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Slow off the mark

Written By: - Date published: 6:58 pm, October 3rd, 2009 - 9 comments
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Colin Espiner also writes in yesterday’s blog:

The Government was slow off the mark in sending a minister up to Samoa. While Labour quickly dispatched two MPs, Winnie Laban and Chris Carter, as late as Wednesday McCully was still saying he saw no point in going up there.

It took a couple of gentle digs from Labour about promising to brief the Government to get McCully on a plane this morning.

I’m pleased the Labour MPs got McCully into gear. I also hope he will be positive about the role that NGO’s like Oxfam and the Red Cross will play in the reconstruction.

New Zealand’s relationship with Samoa is very special. New Zealand occupied Samoa in 1914 when it was a German colony,  and Samoa was devastated in the 1918 influenza epidemic when it was under New Zealand administration. Samoans are generous  in response – they have made Prime Minister John Key a matai during his visit, and that will be a genuine expression of how they feel about the relationship .

Espiner goes on to say:

Now the aid and military machine has swung into gear New Zealand is once again proving its worth to small Pacific countries such as Samoa. It’s times like this I feel good to be a citizen of a first-world nation, albeit a small one, that can provide technical and medical aid that will save lives and help rebuild Samoa.

I absolutely agree. I would only add that our government’s aid must be like our people’s; generous in the extreme. Samoa deserves no less.

9 comments on “Slow off the mark ”

  1. Rex Widerstrom 1

    I trust Laban and Carter have taken a toolkit each, or at least a shovel.

    Otherwise all I can see them being able to do is get in the way of aid agency workers while pursuing photo opportunities. As, no doubt, will McCully.

    • outofbed 1.1

      i think Laban had a relative missing there actually

      • Rex Widerstrom 1.1.1

        Oh, well in that case, if the visit is personal and not political, I apologise. But if so, that weakens John A’s argument further.

  2. a first-world nation” – I think your mate’s stuck in the Cold War era. It’s an arrogant label too I feel. I wonder how “proud” Espiner is of NZ bringing the pneumonic influenza epidemic to Samoa in 1918, not to mention the shooting of 10 Mau to death (during peaceful protests about our occupation) a few years later. Guessing he doesn’t know about them.

    It’s been a fair response from the Govt however, although if our great Foreign Minister Muzza was in charge, things wouldn’t quite be so responsive. Nice mention of the role of NGO’s – hopefully old Muz can learn a thing or 2

    • Gundy 2.1

      “Responsibility for the pandemic has been laid firmly at the feet of New Zealand. In 1918 Western Samoa was still occupied by New Zealand forces that had seized the German colony at the beginning of the First World War. In addition to not placing the Talune under quarantine, the New Zealand Administrator, Colonel Robert Logan, did not accept from the Governor of American Samoa an offer of assistance that may have reduced the heavy death toll.”

      From nzhistory.net.nz – New Zealand has blood on it’s hands over Samoa, both that of the Mau and of the 1/5th of the population that died during the 1918 ‘flu epidemic.

      I see that Key for a second time has allowed himself to take part in some Kava (an alcohol like drug), but I wonder what his opinion would be on cannabis…

  3. Bill 3

    What was that song line line from years back? Oh yeah. “Hunger put the sparkle back in television”…or tsunamis or earthquakes?…..and disaster tourists in their wake make for good follow up coverage I guess.

  4. sweetd 4

    “John A”, as reported on Red Alert, Chris and Winnie were in Samoa due to the death of a member of Winnie’s family. Now, if you are happy to accept that reason, good.

    If, however they were sent for some other reason, then one can only assume it was to protect and gain the pacific island vote. So, what one is it?

    Secondly, what difference in NZ support and aid would have happened if McCully was there earlier?

  5. I’s forgive McCully not seeing the value in his self going personally, ie when you compare the cost/value of getting supplies there and vs the cost/value of getting a figurehead there I can see why he’d not see the point of going himself.

    The value in him going is a symbolic one, and I think it’s perhaps better to let his late uptake of that carry some weight than to snipe and denigrate the value of his presence. Whether he gets that value or not is secondary; if he tried to milk his presence sure, but in the mean time better to leave the focus on those actually suffering.

    and just to agree with average keywi (I think); it would be very very good if McCully gets to see the value of foreign assistance that’s not just focussed on developing an entrepreneurial class, given that that is what he seems to think is the most effective way to apply aid.

    Alleviating poverty is a broad focus, with broad and far-reaching effects; puffing up a merchantile caste isn’t.

  6. I’m pleased the Labour MPs got McCully into gear. I also hope he will be positive about the role that NGO’s like Oxfam and the Red Cross will play in the reconstruction.

    Outsourcing to the private sector? Of course!

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