So Jeanette Fitzsimons is, as expected, resigning from Parliament. After 13 years her last day will be February 11th. Parliament will miss her energy, her honesty, her sanity, and her clear strong voice on Green issues. It is a huge loss, but no one deserves a long and happy retirement more than Jeanette. Frogblog has a thread where people can leave personal comments and tributes. I would like to say here – thank you Jeanette for everything you have done, you are one of the very few politicians that I truly admire.
This marks the end of an era for the Greens – a generational change. As NRT points out: “The co-leadership has passed to new, younger, hands, and there are now only two MPs left out of the original intake: Sue Kedgley and Keith Locke”. And from Metiria Turei: “We will have a very new team shortly in Parliament and that team is standing on the shoulders of Jeanette and Rod and Sue and all of those who first came in in 1999”. I wish the new generation of Greens well, but like many of the writers here I have strong reservations about the direction of their leadership.
There will be some focus now on Jeanette’s replacement (from the list), Gareth Hughes, at 28 soon to be the youngest MP in parliament. Gareth is a long time green activist, and lately coordinator of the high profile Sign On campaign for action on climate change. Disappointing to see initial media coverage starting with the cheap shots, like last night’s Stuff front page which lead with the image to the right and the banner “Meet the Green Party’s new MP – A man once arrested while dressed up as Ronald McDonald is to be the new Green Party MP”. Good on him I say – the last thing Parliament needs is another grey suit.