- Date published:
7:04 am, June 30th, 2017 - 33 comments
Categories: election 2017, labour, national, the praiseworthy and the pitiful - Tags: #debarclay, clutha-southland, invercargill, Liz Craig, party line, Todd Barclay, voting
It’s week 2 of the tape that may not have existed and that no one could have known was illegal and that English forgot until he remembered. Now it turns out that a minister may have listened to it, but not in a “ministerial capacity”. Yes it’s the “Game of Hats” play so beloved of Bill’s more brazen predecessor. Same old National.
Meanwhile, even as the vultures potential candidates circle over the remains of Todd B in Clutha-Southland, his zombie vote is exploited in Wellington to squeak through contentious legislation by a majority of 1. Classy.
It could all have turned out so very differently if the good voters of Clutha-Southland had elected the best candidate back in 2014. Remember this?
Clutha- Southland and the stark contrast in NZ politics
Todd Barclay at 23 (apparently his age was misreported at first), in case you’ve missed it, is a young man whose work since leaving university consists almost entirely of working in cabinet minister’s offices and as a corporate lobbyist for Philip Morris, the big tobacco people. Factual experience and the effects of policy don’t matter in this world: what matters is the ability to access cabinet ministers and make sure policies don’t affect your corporate’s bottom line. At 23, Todd is already a mid-career insider in this game, personally well connected, increasingly versed in the arts of influence, and, no doubt, of corporate campaign contributions. As he himself put it yesterday, Todd “took the [Philip Morris lobbyist] job to give me the experience I needed to enter politics”. Indeed, says Todd, “It taught me some very valuable skills really, in the corporate sector and taught me about how corporates operate in New Zealand.” So, perhaps he won’t be funding his campaign with sausage sizzles. And he already seems a little confused by the experience, doublespeaking about questions (or not questions?) of ethics: “Obviously, fairly, there is a question around my ethics, with regards to working for a tobacco company [but]…I don’t believe it does call into question my ethics, my views are strong, and they’re against smoking. I don’t encourage people to smoke, but it is a job”. No doubt being a Nat MP, where those same skills will be handy, will also be ‘a job’, subject to similar ethical quandaries.
On the other hand, Labour’s candidate is Liz Craig, twenty five years working as a doctor and in public health, researching and addressing issues in New Zealand and Australia. She’s been a leader in the tracking the effects of child poverty, and in advocating for action to give kids a better start in life. Liz confesses that “Of all the child health issues I’ve reported on over the past 10 years, the one that saddens me the most (and there are many) is the 40-60 babies we are losing each year from Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy (SUDI or cot death). Behind these deaths is the bigger puppeteer of nicotine addiction, and the role smoking in pregnancy plays in increasing the risk of SUDI. ” Liz with others kicked off the monitoring of child health in the early 2000s, going door to door to DHBs to sign them up for their own child health reports. Over the years she and her team have produced literally thousands of graphs and hundreds of reports pulling together data, showing how kids from the worst off neighbourhoods have worse health outcomes, worse educational outcomes, worse lifecourse outcomes across the board. Labour’s turn to addressing child poverty and giving kids a Best Start was built from the outset on this evidence, and on the policy necessities which flowed straight it. You’ll see Liz acknowledged in the front of all the major reports of the period, from the Public Health Advisory Committee’s 2010 report The Best Start in Life: Achieving effective action on child health and wellbeing, to the Children’s Commissioner’s 2008 report A Fair Go for All Children: Actions to Address Child Poverty in New Zealand.
Craig was by far the better candidate. If she had been elected the proportionality / balance of power in Parliament would have changed not at all, and Clutha-Southland would have had an excellent MP. More to the point from National’s point of view, this spectacular flaming Barclay scandal would have not spent the last 2 weeks burning down their party and exposing Billshit English. Ooops. Such are the perils of blindly voting the party line.
Well, Todd Barclay blew it, the Nats lost out, Clutha-Southland lost out. But it’s Invercargill’s gain – Liz Craig in 2017!
— Peter Green (@pitakakariki) June 29, 2017
Quite a major piece of legislation (Local govt ammendment Bill) just passed 2nd reading on a 1 vote majority. That's why Todd is still an MP
— Michael Wood (@michaelwoodnz) June 29, 2017