Adjournment debate – James Shaw

Hon JAMES SHAW (Minister for Climate Change): E Te Māngai o Te Whare, tēnā koe. It’s always a pleasure to follow the Rt Hon Winston Peters in debate. I’ll miss it, to tell you the truth. Here we are at the final hour of the final day of the 52nd Parliament—our business for the moment complete. I know everybody here is champing at the bit to get out and campaign around the country; trying out their new election slogans. There’s Labour: “Let’s keep moving”, New Zealand First: “Let’s not”.

You could almost see the advertisements, can’t you: “New Zealand First: you can stop progress.” ACT are making a serious play for the assault rifle vote: “The ACT Party: more deadly than serious.” National, of course, have settled on a new leader with a new slogan: “Why vote for the lesser evil?”

Now, it’s not all slogans, of course. Parties will be laying out their policy platforms in advance of the election—or maybe they won’t. But it is important, as we think about the post-COVID rebuild, that voters are aware of the political philosophies that are on offer.

National want to grow the pie, Labour want to share the pie, ACT want you to get your own God damn pie, New Zealand First want a billion pies, and the Greens, of course, say that the growth of the pie is constrained by the size of the oven, and whilst you’re making pie, perhaps you should keep your oven clean, otherwise your tamariki will get really sick. Look, I know that’s not exactly bumper sticker material, but we reckon there’s at least 5 percent in it.

Speaking of which, I did ask my colleagues for the privilege of giving the Greens adjournment debate speech at the closing of this Parliament, particularly so that I could deal with the PTSD I have from election 2017. You see, I also gave the Greens adjournment debate speech at the closure of that Parliament too, and about 15 minutes before I had to come down and speak, I got that evening’s TVNZ poll result, which had us under the threshold at 3.5 percent. The whole time that I was delivering that speech, the thought weighed on my mind that it might well be the very last speech by a Green Party member of Parliament ever.

Well, 10 weeks later we were in Government, and four weeks after that I met the Pope. So I’m just saying, a lot of things can happen in the final six weeks of an election campaign, and I am mostly saying that to give the National Party a good dose of false hope for themselves, but also, honestly, because the reality is that there is a non-zero probability that this speech could also be our last—speaking statistically. Actually, no I was going to tell another statistics joke, but it isn’t significant. [Interruption] Thank you, I’ll be here all night—I actually will, ha, ha!

Actually, I do think that the most likely outcome of this election is that the Greens will be back in Parliament and in Government after the election, but if we aren’t, every one of us—current MPs, former MPs, current and former staff, volunteers, members and supporters—can be tremendously proud of the contribution that we have made as a partner in this, our first Government.

We laid down the path to a zero carbon future for Aotearoa. We made sure that more of our loved ones, our friends, and our neighbours have warm, dry, and safe homes in which to live. We’ve given people all over the country better, cleaner, and safer options for getting to work in the morning and home again at the end of the day.

We’ve expanded conservation and put more people to work restoring and replenishing our native birds, forests, and fish than ever before. Our Government has put an end to new sources of fossil fuels. We championed changes to our democracy and we reformed the way that we tackled domestic and sexual violence.

Standing here today, I can proudly say that because of the progress that we have made, a better, a cleaner, and a more equitable future for Aotearoa New Zealand is closer than it has ever been before.

Now, that is in large part due to the seven committed, passionate, and highly effective Green MPs working alongside me. To each of them, I would like to say thank you. Thank you for making the last three years as fun, as successful, and as weird as it has been. To Gareth Hughes, our friend and colleague, we bid you farewell. Everyone here is going to miss the wisdom and the passion that you bring to this place.

It is because of who we are and what we stand for that after just three years in Government, with only eight MPs, that more people up and down New Zealand can make ends meet, that our economy is greener, and nature is healing.

In those times when we didn’t get everything that we wanted, we didn’t give up, we didn’t get disillusioned, and we kept working, because for thousands of people all across New Zealand, having the Greens in Government shows that we can keep making life better for everyone.

The only way to make sure that the next Government does everything it can not just to navigate ourselves through the present crisis but to build a better world for future generations is to make sure that the Greens are a part of it. We know that we need to get out every vote that we can—we know that.

Right now there are thousands of volunteers working tirelessly in their communities, knocking on doors, picking up the phones, talking to people about where the Green Party wants to take New Zealand in the wake of the pandemic crisis. They keep at it every single day—even amidst all of the nonsense that accompanies every election. To every single one of you, I say thank you. Because of you, I am more optimistic than I have ever been that together we can change the world.

In the three years since the Green Party helped to form this Government, we have never forgotten that every action that we take, future generations are watching. Young people don’t look at this place the same way that others do. They don’t see the political point-scoring in what we do. They don’t see the one-liners and the headline grabbing antics; rather, our ideas and our actions are the prism through which they see their future.

When the polls open in four weeks’ time, that is what we are deciding; not which individuals will fill these seats, but who together will have the power to shape the kind of country that our children and our grandchildren will grow up in.

I do want to thank the Labour Party and New Zealand First for your partnership and your hard work over the last three years—in particular, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and the Rt Hon Winston Peters—thank you. Everything that we have done, we have done together. Thank you to all of the people who make this place, especially those who work the longest hours for the least pay. Thank you, Mr Speaker. As I said in 2017, we’ll see you in six weeks. Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa.

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3 Comments

  1. Duker

     /  7th August 2020

    “.. want to thank the Labour Party and New Zealand First for your partnership and your hard work over the last three years—in particular, the Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and the Rt Hon Winston Peters—thank you.”

    Thank you NZF …thank you Rt Hon WP… Im speechless…kindness is catching

    Reply
  2. Brian Johnston

     /  8th August 2020

    The Greens are a sickening lot and Shaw collects I believe over $300K per year. What has he done. What has he achieved. What have any of them achieved. They are pro fluoride and that toxic substance should not be in the waterways let alone bothering about our health.

    Sage says the Dome Valley landfill has benefits. That is crazy talk and Shaw has not reeled her in. Shaw is hopeless. They all are. The sooner they are elected out the better.

    Before the last election Shaw spoke in Christchurch. He never said they have a policy to reduce cow numbers. I found out about the policy by phoning his office who said he should have mentioned it. Unbelievable. I got an uneasy feeling about the guy.

    Reply

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