Author and social commentator Gordon McLauchlan is backing the Green Party and for the first time has spoken in support of an election candidate.
The Green Party is taking common sense positions on some of New Zealand’s most important issues, said the author of best sellers, The Passionless People and The Farming of New Zealand.
McLauchlan made his comments at a Green Party event hosted by Greens Waikato candidate Philippa Stevenson.
Over his lifetime, he’d seen some dramatic and desirable advances in human rights from campaigns against homophobia to racism and patronising anti-feminism, he told the audience at the event in Tamahere, in the south of the sprawling electorate.
“But in that same time I’ve also seen the abandonment of the human right for people to have a decent home and an adequate income,” McLauchlan said.
Home ownership was once a fundamental right endorsed by the National Party but had now been abandoned by both the major parties, he said.
“That’s not progress, it’s regression to the 19th century.”
McLauchlan spoke of his many years travelling the length and breadth of New Zealand for publications ranging from the NZ Journal of Agriculture to the National Business Review and answered questions from the audience.
“Arguments around the world focus on globalisation on the one hand and protectionism on the other, on immigration on one hand and closed borders on the other,” McLauchlan said in response to a question on his view of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA.
“There are a lot of positions between these extremes and I think the Greens take some of these common sense positions,” he said.
“Also we have 3.6 million tourists pouring into our country of 4.6 million. We have to take policy positions, in my opinion, that protect and preserve our environment. In some other countries where tourism is overwhelming it damages the environment and angers local people.”
Stevenson asked McLauchlan to draw on his years of experience in writing on farming issues to evaluate the Green Party’s agricultural and rural affairs policy.
There were two things that he considered most important about the policy, McLauchlan said.
“The inducements towards a sustainable agrarian economy, and towards repopulating our declining towns are important.
“I’ve seen factory farming in the United States and it hollows out the countryside and results in people cramming into cities, mostly unemployed or in low-wage jobs.”
McLauchlan, who in 2012 updated The Passionless People, originally published in 1976, said he still considered New Zealanders to be passionless.
“That’s why we have all these three-term governments. People don’t get angry at inequality, they just get bored every nine years by the same old ministerial faces,” he said.