Tuesday, November 03, 2009

A response to Sue Bradford

Last week, Green MP Sue Bradford gave her valedictory speech. In it, she hit out at public attitudes to politicians:

So, we all have an obligation to do the best job we can, and I think most of us take that pretty seriously, no matter which party we are from. It continues to sadden me that so many people, particularly in the world of blogs and talkback, so casually dismiss New Zealand MPs as corrupt, or lazy or incompetent, or all those things simultaneously.
I am the first to acknowledge that MPs work hideously long hours in a very demanding job. At the same time, I also think they have worked very, very hard to earn their bad reputation. From the systematic abuse of trust of the FPP era to the day-to-day rorts of Bill English and Rodney Hide to the self-interested refusal to properly reform electoral finance law or bring Parliament under the OIA or introduce proper disclosure of MPs interests, they have collectively earned every bit of it. And if MPs don't want to be thought of as lower than dogshit, lower than used-car salesmen, lower than Nigerian spammers, then they need to clean their act up.

I think the Greens are an exception to this - with a few lapses, they have generally been a clean and ethical party (but not clean enough!) who have spoken out against the prevailing Parliamentary culture. But the rest? They've made their bed, and they get to lie in it; they'll get our respect and trust when they earn it.