Reply to Ed's Party Building - additional comment on the focus on parliament

Jurriaan Bendien bendien at
Tue Sep 30 15:52:46 MDT 2003

I wrote:

"Jim [Anderton], a strong guy, looked at me, presumably considering me a bit
of a young wet willy, and he didn't have much confidence in the people
attending the meeting, and he said "the Labour Party is my party, right or
wrong, I helped to rebuild it from the late 1970s, and I am not leaving."

He thereby expressed his party loyalty. I should of course add that Jim
Anderton MP was a professional politician, who had owned a business. He said
in so many words at the meeting I mentioned, that he believed that either he
would be able to rally the rest of the backbench Labour MP's and the Labour
Party against Lange's cabinet, or that, because of the extremist policies of
the cabinet, the cabinet itself would discredit itself in public opinion, as
well as among the Labour Party faithful. I disagreed with him about that,
among other things because me and my friends knew how much the Labourites
liked to be in power.

It is certainly true that, after the Labour Government was re-elected for a
second term in 1987, Prime Minister David Lange dismissed Finance Minister
Roger Douglas in 1988 because he knew the public had had enough, but that
was nearly four years later from Jim Anderton MP's statement to me, and the
damage to the country was already done. Next thing, David Lange himself
resigned as Prime Minister, officially for "health reasons", and he was
replaced as Prime Minister by Geoffrey Palmer (serving under him as attorney
general). Palmer was a trained lawyer who, in 1978, had written an article
in the "NZ Listener" in which he called New Zealanders "the fastest
lawmakers in the West", who amended existing laws at a whim, and accumulated
gigantic rafts of amended Statutes, even although New Zealand lacked so much
as its own independent Constitution (the highest legal authority in New
Zealand being the British Privy Council). He himself had of course been
reponsible for a massive legal overhaul, which didn't really reduce the
amount of legislation on the Statute books, but increased it. For example,
industrial relations legislation was amended and overhauled several times,
and hospitals were restructured several times. When I had broken my femur in
a motorcycle accident, I asked one of the nurses what she thought of all
that restructuring. She pointed out the window to a big building, and said,
"that's the result, that's where the management and administration is done."


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