Tuesday, February 24, 2015

A predetermined decision

John Key has just made his statement to Parliament on the deployment of troops to Iraq. While other parties were allowed two hours to "comment" on it, there was no vote - and National explicitly denied leave for one. In those comments, every party other than National and ACT expressed opposition to the deployment - and even ACT expressed strong scepticism, before voting for it anyway (I guess its a habit for them).

The government's "case" was to appeal to our outrage against ISIS, and stoke fear that they posed some "threat" against New Zealand. It was the usual torrent of clich├ęs, "standing up for what is right", "our share of the burden". You could turn it into a drinking game. And they didn't convince anyone (except ACT, kindof, maybe).

What is clear from today is that this deployment does not have the support of Parliament. It is National's decision alone (and in fact, John Key's - because his caucus sure as hell weren't consulted). When kiwi troops have their heads sawed off on live TV, the blood will be on their hands.

What's also clear is that there is widespread support for foreign troop deployments to require explicit Parliamentary authorisation. While the current majority for it is only temporary, the breadth of support across parties suggests there will be a majority after the next election. It would be good to see parties commit to that with actual policy.