So John Key, Prime Minister, has decided four people will accompany him to officially represent New Zealand at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.
Mr Key will be accompanied by the Minister of Maori Affairs, Hon Dr Pita Sharples; Leader of the Opposition, Hon David Cunliffe, former Prime Minister of New Zealand, the Rt Hon Jim Bolger; and former Foreign Minister and Secretary‑General of the Commonwealth, the Rt Hon Sir Don McKinnon.
“This distinguished delegation reflects the mana of Mr Mandela, and the highest regard in which New Zealand held him,” says Mr Key.
– Go here for the full statement on ForeignAffairs.co.nz.
The statement is another example of how out of touch this prime minister has become from the New Zealand way.
Recognising this, his officials could have delivered a brief excerpt on the 1981 Springbok Tour of this country.
From there the Prime Minister could have refreshed his memory, or perhaps recreated his position, on what side of the fence he sat on at that time, and drafted a list of people whom the South African icon could have most respected.
Of the five people John Key has decided will represent us all at Nelson Mandela’s funeral, one can’t remember if he supported the 81 Tour or not; two were definitely in favour of the Tour and gave their political support to the then prime minister Robert Muldoon and endorsed the brutal tactics deployed by the Police against those who protested; and two others were against it.
I’m sure you will be able to fill in below who is who in this awful riddle.
Surely, if John Key had a shred of decency in him, he would include in his official party members of those who put their lives and reputations on the frontline back in 1981.
Surely John Minto, Dick Cuthbert, Trevor Richards, or one or two from the many many thousands of others who protested against racist tours, or those who stood their ground on the Rugby field at Hamilton, or Marx Jones (who flew the Cessna over Eden Park dropping flour bombs onto the field as the Boks and the AllBlacks played on) should be included as representatives of New Zealand, on this occasion.
Heaven forbid, perhaps even Police Red Squad commander Ross Meurant could be included so he could speak with authority on how brutal the Police were under his command and how wrong they all were to do what they did to so many, and apologise for their crimes. As any of the Clowns would tell you, it was no circus.
And to refresh our memories, do check out Patu!