general theories about democracy and what it is.

                  You’ve also failed to make any substantive points beyond your usual “I hate the GP” cloaked in assertions. Boring and stupid.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    delegates represent the view of the branch active members. Anyone can take part in that.

                    Duke’s transparent hostility and malice aside, this isn’t 100% true, eh Weka: this structure favours those who are in a position to make a long-term commitment to political activism beyond simple party membership.

                    That isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

                    • weka

                      Yes and no re participation. I think there are things that the party could do to improve this for sure. From what I understand any member could have taken part in the co-leadership selection process by phone, email, online or meetings. That doesn’t require a long term commitment to political activism just an interest in who becomes the co-leader and either phone or internet access or time/ability to attend a meeting. However I don’t think the party was that great at communicating this clearly and so by default people that are more interested are going to take the time to make themselves involved.

                      I agree it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I’d like to see increase in access if it’s done alongside increase in education and places to discuss what is being decided (essentially political community building). I’m guessing that the party doesn’t have the resources to do that, but it could also be that it’s not a priority.

            • Colonial Viper

              Democracy being a spectrum ? What nutcase dogma is that?

              LOL as weka implies, you really are true Thorndon Bubble.

  16. Red delusion 16

    The real question is not democracy or lack of it in the GP, what the nation really wants to know is wether Wussel ever got his flag back

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