Monday, November 07, 2005

Green voice silenced

I must acknowledge the death of Rod Donald, Green Party co-leader and champion of ensuring power remained at a community level, rather than being appropriated by corporations or governments.

I had a little to do with Rod when I was investigating the corrupt entry of a NZ First MP to Parliament, and subsequently made a submission on the reporting practices which allow NZ politicians to disguise the source of their funds - a situation other parties are happy to go along with for fear their cash would dry up if donors were identified.

Rod is more than anyone else associated with the introduction of Mixed Member Proportional voting (apart from the well-funded then-Telecom chairman Peter Shirtcliffe, who fronted the campaign to retain first past the post). I favoured the single transferable vote method, which unfortunately did not make the final ballot, as I was concerned MMP gave too much power to parties. Since Rod's party did not have some of the authoritarian aspects of other parties/political cults, he may have had a different view of the threat.

I last saw Rod just before the election, speaking at a Green meeting in Auckland. He showed a willingness to tackle difficult issues many other MPs either don't understand or shy away from, like the current account deficit and the huge distortion to the economy created by the continuation of the Bolger/Birch accommodation supplement.

His big campaign for this term was going to be buy New Zealand. When someone like Jim Anderton floats that kind of idea, it comes across as old style protectionism. When Rod Donald floated it, is seemed an extension of the principles by which he lived his life - that every action has a consequence, and you must be aware of those consequences. That is why he could promote local initiatives while also reaching out around the world through Trade Aid to create direct channels for communities in developing countries to sell their products at a reasonable return to themselves, without the ticket being clipped by predatory middlemen and corporates.

His contribution to NZ life and politics was huge. We'll miss you, mate.

Green Party bio


Blogger ray said...

Just to show you have a reader,well done, this is one of the best tributes to Rod i have seen

7:49 PM  

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