}

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NZ Parliament reacts to Orlando


Today, the New Zealand Parliament passed a motion in sympathy with the victims of the Orlando shootings on behalf of all New Zealanders. They do this whenever a major tragedy happens in the world. I thought I’d share all the videos for anyone who wants to see the responses of the various political parties in the NZ Parliament, and I added my own comments after each video. All up, the videos are just under 19 minutes.

The first video in the series, up top, is of the Prime Minister moving that the House consider a “Motion Without Notice”, which basically is any government motion that wasn’t previously announced, and typically this is done in times of tragedy, and the motion to consider is approved by simple voice vote, as this was. Then, someone from each of the parties in Parliament makes a statement on the motion itself, before the final motion is voted on. The Prime Minister did okay. However, today, outside of Parliament, he also seemed to deny the attack was anti-LGBT in nature, which puts his remarks in Parliament in a somewhat different light.


The first reply video (the second in this post) is from the Leader of the Opposition, Andrew Little, Leader of the New Zealand Labour Party. This is my favourite of the speeches because he clearly gets what it’s all about. He said the right things in the right tone, and, most importantly, he kept the focus on the victims, which is important.


The second reply is from Kevin Hague of the Green Party, the third-largest party in Parliament. Kevin Hague is one of the openly gay Members of Parliament. He offers a different perspective from Labour’s, and makes some good points. I thought putting it into a New Zealand context was a good contribution to the discussion.


Next up is Winston Peters, the leader of the fourth-largest party, New Zealand First, a right-centre-right party. Winston is combative, argumentative, anti-immigrant, and xenophobic, and his party has usually opposed anything to do with LGBT rights. I really don’t care what he has to say, but his remarks were typical of him, and contributed nothing.


Next is Te Ururoa Flavell, Co-Leader of the Māori Party, one of the National Party’s support parties in government. He spoke in Te Reo Māori, one of New Zealand’s three official languages. At the conclusion of his remarks, he was joined for a waiata, a traditional Māori response. I can’t comment on his remarks because I don’t speak Te Reo.


The fifth response is from Peter Dunne, a one-person party in Parliament. He has been in coalition with Labour in the past, but joined National in government after the 2008 elections. He made a basically decent sort of speech, and I think he meant well, even if some of his phrasing was clumsy (using the phrase “moral judgement” was extremely ill-advised).


The final response is from David Seymour, the one-person MP from the Act Party, a rightwing party supporting the government, and is only in Parliament at all because the National Party did a deal with them so Seymour could win the seat. I often strongly disagree with Seymour, and I’d never vote for his “party”, but I think he did a good job on this speech, not the first time I’ve thought that—but always about things other than government policy. This final video also has the voice vote that approved the motion of sympathy.

• • •

These sorts of resolutions are meant sincerely, even if some party leaders/speakers try to make it all about them. The MPs know full well that the people in the affected country will probably never even know about such resolutions, but the point is that the NZ Parliament, on behalf of all New Zealanders, stands in solidarity with the people affected, in this case, the victims and survivors of tragedy. I think that’s worth something, even if it changes nothing or accomplishes little. It’s the right thing to do.

No comments: