Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Clayton's politics

Having long thought that there’s less difference between
New Zealand’s ‘two major parties’ than people like to
believe, I’m not surprised that on the question of an
alternative prison rehabilitation unit for Maori, as
proposed by Maori affairs minister Pita Sharples, the
National Party has emerged looking more progressive
and liberal, while the Labour Party is being downright
reactionary. Scratch a supposedly conservative Nat and
you’ll often find a social liberal underneath: a very good
column by Patrick Gower in the last Weekend Herald

shows convincingly that justice minister Simon Power is
one such. And certain Labourites with pinkish profiles
often turn out to have necks in shades ranging from violet
to vermilion. Clayton Cosgrove has certainly done Labour
no favours by taking the line he has on the prison unit
idea. Political commentators like Richard Long and Guyon
Espiner have been quick to point out that his comments
put Labour in the ‘One law for all’ camp that Labour found
so reprehensible when Don Brash advocated it five years
ago. Thus the 'two major parties' syndrome produces such
posturing for the sake of mere opposition. The truth is that
Labour and National agree on far more than they care to
admit; we would have a much more honest and productive
politics if they did admit it.

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