The lead story on Helsingin Sanomat, Finland’s largest newspaper is about the “violent comments” of Gerry Brownlee. Can’t this government go more than a couple of months without embarrassing us on the international stage?
Brownlee told some pretty bad lies about Finland. How would we react if a foreign politician said the same about NZ? We’d go off our fucken self-righteous rockers, that’s what we would do. It would be wall to wall coverage, endless wailing and gnashing of teeth.
Time to apologise or resign, Gerry.
It’s not just that he was insulting, it’s that he was wrong. Finland ranks very highly in most measures of well-being, and Brownlee was straight out lying in several of his claims –
Has less growth than us – in the past two years, Finland has grown over 7% to NZ’s 2%
Can hardly feed the people who live there – um, it’s not an agricultural country, it makes it wealth through high-tech. It’s people aren’t starving as Brownlee implies.
has a terrible homicide rate – It’s 13% higher than here and 17th best in the world.
hardly educates its people – Finland has the best education system in the world. It is distinguished by the high social status of teachers and the flexible curriculum, totally at odds with the US ‘standards’/’performance pay’ model that National is importing
has no respect for women – Finland elected its first female President in 2000. It’s first female PM in 2007. It has had more women then men in Cabinet. It’s a struggle to even name the most senior woman in our Cabinet. DPMC says it’s Judith Collins, ranked number 5. Finland was the first country in the world to give women the vote (wait, what? Well, women got general suffrage in 1906 and the Finns contend that makes them the first country to give women the vote because we were just a British colony and our Parliament wasn’t sovereign, but their Parliament was under the Russian Empire in 1906 – so let’s call that a draw).
In the days when being a minister carried a weight of dignity and responsibility to it – as it still does in countries like Finland – a minister would resign without being pushed after an incident like this. It is, simply, the right thing to do when you are a minister and you bring your country into disrepute.
In Brownlee’s case, I doubt we can find a lever long enough to wedge him from his limo seat and he won’t go out of principle.
A Finnish friend emailed me after I said sorry about our jerk of a minister –
Meanwhile, a Finnish political satirist is giving us a taste of our own medicine. Guess we can’t whine about this –